‘Exodus’ propaganda even converted Justin Raimondo (but now the dream is dead)

on 47 Comments

Here is Justin Raimondo confessing his love for the music of Exodus and the story that film (1960) told of exiles finding a home, the triumph of the outsider. Few American films have had such power, says the cinematic friend who tipped me to this. “The movie really may have been half as influential as The Birth of a Nation (but over a longer period, by now).”

Of course, now that story is dead to Raimondo, he writes, in “Israel: The End of the Dream From “Exodus” to the apartheid state. ” The new rightwing coalition is further evidence, the bullied have become the bullies.

When I was very young, I thrilled to the strains of “Exodus” – the music that accompanied the popular movie depicting the Israeli fight for independence. I played it over and over, every night, falling asleep to its crashing chords of defiance and deliverance. But it wasn’t just the music. As I grew older I was enamored of the Israeli narrative: a nation of exiles who forged for themselves a place that could be called home. For a somewhat alienated teen-ager, such as myself, who didn’t feel at home anywhere, the Israelis represented the outsider triumphant, a long-persecuted people who, in spite of everything, had carved out a place for themselves in the world.

This is the image that burned itself into my brain, and, like many Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, I felt a bond with the Israeli people that could almost be called spiritual. Today, however – almost fifty years later – I have quite a different view of the Jewish state. Not even the musical score written by Ferrante and Teicher can erase the reality of a nation that systematically oppresses its Palestinian helots, a ruthless Sparta armed to the teeth (courtesy of my tax dollars) that is now engaged in a propaganda campaign designed to drag the United States into yet another unnecessary and horrifically destructive war in the Middle East.

I’ve often said that non-Jews were thrilled by the narrative of the ’67 War that our media gave them. My wife was moved to tears by the drama of a people reborn post-extermination, when she first visited Israel through the Rabin crossing from Jordan 3 years ago.

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47 Responses

  1. W.Jones
    October 27, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Are there some good critical reviews of EXODUS that you like?

    I am in the process of watching it. It didn’t seem strongly anti-Palestinian in the first 2/3, even showing sympathetic ones. But then came the scene where the Mufti’s Nazi advisor basically tells the sympathetic Palestinian that he wants to redo the Holocaust.

    I think the Mufti wasn’t even in the Holy Land at that point, the other Arab militias and armies did not ally with him, and he didn’t have Nazi advisors in Palestine anyway, right?

    Plus, I read that such statements about ethnic cleansing were generally made up.

    • Mooser
      October 27, 2012, 3:10 pm

      “Plus, I read that such statements about ethnic cleansing were generally made up.”

      W. Jones, the producers of “Exodus” did years of historical research, and corresponded extensively with the most renowned experts in the area. The film was noted by unqualified reviewers for it’s scrupulous historical accuracy, and the exclusive use of the transcripted conversations of the historical figures in the script, whenever available. Experts, regular mayvhens were skyed in from all over (at great expense. You think real mayhvens fly coach?) to authenticate sconces, scrolls and the like.
      Why, W Jones? Do you get the feeling there is something going on there, but you don’t know what it is? Me too, brother, me too!

    • Zrow
      October 27, 2012, 5:20 pm

      Just more propaganda.
      Isn’t the real issue of the Exodus that America turned all these Jews away and forced them to go to Palestine instead?
      I wonder why?

      • W.Jones
        October 27, 2012, 7:31 pm


        In the movie, there is a sympathetic, blond, pretty American lady who wants to “save” a blond girl from the difficult journey of the Exodus and life in Palestine. However, the blond girl refuses, because her nationalist ideals are too strong for her. Similarly, the people on the Exodus undergo a hunger strike to avoid returning to Europe.

        The lady is portrayed as slightly bimboish and “doesn’t get it”, but she has enough of a sense of the nationalist movement’s rightness that she helps it through the film.

        I don’t clearly remember the movie saying America turned away the Jews (the movie may have). But America is portrayed positively through the heroine and the message is that rather than go to America or back to Europe, the emigrants have a strong, positive desire to go to Palestine and create the nationalist state.

      • Mooser
        October 28, 2012, 1:54 pm

        “the message is that rather than go to America or back to Europe, the emigrants have a strong, positive desire to go to Palestine and create the nationalist state.”

