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May 25, 2021 72 mins

Robert is joined by Dana El Kurd to discuss the Netanyahu Family, Zionism and Palestine.

FOOTNOTES:

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-18008697net
  2. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/benjamin-quot-bibi-quot-netanyahu 
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/opinion/incitement-movie.html 
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/31/assassination-yitzhak-rabin-never-knew-his-people-shot-him-in-back 
  5. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1990-06-22-mn-431-story.html 
  6. https://www.ampalestine.org/palestine-101/history/intifadas/first-intifada-historical-overview 
  7. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171209-remembering-the-first-intifada-2/
  8. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/12/world/middleeast/netanyahu-west-bank-settlements-israel-election.html 
  9. https://apnews.com/article/fef216bbfc30edfe50c910521fad6e3d 
  10. https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/2020-occupied-territories-heinous-killings-settler-violence 
  11. https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/benjamin-netanyahu/who-is-benjamin-netanyahu-580010
  12. https://www.history.com/news/gaza-conflict-history-israel-palestine 
  13. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2018/05/10/mowing-the-grass-and-the-force-casualty-tradeoff/ 
  14. https://www.ampalestine.org/palestine-101/history/intifadas/second-intifada-introduction 
  15. https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/jcs/article/view/220/378 
  16. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-pale-of-settlement 
  17. https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/what-is-nakba-palestine-israel-conflict-explained-1948 
  18. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/5/19/nakba-survivors-share-their-stories-of-loss-and-hope 
  19. https://theintercept.com/2018/02/19/hamas-israel-palestine-conflict/ 


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
What ah ship boy. Now, any introduction I could make
like that for this episode is just going to be
in poor taste. This is Behind the Bastards, UM, a
podcast that is never introduced well and wasn't introduced well
this time. But at least I stopped myself from getting
into major trouble. Are you proud? So Ki proud? The

(00:21):
training has worked? So today we have a special motherfucker
of a tale for for everyone. UM. Obviously, if you've
been like even paying the least bit of attention to
the news, UM, you will notice that a lot of
terrible ethnic cleansing or ethnic cleansing adjacent stuff has been
going on in Palestine, or has been done in Palestine

(00:44):
recently by the Israeli government. UM. We have not really
delved into any of that conflict or it's bastards. And
today we're going to talk about the Net and Yahoo family. UM.
And because this is well outside of my wheelhouse, our
guest today is doctor Donna el kerd um, an Assistant professor,

(01:05):
PhD in political science and author of Polarized and Demobilized
Legacies of Authoritarianism in Palestine. Uh, Danna, how are you
doing today? I'm okay. The time difference is gonna make
me perhaps not the most lucid, but it'll be fine.
Yeah you are. It's like late at night for you,
it's unspeakably early in the morning for me. So, um,

(01:30):
that's like a normal human six am for Robert. I
was gonna sympathize, but I no longer a sympathize. You
should not. Um, Dana, could you want to give a
little bit of your background here, just kind of before
we get we get started on the episode today, Yeah,
like like personal professional background. Yeah. So so, Um, I'm

(01:53):
from Jerusalem, Uh, born there, and I lived there for
some time and then I Um, I had kind of
a weird topsy turvity tale. But I went to Japan
and then I went to the United States. UM and
I received a PhD from the University of Texas at
Austin in putical science in government. UM and I specialize
in compared to politics and international relations, with a focused

(02:15):
on Palestine. UM And well generally yeah, yeah, and I'm
happy to have you one. I'm happy to be talking
about this because, like I think, there's there's a couple
of reasons people don't talk about what's happening in Palestine enough.
One of them is kind of the almost insurmountable, well,
it seems less insurmountable now than it ever has, but

(02:36):
like almost insurmountable level of kind of thoughtless, inherent sympathy
to Israel that is built into the US education system
and to our media system, to the way that stories
are framed. There was a great New York not a
great New York Times article, but a New York Times
article that was a great example of this recently where
they they talked about the number of Israelis killed by
Hamas rockets and the number of Palestinians who died and

(02:58):
that were killed by like just died like okay dead
out of yeah sympathy, And it's um so I so,
I think that's one reason why this doesn't get enough coverage.
But I think a reason why people like myself who
are inherently sympathetic to the Palestinian um cause maybe don't
cover this enough is um the historical complexity. And when

(03:21):
I say complexity, I'm not talking about the complexity of
the morality of the situation, because I don't think it's
particularly complex. I think it's an ethnic cleansing, but the
history is and I think when you like one of
the things that has stopped me for maybe covering this
as much as I would have wanted is um, I
get so nervous when I try to figure out how
to talk about the history, because there's a lot that

(03:43):
goes on, not just with the history UH since n
in Palestine, but with the history of the Zionist movement there.
Like it's just a shipload of stuff has gone on.
So today we're gonna be talking about the net and
Yahoo family and their role in Zionism, and we're also
going to be kind of giving an overview of how
that kind of played into two more broadly, the ongoing

(04:03):
UM I mean ethnic cleansing and Palistina. I can't really
use that phrase enough, I don't think so. UM I
mean kudos for using it, I'd say that's not the
common one that's used. If the if the UH series
of government actions taken to remove a religious and ethnic

(04:24):
group from its homeland fits uh. I know that's where
we were going on that one. So UM Yeah, I
kind of thought a lot about how to actually cover this,
and I feel like, because this is behind the bastards,
UM are strong point is covering individuals and people who
are particularly shitty, and I think kind of the Net
and Yahoo family is a good way to ground this

(04:45):
because of how central they've been to a lot of
everything that's happened there over the last I don't know,
eighty some years, seventy some years, how many years has
been since night like, yeah, seventy one. Um. So there
are a lot of sources for this episode. A key
one was the book b b by Ansel Feffer Um.

(05:07):
And I think there's some folks who are better versed
in the history of the region that could bring some
criticisms of this book, But to me, it seemed like
a really fair and very critical look at both Net
and Yahoo bab Net and Yahoo and the Net and
Yahoo family, um. And it gives a lot of detail
about kind of the the early Zionist movement. So we're
gonna start by talking about Babie's grandpa, whose name was

(05:27):
Nathan Milikowski, and he was born in eighteen seventy nine
in the village of Kreva in modern Belarus. Now. At
that time the area was part of the Russian Empire,
and as the documentary Fiddler on the Roof shows, it
was not a great time and a place to be
Jewish the Russian Empire the eighteen seventies, a lot of
real bad things happening there. Um, roughly five million Jewish
people lived in what was called the Pale of Settlement. Now,

(05:49):
this was a clearly defined area of territory within the
Russian Empire where Jewish people were legally allowed to reside,
and it was illegal to be a Jewish person living
outside of the Pale of Settlement, which is not a
situation that I think would seem familiar to any people
living at Balastine today. Now, um, if Jewish people left

(06:11):
or traded in other parts of Russia, they could be arrested.
And it is worth noting that when these laws were
first laid down in the fifteen hundreds or so, everybody
in Russia who wasn't a noble had this kind of
limited freedom of movement. Right, Most people were serfs, they
were slaves bound to the land. So in the fifteen hundreds,
when the Pale of Settlement is established, the Jewish Jewish
people in Russia are not the only people who were

(06:32):
restricted from moving this way. Right, Russia's a horrific autocracy.
I mean, it's still kind of is, but it was
an even worse one back then um when serfdom ended,
though and freedom of movement was extended to the mass
of citizens, Russian Jews remained restricted. And that's kind of
like the eighteen hundreds now. The Czars in this period
were absolute monarchs, and the reasons for restricting their reasons

(06:54):
for restricting Jewish businesses from operating in parts of the
Empire were generally as petty as believing there were too
many Jewish innkeepers in a specific like part of the Empire,
like Poland, and wanting to put a stop to that.
The Czars also opened parts of the Russian frontier up
to Jewish habitation when they wanted to colonize those areas,
though so they both restricted them and used them as
colonizing agents in areas like Ukraine. By the end of

(07:18):
the eighteen hundreds, things had started to open up a little,
but it was not an even process, as this quote
from the Jewish Virtual Library makes clear. Quote. The Jews
hoped that these regulations would prove to be the first
steps towards the complete abolition of the pale of settlement. However,
they were disappointed when these alleviations came to a complete
halt after eighteen eighty one, as part of the general
reaction in Russia at this period. The Temporary Laws of

