Tony Greenstein | 01 July 2012 | Post Views:

Yizhak Shamir – Supporter of an Allliance with the Nazis
Article in Jerusalem weekly – Al Fajr

Zionism’s Dark Secret – Israel’s Ruler Was a Supporter of an Alliance with Nazi Germany
Yitzhak Shamir was the hard-line ruler and successor to Menachem Begin as Prime Minister of Israel.  He was Prime Minister from 1st October 1983 to the 13th September 1984, in an alliance with the Israeli Labour Party and from the  20th October 1986 to the 13th July 1992.

But contrary to the myths that have grown up in the bourgeois press Shamir, although hailing from Poland, was no anti-fascist.  Quite the contrary. Zionist historian Walter Lacquer wrote that Shamir’s hostility to the British as the occupiers of Palestine, in his view the only obstacle to a Jewish state, meant that as ‘One of the central figures in Irgun’ he ‘believed that Britain not Germany was the main enemy. Consequently he refused to stop the fight against the mandatory power.’ (A History of Zionism, p.376)

For Stern ‘there could be no radical distinction between German Nazis or the British because both were opposed to the total realisation of the Jewish state.’ C. Sykes, Crossroads to Israel, p. 243.  But since the British not the Nazis were in power in Palestine ‘what followed, an attempt to reach an agreement with the Nazis, was therefore quite logical  The ultra-patriotism(!) of the Stern Gang had manifested itself even earlier… in their attempts in 1941 to contact German emissaries in Beirut in order to establish a common anti-British front.‘ (Lacquer p. 556).

The historian who has written most comprehensively and in depth about the hidden history of Shamir and his pro-Nazi past is Lenni Brenner.  In his books ‘Zionism in the Age of the Dictators’ and ‘The Iron Wall’  Brenner describe how:

Yitzhak Shamir (Yzernitzky) was born in Rozeny, Byelorussia, in 1915.  He attended the Bialystock Hebrew Gymnasium and then the University of Warsaw law school. He arrived in Palestine in 1935, where he enrolled at the Hebrew University. However, he soon abandoned the law for the Irgun. With the 1936 Arab revolt he became an instructor in the “national cells”, a Revisionist youth movement, and was militarily involved in the Tel Aviv region. In 1938 Yzernitzky and a 15-year-old recruit, Eliyahu Bet Zouri, tried to blow up a WZO defence fund collection booth which levied a toll on Jewish travellers leaving Tel Aviv. They planted a crude gunpowder bomb which went off prematurely, severely burning Bet Zouri’s legs and scorching the face of Israel’s future Prime Minister. [6] But this bizarre incident was a mere nothing compared to his career as a leading figure in the “Stern Gang”.

The 18 points of Principles of LEHI

On the night of 31 August/1 September 1939 the entire command of the Irgun, including Stern, was arrested by the British CID. When he was released, in June 1940, Stern found an entirely new political constellation. Jabotinsky had called off all military operations against the British for the duration of the war. … by September 1940 the Irgun was hopelessly split: the majority of both the command and the ranks followed Stern out of the Revisionist movement….. Stern or “Yair”, as he now called himself… began to define his full objectives. His 18 principles included a Jewish state with its borders as defined in Genesis 15:18 “from the brook of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,” a “population exchange”, a euphemism for the expulsion of the Arabs and, finally, the building of a Third Temple of Jerusalem. [Geula Cohen, Woman of Violence, p.232] The Stern Group was at this time a bare majority of the military wing of Revisionism ….

The war and its implications were on everyone’s mind and the Stern Gang began to explain their unique position in a series of underground radio broadcasts.

‘There is a difference between a persecutor and an enemy. Persecutors have risen against Israel in all generations and in all periods of our diaspora, starting with Haman and ending with Hitler … The source of all our woes is our remaining in exile, and the absence of a homeland and statehood. Therefore, our enemy is the foreigner, the ruler of our land who blocks the return of the people to it. The enemy are the British who conquered the land with our help and who remain here by our leave, and who have betrayed us and placed our brethren in Europe in the hands of the persecutor.’ [Martin Sicker, Echoes of a Poet, American Zionist (February 1972), pp.32-3.]

