Thu, Nov 18, 2010 | shmuelkatz.com | By Shmuel Katz
Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine
Israel’s Function In The Modern World
This article is the eighth chapter from the book “Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine” written by Shmuel Katz. Yesterday, we published the seventh chapter: The Cause Of The Conflict. The last two chapters (nine and ten) will be published in the coming days. These articles are part of a series of facts, fantasy and myths concerning Israel, Palestinians and the Middle East. For all the chapters of the book, click Here.
About the book: “A fully documented, dramatic history of the events which shaped the Middle East. Every key problem in the Arab-Israel conflict, every decision is carefully analyzed, from the questionable policies of Britain in 1948 to how the Palestinian refugee problem began. The territory won in the war of 1967, and the terrorist war of attrition is discussed.” (From the intro at ShmuelKatz website). To view the entire book online, go to Shmuelkatz.com. To buy the book, go to Afsi.org.
Only once throughout the eighteen years of the Armistice Agreement did any Arab leader challenge the thesis that war alone would bring about the elimination of Israel. There were continual and often acrimonious discussions on the timing of the predestined onslaught on the Jewish state. The optimists – led usually by the Syrians and, in later years, by the Fatah – called for immediate military action. The realists – fist among them President Nasser – explained repeatedly that war on Israel required careful and long preparation, and insisted on the prior fulfillment of three conditions: Arab military superiority, Arab unity, and the diplomatic isolation of Israel. One superrealist appeared to challenge the thesis itself. This was Habib Bourguiba, the President of Tunisia, then at loggerheads with Nasser. Bourguiba believed that the problem could be tackled piecemeal, first of all by subtle diplomacy and propaganda, The Arabs, he urged, should announce their acceptance of the United Nations partition proposal of 1947. They should thus recognize Israel, provided she withdrew from the Armistice borders of 1949 to the “borders of 1947.” If Israel refused this offer, the world would understand and view sympathetically a combined military attack on her by the Arab states. Should Israel accept the offer, however, it would be simple to crush her then in the narrow, disjointed, incredibly vulnerable frontiers proposed in 1947.
This Proposal of destruction by stages was seen as so revolutionary and moderate that all the walls of Arabdom outside Tunisia shook with the denunciation of its author. Bourguiba was hard put to recall to his critics that he differed from them only in method. On the common aim, the ruler of modern Carthage was as steadfast as they: Israel delenda est.
Tunisia was a minor and somewhat passive participant in the confrontation with Israel, and Bourguiba’s influence was minimal. Nasser, however hastened to remove all doubt or misunderstanding about both purpose and method.
“The liquidation of Israel,” he said on March 8, 1965, “will be liquidation through violence. We shall enter a Palestine not covered with sand, but soaked in blood.”
He was to pursue for two years more his policy of cautious build-up. The irrational assumption in May 1967 that his three conditions had materialized and that victory was assured led to the Six Day War. Thus, in the three weeks before the war broke out, the full meaning of Arab intentions was made clear to the world.
Never in history could aggressor have made his purpose known in advance so clearly and so widely. Certain of victory, both the Arab leaders and their peoples threw off all restraint. Between the middle of May and the fifth of June, worldwide newspapers, radio, and, most incisively, television brought home to millions of people the threat of politicide bandied about with relish by the leaders of these modern states. Even more blatant was the exhilaration which the Arabic peoples displayed at the prospect of executing genocide on the people of Israel. To Jews everywhere, the contents of the speeches and the crowd scenes from Egypt and the other Arab states conjured up, by voluntary association, memories of Auschwitz. In those three weeks of mounting tension, people throughout the world watched and waited in growing anxiety – or, in some cases, in hopeful expectation – for the overwhelming forces of at least Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq to bear down from three sides to crush tiny Israel and slaughter her people.
Israel’s victory in the Six Day War has been described in superlative terms. It has been the subject of a vast literature. What effect did their defeat have on the Arabs? Did it alter their purpose? Were they now capable of making a more sober summing up of the factors operating on each side? Now that Israel was for the first time established within truly defensible borders, and with the evaporation of their last hope of wiping her off the face of the earth in one lightning battle – did Arabs begin to think of possible coexistence?
The Arab states, having recovered from the shock of the defeat they had brought on themselves, deliberately demonstrated a sharpened intransigence. Such a posture was, from their special imperialist point of view, even more logical than before. Israel, whose existence in any proportions they would not tolerate, had in fact expanded. If before June 1967 the Arabs had seen Israel established as a wedge between Asian and African Arabdom, they now saw her as a barrier. Her elimination, an objective now more complicated than before, was all the more an historic necessity.
The Arab states moved to adjust their policy to the new circumstances. All their efforts had now to be concentrated on an essential first step: to get the Israelis back to the old Armistice lines. Those lines, notwithstanding the defeat, still held out a theoretical hope of victory. Once she had withdrawn to those lines, Israel would be subjected anew to all the former diplomatic, economic, and paramilitary pressures and, if necessary, to military action. This policy had to be made clear without delay to the Arabic people. Two months after the Six Day War, the leaders of the Arab states met in Khartoum. There they laid down three negative, unequivocal principles: no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no peace with Israel.
They had no difficulty, moreover, in producing their justification for this, under the circumstances, bizarre pretension. Quite simply, Israel had been the aggressor. Without turning a hair, both the Egyptian leader and King Hussein (to whom the Israeli Prime Minister had addressed an appeal to desist even after the Jordanian attack had been launched in Jerusalem), and with them the whole apparatus of Arab propaganda, transmuted their own frustrated attempt on the life of Israel into an act of Israeli aggression, which had to be reversed. For greater effect, “Israeli aggression” was now presented as proof of Israel’s expansionist purpose, which must be thwarted.
But now the Arabs chose their words carefully. They had been reprimanded by their friends for offending civilized susceptibilities before the Six Day War by crude proclamations on “driving the Jews into the sea” and by premature gloating over the wholesale shedding of Jewish blood that would accompany their victory. Consequently, they evolved a number of semantic variations of the formula. Henceforth they promised, or demanded, the “erasure of the consequences of Israeli aggression” and the withdrawal of Israel from all “Arab territory” or Arab “lands.” This restoration of the status quo of June 4, 1967, would, of course, they hastened to add, be only the necessary prelude to the “restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people” or the “return of the refugees to their homes.”