(07:39):
eighteen eighty one prohibited any new settlement by Jews outside
towns and townlets. In the pale of settlement, Jews who
had been living in villages before the publication of the
decree were authorized to reside in those same villages. Only
the peasants were granted the right of demanding the expulsion
of the Jews who lived among them. The decrees were
bound up with intensified administrative pressure, brutality by local authorities,
and the systematic acceptance of bribery on the part of

(08:01):
the lower administrative ranks. So that's kind of the situation
in Russia in this period. When Nathan Milikowski grows up
and that's Babie's grandpa again. Um, Now, his family is
dirt poor, Probably not a big surprise given everything we've
talked about. His dad is basically a subsistence farmer. But
Nathan is gifted and is immediately kind of noted as
being very intelligent and marked to go to a yeshiva,

(08:24):
which is a religious school. Uh. Now, his family was
so poor that the entire village had to take up
a collection to fund his education. Education. At that time,
rabbinical students and Nathan is a rabbinical student, were forbidden
from studying anything but religion, so it was like illegal
for kids in the ashiva to study math, science, foreign languages.
Part of this was because Russia had a jew quota

(08:45):
in university, so you couldn't have more than a certain
number of Jewish people out of college. UM. And another
part of it was there there's a lot of weird
Russian laws bound up in this, but the gist of
it is that a lot of kids in the Yeshiva
are like illegally studying not just ath but socialism and
communism at nighttime, which is why so many socialist revolutionaries
in the late eighteen hundreds early nineteen hundreds in Russia

(09:07):
were Jewish. UM. By the time that Nathan was starting
his education of the eighteen nineties, UM anarchism and communism
had gotten to be like increasingly popular underground topics in
the Yeshiva, and a lot of kids, like Yeshiva students
on the left, were leaving school to take part in
growing movements against the czar. Nathan was not one of these.

(09:27):
He was taken by a very different strain of radicalism
what was known as Hovevi Zion or the Lovers of Zion,
and these are one of the first European Zionist movements. Uh.
In short, the members of Hovevi Zion believed that the
Jews of Europe needed to immigrate to what had historically been,
you know, the biblical land of Israel, which at that
point was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Nathan fell in

(09:50):
love with this idea, which was at the time widely
panned by the most influential Russian rabbis of the day,
who felt like, no, we we've gained a lot in
the way of rights, unless we need to like stay
here and continue to be you know, part of the
Russian state. Um. Now, among the most influential Hovevi Zion
advocates was a French Jewish journalist named Theodore herzel Um.
And herzel was again French, so he covered the dry

(10:14):
Fust affair in Paris in eighteen ninety four, which we've
talked about before in this show. And he was so
horrified by the rise of the anti Semitic French right
and the dry Fist affair. Is this Jewish French officer
gets accused of passing secrets to the Russian He was innocent,
but it became this whole culture war issue. Um and
Herzel is so horrified by this that he decided, you know,

(10:34):
basically the only option a Zionism because there's so much
anti Semitism. Theodore was a secular Zionist. Um. He was
not particularly religious. His advocacy for Zionism had really nothing
to do with the religion itself. It had to do
with more with kind of the anti Semitism that Jewish
people faced, and it was very much you know Earlier's

(10:55):
the kind of the modern manifestation of these ideas is
very much like, uh, a product of their time, given
kind of rising nationalist sentiment um in certain parts of
Europe and certain even certain parts of the real least
um under the Ottoman Empire. So it's it's kind of
like they're expressing their need for you know, self determination

(11:16):
and dignity through these this lens of like nationalism. Yeah,
and it's it's it is very time, Yeah, I mean,
because that you're you're right, it is important to note
this is a global movement that's a big part of
like at the end of World War One. There's this
understanding of like the right of national self determination, which
is never evenly applied or even particularly honestly applied, but

(11:36):
that idea becomes increasingly common UM, and it is like
these these Jews in different European countries are seeing other
groups UM kind of establish a national identity and they
start to feel and it is very much motivated by
horrific repression because there's a lot of programs in this
period of time, right, there's a lot of murders, so

(11:58):
it is there's a there's a a strong kind of
defensive element to this. You can understand like why this
would be so appealing to people dealing with the kind
of ship that they're dealing in this period of time. UM.
And Nathan Milikowski was kind of on the more religious
side of the Zionist things, so Herzel is a more
influential figure in this time UM, but he's secular. Milikowski

(12:21):
is kind of influenced directly by radical Zionist rabbis UM.
But he still winds up because this is just kind
of the thing that is easiest to do at the time,
was preaching on the more secular end of Zionism. He
never served as a rabbi despite being ordained. Basically, as
soon as he gets out of the Yeshiva, he starts
traveling around the Russian Empire giving speeches to drum up

(12:42):
interest in the Zionist project. In nineteen o three, British Zionists,
supported by Herzel backed the Uganda Plan, which would have
established a new Jewish homeland in East Africa, presumably without
asking to people who already lived there. And again, you know,
this is a Jewish Zionist movement, but it's also British,
which is why they're saying, like, well, why couldn't we
just take a bunch of lantin Africa? Africa seems fine,

(13:07):
there's anybody they're um now that said, like, so you've
got this mix of really privileged, wealthy imperialists but also
a lot of desperate Russians who are like, yeah, Uganda
sounds a hell of a lot better than Russia right now?
Why not? Um? And this is uh kind of mixed
in with like. Part of why the Uganda Plan seems

(13:30):
like a good idea to a lot of people at
the time is that the the Ottoman Empire is pretty
strictly refusing to allow their Jewish population any kind of autonomy. Um,
of course, they're the Ottoman Empire. They're not really big
on autonomy, being an empire. Um, it's kind of any yeah,
for any minority group. Yeah, it's not like they're not

(13:52):
they're not even particularly um oppressing the Jews if you
want to, like, look at what they did to the
Armenians is much worse. So it's certainly like they're not
picking on Jewish people purely here. Um. So the Uganda
plan is really popular among Zionists for a while, but
it's not popular with Nathan Milikowski. He rejects the plan
specifically because he was afraid it might work and that

(14:13):
would stop Zionists from trying to retake the Holy Land. Now,
the Uganda Plan obviously fell apart before too long, and
after that happened, European Zionism split into two groups. There
were the political Zionists, who sought to convince one of
the great powers generally Great Britain to give them a
charter for a Jewish commonwealth and Palestine. And then there

(14:34):
were the practical Zionists, who thought that Jews should raise
money to immigrate to Zion and build a legal settlements
there and that that was the way to establish. One
side is like, if we convince a great power to
give us a state, that's the best option. The other
side is, well, we should just raise money, move their
start communities and then eventually have enough power to fight

(14:54):
for our independence. There. So those are kind of the
two chunks of the Zionist movement after the Uganda Plan
um in nineteen o seven at the eighth Zionist Congress,
these are like, you know, big yearly events where everybody
talks about how you're gonna how you're gonna do with
zionis um um. At the eighth point of these, Nathan
accuses delegates in favor of the Uganda Plan of quote
betraying all the generations um, which is there's this idea

(15:18):
um within we'll talk about this a couple of times
in the episode that Jewish people cannot cannot fight each
other for political reasons, but there's also this idea, and
Nathan is when he when he accuses the Uganda Plan
supporters betraying the generations, there's this idea that if you
take certain actions that are anti Zionist, you're not Jewish anymore. Really,

(15:39):
like that's that's a big part of this, and it's
gonna play a role in the assassination of an Israeli
Prime minister Um later on in this episode, Um and
Benjamin Netanya, who's very proud of his grandfather for this.
He keeps a picture of his grandpa at this conference
in his office. That's going to make a lot of
sense later on. So uh, Nathan, and you know, it

(16:00):
continues to be a kind of fringe Zionist figure during
this period. In nineteen ten, his wife gives birth to
a son, ben Zion net and Yahoo, Bibi's father um
And ben Zion is raised and kind of at this
point the most extreme wing of the Zionist movement. Nathan
supported the family in part by writing articles, which he
wrote under the pseudonym net and Yahoo, which is a

(16:21):
name from the Bible that means given by God. In
nineteen seventeen, the British government issued a public statement known
as the Balfour Declaration. This is because World War One
is going on the British, you're fighting. The British have
actually just gotten their asses kicked in a horrific battle
against the Ottomans in Gallipoli, and the Balfour Declaration basically
is Great Britain giving its support for the establishment of

