Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Letter to Editor Not Published


In Robert Irwin's review of "The Arabs: A History" by Eugene Rogan (31 Oct.), we are informed that "while Britain was at war with Nazi Germany, Menachem Begin, the leader of Irgun, and Yitzhak Shamir, the leader of Lehi, waged terrorist campaigns against the British in Palestine" and that "…Irgun operatives blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem". That is too sketchy a description and is factually misleading.

In 1939, Britain's White Paper policy of limiting Jewish immigration to 75,000 over the next five years sentenced millions of Jews to death at the hands of the Nazis. As Bernard Wasserstein has shown, in his "Great Britain and the Jews of Europe", among others, latent anti-Semitism and an inconceivable misreading of the political situation all throughout the World War by Colonial and Foreign Office ministers and clerks who acted in virtual collaboration with the German pursuit of the Jews brought about the horrific results of the Holocaust. The Jewish armed struggle against the oppressive Mandatory regime was just and proper.

On July 26, 1946, Irgun fighters detonated explosives in the southern wing of Jerusalem's King David Hotel which was requisitioned by the British Mandatory administration already weight years earlier as offices for the Mandate Secretariat as well as the Command for British military forces in the country. The section destroyed in the blast was not, as could be inferred, a civilian location populated by tourists. In addition, that a warning call made to alert the British of the impending blast was ignored, whereas the nearby French Consulate acted with alacrity upon receiving their call, was most unfortunate.

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