        Well, an awful lot of those people probably couldn’t swim, let alone do trans-oceanic navigation. There wasn’t enough sextant in that movie!

      • W.Jones
        October 28, 2012, 8:09 pm


        Actually in the movie, the lady offered the girl the chance to go to America and be “saved”, but the girl didn’t want to. Likewise, the people on the Exodus didn’t want to go back to Europe, and thus decided to go on a hunger strike until they were allowed to go to Palestine. A desire to send them back to Europe in particular was portrayed as a bad one by a British officer who was one of the more negative figures in the movie.

        In fact, considering how much ingenuity the movie’s heroes are depicted as having (stealing the ship, charting its course to Palestine, breaking open the jail, etc.), it would be characteristic of them to be capable of transatlantic navigation. So I think you are using humor- which is sometimes a nice relief that you bring to your comments.

        Be good.

      • Mooser
        October 30, 2012, 2:45 pm

        W. Jones, thanks for the plot synopsis. If there’s anything I dig, it’s a good synopsis, and yours is first-rate!

  2. doug
    October 27, 2012, 12:53 pm

    My reaction to the ’67 war as well. The bulk of Americans were raised with David and Goliath seared into our brains. And who doesn’t like the story of a plucky underdog getting the better of the bully who started an unfair fight. Such was the ’67 narrative I recall. Even the most antiwar (Hey, Hey, LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?) amongst us were cheering Israel. And then it turns out even LBJ did his best to suppress the Liberty incident.

    Then I read here a few days ago that Yoffie thought American Protestants didn’t support Jews and Israel in ’67! What alternate universe does he live in?

    Perhaps he was thinking about what SHOULD have happened had the facts of the 1967 war been more circulated.

  3. tommy
    October 27, 2012, 12:56 pm

    It turns out Sal Mineo’s character provided the most salient foreshadowing of what the Exodus’s message would become.

  4. Kate
    October 27, 2012, 1:41 pm

    I was taken in by it too, I hate to admit. Even dragged my long-suffering Iraqi boyfriend to a drive-in to see the film. There was all this stuff about making the desert bloom, with the clear message that the ‘Arabs’ were all living in squalor and too shiftless even to farm. Finally S. could stand it no longer, and he yelled “Wallahi, you’d think the Jews had invented trees!” We were shushed from all sides as I cracked up.
    Still, I was stupid enough to think a cartoon at the time of the 67 war (I think) was funny: one side had Pharoah and his Egyptians chasing the Jews across the Red Sea, while the other had Israeli jets chasing Egyptians back to Egypt. Takes a long time to get over decades of propaganda.

  5. Klaus Bloemker
    October 27, 2012, 1:43 pm

    I remember one scene from the film (I watched it about 15 years ago) that struck me as a lie of the whole enterprise of establishing Israel. The hero (Paul Newman) talks to an Arab Sheik and tells him: ‘We will live as equals side by side in a Jewish state’. – I was wondering: as equals “in a Jewish state”? (No one used the term at the time.) That’s a contradiction! – I’ve been wondering about the Jewish-Israeli logic ever since.

    • traintosiberia
      October 28, 2012, 10:54 am

      Klaus Bloemker Oct 27 ,2012 at 1 43 pm

      1-The Hitsraduth, a Zionist trade union run by David Ben Gurion terrorized Jewish shops and factories who dared to employ Palestinian .Jewish women buying from Palestinian were attacked .Palestinian fields and vineyards were vandalized .
      in Israeli Peace Palestinian Justice , by Thomas Are p 32
      2-Weizmann expressed his feelings and plans about indigenous Arabs to Soviet ambassador in London (UK) that he would throw out Arabs to different parts of Arabs and settle 4 millions of European Jews who would turn desert into a blooming garden which Arabs had reduced to a filthy place by their primitivism and laziness= Benn Morris – Righteous Victims -p 42 and Morris ,Birth pp 45-8
      Quoted by Geoffrey Wawro in QUICKSAND Americas Pursuit of Power in Middle East p-45
      3-A Arab would get 120 piastres a day compared to a Jew getting 230 piastres a day or same job in 1930s or 70 a day compared to 120 ( Jewish laborer ) or 120 a day ( Arabs orange picker ) compared to 220 by a Jewish orange picker- p 34 in Quicksand.
      4Ben Gurion started building on the outskirts and slowly moving inwards with the plan of turning whole Palestine into a Jewish state.
      BNA FO 371/104735 Tel Aviv Dec 22, 1953 Anthony Moore to Eden .Kirk, Middle east in the war pp 232-33
      5-US ( Pres Wilson ) like UK ( Balfour and LLoyd ) calculated that the millions of Jewish in Russia could be counted to turn Bolshevik movement friendly and more moderate and manageable towards western interest while Wilson was also coming under pressure same time from L. Brandeis, Jewish activist in US and from marches and rallies held by organized and active Zionist across US in 1917 to support Zionist plans -BNA WO 106/189 London Feb 6 , 1919- referenced in QUICKSAND p- 615
      6-US Senate and Congress quietly banned Jewish and Cathoclics immigration to US after WW2 while pressed UK to lift the ban and assumed fervently pro immigration ( to Palestine by European Jewish ) ) policy and position in US fro public consumptions that could be translated into votes from Jewish and gentiles alike and financial support from US Jewish