(16:44):
a quote national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.
There were a number of reasons for this. One of
them was a hope that it would increase Jewish support
for the Allies in neutral countries because Britain's trying to
get everybody is possible in on their side of this war. Um,
and other of it is just kind of a you know,
there's they're fighting the Ottoman, so they're sticking a thumb
in the Ottoman saying like, this is what we're gonna

(17:05):
do when we beat you. The third reason is Balfour
was an anti semit Yeah, he really want to choose
out of Europe. Yes, And that is a that's a
big part of this, and it's I mean that goes
deep within kind of the anti Semitic movement, down to
the fact that before World War Two, among the Nazis,
there was the Madagascar Plan, which you can see is
kind of descended from the Uganda Plan, which is like

(17:27):
what if we move all the Jews to Madagascar, another
place where no one else lives, you know, but yeah,
always like the answer to the white supremacy is let's
push it on Africa. It will be fine. It's empty.
That is. That is the overwhelming attitude during this period. UM.
And there is there's a lot of people within the

(17:49):
British government who have resistance to the Balfour Declaration. UM.
A decent number of them recognize that there's no way
to push for the establishment of a Jewish state. UM
in Palace dined without a lot of bloodshed. UM. And
much of the anti Zionist resistance in Britain actually came
from British Jews. And I'm gonna quote from history dot
com here, led by Edwin Montebu, Secretary of State for

(18:11):
India and one of the first Jews to serve in
the cabinet. The anti Zionists feared that British sponsored Zionism
would threaten the status of Jews who had settled in
various European and American cities, and also encourage anti Semitic
violence in the country's battling Britain in the war, especially
within the Ottoman Empire. Pretty reasonable set of concerns, and
they would prove right, yeah, I mean yeah. If you

(18:31):
saw the Newsmax thing that came out today, No I didn't.
It was like a clip on Newsmax, where the broadcaster
is basically saying, like, you know, if you're a Jew
and you support Biden, like he is like, you know,
targeting your homeland if you're an American Jew, Yes, no Americans.

(18:53):
I mean it's it trickles down this this thought process,
like if you know, they're not fully citizens of wherever
there um because of this alien thing that's being formed outside. Yeah. Yeah,
and you're right. That is incredibly toxic because it plays
directly into this idea that's critical to the Nazis that
Jews are not part of whatever community, They're a part

(19:16):
of their own separate thing. Yeah, it's it again, there's
a lot of there's it's it's interesting the Balfour Declaration,
which is so critical for the establishment of Zionism, is
invented by any come up with, announced by an anti Semite,
and opposed by a lot of Jewish people within Great Britain. Um. Yeah,
but obviously, um, you know a lot of people, particularly

(19:37):
guys like Nathan Milikowski, see the Balfour Declaration as a
huge shot in the arm, right, like now we have
a great power has finally backed us having our own
state in Palestine. Now in nineteen eighteen, World War One ended,
the Ottoman Empire gets broken up, and the League of Nations,
dominated by Britain and France, UH, splits up all of

(19:57):
these territories. You know, the Psykes, Pico agree it is,
you know all that stuff. Um, and Britain gets a
mandate over Palestine. UM. And this convinces Nathan to immigrate
to Palestine with his family. UM. And he's a number
of a lot of European Jewish people immigrate to Palestine
during this time because the British takeover and it's seen
as like they've just made the Balfour declaration, We're about

(20:18):
to get our own state. Uh. They didn't stay long though, UM,
because Nathan was soon sent by a figure in the
Zionist movement to the United States, where he was asked
to use his charismatic speaking skills to drum up funds
from wealthy American Jews. And this will be like the
major role the net and Yahoo's play in UH, in
Israeli politics and whatever up until bb becomes Prime Minister.

(20:42):
They spend the whole net Yahoo family spends more time
in the United States than they spend in Israel. UM.
It's just the way it goes um because they're good
at like talking and drumming up money um. Now, while
his wife joined him for part of the trip, ben
Zion and the other Net Yahoo kids, while they're not
netya who's yea grow up in boarding schools. Nathan was

(21:02):
unhappy in the United States, which he considered decadent and impure,
and he moved back to Palestine, but quickly isolated himself
from the Zionist movement, which had grown really secular and
socialist during this period. Again, it's not a religious movement
and it's very much a left wing movement UM in
this period, and kind of religious right wingers like Nathan
are not particularly popular. Nathan identified with the Missrahi movement,

(21:26):
which is kind of a religious fundamentalist Zionist movement UM,
and as a result he kind of gets ostracized from
the mainstream of of Zionism and he dies angry in
February of nineteen thirty five at age fifty five. Now
ben Zion was twenty five years old when his father died,
and he very quickly abandoned the name Milikowski for the
name his dad had used as a pseudonym Net and Yahoo,

(21:48):
so that's Babie's dad, ben Zion Net and Yahoo. In
the summer of nineteen twenty nine, when ben Zion was nineteen,
a dispute over prayer organizations at the Whaling Wall turned violent.
A hundred and thirty three Jews and a hundred and
six teen Arabs died in a wave of mass like
rioting violence. People are just murdering each other. Hundreds more
are injured. And as far as I can tell, the

(22:08):
crux of this, the Whaling Wall is sacred to both faiths.
It's the last remnant of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem
by Muslim traditions, the spot where Mohammed tight his steed
after his night flight from Mecca. I think I'm getting yeah, yeah, yeah,
it's ascendenced to Heaven. Yeah, yes, yeah, so it's it's
it's super sacred to both sides. The violence, though, was
about more like that's kind of and this is what

(22:31):
you see over and over again. There's a spark that
gets justified in history books, is this is why the
violence happened. But it's really a bunch of stuff building up. Yeah,
it's it's anger over um, the buffer declaration, it's anger
over um. What Arabs in pastin pastin and Arabs saw
as UM like economic market marginalization UM at the hands

(22:55):
not necessarily of you know, the religious Jewish communities that
have been in in you know, the old city of
Jerusalem for for hundreds of years, but more of these
kind of newcomers that are UM kind of setting up
shop and only hiring amongst themselves and like being already
quite discriminatory. And so there were these like marches during
the UM There's like the Nabisad March and things like that.

(23:18):
And like you said, it would be the spark for
UM for for kind of like intercommunal violence. Yeah, yeah,
And I I can't say again, this seems like a
fairly fair reading of it to me. I'm interested in
your thoughts on this UM in terms of talking about
kind of the influence of this surge of violence the book,
BB writes, quote, uh, prior to this, very few Jews

(23:42):
had fully realized how They're growing presence impacted the local Arabs.
August drove home the reality that two nations were competing
for the same piece of land. Before then, the Arabs
living there had not factored into Zionists thinking. The main
question had been how to convince the great powers carving
up the Middle East to grant the Jews sovereignty. The
realization the Abs were going to fight, and that the British,
despite Lord Balfour's grant promises, weren't going to automatically fulfill

(24:05):
the Balfour Declaration towards the Zionist movement apart once again,
and it tears them into these two sides. One who
thinks we need to reach an agreement with Great Britain
and also reach an agreement with the Arabs who already
lived in Palestine and had been for generations, and one
which says, funck that let's get a bunch of guns. Basically, Yeah,
I mean I think that's pretty I think that's pretty accurate. Um.

(24:28):
You know, both the left wing what you characterize as
kind of left wing secular Zionism and the religious Sionism
kind of saw, like the secular ones saw are the
Pastinian Arabs is like this backwards, you know, again from
like a white lens, like these are black words people
like they don't factor. Um. Hurtzel had like written a
novel like kind of encompassing his like Zionist ideas, where

(24:50):
like he wrote, like you know, they could be servers,
they can you know, they could like be part of society,
like in this kind of fringe way, they can be
our workers. Um. And then the religious you know side
of designers, which again, like you said, I don't think
was that will Um represented not in this period. Yeah. Yeah,

(25:11):
I mean like religious Jews had existed in Palestine, that
Palestinian Jews had been in Palestine that they didn't really
identify with like a Zionist movement. Um. But yeah, those
guys also don't see, you know, necessarily the humanity of
other things. Um. So so yeah, I mean I think
that characterization what you just said is seems seems correct. Yeah,

(25:34):
they realize, oh, these people exist here, these people exist,
and they're not just gonna let us take everything, and
you get Yeah, I think as you characterize, you get
the side that's like, well, we can live with these
people as long as they're like second class citizens, and
the side that's like, well, we'll just shoot anybody who
disagrees with us, um. And critically, the we can shoot
anyone who disagrees with a side is also willing to

