…by Jonas E. Alexis
If the news report is correct, Israel has recently attacked a warehouse in Damascus again. And the justification? Well, Israel was just defending itself. The official explanation is that they don’t want weapons to fall into the hands of Hezbollah. You cannot question this explanation because it is just a brute fact. You just have to accept it without any evidence, without any rationality, and without repercussions from the West.
The Israeli regime has been carrying out numerous strikes in Syria, and not a single country, not even Russia, has ever said what gives. It is high time for Russia to sit down with Benjamin Netanyahu and tell him point blankly that enough is enough.
It is understandable that Russia does not want to have a major conflict with Israel, but Israel is actually the main culprit in Syria. The regime has supported ISIS and other terrorist groups in the region. They have allied with the most terrorist organizations in the twenty-first century, and they bragged about it. In 2014, the Times of Israel reported:
“A Free Syrian Army commander, arrested last month by the Islamist militia Al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support…Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms.”
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in the same year: “The Syrian opposition is willing to give up claims to the Golan Heights in return for cash and Israeli military aid against President Bashar Assad, a top opposition official told Al Arab newspaper, according to a report in Al Alam.”
But again this should not be news to any observer at all. Israel has been in cahoots with terrorist cells since the beginning of time. A little history lesson here.
One can historically say that Jewish terrorism began during the Second Temple era with the Hashmonai family. During the Hellenistic period, they “conducted an ongoing campaign of guerilla warfare against Hellenistic rule in Israel,” though terrorism was a small fraction of their campaign. Their first terrorist act was the assassination of a Hellenistic envoy named Apelles, who was sent to the town of Modi’in to remind the inhabitants of the policy of assimilation advanced by Antiochus IV.
Although this particular band of terrorists did not last long, many such terrorist cells came and went throughout the first century, recruiting for one purpose or another. Members of one band, Bar Giora, “were involved primarily in robbing and pillaging the property of the local aristocracy.”
Another group, particularly well known among scholars, is the Sicarians, who rose to prominence around 52 AD.5 Some scholars argue that they were active long before that period, but one agreed upon thing is that these bandits were terrorists, insurrectionists and revolutionaries. They were
“the first group to systematically engage in terrorism…The origin of the name of the sect is still a source of dispute. One school claims that they were named after the dagger (sicca), which they used to kill their opponents. Another school asserts that the origins of the name come from the Latin word sicarius, which means killer-assassins.”
The metaphysical worldview of this group can still be found in one form or another in present-day Israel. “The Sicarian worldview can be discerned even in the ideological fundamentals of Jewish terrorist associations nearly 2,000 years after the disappearance of the original sect.”
They “did not refrain from terrorizing moderate Jews who sought to prevent the situation from deteriorating into a major confrontation. Like other groups of zealots, the Sicarians engaged in guerilla warfare, but at the same time they also perfected operational methods that can be equated with those of modern-day terrorist groups. Their principal operational tactics were political assassinations and kidnappings as bargaining chips.”
More often, “assassinations were carried out in Jerusalem on holidays, when the city was swarming with pilgrims. The assassins mingled with the crowds of celebrators and stabbed their victims with small daggers in broad daylight. In this fashion, the Sicarians murdered the High Priest Yonatan, who had tried to prevent the rebellion against the Romans, and later, during the course of the rebellion, they took the lives of the priest Hanan Ben Hanan and his brother Hezekiah.”
When the Sicarians got into Jerusalem in AD 66, “they burned the archives containing the records of debt.” The Sicarians were largely responsible for the war which started in 66, during which the Temple was burned to the ground and which ended in the tragedy of Masada, where 967 individuals committed mass suicide. Some scholars have claimed that the Zealots and Sicarians were almost indistinguishable or that the Zealots were offshoots of the Sicarians.
Others have argued that while they were similar, both being “mutually hostile,” they had their distinct features. A common denominator that united both groups was that no one was exempt from assassination, and Christians were also a primary target. It was a time of great persecution against the church.
