Alex Rose
Alex Rose

Yitzhaq Ben-Ami’s “Years of Wrath, Days of Glory” [Part 2] + [Sequel]

The outbreak of war struck a terrible blow to the revisionists. The difficulties of obtaining boats and moving people across borders became insurmountable. Until 1941, and as late as April 1945, there were German officials ready to deal for Jewish lives. It must be remembered that it was not until January 20.1942 that the Wannsee Conference was held., around which time “the final solution of the Jewish question” to systematically kill the Jews of Europe evolved.

With this assessment, the NY based Irgun/Bergson Group elected to de-emphasize their campaign for a Jewish army and concentrated on saving the Jews of Europe. In December of 1942, they placed a 2 page advertisement in the New York Times entitled, “Proclamation of the Moral Rights of Stateless and Palestinian Jews.” This was followed by a Ben Hecht pageant, “We Will Never Die”, which played to a forty thousand audience at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 1943 and was repeated in Constitution Hall, Washington DC. These 2 events prepared public opinion for more concrete action. Surprisingly, Ben-Ami hardly mentions the significant and memorable “Rabbis’ March” which they arranged on October 6, 1943 in Washington DC, three days before Yom Kippur. The protest march, comprising 400-500 Orthodox rabbis included Rabbis Moshe Feinstein and Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, travelled to the US Capital, Lincoln Memorial and the White House, pleading US intervention on behalf of European Jews and was joined by the Jewish War Veterans of the US and a number of Congressmen. When victory for the Allies over the Germans began to look possible around late 1943, the Bergson Group felt encouraged although they realized that they were running out of possibilities.

For Ben-Ami, “Nineteen forty-three was one of the most difficult years of my life; every day thousands of our people were being killed, and yet many people still saw the war and the exterminations as two separate events.” For the disciples of Jabotinsky, they were irrevocably linked. “We never let up our agitation, no matter how much it disturbed the Zionist Establishment, the White House and the State Department.” His assessment was that British officials liked the Jews less than they liked the Arabs, contrary to US officials and functionaries who were anti-Semitic out of sheer provincialism and ignorance. The Hebrew revolt in Palestine was proclaimed on February 1, 1944, in a lengthy document posted on walls and kiosks throughout the country. The Proclamation consisted of 3 parts:

[A] A summary of the significant events of the first 4 years of the war, including the cease-fire observed b the Irgun since September 1, 1939, contributions the Yishuv had made to the war effort and actions by both the Nazis and the British which had effected European Jewry.
[B] With millions of its people dead, the Hebrew nation was not being given international recognition; it was still not permitted to form an army, and the gates to the homeland remained closed to survivors. As a consequence, the British had no moral right to occupy Palestine and the armistice was declared ended.
[C] The goals of the Proclamation was defined———Palestine was to be turned over to a Provisional Hebrew Government, a Hebrew army would be formed, European Jews would be evacuated to Palestine, peaceful relations would be established with the Arab neighbors, equal rights would be afforded to the Arab population, and extra-territorial status would be granted to the holy Christian and Moslem places.
On April 20, 1943, as the Bermuda Conference was due to open, the Bergson Group ran a full page advertisement in the Washington Post with the headline, “On the field of battle, soldiers die—–on the field of massacres, civilization dies!” The Bermuda Conference had been only a flimsy curtain behind which Washington and London had their inaction, and even tried to hide the facts of the extermination. As if this was the Evian Conference of 1938 all over again. Harold Dodds, the chief American delegate, never once mentioned “Jews” in his opening and closing remarks. Although the Arabs had turned against Britain in the war, the British held fast to their old excuse for keeping the doors of Palestine closed—-they did not want to antagonize the Arabs. Though Hitler’s reign of terror, the Jews were expected to do nothing but remain quiet, and the overwhelming majority did.

As Ben Hecht wrote at the time:
“Four million Jews waiting for death. Oh hang and burn out—–Quiet Jews! Don’t be bothersome; save your breath——The world is busy with other news. Oh world be patient—-it will take some time before the murder crews are done. By Christmas you can make your peace on earth, without Jews.”
On February 24, 1942, a ship named Struma, with 760 refugees aboard, including 103 children and babies, en route to Palestine was turned back by the Turks on instructions from the British. It was subsequently learned that the British Colonial Secretary Lord Moyne had blood on his hands in that he was personally responsible for inducing the Turks to tug the unseaworthy makeshift immigrant ship from Istanbul harbor, condemning all passengers to a certain death. A Soviet torpedo inadvertently struck the ship which resulted in its sinking. There was only one survivor, David Stoliar, to tell the story. On November 6, 1944, two young Lehi fighters, assassinated Moyne in Cairo, an act for which they paid with their lives in that they were sentenced to death by the British and hanged on March 22, 1945.

Around October, 1945, Ben-Ami notes that in Palestine, Europe and the US, the Zionist Establishment still refused to admit their mistakes and once again mobilized their superior resources, not to topple the power [British] occupying the homeland, but rather to destroy the Irgun. With the gas chambers still working, the Establishment instigated their own version of the “St. Bartholomew night” against the Irgun, the pretext being the assassination of Lord Moyne by the Lehi group on November, 1944. Known as the “season”, the period declared by David Ben Gurion, when his followers became British informers on the Irgun/Lehi planed activities, and in some cases even engaged in handing over their adversaries to the British. Apparently, the shooting of Moyne enraged Churchill, but even his indignation had been exceeded by the Zionist Establishment.
The destruction of the military headquarters in the south wing of the King David Hotel on July 22, 1946 by the Irgun shook Jerusalem and had wide repercussions. The heavy casualties were the end result of a series of tragic missed signals.