(25:55):
shoot the British, which is a huge part of like
what is going to come next is this kind of
um insurgent anger at the British for not immediately fulfilling
what the Balfour Declaration, what these people assumed it had promised. Um.
So yeah, that's kind of like the next couple of
decades of of of the movement here um at age

(26:15):
nineteen and and obviously Ben zion is on the we
don't need to ask for anything side. We should take
what we want, or we should take like we have
a right to take this and we're gonna we can
take it by violence. Like That's that's the angle of
this that he's on. And at age nineteen he joins
a group called Hat Zohar, which is the World Union
of Zionist Revisionists. Uh. And this is the one. This

(26:37):
is not the one, but this is a political faction
of the Zionist movement who had basically decided number one,
we're going to ignore the fact that Palestinian Arabs already
owned this land. We're also going to say fuck you
to the British. These are like the most extreme and
most aggressive chunk of the Zionist movement. They were founded
on the teachings of one influential Zionist, zeev Jabotinsky. Um,

(26:59):
a secular Zionist who found inspiration in European nationalist movements
um and including a number of like fascist movements. Um.
Like he was, really, he was, he was, And that's
a big part of revisionist Zionism prior to World War Two.
Is a lot of sympathy before, but for at least
kind of the way fascists are doing things because it's

(27:21):
an ethno nationalist movement, and ethno nationalists stick together um,
well to an extent with an external enemy. Yeah, yeah,
with an external enemy. Um yeah, you know who, what's
not an ethno nationalist movement. I certainly hope the products

(27:43):
that support this podcast. It's like, yeah, thank you, thank you.
That's that's that's what we strive for here. Um, all right,
we're back. Um. So yeah, you've got this. You've got

(28:03):
this guy, Jebatinsky um and who is who is a
hardcore secular zionist nationalist who is like, will fight the Arabs,
will fight the British, will fight anybody. Um Like that's
that's the only way to get what we want. And
he gets kicked out of the British mandate in Palestine
very quickly because he's urging that it be overthrown violently.

(28:24):
Um now. Jebatinsky is the early Zionist thinker who probably
influenced modern bbing net and Yahoo the most. He believed
that for a nation to survive, it must quote keep apart, untrusting,
perpetually on guard a club at all times is the
only way to survive in this wolves fight, which is
basically Israelis domestic policy and torn policy today. A really

(28:48):
big fans of the lean yeah, um now. He believed
that uh. He rejected mysticism again, not a religious guy,
an excessive religia city, and insisted that strength and violence
is what would gain the Zionist movement the respect of
other nations. This could be done by taking the land
occupied by Arabs and defending it with a quote iron

(29:11):
wall of Jewish bayonets. Now. In that same essay, he
acknowledged that the forced settlement of Jews in Palestine would
be resisted quote any indigenous people will fight the settlers
as long as there is a spark of hope to
be rid of the foreign settlement. That is what the
Arabs of the Land of Israel are doing and will
continue to do as long as a spark of hope

(29:31):
lingers in their heart that they can prevent Palestine from
becoming the land of Israel. So a lot of discussion
about Israel is a settler state and whatnot. It's important
to note that one of the founders of Israel, one
of the most important Zionists in the history of the movement,
explicitly described what they were doing as a settler attempt

(29:53):
to displace an indigenous indigenous people. He did was not
at all hiding that or trying to dress it up
like we are ming in from elsewhere and we are
forcing the indigenous people out and that is the goal. Yeah,
a lot of them were quite clear. Yeah, was real clear.
And Ben Ben Gurion was actually Jevitnski's main political enemy.

(30:14):
Which again, when we talk about the left wing and
the right wing of the Zionists and like the different
they all still are basically agreed on we're going to
come here and we're going to take what what we
what we want, what we need by force if necessary,
you know. Like that. There's not a lot of debate
on that. There's a lot of debate about how there's
a lot of debate about how to justify it. There's
a lot of debate about how the state that they
want to set up should look. They're basically they're agreed

(30:36):
on the basics. Um and Ben Gurion ran an organization
called Mapai, which was a kind of socialist e Zionist party.
UM and I don't know from from where what I'm reading,
these guys were bitter rivals. They didn't see them all
that different, though. When it came to what to do
with the people who'd been living in Palestine for generations,
Ben Gurion was an advocate of multiplying the settlements there

(30:59):
and old there were enough Jews in the area to
force his state. He wanted Jewish settlers to see themselves
as pioneers. Jebatinski wanted them to see themselves as soldiers,
and Ben Gurion called Jebatinski a fascist. Um like a
bunch of times, and that's not an unfair characterization. UM. Now,
ben zion Net and Yahoo was pretty marginalized in these discussions.

(31:20):
His most meaningful addition to the debate came during his
early years at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, when he
orchestrated the stink bombing of a British Zionist professor. Now,
this guy Norman Bentwich was controversial because he had been
the Mandate government's attorney general during the nineteen riots, and
Zionists saw him as being too neutral in this job.
Basically he was too fair to Arabs. Um. I don't

(31:43):
know that he was fair to them. I'm not saying
he was. That's how the zion can smell it. We
can smell it, yea. So they stink bomb this guy
and it's like it's a big deal um within the movement,
and that's kind of ben Zion's he helps orchestrate that
whole plan. No, what's funny about Hebrew University. Sorry this
is a random interjection, but it was founded with the

(32:05):
explicit support and approval and land from a prominent Postinian
family that Hassan's Um, who later become this like trope
amongst the Israeli propagandists that they're like, you know, all
anti Semites and all these things, but um, you know
the oh for a lot of Palestinians at the time,

(32:28):
they they're like, yeah, it's another group. There's lots of
groups coming in like we can we can help, we
can help work with them. Um. I think that where
the convergence, like you were saying between like somebody like
mccarrey and somebody like Jermatinski. It came after the air
of revolt in the nineteen thirties, UM, and they were like, oh, okay,

(32:49):
they they're yeah like you said, but they're not they're
not going to go quietly. Um. And then people like
the Hassans and stuff, they're like, oh, this is actually
like a settler colonial movement. Um, we should maybe we
shouldn't be hoping. Yeah, maybe, and that I mean that's
heartbreaking too, because it suggests that there was a way

(33:09):
that you could have had a Jewish community in Palestine
without having a horrific settler apartheid state and violence. You
could have just had people living in Palestine that that
that weren't at each other's throats. It wasn't ever been
a safe haven. It could have been a national state
that could have it could Yeah, there was actually that.
I think it was. The president of Hebrew Hebrew University

(33:31):
was like on record UM in the lead up to
the ninety eight saying like he disapproved of the plans
to expel arrows and like his his Zionism was are
more of a cultural Zionism. I don't necessarily know all
the variances of Zionism, but but there there were other possibilities. Definitely. Yeah,
there's a decent number of people on both sides who

(33:51):
do not want violence or the forced displacement of people.
But they lose, you know, they that's the end, the
end of the the end result here um as everyone
knows if you've been watching hundreds of bombs fall on
Gaza Um. Yeah. In ninety four, Hitler seized total power
in Germany and that ended the dalliance some Zionists on

(34:13):
the revisionist side of things had with fascism. Uh. In fact,
when one official with the Jewish Agency, which was the
organization that handled the immigration of Jews into Palestine, negotiated
a deal with the Nazis that allowed German goods to
be sold to Palestine, and the reason he did this
was to allow sixty Germans Jews to immigrate before the Holocaust.
This guy was declared a traitor to his people by
the revisionists. They argued that he was not really Jewish

(34:36):
and he was murdered. Um. Suspicion immediately fell upon it.
And again this is this is going to be when
we talk about ye Zak Rabine, this is going to
be like, this is a through line here. Jewish people
cannot kill each other for political reasons, as the attitude
the Zionists have. But if you do things that certain
Zionists don't like, you're not really Jewish anymore and you
can be murdered. Um. And this guy gets This guy

(34:58):
gets murdered, And I'm not gonna like, making a deal
with the Nazis is not something I ever feel too
fond about. But it's hard to see, like what options
this guy had. He's trying to get people out of
this state before the fucking Holocaust happens. I don't know,
Like I've never had to make a call that tough,
so I'm not gonna judge the dude. But he gets murdered,
and he probably gets murdered by a group of extreme
revisionist Zionists whose name in Hebrew literally literally translated to

(35:22):
gang of thugs. Um. That's what they called themselves. Um. Now,
Ben Zion and his father believed these guys were innocent
because they didn't think Jewish people could murder each other
for political motives. And while the Gang of Thugs were
eventually acquitted, they almost certainly did it. Ben Zion, though,
came to believe that the allegations against them had been

