September 1, 2009

WHEN THE HAT'S ON THE OTHER HEAD:

The Birth Of Modern Terrorism?: a review of David Cesarani's ''Major Farran's Hat.'' (Ira Stoll, 09.01.09, Forbes)

[C]esarani, a professor of history at Royal Holloway College of the University of London, attempts to document what he calls "the full extent and ambition of Jewish terrorism in the late 1940s," an effort he refers to as "the first modern international terrorist campaign."

Framing the story this way allows Cesarani to contextualize the murder of Rubowitz as a counterterrorist operation and to conclude with a warning that "At a time when counter-insurgency warfare is once again at the forefront of military operation by the British Army and NATO, it is perhaps an opportune moment to revisit the events that took place on that balmy evening in Jerusalem sixty years ago as warning of everything that can go wrong when young warriors directed by desperate and unscrupulous politicians wage war on terror."
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It's hard to communicate just how misguided this interpretive framework is. If anyone is a terrorist in this story, it's Farran, who has killed a civilian, Rubowitz, to advance the political goal of keeping the British in control of Palestine, where they had been granted a League of Nations mandate after World War I.


Except that in order to take those Israelis off the hook you've just put Israel on the same one as Farran. Or, looking to UN resolutions, put them in an even less defensible position.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2009 12:15 PM
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