"What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." Hannah Arendt
Whenever Israel boosters open their mouths I am invariably struck by the hypocrisy of their utterances. One such egregious display of this "vice of vices" cropped up on 15 June in Rachael Kohn's introduction to her interview with Aaron Klein, author of Schmoozing with Terrorists, on her ABC Radio National program, The Spirit of Things. I'll be dealing with the interview and its subject in my next post. Ms Kohn's opening remarks, however, merit their own.
Here is how she began: "Recently I returned from Israel, where I met a number of exceptional people, one of whom is the young American-born Aaron Klein, who's the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the news website, worldnetdaily.com. Aaron's claim to fame is that he interviews terrorists, and he's just written a book about it. Now 'terrorist' is a term that I'm well aware has been virtually banned from common parlance, and I asked him about that. Nonetheless, it's his way of naming a threat that's far more real to Israeli citizens, than, say, to academics at Harvard who'd be horrified if they had to be searched by armed guards every time they went onto campus. Or to journalists in comfortable newsrooms who don't live in towns that are continually the object of rocket attacks. They've never known what it's like to do daily tasks that we take for granted, but is [sic] an act of faith for an Israeli, like taking the No. 7 bus on Jaffa Road. Or shopping in the Mahane Yehuda greengrocers market, both popular targets for suicide bombers in Jerusalem."
Overlook Kohn's uncritical use of the 'T' word. Overlook her snide dig at Harvard professor Stephen Walt (who, with co-author of The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy, John Mearsheimer, also recently visited Israel). Overlook her attack on journalists who don't uncritically toe the Israeli line. Just focus on those final two sentences, about Israelis still spooked, if Kohn is to be believed, about the prospect of Palestinian suicide bombings in the buses and markets of Jerusalem. What she doesn't tell us is that long before Palestinian groups turned to such terror tactics, Israeli terrorists of the Irgun variety were pioneering them on Palestinian Arab civilian targets back in the 30s. Here's a partial list of same:-
Bombs in Market Places, Cafes, Homes:
17/3/37 Four bombs thrown into Arab cafes in Jaffa; 1 Arab killed, 10 injured. (Palestine and Trans-Jordan, 1937 - Colonial 146, 1938, p 6)
6/7/38 Bomb thrown in Haifa market place results in 8 Arab casualties. (Keesing's Contemporary Archives, III (1937-1940), 3177A)
14/7/38 Bomb explodes in Arab vegetable market, killing 12 and wounding 29, including women and children. (Ibid)
17/7/38 Three Arabs found murdered in Tel Aviv. Police arrest 5 Zionist Revisionists. (Ibid)
25/7/38 Bomb explodes in Arab vegetable market, killing 39 and wounding 64. (Ibid)
25/8/38 Bomb explodes in Jaffa vegetable market, killing 23 Arabs and wounding 30. (Ibid, 3312A)
27/2/39 Bombs explode in Haifa and Jaffa market places, killing 28 Arabs. (Ibid 3513)
2/6/39 Irgun bombs Arab melon market in Jerusalem, killing 5 and wounding 19. (Ibid 3642B)
19/6/39 Bombs explode in Arab market in Haifa, killing 9 and wounding 24. (Ibid)
3/7/39 Bomb thrown into Arab cafe in Haifa. (Ibid)
Attacks on Arab Buses:
20/8/37-26/9/37 Bomb wounds 2 Arabs. Bombs thrown at Arab buses wound 1 woman and kill another. (Palestine and Trans-Jordan 1937 - Colonial 146, 1938, p 8)
14/11/37 Arab bus shot at in Jewish Quarter. 3 Arab passengers, including 2 women dead. (Ibid, p 9)
4/7/38 Bomb thrown at Arab bus in Jerusalem kills 5 and wounds 7. (Keesing's, III (1937-1940), 3177A)
8/7/38 Bomb thrown at Arab bus in Jerusalem kills 4 and wounds 15. (Ibid)
29/6/39 Six attacks on Arab buses on roads near Tel-Aviv, Rehovoth and Petah Tikva result in 11 deaths. (Ibid, 3642B)
Wikipedia's List of Irgun attacks during the 1930s lists 33 incidents resulting in Arab deaths out of "at least 60 operations... during this period."
Here's the Irgun's truncated account from its website:
"After Ben-Yosef's execution [by the British], the Irgun launched a series of operations against the Arabs. The central acts were the explosions in the Arab markets of Haifa and Jerusalem. On July 6, 1938, a member of the Irgun, disguised as an Arab porter, went into the Arab market in Haifa, placed a large parcel beside one of the barrows in the centre of the market and left. Shortly afterwards there was a heavy explosion, which killed 21 Arabs and injured more than 50. A week later a similar incident took place in Jerusalem. A member of the Irgun concealed an electric mine in the Arab market in the Old City. It exploded shortly after the end of the prayer service in the mosque, when a large crowd had emerged onto the street. Eight Arabs were killed and more than 30 injured." http://www.etzel.org.il/
Here's a quote from historian J Bowyer-Bell:
"On July 4, the Irgun attacked Arab quarters, first in Jerusalem and then in Tel Aviv. Five were killed and 20 were wounded. Two days later an Arab 'porter' carried milk cans into the Haifa fruit and vegetable market. As soon as he found an empty corner, he left his cans and disappeared into the crowd. A few minutes later the cans detonated with a huge roar, spewing fire and fragments into the milling crowd of shoppers. Twenty-three Arabs were killed and 79 wounded. A similar attack in the Arab quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem on July 15 killed 10 and wounded 29 more Arabs. The biggest explosion of all came on July 25, again in Haifa, leaving 39 dead and 46 wounded." (Terror Out of Zion, p 42)
Here's American historian Lenni Brenner:
"Early in September 1937, 13 Arabs had been killed, supposedly in retaliation for the deaths of 3 Jews. By 14 November the Irgun went on the offensive. Several Irgunists were determined to act on their own and the Irgun command headed them off by organizing a wave of operations that resulted in 10 Arabs killed and numerous wounded. Thereafter there were innumerable attacks on purely civilian Arab targets with the high point of the campaign coming in the summer of 1938. On 6 July a milk-can bomb went off in the Arab market in Haifa, leaving 21 dead and 52 injured. On 15 July July an electric mine in David Street in the old city of Jerusalem killed 10 and wounded 30. On the 25th another bomb in the Haifa market killed 35 civilians and wounded 70. On 26 August a bomb in Jaffa's market slaughtered 24 and injured 35." (The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, p 100)
And just to humanise:
"... a bomb exploded in the vegetable market in Jaffa. It went off early in the morning, when most housewives were milling round the stalls, squeezing the fruits before buying, accompanied by those of their children who were too young or too poor to go to school... The 'bomb' had been an oil drum, packed tight with old bits and pieces of rusty iron scrap and nails and explosives, rolled into the centre of the market place from a lorry which the authorities never traced, enough for every Arab to know its origin. There was a British officer training the extremist Zionists, who until his arrival had never done this sort of thing." (Soraya Antonius, The Lord, p 206)
To paraphrase Ms Kohn: 'Those Palestinians never knew what it was like to do daily tasks that we take for granted, but were an act of faith for them, like taking the No. X bus in Jerusalem. Or shopping in the Haifa greengrocers market, both popular targets for Jewish terrorists in Palestine'.