(35:42):
a blood libel against the revisionist cause by leftist Zionists.
And the blood libel we've talked about this in our
episodes on the anti Semitism. Is this old Christian idea
about like Jewish rabbi sacrificing Christian babies for anyway, the
fact that he's using this term against the left is
really extreme. I mean like father, like son, right, Yeah,

(36:06):
his son later later does similar things. Yes, yes, absolutely,
Angel Peiffer writes, quote. The episode left ben Zion convinced
that there was nothing the left wing would not do
to cast the Revisionists out of the Zionist camp. Now,
ben Zion saw his role within the Zionist movement as
that of a propagandist. He started in journalism, and he
lectured his colleagues that quote, the first condition for our

(36:29):
total victory is a combination of three factors propaganda, propaganda,
and propaganda. He became the editor for a series of
revisionist Zionist newspapers and spent most of his time attacking
other Zionists for quote warping Zionism by seeking any kind
of accommodation with Arabs. And when I say accommodation, I'm
not saying that it is something we would regard as fair,
but it's something he regarded as as yielding too much. Yeah,

(36:53):
which is at all um. Any democracy that was multi
ethnic he derided as a quote leftist dictate leadership. Um
yeah um. And none of his papers were very successful.
He is not popular at this moment. It does not
really catch on other than among a small fringe. He

(37:14):
was not even very popular among other revisionist Zionists. They
saw him as a milktoast academic them what you'd call
the realist, real ass motherfucker's within the revisionist Zionist movement
had actually formed a militia we might call them, a
death squad called the I c L, who trained and
actually carried out attacks on both British and Arab interests

(37:34):
in Palestine. These guys were terrorists. Um. I mean yeah,
that's the only way to look at it. Uh. They
received some of their training and weaponry from the Polish government,
which was outrageously anti Semitic and basically saw the I
c L as a way to get rid of Polish
Jews by encouraging them to conquer Palestine. Poland is trying
to train Polish Jews as an army to conquer Palestine. Like,

(37:57):
that's the thing the Polish government does prior to the
outbreak of World War Two. Now, a big part of
the I c L S Deal was to carry out
reprisal attacks for real and for sometimes imagined attacks on
Jewish people in Palestine. Obviously there are actual attacks too.
I don't mean to say like that that doesn't happen, um,
But the i c L just spends a lot of
time killing Arab civilians. Um. Some of these murders were

(38:20):
in response to other murders. Some of them were just
murders in nineteen thirties. I mean, they're all just murders.
But some of them were just like this guy said
a thing we don't like, let's fucking shoot him on
the street. Uh. In nineteen thirty six, a concerted series
of Arab protests broke out, an uprising really against Jewish
immigrants moving into the region, against the stated Zionist goals

(38:41):
to dominate the area, and against violence from groups like
the I c L, and also against the British mandate,
which both the Zionists and the Palestinians spend a lot
of time fighting UM because it's a foreign power imposing
its will on the people there. Nobody really likes the
Mandate UM. The goal of these protests was to get
the British government to a shually rescind the Balfour Declaration

(39:02):
and to stop letting Jewish Europeans immigrate to Palestine. Obviously,
the revolt did not succeed, and part of why was
the fact that the British Army collaborated with the Haganah,
which was a more moderate paramilitary unit operated by the
Zionists alongside like Ben Gurian Zionists. You've got the I
c L which are the revisionist Zionists under Jabotinsky, and

(39:23):
you've got the Haganah, which is the more moderate Zionists
under Ben Gurion. But they both have their militias. The
Haganah is larger and better organized and it works with
the British Mandate to put down this Palestinian revolt, which
is really the birth of the I d F. In
a lot of ways, the current Israeli military because it
does come directly out of the Haganah. And during this period,

(39:44):
the British because that and this is something the British
do everywhere, right, They do it in Kenya, they do
it all over Africa, they do it all over Southeast Asia.
Wherever they colonize, they find local groups to organize an
arm to put down other local groups. UM. And I
think that's just how they see what they're doing with
the Haganah. I was like, these people are more willing
to work with us, will give them guns and training
to put down these other people, will keep everybody split

(40:07):
up so nobody can overthrow us in in the mandate,
you know. And then there's more affinity obviously that they
with Europeans than absolution. A lot of these a lot
of the Hagana guys are Europeans, so they guess some
of them are even British, so it's easier for them
to interface. But the training and the arms that the
hagan are received during this time are a big part

(40:27):
of why in nineteen forty eight things work out for them, um,
because they have this huge head start, they have this
UM and that's the thing. I think there's a lot
of focus when people talk about like why Israel has
been so military lee successful on on just the weaponry
they receive. It's not just the weaponry, it's also training,
an organization and military doctrine that they receive from the

(40:49):
European powers prior to the outbreak of fighting, especially in
the Very in nineteen forty eight. That's almost a bigger
part than any specific arms, although the arms that they get,
like particularly the Soviets, are a big part of it too.
I don't want to like say that it's not, but
it's a lot of things. Um Now. The years of
violence that followed would establish what came to be a
pattern in Palestine. Jewish militias, benefiting from foreign arms, training

(41:13):
and joint force operations, operated at a level of proficiency
not matched by their indigenous opponents. And the fighting that
followed the revolt, two hundred and sixty two British soldiers died,
three hundred Jewish soldiers died, and more than five thousand
Arabs died. Um Now. Many of the Arabs killed were
reprisal murders carried out by the I c L. In

(41:33):
the early nineteen thirties. This was not super popular among Zionists.
It was a controversial issue. Even Jabotinsky, who was technically
on paper the leader of the i c L, but
he had been exiled opposed a lot of these revenged killings,
but that did not stop them from happening, and the
idea about whether or not it was acceptable to carry
out reprisal killings changed very rapidly. By nineteen thirty nine,

(41:55):
the idea of organized reprisal murders against Palestinian Arabs was
common enough that David Gurion, who again is the moderate here,
authorized the formation of a special Operations Unit to carry
out reprisal murders against Palestinians, essentially a death squad. So
the I c L's attitudes kind of become mainstreamed after
the Arab revolt um and by the time the revolt

(42:18):
died down, the British had revised their official stance on Zionism.
They were released a white paper that made everybody angry,
which is generally what the British do in this period.
Instead of supporting Jewish autonomy and Palestine, they now backed
a bi national state in which Jews would make a
permanent minority. Uh To further this, they capped Jewish immigration
into Palestine. This angered Zionists for obvious reasons, but it

(42:40):
also piste off everybody else, because the Palestinian Arabs were
being told by a foreign power, you're going to have
to give these people some of the land you inhabitant,
and inhabitants were still going to keep letting them in
to take more stuff. And it's begin It's worth noting
that at every stage of this, the messiness of what
was always going to be a complex situation is continue
really escalated because you've got this foreign power who is

(43:02):
the ultimate power in the region, but they don't really
understand or give a ship they keep. They may They'll
make one decision one day, another decision the next, um,
and it's kind of based on whatever people who are
sitting back in London, uh get convinced of on that day.
Like it's that's a huge reason why this is so messy. Now.

(43:23):
The revisionist i L responded to this declaration by the
British with a series of terror attacks on British military
basis and more murders of Arab civilians. The Haganah, for
their part, launched an illegal immigration operation. So the i
c L starts killing people, the Haganah starts like illegally
like coyote ing people into Palestine. UM. Now, while this

(43:45):
is happening. Those Polish I. C. L. Guys over in
Europe are preparing themselves to invade. They're getting armed, they're
getting trained, and right as that was about to maybe happen,
World War two kicks off and things get a lot
messier now. While all this ship was going on, ben
Zion Net and Yah, who continued to be largely irrelevant.
He was a permanently frustrated academic. He got into continual

(44:07):
battles with more influential professors and historians at the university,
who he hated because he called the Marxists and some
of the more Marxists um. In the late nineteen thirties,
ben Zion put together an anthology called Political Liberty Political
Library Sorry, made up of writings of his favorite Zionists,
all of whom were far right nationalists who wanted their

(44:27):
Zionism free of socialism. One of ben Zion's favorite Zionists
was a guy named Max Nordau, who advocated for muscular Judaism.
He also wrote an infamously homophobic book about the decline
of Western civilization. Another of these thinkers was Israel Zangwill,
who coined the phrase Palestine is a country without a people.

