‘Terror is part of a political war… its task is a major one’ –Shamir

There’s a superb obit of Yitzhak Shamir by Marsha Cohen at Lobelog. Shamir was a proud terrorist against the British, and a diehard Revisionist who believed in the Iron Wall policy (endless Arab enemies) and so attacked Iraq and Lebanon. Back then Iran was the ally and Iraq the enemy. Note the delicious Israel lobby angle, the report that Israel played footsie with the Republicans and Iran in 1980 to knock out Carter and set back the possibility of a Palestinian state. (And what will be our October surprise this time round?) Excerpts:

One of the code names Shamir chose in the Stern Gang  (a militant group also known as Lehi)  was “Michael,” in tribute to Michael Collins of the Irish Republican Army, who Shamir esteemed as a role model in resisting British occupation. Shamir had no qualms about being labeled a terrorist. On the contrary.  “First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today, and its task is a major one,” Shamir wrote in an article titled “Terror” in the Lehi journal Hazit in August 1943. “It demonstrates in the clearest language, heard throughout the world including by our unfortunate brethren outside the gates of this country, our war against the occupier.”…

According to investigative journalist Robert Parry, whose coverage for the Associated Press of what became the Iran-Contra scandal won him a George Polk Award in 1984, Shamir confirmed in a 1993 interview that there was indeed a “Saturday Night Surprise”–as detailed by Gary Sick in a New York Times op ed and  in his book by that title–that delayed the release of the 54 American hostages held at the US Embassy in Tehran for 444 days (Nov. 4, 1979-Jan. 21, 1981)  because of a deal struck by the Iranian government with the Reagan presidential campaign. Furthermore, Shamir candidly hinted–before retreating–that the Israeli government  had approached Republican operatives and offered to help engineer President Jimmy Carter’s defeat:

“To prevent a Palestinian state and buy time for Israel to further “change the facts on the ground” by moving more Jewish settlers onto the West Bank, Begin felt Carter’s reelection had to be prevented. The Likud also believed that Reagan would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon. The Likud-Republican collaboration reportedly led to Israel becoming a go-between for the Reagan campaign’s secret contacts with Iran, helping to prevent Carter from resolving the U.S.-Iranian hostage crisis and dooming his reelection hopes.”

 

Notwithstanding Ayatollah Khomeini’s vitriol against “the Zionist entity,” Shamir never wavered in his conviction that it was Iraq, not Iran, that endangered Israel. As Trita Parsi points out in his book Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the U.S.:

“From Tel Aviv’s perspective, Iraq was the single greatest threat to Israel’s security, while Iran–in spite of its ideology, its harsh rhetoric, and its vocal support of the Palestinian issue–was seen as a nonthreat. For all practical purposes, Iran continued to be a partner in balancing the Iraqi threat.”

…“Operation Opera,” Israel’s attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility on June 7, 1981, took place while Shamir was Foreign Minister. Shamir wrote a three page letter to world leaders justifying Israel’s preemptive strike before nuclear fuel had been loaded into it. Ari Ben Menashe, who claims to have spent two years as Shamir’s “roving troubleshooter” with the title of “special intelligence consultant,” told Parsi that representatives of the Khomeini regime met with Israeli officials about a month before the Osirak strike. The Iranians gave the Israelis details of an unsuccessful Iranian attack on the site on Sept. 30, 1980, according to Ben Menashe, as well as permission for Israeli planes to land at an Iranian airfield in Tabriz in an emergency.

Shamir was also Foreign Minister during the Israeli invasion that launched the “First Lebanon War” According to several sources, Shamir was neither particularly surprised nor troubled by the Phalangist massacre that took place in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps outside Beirut. 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Neocons, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics

{ 16 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seafoid says:

    The concept of changing the facts on the ground is tied in with the Zionist belief that if the Jews concentrate hard enough the Palestinians will disappear.

    Changing the facts on the ground in reality (ie the reality that the goys live in, the only reality) means that Israel has defecated in its own kitchen. And is now moaning about how everyone else sees its apartment . Israel, as ever clueless, blames it on their antisemitism.