  6. Philip Munger
    October 27, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Two versions of the Theme from Exodus:

    This one may be the silliest, flashiest rendition of all time – by British flash pianist Wes Winters, in his Las Vegas “Tribute to Liberace.”


    And Nina Paley’s use of the theme with its words (added later, by Pat Boone, and sung here by Andy Williams) was introduced to the world just over three weeks ago, to go along with her brilliant animated history lesson – “This Land is Mine.” It is already a classic:


    I was in Junior High School when the movie and its music came out. It seemed like every junior high school or high school band or orchestra in the county played the theme in one version or another for the next three years. That and the Procession of the Charioteers from Ben Hur.

  7. Stephen Shenfield
    October 27, 2012, 1:56 pm

    The “good Arab” was always part of the Zionist narrative. Even now he hasn’t completely disappeared. But the good Arab is too frightened to stand up to all the bad Arabs. So ultimately he doesn’t count, except to highlight how noble and peace-loving the Jews are.

    • W.Jones
      October 28, 2012, 12:11 am

      Good point, Stephen. I was struck by the fact that the movie portrayed the good Palestinian(s) who cooperated with the kibbutz, since I was expecting a much more flat, generalized, stereotypical portrayal. Please explain more about why you think they include such positive figures, when they then make strong distortions about the rest (like the Nazi advisor figure, who was made up – right?)

      It’s kind of like how in their ideal of society there would still be a minority of them.

  8. Mooser
    October 27, 2012, 2:02 pm

    I used to play the “theme from Exodus” on the organ. I might even remember the first few lines. Minor progressions sound so juicy on the organ. But I’ve never seen the movie.
    I avoided that one the same way I’d avoid Yersinia pestis.

    • Mooser
      October 27, 2012, 4:38 pm

      Oh wow, it just hit me (so call me an atavism) I bet I could watch it on You Tube! I doubt I will, but I could.

  9. yourstruly
    October 27, 2012, 3:10 pm

    wherein both myths see the events that transpired from the vantagepoint of the settler, what’s the Exodus myth other than a latter day version of the Pilgrims takeover of native peoples’ land. Initially the native’s perspective is missing, but as the conquering settlers gain confidence that their gains are permanent (by dint of settler repression of natives), the view as seen from the native’s side is allowed to get through. Take motion pictures, for example, for how many years did movies glorify the settler/cowboy, while at the same time either ignoring or dehumanizing the natives? Only when the genocide was near complete did the film industry dare give the public the opportunity to see things from the native’s perspective. What’ll it take for the story of the P/I conflict from the Palestinian’s vantagepoint to get through to the public? BDS, BDS, BDS plus exposing Israel firsters for the traitors they are, with subsequent dissolution of public support for the U.S.-Israel special relationship, that’s what!

  10. unclejasper
    October 27, 2012, 3:35 pm

    Raimondo is not the only disillusioned former fan of Israel.

