For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



Magic Scissors

by Israel Shamir


The strong nationalist tendencies of many Russian Jews in Israel did not grow on an empty space. There was a consistent indoctrination effort, which included re-writing the history of Palestine. One of the indoctrination agencies is the Aliya Library, heavily subsidized, state-owned publishing house. The Aliya published over 150 titles, such as Leon Uris' Exodus, Jabotinsky, a whole range of obscure Zionist preachers and turn of the century Jewish books. They do not try to be objective.


That is why I was amazed to discover O Jerusalem by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierrre on the list of Aliya publications. Their story of 1948 struggle for the City is basically pro-Israeli. My edition displays a Jewish Observer stamp of approval on its cover, and I got it as a present from a settler friend of Kfar Etzion. Still, the book tries to present a balanced picture of the tragic events and human side of combatants, and therefore it is a book to learn, not to indoctrinate.


My amazement only grew when I opened the Aliya translation. The good Zionist editor of the Russian Version (RV) completely revamped the book, sometimes by subtle changes, sometimes by huge strokes of his magic scissors.


Compare two texts, OV (original version) and RV (Russian version) describing the aftermath of an Arab attack on a Jewish food convoy.


OV p.211

Tonight in Beit Machsir, Saris, Kastel, in all the poor villages clinging to the Judean heights above the road, there would be a rare and unexpected banquet on the food which Jerusalem's hungry Jews so desperately awaited.


RV p.166

Tonight in the Arab villages nearby - in Beit Machsir, Saris, Kastel and others - there was a great banquet - fellahs feasted on the food which Jerusalem's hungry Jews so desperately awaited.


Just three subtle changes - and the picture changed drastically. In the OV, the emergency supplies of Jews present a rare, once-in-a-lifetime feast for the peasants of the poor villages. In the RV, the fellahin devour food of hungry Jews. In the RV, the Palestinian villages 'lost' the Judean heights with their positive connotation. The word 'clinging' was also removed, as it was liable to cause compassion.
Sometimes the editor of RV is less subtle.


OV 14

Arab resentment periodically erupted in outbursts of violence and in the outright revolt against British rule.



Arab hatred periodically erupted in assaults on Jews and in the outright pogroms.

It is good to use the emotive 'pogrom' so the Russian Jewish reader will come to a simple vision of Palestinians. They are the same Jew-baiting pogrom-making goyyim as those he heard of from his grandparents in Russia. The Arabs 'lost' the revolt - but the RV editor introduces a sentence of his own.





RV p. 15

Storm of Jewish liberation struggle hit Palestine.


The RV editor uses all dirty tricks of a translator. Arab revolt is 'a riot', Jewish revolt is 'a liberation struggle', Arabs have 'gangs', but 'terrorists of Irgun' became 'Irgun fighters'.

The transplantation of 'revolt against British rule' by 'pogroms' serves an additional purpose - to promote the image of perfide Albion, of ultimate Arab-British anti-Jewish alliance, to implant the 'Massada complaint' of Jewish loneliness in the hostile Gentile world. That is why Arabs attack a Jewish convoy .


OV p. 281

counting on British indifference


RV p. 209

counting on British support


The GPO in OV is guarded by an Arab, a Jew and a British soldier. The RV removes the Jew, for the same purpose.

Proper growth of 'the Massada complaint' calls for the Arab Goliath vs. Jewish David myth. Whenever some part of the book disagrees with it, it is cut out. In description of the Arab summit discussing aid to Palestinians, the RV eliminated such telling sentences as 'Ibn Saud had no troops worth speaking of', 'Nuri Said was ready to accommodate - for a price'.

RV does not want his readers to know how poorly the Palestinians were armed in 1948. He removes such a passage: 'Saud sent el Husseini a consignment of the primitive pre-WWI rifles. Angrily el Husseini broke them one by one'.

'A few stolen cases of ammunition' of OV is transformed into 'Arabs cleared whole arms-depots'.

The Arab principal sources of arms were the battlefields of Western Desert. Even there intramural feuding came into play... a single rusty Mauser was sold for one hundred pounds, four times the price of a brand new Mauser...



The Arab principal sources of arms were the battlefields of Western Desert, crowded by the uncountable masses of all sorts of arms.


The Arab Goliath has to be well trained, that is why the RV (p 146) cuts out the description of low level of training among Palestinians -"Training was haphazard. Recruits who were able to fire half a dozen rounds at a target and toss a hand grenade or two were considered well trained etc".


The Arab Goliath has to be rich - and the RV cuts out the comparison of results of Golda Meir fund-raising drive - fifty million dollars - "three times the entire oil revenues of Saudi Arabia in 1947".


The OV contains 650 pp, the RV - 375 pp, and practically every cut is meaningful. For instance, on p 15 OV you can read, 'It was an ironic comment on the hypocritical aspects of Americas Palestine policy...that the same American legislators who were so freely urging a quarter of a million Jewish immigrants on Palestine's 1.2 million Arabs had allowed exactly 4,767 refugees on to Americas promised shores'. There is naturally no place for such sentiment in a book subsidized by the American Jewish Cultural Foundation of New York.

Descriptions and life stories of Arabs are systematically removed from the book. 'The stately figure of Emir Feisal' is gone, as well as stories of Abd el Khadir el Husseini, the charismatic leader of Palestinians, of Fawsi el Kutub, ex-inmate of a German concentration camp etc.


Jewish terror

All stories pertaining to Jewish terrorist acts against peaceful Palestinian population are removed or mutilated. The reader will not find in the RV (p 101) that 'a Hagana officer set a Bren gun in an office window and sent a clip of bullets into a crowd of Arab shoppers at Jaffa gate'.


