Guerrillas (Was Irish Stew (1823) & Madrid Stew/Tapas (1968))

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Tue Apr 9 00:36:34 UTC 2002

In a message dated 04/08/2002 12:51:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:

>  We tend not to recall that the Irgun, led by
>  Menachim Begin inter alia, technically qualified as both terrorists
>  AND guerrillas when they were blowing up British soldiers and
>  civilians (e.g. at the King David Hotel) en route to establishing the
>  state of Israel.

from Jon and David Kimche _The Secret Roads_  New York: Farrar, Straus and
Cudahy, 1955, no ISBN, page 189

"In England itself where, thanks to terrorism in Palestine, the Government
had previously enjoyed the support of the public for its actions, there was
every indication to show that the Government had gone too far.  Awkward
questions were asked in Parliament, while the Press reflected a growing
uneasiness at the handling of the [Exodus] affair.  But the growing sympathy
for the Jewish cause was to be extingueshed by none other than the Jews
themselves.  In the midst of the upsurge of feeling for the Exodus refugees
came the news of the hanging of two British sergeants by Irgun terrorists;
the news caused an immediate volte-face of British public opinion."

The above, by a pair of Israelis, is the closest I could come on short notice
to a contemporary account of the Irgun.  The Kimche's here classify the Irgun
as "terrorists".  You say they were also guerrillas.  Actually they were a
party of many talents.  In addition to being guerrillas and terrorists, they
fought a mini-civil war (the "Altalena Incident") with the Israeli
government, smuggled arms into Israel for the govenrment as well as for
themselves, and even provided organized units to the Army for conventional
warfare operations.

Following these violent activities, the Irgun proceeded to something
unheard-of:  they disbanded and turned themselves into a peaceful political
party (the Herut party, forerunner of the Likud Party.)  When their old
leader Begin became Prime Minister, it was via the ballot box, not "at the
point of a rifle".

I am not clear what point you are trying to make.  The Irgun managed to do
everything, which means wherever you draw the line between guerrillas and
terrorists, the Irgun manages to be on both sides.  Furthermore, they WERE
indigenous, which ruins any comparison with the Palestinians, who are hardly
indigenous to Tel Aviv.

> We also don't normally describe resistance
>  fighters in Nazi-occupied Europe as guerrillas.

I doubt this statement.  A random look into Winston Churchill's _The Second
World War_ (volume VI _Triumph and Tragedy_ book 1 chapter 18, pages 245-8 of
the Bantam paperback):

"A comprehensive agreement was signed on September 26.  It laid down that all
guerrilla forces in the country should place themselves under the orders of
the Greek government...The Greek guerrilla leaders declared that none of
their men would take the law into their own hands...The only chance of
averting civil war was to disarm the guerrillas...A draft decree for the
demobilization of the guerrillas..."

     - James A. Landau

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