Anwar Sadat, who became President of Egypt on the death of Abdel Nasser in September 1970 and who was more responsive to advice than his predecessor, was persuaded that the text evolved by Nasser would be more palatable to Western nations if the words “peace with Israel” could be inserted. A suitable clause was therefore insinuated into the overall formula. Since them, Sadat’s complete formula, used in the whole or in part, as required, roughly as follows:
1. He is prepared for peace with Israel.
2. There can be no peace with Israel, or even negotiations with Israel, until she has withdrawn to the lines of June 4, 1967 (thereby erasing the consequences of her aggression).
3. When that withdrawal is completed, there will be remain the problem of Palestinian people, who will receive the support of the Arab states in fighting for the “restoration of their rights” – in the Israel of the Armistice lines.
With all the west’s knowledge of the Arabs’ mental processes, their capacity for self-delusion, and their unchanging purpose to liquidate Israel, this Arab attitude has nevertheless been sustained since 1967 by more than sheer wishful thinking or mental inertia. It has been made possible by the support, in varying measure, of the leading states of the world.
The principle that Israel, in May the anticipated victim of successful attack, having in June turned the tables on her would-be destroyers, should now restore to them the bases of their aggression, was accepted almost without question not only by the Arabs’ Soviet allies, their French friends, and their original British mentors, but also by the United States. The principle was even given formal sanction in a decision of the United Nations Security Council (November 22, 1967), which established in its preamble “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” The text of the resolution was sufficiently ambiguous to leave scope for negotiation and disagreement on the precise degree of rectification of frontiers. But even the United States government, in interpreting the principle, gradually evolved the formula that Israel should “restore” to the Arab states all the territory she conquered in 1967 “with substantial modifications.”
The principle that the victim of aggression should restore the means of aggression to the aggressor does not only sound preposterous, it is preposterous. There was, of course, no public precedent for such an immoral principle. IN our own time, there have been two famous cases of unprovoked aggression that failed: the German campaign of piecemeal aggression against nearly the whole of the rest of Europe, and the Japanese onslaught in the Far East. When the Germans were defeated, the map of Europe was redrawn. Large tracts of territory wrested from the aggressor were retained by his victims – the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia. These included territories historically part of the German Reich. The Soviet Union also annexed territories in Finland and Romania which had collaborated with Germany in the attack of Russia (see Map No.). The Soviet Union found incorporation of these large border areas essential to its security. Similarly, with the defeat of the Japanese in the Far East, the Soviet Union annexed the Kurile Islands and part of the island of Sakhalin – to insure its security against renewed attack. The United States also decided to retain control of a Japanese island – Okinawa – as a security measure. This, described as a temporary occupation which ended in 1972, lasted twenty-six years, Even after termination, the United States intends to retain military bases on the island which, it should be added, is situated 5,000 miles from the American mainland.
These arrangements express a principle which governs international relations: If an aggressor is successful, the victim goes to the wall. This was, in fact, the grim experience of all the countries in Europe that were overrun by Nazi Germany and all the countries in Asia overrun by the Japanese, until the tables were turned in 1945. If the victim, however, succeeds in repelling the aggressor, he holds the territory he has conquered or regained, at least until he is ready to make a peace treaty; and only the peace treaty will determine the fate of those territories. Such is surely also the only possible morality. Otherwise, the aggressor inevitably has nothing to lose from his aggression, and everything to gain.
It is the victim, moreover, who decides his security needs. It was the Soviet Union who, having paid a gruesome price in deaths and ruin before it succeeded in repelling the German onslaught, decided what territory it required to make itself secure against future attack.
Characteristic of the accepted ethical attitude toward such decision was the reaction of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the annexation by the Soviet Union of areas equivalent to one-third of Poland immediately after the Red Army had conquered them (and long before the end of the war). He said in the House of Commons:
Twice in our lifetime Russia has been violently assaulted by Germany. Many millions of Russian have been slain and vast tracts of Russian soil devastated as a result of repeated German aggression. Russia has the right of reassurance against future attacks from the West, and we are going all the way with her to see that she gets it.
A generation after the end of the Second World War, it may be difficult to discern a proximate or even remote danger from a Germany divided in two, apparently cured of militarism, seemingly weaned from the dream of domination. There is no apparent sign that the security of the titanic Soviet Union or any other European country is threatened in any way by the Germans. Yet no international statesman, however opposed to the USSR, seriously suggests that eastern Prussia or Silesia be restored to Germany. Nor is there any serious historian who is prepared to prophesy that if east Prussia and Silesia were returned to herm and Germany were reunited, her old dream of domination would not repeat itself.
The assessments of the Soviet Union were, in fact, recognized by her allies without question at the end of the Second World War. For twenty-five years, the new territorial arrangement was the accepted irreversible status quo. Then the beaten aggressor himself, finally resigned to the claim of his victims, accepted the situation. On August 12, 1970, the Soviet Union and West Germany signed a Nonaggression Treaty. In its third article, the parties declare that they
are agreed in their recognition that peace in Europe can only be maintained when no one infringes the present frontiers. They declare they have no territorial demands against anyone, nor will they have such in the future. They regard the frontiers of all states in Europe today and in the future as inviolable as they stand on the day of the signing of this treaty, including the Order-Neisse line which forms the western frontier of Poland.
A similar clause was included in the treaty concluded between Poland and West Germany on December 7, 1970.
As for the United States, it decided, as of right, that even after the end of her military occupation of the Japanese aggressor’s mainland, the island of Okinawa was essential to its security; and it insisted, as a condition of relinquishing administrative control, on military domination of the island.
The central European areas, and the island of Sakhalin, are doubtless important to the security of the Soviet Union, as is the island of Okinawa to the security of the United States, when seen in the light of bitter historic experience with Germany and Japan and remembering the responsibility of governments for the safety and integrity of their countries and peoples.
Yet their importance pales into insignificance, almost into irrelevance, compared with the problem of security against aggression with which Israel has to contend. For the Soviet Union and the United States, the territorial safeguards they have established provide an additional buffer, a tenth or twentieth coat of armor, a cozy standby. For Israel, the territorial cordon created as a result of the Six Day War is the first defensive covering of the bare bones of her existence.
If the Soviet Union were to give up the areas it incorporated after 1945 and withdraw to its 1941 frontiers, and were then attacked on her soil, its army could conceivably lose a hundred battles, retreat many hundreds of miles, and yet win the war. That is what it achieved in the Second World War. Nor was this achievement unique in history. It expressed the universal minimum formula of defensible borders. No territory is hermetically impregnable. To be defensible, it requires the resilience of depth. Soviet Russia, with her experience of the invasions of Napoleon and of Hitler, is only one example, though an extreme one, of that axiom.