(44:47):
The Jews are a people without a country, which is
that became mainstream? Yeah, it really, that's why, Like that's
the thing. He's a fringe in this period, this becomes
the norm. Like ah um now Zangwill was a big
advocate of the idea that Palestine was an invented country.
And if some of these guys sound kind of fashy,

(45:08):
it's because they absolutely were. Up until World War Two,
a lot of revisionist Zionists were very pro fascism. Even
once the war started and Nazi war crimes against Jewish
people ramped up, there were some Zionists who were willing
to work with the Nazis. And I'm gonna quote from
BB here because the story is fucking wild. Abraham's Stern
was the I c L commander charged with training a

(45:29):
force in Poland to fight an insurrection against the British
and Palestine. He defied Jebatinsky and refused to lay down
his arms. The Polish officers who had helped train and
equip his men had been killed or captured by the
German Wehrmacht, but that didn't deter Stern from trying to
ally himself with the Third Reich. Like more radical revisionists
who had admired fascism back in the twenties and thirties.
Stern believed that despite the Nazis anti Semitism, their interests

(45:52):
could be aligned in a war against the British. His
attempts to communicate with Berlin were ignored, but Stern stuck
to his anti British policy a stually breaking with the
i L. In August nineteen forty, he formed the Fighters
for the Freedom of Israel, dismissively known by the British
and many mainstream Zionists as the Stern Gang. Now Stern
is fringe. I want to note that it is the Obviously,

(46:14):
the idea that you can work with the Nazis not
popular among scientists, but it does happen. Like there are
absolutely Zionis are like, well, we can work together. If
they don't like, we don't want to be in Europe either,
we want to take over this territory. Maybe they'll work
with us on that um. So that said, the vast
majority of even revisionists saw where the wind was blowing.

(46:34):
World War two started, i L operations against the British
mandate were halted. Tens of thousands of ben Gurion's men
flocked to join the British Army to fight Germany. Ben
Zion net and Yah, who was not at all involved
in that he had been sent by revisionists to the
United States, like his dad before him, to lobby American
Jews and politicians to build support for an Israeli state.

(46:55):
Now and shl Feffer despicts him as fundamentally marginalized and
largely irrelevant in this period. Ben Gurion was also in
the US around the same time and was much more effective.
But Gurion was a savvy man, and he quickly realized
how to influence u S opinion in favor of the
Zionist movement, telling his colleagues back at home that quote,
the way to acquire the American administration is acquiring the

(47:16):
people the public opinion. Thus was born the Zionist strategy
of hasbara or explanation, the use of public diplomacy to
make the case for a Jewish state directly to the
American people and trusting that this would lead to political
and military support. Now, Ben Zion was one of a
crowd of activists who spent the war years trying to
influence American politics. In June of nineteen forty four, he

(47:39):
attended the RNC in Chicago, and he was one of
many Zionists who secured a pro Zionist plank in the
party platform. Politics being what it is, the Republicans criticized
Roosevelt for not insisting the British carry out the Balfour Declaration.
This put This pushed the Democrats to adopt basically the
same policy and marked the first successful joint action by
the different wings of Zionism. And they realize one great

(48:01):
way to succeed is by pushing the Republicans and Democrats
to try to top each other in supporting Zionism. You
can get a lot done if you do that, um,
which is basically how things work today. That's good. I
mean there's some changes, you know, there's there's some whispers
of hope. Yeah. I'm definitely seeing, like in just the

(48:27):
mass media reaction to what's happening now, a lot more
criticism of the Israeli government, even from like there was
again we just critique the New York Times. There was
a horrifying New York Times article from a Palestinian that was,
like the log line was if they cut the power,
if Israel cuts the power while they still bomb our home. Um,
which is like a question being asked by a child

(48:49):
in Gaza. So like there's it's not as I don't know.
I don't yeah, I see what you mean. Like it's
become so far removed from the whims of worst anyway
at this point. Yeah, yeah, it is. And it doesn't
seem like I think hoping that the billions of dollars
in military aid Israel will stop. Um, I mean feels

(49:11):
uh almost almost like a foolish hope. Um. But I
don't know. Fingers crossed. Yeah, I don't know. I'm not
I'm not an American politics expert. So I just put
my head in the sand and pretend like things are okay. Yeah, yeah,
maybe things will be okay, especially now that we're going

(49:32):
to adds. That makes all all better. Capitalism, capitalism solve
this little Oh boy, you can't even finish the Sundens, No,
I can't. Alright, we're back. So by late in World

(49:53):
War Two, obviously the Holocaust is in full swing. It's
very public knowledge. And while tens of thousands of Jewish
people flocked Jewis Zionists had flocked to fight for the
Allies at the start of the war. By nineteen forty four,
a lot of them were furious about how little had
been done to save the Jews of Europe. Menachem Began,
the commander of the I c L in this period,
published a call for revolt in his group started attacking

(50:17):
British infrastructure again before the end of the war. This
forced been Gurian to have the Haganah attack the I
c L, and in the purge that followed, many revisionists
were sent to concentration camps operated by the British in Africa.
Now begin made the decision not to fight back against
the Haganah in order to avoid a civil war. Within
the Zionist community, this is seen as having cemented the

(50:37):
domination of Ben Gurion's Mapie Party in Like for the
next you know, couple of decades. But it also fueled
resentment of in the right wing Zionist movie this idea
that we can't trust the left because they will always
seek to purge us Um, even though the reason there anyway,
they were doing terrorism against the British during World War Two.
That's why Ben Gurion got angry at them. So the

(51:00):
war in Europe and the infighting in Palestine convinced ben
Zion Netan Yahoo that the cause of Zionism was more
or less hopeless. And a big part of this is
he feels like all of the people who were going
to conquer Palestine for Israel got murdered by the Nazis
um and so he kind of loses hope in Zionism
in this period and increasingly focuses on his own academic career.

(51:22):
For a while, he seemed to be right. At the
end of the war, President Truman demanded that one hundred
thousand Holocaust survivors be allowed to immigrate to Palestine. The
British opposed this, arguing that it would upset the balance
of power and lead to another Arab revolt, and this
led to another brief period of collaboration between Ben Gurion's Haganah,
the I c L and the Stern Gang, who were
the kind of Nazi guys. Now for the first time,

(51:44):
all three paramilitary organizations worked together under a joint command
and launched a massive sabotage campaign against the British. While
they battled the British and Palestine and international pr campaign
was launched by other Zionists using the imagery of the
Holocaust to spark sympathy for the creation of a Jewish state.
The sabotage campaign reached its peak in July twenty, nineteen

(52:05):
forty six with an act of terrorism. The i c
L filled milk cans with explosives and blew up the
King David Hotel, killing ninety one people, most of whom
were civilians. This prompted the Haganah to break with the
I c L, who kept doing terrorism alongside the Stern
Gang for a while. Now it was foreign lobbying rather
than insurgency that finally did the trick. On February fourteenth, seven,

(52:28):
the UN Special Committee on Palestine delivered a report that
suggested an into the British Mandate and the partitioning of
Palestine into two states. This made most Zionists pretty happy,
but the Palestinian Arabs rejected it. Ben zion net Yah,
who also rejected it. He authored a full page ad
that ran in the New York Times and was titled
Partition will not solve the Palestine Problem. His argument was

(52:51):
that allowing Arabs to maintain any land that Jewish people
had ever lived on at any point in the past
would doom the great Zionist dream like that's his argument
is um, we we we should have it all. Partitioning
isn't fair because we don't get at all. Um. In
November of nine seven, the partition plan was approved by
a yuan vote. When Ben Gurien announced the establishment of

(53:12):
the State of Israel in the Tel Aviv Museum, ben
Zion Netanyahu was still in New York. He and his
fellow revisionists were furious and the viciousness with which the
I c L had conducted itself, and sure that they
were completely cut out of the new government. Now most
people probably know, the establishment of the modern nation of
Israel was immediately followed by a big, ugly war. Armies

(53:33):
from five Arab nations, alongside tens of thousands of local
Palestinian fighters went up against the Haganah UH and the
Haganah one. This isn't a military history podcast. Their defeat
is a mix of factors, poor coordinations between these different
Arab nations, political corruption, hesitancy among a lot of these
countries to commit significant forces to the Palestinians. A lot