Zionist article in Goebbels ‘Der Angriff’ describing journey and stay
in Palestine of the man who later headed the Jewish Separtment of the
SS, Baron von Mildenstein

Stern’s single-minded belief, that the only solution to the Jewish catastrophe in Europe was the end of British domination of Palestine, had a logical conclusion. They could not defeat Britain with their own puny forces, … in September 1940 they drew up an agreement whereby Mussolini would recognise a Zionist state in return for Sternist co-ordination with the Italian Army when the country was to be invaded. [Izzy Cohen, Zionism and Anti-Semitism, (unpublished manuscript), p.3] …. Stern sent Naftali Lubentschik to Beirut, which was still controlled by Vichy, to negotiate directly with the Axis in January 1941 Lubentschik met two Germans – Rudolf Rosen and Otto von Hentig, the philo-Zionist, who was then head of the Oriental Department of the German Foreign Office. After the war a copy of the Stern proposal for an alliance between his movement and the Third Reich was discovered in the files of the German Embassy in Turkey. The Ankara document called itself a Proposal of the National Military Organisation (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the side of Germany. The Ankara document is dated 11 January 1941. ( see below)…:

“The NMO is closely related to the totalitarian movements of Europe in its ideology and structure.” [Yehuda Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, p.131.]

Lubentschik told von Hentig that if the Nazis were politically unwilling to immediately set up a Zionist state in Palestine, the Sternists would be willing to work temporarily along the lines of the Madagascar Plan… with France’s defeat in 1940 the Germans revived the idea as part of their vision of a German empire in Africa. Stern and his movement had debated the Nazi Madagascar scheme and concluded that it should be supported, just as Herzl had initially backed the British offer, in 1903, of a temporary Jewish colony in the Kenya Highlands. [Kanaan, Germany and the Middle East, pp.165-6.]

There was no German follow-up on these incredible propositions, but the Sternists did not lose hope. In December 1941, after the British had taken Lebanon, Stern sent Nathan Yalin-Mor to try to contact the Nazis in neutral Turkey, but he was arrested en route. There were no further attempts to contact the Nazis.

The Stern plan was always unreal. One of the fundamentals of the German-Italian alliance was that the eastern Mediterranean littoral was to be included in the Italian sphere of influence. Furthermore, on 21 November 1941, Hitler met the Mufti and told him that although Germany could not then openly call for the independence of any of the Arab possessions of the British or French – out of a desire not to antagonise Vichy, which still ran North Africa – when the Germans overran the Caucasus, they would swiftly move down to Palestine and destroy the Zionist settlement.

Stern was one of the Revisionists who felt that the Zionists, and the Jews, had betrayed Mussolini and not the reverse. Zionism had to show the Axis that they were serious, by coming into direct military conflict with Britain, so that the totalitarians could see a potential military advantage in allying themselves with Zionism. To win, Stern argued, they had to ally themselves with the Fascists and Nazis alike: one could not deal with a Petliura or a Mussolini and then draw back from a Hitler.

Did Yitzhak Yzertinsky – Rabbi Shamir – to use his underground nom de guerre, now the Foreign Minister of Israel, know of his movement’s proposed confederation with Adolf Hitler? In recent years the wartime activities of the Stern Gang have been thoroughly researched by one of the youths who joined it in the post-war period, when it was no longer pro-Nazi. Baruch Nadel is absolutely certain that Yzertinsky-Shamir was fully aware of Stern’s plan: “They all knew about it.” [Author’s interview with Baruch Nadel, 17 February 1981.]

Count Folk Bernadotte whom LEHI murdered – Bernadotte had played a major part in rescuing the Jews of Budapest

When Shamir was appointed Foreign Minister, international opinion focused on the fact that Begin had selected the organiser of two famous assassinations: the killing of Lord Moyne, the British Minister Resident for the Middle East, on 6 November 1944; and the slaying of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN’s special Mediator on Palestine, on 17 September 1948. Concern for his terrorist past was allowed to obscure the more grotesque notion that a would-be ally of Adolf Hitler could rise to the leadership of the Zionist state. When Begin appointed Shamir, and honoured Stern by having postage stamps issued which bore his portrait, he did it with the full knowledge of their past. There can be no better proof than this that the heritage of Zionist collusion with the Fascists and the Nazis, and the philosophies underlying it, carries through to contemporary Israel.

By September 1940 Stern, now to be known as Yair – the Illuminator – after Eleazer ben Yair, the commander of the Zealots at Masada during the Jewish revolt against Rome in AD70, left “the National Military Organization in the Land of Israel” to form his own “National Military Organization in Israel”.

By the late 1930s Stern concluded that the underground Irgun should not be tied to an above ground political movement that sought to work within the confines of Mandate legality…. According to his disciple Nathan Yalin-Mor, Stern was “not a socialist, but he vigorously objected to the anti-socialist rhetoric of the Revisionists”. [Nathan Yalin-Mor, Memories of Yair and Etzel, Jewish Spectator, Summer 1980, p.32.] That the Duce had turned towards Hitler did not disturb Stern. During the salad days of Italian patronage, the hard-core Revisionist fascists had become so committed to Mussolini that they invented a concatenated explanation for their hero’s betrayal.
For years we have warned the Jews not to insult the fascist regime in Italy. Let us be frank before we accuse others of the recent anti-Jewish laws in Italy; why not first accuse our own radical groups who are responsible for what happened. [Paul Novick, Solutions for Palestine, (1939), p.18.]