Israel is her pre-1967 borders could not afford to fight a single battle on her own soil. One battle lost in the ten-mile-wide coastal strip of what was Israel on June 5, 1967, would cut the national territory in two. Sir Basil Liddell Hart, the British military scholar, calculated that “an armoured force striking by surprise from the Jordan frontier might reach the coast in half an hour.” Then, with a pincer movement operating from south and north, even a mediocre enemy generally staff would be capable of destroying the state piecemeal.
That is why Israel’s strictly defensive strategy over all the years before 1967 had to be based on what has been described as interceptive self-defense, the technical firing of the first shot. That alone, however, could not normally prevent serious damage and casualties by air attack. Were it not for the combination of a stroke of genius by the Israeli Air Force and an incredible display of inefficiency by the Egyptians, whereby the Egyptian Air Force was destroyed on the ground on June 5, 1967, victory would certainly have been accompanied by a higher rate of casualties on the battlefield; by a considerable loss of civilian life, property, and installations; and by disruption of Israel’s civic fabric.
The temerity of the suggestion that precisely Israel should restore bases of aggression to her enemies is emphasized by the fact that all this has happened before. When Israel’s birth was threatened by Arab invasion in 1948 and she repelled the Egyptians, she was browbeaten into withdrawing from Sinai, then cajoled into leaving the Gaza area in Egyptian hands. In return, she secured an Armistice Agreement that turned out to be worthless, a worldwide Arab boycott, and a heavy toll of life from endemic Arab forays across the Armistice lines. In 1956-1957, the pattern was repeated. Forced for the first time to take preemptive action against the immediate threat of attack, and having then driven the Egyptians from Sinai and the Gaza area, Israel was persuaded by Western guarantees and finally lulled by a United Nations military presence into handing Sinai and the Gaza Strip to Egypt once more.
The threat of the Arab onslaught resounding throughout the world in the spring of 1967, and the Egyptians’ closure of the Straits of Tiran, were followed by an incredible international response. The United Nations force in Sinai and Gaza – established as an international “guarantee” for Israel in 1957 – was immediately withdrawn at a word of command from Cairo. The American President could not find in the state archives the record of promised made ten years earlier to insure Israel’s freedom of navigation. The American President and the British Prime Minister together were unable to get the United Nations Security Council (including the members who had joined in that promise) to consider the Egyptians’ demonstrative flouting of that freedom. Overnight, the gossamer safeguards by which Israel had been deluded were blown away. At that moment, it would have seemed unbelievable that should Israel once more by her own effort escape annihilation, the powers would subsequently once again press for and bully her into renewed renunciation of the minimum conditions of national security. Yet that is what happened. The governments of that great nations of the world have proved capable and willing to join in a campaign of pressure, which reeks at every pore of historic injustice, of a callous illogic, which countenances and promotes a monstrous historic fraud, which views calmly the elements of the planned ruin of the Jewish people for the second time in a generation, and which, moreover, insists that Israel acquiesce and cooperate in its consummation.
Yet there is a rational explanation for the behavior of these statesmen and politicians. They are not judges, moral arbiters, or teacher of righteousness. Each is engaged in pursuing the interests of his country as he sees it. If sentiment happens to accord with that interest, well and good. If not, sentiment must be over-ridden. If morality or justice happen to harmonize with a nation’s interest, excellent. If not, it is sad, but in politics, certainly in international relations, morality is expendable. All that is required are the appropriate words to cloak pragmatic policy with a semblance of respectability or, if a government is fortunate in its diplomatic draftsmen, even with a halo of sanctity.
The salient surface facts make the policy of the great powers understandable. It appears that, faced with alternatives, their choice can be frighteningly simple. On the one had are the Arab states, eighteen of them already in the United Nations Assembly, usually voting as a bloc, their combined population totaling some 100 million (potential consumers of goods), their industries in their infancy, and owning the richest oil-bearing area in the world, in which the Western powers, first of all America, have made huge investments and on which the countries of Western Europe are largely dependent for their oil supplies. On the other hand is Israel, with one vote at United Nations, with a consumer population, after the Six Day War, of no more than four million; Israel which has no oil to sell or withhold, where none of the nations has a substantial economic stake. In a conflict of interest, it is clear whose favors the pragmatic statesman will seek and whom he will be inclined to sacrifice.
There is nevertheless important and fascinating variety in the attitudes of the Western powers, and there is a gulf between them and the purposes of the Soviet Union.
The Simplistic attitude has been most pronounced in the policy of France. During the period of the British administration, successive French governments, while formally endorsing the Zionist purpose of the Mandate, remained cool to Zionism. Catholic influences, powerful in France, were on element at work; but the French also chose to regard Zionism as a British puppet that had been exploited ever since 1916 in Britain’s effort to eliminate French influence in the Levant. In 1920, France successfully pressed on Britain the crippling exclusion from Palestine of the part of upper Galilee containing the country’s vital water sources (disregarding the outraged protests, among others, of President Wilson of the United States). These were included, and remained unexploited, in southern Lebanon.
These circumstances changed after 1945. Weakened by the agony of the Second World War, “biffed” out of Syria and Lebanon by the British, France was now faced with a growing movement of revolt in her largely Arab North African colonies. Precisely at this stage, at the other end of the Mediterranean, the Jewish resistance movement brought about Britain’s relinquishment of the Mandate in Palestine. Britain was, however, actively trying to stage a partial comeback behind the hopefully victorious Arab armies in 1948. The first Arab attack on the nascent State of Israel, if successful, would have established Britain-Arab domination clear through from the Persian Gulf almost to the borders of the French dependencies in the Maghreb.
The French government therefore was more receptive to Jewish approaches for assistance and, from 1948, gave Israel an increasing measure of diplomatic aid and sold her most of the arms she required. This arrangement reached a climax when France collaborated with Israel in the Sinai campaign. Her policy of aid and cooperation (Israel was able to reciprocate in many fields) continued in substantial proportions until the Six Day War. A change of tone had, however, begun to appear soon after the French grant of independence to Algeria in 1959.