The Roman’s destruction of the Temple left an indelible mark on many Jews. “The failure of the Great Revolt and the subsequent forced exile left deep scars in the Jewish collective memory. The fear that violence might lead to a similar tragedy remained so profound among the Jews that the Halacha (Jewish law) adopted a specific directive aimed at avoiding any future signs of rebellion that might again provoke the anger of the gentiles.” After the fall of Jerusalem, most of the Sicarians fled to Egypt, where they continued to engage in subversive activities.
During the nineteenth century, the ideological foundation of the Sicarians, though not in its first-century form, was resurrected during the Bolshevik Revolution, where Jewish revolutionaries attempted “to undermine the tsar’s rule. One of the most famous insurgents was Dmitri Bogrov, who came from a Jewish family in Kiev.
On September 14, 1911, Bogrov shot dead the tsar’s prime minister, Pyotr Stolypin, while he was attending a performance at the Kiev Opera House. The killing took place in the presence of Tsar Nicholas II, who was sitting close to the prime minister, and it was designed to incite political instability and ultimately inspire revolutionary fervor in Russia.” Ten days later, Bogrov was executed.
Terrorist activity did not die out with Bogrov. The Weatherman Underground movement was another largely Jewish terrorist group that sought to undermine American involvement in Vietnam.
“Members of the movement, many of them Jews, did not hesitate in engaging in classic terrorist tactics such as planting explosive charges and committing arson in order to advance their ideological goals. The Jewish terrorists who operated in tsarist Russia and those in Nixon-era America shared the fact that they were young men and women with a developed sense of political awareness and were wholly committed to the political concerns that plagued their compatriots.”
They justified their terrorist acts “by claiming revenge for the harm done to their people or the need for self-defense.”
Yet again Jewish terrorism continued “with the resurgence of the Jewish settlement project in modern-day Eretz Israel (Land of Israel).” Both violence and terrorism were considered “a crucial component in the evolution of the Jewish nation,” and both violence and terrorism, as we shall see, eventually morphed into ethnic cleansing.
“By the time the Arab Revolt began to flag in 1939, Etzel had become highly skilled in executing acts of terrorism.” During the span of three years, the group carried out sixty operations that took the lives of more than 120 Palestinians and injured hundreds more.” Etzel also “targeted British police and army men known for their tough attitudes toward Jewish prisoners.”
From the formation of Israel all the way to our modern era, terrorism has played a central force in the political and ideological landscape of Israel, and Israel’s support of terrorist groups such as the MEK is a manifestation of that tradition.
The late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was a member of a terrorist organization called the Stern Gang that led to the assassination of British Resident Minister in the Middle East Lord Moyne in August 1944. Moyne was Winston Churchill’s representative in Cairo. Since the British did not keep their promise of helping the Jewish people establish a Jewish state, British ambassadors such as Moyne had to go.
“The target of Lord Moyne was not chosen at random. The notion of assassinating a high-profile British figure in the Middle East had already been conceived by Avraham (Yair) Stern, leader of the Lehi [a terrorist group], as far back as 1941 and three years before Moyne had even assumed his duties in this role.”
One of the organization’s jobs was to get involved “in clandestine activities,” including terrorist acts “against the British.” Three months earlier, they attempted to assassinate British High Commissioner Sir Harold MacMichael. Shamir was implicated in those terrorist acts, as well as being linked to the death of Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte and the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946 that took the lives of 91 people. To save his skin, he fled to Ethiopia and French Somaliland until 1948.
When Shamir passed away in the summer of 2012, Shimon Peres declared that he was a “brave hero.” Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that Shamir “belonged to the generation of giants who established the State of Israel and fought for the freedom of the Jewish people on their land…He fought with courage against the British mandate in the days of the underground and his incredible contribution to the State of Israel during his time in the Mossad will remain forever enshrined in the tales of bravery of our nation”
Both the New York Times and CNN avoided mentioning Shamir’s terrorist acts, despite the fact that they were well known. Instead, the New York Times declared that Shamir was part of a “Jewish militia”! As Julian Ozanne of the Financial Times put it, Shamir’s penchant for terrorist organizations “often appeared to have defined his core character.” But this “core character,” which seems to jive with Netanyahu’s policy with respect to the Palestinians, will not see the light of day in the media any time soon.