  11. ckg
    October 27, 2012, 4:24 pm

    From the footnotes of Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah:

    Putting aside its apologetics for Zionism, the sheer racism of Uris’s blockbuster [Exodus] bears recalling. The Arabs, their villages, their homes—to the last, they’re “stinking” or engulfed in “overwhelming stench” and “vile odors.” Arab men just “lay around” all day “listless”—that is, when they’re not hatching “some typical double-dealing scheme which seemed perfectly legitimate to the Arab,” or resorting to “the unscrupulous ethics of the Arab … the fantastic reasoning that condoned every crime short of murder,” or “becom[ing] hysterical at the slightest provocation.” As for Palestine itself before the Jews worked wonders, it was “worthless desert in the south end and eroded in the middle and swamp up north”; “a land of festering, stagnated swamps and eroded hills and rock-filled fields and unfertile earth caused by a thousand years of Arab and Turkish neglect. … There was little song or laughter or joy in Arab life. … In this atmosphere, cunning, treachery, murder, feuds and jealousies became a way of life. The cruel realities that had gone into forming the Arab character puzzled outsiders. Cruelty from brother to brother was common.” Truth be told, not much has changed in official Zionist propaganda (Leon Uris, Exodus [New York, 1959], pp. 181, 213, 216, 227, 228, 229, 253, 334, 352—53).

    • gamal
      October 27, 2012, 5:22 pm

      “There was little song or laughter or joy in Arab life. … In this atmosphere, cunning, treachery, murder, feuds and jealousies became a way of life. The cruel realities that had gone into forming the Arab character puzzled outsiders. Cruelty from brother to brother was common.”

      all of which can now subsumed under the rubric of “Holocaust Denial” (and some others i cant be bothered to enumerate) the essence of the bad Arab in the Western narrative will be embraced by a culture of resistance just as the stereotype of the Ghetto Hustler and “nigga” has been by black Americans, why is this act of self assertion surprising, people resist being humiliated, scrutinized, judged and their lives despoiled, by their self satisfied smug self righteous betters. One of the reasons that Palestinian failings are so assiduously recounted, particularly by Diasporic Jews is that it acts as a semi-absolution for their own complicity in on-going crimes being perpetrated against an entirely innocent peoples, never mind the incessant pounding in to dust of the whole of the MENA and Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa and Central Africa for reasons of Corporate Imperial “necessity” of which we are beneficiaries and complicit in. Personally I prefer to turn that basilisk eye on to myself and note my own cowardice and failure to find meaningful responses. Black Elk wrote that he was personally responsible for the breaking of the hoop of the nation, as he had failed to live out his visionary experiences, but he was just an uneducated savage, who at thirteen fought at Little Bighorn, professors rarely take personal responsibility, with the exception of those like Chomsky.

      I remember that film with Richard Harris “A Man Called Horse” where they took the trouble to enumerate the brutalities of, obviously part of a racist mythology, Lakota society, especially the death by neglect of old women whose men folk had died, they were driven out of the Teepees to die in the bitter cold of winter, what is one to do with such people, and why are they all in denial, when we point this out to them from the comfort of our porches over looking the broad and beautiful prairies, which are now nearly silent and lifeless. One has to wonder what it will take to open the hearts of the oppressors cousins, Israeli’s are often really far more human in many ways about the “situation” than those observing from afar, because the raw brutality and real time trauma, even if it is of despised others, will have that effect, we are all one blood after-all.

    • kamanja
      October 27, 2012, 5:44 pm

      Yeah. I recognize the book from Finkelstein’s description. That was before Ferrante & Teicher added the finishing touches, and compelling reading for post-WWII kids just into their teens. I only understood what a racist Uris was when I tried to read his appalling Haj years later and never got past the first couple of pages.

      • W.Jones
        October 28, 2012, 12:00 am

        So Ferrante softened the book?

        About Haj – Wow, Wikipedia’s description of the end of the book’s plot is remarkable, basically describing the Palestinian hero as going into a very bad downward spiral.

      • Mooser
        October 28, 2012, 2:19 pm

        “So Ferrante softened the book?”

        W.Jones, Ferrante and Teicher could soften anything! And if they couldn’t, they just drowned their musical troubles in schmaltz liquor.

    • W.Jones
      October 30, 2012, 6:09 pm

      I thought Finkelstein wrote a good review. Are there any other good reviews about Exodus?

  12. Taxi
    October 27, 2012, 4:46 pm

    I’d rather stab my eyeballs with a uranium-dipped fork than watch an insidious piece of criminal propaganda like the infamous and loathsome ‘Exodus’!

    Waaah you think I’m blowing a fuse?!

    Yeah you betcha I is!!!!

