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the Sionism debate : the ideological origins .


Legendary Member
What has brought Israel to its current path of self-destruction is the resurrection of the fascist Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky, whose 1923 "Iron Wall" thesis — a Jewish military force that would dash Arabs' hope for a nation-state — is the basis for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's and the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) Nazi-like policies today. Sharon is an avowed follower of Jabotinsky, and every Likud prime minister, from Menachem Begin to Benjamin Netanyahu, has been a protégé of Jabotinsky, either as an extremist leader within his movement, or a family member of such leaders. Collectively, they are called Jabotinsky's "Kindergarten." They often refer to themselves as Jabotinsky's "Princes" (see Steven Meyer, "Jabotinsky Wrecked Zionists' Hope for 'Water for Peace' in Mideast, EIR, May 24, 2002).

A number of courageous individuals within the Jewish community have been outspoken against this atrocity. In 1996, Rabbi David Goldberg, the senior rabbi of the Reform Synagogue of London, published To The Promised Land, A History of Zionist Thought From Its Origins to the Modern State of Israel (New York: Penguin, 1996). Goldberg includes a section on Jabotinsky, which is unique in detailing how Jabotinsky's Zionism did not come, as he puts it, from an inner contact with Judaism, nor did Jabotinsky ever "breathe the atmosphere of Jewish cultural tradition." Rabbi Goldberg proves, through Jabotinsky's personal letters, published articles, and autobiography, that his Zionism came from an affinity for various Italian Romantic movements and specific individuals who helped launch the career of Benito Mussolini.

Jabotinsky admits in his autobiography: "If I have a spiritual homeland, it is Italy, much more than Russia.... All my views on nationalism, the state, and society were developed during those years under Italian influence; it was there that I learned to love the art of the architect, the sculptor, and the painter, as well as the Latin song.... At the university my teachers were Antonio Labriola and Enrico Ferri, and the belief in the justice of the socialist system, which they implanted in my heart, I kept as self-evident until it became utterly destroyed by the Red experience in Russia. The legend of Garibaldi, the writings of Mazzini, the poetry of Leopardi and Giusti have enriched and deepened my superficial Zionism; from an instinctive feeling they made it into a doctrine" (emphasis added).

Author Shmuel Katz, a leader of Irgun (the Jewish terrorist movement against the British occupation of Palestine), who travelled with Jabotinsky as his personal secretary for part of 1937, revealed the extent of Jabotinsky's fervor for this Romantic milieu in Lone Wolf, A Biography of Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky (New York: Barricade Books, 1996). Born on Oct. 17, 1880, Jabotinsky attended the University of Rome for approximately two years, leaving in the Summer of 1901. He took classes with Enrico Ferri, who was the founder of the science of criminal sociology, and studied philosophy and history with Antonio Labriola, one of Italy's leading Marxists. He attended Labriola's nightly salon at the Aranyo Cafe in the Corso. To his friends, he was "Vladimiro Giabotinsky." His affinity for Italian political figures continued, and he made a detailed study of Garibaldi's life, for whom he developed a great admiration.

Rabbi Goldberg provides a most crucial psychological detail of the influence of these Italian movements on Jabotinsky the Zionist. In 1920, when Palestinian Arabs attacked Jewish settlers in Jerusalem during the Passover celebrations, Jabotinsky led a reprisal attack as the nascent leader of the underground defense force Haganah. Jabotinsky's role-model for the reprisal was Gabriele D'Annunzio, the Italian poet, novelist, and soldier (Jabotinsky was also a poet and writer), and an early supporter of fascism who was then mounting a "gallant but futile" defense of the mini-state of Fiume. D'Annunzio was defeated but allowed to retreat to Lake Garda, where he set himself to writing about patriotism and entertained Mussolini.

