Champion of ‘war on terror,’ Bill Kristol uses one euphemism after another for terrorism in paean to Shamir

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Jim Lobe has a brilliant post up on Bill Kristol whiting out Yitzhak Shamir’s devotion to terror, though Shamir himself embraced the tactic. Here is a long excerpt from Lobe, ending just before a short catalog of some of Shamir’s terrorist acts. Go to the link to read that list. 

Bill Kristol’s eulogy for the late Israeli leader has not received the attention it deserves, particularly considering Kristol’s championship from the get-go of the “global war on terror”. His eulogy was included in the Weekly Standard’s lead editorial entitled “Profiles in Courage.”

“Yitzhak Shamir, who died June 30 also at age 96, immigrated to Palestine in 1935. After first serving in the Zionist military organization, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, he led the militant Lohamei Herut Israel—Fighters for the Freedom of Israel—in the 1940s in the fight for Israel’s independence. His means were not always respectable, and he did what he judged necessary—though no more. Founders cannot always be fastidious, and statesmanship involves moral dilemmas. Shamir resolved those dilemmas in favor of the safety and well-being of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Then, as foreign minister and prime minister 40 years later, he resisted pressure for concessions by Israel for the sake of a fanciful peace process—while opening wide the doors of Israel to massive immigration from Russia and elsewhere, immigration that has, as he foresaw, immensely strengthened the nation he served so selflessly and resolutely.”

Predictably, Kristol did not use the word “terrorist” in his description of Shamir’s role in the Irgun and Lehi, otherwise known as the “Stern Gang,” the group that he headed after its founder was shot dead by the British in 1942. Instead, he deployed a series of euphemisms: “not always respectable” is the closest he gets to any hint of disapproval, generously observing that “statesmanship involves moral dilemmas” — to describe Shamir’s activities.

Shamir himself was refreshingly blunter, writing in a 1943 article entitled “Terror” (hat tip to Nima Shirazi writing in, suggesting that he didn’t spend too much time agonizing over the kinds of moral dilemmas Kristol thinks he faced:

“Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can be used to disallow terror as a means of war. … We are very far from any moral hesitations when concerned with the national struggle.”

Writing a few days before Shamir’s death, Yossi Sarid listed a few “typical cases” of terrorist acts committed by the Irgun and Lehi in Haaretz:

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