Shamir was a flaming Zionist. He had little regard for international law and “a deep hatred for Arabs.” Israeli writer Uri Avnery called Shamir “the most successful terrorist of the 20th century.” Like Shamir, Avnery joined the underground Irgun organization. Avnery knew Shamir personally, but eventually Avnery became disenchanted with the organization and embraced peaceful solutions. Avnery writes, “Many years later I asked [Shamir] which historical personality he admired most. He answered without hesitation: Lenin.”
Shamir’s acts of terrorism were one thing, but Israel continued to commit acts of terrorism without any substantial reprimand from the West. This is why they continue to attack Syria using weird excuses such as “self-defense.”
Russia obviously needs to challenge the regime, otherwise the regime itself will undermine everything Russian forces have ever done in Syria. Russia has obviously been obliterating ISIS in the region, but they need to cut ISIS’ financial and ideological source, which is none other than the Israeli regime. Until then, victory in Syria is yet to be complete.
The US wouldn’t be in Syria if the Israeli regime and the Neoconservative establishment didn’t tell US officials to send troops there. Russia has recently threatened US troops in the region if they happen to attack Syrian allies, but Russia needs to speak frankly and directly with the big elephant in the room.
 “Israeli jets reportedly strike weapons depot outside Damascus,” Times of Israel, September 22, 2017.
 Elhanan Miller, “Syrian rebel commander says he collaborated with Israel,” Times of Israel, August 13, 2014.
 “Report: Syrian Opposition Willing to Trade Golan Claims for Israeli Military Support,” Haaretz, March 16, 2014.
 Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 1.
 Ibid., 5.
 See Emil Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (New York: Scribner, 1891); Mark Andrew Brighton, The Sicarii in Jusephus’s Judean War: Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Observation (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009).
 Pedahzur & Arie, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 6.
 Ibid., 7; also Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the
World’s Largest Religion (New York: HarperOne, 2011), 43, 63; Scott, Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament, 214.
 Stark, Triumph of Christianity, 43.
 See Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ.
 See Brighton, The Sicarii in Jusephus’s Judean War.
 Stark, Triumph of Christianity, 63.
 Ibid., 63-65.
 Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 8.
 Scott, Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament, 214.
 Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 8.
 Ibid., 8-9.
 Ibid., 9.
 Ibid., 11.
 Ibid., 13.
 Ibid., 14.
 Julian Ozanne, “Unflinching Supporter of Greater Israel,” Financial Times, Jun. 30, 2012; Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 18-20.
 Ibid., 19.
 Black & Morris, Israel’s Secret Wars, 196.
 Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 21.
 “Yitzhak Shamir,” Telegraph, Jun. 30, 2012.
 “Yitzhak Shamir, Former Israeli PM, Dies,” CNN, Jul. 2, 2012; Gil Hoffman, “Former PM Shamir Passes Away at Age 96 in Tel Aviv,” Jerusalem Post, Jun. 30, 2012.
 Joel Brinkley, “Yitzhak Shamir, Former Israeli Prime Minister, Dies at 96,” NY Times, Jun. 30, 2012.
 Ozanne, “Unflinching Supporter,” Financial Times, Jun. 30, 2012.
 “PM: Shamir Saw, Understood Fundamental Truths,” Jerusalem Post, Jul. 1, 2012.
 Hoffman, “Shamir Passes Away,” Jerusalem Post, Jun. 30, 2012.
 Ozanne, “Unflinching Supporter,” Financial Times, Jun. 30, 2012.
 Uri Avnery, “Two Faces: Israel’s Prime Ministers,” Antiwar.com, Jul. 14, 2012.
 Paul McLeary, “Russians Warn of More Strikes on U.S. Troops in Syria,” Foreign Policy, September 22, 2017; David Filipov and Liz Sly, “Russia threatens retaliatory strikes against U.S. troops and their allies in Syria,” Washington Post, September 21, 2017.