Having abandoned any form of overlordship in the Maghreb and having granted Arab demands, France now followed the pragmatic logic of circumstances and tried to establish the best possible relations with them and with all the Arab states. In the hope especially of gaining economic advantages in the Arab states, President De Gaulle gradually loosened the ties of friendship with Israel. The Six Day War presented him with the opportunity for a spectacular about-face. With magniloquent cynicism, he called Israel the aggressor because she had fired “the first shot (He unblushingly ignored the fact that even from that narrow technical viewpoint, Egypt had committed a flagrant act of war by blockading the Straits of Tiran – whose freedom France had, incidentally, joined in guaranteeing in 1957.) De Gaulle’s contrived moral censure was so severe that fifty aircraft purchased by Israel, and paid for, were impounded and never delivered.
The French government’s subsequent efforts to secure materials benefits from the Arab states were only partially successful. In Iraq, an attempt to obtain oil concessions failed, and by the spring of 1971, French relations with Algeria over the terms of oil supplies had become considerably strained. In other spheres, particularly the sale of arms, she had greater success. Thus, Libya bought 110 Mirage 3 aircraft from France, even though the country had only a handful of pilots. The balance of advantage remained in favor of a thoroughgoing pro-Arab policy.
As M. Schumann, the French Foreign Minister, pointed out in July 1971, this policy paid off precisely during the crisis with Algeria, when France was able to obtain oil from other Arab sources. There was thus no diminution in French diplomatic activity against Israel, nor in the promotion of every fantasy of Arab propaganda.
The attitude of the British was more complex. While France was engaged in establishing a new commercial foothold in the Arab states and to secure wherever possible the status of protector, Britain had not yet completed the process of formal disengagement from them. The fabulously wealthy oil principalities on the Persian Gulf still maintained a formal connection with Britain, though this was slated to end in 1972. Her direct oil interests there and in Iraq were especially substantial. These material considerations may explain why Britain, despite many rebuffs and disappointments at the hands of the Arabs, always finds herself able in all cordiality, to urge Israel to act against her own best interests. Britain’s attitude, however, appears to be influenced also by historic “ideology.” Those responsible for British policy have not yet forgiven the lowly Jews for having forced them to relinquish Palestine; and by some strange logic the doctrine governing policy toward Palestine has not changed since the days when Whitehall planned and shaped events from the Persian Gulf to the borders of Libya.
This was clear from the sometimes ludicrously anti-Israeli attitudes that continued to be struck by the ideological mentor of the Foreign Office, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and its faithful handmaiden, the BBC. It was given startling and authoritative definition in 1970 by the Minister of States in the outgoing Labor government, Alun Arthur Gwynne Jones (Lord Chalfont). Reviewing his six years of service at the Foreign Office and illustrating the conservatism of that establishment, he spelled out a list of the “fiercely protect… sacred symbols of the immutable aims” of British foreign policy. Among them, in the reasonable modern company of such subjects as “NATO” and “Anglo-American relations,” he includes what many even knowledgeable people probably thought long dead: “Laurentian Arabism.”
Considered from any possible angle, Laurentian Arabism has only one possible significance as a live issue in the context of today’s reality. With Arab sovereignty in the context of today’s reality. With Arab sovereignty established throughout the area envisaged by the Laurentians except for the one corner, the only possible remaining reason for the survival of “Laurentian Arabism” in the world of practical politics, and the thrust of its application, is the consummation of the pan-Arab dream in that remaining area. It means, in short, identification – perhaps unwitting, perhaps oblique, but unavoidable – with the pan-Arab theme of Israel’s destruction.
And what was the calculation that made it possible for the United States to endorse the Arab demands almost in their entirety? The so-called Rogers Plan of 1969 called for a withdrawal by Israel to the Armistice lines of 1949 with “insubstantial modifications.” Subsequent American statements in effect accepted the thesis that even after such withdrawal Israel would not be entitled to formal peace, In strict accordance with the Arab doctrine for the annihilation of Israel, “the rights of the refugees would have to be restored.”
The calculation dictating this policy was purely pragmatic – though that was undoubtedly not the only consideration in United States policy, which has always been characterized by system of checks and balances. At every critical phase in the conflict between Arabs and Israel, the pragmatic considerations have predominated. There is a heavy American economic stake in the oil of the Arab states. Already in 1948 it was described as the United States’ “greatest potential investment in a foreign country.” The spokesmen of the oil interests – warning of a nonexisting Arab threat to cut off oil supplies – were largely influential in 1948 both in the American government’s formal withdrawal of support for the 1947 partition plan and in the United States’ subsequent pressure of the Zionist leaders to “postpone” the declaration of the Jewish state. It was those interests which, together with the British government (which supplied the Arabs with arms), achieved the imposition of an American embargo calculated to operate only against Israel. It is a matter of simple arithmetic that if in 1948 Israel’s birth and her survival had depended on the help of the United States, the country would not have come into existence at all. The declared Arab plan for a campaign of destruction of Jewish life in Palestine to rival those of the Mongol hordes and the Crusaders – that is, genocide – would then have gone into operation.
It was only when Israel, with the help of the Soviet Union and France, and at heavy cost of life, had survived – had become, that is, an accomplished fact – that American policy once more turned a friendly eye and accorded substantial economic aid. The political bias favoring the Arabs remained predominant, however. It is now common knowledge that agents of the United States played a significant part in the consolidation of the Nasser regime in Egypt. At that time, American policymakers aimed at the elimination of British influence in Egypt, which accorded with Nasser’s purpose. They decided at the same time that Nasser was the predestined leader of the “Arab world,” that the shortest way to a special relationship with the Arabs in general was thus through Cairo.
When Nasser received from Czechoslovakia the first shipment of arms resulting from his deal with the Soviet Union in 1955, it was American CIA agents who advised him how to conceal from the British ambassador the fact that the agreement had been made with the USSR. They drafted Nasser’s communiqué that he had made the agreement with Czechoslovakia and gave Nasser’s reason for the deal as an act of selfdefense. When the ships carrying the tanks, guns, jet planes, and submarines arrived at Alexandria, Cairo Radio proclaimed: “Israel’s end is approaching. There will be no peace on the border. We demand revenge, and revenge means death to Israel.” Those were the arms Nasser poured into Sinai the following year for this projected offensive against Israel.
The same American agents whitewashed Nasser’s policies toward the other Arab States, including his campaigns of subversion and assassination. One of them has publicly likened his activities against leaders of other Arab states to the crushing of scabs by a trade-union leader (Copeland, p. 172). Even the imperialist-style Egyptian aggression against the Yemeni Arab people did not alienate them from Nasser. Indeed, the doctrinaire pragmatism of United States policy was no more vividly demonstrated than its complaisance toward the Egyptian invasion of Yemen.