Existentialism and Fascism

Jabotinsky's Zionism was existentialism, and he chose to recruit followers by attacking traditional Judaism. In 1907, he and a handful of collaborators formed Rasvyett (New Dawn), a Jewish weekly, in St. Petersburg, Russia. It became the organ of the Revisionist movement. Irgunist author Katz describes Rasvyett as making a revolution in the thought and mood of the Russian Jewish community. "The Jew — Rasvyett taught — demanded equality not because he represented an ancient civilization nor because he could name so many great Jews who had contributed to the progress of humanity in a variety of fields. The Jews did not demand equality because of their being especially virtuous or because they were so useful to the Russian economy.... They did not set out to be anybody's teacher, or to be a 'light unto nations' [the Biblical injunction which David Ben-Gurion, an opponent of Jabotinsky and the father of Israel, held dearly — ed.]. Demanding civil rights for all, they demanded for themselves equality in those rights for the sole reason that, like everybody else, they were human beings."

Rabbi Goldberg also provides a survey of Jabotinsky's writings to show how he developed into a fascist. In 1910, Jabotinsky published an article entitled "Homo Homini Lupus" ("Man Is a Wolf to Man"), which shows how deeply ingrained was his existentialism, as was his hatred for the intellectual tradition of Moses Mendelssohn and Mosaic Judaism. Liberalism is dead, Jabotinsky argued. Liberalism is "a broad concept, vague because of its all-encompassing nature; it is a dream about order and justice without violence, a universal dream woven of sympathy, tolerance, a belief in the basic goodness and righteousness of man." There is no foundation whatsoever for the view that "anyone who has himself suffered for a long time under the yoke of a stronger one, will not oppress those weaker than he.... Only the Bible says, 'thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.' Contemporary morality has no place for such childish humanism.... Stupid is the person who believes in his neighbor, good and loving as the neighbor may be; stupid is the person who relies on justice. Justice exists only for those whose fists and stubbornness make it possible for them to realize it.... Do not believe anyone, be always on guard, carry your stick always with you — this is the only way of surviving in this wolfish battle of all against all."

In 1912, Jabotinsky published an article entitled "Reactionary," which embraced the fascist and corporatist view of the state. In writing about the nationalist fervor of Garibaldi, he declared: "One's whole strength was consumed solely by national questions and 'amor patriae,' but today's socialists would dismiss Garibaldi as divisive, a reactionary chauvinist, an obfuscator of class consciousness, a seducer of youth from universal human ideals. Did Garibaldi remind his compatriots to love the Germans like brothers? On the contrary, his every action was to intensify their hatred of the foreigner; he demanded unity of rich and poor in the name of the homeland; he demanded that they forget all conflicts and put aside all internal quarrels, until the nationalist ideal is realized."

Racial Theories of Zionism

Jabotinsky incorporated his racial theories of Zionism from the international eugenics movement, whose leading proponents wrote Hitler's racial theories. In 1913, he wrote a document that could have been used by the German Nazi Party. "Let us draw for ourself the ideal type of an 'absolute nation,'|" he wrote. "It would have to possess a racial appearance of marked unique character, an appearance different from the racial nature of that nation's neighbors. It would have to occupy from time immemorial a continuous and clearly defined piece of land; it would be highly desirable if in that area there would be no alien minorities, who would weaken national unity. It would have to maintain an original national language, which is not derived from another nation."

His corresponding adherence to racialist dogma was evidenced as early as 1904. In a letter, he wrote: "The source of national feeling ... lies in a man's blood ... in his racio-physical type, and in that alone ... a man's spiritual outlooks are primarily determined by his physical structure.... For that reason we do not believe in spiritual assimilation.... All the nations that have disappeared (apart from those ... who were massacred ...) were swallowed up in the chasm of mixed marriages.... Autonomy in the Golah [exile] is likely to lead ... to the complete disappearance of the Jewish nation as such from the face of the earth.... Just imagine ... when our offspring will be living at peace among a strange people.... These conditions will lead naturally and freely to an increase in mixed marriages.... This will mean the inception of complete assimilation.... Without those physical roots, the spiritual flower is bound to wither.... This will mark the end of the battle waged by the Jewish people for national existence....

