Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kollek was British informer (yawn)


Former mayor of Jerusalem helped British troops in their 1940s crackdown against right-wing Zionist groups, Irgun and Stern Gang, that operated underground.
Only someone ignorant of the history will find this news amazing or upsetting. Teddy Kollek was part of the Jewish Agency, and for a time the Jewish Agency was committed to wiping out the revisionist Zionist groups.

It started in 1945. After Lechi assassinated Lord Moyne, the Jewish Agency opened "The Season" a declared war against Irgun and Lechi. There were a few reasons for this, the most important one being that the Jewish Agency believed actions like the attack on Lord Moyne were undermining their authority, and inviting reprisals from the British. During The Season close to one thousand people were handed over to the British. It doesn't surprise me one bit to learn that a Jewish Agency operative like Kollek was involved in this.

Now, for the big question: Was Kollek wrong? Perhaps. Still, I can't help thinking of it in these terms:
(1) The Jewish Agency believed the RW groups were endangering Jewish lives. They may have been wrong (maybe) but if that was their sincerely held belief, didn't they have an obligation to act?
(2) The Jewish Agency were the elected representatives of the Jewish people and recognized by the British. The RW groups were a direct challenge to their authority. Doesn't a legitimate and legal elected government have the right and obligation to put down a revolt?
(3) Let's make a rough analogy, and suggest that after Oslo the Palestinian Authority roughly had the same rights and status as the Jewish Agency. If the Palestinian Authority had forcefully acted to shut down groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad wouldn't we (and the world) have cheered? What's the difference? And don't say Lechi and Irgun never targeted civilians, because they did (not to the extent Muslims do today, of course, but nonetheless)

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