- Letters to the Editor
- New York Times
- December 4, 1948
- TO THE EDITORS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:
- Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our
times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom
Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization,
methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist
parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former
Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
- The current visit of Menachem
Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated
to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming
Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist
elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have
lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who
oppose fascism throughoutthe world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's
political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to
the movement he represents.
- Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial
contributions, public manifestations in Begin's behalf, and the creation
in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports
Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to
the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement. The public avowals
of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they
speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently
they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions
that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions
we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.
- Attack on Arab Village
- A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village
of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish
lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands
who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES),
terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military
objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants ? 240men, women,
and children - and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through
the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at
the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah
of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act,
were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the
foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses
and the general havoc at Deir Yassin. The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies
the character and actions of the Freedom Party.
- Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture
of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like
other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves
pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have
proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model. During the last
years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated
a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten
up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children
join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread
robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy
- The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the
constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built
no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their
much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to
bringing in Fascist compatriots.
- Discrepancies Seen
- The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made
by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine
bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable
stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British
alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State"
is the goal.
- In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative
that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country.
It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has
refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own
constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.
- The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly
presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging
all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.
- ISIDORE ABRAMOWITZ
- HANNAH ARENDT
- ABRAHAM BRICK
- RABBI JESSURUN CARDOZO
- ALBERT EINSTEIN
- HERMAN EISEN, M.D.
- HAYIM FINEMAN
- M. GALLEN, M.D.
- H.H. HARRIS
- ZELIG S. HARRIS
- SIDNEY HOOK
- FRED KARUSH
- BRURIA KAUFMAN
- IRMA L. LINDHEIM
- NACHMAN MAISEL
- SEYMOUR MELMAN
- MYER D. MENDELSON
- M.D., HARRY M. OSLINSKY
- SAMUEL PITLICK
- FRITZ ROHRLICH
- LOUIS P. ROCKER
- RUTH SAGIS
- ITZHAK SANKOWSKY
- I.J. SHOENBERG
- SAMUEL SHUMAN
- M. SINGER
- IRMA WOLFE
- STEFAN WOLF.
- New York, Dec. 2, 1948