"A preservation of national integrity is impossible except by a preservation of racial purity, and for that purpose we are in need of a territory of our own.... If you should ask me in a sense of revolt and outrage: but surely in that case you want segregation at all costs! I would answer that one must not be afraid of words and not of the word 'segregation.' The poet, the scholar, the thinker ... must cut himself off and remain alone with himself.... No creativeness is possible without segregation.... The nation, too, must create.... A creative nation is in need of segregation ... it will create new values in segregation ... it will not keep them to itself but will place them on the common international table for the general good, and so its segregation will be looked upon with favor by humanity."

Jabotinsky's views were endemic to his brand of Zionism. Wolfgang von Weisl, the financial director of Jabotinsky's New Zionist Organization (the Revisionists' world congress) and its diplomatic representative to Eastern Europe, in an interview with a Bucharest diplomatic paper, said that "he [Weisl] personally was a supporter of Fascism, and he rejoiced at the victory of Fascist Italy in Abyssinia as a triumph of the White races against the Black." Von Weisl was a life-long personal friend and collaborator of Menachem Begin.

In 1933, Jabotinsky published "A Lecture on Jewish History," which furthered his race science. As Rabbi Goldberg noted, it was a crucial text that would allow for Jabotinsky's followers, who had become well established in Palestine, to believe that they were superior to the Arabs. "Every race has a different spiritual mechanism," Jabotinsky wrote. "This has nothing to do with the fact whether there exist 'pure' races or not; of course, all races are 'mixed,' and this includes us, the Jews. But the mixture is different from case to case.... The nature of the spiritual mechanism depends on race; the degree of intelligence, a stronger or weaker tendency to look for novel experiences, the readiness to acquiesce in the existing situation or the courage to make new discoveries, the stubbornness or, conversely, the kind of character which gives up after the first unsuccessful attempt: all these modes are themselves a product of race" (emphasis added).

What Is the 'Iron Wall'?

Jabotinsky's "Iron Wall" is the exact thesis by which Israelis such as Sharon have deployed against the Palestinians, and especially Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, today. It is this thesis which was embraced by the political networks that killed the Oslo peace process and authored the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. (See, in particular, Lenni Brenner's book, The Iron Wall, Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir [London: Zed Books, 1984].)

Listen to Jabotinsky: "A voluntary agreement between us and the Arabs of Palestine is inconceivable, now or in the foreseeable future.... We can not promise any reward either to the Arabs of Palestine or to Arabs abroad. A voluntary agreement is unattainable, and thus, those who regard an accord with the Arabs as a condition sine qua non of Zionism, must admit to themselves today that this condition cannot be attained and hence we must eschew Zionism. We must either suspend our settlement efforts or continue them without paying attention to the mood of the natives. Settlements can develop under the protection of a force which is not dependent on the local population, behind an iron wall which they [the Arabs] will be powerless to break down."

The Iron Wall was a Jewish military force whose purpose Jabotinsky explained as follows: "As long as there lingers in the heart of the Arabs even the faintest hope that they may succeed in ridding themselves of us, there are no blandishments or promises in the world which have the power to persuade them to renounce their hope — precisely because they are not a mob, but a 'living nation.'|" Think again of murderer Sharon. Jabotinsky argued that only when the wave of Arab opposition had been broken against the "iron wall," would moderate elements with more measured response come forward to negotiate with the Jews. Then talks could take place about mutual concessions. "But the sole way to this agreement is through the iron wall, the establishment in Palestine of a force which will in no way be influenced by Arab pressure. In other words, the only way to achieve a settlement in the future is total avoidance of attempts to arrive at a settlement in the present."

Jabotinsky then published The Morality of the Iron Wall, a Nazi-like propaganda piece akin to Nietzsche's Triumph of the Will. He wrote: "Zionism is a positive force, morally speaking — a moral movement with justice on its side.... If the cause is just, then justice must triumph, without regard for the assent or dissent of anyone else.... [The world] does not belong only to those who have too much land, but also [to] those who have none. Requisition of an area of land from a nation with large stretches of territory in order to make a home for a wandering people, is an act of justice, and if the land-owning nation does not wish to cede it (and this is completely natural) it must be compelled. A sacred truth, for whose realization the use of force is essential, does not cease thereby to be a sacred truth."