  2. Miura says:

    No great secret there as a good bit of it is listed in the official history:

    In just three weeks in July 1938, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, dedicated to the ideals of Menahem Begin’s mentor Ze’ev Jabotinsky and later headed by Begin himself, killed 76 Arabs in terrorist attacks on Arab markets and other public places. There were many similar pre-World War II examples: bombs placed in Arab movie theaters, sniping at Arab quarters and trains carrying Arabs, and so on. The propagandists of the Jewish terrorist groups gloried in these triumphs. One of the heroes of the Herut, the party of the current prime minister of Israel, is a man hanged by the British for firing on an Arab bus…[T]he same page of the official history that describes the Haganah assassination of the orthodox Jewish poet Dr. Israel Jacob de Haan in 1924 goes on to describe how the Haganah destroyed the house of an Arab near the wailing wall in Jerusalem in retaliation for harassment of Jewish worshipers by Arab youths; the bomb caused no injuries “because by chance the inhabitants of the house were away” [Toldot Hahaganah, the official history of the Haganah].

  3. radii says:

    oh delicious irony:
    “our war against the occupier

    indeed

  4. lysias says:

    One of the code names Shamir chose in the Stern Gang (a militant group also known as Lehi) was “Michael,” in tribute to Michael Collins of the Irish Republican Army, who Shamir esteemed as a role model in resisting British occupation.

    Whatever British propaganda at the time may have said, Michael Collins was hardly a terrorist, certainly not one along the lines of Shamir. The people his IRA attacked were almost exclusively British military, police, and civil servants.

    • OlegR says:

      Lehi under Shamir concentrated on that as well lysias it’s not for naught that he viewed Collins as a role model.
      And don’t try and pretty up the Irish history of resistance just because you don’t like
      the comparison.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      • lysias says:

        Collins would have been horrified by the suggestion that he served as a model for anything like Deir Yassin.

        • OlegR says:

          Deir Yasson had nothing to do with Lehi ideology
          or Shamir’s ideology regarding resistance to the British.

          In fact and i think you may find this interesting

          Lehi’s main bogey men were the British while the Arabs to many of the Lehi fighters like Amos Keinan who participated in Deir Yassin battle
          were another group of oppressed with whom a dialog and maybe even a shared nationality had to be built.

          link to en.wikipedia.org
          link to en.wikipedia.org

          Confusing right ? :)

        • “Deir Yassin battle”

          Here it is folks! It was a “battle”, not a massacre of unarmed, peaceful villagers who had made a pact with their Jewish neighbours that there would be no hostility towards them!

          “By most accounts, they lived in peace with their Jewish neighbors in nearby villages, particularly those in Givat Shaul, an Orthodox community just across the valley, some of whom reportedly tried to help the Deir Yassin villagers during the Irgun-Lehi invasion.[11]

          On January 20, 1948, the villagers met with leaders of the Givat Shaul community to form a peace pact. The Deir Yassin villagers agreed to inform Givat Shaul should Palestinian militiamen appear in the village, by hanging out certain types of laundry during the day—two white pieces with a black piece in the middle—and at night signaling three dots with a flashlight and placing three lanterns in a certain place. In return, patrols from Givat Shaul guaranteed safe passage to Deir Yassin residents, in vehicles or on foot, passing through their neighborhood on the way to Jerusalem.[12] Yoma Ben-Sasson, Haganah commander in Givat Shaul, said after the village had been captured that, “there was not even one incident between Deir Yassin and the Jews.”[13]
          link to en.wikipedia.org

  5. Daniel Rich says:

    Q: … its task is a major one.

    R: ‘Major One’ was the code name for Moshe Dayan, until he figured out what really was going on, then it became ‘Major Gone.’

  6. The terrorism of Shamir, Begin and others is undisputed. The more pertinent question is to what degree has Israel simply become the personification of a terrorist as a nation state? Perhaps even more importantly, how has the United States, through its support and identification with Israel, become ‘Shamir-like’ in its policies?