    Shall we together now, ladies and gentlemen, shall we count the dead, the maimed, the refugeed since this wretched film’s premier? What a sad sad sad number – and still counting up the damage…

    The story of Exodus was DESIGNED to transfer universal human sympathy from victim to criminal. Every sinew in every frame, a manipulation of a specific emotion, to achieve a specific and desired effect: Mass Nakba Amnesia.

    The film took advantage of a time when the American collective still had that lovable friendly-naivete quality about them; a time when they didn’t know too much about their own history let alone the history of Palestine Shmalistine.

    Exodus. Propaganda cinema in it’s most distilled form. Mass programming for a political end and not for poesy or for R&R. Yeah check out the mindblowing power of human stories of good and evil! It’s almost impossible not to fall head over heals for a Good Story. Impossible not to become haunted by a magnificent drama.

    This film planted a seed; quietly instructed the American masses that to be a zionist sympathizer equals being on the side of the good guy. There was no room in the American psyche after that for the Palestinian narrative.

    Yeah the film works because the dastardly author knew this: the best lies are the ones laces with truth.

  13. ckg
    October 27, 2012, 5:00 pm

    Raimondo’s comparison of ‘Exodus’ and ‘Birth of a Nation’ reminds me of Roger Ebert’s assessment of the latter:

    Griffith and “The Birth of a Nation” were no more enlightened than the America which produced them. The film represents how racist a white American could be in 1915 without realizing he was racist at all. That is worth knowing. Blacks already knew that, had known it for a long time, witnessed it painfully again every day, but “The Birth of a Nation” demonstrated it in clear view, and the importance of the film includes the clarity of its demonstration. That it is a mirror of its time is, sadly, one of its values.

    And the importance of ‘Exodus’ includes how racist a Zionist in 1960 could be without realizing he is racist at all.

  14. traintosiberia
    October 28, 2012, 12:36 pm

    Exodus as a book and later as a movie have tried to achieve same what 24/7 FOX,CNN, and Christian Broadcasting networks have been engaged to achieve for last 10 to 15 years joined by numerous other like WSJ and WaPO particularly after Iraq war 2. Exodus was following the footsteps of earlier successful attempts of similar propaganda that was carried out by Jewish rallies and marches ,NY Times,politicians in US and UK and by Protestant ministers.

  15. Kathleen
    October 28, 2012, 3:52 pm

    I was probably 15 when I read the novel Exodus. I was beside myself with sobbing and sadness for the Jewish people. This deep sadness and anguish grew by reading many books about WWII and that particular genocide to the point my mother tried to ban me from reading about WWII. That genocide and all genocides should not be forgotten

    But as we all know we were only getting part of the story about Israel’s birth and the serious consequences for the Palestinians over the decades.
    Pro Palestine
    Pro Israel (based on the 67 border)
    Pro Peace

    • irishmoses
      October 28, 2012, 7:00 pm

      Well put Kathleen. I think your experience was shared by millions of Americans. I too read Exodus when I was 15. I’d read Lord Russell’s classic on the holocaust “Scourge of the Swastica” when I was 12 and read every non-fiction and fiction book on World War II I could find (and still do). Ironically, my favorite novel on World War II was Leon Uris’ “Battle Cry”, his only decent novel IMHO. The fact that my stepfather had served in the South Pacific as a Marine in WWII probably had something to do with it.

      In 1967 when I was in college (after 4 years in the Air Force) I remembered being very envious of my West LA Jewish friends who were all about to volunteer to fight for Israel at the start of the Six Day War. Unfortunately for them (or fortunately) the war was over before they could even buy their plane tickets. Those were heady days and time for Israel which filled many of us with pride at her exploits, particulary compared to the unfolding disaster of Viet Nam. Little did we know that the truth was buried to all the clever propagando efforts.

    • W.Jones
      October 28, 2012, 7:59 pm


      Yes, I think the Holocaust naturally raises concern for the people’s safety.

      One of the questions may be whether having a nation state dedicated to only one group where there are really two groups in such a volatile area as the Middle East actually makes the people safer than if they were spread out in democratic countries like in modern Europe and the Americas.

      What do you think?

