Friday, July 22, 2011

A terrorist by any other name is: a freedom fighter, a liberator, a martyr, a prime minister,...

A picture taken July 22, 1946 shows the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which housed the British Headquarters, damaged after a bombing attack against the British government by members of Irgun, a Zionist terrorist group headed by Menachem Begin. Many attacks by Zionist groups occured as a response to the British policy of restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine.-AFP— AFP

I saw the above photo (without the original AFP caption) in the print version of the July 22, 2011 edition of The Globe and Mail, in its feature "A Moment in Time" which marks the anniversaries of historical events.

Here is the accompanying text:

When the explosives destroying the British military headquarters in the King David Hotel were detonated, "the whole town seemed to shudder," recalled Menachem Begin in his memoirs. Begin's militant Irgun sought to drive the British out of Mandate Palestine, and had planted 225 kilograms of TNT  and gelignite in milk cans delivered to the hotel basement. The blast "reached the whole height of the building...six storeys of stone, concrete and steel," Begin wrote. Although the terrorists telephoned a warning, it was not heeded and 91 people, including British officers, Arab workers and Jewish civilians, were killed. David Ben-Gurion, leader of Palestine's Jewish community, labelled the Irgun "the enemy of the Jewish people," though Begin insisted that Ben-Gurion's more mainstream Haganah had approved the operation. Both men would later serve as Prime Minister of Israel.--Patrick Martin

Ben-Gurion would go on to perpetrate his own forms of violence against the Palestinians as part of a deliberate ethnic cleansing of the country--one revealed in recently declassified documents which have proven great sources for younger Israeli historians seeking the truth about the founding of their country. Some of their research, which is published in academic journals, is also published from time to time in the Israeli paper Haaretz.

In searching Google Images for the picture above which accompanied the print version of "A Moment in Time", "July 22, Jerusalem's King David Hotel is Bombed", I discovered the same picture was featured in an excellent online slide show history of the Palestine-Israeli conflict, beginning with Zionist European immigration to Palestine in the 1880's to the present, as below.

The Ottoman era Suleymaniye mosque is covered by fog as the sun sets in Istanbul. The Ottoman Empire once included the area now considered Palestine. (Reuters)— Reuters [Slide 1--1880s – European Zionists begin arriving in Palestine]

Mideast discord has roots 130 years in the past
Globe and Mail Update
Published Tuesday, May. 31, 2011 4:32PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Jun. 13, 2011 5:20PM EDT
A timeline detailing the history of the Israel and Palestinian territories

1945 – Postwar Jewish immigration to Palestine increases

The Jews who survived the Holocaust took their fight for a homeland to a new level. Although official postwar British policy was to continue limiting Jewish immigration, about 200,000 Jews went to Palestine. There were acts of Jewish terrorism against the British, as well as Jewish-Palestinian fighting. In 1946, Jewish militants blew up part of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, which was being used as a headquarters for the British military. That event pushed Britain toward abandoning the question of what to do with Palestine.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (R) shakes hands and speaks with President Mahmoud Abbas (L) during their meeting in Cairo May 4, 2011. Abbas said on Wednesday Palestinians were turning a "black page" on division at a ceremony in Egypt to heal a four-year rift between his Fatah movement and Islamist group Hamas.— Handout/Reuters [Slide 33-May 3, 2011 – Palestinian factions sign unity accord]

Before I found the picture of the bombing of the King David Hotel which accompanied The Globe and Mail pieces, I saw these two juxtaposing pictures of Menachem Begin, then head of the Irgun, and who later became Prime Minister of Israel, and was awarded a shared Nobel Peace Prize with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, with his group's work:

I had planned this post early this morning, before I learned (via email from regular commentator Wendy) about the bombing today in Oslo, Norway and the shooting at a youth camp on nearby Utoeya Island. When I was able to access the news, I was struck that the commentators and pundits observed the journalistic etiquette/ethic of prefacing their remarks with a statement acknowledging that the origin of the bombing was unknown, and not known to be an Al-Qaeda attack, and then proceeding as if there had already been official confirmation that this was an Al-Qaeda operation.

Among the motives given for an Al-Qaeda attack on Norway were the identification of the country is a soft target, one that hadn't prepared itself adequately despite recent warnings; and that as a NATO member Norway had been involved both in Afghanistan and in Libya. Threats made both by Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Muammar Gaddafi were cited. There was speculation that the shooter at the youth camp was an Islamist participating in a coordinated Al-Qaeda attack, and that despite being reported (then uncomfirmed) as blue-eyed, blond-haired, and Norwegian, he could still be (was most likely) Al-Qaeda.

Most striking to me was that no one mentioned Oslo's role in the (failed) Oslo Accords to try to resolve the Palestine-Israel crisis. Moreover, no one mentioned the day as falling on the anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel, specifically the British military headquarters in the then British Mandate of Palestine, by the Zionist terrorist group, the Irgun, fighting for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine--Israel. An inconvenient truth?

While not justifying the existence of or means used by Al-Qaeda, it does seem as if Westerners, and Americans in particular, still prefer on the whole to ignore the historical and current foreign policy decisions that have contributed to the creation and perpetuation of this particular terrorist group in particular religious disguise.

