NYT describes Jewish terrorism as ‘romantic’

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 20 Comments

From an interview of Tzipi Livni in the NYT magazine, in which the raid on the Mavi Marmara is described as "tragic." I’ve met interviewer Deborah Solomon, smart lady; I wonder whether she was inoculated, as I was, by Zionism, and to what degree. This is typically one-sided. 

Solomon: Your parents were among the country’s founders.

Livni: They were the first couple to marry in Israel, the very first. Both of them were in the Irgun. They were freedom fighters, and they met while boarding a British train. When the British Mandate was here, they robbed a train to get the money in order to buy weapons.

Solomon: It was a more romantic era…

Remember that the Irgun blew up the King David Hotel, killing 90-odd civilians, and ethnically-cleansed Deir Yassin and later Jaffa, where Palestinians were literally forced into the sea. As my tipster notes: If Livni’s parents had been Palestinian, it would have been labeled "terrorism." Remember that Hamas is being isolated and the people of Gaza starved in part because Hamas brigades have smuggled weapons into the Strip.

20 Responses

  1. traintosiberia
    June 26, 2010, 9:00 am

    This section at the end of the interview-” Are you dying?
    It’s not part of my plan for now. “- is loaded with meanings .

  2. Mooser
    June 26, 2010, 9:37 am

    “smart lady”

    Why does Phil always have to qualify a Zionist reporter with the adjective “smart”. If it is an adjective, of course. He’s making me lose respect for that word. After Pam, I never thought that would happen.

    And Pam, I still think you’re the top! Call me when you get out.

  3. Mooser
    June 26, 2010, 9:43 am

    “she was inoculated, as I was,”

    Yeah, Phil, they do it while your sleeping, somebody comes along (he’s a sort of mohel, I guess) and sticks a big needle full of ziocaine in your butt.
    If I am not mistaken, Phil, you are an American Jew. Has anything so brutalising happened to you that your judgement was overwhelmed, and you embraced Zionism?
    Nobody innoculates us, Phil, we do it cause we want to. Either because we see gain, or for the ziocaine high.
    But of course, you were “innoculated”. Of course, you allow segregationists and bigots the same largess, huh? I understand, to do anything else would be “self-destructive”.

    • Mooser
      June 26, 2010, 10:04 am

      Gosh, that wasn’t very nice! Hows about I lighten the mood with a joke?:

      How is a guitar like a concentration camp?

    • annie
      June 26, 2010, 1:22 pm

      i disagree mooser. these kids? they are being inoculated. especially generations brought up in the shadows of national or ethnic traumas. kids learn racism and hatred as well as the good things. if you’re raised w/an idea you’re likely inoculated prior to ever ’embracing’ it.

  4. potsherd
    June 26, 2010, 10:22 am

    So should the NYT be indicted for providing material support for a terrorist group?

    • Donald
      June 26, 2010, 11:33 am

      That’s actually an interesting question–the NYT has published as op-ed pieces both Hamas and Israeli officials. Now of course the US government defines as terrorist in the usual hypocritical way, so Israeli propagandists are safe to publish, but I wonder if they’ll publish any Hamas officials again?

      • traintosiberia
        June 26, 2010, 1:39 pm

        Did NY Times ever publish the views of anybody from Hamas,Hizbullahs or Iranian Academics or Governemnt officials? I am not aware of any. I know someone was indicted for setting up dish/antenna to receive some Lebanese TV programme in N Y.

  5. dalybean
    June 26, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Think Progress picked this up from Phil. link to thinkprogress.org

  6. Bumblebye
    June 26, 2010, 1:10 pm

    Perhaps I should ask my father about this “romantic” time. In 47/48 he was a 17 year old Royal Naval rating serving in that “arena”. Suggestions – remembering he was just a kid himself at the time?

    • demize
      June 27, 2010, 5:01 pm

      I’d be very interested in hearing his experience. I think there would be some similarity to The assaniation of Lord Mount Batten.

      • demize
        June 27, 2010, 5:02 pm


      • Bumblebye
        June 27, 2010, 5:57 pm

        Not quite sure how? That was a family holiday targetted by terrorists. Now they have become respected & properly represented within government. Though they still refuse to take up seats won in Westminster when that happens.

      • demize
        June 27, 2010, 6:30 pm

        In the attitudes of British Servicemen in regards to the Organizations that carried out the operations in their respective periods.

  7. Baruch B
    June 26, 2010, 6:20 pm

    The Times and Livni give expression to making a mockery of the Patriot Act and lists of groups called terrorists who cannot even be counseled to choose non-violence. It is a situation of a list or lists that in any helpful terms are just category mistakes.

