State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel

By Hagopian, Elaine C. | Arab Studies Quarterly, April 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel


Hagopian, Elaine C., Arab Studies Quarterly


Suarez, Thomas. State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel. Bloxham, Oxon: Skyscraper Publications, 2016. 417 pages. Hardback $15.77

Reviewed by Elaine C. Hagopian

Thomas Suarez has added muscle to the growing revelations of the mendacity of the Zionist project in Palestine. An independent scholar, he spent years mining the British National Archives at Kew. His book is based primarily on declassified British documents covering the British Palestine Mandate (officially 1923-48; de facto 1920-48) through the 1948 war and thereafter.

While Suarez gives great attention to the terrorist methods used to facilitate ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, his overall emphasis is on the comprehensiveness of Zionist planning for appropriating Palestine without Palestinians. Circumventing the sympathetic but wary British Mandate authorities, and firmly establishing the "legitimizing" Zionist narrative needed to lay claim to the land and minds of Jews, the plan formed the existential bases of the state to be. He assiduously records how the main Zionist institution in Palestine, the Jewish Agency, orchestrated these efforts during the Mandate period. David Ben Gurion, later to be Israel's first prime minister, served as the chairman of the Agency's Executive Committee.

The Jewish Agency in Palestine, an offshoot of the World Zionist Organization, was founded in 1929 to represent the Yishuv's (Jewish Settlers in Palestine) relations with world Jewry, as well as with the British Mandatory officials and other relevant states and world institutions. It served in essence as the governing body for Jews in Palestine and the representative of the Zionist project abroad. It was charged with resettling Jews in Palestine and educating them ideologically and professionally to serve the needs of an emerging Israel.1 It also had a "defense" force, the Haganah, and a strike force, the Palmach. The Haganah engaged in anti-British and anti-Palestinian terrorism while other terrorist organizations, the Irgun and Lehi, received much of the notoriety. As Suarez documents, the Jewish Agency protected these terrorist groups whenever the British asked for the Agency's help in controlling their violence. Ben Gurion pretended concern but did nothing to expose or restrain the groups. He tolerated Irgun and Lehi's independent terrorist activities because both groups were committed to achieving the same Zionist goal as that of the Agency, i.e., establishing a Jewish state.

To appreciate the political adeptness of the Jewish Agency and the various terrorist groups, one need only read Suarez's chapters covering the forties. These chapters are an unrelenting litany of infrastructure bombings, letter bombs, mass killings, and massacres of Palestinian villagers presented in great detail. Equally, those chapters expose the systematic acts of terrorism directed against British Mandate officials, facilities, and infrastructure. Although the Zionists had been favored by the British, they had also become leery of their violence. Zionist terrorist acts were further weakening an already war-torn Britain. Suarez alludes to the fact that the Zionists did not have a relationship of conflict with the British. Rather, they wanted to end the Mandate so that they could have an unobstructed go at the indigenous Palestinians. As Suarez points out, fighting the British served the Zionist claim that they were fighting a "war of liberation" against a colonial power, which suited their public relations in the West, especially in the USA. Each of the Zionist terrorist groups also carried out attacks against British facilities and individuals outside of Palestine. Suarez further details the number of non-Zionist Jews killed, some of whom worked for the British in Palestine, because they did not embrace Zionism. Their example to other Jews was unacceptable.

There are a number of new revelations in this book as well as older ones, which are fleshed out. They contradict the manufactured public image of the creation of Israel. …

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