In the description of a terrorist attack on a Katamon hotel Semiramis the cuts are subtler. The decision to attack the hotel was based on a (wrong) assumption that the hotel served as the HQ of Arab forces in the area, as jeep of el Husseini was seen there. The editor cuts out a paragraph showing that el Husseini just met there with local elders. Semiramis was no more a HQ than Jerusalem Hilton hosting a meeting of UJA delegates with an Israeli Chief of Staff. The horror of the Semiramis explosion is eliminated from the RV. The Russian reader should not see " the figure of a woman, stumbling hysterically through the rubble, cradling in her arms the severed head of her infant daughter".

The Irgun terrorist attack on January 7, 1948 when a bomb was hurled on people waiting for the bus No 3 at the Jaffa Gate, when 17 civilians were killed, was one of serious steps of escalation of the conflict and caused the Arabs to respond with the bombing of Ben Yehuda street and of the Jewish Agency. Every reference to the Jewish attack (pp 116-120 OV) is eliminated, while the horror of Arab terrorist attacks is preserved.

Looting of Arab houses whose inhabitants run for safety to the Old City, is removed. The looting of Kfar Etzion by victorious Arabs is preserved with one nice cut. 'Arabs like locusts tore out the settlers' young trees' remained, but the explaining second half of the sentence 'as if to eradicate for ever the last trace of that foreign invasion upon their ancient hills" was deleted.

When Arabs of Sheikh Bader are forced out by terrorist tactics of Hagana, the RV makes them to flee "one fine morning". Evacuation of Arabs from Romema, according to RV, was "an exemplary deed of Hagana'. Do you feel the touch? The morning is fine, the departure is an exemplary one etc.

Other unpleasantries are cut out as well. A Russian reader will not learn that in 1948, the Jewish doctors refused to attend a wounded person, as they took him for an Arab. (Similar pattern occurred a few years ago in Hebron, when a Sephardi Jewish settler was left to die as he was taken for a Palestinian).

Deir Yassin

But the Deir Yassin chapter is the crowning achievement of the RV editor. The events are well known. Irgun and Lehi attacked the village and massacred its inhabitants. The Jewish community condemned the murderers but never punished them. The editor of the RV deals with it roughly. At first, he cuts out (225 OV) the description of the peaceful village which avoided all contacts with Mufti. Then he cuts out (267 OV) corroborating words of the Hagana commander Shaltiel, who called Deir Yassin "one of the few places which has not given a foothold to foreign bands". The RV editor makes a footnote "Deir Yassin was not peaceful or neutral as presented in the book" and eliminates all other evidence. Description of the villagers is removed to avoid compassion. Last sentence before the massacre description is dealt with subtly.



They fell with increasing fury on the inhabitants of Deir Yassin.



They felt increasing fury towards inhabitants of Deir Yassin.

Not action - just feeling, which surely had no expression in acts. Further on, there is no place for subtlety and RV cuts out all description of atrocities and of mass murder of men, women and children, receives a thorough treatment in the OV. Evidence of a witness, a representative of Red Cross Jaques de Reynier is cut out altogether, he is not even mentioned. Evidence of Hagana and Palmach officers, of Gadna commander are cut out altogether. The translation and editing come to catharsis in a footnote, which appears to include a footnote of OV 271. It is not even similar to the original note, but we can give the original text, uppercasing words, carefully omitted by the RV.



The RV editor is quite consistent. As he removed all reference to non-Arab witnesses, he created an alibi. He continues freely: "the evidence of rape, 'looting and atrocities' can not be trusted as it is based on words of the Arabs who just now escaped death and who are liable to exaggerate the enemy s cruelty. The British officers' 'evidence' can not be relied upon either as it was based on the evidence of the Arab survivors'.

Evidence of survivors is not to be trusted. A curious coincidence: the same words were used by the advocate of the Nazi official, Adolf Eichmann against the evidence of the Jewish survivors of the holocaust. Israeli court rejected it out of hand. But even this dubious argument is based on a lie. By removing all reference to plentiful non-Arab evidence, the editor of RV created the impression of their absence in the mind of a Russian reader.

Here is a wonderful 'translation' of the footnote:


OV 271

The British interrogation officer appended the following remarks. "The majority of those women are very shy and reluctant to relate their experiences concerning sexual assault, and they need great coaxing before they will divulge any information. The recording of statements is hampered also by the hysterical state of the women who often break down many times whilst the statement is being recorded. There is however no doubt that many sexual atrocities were committed by the attacking Jews...Many infants were also butchered and killed..."


RV 205

The report has it, inter alia, "Many inhabitants, whom I questioned in respect of atrocities committed in Deir Yassin, refrained from answers about rapes". The report concludes (sic!) by words, "Majority of the questioned were in a state of shock and unable to relate what actually happened".

Such hutzpa would be unheard of elsewhere, as the courts are liable to protect the authors against such 'translation' and 'editing'. I doubt whether it is just a case of brutal indoctrination, and tend to look ad hominem.

The Aliya Library functions under the aegis of Netiv, one of the branches of Israeli intelligence, sometimes described as the Russian Desk of Israeli Foreign Office. The RV was published when this murky organization was headed by a highly respectable Dr Judas Lapidot of Tel Aviv University.

In 1948, Dr Lapidot was the Irgun commander at Deir Yassin. He is personally responsible for the massacre. Dr Lapidot and his gang stormed the village of Deir Yassin and mopped it up 'firstly with guns and grenades, and later with knives' (Jacques de Renier, OV 270, RV none).

He was not punished. Instead, he called Russia to 'let my people go'. Probably now we can understand why so many Russian Jews in Israel (who read Russian and practically only Russian) tend to embrace chauvinist extremists. They were viciously brainwashed on the expense of Israeli and American taxpayers.