…. Firmly convinced that the Axis were going to win the war, Stern contacted Italy’s local agent, an Irgunist. [Yehuda Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, p.131 and interview with Baruch Nadel, 17 February 1981.] This man, however, worked simultaneously for the British CID, and Stern suspected that he was a double agent. [Bauer, p.132, and interview with Baruch Nadel, 17 February 1981] To be certain that they were in fact dealing with the Axis, the Sternists sent Naphtali Lubinczik to Vichy-controlled Beirut where, in January 1941, he met two Germans, Alfred Roser, a Military Intelligence agent, and Werner Otto von Hentig of the Foreign Office. On 11 January 1941 they sent the Sternists’ memorandum proposing collaboration to their embassy in Ankara, where it was found after the war. [Bauer, p.132.] As the document, entitled Fundamental Features of the Proposal of the National Military Organization In Palestine (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the Side of Germany, places Shamir in the starkest historic perspective, it is obligatory to cite it in full:

Stern Gang Collaboration Offer

It is often stated in the speeches and utterances of the leading statesmen of National Socialist Germany that a prerequisite of the New Order in Europe requires the radical solution of the Jewish question through evacuation (“Jew-free Europe”).

The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question; but this can only be made possible and complete through the settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish people, Palestine, and through the establishment of a Jewish state in its historic boundaries.

The solving in this manner of the Jewish problem, thus bringing with it once and for all the liberation of the Jewish people, is the objective of the political activity and the years-long struggle of the Israeli freedom movement, the National Military Organization (Irgun Zvai Leumi) in Palestine.

The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:

    Common interests could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.
    Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed folkish-national Hebraium would be possible and,
    The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.

Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side.

This offer by the NMO, covering activity in the military, political and information fields, in Palestine and, according to our determined preparations, outside Palestine, would be connected to the military training and organizing of Jewish manpower in Europe, under the leadership and command of the NMO. These military units would take part in the fight to conquer Palestine, should such a front be decided upon.

The indirect participation of the Israeli freedom movement in the New Order in Europe, already in the preparatory stage, would be linked with a positive-radical solution of the European Jewish problem in conformity with the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Jewish people. This would extraordinarily strengthen the moral basis of the New Order in the eyes of all humanity.

The cooperation of the Israeli freedom movement would also be along the lines of one of the last speeches of the German Reich Chancellor, in which Herr Hitler emphasized that he would utilize every combination and coalition in order to isolate and defeat England.

The NMO, whose terrorist activities began as early as the autumn of the year 1936, became, after the publication of the British White Papers, especially prominent in the summer of 1939 through successful intensification of its terroristic activity and sabotage of English property. …

Two newspapers were published in Warsaw (The Deed and Liberated Jerusalem): these were organs of the NMO.

The office in Warsaw maintained close relations with the former Polish government and those military circles, who brought greatest sympathy and understanding towards the aims of the NMO. Thus, in the year 1939 selected groups of NMO members were sent from Palestine to Poland, where their military training was completed in barracks by Polish officers.

The negotiations, for the purpose of activating and concretizing their aid, took place between the NMO and the Polish government in Warsaw – the evidence of which can easily be found in the archives of the former Polish government – were terminated because of the beginning of the war.

[. Chaviv Kanaan (in discussion), Germany and the Middle East 1835-1939, p.165]

The Germans told Lubinczik that Arab sensibilities would have to take priority, and Berlin showed no further interest in the treacherous Zionists. [16] This, however, did not deter the Sternists. The Vichyites having been defeated in Lebanon-Syria in July 1941.

What was Shamir’s attitude towards all of this? Nicholas Bethell interviewed him for his 1979 book, The Palestine Triangle. Shamir told him that he had been against making approaches to Italy. I didn’t think it would do any good. But Stern had good memories of his work in Poland before the war. He had got many Jews to Palestine by exploiting the anti-Semitism of Polish officials. He thought it might work in Italy. At least he felt he had to try. [Nicholas Bethell, The Palestine Triangle, p.126]

In October 1983, after he took office as Prime Minister, Shamir was interviewed by the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. At least this time the Nazis came into the discussion:

There was a plan to turn to Italy for help and to make contact with Germany on the assumption that these could bring about a massive Jewish immigration. I opposed this, but I did join Lehi after the idea of contacts with the Axis countries was dropped. [Christopher Walker, Shamir Defends Terrorist Past, The Times (London), 21 October 1983, p.24]

