Yitzhak Shamir’s Criminal Legacy
by Stephen Lendman
Shamir reflected the worst of what Joel Kovel calls “imperialist expansion and militarism (with) signs of the fascist malignancy.”
In his book “Overcoming Zionism,” he called Israel “a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses.”
Terrorists like Shamir ran it. They still do. They defend indefensible Zionism. It’s corrosive, destructive, racist, extremist, undemocratic and hateful.
It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness and uniqueness as God’s “chosen people.” It espouses violence, not peaceful coexistence. It chooses confrontation over diplomacy. It believes in strength through militarism, intimidation, and naked aggression.
It spurns fundamental ethical and moral principles. It’s a cancer that’s consuming its host and humanity. Shamir represented its dark side.
On June 30, he died at age 96. Hillary Clinton said he “work(ed) for Israel’s independence….strengthened (its) security, and advanced the partnership between the United States and Israel.”
Shimon Peres hailed him as “a brave warrior….a great patriot and lover of Israel who served his country with integrity.”
Netanyahu said he “fought for the freedom of the Jewish people in its land.” He “belonged to the generation of giants who founded the State of Israel and fought for the freedom of the Jewish people.”
They didn’t explain how. They omitted his criminal legacy. More on that below.
Born Yitzhak Yezernitzky in Ruzinoy, Poland, he left Warsaw for Palestine in 1935. In 1937, he joined the terrorist Irgun gang. Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin led it. It followed hardline Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s “Revisionist Zionism.”
He argued that peaceful coexistence with Arabs was untenable. He advocated violent confrontations. Jews had to build “an iron wall of (superior) military force,” he believed. At issue was using Jewish might to remove, slaughter, and/or subjugate them.
Irgun and Lehi were responsible for the 1946 King David Hotel attack. It massacred 92 Brits, Arabs and Jews. Dozens of others were wounded. David Ben-Gurion approved it. Begin led it. Shamir was directly involved.
In 1940, he joined Avraham Stern’s Lehi. It was more extremist than Irgun. After British forces killed Stern in 1942, he, Nathan Friedman-Yellin and Israel Sheib comprised its troika leadership.
Jointly with Irgun in April 1948, it committed the Deir Yassin massacre. An eyewitness described the horror, saying:
“I was (there) when the Jews attacked….(They) closed on the village amid exchanges of fire with us. Once they entered the village, fighting became very heavy in the eastern side and later it spread to other parts, to the quarry, to the village center until it reached the western edge.”
“The Jews used all sorts of automatic weapons, tanks, missiles, cannons. They enter(ed) houses and kill(ed) women and children indiscriminately. The (village) youths….fought bravely.”
“We had no aid or support….They took about 40 prisoners….After the battle was over, they took them to the quarry where they shot them dead and threw their bodies in the quarry….They took (other) prisoners and killed them….They killed the youths.”
Other accounts spoke of shootings, bombs exploding and a mother being killed with her husband, son and brother. A nurse was shot dead as well as the daughter of a friend and her baby.
“Whomever tried to run away was shot dead.” It was cold-blooded murder. After the battle, “the Jews took elderly men and women and youths, including four of my cousins and a nephew. They took them all.”
“Women who had on them gold and money, were stripped of (it). After the Jews removed their dead and wounded, they took the men to the quarry and sprayed them all with bullets.”
One woman watched her son shot to death. “They later poured kerosene on his body and” burned it.
Deir Yassin and dozens of other massacres removed Palestinians for Jews. Israelis call it their “War of Independence.” Palestinians commemorate the Nakba. Words can’t explain the horror.
Shamir was instrumental in its worst atrocities. He’s lauded as an Israeli hero. Some Germans today praise Hitler the same way.
During the British Mandate period, he was arrested twice. In 1947, after escaping custody, France granted him asylum. In 1948, he returned to Palestine. He co-led Lehi in dozens of terror attacks until it was disbanded after Israel’s creation.
In the early 1940s, he was involved in negotiations with Nazi Germany. In return for supporting a Jewish state in Palestine, he and other Lehi leaders offered to help Hitler wage war on Britain. Their proposal was rejected.
Shamir openly endorsed terrorism. In 1943 he said “neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can be used to disallow terror as a means of war….”
“(T)error is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today.”
In its obituary, The New York Times noted his “muscular Zionism and expansive settlement” policy. It called him “(s)tubborn and laconic,” an “unlikely political leader,” a Lehi principal responsible for “terror, assassinating top British military and government officers, often gunning them down in the street.”
He masterminded a failed attempt to murder British high commissioner Harold MacMichael. He succeeded in killing UK Middle East minister of state Lord Moyne in Cairo and Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte. At the time, he served as UN mediator in Palestine.
Shamir authorized the assassinations. At issue was removing perceived obstacles to Zionist dominance.
In 1955, he joined Mossad. He worked covertly for 10 years. He targeted Israel’s enemies. He served in several posts including top agent in France.
In 1969, he joined the Herut party. At the time, Menachem Begin led it. In 1973, he was elected a parliamentary Likud MK. In 1977, he became Knesset Speaker.
He deplored peace and calm. He opposed the Camp David and Oslo Accords. As foreign minister in 1982, he explained why Israel attacked Lebanon. A “terrible danger” existed, he said, “not so much a military one as a political one.”
So a pretext was invented to attack when no threat existed. It took 18,000 lives, mostly civilians. They included thousands massacred in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Robert Fisk described what happened as “one of the most shocking war crimes of the 20th century.”
The aggression inspired Hezbollah’s creation. South Lebanon remained occupied until Israel’s Defense Forces withdrew in May 2000. Israel still holds Shebba Farms illegally. It’s a 25 square km territory on the Syrian/Lebanese border.
As UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan justified it, saying:
“There seems to be no official record of an international boundary agreement between Lebanon and Syria that could easily establish the line for purposes of confirming the withdrawal.”
Lebanon disputes it. So does Syria. It recognizes Shebba Farms as Lebanese territory.
From October 1983 to September 1984, Shamir served as prime minister. He returned as Israel’s leader from October 1986 to July 1992.
In late 1987, the first Intifada erupted. What began in Gaza spread throughout the Territories. Stone-throwing symbolized resistance. At issue was decades of repression. Sharmir reflected its barbarism. He confronted protesters ruthlessly.
Hundreds of homes were demolished. Schools and universities were closed. From December 1987 – December 1988, hundreds were killed. Many others were wounded and/or arrested.
Hundreds more were deported. Shamir promised to crush resistance “like grasshoppers.” He blockaded Gaza and the West Bank. He said:
“Anyone who wants to damage (Israel) will have his head smashed against (its) boulders and walls.” True to his legacy, he committed cold-blooded murder and atrocities. His criminal record can’t be expunged.
Haaretz called him “the prime minister who opposed compromise.” He was Israel’s second longest serving leader after Ben-Gurion.
In 1992 elections, Yitzhak Rabin soundly defeated him. He served in the Knesset until 1996. He then retired from all political activity. Honest observers called him a pariah. He remained critical of peace and reconciliation.
He stayed hardline to the end. Living his last years in a Tel Aviv nursing home, he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
He likely didn’t remember his criminal legacy. Family members of victims he harmed won’t ever forget it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
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