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Was it ‘jihad’ when Henry Crown smuggled plane parts to Israel?

Israel/Palestine
on 27 Comments

Yesterday, the New York Times published a story about western jihadists flocking to Syria to fight Assad. The story was frightening. Reporter Eric Schmitt painted a picture of radical youths returning to the U.S. with “jihadist zeal,” modern weapons, and orders from Al Qaeda. 

And though Schmitt presumed to get into these people’s hearts and minds– they are “motivated by the desire to help the people suffering there by overthrowing Mr. Assad” — he interviewed none of them. No, the refrain of the piece was the word “radical.” Radical or radicalized was used eight times in the article.

On to the provocative question in my headline. The word “jihad” means devoted struggle. Can’t it also be applied to committed Zionists?

Earlier this month at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Jeffrey Goldberg, a leading American journalist who moved to Israel in the 1980s and joined the army and worked at a prison for Palestinians– because, in his own words, he was “fired by the ideology of Jewish nationalism,” possessed by “Jewish rage” and the belief that the “Diaspora was the disease and Israel was the cure” — earlier this month, Goldberg conducted a hugely-respectful interview of Lester Crown, 88. And well he should be respectful. Crown is a Chicago billionaire and eminent supporter of Israel who vouched for Obama in the Jewish community when Israel supporters were suspicious of Obama in ’08; and Crown has a hawkish view on Iran and pushes that view through the Council on Foreign Relations and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

At 16:00, the ordinarily-pugnacious Goldberg in the warmest tone asks Crown to talk about “what you’ve done and who you’ve known and what you’ve advocated for to make sure that this project of rebuilding the Jewish state came to fruition.” And Crown brings up his father, the industrialist Henry Crown (1896-1990), who was anguished that he was unable to do anything to stop the Nazi genocide in the second world war.

We’ve been involved in everything we’ve been asked to do [re Israel]. Going back originally, I remember Dad coming home one day and saying that he was asked by– I don’t know who from the State–this would be I guess in the early 50s. That North American Aviation and one other company and I don’t know what the name of it is, merged, and because they merged, one of them’s factory was going out of business. And he was to go and buy the equipment for plane-manufacturing from– and not to ask, and no questions were to be asked.

He went and he bought all of the equipment from the plant. It ended up being shipped to Israel. Because you know at that time, there was a complete embargo from the United States, and what little they got– well Most of what they got were smuggled in. Most of them were illegal, all the arms. That’s what Teddy Kollek did. That was his job before he became a mayor [of Jerusalem]. He was a master smuggler. And he was good. Oh was he good! [laughter]

Then the French supplied some arms. But they were never sure of what they could get. So even though this was for a business jet, they were to use this to make– if they had to– a fighter airplane. They never had to, they never used it, but it was that equipment that started the business jet business that Israel has conducted for a period of time.

Let’s get this straight:

A prominent American industrialist anguished by the Holocaust broke the law to smuggle arms to help build a Jewish state in the Middle East, after being asked by an official of that state, and did so because he thinks Jews are unsafe in the U.S. And his son, a very powerful Establishment figure, brags on the story because he believes Iran may well perpetrate a second Holocaust. And this story is elicited and approved by a powerful journalist who left the U.S. to wear an Israeli uniform in his 20s out of the belief that Jews are unsafe in the west, and then came back here and pushed Middle East wars by the U.S.– first in Iraq with dubious reporting, then against Iran.

The lesson of the Eric Schmitt story in the Times is that faceless radicals are terrifying. But these guys are our pals, at the Aspen Ideas Festival! 

Aren’t they part of the problem?

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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27 Responses

  1. ritzl
    July 29, 2013, 11:10 am

    Yes, Aspen is part of the problem. It’s a masterful exercise in political pasteurization for public consumption.

  2. traintosiberia
    July 29, 2013, 11:36 am

    I will add my two cents that may be worth millions now.
    Thec. Jewish Agency of Theodor. Herzl,opened an American subsidiary The American Zionist Emergency Council worked with this branch. Zionist Emergency Council changed name to American Zionist Council and started paying money to congress for favor and was investigated .It was a tax exempt charity thing. Forced to have money to deal with chronic lobbying ,it turned into tapping the bank balances of The Jewish Agency in close collaboration with state of Israel. The Jewish Agency was raising tax exempt money from donation and charity in Europe and US for a long time. Now this money was recycled back to US and Europe to lobby the lawmakers, to flood media with pro Israeli slants ,and change the perception of the citizen with falsehood .
    The investigation in 1962 by Fullbright on the basis of 1938 Foreign Registration Act was ridiculed by Zionist ( to the Zionist , the Act – it was meant against Nazi only ) and was torpedoed after Kennedy was killed .
    One wonders how much money sent to Israel by US tax payer now return to US to lobby the Congress and Senate.back then some people tried to stop . Now it will be a career suicide.

    • MRW
      July 29, 2013, 4:57 pm

      And they sneer at us for being suckers. Freiers.

  3. OlegR
    July 29, 2013, 11:42 am

    I think they were talking about “Let’s cut this guy’s head off with a blunt knife”
    kind of “jihadist zeal,”
    as opposed to what you describe.
    A slight difference to be sure.

