This a cross-post from The Times of Israel by David Collier and Jonathan Hoffman
On 3 November 2016 we were present at a meeting at SOAS (a London University), addressed by Thomas Suarez to discuss his new book, State of Terror. As he spoke, it became clear as day that the book was an attempt to rewrite the history of the foundation of the State of Israel.
Reading the book later confirmed this initial reaction, and worse. Jonathan wrote about it here.
The book is so contemptible that after doing due diligence, the Quaker Centre in Cambridge cancelled a booking for Suarez. Suarez claims to have unearthed some historical facts that even the most eminent academic historians missed. For example: Zionist leaders opposed the Marshall Plan; UN Resolution 181 (passed in 1947 calling for Partition) was a ‘scam’ because ‘no Israeli leader had any intention of honouring Partition’; Jewish orphans in post-war Europe were ‘kidnapped’ by Zionists; after the Second World War, Zionist leaders sabotaged plans to safeguard Jewish Displaced Persons; and Israel destroyed the Iraqi Jewish community.
We knew that to fisk the book properly, it was necessary to verify the source material Suarez claims to have used. His effort to rewrite history in order to denigrate Zionism and Israel was Herculean and the level of hatred that it indicates, jaw-dropping: Seven years of work, five of them reading 430 files in the UK’s National Archives, resulting in 69 pages of 680 endnotes plus 124 entries in the bibliography. Incredibly (maybe not?) the book has been fêted by anti-semites. As well as at SOAS, Suarez has given talks in the UK Parliament (hosted by Baroness Tonge), in Portsmouth, in the West Midlands and at four venues in Scotland.
Later this month he is speaking in the US (18th University of Massachusetts, Amherst; 25th Columbia; 26th Rutgers – no doubt more will be added).
So we set out to verify his sources. Our analysis runs to over 22,000words. We read 26 of the same National Archive files and 8 of the same books. Plus material which Suarez ignored. We found evidence that was misinterpreted or ignored, always in a manner that denigrated Zionism. An example is the statement that Zionist leaders opposed the Marshall Plan for Europe’s postwar reconstruction because of the fear that reconstruction in Europe would prove ‘an obstacle to Zionism’. The evidence? An archive document showing that a small group of (unnamed) Zionists took this stance – not the Jewish leadership or the Jewish Agency!
We found allegations that are not only false but flagrantly anti-semitic – for example, that Jewish children in Europe who had been orphaned by the Second World War were ‘kidnapped’ and spirited to Israel. The truth is that after Hitler’s attempted genocide of the Jewish people, many Jewish orphans were in the care of Christians. The rescue operation – by Chief Rabbi Herzog with the blessing of national authorities – was simply intended to ensure that the orphans could remain Jewish rather than de facto be converted to Christianity. After six million Jews perished, it is nauseating to label this resettlement in Israel as ‘kidnapping’. It shows a wilful failure on the part of Suarez to understand the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of almost two-thirds of Europe’s Jews, as well as the spirit of survival which has enabled Judaism to survive and prosper over more than 5,000 years of adversity. Suarez eve implicitly blames Zionists for the Holocaust and the Second World War!
Appallingly, Suarez even stoops to questioning the veracity of a survivor of Dr Mengele’s horrifying Nazi experiments, when her account contradicts his drive to demonise Zionist leaders. (She was the mother of IDF Major General Yossi Peled).
We found a strategy to attribute to all Zionists the action of one. If any Jewish Zionist said or did anything negative, throughout the entire period 1917-1948, Suarez uses the example to reflect the action back on all Zionists. He then labels it as Zionist policy. It is a highly racist strategy to employ. When discussing the Holocaust, it becomes sickeningly offensive.
We found a strategy of wilful selectivity in the selection of archive material, focusing disproportionately on the years of maximum civil strife in Palestine (1947-48), in order to support the calumny that “Terrorism Created Israel”. Files from late 1947 are accessed over 400 times but they simply reflect Zionist actions as a response to the Arab rejection of partition. Archives from the late 1930s only show Zionist action as a response to the tragedy unfolding in Europe. And describing only half of the conflict – deliberately evading Arab violence – presents an utterly skewed impression.
In short, this is a deeply anti-semitic book. It is dressed up as an impeccably researched academic treatise but as the saying goes, ‘you can’t put lipstick on a pig’. ‘Zionists’ become dehumanised, amorphous monsters who ‘hijack’ Judaism, ‘kidnap’ Jewish orphans and ‘coerce’ Displaced Persons in order to swell the population of Palestine (whether or not they want to go); and who are heartless Untermenschen for whom the murder of two-thirds of Europe’s Jews is a matter of complete indifference. Suarez has a mild demeanour but you don’t have to dig far to discover his hatred of Israel.
Here is a ‘tweet’ that perfectly shows it: The propagation of malicious falsehoods about Israel has become an industry. This book is Suarez’s job application, alongside such revisionist luminaries such as Pappé, Massad, Brenner, Finkelstein and Chomsky.
State of Terror is a deeply anti-semitic book. It is grist to the mill of the worst Jew-haters. The first step in confronting anti-semitism is recognising it. In our 22,000+ word forensic takedown, we hope to have achieved that.
Jonathan adds As always there are false allegations about me from Israel Haters. They work through slanderous character assassination, as opposed to addressing the issues. Because they cannot address the issues or know that truth is not on their side.
It goes without saying (but for the sake of the reputation of Harrys Place I have been persuaded to say it) that I am a strong opponent of Britain First, a group which whips up hatred of minorities and terrifies innocent mosque congregants. I am horrified that they have attempted to hijack the cause of Israel, and they are not welcome at demonstrations where I am present. Indeed I am not aware that any current member of BF has been at a demo where I have been present. On the other hand you will understand that when I attend a demo it is not practical to check CVs of all the other participants.