Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Correcting A Misquotation Reputedly By Menachem Begin

This past week, the Begin Center received this request for information:

Can you please help me with this?

This quote

"Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves."

is attributed to Begin and it is all over the web.

Do you know where it came from?




This was our reply:

Dear S_____,

I gave your request to our director of information and content and after some thorough research, I have the following for you:

First of all, Mr. Begin never said those words and there is no factual basis for that quote. When we searched for the quote, we found that it looped back to the same text by Texe Marrs, who does not say that he is quoting Begin.

Further research at this site showed that the quote was attributed to "Amnon Kapeliouk's article "Begin and the Beasts" (New Statesman, June 25, 1982) which was infamous for having misrepresented some remarks Menachem Begin said in a speech to the Knesset, and there are legitimate sources all over the net that make reference to that incident.

However, the misrepresented quote is not the one cited ("Our race is the Master Race", etc.), but another one entirely (see below). Clearly, someone invented the "Master Race" quote and then tacked on Amnon Kapeliouk as the source, to give it credibility. However, even the REAL (and far less offensive) quote has now been proven to have been misrepresented by Kapeliouk.

The REAL story involving Kapeliouk's article is provided by a media-watch group called CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), which regularly debunks bogus news reports and misquotes.

Here:

...Internet hate sites, as well as Fisk, attribute the derogation of Palestinians as “two-legged beasts” to former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The source generally given is:

Menachem Begin, as quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the Beasts, "New Statesman, June 25, 1982

Indeed, the radical French-Israeli journalist, Amnon Kapeliouk, did attribute such a quote to Begin in his New Statesman article criticizing Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. The author posited:

For this reason the government has gone to extraordinary lengths to dehumanize the Palestinians. Begin described them in a speech in the Knesset as "beasts walking on two legs

However, further investigation by CAMERA reveals that the actual speech upon which Kapeliouk based his quote, as well as news reports at the time demonstrate that the journalist distorted the quote, giving it a completely different tone and meaning. Begin was referring not to "the Palestinians" in a general sense but very specifically, he was referring to terrorists who target children within Israel...Kapeliouk neither recanted nor apologized for his deception...

I hope that helps.


Moreover, we will be conferring with others in Israel and abroad to attempt to verify that the no one has ever heard or seen this quote and whether it is authentic. At present, we understand that there is no reliable source and until proven otherwise, which we doubt can be done based on our archival mateiral and personal familiarity with Mr. Begin, we reject the veracity of the words supposedly either spoken or conveyed. The quotation is bogus.
blog comments powered by Disqus