- For a quick overview of what Wikiquote is, read Wikiquote:Wikiquote.
- To ask for help or to talk with another editor, visit our Village pump.
- To browse Wikiquote, take a look at our browsing start page.
- To sign with a date, write four tildes (~~~~) and save.
- Before creating new articles, consult our guide. You may practice how to edit a page at Sandbox.
- Be bold.
As requested, I've posted the entire text of the now-deleted "Lehi (group)" below. (I would have emailed it to you, but I'm not sure if the Hebrew characters would have survived the trip.) I have changed only the WP box link (to point to the same WP article the original did) and the heading levels (to avoid interfering with other talk page postings). Please read Wikiquote:Votes for deletion archive/Lehi (group) before copying this to Wikisource to consider if they may raise some of the objections discussed. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 18:45, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
ARTICLE TEXT FOLLOWS
Lohamei Herut Israel, known by its acronym Lehi and also as the Stern Gang or Stern Group after its founder, was an armed underground Zionist group in Palestine during the years 1940-1948. Usually regarded as the most extreme of such groups, it conducted a campaign of assassination and other violence mostly directed against British individuals such as police and government officials. It also, on occasion, attacked Arab targets or killed alleged Jewish collaborators. It received the label "terrorist" from almost everyone, including from the mainstream Jewish organizations. More surprisingly, it accepted this label itself and sought to justify it. The following is a translation of an article "Terror" (Hebrew: טירור) that appeared in the Lehi newspaper He Khazit ("The Front", Hebrew: החזית), issue 2, August 1943. No author is given for the article, which was the usual practice in this newspaper. Underlines are in the original.
We must first restrict the concept to the area which we will deal with in this article, for many things may be called "terror" and it is not easy to find the boundaries. It would not be difficult, for example, to defend the method of terror if we were to say that terror is not to make the enemy or dodger fear by threats and attempts on his life. According to an absolutely correct, broad definition, terror is any force placed on a person through sanctions. If, for example, I don't let a person work for a living, that is also terror, though I do not judge him nor banish him and I do not seek to end his life. If we dig further and analyze societal concepts, we will find — sometimes to our own surprise — that terror rules, much more than it would seem. Generally, it is clearly accepted that terror is anti-legal, but in the end [we must ask]: What is legality? Is there any doubt that a great part of the law books, particularly those of political laws, are only a cover for a government of compulsion, that is, force? If the power is in my hands (power meaning the police and the army), then I can legislate any laws suitable to my path, and afterwards any lawbreaker is a revolutionary and terrorist or anarchist. This is a very simple and accepted method. Come and you will easily see that law is based on "terror," on the means of effecting law through compulsion.
We do not deal here with legal philosophy. We only wanted to hint that the whole "complex" and legal system against terror can be easily eliminated through clear and easy excuses, that the face of those who tout the legal "democratic" way can be revealed, and we can see how great is the terror concealed in all these. But we do not want to follow this easy path, and so we will ignore this possibility and allow citizens from right and left to live with the illusion that their methods and the methods of their government are not terror. We will defend the most difficult stand in this case, narrowing the definition of terror to the narrow confines of threat and attempts on the life of the enemy through land mines, bombs, etc. All of society's upper crust, as is known, from the left to the right, is always "shocked" to the depths of its corrupt soul by these acts, and is willing to aid the regime in eliminating and executing these anarchistic terrorists. He is not willing to do so, for example, if through legal means 769 people on the Struma were killed and thousand more who could have been saved were not given the chance. This is not terror, this is at worse a "bad law," "cruelty." It is very comfortable, living behind this kind of wall of intentionally distorted concepts. And it is very easy to say that other means should be used to fight "violence." It is possible that there is a small group of Puritanical people who see all killings as forbidden. Of course, it is difficult to argue with them if they wish to be consistent, but now the borders between defense and attack have become blurred. The difference will never again be sharp. Not only in times of war is it clear that one must attack; it is now clear, and in the future surely will be emphasized, that one should begin by attacking before being attacked by the enemy. Similarly, no reasonable person can presume a difference between the murder of individuals and of groups ("war" in common language). Murder is murder.
