69. Jews have history of terrorism

Your February 4 editorial "France frees a terrorist" in which you criticized France "for treating and then releasing" George Habash, "a 65-year-old terrorist," reminded me of another terrorist (albeit a healthy one), Yitzhak Shamir, who visited this country as recently as last November and departed unbothered. Asked then about his past terrorist activities, without showing any remorse, he said: "I am proud of everything I have done in my past."

While Arab terrorism is well-publicized, thanks to a biased media, Jewish terrorism is passed over in silence. Abraham Stern, the founder of the terrorist group, the Stern Gang, was an admirer of Mussolini. And it was an "expert" of this group that developed the letter-bomb. After the British had killed its founder in 1942, the group was headed by Yitzhak Shamir and engaged in terrorist acts that included the murder of the British representative, Lord Moyne, in Cairo in 1944 and the murder of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN-appointed mediator, in 1948. Defending his brand of terrorism, Shamir was quoted in the New York Jewish Week saying that "neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat. ... We have before us the command of the Torah, whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: 'Ye shall blot them out to the last man.'"

The Irgun was another terrorist group whose policies, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "calledfor the use of force, if necessary, to establish a Jewish state." Menachem Begin, who invented terrorism as we know it today, was one of its leaders. In 1946, the Irgun blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem; and in 1947, a group of Irgun terrorists raided the Arab village of Deir Yassin, killing 254 men, women and children. The International Red Cross representative called it a "deliberate massacre." In his account of this massacre in Yediot Ahronot, Meir Pa'il stated that "some 25 men had been brought out of the houses: they were loaded into a freight truck and led in victory parade. ... At the end of the parade they were taken to a stone quarry .... and shot in cold blood."

March 3, 1992