Even if we were to take his new tale as gospel, was not the Prime Minister of Israel nevertheless confessing that he had knowingly joined a pro-Nazi organization? But he was lying. There is evidence that he had been an early follower of Stern. Gerold Frank, in his 1963 book The Deed, a study of the Sternists’ later assassination of Lord Moyne, wrote, three times, of a meeting, “in the days immediately following the Raziel-Stern split”, where Yzernitzky tried to recruit the still undecided youths of the Irgun to Stern’s faction: “‘Men!’ his deep voice rumbled. ‘If you want to smell fire and powder, come with us!’” [Gerold Frank, The Deed, pp.91-4, 124, 139] Additionally, Shamir conveniently “forgets” that there were two attempts to ally with the Hitlerites, and there is no doubt that Shamir was a prominent member of the organization before Yalin-Mor made his unsuccessful effort to teach the Germans again in Turkey.

Although today Shamir denies that he was even a member when the Sternists tried to link up with the arch-enemy of the Jews, few can be expected to believe the crude official lie. Therefore, we will be told, unofficially, of course, that while the proposal was crackpot – the notions that Hitler might have armed the Jews, or that the Jews would have fought on his side, rank among the most grotesque productions ever concocted by the human mind – nevertheless it was made before the slaughter of the Jews had commenced, and was made only in the hope of saving Jewish lives. As we have seen, however, Stern had been in Poland in the years immediately prior to the war, and had done nothing to mobilize Polish Jews against the anti-Semites there, and Nathan YalinMor and Israel Scheib (Eldad) had fled before the German Army to Lithuania, and then made no attempt to return to Poland to organize the underground resistance. The Sternists had always thought that anti- Semitism was justified and inevitable and could never be fought. They were firmly convinced that Nazism was the wave of the future. As Zionists, they believed that “’tis indeed an ill-wind that blows no one any good”, and they sought to put Nazism’s wind in their sails. They tried to justify their singular position in a series of illegal radio broadcasts:

There is a difference between a persecutor and an enemy. Persecutors have risen against Israel in all generations and in all periods of our diaspora, starting with Haman and ending with Hitler … The source of all our woes is our remaining in exile, and the absence of a homeland and statehood. Therefore, our enemy is the foreigner, the ruler of our land who blocks the return of the people to it. The enemy are the British who conquered the land with our help and who remain here by our leave, and who betrayed us and placed our brethren in Europe in the hands of the persecutor. [Martin Sicker, Echoes of a Poet, American Zionist. February 1972, pp.32-3]

Shamir still approves of the Revisionists’ dealings with the Polish anti-Semites, and told Bethell that “It was a political agreement. They helped us for anti-Semitic reasons. We explained to them, ‘If you want to get rid of the Jews, you must help the Zionist movement.’” [Bethell, p.41] Shamir today pretends he was not fully involved in the Stern Gang’s pro-Nazi orientation, but we are fully entitled to conclude that his contemporary attitude towards collusion with the Colonels likewise reflects his thinking then, concerning collaboration with the Nazis.

Given Revisionism’s pre-war links with Mussolini, and the declared Fascism of many of its leaders as well as its ranks, we must likewise accept the Sternists at their word when they told the Nazis that they were totalitarians. It was his Fascist nationalism and his conviction that anti- Semitism was, likewise, a legitimate form of nationalism for gentiles, that led Yzernitzky to approve of the would-be pact with the Devil.

It was the 1 September 1942 escape of Yzernitsky and Giladi from the Mizra Detention Camp near Acre that marks the rebirth of the movement, now renamed Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) or Lehi. [Frank, p.124, and Nathan Yalin-Mor, The British Called Us The Stern Gang, Israel Magazine, February 1973, pp.78-9]

Yzernitzky was slowly re-establishing contact with the scattered survivors when he concluded that Giladi had become a menace to the security of the group. The latter had decided that they had to embark on a campaign of assassinating leaders of the WZO, including Ben-Gurion, and he threatened to purge those within their ranks who opposed his scheme. Yzernitzky, acting on his own, ordered him to be killed without an internal trial…

During the night of 31 October-i November 1943, Yalin-Mor and 19 other Sternists tunnelled their way out of Latrun and soon a triumvirate took charge of the FFI: Yalin-Mor and Scheib (Eldad) as their propagandists, and Yzernitzky as Operations Commander. Scheib (Eldad) was a right-wing mystic, capable of little more than rhetorical bombast, and it was Yalin-Mor who provided their distinctive political theorizing. The news of the Holocaust had made it psychologically impossible for them, as Jews, to continue as a Fascist , pro-Nazi tendency, but Yalin-Mor retained and developed Stern’s demagoguery. Now the FFI saw two more potential allies: the Soviets, who Yalin-Mor understood would revert to an anti-British posture after the war; and the Arabs. While still proclaiming their goal of a Zionist state from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, they now insisted that they were part of a broader anti-imperialist front in the Middle East.