By May, 1947, the British “did not indicate any willingness to open the doors of Palestine or cease military action, neither did the Irgun.” Shortly before May 4, 1947, Menachem Begin held a meeting of the Irgun Command in Tel Aviv. Yet another step in the Irgun’s armed struggle with the British in Palestine was planned and took place; to attack Acre prison where many of the Jewish underground fighters were incarcerated. The raid was intended to free exactly forty-one prisoners———–eleven Lehi men , and the rest Irgun men, several officers among them. When the raid was over, twenty-nine key Irgun and Lehi men had been freed, nine were dead and five had been arrested. The operation badly shook up the British, both in Jerusalem and London, and helped spark an unprecedented event in the UN. This was in the form of the Soviet delegate, Andrei Gromyko openly acknowledging that the British policies in Palestine were bankrupt.

The British admitted that but for the efforts of the Irgun, England would not have left Palestine. In the publicly stated words of Colonel Arthur-Cust, Secretary of the British Government in Eretz Israel, “the hanging of two British sergeants did more than anything to get us out”, in reference to the final withdrawal from Palestine.

Ben-Ami’s “Years of Wrath, Days of Glory” [The Sequel]

“Those who are kind to the cruel, in the end will be cruel to the kind.” [The Talmud]
According to Rabbi Raymond Apple, former Chief Orthodox Rabbi of Sydney, the most famous rasha [evil one] of all the 4 sons is the second son in the Passover Haggadah.” He takes many forms, proving that there are people perceived as resha’im [evil] in every generation. All share the characteristic that it wasn’t outside causes that made them ‘wicked’, but their own misguided choice.”

What follows is the rational for characterizing Yitzhaq Ben-Ami’s son Jeremy, as a classical Wicked Son. That this is particularly so, is simply because he has accepted the narrative of Israel’s enemies – a position which differs radically from that of his father. Rabbi Apple lists the following criteria for the Wicked Son in response to the question – What is his wickedness? :

Religious – he denies the fundamentals of Jewish commitment.
Intellectual – he uses his sharp mind against tradition; he does not ask but tells.
Social – he mocks family tradition.
Psychological – he wavers in the wind.
Ethical – he undermines the community.
Behavioral – he is a rebel and non-conformist [ a ‘stubborn and rebellious son.’]

As the founder of J Street, Jeremy Ben- Ami’s recorded performance readily demonstrates signs of many of the abovementioned categories. Even when challenged by liberals, his attempts at justifying his position falls short. His book entitled “A New Voice for Israel” fails its objective and instead exposes his obscure thinking. To Professor Alan Dershowitz, “—-in an effort to expand leftward, it [J Street ] has taken positions that undercut Israel’s security and that virtually no Israeli center leftists support.”

Dershowitz is quick to point out that J Street has spoken out of both sides of its mouth on the issue of whether the Palestinian leadership should recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. He also draws attention to J Street having accepted funding from sources “——such as billionaire George Soros—-who are openly anti-Israel and have kept the fact secret so as not to alienate its centrist supporters.”

Jeremy Ben-Ami’s father’s efforts led to the establishment of the War Refugee Board which conceivably saved as many as 250,000 Jews. This important episode by him and his Bergson colleagues is recorded in the 2003 book “Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America and the Holocaust” by Professor David Wyman and Rafael Medoff. Jeremy is given to making absurd comparisons with his illustrious father. Had his father been alive today, he would have been shocked to learn of his son’s promotion of a Palestinian State.
Yitzhag Ben-Ami , amongst many other pursuits was heavily involved in the planning of the famed Altadena ship mentioned in his memoirs as “our life saving gift to our people—–But when we reached our brothers, they destroyed the gifts we brought them and tried to destroy us as well—–The curse of ‘Sinat Achim ‘[brotherly hatred’ has not been lifted from Israel. Once again while the enemy was battering the walls , Jewish weapons were raised by brother against brother, to the everlasting shame of all of us.” No doubt had the pro-Israel brother Jeremy been present, he would have been among the opposing “brothers.”

The question remains as to how the son whose father accomplished so much, who faced extreme danger on numerous occasion, unselfishly serving his people, seeds a pathetic son whose desperation leads him to belief that appeasing a hate filled enemy can realize peace. This in the face of a supposed shopworn solution which always results in failure. Could it be that since he cannot match his father in any way, he is prompted to follow other “leaders” who espouse theories embraced in inapplicable policies e.g. “one makes peace with enemies.”
Professor Kenneth Levin, a clinical instructor in psychoanalytic training at Harvard and a Princeton – educated historian, father of the Oslo Syndrome, suggests the following:

“Since the Emancipation, the Jewish people have been living under a state of siege, forced to confront unrelenting existential hatred. Some individuals are able to cope with this pressure, but others cannot. Those who do not find the necessary inner strength try to solve the problem by identifying, to varying degrees, with their persecutors.

The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the victims develop the sense that by siding with those who have placed them under siege, they can gain control of their environment.”

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.