(53:54):
of token forces. Yeah, yeah, a lot of token forces. Right,
it's not you hear five armies and fought against the
Haganah and it seems like one thing, but it's like no,
a lot of them were just kind of doing the minimum,
you know. Um. But a big factor is that the
Haganah had been trained and armed by one of the
most successful by two of the most successful militaries on earth,
because Stalin is a huge backer of the State of

(54:17):
Israel and the USSR since a shipload of weaponry um
to support the Haganah. Now that will change later on,
but in the like the crucial early hours the Soviet
Union is is kind of full throated behind the Haganah
and the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, and
the violent expulsion of Palestinians that followed Israeli victory has

(54:38):
come to be known as the nakba or catastrophe. Catastrophe, right,
that's it doesn't mean catastrophe, but it refers to not
the violent expulsion after, it was the volent expulsion during
yeah sorry sorry, during in yeah, during these events, yeah yeah, yeah,
while this is happening. Um. And so I'm gonna try
to give an overview this. Before the UN resolution and

(55:02):
all of the fighting, Jews in Palestine had owned about
six percent of the land and made up thirty two
percent of the population after partitioning. The partitioning was set
to give them fifty five percent of the land of
the population, while Palestinians, who made up sixty percent of
the population, would be given forty of the lands. The
number one. You can see why the Palestinians were really

(55:22):
angry at the U N resolution because it's like, why
are we not getting the like like this is like
blatantly unfair, um, but it gets a lot worse. Like again,
that's just how things were supposed to be set up
by the UN resolution. During the fighting in the Haganah
executed Planned Dollet, a strategy aimed at depopulating Palestinian population centers.

(55:45):
The goals of Planned Dalet were to take the northern border,
control the entire coast, and clear out Palestinian towns and
cities between Jerusalem and Jaffa on the coast. Planned Dalet
called for quote destruction of villages, setting fire to blowing
up and planting mines in the debris, especially those population
centers which are difficult to control continuously. In the violence

(56:07):
of Planned out and estimated fifteen thousand Palestinians were killed,
four hundred and eighteen towns and villages were ethnically cleansed
off the map. Seven to eight hundred thousand Palestinians were displaced.
At the end of it, seventy eight percent of Palestinian
land was under Israeli control, which is a loss of
about four point three million acres based on what the
u N resolution said they were supposed to have. So

(56:29):
at the time, the Haganah coordinated with many of the
militias that were seen as right wings, including Stern and
the groups. Um, sorry, the Stern and the yea yeah,
the other ones yeh and and like committed massacres like
at the scene that's like the Masters, Yeah, the major

(56:49):
one that is pretty well known as the massacre. Yeah.
And it's I mean again, something like fifteen thousand people,
mostly civilians killed during this period. It's it's a it's
a massive active nick cleansing like that is the start
of And that's the thing I never learned about in school.
I just learned, um oh, the mean Arab powers all
tried to wipe out Israel at the same time, and

(57:11):
they lost. I didn't. And then another myth was yeah yeah,
and then and then another myth was that, well, okay,
they did kill lots of people, but it just happened
in the course of the fighting. But it was definitely
premeditated and these people were not armed, These were villagers.
These were villages wiped out. And that argument, the idea

(57:32):
that like, well, yeah it was terrible, but it just
happened during the fighting and war is ugly. That's the
same argument that the Turks make about the Armenian genocide,
Like that's why they deny that there was no There
was fighting on both sides. Yeah, well one side got
all of their civilians massacred and the other side didn't,
so like yeah, and one side was like a state
and you know, well not a state, but like you know,

(57:52):
hadn't becoming a state. Yeah. I was talking about the
Turks on that one, but yeah, y yeah, yeah, absolutely yeah. Um. Now,
up to this point, the net ya Who family had
again been bit players in the Zionist movement. A lot
of people, especially today BB and the net Who family
tries to really play up the role that Ben Zion
and that that Nathan played. Angel Feffer, who knows a

(58:16):
lot more about the history of Zionism than I do,
makes a pretty convincing case that they were very much
minor figures, and part because nobody really liked ben Zion.
He's kind of a dick. He seems like he was
just like even to other right wing Zionists, a lot
of them just saw him as kind of an asshole,
Like nobody really wanted to work with him on ship,
and he had a really inflated opinion of himself, like

(58:38):
he was kind of there's I don't know, I'm not
going to diagnose a guy, but he he he was
always frustrated by the fact that his career was not
as great as he wanted it to be, and he
was not as influential as he wanted to be, and
he stays even after nineteen when the State of Israel
comes into being, ben Zion remains convinced that the whole
project is doomed. And I think the big reason why
is because it hadn't happened exactly how he thought that

(59:00):
should happen. Clearly, it won't work if they didn't academic yeah, absolutely, um.
So he and his family still left the United States
and moved to Tel Aviv to give, you know, give
it a go, And it was there on October twenty three,
nineteen forty nine, that Benjamin net And Yahoo was born

(59:22):
and he is He is the first and so far
only Prime Minister of Israel who was actually born in
Israel while Israel was a political entity. Um And he
was born a citizen of both Israel and the United States.
His family quickly took to calling him b B. Now
it was not I don't know. It doesn't sound like
an overly happy home to me. His father was miserable

(59:43):
in Israel because his his academic career, language and obscurity.
He continued to do research in academic writing, but he
was locked out of prominence. They didn't have a lot
of money. They heavily relied on family, you know, in
order to to to make ends meet um and the
Israeli far right, which is itself marginalized in this period,
locks him out from any kind of meaningful position because

(01:00:04):
he hadn't been an insurgent right menach and Began, the
former head of the i c L is kind of
the leader of the right in this period, and he
had no use for anybody who hadn't been in the
i c L. Like that's really the dominant part of
the Israeli right in the start, as like anybody who
had been fighting and ben Zion hadn't picked up a gun,
so fuck him now. While ben Zion labored in frustration

(01:00:25):
and baby Benjamin did you know, baby stuff Menach and
began began to knit together a coalition of secular right wingers,
religious extremists, and Jews who had been marginalized by the
majority of the Paie Party. One day this coalition would
be Benjamin Netanyah, who's base of power In the late
nineteen forties and early fifties, though Benjamin and his older
brother Jonathan were just two kids, Yoni and BB to

(01:00:47):
their family wandering around to Jerusalem that was still war
racked and partitions. So Israel is not in control of
all of Jerusalem at this point. Um. And it's so
there's like military checkpoints, there's barbed wire fences, there's land
mines all around. Bitten stuff, It's it's a it's it
seems like a pretty dangerous place. BB recalled as an
adult not feeling that um, not really feeling under siege,

(01:01:09):
but feeling as if his life had to exist within
quote sharp borders. Like one of his early memories is
his mom taking him out by the hand to show
him where all the land mines were it to be
like these are areas where you can play, these are
areas where you can't um bb and Joni's home life
was quiet because ben Zion could not abide noise, so
his wife and his children had to be silent whenever

(01:01:29):
he was writing or reading, which was pretty much always.
They relied on relatives for money, and ben Zion would
later blame his failures in academia in this period on
a bias against conservatives within the Hebrew University. Now the reality, yes,
Angel Feffer points out a lot of right wing academics
succeeded during this period of time. He just seems to
have not been very great. He sucked at working with people,

(01:01:51):
He couldn't compromise, people didn't like him. It wasn't his politics.
He was kind of a dick um. That's the argument
I think angels may kind of in more history graphical terms. Now,
Yoni and Beeby loved Israel as much as their father didn't.
Yoni was three years older. He'd been born in the
United States. He was tall and thin, while Babie was,

(01:02:12):
according to one relative, fat like a ball. He was
seven years old in nineteen fifty six when Israel joined
with France and Britain in a secret packed to invade Egypt.
Um there's we're not going to give any of this
as much history as it needs for a complex understanding.
The basics are that Um, the Egyptian president who had
come to power, tried to nationalize that had nationalized the

(01:02:34):
Suez Canal, which took it out of the control of
the British and French companies. UH. Israel like wanted more
of a buffer against Egypt, so they were willing to
work with the British and the French, and they wind
up conquering the entire Sinai Peninsula and a big chunk
of the Israeli like the right in the center are like,
we're going to keep this forever, while Britain and France
are like, no, you're not. But at the same time

(01:02:59):
they don't do any thing in this period to stop it.
Um and babies like that. You know, there's a war
during this period. It's a pretty scary time to be
a kid. Babies memories of it are, in his words,
sharp but not traumatic. His main memory is sticking pieces
of tape to the windows in his room so that
if Jerusalem was shelled, the windows wouldn't shatter from the
book Baby Quote. His main memory is of the father

