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The Stern Gang Essay

1537 words - 6 pages

Jews of GermanyIn the late 1940's there were many forces looking to maintain Israeli sovereignty. As a response to the events of the Holocaust, Avraham Stern formed his freedom fighters in a right wing response to what he and his revisionist members considered a solution to the British occupation on Palestine. Regarding Great Britain as the greater enemy in the fight for a Jewish state, Stern's group, which was sometimes considered to be terrorist, spun off from the popular anti-socialist Likud party, and the revisionist Israeli force called the Irgun, creating their own brand of Zionism.The Stern Gang was originally founded in 1940 when Avraham Stern, an active member of the Etzel party (later headed by Menachim Begin) and founded Lohamei Heirut Yisrael, Hebrew for Freedom Fighters for Israel or LEHI for short. The group was nicknamed The Stern Gang by British forces who regarded them as terrorists. Avraham Stern was an eloquent and brilliant Jewish scholar versed in both secular and non-secular arts and culture. His desire to break away from Likud and the entire Irgun was based on a single ideology: the Irgun believed the fight against the British should be suspended until the Axis powers of World War II, the Irgun therefore limited their actions against the British to those organizations and units actively trying to prevent Jewish immigration into the Land of Israel. Stern, by contrast, believed that the British constituted the enemy of the Jewish People equally if not to a greater degree than the Germans, as they were actively preventing Jewish lives from being saved. The fate of the Jewish People, he argued, would be determined by an independent Jewish State, and the obstacle to that independence was Britain rather than Germany, who were simply persecutors. Ironically, there is a linguistic twist in the modern Hebrew language that describes a nation that acquired it's statehood partly through armed action and found itself attacked by the same means. The Stern Gang correctly used this term to describe their action against the British. The word, 'mekhabbel', is used today in Hebrew to describe a terrorist. It is used liberally to describe anyone who fights the state with political violence. It is in fact, exactly the same word that Yitzhak Shamir and his colleagues used to describe themselves - with pride - in their armed guerrilla struggle against the British. In those days it was roughly translated as 'saboteur' although the Stern Gang did a lot more than mere sabotage.The Stern Gang are best remembered for two notorious assassinations, that of Lord Moyne, the British Resident in the Middle East, in 1944, and of Count Bernadotte, the UN appointed mediator to the Palestine conflict, in 1948, as well as for their participation, earlier in that same year, in the massacre at Deir Yassin. Their association with Irgunist and popular Prime Minister Menachim Begin, and his later Stern-following successor Yithak Shamir, led main stream...

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