Their new line provided much of the public rationale behind their 6 November 1944 Cairo assassination of Walter Guinness, Lord Moyne, Churchill’s Minister Resident in the Middle East. The youthful assassinations were Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet Zouri.

Moyne was Colonial Secretary when the unfortunate immigrant ship, the Struma, reached Istanbul, and he was the one who pressured the Turks into pushing it back out into the Black Sea … He was the one who asked, when there was a chance of saving one million Jews from the Nazi Holocaust: “What will I do with them?” [Christopher Walker, Shamir Defends Terrorist Past, The Times (London), 21 October 1983, p.24]

However, as far back as 1940, Stern wrote to the Nazis to tell them of their military activities which, “according to our determined preparations”, would spread “outside Palestine”. When, in 1941, Yalin-Mor arrived in Palestine, Stern told him of his ambition to assassinate the Minister Resident in Egypt, as an illustration that their fight was not merely against the British presence in Palestine, but against the Empire as such. But when London appointed an Australian as the Resident, the plan had to be temporarily shelved, as the murder of an Australian would not be understood. The assignment of the former Colonial Secretary to the post, in 1944, revived the plan. [31]

In 1944, Zionism in Palestine was not of major interest for Egyptians who were still preoccupied with the British domination of their own country, and there was a natural sympathy for the two youths who had killed the representatives of the hated foreigners, and local illusions were only reinforced when Bet Zouri insisted that they were not Zionists. [32]

Although Moyne’s role in denying Palestine as a refuge to the Jews of Europe is Shamir’s pretext for the slaying, the assassination did nothing to help the still surviving Jews in Nazi-occupied territory, and it alienated much of the British public and governmental opinion from the Zionist cause.

Yalin-Mor’s propaganda had given the Sternists an anti-imperialist image, not merely to several hundred Jewish youths in Palestine, but also abroad. He told the world press that:

We are for a truly democratic, as well as free and independent Palestine. We are opposed to every kind of exploitation. We are not anti-socialist. We believe in a strong state encouraged by co-operative methods. The majority of the Jewish people in Palestine are workers – we believe they will govern the country well. [Constantine Poulos, War Chief Pledges Fight – “Wherever Union Jack Flies”, New York Post, 28 December 1945.]

The majority of the movement’s leaders were, however, still rightists who saw such rhetoric as a sly tactic. [Y.S. Brenner, The “Stern Gang” 1940-48, Middle Eastern Studies, October 1965, pp.7, 13] Such militarist currents are notorious for their lack of ideological clarity, their ranks really do not care what is said in their name, as long as they are allowed to play with their bombs.

In 1955, the Labour government recruited the erstwhile organizer of assassinations into the Mossad. Naturally his career in the Zionist secret police is shrouded in obscurity. Who’s Who in Israel – 1978, in conformity with its standard practice concerning such operatives, merely listed him as having joined the civil service in a “senior post”. [Shamir, Yitzhak, Who’s Who in Israel – 1978, p.330] He was reported to have been a top aide to the then head of the Mossad, Isser Harel, and to have organized several operations against German scientists in Egypt. [Nevo, and Arie Dayan, Shamir in 1949: Nathan Yalin-Mor on Yitzhak Shamir, Koteret Rashit, 7 September 198] We are allowed to conjecture as to whether he had some connection with the letter bombs they received. It has also been reported that he was head of the Mossad’s European bureaux when he retired in 1965. [hamir the Terrorist, Free Palestine, November 1983, p.3]

After his retirement, Shamir became a small businessman and then a manager of various concerns, in the late 1960s managing a small rubber factory in Kfar Sava. [Morris] He became active in the Soviet Jewry’ movement, joined the Herut Party in 1970, and was made head of its new immigrant department. But whatever Begin may have thought of him in those days, when he first ran for the Knesset, in December 1973, he was only number 27 on the Herut list. [Morris]

Although there was nothing to distinguish his work within the Knesset, once in the parliament, his rise was rapid and in 1975 he was elected party chairman. In 1977, after the Likud triumph, he became Speaker of the Knesset. Always the hard liner, he abstained in the September 1978 vote on the Camp David agreement, and in March 1979 he abstained on the Egyptian peace treaty. He believed that Sadat only wanted to regain Egyptian territory before reverting to a rejectionist stance. [Morris]