It is possible that someone will want to bring excuses from other areas. "Terrorists," they will say, "attack from ambush. This is not appropriate, this is cheating, this is not heroism!" Of course, that is typical Don-Quixoteism if not intentional fooling. In the Middle Ages, when war was a sport, gentlemen's rules, chivalrous rules of how it is appropriate to kill and how it is not were set; this is permitted, and this is not. Today war is not a sport, it's a question of life and death. Heroism is not a goal, as war is not an end. The only goal is victory. It would be worthwhile to see and hear the man who would dare claim that before trying to save the millions of Jews who were killed in the Diaspora we would have to check if the means were moral and that it would have been forbidden to use immoral means. It is unlikely that such a man would be found, and if he were, he would undoubtedly be a degenerate. No, there is no support for the others' moral hesitations, spiritual and aesthetic. In this sensed there has been no change since the days of Ehud ben Gera and Judith. Ehud ben Gera and Judith were absolutely terrorists. They saw craftiness and murder as means to push away danger and bring victory, and they used them in the name of G d, the Lord of Israel.
Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can negate the use of terror as a means of battle.
The last excuse remains: how beneficial is it? There was a time when the debate about terrorism was abandoned in the land of revolutions, Russia. The "revolutionaries" spilled oceans of ink against the "terrorists," the Socialists, against the Social Democrats. The period of debate is from them forward. It was tied to the problem of the principle of "collective" and "individual" as historic factors. The estimation of the Social Republicans also underwent a substantial change. From a distance it seems there work bore a great deal of fruit, both in toppling the government and in revolutionary education, but this might only be because the question is phrased incorrectly. If the question is "an a revolution be waged or can liberty be obtained through terror?" then the answer is "No!" If the question is "Do these activities help the cause of revolution and liberation at all?" the answer is "Yes." There isn’t a big difference whether the enemy is internal (Russia) or external (Poland, France, Czechoslovakia) . In tactical terms only the negative sides of terror are seen: the enemy is only partially hurt, only in a few limbs of his body. The movement pays dearly in casualties. Therefore, tactically all terror activities seem to have failed (even in the best case scenario, when the action succeeded). But from a strategic point of view every action is successful. Those who write histories of revolutionary Russia must begin with the Social Democrats. One who writes about Second Temple Jewish history must begin with Judah and Hezkiah the Galilites. Those who write of the Serbian, Polish, and French wars of liberation will begin with the names of terrorists who threatened the life and property of the enemy, be it individually or through guerilla action. The Jewish press in this country tends to write about and glorify the same acts when committed by others (terror actions against the Reich are excellent!) and without shame will undoubtedly renounce them when the time for our war of liberation comes. They will find thousands of excuses.
We are quite far from moral hesitations on the national battlefield. We see before us the command of the Torah, the most moral teaching in the world: "Obliterate…until destruction." We are particularly far from this sort of hesitation in regard to an enemy whose moral perversion is admitted by all.
But primarily terror is part of our political battle under present conditions and its role is large and great:
- It demonstrates, in clear language, to those who listen throughout the world and to our despondent brothers outside the gates of this country of our battle against the true terrorist who hides behind his piles of papers and the laws he has legislated.
- It is not directed against people, it is directed against representatives. Therefore it is effective.
- If it also shakes the Yishuv from their complacency, good and well.
Only so will the battle for liberation begin.
- ^ See Struma.
- ^ The words "Obliterate ... until destruction" combine two Biblical references to the Amalekites, Exodus 17:14 and Numbers 14:45: "Utterly blot out their remembrance...and destroy them completely."
- ^ The Jewish community in Palestine.
Translated from the original document by a professional translator commissioned by Zero. Original believed out of copyright or never copyrighted due to its illegal nature; translation hereby placed into the public domain by Zero. Scans of the Hebrew text are provided: first page, second page.