From the Vaults: New York Post, May 14, 1947

Hands up all of those who unequivocally condemn all Palestinian terrorist organisations. Now, hands up all of those who praise what others refer to as a terrorist organisations as “freedom fighters” in a just battle against imperialism.

Below, I copy the full text of an advertisement, written by Ben Hecht, a famous American screenwriter and novelist, that was published on page 42 of the May 14, 1947 edition of the New York Post.  The text of this advertisement caused a controversy. The British Ambassador to Washington informed the State Department that the British government viewed the advertisement as an incitement to murder British officials in Palestine. (New York Times, May 20, 1947.)

Letter to the Terrorists of Palestine

My Brave Friends,

You may not believe what I write you, for there is a lot of fertilizer in the air at the moment. But, on my word as an old reporter, what I write is true.  The Jews of America are for you.

You are their champions.

You are the grin they wear.

You are the feather in their hats

In the past fifteen hundred years every nation of Europe has taken a crack at the Jews.

This time the British are at bat. You are the first answer that makes sense—to the New world. Every time you blow up a British arsenal, or wreck a British jail, or send a British railroad train sky high, or rob a British bank, or let go with your guns and bombs at the British betrayers and invaders of your homeland, the Jews of America make a little holiday in their hearts. Not all the Jews, of course. The only time the Jews present a United Front is when they lie piled by the millions in the massacre pits. I shenck you this front. I like yours better.

Historically, the corpses of the Jews are very impressive as to numbers. But they are not a monument to Jewish valor. They are a monument only to the brutality of the Europeans who piled them up. The Jews of America are for you because the corpse of an Irgun soldier is a unique and very high class type of Jewish corpse. The corpse of Dov Gruner hanging from a British gallows is not a monument to the British brutality that strangled him. It is a monument to the Hebrew valor that fights for a home- land of its own—and for the dignity of all Jews such as myself who have a homeland elsewhere.

Brave friends, I can imagine you wondering, “If the Jews of America are behind us why don’t they help us with their support and money?” This is a legitimate curiosity. I’ll try to answer it. It so happens that a certain small percentage of the Jews of America are not behind you—yet. (Remember you haven’t won yet.) Unfortunately, this small percentage includes practically all the rich Jews of America, all the important ones, all the influential ones, all the heads of nearly all the Jewish organizations whom the American newspapers call—”the Jewish leaders.” They’re all against. Every time you throw a punch at the British betrayers of your homeland, nearly all these Jews have a collective conniption fit.

They ululate and deplore. They rush in waving white handkerchiefs and alibis. They didn’t do it—not they! Respectable people don’t fight. They gabble. This exhibition of weak stomachs, weak minds, and weak spines would be the blackest mark ever pasted on the word Jew—were it only a Jewish exhibition. Luckily for the Jews, history lightens their shameful antics. History tells us (a little sadly) that respectability and wealth never line up with a revolution—or a fighting minority.

The American Revolutionary Army under George Washington went a long time without shoes, guns, or food. The respectable and wealthy American Colonists preferred British admiration to liberty and freedom. They thought it was bad taste to fight for such things—against the British, of all people. And they wouldn’t kick in a dime. In fact they proved their respectability by playing informer to the British. You can see how little respectability has changed since 1776. There’s another side to Jewish respectability. I’ll tell you a story that illustrates it. I went to see the Max Schmeling – Max Baer world championship fight with an important Jewish Hollywood tycoon. He sat beside me for nine rounds without raising his head to look at the ring. He couldn’t bear the spectacle of a Jew being beaten by a German. But on the tenth round my Hollywood friend looked at the ring. He not only looked. He jumped and cheered. He cheered so long and so loud that he was hoarse for three days. Schmeling was on his back and the referee was counting him out. He didn’t look good. Max Baer, with the Star of David stitched on his trunks, was upright and grinning in a neutral corner. He looked fine. Brave friends, I can promise you that all the respectable and wealthy Jewish personalities will be on their feet cheering far you—in Round Ten. They’ll all be for you when you don’t need them. That’s the history of respectable people and Nervous Nellies, whatever their nationality. Right now all the respectability of the Jews is handsomely engaged in cooing before the Court of Nations.