In March 1980 he succeeded Moshe Dayan as Foreign Minister, after Dayan concluded that Begin was simply deceiving Carter regarding implementing even the inadequate “autonomy” called for under the Camp David accord.
The Massacre

As a member of the cabinet, Shamir bears full responsibility for every aspect of the invasion of Lebanon and the ensuing massacre, but he was singled out by the Kahan Commission for an individual dollop of blame:

‘In our view, the Foreign Minister erred in not taking any measures after the conversation with Minister Zippori in regard to what he had heard from Zippori about the Phalangist actions in the camps.’ [Excerpts of Report on Officials’ Responsibility in Beirut Killings, Times, 9 February 1983, p.18]

It will be recalled that the cabinet had heard, on 16 September, their own Chief of Staff’s statement that “I see it in their eyes … what they are waiting for … Amin has already spoken of revenge and all of them are sharpening their blades.” Here, again, we see how the Commissioners drew the minimalist conclusions from the plain evidence before them. Zippori had been alerted by Ze’ev Schiff, the military analyst for Ha’aretz, and it is reasonable to hypothesize that he either informed Shamir of his source, or the Foreign Minister asked him for his source. Additionally, Shamir may have personally disliked Zippori for his hesitations regarding the Chief of Staff’s policy, but Zippori was only confirming – the next day – the fears of that very Chief of Staff. Shamir disregarded, first, the Chief of Staff’s remark, and then Zippori’s accurate report, because, it seems – emotionally and consciously – he wanted a massacre. That is the only conclusion consonant with his entire career as one of Zionism’s pre-eminent murderers and fanatics.
Shamir Comes to Power: the Silence is Deafening

Why was there no outcry from within the ranks of Zion at the accession to power of a man with a record like Shamir’s? Only a few months before, in February, two journalists writing in Ha’aretz, the country’s leading daily, had discussed the Stern Gang’s proposition to the Nazis, on the occasion of the then Foreign Minister’s denunciation of left Zionist Un Avneri for interviewing Arafat. But beyond a call by M.K. Virshuvski of the tiny Shinui Party for an investigation, no one paid much attention to the exposé.

When Shamir was nominated to succeed Begin, the Israeli Association of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Victims of Nazism sent telegrams to President Herzog and the cabinet, pleading with them not to allow Shamir to take office, basing their appeal on the recent evidence that Shamir was “one who made efforts to reach an alliance with the official representatives of Nazi Germany”. [Benny Morris, Shamir steps from the shadows into the world’s spotlight, Jerusalem Post, 18 September 1983, p.2] And Professor Yesheyahu Leibowitz, one of Israel’s most distinguished scholars and social critics, duly wrote a letter to Ha’aretz, demanding to know why there was indeed no such outcry at the fact that the country now had a would-be collaborator for its Prime Minister. The official opposition, the Alignment, was, however, silent.

Their silence was based on two considerations. Immediately, they had no real desire to take power in the wake of the collapse of the Israeli stock exchange, but there were also profound historical reasons for their lassitude. The Labour Zionists had been fully aware of the Stern Gang’s politics when they had allowed them into the Tnuat HaMeri, in 1945, and the Labour government knew Shamir’s personal history when they recruited him into their Mossad. They were familiar with Herut’s Fascist past when they took Begin into their cabinet in 1967. How could they, in 1983, suddenly pretend to be shocked by Shamir’s past? Additionally, they had linked themselves to so many criminals since the Holocaust – Nixon and Vorster immediately come to mind – that they had lost all interest in complaining about a mere would-be collaborator with Adolf Hitler.

Jabotinsky was quite correct in defining Zionism as a colonial and racist enterprise. He envisioned a triumphant Zionist state amidst a Middle East and a world dominated by imperialism, with the Palestinian population accepting their lot, as so many native peoples had been forced to do before them. He did not foresee our world, a world where most of the then colonial peoples have won their independence. He could never have anticipated a situation in which the Palestinians are the most educated element in the Arab world, and, inexorably, that will be the downfall of Zionist-Revisionism and its doctrine of the iron wall. For it is not in the nature of the modern educated mind to accept even the slightest inequality between nations. The Palestinians have endured many terrible ordeals, and further trials will be their fate, but they have the capacity for ideological growth, as do all oppressed forces, and they will, inevitably, develop the correct strategy for victory.

The antidote to the policy of the iron wall is a democratic secular movement for a democratic secular Palestine, an organizition uniting the Palestinian people with the progressive minority of Jews, a minority sure to grow as a result of the unending wars imposed on the Jewish population by the very nature of Zionism, and the economic crisis created by those same wars. To think otherwise, to believe in the permanency of the iron wall, is to hold that there will be an eternal exception to the drive toward a democratic secular world.

