Thus spake Benjamin Netanyahu just hours after the explosion on April 18 of a bomb on a bus in Jerusalem, for which Hamas later claimed responsibility: “We will find whoever prepared this explosive device, we’ll get to whoever is behind them and we will settle accounts with these terrorists” — sharp, determined remarks. And where did the prime minister utter these resolute words? At a commemoration of the 85th anniversary of the establishment of years to the founding of the Irgun, or Etzel, the pre-state underground militia led by Menachem Begin.
Unfortunately, Netanyahu neglected to specify which “terrorists” he meant: the ones whose 85th birthday he was celebrating, or the ones who blew up a bus earlier that day?
But how could I dare to compare them.
A few days later, Moshe Arens joined Netanyahu. In an op-ed (Haaretz, Apr. 26), he too displayed heaping portions of selective memory and active hypocrisy. In his attempts to edify Knesset member Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union), Arens elucidated the critical distinction between “the Jewish underground” and “Palestinian terrorist organizations.” The Jewish freedom fighters, boasted the former Irgun member, attacked British Mandate soldiers, not civilians, whereas Palestinian terrorists mainly target civilians. “That is the essence of terrorism — taking the lives of civilians,” Arens wrote.
He’s right, there is no comparison.
By way of jogging the memory of Arens and everyone else suffering from voluntary amnesia, below is a tiny sample, a drop in the enormous bucket of praiseworthy deeds carried out by the heroes of the Irgun and the Lehi (the militia once led by Yitzhak Shamir and known as the Stern Gang). All are from approved Revisionist sources:
Nov. 14, 1937 — Irgun gunment in Jerusalem carry out a “shooting attack,” killing two Arab pedestrians in Rehavia. Later, snipers fires at an Arab bus, killing three passengers and wounding eight. Bravo, Irgun!
April 17, 1938 — For the first time (but not the last), the Irgun throws a bomb into an Arab cafe, with middling results: one person killed, six wounded.
July 5, 1938 — A series of terror attacks on pedestrians in Jaffa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Bombs and shooting at buses. The results improve: 11 Arabs die, 22 are wounded.
July 6, 1938 — The Irgun plants an explosive device in a Haifa open-air market, out of “political motivations.” The device comprised a few metal milk cans, stuffed with explosives and nails: 18 Arabs killed, 38 injured.
July 16, 1938 — A similar device in the Arab shuk in Jerusalem: 10 dead, 31 injured.
July 26, 1938 — Haifa again, and another Irgun explosive device: 27 Arabs are killed, 46 are injured.
Aug. 26, 1938 — The shuk in Jaffa this time. “A powerful device,” as they say. The Irgun claims responsibility: 24 Arabs die, 35 are injured.
May 29, 1939 — The Irgun blows up a movie theater in Jerusalem: five audience members killed, 18 injured.
June 20, 1939 — A particularly successful shuk operation: 78 Arabs (and a donkey) are murdered in an explosion in a Haifa open-air market. The donkey was booby-trapped.
During June and July 1939 the Irgun killed dozens of people across the country. The victims’ only crime was being Arab. Even the Irgun doesn’t claim otherwise.
A few relatively tranquil years go by, but toward the end of the British Mandate these glorious combat operations resume their frenzy.
Dec. 4, 1947 — Bombs in cafes, a barrel bomb at a bus station, grenades thrown, shootings: Dozens of Arabs are killed.
Dec. 29, 1947 — An Irgun bomb at the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City: 17 fatalities.
Dec. 30, 1947 — Irgun members attack a group of Arab laborers in the Haifa Bay, killing six and injuring 40.
Jan. 4, 1948 — A Lehi car bomb in Jaffa kills 70 Arabs.
Jan. 7, 1948 — The Irgun tries to catch up to its “little brother” with a bomb at the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. Only 24 Arabs killed.
Feb. 18, 1948 — A bomb in the Ramle market kills 37 Arabs.
And to top it off — April 9, 1948: The Irgun enters Deir Yassin, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and massacres 245 villagers. Six days later, an Arab mob attacks a medical convoy on its way to Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, slaughtering 36 people. (Anyone drawing hasty conclusions regarding the proximity of these two events is nothing more than an evil post-Zionist).
The subsequent massacres and atrocities were chalked up to the army of the nascent state, rather than to the purity-of-arms-espousing underground.
(I have the pleasant duty of once again praising Menachem Begin, of blessed memory, who after taking command of the Irgun, did everything he could to restrain this unbridled terror. From 1944 until the end of 1947 the Irgun duly fought only the British occupier.)
This is but a smattering of reminders. There are many more examples of such humane acts, with hundreds of innocent civilians who were thus murdered.
If anyone, God forbid, still tries to compare the atrocities of Arab murderers with the glories of Jewish fighters (only since both committed totally identical deeds), we’ll explain once again that the difference between an Ishmaelite terrorist and a Jewish freedom fighter is the same as the difference between Jewish sidelocks and a Chinese queue. Even a child knows that a Jewish man’s payot are the pinnacle of beauty and purity whereas a Chinese pigtail is merely disgusting.
There really is no comparison.