Saturday, June 30, 2012

The murderous life of Yitzhak Shamir

Yitzhak Shamir has died & so the panegyrics begin with Israeli politicians lining up to praise a man no one could tolerate despite his recalcitrant Zionism. Shamir was born in Poland in 1915 but inspired by the ideas of Theodor Herzl moved to Palestine when he was 20-years-old to help form the state of Israel. Herzl formulated the basic ideas of Zionism which resist the assimilation of Jews & hold there is no solution to anti-semitism other than a Jewish state. It is a cynical, defeatist ideology that does not believe racism & prejudice can be overcome. Shamir began as a gunman & street assassin in the Irgun, a Zionist terrorist group but eventually split to join the Stern gang, another terrorist group determined to establish a Jewish state based on “totalitarian & nationalist principles”, involved in massacres (notably at Deir Yassin) & which initially supported fascism at the onset of WWII. After Israel’s establishment in 1948 (which involved the violent & forcible expulsion of the Palestinian population from their lands & homes) Shamir spent 17 secretive years working as a Mossad (the Israeli CIA) agent. He then gained prominence as a hard-liner in the rightist Likud party & functioned in several government positions as a Knesset member (the Israeli parliament), foreign minister, & prime minister. As prime minister, Shamir vigorously promoted Jewish settlement in the West Bank & Gaza & during his tenure the Jewish population in those areas increased by nearly 30%. He also encouraged immigration of tens of thousands of Soviet Jews to Israel--while millions of expelled Palestinians lived in squalid refugee camps. As you would expect, Shamir was a man bereft of personal charms. He was rigid, dogmatic, intolerant, glum, & thoroughly detestable even to his co-thinkers despite his leading role in establishing the state of Israel. In short, he had the personality of a rattle snake & according to another Zionist, lacked even a spark of humanity or conscience. The New York Times refers to Shamir as “promoting a muscular Zionism”. How politic, how diffident, how dishonest & despicable a way to describe a terrorist. This is what a terrorist looks like.

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