    • marc b.
      July 29, 2013, 12:14 pm

      Weiss is talking about ‘let’s undermine the democratic process in the US and promote multiple wars, resulting in thousands of deaths of civilians, and bankrupting the US for the benefit of a foreign state’ kind of zeal. and, yes, there is a pretty big difference between that kind of zeal and fantasizing about cutting off someone’s head with a blunt knife.

      • OlegR
        July 29, 2013, 4:16 pm

        Oh i beg the differ some guys live out their fantasies to the fullest.

    • Light
      July 29, 2013, 12:21 pm

      As opposed to the “Let’s shoot a group of praying Muslims with an automatic weapon zeal” of the radicalized American Zionist Baruch Goldstein.

    • Donald
      July 29, 2013, 2:16 pm

      “A slight difference to be sure.”

      Sure. When people are driven off their land or murdered with Western-supplied technology it is ever so much better than when someone is killed crudely by knife-wielding fanatics. Makes all the difference in the world–if you are a tribalist in your thinking, that is. Many people who think they support “Western values” are brothers under the skin to the “jihadists”.

  4. Citizen
    July 29, 2013, 11:45 am

    And isn’t Obama sending heavier arms to the Jihad against the Syrian regime? And when the US Congress pursues its Jihad against Iran? Dick and Jane are totally ignorant how they are manipulated against their own interests and against humanitarian interests by the use 0f labels, such “Jihad” or “Terrorist.”

  5. traintosiberia
    July 29, 2013, 11:53 am

    Israeli supporters have mastered the art of communication . They want the world to forget what they did in the past and wants the same world to attach strong negative salience with potential for undesirable ramification for the activist , to the same acts , when undertaken by any who happen to belong to Islam.
    This brings back the memory of the story of the Yellow Ribbon in Iran touted through Zionist media about 5 years ago as a tool to increase negative public perception of Iran . These views always help when a war against the Jihadist or the Iranians or both become a possibility. But here the projection is delayed and is in reverse direction . Still. I am sure Israel wants the visitor to Israel to forget that the different color coding of the passport or of the vehicle registration plate has anything to do with the earnest wet Israeli desire that the enemy of Israel engaged into that reprehensible practice.

  6. hophmi
    July 29, 2013, 12:03 pm

    You compare the smuggling of arms to Israel in the wake of the Holocaust to jihadists in Syria.

    That says pretty much everything about you that we need to know.

    • tree
      July 29, 2013, 2:49 pm

      … the smuggling of arms to Israel in the wake of the Holocaust …

      …facilitated yet another shameful instance of massive ethnic cleansing. That you find it somehow excusable says everything we need to know about you.

    • traintosiberia
      July 29, 2013, 5:10 pm

      Thank for the soundbite .Nice talking point. How do these conclusion work?
      If the reason for the purpose is unassailable, attack the purpose without mentioning the reason. If both of these are unassailable, attack the method and operation of the victims. When that fails as well, go back to the basic, mother of all reasoning that is past experiences of horror and resurrect the argument of uniqueness in secular languages since none any longer gets awed by the idea of divinely chosen. .There is something about certain experiences that cant happen to any one else, has not happened to any one else and will not be happening in future to anyone and any actions taken to redress or escape that condition is eternally morally superior .The non sequitur that follows this kind of argument is meant to shut the door of discussion , gain the moral high ground,and move to next set of unique entitlement. The cycle repeats itself when Gaza discovers how to be innovative to survive in the face of enforced diet or Huzbullah decides enough is enough to kidnapping and cross border firing and daily violation of airspace .
      But move on . How can the world remain silent and not declare them terrorist !
      The dialogue can only be between the civilized society ! So let mount illegal,clandestine attack on Syria with deadly forces while the eyes of the world is focused on the butchery of the Jihadist /Islamist .Move on to next phase! We can never stop going back to the basic assumption!

    • traintosiberia
      July 29, 2013, 5:50 pm

      One wonders why these stupid Jehadist going to Syria but not to Egypt? Who is the traffic controller here?
      I think it was Counterpunch that broke the news that some Saudi national came to Lebanon to fight Israel as they were told and as they believed .Once inside the country , they found out that they were fighting Lebanese .This happened sometime in 2007 0r 2008.
      Also around same time G Bush along with AIPAC was pushing for access to the are to build a forward staging operation , a military airport.
      “A Lebanese journalist who opposes the base commented on May 28, 2007, “The Bush administration has been warning Lebanon about the presence of Al Qaeda teams in northern Lebanon. And the base is needed to deal with this threat. Low and behold, a new “terrorist group” called Fatah al-Islam appears near Kleiaat at al-Bared camp”.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/05/30/lebanon-and-the-planned-us-airbase-at-kleiaat/
      But we can gut the discussion by calling it a conspiracy theory.Another convoluted mixture of words supposed to affirm the aphorism that surround every foreign deeds of US

  7. Palmyra
    July 29, 2013, 1:34 pm

    My grandfather and his brother owned a prominent plant which produced aviation for WWII, close to chicago. There was a transition sometime around 1950, back to normal, non-military operations.

