Menachem Begin, with the looks of a sober young guy, the 6thPrime Minister of Israel, in his thirties, was actively involved in terrorism. He was declared a terrorist and an award of LP 2,000 was announced by the Palestine government under British mandate.
BEFORE 1942 IT WAS WEST WHICH HAD DECLARED ZIONISTS AS TERRORISTS WITH HEAD MONEY
by Eqbal Ahmad
In the 1930s and 1940s, the Jewish underground in Palestine was described as “TERRORIST.” Then new things happened.
By 1942, the Holocaust was occurring, and a certain liberal sympathy with the Jewish people had built up in the Western world. At that point, the terrorists of Palestine, who were Zionists, suddenly started to be described, by 1944-45, as “freedom fighters.” At least two Israeli Prime Ministers, including Menachem Begin, have actually, you can find in the books and posters with their pictures, saying “Terrorists, Reward This Much.” The highest reward I have noted so far was 100,000 British pounds on the head of Menachem Begin, the terrorist.
[Right: Poster issued by the Police department of the mandated territory of Palestine announcing a head money of LP 2000.00 for Menachem Begin].
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and President Bill Clinton at a press conference held in the Oval Office by US president (September 28, 1998). Pool photo
In 1985, President Ronald Reagan received a group of bearded men. These bearded men I was writing about in those days in The New Yorker, actually did. They were very ferocious-looking bearded men with turbans looking like they came from another century. President Reagan received them in the White House. After receiving them he spoke to the press. He pointed towards them, I’m sure some of you will recall that moment, and said, “These are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers”. These were the Afghan Mujahiddeen. They were at the time, guns in hand, battling the Evil Empire. They were the moral equivalent of our founding fathers!
In August 1998, another American President ordered missile strikes from the American navy based in the Indian Ocean to kill Osama Bin Laden and his men in the camps in Afghanistan. I do not wish to embarrass you with the reminder that Mr. Bin Laden, whom fifteen American missiles were fired to hit in Afghanistan, was only a few years ago the moral equivalent of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson! He got angry over the fact that he has been demoted from ‘Moral Equivalent’ of your ‘Founding Fathers’. So he is taking out his anger in different ways. I’ll come back to that subject more seriously in a moment.
TERRORIST OF YESTERDAY IS THE HERO TODAY AND THE HERO OF YESTERDAY IS THE TERRORIST OF TODAY
You see, why I have recalled all these stories is to point out to you that the matter of terrorism is rather complicated. Terrorists change. The terrorist of yesterday is the hero of today, and the hero of yesterday becomes the terrorist of today. This is a serious matter of the constantly changing world of images in which we have to keep our heads straight to know what is terrorism and what is not.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO KNOW WHAT CAUSES IT, AND HOW TO STOP IT.
The next point about our terrorism is that posture of inconsistency necessarily evades definition. If you are not going to be consistent, you’re not going to define. I have examined at least twenty official documents on terrorism. Not one defines the word. All of them explain it, express it emotively, polemically, to arouse our emotions rather than exercise our intelligence. I give you only one example, which is representative. October 25, 1984. George Shultz, then Secretary of State of the U.S., is speaking at the New York Park Avenue Synagogue. It’s a long speech on terrorism. In the State Department Bulletin of seven single-spaced pages, there is not a single definition of terrorism. What we get is the following:
Definition number one: “Terrorism is a modern barbarism that we call terrorism.”
Definition number two is even more brilliant: “Terrorism is a form of political violence.” Aren’t you surprised? It is a form of political violence, says George Shultz, Secretary of State of the U.S.
Number three: “Terrorism is a threat to Western civilization.”
Number four: “Terrorism is a menace to Western moral values.”
Did you notice, does it tell you anything other than arouse your emotions? This is typical. They don’t define terrorism because definitions involve a commitment to analysis, comprehension and adherence to some norms of consistency. That’s the second characteristic of the official literature on terrorism.
OUR REACH TO HIT “WHOM WE DESIGNATE TERRORISTS” IS GLOBAL
The third characteristic is that the absence of definition does not prevent officials from being globalistic. We may not define terrorism, but it is a menace to the moral values of Western civilization. It is a menace also to mankind. It’s a menace to good order. Therefore, you must stamp it out worldwide. Our reach has to be global. You need a global reach to kill it. Anti-terrorist policies therefore have to be global. Same speech of George Shultz: “There is no question about our ability to use force where and when it is needed to counter terrorism.” There is no geographical limit. On a single day the missiles hit Afghanistan and Sudan. Those two countries are 2,300 miles apart, and they were hit by missiles belonging to a country roughly 8,000 miles away. Reach is global.
A fourth characteristic: claims of power are not only globalist they are also omniscient. We know where they are; therefore we know where to hit. We have the means to know. We have the instruments of knowledge. We are omniscient. Shultz: “We know the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters, and as we look around, we have no trouble telling one from the other.”
Only Osama Bin Laden doesn’t know that he was an ally one day and an enemy another. That’s very confusing for Osama Bin Laden. I’ll come back to his story towards the end. It’s a real story.
Five. The official approach eschews causation. You don’t look at causes of anybody becoming terrorist. Cause? What cause? They ask us to be looking, to be sympathetic to these people.
Another example. The New York Times, December 18, 1985, reported that the foreign minister of Yugoslavia, you remember the days when there was a Yugoslavia, requested the Secretary of State of the U.S. to consider the causes of Palestinian terrorism. The Secretary of State, George Shultz, and I am quoting from the New York Times, “went a bit red in the face. He pounded the table and told the visiting foreign minister, there is no connection with any cause. Period.” Why look for causes?
Number six. The moral revulsion that we must feel against terrorism is selective. We are to feel the terror of those groups, which are officially disapproved. We are to applaud the terror of those groups of whom officials do approve. Hence, President Reagan, “I am a contra.” He actually said that. We know the contras of Nicaragua were anything, by any definition, but terrorists. The media, to move away from the officials, heed the dominant view of terrorism.
Source, Images: Getty Images
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