In 1957, the United States government played the central role in saving the Egyptians from the consequences of their defeat in the Sinai campaign, persuading Israel to leave Sinai and Gaza for a second time and retreat into her indefensible 1949 Armistice borders.
It would be absurd to suggest that any American administration as such, or even a doctrinaire States Department, actively sought the destruction of Israel. On the contrary, the United States would be very saddened should any serious harm come to Israel or to its population, for whom there is undoubtedly much genuine affection in the country. The United States government after 1948 gave concrete evidence of its belief that the existence of Israel was in the American interest. Considerable economic Aid was given to Israel. It played a significant part in helping her battle with the unexampled problems of absorbing large numbers of refugees and other immigrants. After 1967, the United States took the place of France as the main source of Israel’s arms purchases. Throughout, the United States appeared to the world as Israel’s friend, incurring considerable antagonism from the Arabs for not denying Israel the minimal means of self-defense.
Ambivalence is at least as common a function of international relations as it is of ordinary human intercourse. It is the common formula for satisfying conflicting interests. The United States policy on the conflict between Israel and the Arabs has often reflected the differences between the stiffly pro-Arab oil-oriented State Department establishment and a usually more widely ranging, more sensitive, outlook in the White House. Hence, too, the sometimes surprising fluctuations in American foreign policy (as in the tug-ofwar between President Truman and his State Department in 1948).
The intrinsic merits of a pro-Arab policy have always been open to serious doubt on a longer view even of the pragmatic and political considerations – certainly in the case of Britain and the United States. But the politicians and bureaucrats who pursued it could always make out a case to themselves and their colleagues. That case, since the Six Day War, becomes increasingly irrelevant to the interests of the Western nations. The Western statesmen have appeared to be unaware of the vast geopolitical change taking place – a change that in fact reduces to insignificance their commercial and political bookkeeping. Clinging to the formula of giving back to the Arabs their domineering territorial status preceding the Six Day War, believing facilely that at most only Israel will be merely crippled thereby, they have in fact weakened the structure of Western defense, bringing into doubt the future of democracy and Western culture over large parts of the globe. They have ignored, or pretended to be unaware of, the connection between the metamorphosis already in progress in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East, and the far-ranging historic purpose of the intense activity by the Soviet Union over the oceans and continents.
The intervention of the Soviet Union was the most momentous, most far-reaching happening, in the development of Arab intransigence after 1948. Russian interest went far beyond the material considerations of trade benefits. The purpose of the Soviet Union and of its consequent activity was on the order of the historic adventures that brought about the vast colonial empires between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Planning in the context of the later twentieth century, employing its scientific and technical resources, employing the methods perfected in two generations of its own efforts at subversion, the Soviet Union is in the midst of one of the great imperialist leaps forward that have marked Russian policy for two hundred years.
In the nineteenth century, Russian expansionism, thrusting toward the Middle East and directed specifically against Turkey, created the so-called Eastern Question. It was halted by energetic British initiative at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. Other Tsarist essays in expansionism in the Far East and in Europe followed. Some proved successful; others were frustrated. The Communist regime set out on its own expansion after the Second World War. Its objectives were by then not secret – they had been made clear in the published documents of the Nazi regime. In Molotov’s Berlin dialogue with his Nazi allies in November 1940 on parceling out the British Empire after its projected dissolution by the Germans, it was the Persian Calf zone that the Soviet Foreign Minister demanded as the Soviet Union’s share of the spoils.
After the defeat of Germany and after the Soviets had established their dominion over the satellite states in Eastern and Central Europe, they turned once more to the Middle East. They directed their attentions and their pressures first to Turkey and Iran. Checked there by American steadfastness, they undertook a major effort to achieve domination of the rest of the zone. Success here would not only give them control of the Arab oil-bearing areas, but would also in, fact enable them to outflank Turkey and Iran from the south. The political strategy of the USSR in the Middle East after the Second World War presents a picture of pragmatism in action. For nearly thirty years the Soviet regime had outlawed Zionism and persecuted its supporters as “agents of British imperialism.” When they discovered that the success of the underground struggle for Jewish independence would mean the end of British rule in Palestine, they made gestures of sympathy. This was followed by strong and consistent diplomatic support for the proposal to establish a Jewish state. The USSR was the only power, apart from France, that supplied arms (through Czechoslovakia) to help the embattled state ward off the Arab invaders and prevent a British comeback in 1948.
The brief collaboration with Zionism having achieved its object, it was terminated abruptly. With the end of the British presence in Egypt came the injection of direct Soviet influence. No genius in Moscow was required to realize that in the Middle East spheres of influence, bases, staging posts, and jumping-off grounds toward consummation of Mother Russia’s historic destiny could be acquired only through friendly relations with the Arab states. By the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union appeared in the arena as the champion of the Arabs against “Zionism and imperialism.” Through identification with the Arab purpose and supplying arms and aid in unprecedented quantities and on most generous terms in the decade that followed the Soviet Union won increasing influence in the Arab states. Egypt and Syria were the main recipients, but help was also accorded to Iraq, Algeria, the Yemeni republic, and Southern Yemen. By the middle of 1971, the Soviet Union had invested civil and military aid to the value of nearly five billion dollars in the Arab states, more than half of which went to Egypt.
In constant dynamic thrust the Soviets developed and extended their objectives southward. They sought to widen their foothold of influence on the East African littoral down to the gates of South Africa and to establish a substantial presence in the Indian Ocean. Soviet activity in East Africa derived greater impulse from the need to compete with the growing influence of China.
Soviet penetration was comprehensive. Precisely like the classic “capitalist” imperialists of earlier centuries, the Russians established economic footholds, fostered military dependence, vigorously inseminated and propagated their ideology.
“It is not difficult,” one perceptive historical, writer of our times has written, “to envisage – given the necessary acquiescence – a great Soviet Empire of the future in which the Soviet Union, with perhaps some territory still to be annexed to it, would form the ‘united provinces,’ while the rest is left to be directly administered through native princes and tributary chiefs, no doubt suitably emblazoned with the left-wing equivalents of imperial style and titulature.”