  7. OlegR says:

    It should be noted that Shamir in general believed in an terror targeted at
    individuals (British officials policemen etc…) not a terror against civilian population as a policy (Though Lehi under Stern did participate in such actions).

    Today this form of individual terror is called targeted assassinations and i believe your own president goes over the hit lists an marks a V on the right names.

    • Daniel Rich says:

      @ OlegR,

      No matter how much I disagree with you on everything, this “Today this form of individual terror is called targeted assassinations and i believe your own president goes over the hit lists an marks a V on the right names.” is undeniably true. Nevertheless, when I give a raisin enough water,will it become a grape again? Take it from there.

      • OlegR says:

        The morality of individual terror is a complex subject.
        The only good thing which can be said about it is that it’s exactly that individual, not mass terror.(Shamir btw emphasized that point repeatedly in interviews)

        The rest is a matter of perspective and ideological , political preferences and mute questions of the sort :
        What was morally preferable assassinating Heydrich or carpet bombing
        Dresden?
        What was effective ?
        etc.

  8. RE: “Shamir was also Foreign Minister during the Israeli invasion that launched the ‘First Lebanon War’ [a/k/a "Operation Peace for Galilee" in the summer of 1982] According to several sources, Shamir was neither particularly surprised nor troubled by the Phalangist massacre that took place in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps outside Beirut.” ~ Marsha Cohen

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Lebanese Civil War]:

    (excerpt) . . . Israel launched Operation Peace for Galilee on 6 June 1982, attacking PLO bases in Lebanon. Israeli forces quickly drove 25 miles (40 km) into Lebanon, moving into East Beirut with the tacit support of Maronite leaders and militia. When the Israeli cabinet convened to authorize the invasion, Sharon described it as a plan to advance 40 kilometers into Lebanon, demolish PLO strongholds, and establish an expanded security zone that would put northern Israel out of range of PLO rockets. In fact, Israeli chief of staff Rafael Eitan and Sharon had already ordered the invading forces to head straight for Beirut, in accord with Sharon’s blueprint dating to September 1981. . .
    . . . By 15 June 1982, Israeli units were entrenched outside Beirut. The United States called for PLO withdrawal from Lebanon, and Sharon began to order bombing raids of West Beirut, targeting some 16,000 PLO fedayeen who had retreated into fortified positions. . .
    . . . The fighting in Beirut killed more than 6,700 people of whom the vast majority were civilians. . .

    • RE: “Sharon described it as a plan to advance 40 kilometers into Lebanon, demolish PLO strongholds, and establish an expanded security zone that would put northern Israel out of range of PLO rockets.” ~ Wikipedia (above), referring to Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon that Israel called “Operation Peace for Galilee”

      REGARDING THE “PLO ROCKETS” SHARON REFERRED TO IN 1982:
      “Avnery on group psychosis”, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 7/10/11

      The latest Avnery [article] includes an important fact about Lebanon 1982 ["Operation Peace for Galilee" in the summer of 1982] that ties into the fact that Gaza also was preceded by relative calm, till an Israeli raid, November 2008, that upped the violence and “justified” Cast Lead.
      For example, for 11 months before Lebanon War I, not a single shot was fired from Lebanon into Israel. Against all expectation, Yasser Arafat had succeeded in enforcing a total cease-fire even on his Palestinian opponents. Yet after Ariel Sharon started the war, practically all Israelis clearly “remembered” that the Palestinians had shot across the border every single day, turning life in Israel into hell. . .

      SOURCE – link to mondoweiss.net

  9. RoHa says:

    Furthermore, Shamir candidly hinted–before retreating–that the Israeli government … offered to help engineer President Jimmy Carter’s defeat:

    “To prevent a Palestinian state … Begin felt Carter’s reelection had to be prevented. …led to Israel becoming a go-between for the Reagan campaign’s secret contacts with Iran, helping to prevent Carter from resolving the U.S.-Iranian hostage crisis and dooming his reelection hopes.”

    This is America’s absolutely closest and most perfect ally.