Wolzek's TerrorTimeline files
Below is a "copy" in its entirety of a very important letter to the New York Times from Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and Sidney Hook that appeared on December 4, 1948. While it is quoted from in brief on several web sites, it appears nowhere in its entirety, and it deserves to be disseminated as it originally appears.
Letters to The Times New York Times December 4, 1948
New Palestine Party Visit of Menachem Begin and Aims of Political
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 throughout the 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-240 men, 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
The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the
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
tribute. 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.
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
New York, Dec. 2, 1948
Source notes: Laura Nader gave a copy of the microfilmed NYT to Anne Lipow
in April. (Nader has been using it in her class at UC). The copy was
illegible in parts and the first column was cut off; Laura's original was the
same. Anne and UC Anthropology Librarian Suzanne Calpestri then tried to
retrieve an electronic version of the letter. It appears nowhere in its
entirety on the Internet, and is not in any NYT electronic archive accessible
to UC Librarians (i.e., it doesn't exist). Suzanne made another copy from a
different microfilm; it solved the mystery of the missing first column but
this copy was also "dirty" in other areas. Neither copy was scannable using
OCR,so I typed it in by hand exactly the way it appeared in the original, and
have proofed it carefully. However, the spelling of some of the signatories
was unclear in the microfilmed originals, so there may be a few errors in
this rendition. It would be nice if someone were to annotate the list of
signatories, so that those less-familiar names could be placed in context.
At any rate, this clearly belongs IN FULL TEXT on the web for distribution to
as many people as possible. Please circulate this among anyone you think may
be interested; I think it especially belongs in the hands of those friends
and family members who are still reluctant to criticize the Israeli