    Interesting article.

  8. James Canning
    July 29, 2013, 2:25 pm

    “Diaspora was the disease”. What a peculiar delusion.

    Armenian community in Constantinople was rich and well-integrated a century or so ago. Armenian partriarch argued that efforts to establish an Armenian state risked catastrophe. He was of course quite right.

    • OlegR
      July 29, 2013, 4:21 pm

      /He was of course quite right./

      Ye should have just bowed their heads and laid low like the German Jews did,
      oh wait …

      • James Canning
        July 30, 2013, 2:26 pm

        OlegR – – Armenians were prospering within Ottoman Empire. No “threat” was looming on the horizon. Very different situation fromn what obtained in Germany. And, for that matter, German Jews were not trying to carve a Jewish state out of Germany.

    • yonah fredman
      July 29, 2013, 4:53 pm

      James Canning- I am ignorant regarding the assimilation or nationalism of Armenians in Turkey and whether it contributed to the feelings that led to the genocide of the Armenians. I am aware of the assimilationism versus nationalism among the Jews in Europe and I can assert that it contributed minimally to the genocide brought upon them by A. Hitler, the Nazi regime, its soldiers and followers.

      In the aftermath of the genocide of Jews in Europe it was natural to Jews to feel that the blow was caused by something and could be solved by something. Given 68 years we can now look at these thoughts with some distance and a different perspective. For those Jews who tried to understand an evil that really is difficult to understand, the reaction of “Diaspora was the disease” is certainly not peculiar, even if it does not stand the test of time and historical analysis.

      • James Canning
        July 29, 2013, 7:06 pm

        @yonah fredman – – German Jews were significantly assimilated and it took a virtually incredible series of events to bring about the catastrophe that engulfed them.
        Armenian nationalists ignored the warnings Armenian religious leaders were giving them, and this brought disaster to the Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire.

      • OlegR
        July 30, 2013, 4:46 am

        /German Jews were significantly assimilated and it took a virtually incredible series of events to bring about the catastrophe that engulfed them./

        Best argument for independent Jewish state.
        Phil should take notes with his “We Jews never had it better” argument.

      • yonah fredman
        July 30, 2013, 9:46 am

        James Canning- I resist learning “moral of the story” from the German Nazi genocide of the Jews, but to dismiss them as an incredible series of events is really pretty wispy. I agree that one can over learn its “lessons”, but to reduce them to an incredible series of events, that’s a bit far out there for me.

  9. James Canning
    July 29, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Notion that Iran “would perpetrate a second Holocaust” is pure rubbish.

  10. irmep
    July 29, 2013, 2:38 pm

    The reason only a handful of America Zionists smugglers were ever punished, is that they got above the Justice Department to quash pending indictments. Or, as it reads in the Abraham Feinberg file: http://www.irmep.org/ila/

    “…there were a lot of people involved in this affair [the Haganah/Sonneborn arms theft and smuggling network] and the Department of Justice knew it. He further pointed out that there were 70 people involved on the West Coast. Crum went on to state that it was necessary to have a group working rather than Feinberg and that it would be necessary to have a war chest. This group should include Feinberg who would act as chairman and be responsible for the disbursement of funds.”

    People wonder what all those millions of Israel lobby dollars buy. If you ask Marc Rich, Zalman Shapiro, Ben Ami-Kadish and Crown, and they were honest, they’d say “immunity.”

  11. yonah fredman
    July 30, 2013, 8:29 am

    Phil Weiss writes regarding Crown’s father’s smuggling: “He did so because he thinks Jews are unsafe in the U.S.”

    Thus Phil Weiss has completed the trek from journalist to propagandist. Did Crown ever say that his father felt unsafe in the U.S.?

    No, he said that his father bled red white and blue, but felt powerless in the face of the Nazi onslaught vis a vis American power and that in the aftermath of that debacle, the idea of a safe haven for Jews was a dream. The US was not that safe haven for the Jews who died. It was a safe haven for Crown. He never said Jews were unsafe in the US.

  12. Les
    July 30, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Are Henry Crown and Jeffrey Goldberg not making their zionist required aliyah so that both can serve as part of Israel’s fifth column in the US?

  13. yonah fredman
    August 2, 2013, 6:28 pm

    Phil Weiss writes regarding Crown’s father’s smuggling: “He did so because he thinks Jews are unsafe in the U.S.”

    Thus Phil Weiss has completed the trek from journalist to propagandist. Did Crown ever say that his father felt unsafe in the U.S.?

    No, he said that his father bled red white and blue, but felt powerless vis a vis American power when faced with the inability to influence America to open its arms to Jewish refugees (he mentions the St. Louis). In the aftermath of the refusal (inability) of the US to perform the purpose of safe haven for Jewish refugees, the idea of a safe haven for Jews (somewhere, anywhere) was a dream. That describes his devotion to Zionism, not the danger to US Jews, but his concern for nonUS Jews, since the US could not open its arms to all. The US was not that safe haven for the Jews who were on the St. Louis. It was a safe haven for Crown. He never said Jews were unsafe in the US.

    This is not even close to journalism. This is opposition to Zionism burning the truth right out of your writing.

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