(see also Lehi,  and Lenni Brenner – The Iron Wall Yitzhak Shamir Takes Over

Original document in German Auswartiges Amt Archiv, Bestand 47-59, E 224152 and E 234155-58. Complete original German text published in: David Yisraeli, The Palestine Problem in German Politics 1889-1945 (Israel: 1974), pp. 315-317. See also: Klaus Polkhen, “The Secret Contacts,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Spring-Summer 1976, pp. 78-80

Ha’aretz, February 4, 1983.  By B. Michael.

[LEHI was one of the three Jewish underground organizations in Palestine.  It was formed following a split in ETZEL (the organization headed then by Begin).  One of its leaders during the period described below is current Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir.  Both ETZEL and LEHI were often referred to as fascist by the labor organized third underground, the Haganah.  At one time Haganah members would capture members of ETZEL and LEHI and turn them over to the British.

 A Document on a Trite Subject

Much has already been written and said about the sad and shameful attempts of LEHI to establish contacts with Nazi Germany.  I believe that the German side of the matter has not yet been publicized.  Deep in the pile of documents that I collect compulsively there is one that presents these contacts from the Nazi perspective.  An interesting document.

It has become of interest once again as a result of statements by Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, one of the best known leaders of LEHI, concerning the Avneri-Peled-Arnon-Arafat meeting.  And there is indeed no comparison, because I am not Begin and I don’t consider every enemy a “Nazi”.

And there is certainly no comparison because of the date.  1941.  The Nurenberg laws are already in force.  The yellow star has been forced upon the Jews of Poland, Holland, and if I am not mistaken also France.  Burning synagogues are a daily occurrence.  The murder of Jews is no longer a secret.  And nevertheless LEHI establishes contacts with the Germans.

Here is the story as it was seen from the German side:

On January 21, 1941, a very interesting document was sent from Ankara in Turkey.  It was sent by Franz von Papen, then Nazi Germany’s ambassador to Turkey, to the Nazi Foreign Office in Berlin.

The document in question was classified as “secret”, and its identifying number is E234151-8.

To this document Ambassador von Papen attached another document, also classified as “secret”, which included an intelligence report from the Naval Attache, who resided in Istanbul.  This intelligence report was written on January 11, 1941, and is stamped with the official seal of the Nazi embassy in Turkey, which asserts that it was received on January 18, 1941.

The intelligence report included three sections.  Two of them are not of interest to us now.  Section 3, on the other hand, is very interesting.  And so writes a German officer to Ambassador von Papen:

“Dear Honorable Mr. Ambassador!
 Attached to this letter you will find the following:

3. A proposal of the National Military Organization in Palestine for
    a solution to the Jewish problem in Europe.

With my allegiance,
I am yours,
    ( — )”

(In order to prevent any mistake, it should be noted that despite the fact that throughout the letter the German intelligence officer refers to the National Military Organization [ETZEL’s full name — YA], and even transliterates the words “Irgun Tzva’i Le’umi” in German, he actually means LEHI, and not ETZEL.  In its early days this group was called “The National Military Organization in the Land of Israel”, and the name LEHI was born later).

And when we arrive at the detailed report on section 3, we read as follows:

“Guidelines for the proposal of the National Military Organization in  Palestine, concerning the solution of the Jewish question in Europe,  AND THE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION OF THE NATIONAL MILITARY ORGANIZATION  IN THE WAR ON THE SIDE OF GERMANY (My emphasis, B.M.).… The National Military Organization, being aware of the positive  approach of the Reich’s government to Zionist activity inside Germany, and to the Zionist emigration plans, believes that:

“1. A common interest is possible between the establishment of a new order in Europe according to the German conception, and the national aspirations of the Jewish people, as expressed by the  National Military Organization.

“2. Cooperation is possible in the future between the New Germany and a New Hebrew National Entity.  (In German — Voelkisch-Nationalen)

“3. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, which will maintain contacts with the German Reich, is a German interest, for strengthening and protecting the German power posts which will be established in the near future in the Near East.

“Based on these points, and under the condition that the government of the German Reich recognize the national claims mentioned above, the National Military Organization offers to take an active part in the war on the side of Germany.

       ” …

“Cooperation with the Israeli liberation movement is also in  accordance with one of the latest speeches of the  Reichskantsler[sp?], in which Mr. Hitler emphasized that he will use  any combination and any coalition in order to isolate the British and beat them…”
Later in the document its author describes historical landmarks on the path of this National Military Organization, tells of its start in the Revisionist Zionist movement, its ties with “Herr Z. Jabotinsky”, and the split that was caused by “the pro-English stance of the Revisionist movement in Palestine” (and from this it is clear that it is LEHI that is being referred to and not ETZEL).

