OK, you've all heard of those Muslim terrorists, the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS), who are flocking to Syria from all corners of the Muslim world to carve out an Islamic Emirate encompassing Iraq and Syria, right?
But what about their historical antecedents, the Jewish terrorists of the Jewish State of Palestine & Jordan (JSIJ), who flocked to Palestine from all corners of the Jewish world in the 30s and 40s to carve out a Jewish Emirate encompassing Palestine and Jordan?
I thought not - that's all very hush-hush now, know what I mean? Wouldn't want to remind Netanyu, Sharon & the BoyZ of their roots, would we now?
OK, so it's back to the mean streets of Tel Aviv, PALESTINE, 1947. Valiant Australian newsman Andrew Roth is your guide to what's happening "behind the troubled PALESTINE scene":
"I stumbled blind-folded through the backyards of an unknown quarter of Tel-Aviv with my elbow firmly grasped by a terrorist. I had just completed a long and confusing ride. The blindfold and the car's many turnings were precautions to protect the man I was scheduled to interview - a hunted leader of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, Palestine's most powerful terrorist group. Although the terrorists are a small minority of less than 1% of the Jewish population, their spectacular activity blankets the country despite 100,000 British troops and a sizeable police force.
"Young terrorist bobbysoxers plaster the walls of Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa with wild pronouncements. Even crime has a terrorist slant, for the most spectacular robberies are part of the terrorists' finance activities. And 6-year olds on the beach at Tel-Aviv play at 'blowing up the King David.'
"I went to Tel-Aviv, and let it be known in several quarters that I wanted to interview Irgun leaders. After several days, during which the Irgun checked and found I wasn't a police spy - I was approached by a very serious young woman who said she was from the 'underground' and suggested I submit a list of questions. I did so and after a few days I was quite surprised to receive in return the most comprehensive replies ever granted a foreign correspondent - 4500 words prepared collaboratively by several members of the high command - plus permission for an interview.
"One of my questions to Irgun was: 'What is your reply to the charge that your movement is near-Fascist in technique and political outlook?' The answer started out with a statement from Goethe which translated to: 'Even when thinking is difficult, words come easily,' and added that they were fighting a war of national liberation like Washington and Garibaldi. During my interview I pointed out that many Jews in Palestine are certain that the Irgun will attempt to set up an authoritarian state after a Jewish state is secured. The spokesman assured me that Irgun would cease to exist as soon as the Jewish State came into existence, because it contained members of all Palestinian political parties and did not have any separate political ambitions...
"Those of the leading Irgun members I met were of East European origin. They were intelligent, well-educated and well-informed. It was only when they were expounding the principal points of their creed - like the necessity for armed force to secure a Hebrew State - that they had the look of fixed intensity one expects from fanatics.
"But it is from the Oriental Jewish community that you get many of the tough young devotees of religious fanaticism and extreme chauvinism who will knock the bundles from the arms of Jewish women who buy in Arab stores. It is here that the Irgun has found most of its zealous and single-minded followers. The leaders build their self-esteem by providing them with weapons and a cause. They fire their romantic imagination by planning and executing feats of extreme precision and Hollywood-like daring. And they use religion, nationalism and politics to build a cold anti-British fury.
"Although out-witting the Palestine police is no great accomplishment, the terrorists seem also to have defied the efforts of the best war-trained intelligence men despatched here. From an operational viewpoint, the attack on the carefully guarded King David administrative offices was an amazing accomplishment. But Irgun leaders are prouder of the attack on three airfields early in 1946, when 20 Lancasters, 18 Halifaxes, 15 other planes and various installations were destroyed. At another time, in a successful attempt to hijack arms from the Ramat Gan police fortress, they set off five diversionary explosions with such split-second timing that they sounded like one blast and in each place the diverted police stayed put, investigating what they thought was a single blast in their own locality.
"The finances required for these operations are enormous. For example, Irgun striking forces abandon their expensive arms whenever necessary to make an easy getaway. They spend a fortune on bribery, the purchase of illegal explosives and the financing of such 'expeditions' as the blowing up of the British Embassy in Rome. Last year there was a spectacular series of bank robberies in Tel-Aviv, Jaffa and Nablus, climaxed by an 11-hour attempt to 'crack' the vault of Barclay's Bank in Tel-Aviv which contained as much as 1 million pounds. To me, Irgun admitted responsibility for these robberies, saying: 'If the need exists we acquire money by force.'
"I confronted the Irgun's spokesman with the prevalent charge that they extort money from Jewish businessmen. He denied it saying that all contributions were voluntary but some contributors when challenged by the police, claim the money was extorted. It is likely that many businessmen, when confronted by a zealous 'collector' from feared Irgun, may contribute in the belief that his life is endangered.
"As my final question to the Irgun man I asked: 'Are you willing to make use of the basic Anglo-Soviet conflict in this area to loosen the British hold?' He replied: 'In principle we are not interested in the deepening of conflicts among the great Powers and we think of a war between them not only as a major disaster to all humanity, but also as a direct menace to the physical existence of our people. But, of course, we are entitled and obliged to use anything in the world in order to free our country, the occupation of which by the British is a permanent menace to the existence and future of our nation'." (Meet the terrorists, The Daily News (Perth, WA), 1/2/47)