It is an ironic fact that it was the Soviet Union itself that played a major part in forcing on Israel the role of barring its imperial progress. Moscow provoked the Arab leaders into opening the war of June1967, by proclaiming the imminence of an Israeli attack on Syria. Nasser confirmed this circumstance in big broadcast of June 9, 1967. Levi Eshkol, the Israeli Prime Minister, immediately invited the, Soviet ambassador to accompany him to the Syrian border to see for himself that no Israeli troops were concentrated there, but the ambassador refused (UN Document A/PV/1526, p. 37). The Soviet Union presumably helped the Arabs believe that the conditions laid down for victory already existed. The USSR may have believed that the Arab states could crush Israel quickly while the United Nations were still engaged in discussion. The Soviet delegate to the United Nations delayed the speedy adoption of a ceasefire resolution which might force to a halt the destruction of Israel that was being described in the official Arab communiques and news reports. He realized too late that he was the victim of a fantasy. By the time a ceasefire was achieved, the Israeli Army stood along the Suez Canal and the Jordan— and was established in depth on the Golan Heights.
The presence of Israeli forces on the banks of the Jordan and on the Golan Heights was of no immediate concern to the Soviet Union.. Their presence, on the Suez Canal, however, brought in its train a severe blow to Russia’s operational schedule and long-range plans for expansion. The Egyptian dictator closed the Canal, he would not countenance its being reopened while Israel controlled its East Bank. By this entirely unexpected outcome of the war, the Soviet supply train to North Vietnam was disrupted and the vast Russian move across the world was brought into disarray.
During the 1960s, the Soviet Union quietly established its power throughout the Mediterranean area. It acquired bases covering the complete length of the sea. Its vessels put in not only at Port Said, Alexandria, and Matruh in Egypt, but also at Latakia in Syria in the east and at Mers-el-Kebir in Algeria in the west. Without much noise, Algeria became the central base of Soviet power in the western Mediterranean. Algeria threatened, after all, by no one – was supplied 150 Mig aircraft, 3,000 Soviet advisers were installed in the country, Soviet Tupolev planes flew in and out of bases at Laghouat and Ouargla, and a missile base came into being at La Calle. All these face Western Europe. A force of between forty and sixty warships of various kinds became a standard feature of the Mediterranean scene.
The Mediterranean Sea was indeed bursting at the seams with Soviet activity. For the Soviet Union intended it to be more than a base; it was also to be a corridor. Part of the concentration of power in the Mediterranean was designed for application in the vast area south and east of Suez, where traditional Russian ambitions were now merging with new modem horizons. Southward and eastward in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, there were, by 1971, clear signs of the beginnings of Soviet penetration. At Aden in the South Yemeni republic, Soviet vessels enjoyed the facilities once possessed by the British Royal Navy. At Socotra, an island also belonging to that republic, the Russians planned the establishment of a base. In the southern Indian Ocean, they concluded an agreement for facilities on Mauritius. In the eastern Indian Ocean, they were negotiating for base facilities at Trincomalee in Ceylon. Their actual use of facilities, however, remained sparse – because the short passage through the Suez Canal was barred. Soviet vessels can reach the Indian Ocean and any point on earth by the roundabout route across the Pacific Ocean or by way of the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean, then along the West African seaboard and around the Cape of Good Hope.
Communications are also maintained by other than naval means. But these possibilities provided only a comparative trickle. For the Soviet grand design, for the strong swinging flow of ships and goods and guns, for sheer ubiquitous Soviet presence whenever and wherever required south and east of Suez, the Canal is still irreplaceable. The most intensive pressure was exerted on Israel to withdraw from the Canal. In this effort, the Soviet Union and Egypt were given consistent public support by the United States, against whom the Soviet strategy is primarily directed.
There is indeed a startling similarity between the psychology of United States policy toward the Soviet Union in the Middle East at this time and the British appeasement of Germany in the 1930s, which led to the Munich Pact, the piecemeal subjugation of Czechoslovakia, and the Second World War.
The consequences of a withdrawal by Israel in Sinai could be foreseen as clearly as were the obvious consequences of the surrender to Hitler of the Sudetenland with its formidable fortifications. Israeli withdrawal from Sinai would almost certainly be followed within days by an Egyptian armed occupation of Sinai. The base for a new offensive against an attenuated Israel could thus be built up. Or such an offensive might merely be threatened and the concentration of force used to impose a permanent state of siege on Israel, confined behind a long, vulnerable land fine. The maintenance of permanent large-scale mobilization would have disastrous consequences for Israel’s economy and her very way of life. The Soviet Union might, it is true, oppose the Arab plan for the complete physical destruction of Israel, finding it more useful to reserve a place in her imperial system for a small, dependent Israel.
The Soviet presence would be free to move on the large objectives when conditions permitted establishing hegemony over Saudi Arabia. While Soviet warships maintained a westerly warning presence in the Red Sea along the southern shore of the Arabian Peninsula and in the Persian Gulf on the cast, and while a demonstrative base in Sinai warded off any interference across the land border, it would probably need no more than an Egyptian political offensive against Saudi Arabia to bring about the establishment of a republican “progressive” government to take over from the Wahabite king. If forces were required, Egypt’s resources would be adequate for this purpose.
To Turkey and Iran – whose northern borders march with the Soviet’s – the full arrival of Soviet Power in their strategic rear in an encircling posture, with a now fading Israel their only buffer on the south, would be the irrefutable proof of Soviet supremacy and of the valuelessness of American and of NATO plans and undertakings. There would then be no sense in their resisting the Soviet embrace. The Soviet Union moving forward in full confidence and with the heightened purpose of a triumphant imperialism, would in that case not need decades to establish itself. Both in the Middle East and in Africa there would be no lack of local leaders to extend the appropriate invitations and to open the required doors for speeding the process. The outflanking of southern Europe would then assume its full dramatic significance. At that point, the only way for the West to try to halt the Soviet advances would be by war.
Such a prospect, or the alternative of a bloodless Soviet victory, is certainly not inevitable. Of all the lessons to be learned from the recent history of the Soviet Union’s expansionism not the least important is its refusal to risk war for objectives outside Europe. It gained much by the comparatively peaceful means of shows of force against European satellites, such as Hungary or Czechoslovakia, or by purchasing advantage, as in some Arabic and some black African states. The USSR certainly does not contemplate a major war.
The United States itself has had first-hand experience of the Soviet Union’s backing down, even risking loss of face, when confronted by a resistant attitude. In Turkey, in Iranian Azerbaijan, and most incisively in Cuba, the pattern of retreat was unequivocal. The Soviet Union has been likened by United States Senator Henry Jackson to a burglar going down a hotel corridor trying the doors and going in only when he finds one unlocked.
Even now, after the opening of the Suez Canal, with its tremendous advantages to the Soviet Union, this pattern has not changed. The opening of the Canal did probably serve as a spur to the Soviet adventure in Angola – by sending Cuban troops to intervene. Growing military strength too increases Soviet self-confidence. Yet it is quite safe to say that the USSR will not risk getting herself involved in a major war.