Into this historical summary enter a few enlightening statements that demonstrate a surprising familiarity with the affairs of the Jewish settlement in Palestine, and with some interesting traits of that “organization”.  For example:

“As opposed to other Zionist movements, the National Military Organization does not accept the notion that the homeland can only be taken over by slow and clandestine colonization.  The Organization believes that `war and sacrifice’ are the only instruments for the occupation and liberation of Palestine”…


“The National Military Organization is ideologically and structurally very close to the totalitarian movements in Europe”…

‘The main group was the National Military Organization (the Irgun), which began to direct its operations against the British administration in Palestine after the publication of the white paper in 1939. Later that year, when the Irgun called off its campaign against the British, a split took place. the more militant wing, led by Avraham Stern, seceded from the Irgun to form Lohamei Heurt Yisrael (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), better known as Lehi, after its Hebrew acronym, or the Stern Gang. The Stern Gang was so hostile to the British that it sought contact with the Axis powers in order to drive the British out of Palestine’ – from Avi Shlaim – ‘The Iron
Wall: Israel and the Arab World’ (Penguin, 2000), p24

‘At the same time that the mufti was asking for the Nazis’ help, Avraham Stern, the Lechi commander, suggested establishing a Jewish alliance with Nazi Germany to end British rule in Palestine. He was guided by the same principle: my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ [this passage then has a footnote citing Yosef Heller’s ‘Leh’i: 1940-1949’ in Hebrew, vol II, p. 530] – from Tom Segev – ‘One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate’, (Abacus, 2000), p464n

‘In the second half of 1940, a few members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organization)–the anti-British terrorist group sponsored by the Revisionists and known by its acronym Etzel, and to the British simply as the Irgun–made contact with representatives of Fascist Italy, offering to cooperate against the British. Soon the Etzel split, and the group headed by Avraham “Yair” Stern formed itself into the Lehi (from the initials of its Hebrew name, Lohamei Herut Yisrael–Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), also known as the Stern Gang. A representative of this group met with a German foreign ministry official and offered to help Nazi Germany in its war against the British. The Germans understood that the group aimed to establish an independent state based on the totalitarian principles of the Fascist and Nazi regimes. Many years after he tried to forge this lik with Nazis, a former Lehi leader explained what had guided his men at the time: ‘Our obligation was to fight the enemy. We were justified in taking aid from the Nazi oppressor, who was in this case the enemy of our enemy–the British.’ ” – from Tom Segev – ‘The Seventh Million: Israelis and the Holocaust’ (Hill and Wang, 1993), p. 33

Abraham Stern – One of 3 leaders of the LEHI (Stern Gang) terrorist group

‘A section of the Irgun headed by Avraham Stern, known as Lehi or the Stern  Gang, made an offer to Hitler to assist in the conquest of Palestine in exchange for the transfer of the Jews of Europe. Alarmed by this proposal, Stern’s envoy, Naphtali Lubentchik, was arrested by the authorities in Acre on his return from Beirut, and a year later Stern was tracked down by the British police, aided by bothe the Haganan and the Irgun, and shot’. – from Dan Cohn-Sherbok & Dawoud El-Alami – ‘The Palestine-Israeli Conflict’ (Oneworld, 2001), p39 (note that this comes from the Zionist half of this book written by Cohn-Sherbok)

‘In opposition to the Haganah, the Irgun believed that it must continue to fight the British in Palestine, and try to seize power. Avraham Stern, who had formed a breakaway ‘Irgun in Israel’ movement (also known as the Stern Gang) , tried to make contact with Fascist Italy in the hope that, if Mussolini were to conquer the Middle East, he would allow a Jewish State to be set up in Palestine. When Mussolini’s troops were deeated in North Africa, Stern tried to make contact with Nazi Germany, hoping to sign a pact with Hitler which would lead to a Jewish State once Hitler had defeated Britain. After two members of Stern’s group had killed the Tel Aviv police chief and two of his officers, Stern himself was caught and killed. His followers continued on their path of terror.’ – from Martin Gilbert – ‘Israel: A History’ (Doubleday/Black Swan, 1998/9), p. 111-112

British  Wanted Poster for the Triumvirate Leading LEHI

‘Avraham Stern, code-named Ya’ir – was a leading underground fighter in Palestine and founder of the Lohamei Herut Israel, (Stern Group). In 1939 he was imprisoned with other members of Lehi command until June 1940. He doubted that the Allies would win the war and tried to contact the Germans, to persuade them to adopt a pro-Jewish policy in Palestine. He was captured by the British mandate authorities in Palestine and executed. ‘ – Simon Wiesenthal Centre on Stern.

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Tony Greenstein

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