Friday, 18 January 2013

Sepharadim discriminated against? The Irgun resistance fighters (part 3)?

Haifa British Intelligence headquarters blown up by the Irgun resistance fighters
The Irgun was decisive in “driving out” the British from Israel in 1948 (not my terminology but that of Chief of Imperial General Staff General Montgomery). The Irgun was a true 'band of brothers' unlike the British and US armies of the time where racism against serving black people, jews, muslims and any other minority was the norm rather than the exception. 
Sephardim achieved the highest positions in the Irgun and were counted amongst its bravest fighters. Menahem Begin's account of the Irgun is essential reading for understanding how Britain was forced to leave the country despite its imperial wish to hang on to the land destined for Israel. 
The Irgun's success was the first successful anti-imperialist struggle after World War II.

The Revolt – Menahem Begin p78-

We were the melting-pot of the Jewish nation in miniature. We never asked about origins: we demanded only loyalty and ability. Our comrades from the eastern communities felt happy and at home in the Irgun. Nobody ever displayed any stupid airs of superiority toward them; and they were thus helped to free themselves of any unjustified sense of inferiority they may have harboured. They were fighting comrades and that was enough. They could, and did, attain the highest positions of responsibility. Shlomo Levi, the first Chief of Staff in the revolt, is a Sephardi. His brother, “Uzi” on his return from the Eritrea prison-camp, became Regional Commander at Tel-Aviv and commanded thousands of men until he fell, fighting heroically, in the decisive battle for Jaffa. Shimshon, Regional Commander at Haifa until he was betrayed to the British military authorities, came from Persia. We had a Gideon in Jerusalem, who led the historic operation against the G.H.Q of the Occupation Army and led it with consummate bravery and coolness. He was a Sephardi too. Two of the men who went to the gallows, Alkoshi and Kashani, were Sephardim. The “smear” with which our enemies and opponents tried to belittle us, was to us a source of pride. People who had been humiliated and degraded became proud fighters in our ranks, free and equal men and women, bearers of liberty and honour. Statistics? We never counted along these lines. But I believe I shall be very near the truth if I say that in the various sections of the Irgun there were no leass than 25% and no more than 35% Sephardim and members of the Eastern Communities. In the shock Units, in view of the special emphasis on dark skins, the prooportionn was probably greater; possibly between 40 and 50%.

No comments:

Post a Comment