Jabotinsky Allies With Mussolini

By 1934, Jabotinsky and his Betar youth movement had made an alliance with Il Duce, when the Betar established a naval training academy at Civitavecchia, Mussolini's naval base north of Rome. L'Idea Sionistica, Betar's Italian-language magazine, described the dedication ceremonies which launched the academy: "The order — 'Attention!' A triple chant ordered by the squad's commanding officer — 'Viva L'Italia, Viva Il Re! Viva Il Duce!' resounded, followed by the benediction which Rabbi Aldo Lattes invoked in Italian and in Hebrew for God, for the King, and for Il Duce ... 'Giovinezza' [the fascist party's anthem] was sung with much enthusiasm by the Betarim."

Mussolini endorsed Jabotinsky in 1935, saying, "For Zionism to succeed, you need to have a Jewish state with a Jewish flag, and Jewish language. The person who really understands that is your fascist, Jabotinsky."

Il Duce gave his personal endorsement to the project in 1936, when he visited Civitavecchia and reviewed the Betar cadre force. It was not a mere coincidence that the universal uniform of Betar was the fascist brownshirt.

Although Jabotinsky was careful not to endorse Mussolini directly, he nonetheless publicly defended him. In 1935 during a lecture tour of the United States, Jabotinsky wrote several articles which appeared in the New York Jewish Daily Bulletin. "Whatever any few think of Fascism's other points, there is no doubt that the Italian brand of Fascist ideology is at least an ideology of racial equality. Let us not be so humble as to pretend that this does not matter — that racial equality is too insignificant an idea to outbalance the absence of civic freedom. For it is not true.... Equality comes first, always first, super first; and Jews should remember it, and hold that a regime maintaining that principle in a world turned cannibal does, partly, but considerably, atone for its other short-comings."

That same year, Jabotinsky founded the New Zionist Organization and sought to hold its first convention in the Venetian port city of Trieste. According to sources, associates dissuaded him, arguing that it would be a public endorsement of Italian Fascism, which was not politically appropriate. (The congress was held in Vienna.)

'From a Fascist's Notebook'

Other leaders within Jabotinksy's movement were publicly avowed fascists. During the early 1930s, the Betar newspaper in Palestine, Doar Hayom, contained a weekly column entitled "From a Fascist's Notebook," which was written by Abba Achimier. Achimier's articles referred to Jabotinsky as "Our Duce," and they embraced Mussolini for transforming Italy from a weak-willed people into a vital nation. Achimier also embraced Hitler's National Socialism for saving Germany from civil war and the dictatorship of the Soviets.

Achimier was a major influence within the Revisionist movement. Prime Minister Menachem Begin, a [email protected]@aa of Jabotinsky, was a close associate of Achimier as well. When Begin and other Revisionists created the Herut party after Israeli Independence, Begin recruited Achimier and Weisl to write for its newspaper.

Nor was Begin the only Likud prime minister with ties to Achimier. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Israel, Benzion Netanyahu, the father and political mentor of then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and who had been Jabotinsky's personal secretary in the 1930s, gave a lecture in Jerusalem to commemorate the life of Achimier, whom he praised as his political role model.

Achimier was not only a publicly avowed fascist, but in 1933 he was arrested and charged with inciting to murder Chaim Arlosoroff, the head of the political department of the Jewish Agency, who was negotiating with leading Arabs to establish a binational state and an economic program that would uplift the entire region.

An Alliance With Hitler

The LEHI organization, known also as the Stern Gang, was a splinter group from Jabotinsky's Revisionists, and Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir became one of its leading figures. According to authenticated documents, Avraham Stern, the leader and founder of LEHI, drafted various proposals for an alliance with Mussolini. Documents also prove that as late as 1941, LEHI sought a treaty agreement with Hitler, that would allow for LEHI to establish a totalitarian state in Palestine.

