The Zionist Conspiracy
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The Assassination of Lord Moyne
This post is written in memory of Eliahu Hakim, 17 and Eliahu Betzouri, 22, who sacrificed their lives in 1945 so that the Jewish people would have a homeland in the Land of Israel, and in objection to the defamation of these heroic Jews. May their memories be a blessing
In an otherwise fine column in the Los Angeles Times condemning Europe's anti-Semitic sentiments toward Israel and Jews, Yale Professor David Gelernter, referring to Jewish "terrorism" prior to the formation of the State of Israel, wrote:
Jewish terrorism existed and was unforgivable, but describing it without mentioning the official Jewish response is a lie of omission.
There were repeated confrontations between Palestine's Jewish community and Jewish terrorists. A famous one followed the 1944 murder in Cairo of Lord Moyne, the British minister-resident in the Middle East, by the terrorist Stern Gang. In response, the shocked and revolted Jewish community hunted down terrorists relentlessly, turning over more than 700 names to the British.
There may have been acts of terrorism by members of the Stern Gang and the Irgun, but the assassination of Lord Moyne was not one of them.
Moyne was assassinated in Cairo by two young members of the Stern Gang, 17 year-old Eliahu Hakim, and 22 year-old Eliahu Betzouri. Hakim and Betzouri were arrested, admitted to the assassination, and hanged in Cairo. While at the time he strongly condemned their action, subsequently, after Israel's formation, David Ben-Gurion expressed his "reverence for the dedicated patriots who were hanged in Cairo."
The notion that Moyne's assassination was a terrorist act is absurd. Terrorism is the intentional murder of civilians. Moyne was a high-ranking British official who served as the United Kingdom's Resident Minister in the Middle East, based in Cairo. Britain was illegally and brutally occupying the Jews in the Land of Israel, denying Jews the right to a homeland, and preventing any and all Jewish immigration, even as six million European Jews were murdered. Assassinating governmental or military officials - such as Moyne - of an enemy - such as Britain - is not an act of terror, but a legitimate act of war.
Furthermore, Moyne was directly involved in Britain's crimes against the Jews. In 1941, nearly 800 European Jewish escapees from Romania (including people who had already been deported and had escaped the Warsaw Ghetto) boarded a ship called the Struma. Moyne, claiming that the Struma's passengers included Nazi informers, refused to allow the ship to enter Palestine and directed the Turks (over whose territory the Struma was temporarily docked) to force the Struma back into the Black Sea. There, the Struma sank, with all but two of the Jewish escapees dying.
Later, Joel Brand, a Hungarian Jewish emissary, met with Lord Moyne in an attempt to broker a deal under which one million Hungarian Jews would be saved. As Brand later testified at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, Lord Moyne's reply was: "What shall I do with those million Jews? Where shall I put them?"
It could be argued that the Moyne assassination was politically foolish, as it angered Winston Churchill and could have been seen as undermining British support for a Jewish state. However, after initially supporting a Jewish homeland in the Balfour Declaration, Britain had already become hostile to the Zionist cause.
In any event, the assassination of Moyne was not a terrorist act, and Eliahu Hakim and Eliahu Betzouri were not terrorists.
In a prisoner exchange after the Yom Kippur War, Egypt released the bodies of Hakim and Betzouri. Hakim and Betzouri were immediately given a military funeral at Mount Herzl, and were praised by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The London Daily Telegraph reported that Britain "very much regretted that an act of terrorism should be honoured in this way" and that the Rabin government responded by rejecting the representation that Hakim and Betzouri were terrorists.
David Gelernter is a fine thinker and writer, but his mischaracterization of the Moyne assassination as a terrorist act cannot pass without strong objection.