  16. irishmoses
    October 28, 2012, 6:29 pm

    I have just completed a two book novel (duology?) about the Israeli-Palestine conflict that is centered around an Israeli attack on Iran. In doing research for it, I decided to reread Exodus. The high-point for me was Uris’ rendition of the Balfour Agreement (p.247):

    “His majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

    That’s it! He conveniently left out the comma at the end (not a period) and the critical next clause:

    “…, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, …”

    I guess admitting that under Balfour the non-Jewish communities in Palestine (then 90 percent of the population) had equal rights to the incoming Jewish minority didn’t quite fit into the theme of Leon’s novel which after all he was under commission to write.

    Notwithstanding the propagandistic nature and poor quality of Exodus, its impact, when coupled with the movie and haunting theme, was monumental. It turned all of us who grew up in that generation into lovers of Israel, its noble Kibbutzim, its brave warriors, and its tan and comely (hot) young sabra lasses who wore tight shorts and loose fitting shirts with the top three buttons unfastened (the number one fantasy of my sordid teenage mind).

    Exodus created in all of us an image of that tough little Jew who would not back down whatever the odds and who, though bloodied and beaten, would ultimately triumph over the hordes of Arab savages. The tough little Jew metaphor began in Uris’s first novel, “Battle Cry” which was about the Marines in World War II. In Exodus he cleverly extended the metaphor to a tough little Jewish country who fought back against all odds. Sure had me fooled for a lot of years!

    I decided about a year ago that fiction (and art in general including movies and music) may have much more persuasive impact than logic and rational discourse. Exodus certainly provides support for that belief. Rather than continue what I saw as largely futile posting of articles and comments on Mondoweiss, I decided to try writing a novel, an anti-Exodus if you will. It’s now complete and called “Armageddon in the Gulf”. The first book is called “Prelude to Disaster” and the second is “Armageddon and Redemption”.

    The main character is Hailey Corrigan, the first female US president. While there is a lot of talk in it about the I-P conflict and its origins, including US politics and the Lobby, it also has a lot of Tom Clancy-ish action centered around Israel’s attack on Iran, plus some passionate romance (“50 Shades of Goy”?).

    I would be delighted if any of you regulars (even the irregulars like Mooser) would be willing to review it and provide me with suggestions, corrections, and ways of bolstering the narrative I provide about the I-P conflict and its origins and history. If interested, let me know via email or by comment on my blog at http://www.irishmoses.com. I’ll email you a PDF copy.

    I’d also be happy to post a synopsis of it and even excerpts on Mondoweiss if Phil and Company think it would enhance the I-P discussion. In any case, I’ve high-jacked this thread shamelessly (although it is about Exodus which is a novel) so I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

    Gil Maguire

    • Mooser
      October 30, 2012, 2:55 pm

      ” In any case, I’ve high-jacked this thread shamelessly (although it is about Exodus which is a novel) so I’ll stop while I’m ahead.”

      Maybe, but the news (that you have writtern a novel concerning this subject) was such a surprise that it’s hard to mind!

    • Taxi
      October 31, 2012, 4:31 am

      Thanks Gil. For understanding the power of story over logic on homo sapiens. And thanks for taking the initiative and undertaking the huge task of novel writing for the cause of justice in the middle east. I’d like to read your novels and give you a comprehensive critique but unfortunately it’s way too time consuming, and free time is not something I have plenty of for the next few months.

      Perhaps you can try contacting Pamela Olson – she too took the burdensome initiative and wrote a marvelous novel about her experiences in Occupied Palestine: “Fast Times in Palestine”, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

      I would like here to encourage Palestinians and non-Palestinians to put pen to paper and write, write, write! For justice. As an antidote to the poisonous mass zionist propaganda permeating the mainstream.

      The battlefields of the propaganda wars are crucial to win!

      And as the zionists have taught us, it really does pay off in the end!

  17. irishmoses
    October 28, 2012, 7:54 pm

    This thread about Exodus resonates with me in another way. Part 5 of Exodus, “With Wings as Eagles” is the story of Operation Magic Carpet which was about the flying operations that flew Jews from all over the world back to Israel in 1948-49. My father led and was in charge of that operation. He personally flew Jews from as far away as Shanghai, as well as Yemen back to Israel as did dozens of his pilots, all of whom were World War II veterans.

    Here is an excerpt from my blog, http://www.irishmoses.com , that discusses that connection:

    “Irish Moses, my blog, is named in honor of an American Episcopalian who played a crucial role during the founding days of Israel. In 1948, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father and first prime minister, called the American who directed and led Operation Magic Carpet, “the Irish Moses” because he and his fleet of silver C-54 transport planes and pilots flew tens of thousands of Jewish refugees from all over the world to the new homeland for the Jews, the state of Israel. That American was my father, Robert F. Maguire.