(01:03:21):
of a neighboring family returning from the Sinai battlefield in
a dusty jeep, distributing chocolate bars to the children he
had bought them in the Egyptian town of Larish, the
site of someone else's father, who, like nearly all the
other fathers of his friends, was contributing to the war effort,
in this case in uniform, while his own father remained
home must have rankled. So Bebe and Yoni are kind
of frustrated that their dad is an out there fighting,

(01:03:43):
you know. They're like, why, like all the other dads
are doing cool army stuff, why aren't you, Um aren't you? Yeah,
why aren't you shooting anybody? Pap? And for the most part,
regular warfare, because there's a bunch of constant skirmishes, even
when there aren't like the big military act, there's pretty
regularly fighting. And it's not all happening in the recognized

(01:04:04):
borders of Israel. A lot of it is Israeli troops
fighting in Egypt, fighting in Syria. Um. And that all
kind of blends into the childhood of Bibi and Yoni.
Uh Yoni was kind of the leader. Bib absolutely adored
his brother, followed him everywhere. The two boys were social,
and Yoni wound up gathering a gang of neighborhood kids
together around him. Uh the Netanya who's stuck out because

(01:04:25):
they wore American clothing which was sent by ben Zion's
brother in the us UH. They lived under strict family discipline, though,
and Yoni kind of chafed against the discipline of ben Zion.
He regularly broke rules in order to test boundaries. Bibi
did not. Bb obeyed his father. Once, when they were
out exploring abandoned Palestinian homes and gardens, Yoni attempted to

(01:04:45):
hoist his little brother up over a fence. Bibe was
too heavy and he fell and split open his upper lip,
leaving him with a scar that he attempts to hide
in all of his public photographs today. The family now
claims that the scar was caused by an electric burn
when he was too and the re sason they lie
about this is that today Yoni is like a sainted
war hero and admitting that he dropped his younger brother

(01:05:06):
would be like a sin essentially like um. Well, we'll
talk about the cult that has kind of formed around
Yoni later Um, and the reality is that like, yeah,
they were kids and he dropped his brother, like whatever. Um.
The net and Yah who has moved back to Israel
in nineteen fifty eight, so they leave for a while.
They moved back. They do this a couple of times

(01:05:27):
when the nut and Yah who's your kids or sorry?
Moved back to the United States in nineteen because ben
Zion gets a job in New York. Bbe would spend
much of his childhood and adolescence bouncing back and forth
between Jerusalem and the United States East Coast. Whenever they moved.
Yoni remained the charismatic, popular leader, and b B his
dutiful and adoring brother. In high school, Yoni was the

(01:05:47):
president of the student council and the leader of the
local boy Scout troupe. BB does not seem to have
resented him, and to the best of our now, everyone
seems to see he basically worshiped his older brother. In
nineteen sixty two, when Yoni was sixteen and BB thirt,
the family moved back to the US yet again. Ben
Zion was getting old and he was desperate to make
a mark as a historian, which he did not feel
he could do from Israel. He also didn't enjoy the

(01:06:09):
comparatively spartan conditions there. The Net and Yahoo boys were devastated.
Babie recalls leaving his close friends behind as very traumatic
and a terrible dislocation. Now, yeah, imagine being dislocated from
your friends and family would really suck. Baby. Yeah, I
can see why you wouldn't like that. It only counts

(01:06:30):
for him, Yeah, absolutely, the sheer trauma of being forced
to move to the United States. Now, both boys were
good students, although BB proved much better at learning English
than his brother. They did not take to American culture though.
In April nineteen sixty three, Yoni wrote a letter home

(01:06:51):
to a friend in Israel that quote, people here talk
about cars and girls. Life revolves around one subject sex.
I believe Freud would have rich ground here a seed
and pick his fruit Slowly. I am being convinced that
I live among monkeys, not humans. Now this is where
we're kind of leave the Net and Yahoo's for today.
But it seems weird and kind of fucked up to

(01:07:12):
end today's episode on this note with everything going on
in Palestine right now, So instead I want to end
on another story from the nakba Um and this is
a story I found in an Al Jazeera episode about
survivors of that calamity. Um Abu Arab, who is now
an Israeli citizen, was a thirteen year old boy when
Jewish paramilitaries came to ethnically cleanse his village, Safuria, outside

(01:07:33):
of Nazareth. Quote. They bombed us from the air just
as we were fasting for Ramadan. They knew we would
all be in our homes. His parents fled with he
and his siblings into a nearby forest. In the morning,
troops occupied the village and they were forced to flee
towards Lebanon. After a brutal journey on foot, they reached
a refugee camp where his twelve year old sister died
from heat exhaustion. He recalls, my mother would sit by

(01:07:56):
her grave every day, lost in grief. Eventually, his father
decided they had to travel back home, which was extremely dangerous.
When they reached home, they found their village gone fenced
off and declared a military zone. Anyone who entered would
be shot. The family had to hide at a friend's
house in Nazareth, where they slowly began the process of
rebuilding their lives. Now, despite the fact that Abu Arab

(01:08:17):
is now an Israeli citizen, he has no right to
return to his village or the land that his family
still owns. In Israeli legal parlance, he is a quote
present absentee, as in he's present in Israel, but absent
from his property, which has given the Israeli state the
right to hand his family property over. His village is
now host to an exclusively Jewish community where Abs are

(01:08:40):
not allowed to live. And part of why this is
relevant is that, again we talked about the inciting incidents.
This is not why everything started recently, but it was
kind of the spark is um that neighborhood in Jerusalem,
a bunch of Palestinian families were being cleared out. In
the justification was the land that they had lived on
for generations had been bought by Jews in the eighteen hundreds. Now,

(01:09:03):
the reason why those Palestinian families wound up in that
neighborhood is because after the Nakba, when East Jerusalem was
partitioned off, they had to flee there as refugees and
it was the only place that they could live and
the reason why that land is just the the Israeli
state justifies taking those homes from them by saying, well,
it was owned by Jewish people earlier, and they have

(01:09:24):
a right of return, But none of those Palestinians have
the right to return to the areas that they had
originally lived in that were taken by Jews during the
nakpa um, which is I mean, yeah, like it's not
it's like the selective application of the right of return,
because the Israeli state sees itself like it's only in

(01:09:45):
service of people who are Jewish. Um. I think the
you know, we can talk about this more later, but
the nation state all kind of cemented that as like
they're the only ones they have a unique right to
self determination nobody else does. And then on top of that,
just to clarify the ships of that situation, there weren't
any homes there. Um that I mean, I think the

(01:10:06):
way some collections or something that they bought the land,
they built the homes themselves. Um. So it's even even
further removed from the you know, their their own reality
of like being expelled from Haifa and all these other cities,
and that for you, Yeah, it's it's pretty fucked um. Yeah,

(01:10:27):
and we'll talk well, we'll talk more about the what
net and yah who says about the nature of the
Israeli state Because it's I mean, it's it's it's f
no nationalist ship, it's it's it's pretty fucking fascist. Um.
I think it's fair to call it that. Um. And
it's bad. But you, Dana are great and I really

(01:10:47):
appreciate uh, you coming on and lending your your much
greater experience and knowledge, UM, so that I don't screw
this up. I appreciate you having Yeah, this is great son.
If people want to support you, they can buy your book,
Polarized and Demobilized Legacies of Authoritarianism in Palestine. And if
people listening are angry and horrified about what's happening in Gaza,

(01:11:11):
what's happening in parts of Jerusalem right now? Um. Is
there any place you think they could they could give
money to maybe help. Yeah, there's a medical aid for
Palestinians that has teams both in the Gaza and the
West Bank. Um. It's a very legitimate organization that is
serving a you know, a growing need. Um. And then

(01:11:32):
for people who are interested in kind of supporting Jerusalem families. UM,
there's UH to own uh Palestine. It's t A A
w O and UM as well as UM grassroots and quotes. UM.
So that's both on the economic front and on the

(01:11:53):
home and then and land seizure UM uh situation. You
can kind of help on both ends. Awesome. We've will
have links to those both in the show notes behind
the Bastards dot com UM and on our Twitter account.
Well we'll tweet that out too. So all right, thank you, Danna.
We will be back on Thursday with more stuff. That's

(01:12:16):
real bummer. He's not not a lot of fun. I'm
a super fun guest. UM. No, you've been actually, you've
been really wonderful. Thank you.

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