The details of LEHI's fascist philosophy and its politics was revealed in "Yitzhak Shamir, Then and Now," an article by Israel Shahak (Middle East Policy Council, 1992). Shahak, an authority on Israel's religious and political right wing, provided detailed information and source material. Although it was known in Israel, Shahak's article marked the first time that it had ever been published in English, or circulated outside Israel. Shahak is a Holocaust survivor and a retired professor of chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and was chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights.

Shamir embraced LEHI's philosophy, "Principles of Renaissance" (of the Jewish nation), and, according to Shahak, they were his guiding light as Prime Minister.

The "Principles of Renaissance" were written by Avraham Stern, and they are the basis for understanding LEHI's attempted alliances with Mussolini and Hitler. All LEHI members and recruits were to learn them by heart. The principles are known today because they were printed in various books by LEHI veterans, but the most authoritative version appears in Unknown Soldiers, a book published by the Association of LEHI Veterans, and the preparation of whose contents was overseen by Shamir personally.

Principle A, "The Nation," reads: "The Jewish nation is unlike any other nation: [it is the] founder of monotheism; the legislator of prophetic morality; the sole bearer of universal culture; great in tradition and self-sacrifice; [great] in its will to live and its capacity for suffering, in its unique spiritual radiance and its assurance of its Redemption." (Shahak, a Holocaust survivor, remarks that this concept of Jewish uniqueness is horrifying, because it is so strikingly similar to Nazi concepts of German uniqueness.)

Principle D, "The Mission," reads: "The [Jewish] nation cannot undergo a renaissance without restoration of the monarchy."

Shahak specifically notes that the word "peace" appears not once in any principle; to the contrary, there is an emphasis on perpetual war. Principle|I, "War," reads: "An eternal war shall be waged against all those who satanically stand in the way of the realization [of our] aims," while Principle J, "Conquest," reads: "The conquest of the homeland by force from aliens for perpetuity" — note that "aliens" refers to the Arabs.

Principle N, "The Fate of the Aliens," reads: "The problem of the aliens will be solved through population exchanges," i.e., there shall be an ethnically pure homeland.

Principle R, "The Temple," commands "the construction of the Third Temple as a symbol in the process of Total Redemption."

Shahak says that it was only by reviewing the fundamentalist "Principles of Renaissance," which Shamir committed to heart as a young Stern gang member, could he understand what motivated Shamir's policies over years as Prime Minister. For him, Shamir was a "secular Khomeinist."

LEHI was a warped bunch of meshugunehs (crazies) who extravagantly praised the Nazis for locking the Polish Jews into the ghettos, and who contrasted this favorably to the conditions of Jewish life in Poland before the Nazi invasion. Shahak quotes historian Yosef Heller, an authoritative source who wrote LEHI: Ideology and Politics 1940-1949. According to Heller's research, LEHI's praise was extended on the assumption that "in the Warsaw Ghetto there existed Jewish police, Jewish courts, Jewish tax collection ... [which looked like] a nascent Jewish state," which was much preferable to those conditions in Mandatory Palestine!

As late as 1941, unlike all other Zionist groups, LEHI still respected Hitler, and sought to forge an alliance with the Nazis, which included establishing a totalitarian Jewish state in Palestine. In late December 1940, a draft proposal for an alliance with Hitler was unanimously adopted by the LEHI command. LEHI member Naftali Lubenchik delivered the proposal to Otto Werner von Hentig, the senior officer in the German Consulate in Beirut. He forwarded the proposal to Berlin. The document was found in German archives after World War II, and authenticated by former LEHI members.