The bombing in the heart of the capital also left nine people critically injured (AFP/Scanpix, Thomas Winje Oijord)

Police said at least 80 people had been killed at the massacre at the youth camp (AFP, Odd Andersen)

"We do not exclude a higher toll," a police spokesman said (AFP/Scanpix, Thomas Winje Oijord)

Related Posts:
Rachel Corrie in Israeli Custody--Again: When Does the Occupation End?
Peace in the Middle East: Will Obama Do Any Better?--Doha Debates Chez Chiara
Nuclear Warheads: If Israel, why not Iran, Saudi, the GCC, or MENA? The Doha Debates Chez Chiara
The Pro-Israel Lobby: Defending Israel or Stifling Debate including of the Saudi Peace Initiative--The Doha Debates Chez Chiara
Calling on Obama: Get Tough on Israel--The Doha Debates Chez Chiara
Israel Apartheid Week 2010--1-4 weeks focused on Palestine

See Also:
At least 87 killed in Norway twin attacks: police (AFP)

Your comments, thoughts, impressions?

A cartoon published shortly after the bombing of the King David Hotel


Anonymous said...

All this blah blah blah about "one man's terrorist is another man's so and so" doesn't erase my memories of watching Palestinians dancing in the streets as the world trade center was collapsing. Can you direct me to posts of yours where you have invested as much time and effort into condemning that attack, or any other act of Arab terrorism? Well, nevermind. It's not important. I noticed 10 years ago that the western left was always the last to get the memo, so no surprises here.

As far as the attack in Oslo I think it was obvious from the start that whoever did this had a grievance against the government of Norway. The "Timothy McVeigh" taint was pretty clear. I'm not sure what sources you were using for news but I didn't see anyone jumping to conclusions.

Majed said...

I feel very sorry for those who lost their lives and pray for fast physical and psychologic recovery of those who survived the tragic blast,Norwegian are very good people they do not deserve this,they should not have said that they are contemplating to recognize the proposed plastinian if the peace process ceased to move on,they are paying the price of their honest and courageous stand.

Wendy said...

Of course they should have said it Majed. They should have said it loud and clear as should any other free thinking country/people have been able to say what they wanted. Nobody should be living with fear of offending some or all Muslims.

Majed said...


"they should not have said that: they are contemplating to recognize the proposed plastenian (state)if the peace process ceased to move on".

Why on earth would you think that Norway recognizing the proposed Palestinian state would offend any muslim,on the contrary it earns them our respect and gratitude.

What I meant to say was that,someone (without mentioning any names),has got very indignant with their support to the palestinians, the price of which support they unfortunately, had to pay with the precious blood of their children.

Wendy said...

I am saying that people, governments, countries, dogs, cats, and everyone else should have the right to say what they want without fear of retribution. Even if every single person in Norway had said they supported the plan killing them would NOT be the answer. If I say something rude against Islam do you think Muslims should have the right to kill others in my country because of something I said???

jaraad said...

I knew, from a friend, about the Zionist terrorist group attacks against the British
only two days ago. And now I am reading about it in your blog, what a coincidence.
I am not sure how Canadian news media covered Oslo's latest terror act but here in the US it was a total fail. As soon as the religion of the terrorist was known the coverage almost stopped. There was really not that much coverage as we used to see when the suspect is a Muslim.

Majed said...


you are talking about the Canadian and USA media coverage of this attack,what about the Muslim media coverage,but,given the fact that you are living in the US, you can not tell about the muslim media coverage, which was near Ziro, that most people have not even heard about it,those muslims whose religion and its followers became the Synonyms for terror and terrorism by the US and Eropean media, have not even made a mole hill out of this moutain,I do not know wether to brag that we are one of those who would not fish in troubled waters or to lament our idiocy if we might call it idocy,Alhamdulillah.

Wendy said...

Majed, I did not read nor answer your post correctly. I'm sorry. What I really should have said is that countries should be able to say or do or support without having a backlash against their population by some fanatic.

I am having some anger issues about some Islamic laws doing some not so nice things to some of my extended family.

Abu abdullah said...

True freedom of speech is important and people must have the right to say what they want. But when some one exercises their so called freedom of speech to incite hatred, create divisions and inspire people commit acts of violence like the Oslo attacks then such unrestricted freedoms must be curbed.

The Oslo terrorist was a frequent visitor various Christian fundamentalist web sites and also had subscribed to Pam Geller.

Also let's not forget that we live in a world where condemning Israel is anti semitism and bashing Muslims, Islam is considered a divine right by jornalists, politicians, etc.

Wendy said...

It is still no reason for any group to attack innocent people, Abu Abdulluh.

toaster said...

Yes, I agree anonymous. My memory of American soldiers' evil acts in Abu Ghraib and their smiles in the pictures they've taken remains unerased.

jaraad said...


Thanks for your comment. Yes, I don't watch Arabic news and I am not aware of what they write or broadcast most of the time.
Some people may suggest that Muslim countries should have used the Norway's latest terrorist act as retaliation for the many years of American biased media against Muslims. But the fact is Christianity to Muslims is not like Islam to Christians. In nowhere, in the media or anywhere else, one can find any written text or spoken word against one of our beloved prophet Issa (Jesus) peace be upon him. Because one is not a Muslim if doesn’t love any of the prophets*. I know Christians don't consider Jesus as a prophet but at least we love him as much as we love all other prophets. On the other hand, this is not the case when it comes to how Prophet Mohammad peace be upon him is treated in the Western text in general.
What I am trying to say here, and I agree with you bout it, is that it is good that the Muslim media is not taking advantage of this horrible incident to show for example that there are Christian terrorism as well. Exploiting news about anything is never for the benefit of the well being

* [Quran 2:285] The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination."

Here is my observation about American media reaction:


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