Let me tell you what the Jews of America, such as myself, think of these capers. It may give you a chuckle between jail deliveries. We are aware that the British pulled the U.N.O. trick because they were frightened of you. They were afraid that your gallant and desperate fight for your homeland would gather to you the sympathy of the world.

It looked as of the cheering sections were for you. So they took the ball out of play by handing it to the referee— who was a personal friend. The British figured that the sound of Jewish gabble before a world court would drown out the sound of Hebrew guns in Palestine.

Let me assure you, my brave friends, that it hasn’t and it won’t. True enough, Jewish respectability is making a bit of noise at the moment. Our “Jewish leaders” are pleading for a Jewish sanctuary in fine and measured strophes. They are not nearly as hot-headed about it as were the bird lovers of America who a few years ago pleaded for a sanctuary for the vanishing penguin. But, barring a little steam, they are much alike. They want a sanctuary where the Jews of Europe can all stand on a rock and eat philanthropy-fish till the Messiah arrives. These Jewish Penguin Patriots are very proud for the moment because Somebody is listening to them. Not the British or the Arabs, of course, who stand ready to shoot down Jews whether they turn into Penguins or Dodo birds. And, thank God—not you!

The fact that you are keeping to your gallant fight against the British invaders is the sanest and healthiest thing that has happened to the battered Hebrew cause in 1500 years.

Not the gabble of respectable Jews, but your fight is the history of tomorrow. It will be your fight that will win for the Jews of the world what they have never had—the respect of their enemies—and a land more honorable thin a bird sanctuary. Brave friends, we are working to help you. We are raising funds for you. We are ringing doorbells and peddling your cause and passing the hat and trying to lift the heads of oar Jewish respectables to have a look at the ring—before Round Seven It’s tough going—even on the fringe of a fight for freedom. So forgive us if our take is a little meager for the time. The rich Jews are pouring millions into the business of feeding the survivors of the German massacre.

Jewish wealth and respectability are fearlessly rushing sandwiches to them. But, for a change, the Jews of America hear more than Jewish groans to solace.

We hear Hebrew courage. We hear a battle cry that rises above the pathetic gabble in Flushing Meadows. We hear brave men fighting on despite torture, calumny, low supplies, and overwhelming odds!

We hear you.

We are out to raise millions for you.

And the money is coming in—not from Jews alone but from all Americans.

Because America is not a Fact Finding Commission and a State Department. America is a dream of freedom in the hearts of its millions and a cheer for all brave men who fight its never ending battle. Hang on, brave friends, our money is on its way.

Yours as ever,

Ben Hecht

Only the heroic battle in Palestine will decide the issue. Only your money can swing the tide of battle. Be you Christian or Jew, be you a veteran of the last war, the parent of a boy or girl, a rich man or a laborer —you have a stake in Palestine. The fighting Resistance is holding the front line for all. $500 will buy a surgical kit. $25 will buy clothing for a fighter or someone in his family. Your money is nourishment, plasma, and survival. Your money is the only bridge to victory. Send in your check today for the liberation and dignity of the Hebrew Nation.

(Reprints and Advertising Mats Are Available on Request)





Stella Adler

Konrad Bercovici

Louis Bromfield

Russell Gordon Carter

Lester Cohen

Alan Corelli

Mordecai Danzis

Paul Eldridqe

Frances Gunther

Ben Hecht

Nathan George Harwitt

Prof. Constantine Panunzio

Andrew L. Somers, M.C.

Arthur Szyk

Alex Witt [brother of convicted communist spy Nathan Witt]

Isaac Zoar

(And Others)

The cost of this advertisement was contributed as a public service by Mr. Walter Kirschner of Indio, California