The proposal reads in part: "It is often stated in the speeches and utterance of the leading statesmen of National Socialist Germany that a New Order in Europe requires as a prerequisite the radical solution of the Jewish question through evacuation. The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question. This can only be made possible and complete through the settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish people, Palestine, and through the establishment of a Jewish state in its historic boundaries.... The NMO [LEHI's military arm] ... is well acquainted with the good will of the German Reich Government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans.... The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis and bound by a treaty with the German Reich would be in the interests of strengthening the future German position of power in the Near East.... The NMO in Palestine offers to take an active part in the war on Germany's side.... The cooperation of the Israeli freedom movement would also be in line with one of the recent speeches of the German Reich's Chancellor, in which Herr Hitler stressed that any combination and any alliance would be entered into in order to isolate England and defeat it."

Subsequent LEHI proposals forwarded to Hentig and listed by him in his own memorandums suggest further collaboration, including "cooperation with the Nazis in military, political, and intelligence domains within Palestine, and after suitable organizational preparations, also outside Palestine."

Jabotinskyites 'Then and Now'

Ariel Sharon started his election campaign on Sept. 28, 2000, with a provocative march to the "Temple Mount," which created tension and helped provoke the current Intifada. Sharon was literally walking in the footsteps of Jabotinsky, who had initiated such provocations as early as 1929, when 300 Betarim marched on the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall, armed with explosives. The provocation set into motion a wave of violence on both sides which saw 116 Arabs and 133 Jews killed.

In the early 20th Century, Jabotinsky and the Young Turk movement, which he helped lead, were created and set into motion by the British and Venetians for the purpose of breaking apart the Ottoman Empire, which then controlled the Middle East. Later, after the British took power over the region during World War|I, they launched Jabotinsky and his movement into Palestine to ensure British political control of the region and its access to oil. Whenever a peace was near that would change the region, Jabotinsky and his followers were set into motion to oppose the peace and destabilize both Arabs and Jews.

In 1933, three Revisionists, including Abba Achimier, were arrested for the murder of Chaim Arlosoroff, the head of the political department of the Jewish Agency, the quasi-Zionist government in Palestine. Arlosoroff had been secretly negotiating for a binational state, with Emir Abdallah of Transjordan and leading Palestinian Arabs. The negotiations included the creation of massive water projects that would bring fresh drinking water and water for agriculture to the most remote Arab villages. The plans were written by Elwood Meade, the chairman of the U.S. Bureau of Land Reclamation, who determined that a dam built in the upper Jordan River Valley would provide electricity for modern cities and water that could create an agricultural area as rich as the formerly-desert Imperial Valley of California. Arlosoroff also discussed with his Arab partners, creating an independent economic federation that would link a binational Palestine with other states in the region. The plans threatened to dismantle British control of the region.

In 1948, after decades of terror and fascism, Prime Minister David Gen-Gurion, the father of Israel, who had publicly labelled Jabotinsky "Vladimir Hitler," outlawed the Revisionist party as a threat to the fledgling state. But, today, the "Great Game" is being played much as it was in the 1920s and 1930s. Jabotinsky's followers were brought back as the Herut party, which later became the Likud. After manufactured scandals rocked the Labor Party government in 1976, Jabotinsky's "Princes" were brought to power for the first time, with the 1977 election of Menachem Begin. It occurred under the watch of U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, as an essential component of what would become known as Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" policy.

Much of the support for today's fascist Jabotinskyites, the Likud party, and many of the splinter groups on the right, including the late Meir Kahane's Kach movement, comes from the United States. Prime Minister Begin established ties to the U.S. "Christian" religious right, and in 1980, at the centennial celebrations of Jabotinsky's birth, Begin pinned the Jabotinsky Medal on the Christian Coalition's Jerry Falwell. Numbers of American right-wing Jewish financiers, members of the "Mega" group, have financed the candidacies of every Likud prime minister. (Recent changes in Israeli election laws prevented Sharon from receiving direct financial support.)

As U.S. Presidential pre-candidate Lyndon LaRouche observed in his May 1, 2002 webcast, if one wants to look at what unleashed the current reign of terror against the Israeli civilian population, it was the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. That singular act, authored by Jabotinsky's heirs, unleashed the events that have led to the current bloody wave of war and destruction which is killing both Jew and Arab, and it has all but snuffed out Rabin's long-awaited "peace of the brave."