The vilification of Israel has, of course, been an essential part of the campaign against her. The Soviet dissenting liberal, Andrei Amalrik, wrote a book published in the West under the title Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? Amalrik himself would no doubt agree that in important respects the Soviet Union has long ago reached 1984, has survived, and is indeed flourishing. The Soviet Union has transmuted absolutely the concept of truth. Truth, if it does not serve the immediate Soviet interest, enjoys the status of a crime, a hindrance, at best an irrelevance. Amalrik himself was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for writing his book and publishing it abroad. According to reports in the summer of 1971, he was sent to one of the labor camps in the far north. At any given moment, Moscow will be found to be supplying the world with information especially composed to suit the purpose the country is at that moment pursuing. Inanities, nonsense of all degrees, and, most particularly, denunciation of her victims or its opponents for actions and policies of which she is guilty, are repeated and reiterated and disseminated through many channels until some people begin to believe some of them. One of the leading experts in the West on the policy and methods of the Soviet Union has described Soviet propaganda as “an amalgam of truth and falsehood.”
“There is a great deal of whispering campaigning,” he notes, “and a great deal of untrue information as well as exploitation of things that are true.”
Propaganda campaigns of this kind are directed with special energy and persistence against those who obstruct the Soviet Union in its expansionism.. Such victims were, for example, the Yugoslav government during Stalin’s day, the more liberal Czech leaders in 1948 and again in 1968, the Western powers over the years because of their defense of Western Europe – especially the United States which, for all its weaknesses and errors had tried to counter Soviet expansion in various parts of the world. What evil, what crime, was not attributed to each of them?
Zionism has been a principal target for most of the Soviet era. Inevitably Israel, the ordained “puppet of Western imperialism” and, in her own right, an “aggressor” and “expansionist,” has been the object of one of the more comprehensive campaigns of Soviet denunciation. In this the Soviets are ideally mated with the Arab fantasists.
A study of the Western press during the past twenty five years would reveal astonishing, if spasmodic, support for various Soviet themes designed to lull Russia’s victims or undermine her opponent. Widespread ignorance in the West of the character of the Soviet regime has helped its brainwashing campaign achieve notable successes in camouflaging its own ambitions and even its short-range purposes. This is notably true of the campaign of the Soviets, in partnership with the Arabs, against Israel. Because of their desire to support or at least not to anger the Arabs, Western governments have countenanced, if only by silence, and organs of opinion have helped to disseminate, wildly mendacious propaganda against Israel A major example is that none of the Western governments has said a single word to refute the Soviet-Arab “axiom” that Israel was the aggressor in 1967. Again, the most fantastic versions of the events accompanying the birth of the Arab refugee problem in 1948 are published as established fact in Western newspapers that do not even bother to check their own back files and the reports of their own correspondents at the time.
Predictably, this propaganda has been welcomed and supported by all the traditional enemies of the Jews. A motley collection of bedfellows has in fact collaborated since 1967 in berating and besmirching Israel. Russian, Chinese, and Yugoslav Communists, feudal and republican Arabs, American capitalist oil companies and nihilist New Left patrons of mythical underdogs, British Laurentian and post-Laurentian pan-Arabists, French exponents of calculating Gaullism–all are to be found rubbing shoulders in the same gallery. They have been joined by old-style anti-Semites: The so-called philo-Semitic period that followed the revelations of the Nazi Holocaust and awakened a flickering of conscience in the Christian world has gradually evaporated, and from many parts of the world – including Germany – come warning signals of renewed anti-Semitic activity and respectability. Where anti-Semites have not dared to undertake organized action against local Jewish communities, long-suppressed anti-Jewish feelings have found an outlet in the dissemination of every possible libel on the State of Israel and its people. In the unfolding story of our time, the restored Jewish state, for all the strength and self-confidence it has injected into the still dispersed Jewish people – and maybe because of them – has become the focus, the ready-to-hand target of the anti-Semites.
The Catholic Church, which played a leading role over the centuries in the persecution of the Jews and in the indoctrination of contempt and hatred for Jews in generation after generation, and which in our time has been active in trying to prevent the Jewish restoration, has indeed in recent years (notably at the instance of the saintly Pope John XXIII and his school) relaxed its harsh attitude toward the Jewish people and many are the ardent forward-looking Catholics who would seek a fuller rapprochement. However, a hard core of influential makers of policy in the Church continues to cherish and to foster the doctrine that the very revival of the Jewish state is intolerable. By sheer logic, they hope for the reversal of the Jewish restoration. As long as the State of Israel was excluded from the Old City of Jerusalem – which is the historic Holy City – the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine could, no doubt, still be rationalized as not being a real “restoration.” (And the Arabs vandalistic destruction of Jewish synagogues and desecration of Jewish graves in the City could perhaps be accepted as further evidence of God’s will.) But now that Israel governs the whole City, what happens to the doctrine that the Jews could not and must not be restored and must be eternally punished because of their rejection of Christ?
The very benevolence of Israeli rule, the relaxed liberalism, operating since 1967, for the first time in history, under which all the religious sects in the City have had equally free and unconditioned access to their Holy Places, only emphasizes a Jewish sovereignty that requires no bans on other religions for its self-assertion or destruction of their property for its self-assurance.
Strangely enough, despite many centuries of the Church’s expertise in the dissemination of ideas, its spokesmen have not found any better public means of combating Israel than the Soviet and Arab method. Thus, as an example, a reputable Vatican journal published in the summer of 1971 an article by a Vatican official, Professor Federico Alessandrini alleging Israeli desecration of Christian cemeteries in Jerusalem. The account he gave was an uncritical repetition of a story disseminated for years by the Arab propaganda machine in Beirut.
The interests of the variegated front of warriors waging the propaganda and psychological warfare against Israel and themselves varied and often conflicting. Uniformity is, however, easily achieved by invoking in their support such semantic euphonies as justice, humanity, and even peace, all of which their activities are most calculated to undermine and destroy.
To maintain a correct perspective, it must be said that while Israel – and indeed the Jewish people at large – have been an outstanding target of pragmatism and cynicism, they are not alone in this role. In our time, we have been and still are witnesses to severe, and even gruesome, examples of smaller, weaker peoples being crushed politically and even physically.