    Livni and her party I suspect do not have any comprehension of what it would mean to try a two-state solution. I certainly cannot imagine a Livni government removing most of the settlements and telling some of the settlers they could stay in the Palestinian country. I think she speaks of a fantasy of going back before May 1967 regardless of all the unsolved issues then. She will want too much control over the Palestinians and both peoples in my view of her vision will not live as equals.

    I see the view of Jabotinsky, Lehi, Likud, Kadima, and much of the Israeli labor movement as one of hopelessness regarding the human condition. The world cannot get past Fascism so Jews must have their own Fascist country to survive. Survival is the only issue. The revival of Hebrew, Saturday as the day off, are just trimmings in this perspective, no matter how good many people say they feel about these trimmings.

    This Zionism is certainly something to be anti. Nonetheless in the present we have real people who understandably want to survive, Jew and Arab. If Zionism is an obsolete word we need to find another word, another movement, another name perhaps for the country, that is more inclusive. Jews in geographic Palestine are not the problem per se. The problem is how the Jews developed Zionism and how they have chosen to live in Israel/Palestine.

    I hope the discussion here and elsewhere will get us to a more positive place in terms of Jewish hopes and expectations for humanity as a whole. (As I write on Shabbat.)

  8. Sumud
    June 26, 2010, 11:11 pm

    Interesting turnaround from the NYT.

    In the past they had no qualms in describing the Irgun as a terrorist organisation. I wonder if Solomon is aware of this? When was the change made in their policy?

    NYT, Aug 16, 1947:
    “United States authorities believed tonight they had circumstantial evidence linking the bombing of a British military train high in the Austrian Alps Tuesday night to the Zionist terrorist organization Irgun Zvai Leumi, according to preliminary investigation reports from Bad Gastein.”
    link to select.nytimes.com

    NYT, Dec 30, 1947:
    “JERUSALEM, Dec. 29 — A bomb thrown by the Jewish terrorist organization Irgun Zvai Leumi from a speeding taxi today killed eleven Arabs and two British policemen and wounded at least thirty-two Arabs by the Jerusalem Damascus Gate, the same place where a similar bombing took place sixteen days ago.”
    link to select.nytimes.com

    I wonder if Livni’s parents were *actually* involved in the Austrian Alps train blast the NYT reports on in the first article? The Irgun was not a massive organisation after all.

    Aside from a few assassinations I didn’t actually know the jewish [zionist] terrorist organisations were active outside mandate Palestine.

  9. Sumud
    June 26, 2010, 11:26 pm

    The wiki where I found the links to the NYT articles:

    ‘List of Irgun attacks’
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    If you’ve read Lawrence of Cyberia’s articles quoting the British mandate archives you’ll know the wiki list of Irgun attacks is not complete.

    Oh, the irony continues:

    “Critics of the Irgun have seen it as a terrorist organization. It was legally classified as such by the new State of Israel in 1948”
    link to en.wikipedia.org

  10. Sumud
    June 26, 2010, 11:40 pm

    I thought Livni’s response to Solomon’s “romantic era” comment was interesting.

    “A few years ago, when I was interviewed on Israeli television, I said I support the idea of two nation-states. I was afraid that my mother was listening and hoped that she didn’t open the TV when I was speaking. But then one day she called me and said: “Listen, Tzipi. I hear you. It gives me pain. But you need to make decisions about the future of Israel. We didn’t establish this state for having just old people living here.””

    Not to ignore personal responsibility, but I have to wonder to what extent Israelis are being held hostage by fear of parental disapproval. Netanyahu’s father was Jobotinsky’s secretary and is still kicking on, now aged 100.

    Is it time to talk about that other child of Irgun, Rahm?

  11. Shingo
    June 27, 2010, 5:10 am

    “. They were freedom fighters, and they met while boarding a British train. ”

    Like the saying goes, one man’s terrorist in another man’s freedom fighters.

    One might ask Livni why the Irgun was outlawed if they were realyl freedom fighters.

    • Sumud
      June 27, 2010, 6:53 am

      Freedom fighters..!

      Here’s an incomplete paper on the labelling “terrorist or freedom fighter” in relation to the Algerian War of Independence:

      “Terrorist or Freedom Fighter? Who Gets Labeled What and Why”
      link to allacademic.com

      The author (Lizabeth Zack) touches briefly on Israel/Palestine. I keep meaning to try and track her down to see if she ever finished the paper. Anyone know her? In 2004 when the paper was written she was at Univ. of South Carolina, Department of Social Sciences, Philosophy, and History.

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