    In 2004, just a year before his death, he was awarded the Medal of Valor by the Simon Wiesenthal Center for “his heroic efforts that helped to rescue tens of thousands of Jews” during 1948-49 after the founding of the State of Israel. Paradoxically, my father, the “Irish Moses” for Israeli Jews, became very critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians in his later years, and refused an invitation to attend ceremonies in Israel celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence in 1998. His refusal and criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians sparked my interest in the current Israeli-Arab conflict over Palestine and was the motivation for my blog.

    As the youngest son of the Irish Moses, I hope my blog will contribute to a greater understanding and empathy for the plight of the Palestinian people, and the re-creation of a promised land and a homeland of their own they too can return to and live peacefully in alongside the existing Jewish homeland of Israel.

    Palestine is the Promised Land for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. It is time that Promise is fulfilled for the Palestinians who, like the Jews, are deserving of their own Moses, be he or she Irish or other.”

    There are links in the above quote to a NYTimes and an LA Times article about my father. In the event they don’t appear in my posting, here are the links:



    • Mooser
      October 30, 2012, 2:57 pm

      Well, if that was a thread-jacking, it was one of the best, ever! Thanks for the links, and telling a little of the back-story.

    • Taxi
      October 31, 2012, 4:41 am

      Did your dad ever regret his vital contributions to israel when he realized the zionist swindle?

      I know it’s a personal question but your post is begging me to ask it.

      • Kathleen
        October 31, 2012, 6:26 pm

        Taxi over at “Irish Moses” website

        “Paradoxically, my father became very critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians in his later years, and refused an invitation to attend ceremonies in Israel celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence in 1997. His refusal and criticism of Israeli policies sparked my interest in the current Israeli-Arab conflict over Palestine.”

    • Kathleen
      October 31, 2012, 6:19 pm


      Transported 40-50 thousands Jews from Yemen to Israel. Holy smokes.

      My 85 year old father is in a nursing home after a very bad fall and many complications. Really don’t like to admit it but I have had a ball talking with packs of WWII Vets in the several nursing homes he has been in. Incredible stories…..some tears too

  18. notatall
    October 30, 2012, 1:37 pm

    I must be the only person of my generation who has not seen Exodus. I also have not seen Gone With the Wind or Triumph of the Will, for the same reasons. I have, however, seen Birth of a Nation. I show it to the students in my Civil War class, as an example of what the truth is up against.

  19. irishmoses
    November 2, 2012, 1:11 pm

    I don’t think he ever regretted being part of Operation Magic Carpet. The emotionial reactions of the Jews arriving in Israel was so powerful that I think he felt he’d done a good thing. He was really caught up in the Zionist narrative at the beginning. It was what Israel “turned into” that bothered him. He saw and felt they had taken advantage of a good thing and were now strong arming the US and everyone else to get more, more, and even more. He hated the welfare payments they were getting and he had several high up military friends who detested the Israelis for their attitude and arrogance.

    An aside: At the Simon Weisenthal Medal of Valor presentation, we met a Yemeni-American guy who had been born on one of the C-54’s on the flight from Yemen to Israel. Most of the Yemenis were illiterate and had seen a plane before let alone fly on one. To them, seeing these big silver birds that were to fly them to Israel was literally a biblical event.

    My dad thanked them for the award but refused to give a speech. There were a couple of movies about Israel and the operation. Lots of talk about the glories of Israel. Never did the word Palestine or Palestinian get uttered.

    • Taxi
      November 4, 2012, 12:23 am

      So no regrets – just a divorce with a nice foto album?

      Cuz all them euro and Arab jews he transported to israel already had nationalities and countries of origins – they were not refugees returning home, they were ethnic cleansers by definition.

      Sounds like your dad didn’t like or even give a thought to the Nakba Palestinians. What did they ever do to him? NOTHING!

      It’s very depressing to hear about your dad. His missions enabled criminals to flourish at the expense of peaceful natives.

      But I certainly admire your clear sense of justice, Irish. I sincerely wish you luck in your endeavors as an author. At least in your case, zionism was not passed down generationally.

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