A special tragic fate has been borne by Czechoslovakia, which has been subjugated three times in a generation. In 1938, collaboration existed between her would-be destroyers and the leaders of Western democracy, of which she herself was an honest and justly admired exponent. At that time, most blatantly, Western democratic organs of opinion (notably the London Times) depicted Czechoslovakia as the obstinate villain frustrating the search for justice by a peace-loving and reasonable Adolf Hitler. A second time, in 1948, barely three, years after the restoration of her independence, she was forced by a combination of subversion and brutality into the Soviet orbit. The Western democracies remained neutral. Twenty years later, when the Czech leaders tried to free themselves even partially from the Soviet straitjacket and to humanize the Communist way of life, the Western powers tacitly acquiesced in the Soviet invasion and in the brutal crushing of the Czech leaders and of the liberalizing reforms they had begun to introduce.
Other small peoples have had to suffer the interlocking effects of imperialist brutality and the pragmatic complaisance of the world’s democratic powers. For five years, from 1962 to 1967, the Western nations looked on and gave aid and comfort to the Egyptians who, in pursuit of their imperialist purpose (primarily to gain control of Saudi Arabia and its fabulous oil wealth), carried out an aggressive invasion of Yemen. The invasion was spearheaded by air attacks, with liberal use of napalm bombs, against the rural civilian population. Even sympathy for the certainly innocent Yemeni villagers was minimal. Not only governments bear that guilt. The combined front of self-declared humanist intellectuals, liberals, and Socialists, looked the other way or gave their propaganda support to the “progressive” invaders.
Acquiescence also accompanied the killing of vast numbers of Ibo people in Biafra by the forces of the Nigerian government in their effort to put an end to the striving for Ibo autonomy. In this instance there was international and even indeed Interbloc collaboration. There was no remonstrance against, the active intervention of Egypt and the Soviet Union, who carried out low-flying air attacks on defenseless lbo villages. The Nigerian forces were armed by Britain. The United States looked on. Probably a million people were killed or died of hunger in the two years between 1967 and the collapse of the Biafran struggle.
For several years, quietly, a campaign of large-scale extermination was in progress against the Nilotic Negro people of southern Sudan. A community of pagans and Christians, they dislike and resent the oppressive and discriminating rule of the northern Arab Moslems. When they raised the banner of autonomy, the Sudanese Army launched a merciless slaughter of the population, combatant and noncombatant alike. According to the findings of visiting journalists, at least half a million people were exterminated. This operation, too, enjoyed the active support in arms and material, and even some personnel, of Egypt and the Soviet Union. It proceeded with the silent acquiescence of the Western states, none of which lifted a finger to help the hard-pressed southerners or even to admonish the Khartoum government. No voice was raised in protest. In this conflict, too, the United Nations found that it had no role to play. Appeals to the Secretary General by spokesmen for the Nilotic Negroes remained unanswered.
The grim series has been supplemented – one dare not say completed – by the unbelievable tragedy that overtook the people of East Pakistan in the spring and summer of 1971. In this conflict, the principles on which Western democracy prides itself were trampled underfoot; every human value was crushed. On this tragedy there was indeed no silence. Despite the efforts of the Pakistani government to prevent the spread of information, journalists succeeded in conveying the truth of the events in East Pakistan.
In March 1971, the ruling party in Pakistan was defeated in a general election by East Bengali autonomists. Instead of handing over the reins of office, the defeated government sent the army to crush the autonomist movement The army set about systematically liquidating intellectuals and other leaders, an action that developed into an operation of mass extermination. Harrowing eyewitness reports of deliberate slaughter of men, women, and children, of dead bodies littering the streets or being carried down the river, sketched out the quality and the scope of the massacre. People began to flee into neighboring India. By the end of October, ten million refugees were estimated to have crowded into the poverty-stricken, already overcrowded Indian province of West Bengal. Extreme squalor, hunger, and disease reigned among this stricken mass of people. Many countries sent food and medical supplies. Altogether they could achieve but slight amelioration.
Finally, a meaningful military offensive against Pakistan by India, bringing about the secession of East Bengal, made possible the return of the refugees to their often devastated houses. The behavior of West Pakistan did not alter her status: She remained an honored member of the world community. No government so much as recalled an ambassador in protest either at the crushing of democracy or at the mass murder. The United States continued to supply the Pakistani government with arms. Nor was this concentrated agony of a whole people a matter of concern to the United Nations. The people of East Bengal, too, now discovered that that organization, which sponsored the Declaration of Human Rights, was last source from which they could expect succor. That is the way of the world, and the United Nations is no more than a faithful sounding board of its constituents. The powerful and the influential use it at will, or ignore it at will, or silence it at will, for their purpose. It could not, it seems, be otherwise.
We would like to thank ShmuelKatz.com for providing us with the material for this article. This article is republished with the permission of David Isaac, e-Editor of ShmuelKatz.com. For republishing rights please contact David Isaac directly at David_Isaac@ShmuelKatz.com.
About the author,
Shmuel “Mooki” Katz, born Samuel Katz (9 December 1914 – 9 May 2008) was an Israeli writer, member of the first Knesset, publisher, historian and journalist. He is also known for his research on Jewish leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky.
Katz was born in 1914 in South Africa, and in 1930 he joined the Betar movement. In 1936 he immigrated to Mandate Palestine and joined the Irgun. In 1939 he was sent to London by Ze’ev Jabotinsky to speak on issues concerning Palestine. While there he founded the revisionist publication “The Jewish Standard” and was its editor, 1939–1941, and in 1945. In 1946 Katz returned to Mandate Palestine and joined the HQ of the Irgun where he was active in the aspect of foreign relations. He was one of the seven members of the high command of the Irgun, as well as a spokesman of the organization.
In 1948 Katz assisted in the bringing of the ship, Altalena to the shores of Israel. Shmuel Katz was one of the founders of the Herut political party and served as one of its members in the First Knesset. In 1951 he left politics and managed the Karni book publishing firm. He was co-founder of The Land of Israel Movement in 1967, and in 1971 he helped to create Americans for a Safe Israel.
In 1977 Katz became “Adviser to the Prime Minister of Information Abroad” to Menachem Begin. He accompanied Begin on two trips to Washington and was asked to explain some points to President Jimmy Carter. He quit this task on January 5, 1978 because of differences with the Cabinet over peace proposals with Egypt. He refused the high prestige post of UN ambassador. Katz was then active with the Tehiya party for some years and later with Herut – The National Movement after it split away from the ruling Likud. He also has written for the Daily Express and The Jerusalem Post. (source: wikipedia and shmuelkatz.com)