The Palestinians would like a fair shake from the Obama administration. One would think that they should be optimistic, given Obama’s much-ballyhooed connections with Rashid Khalidi, Ali Abunimah, etc. But look at how they go about it:
Al-Kuds al-Arabi, an Arabic language publication in London, claims that Rahm Emanuel’s father was “personally involved” in the Deir Yassin massacre. Here is a slightly cleaned-up Google translation of the item:
Nazareth – ‘Jerusalem is Arab’ from Zuhair Andrews: Benjamin [Emanuel]… father of [Rahm], who was appointed by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama as White House chief of staff, which is the second most powerful post in the White House, [was] personally involved in the implementation of the Deir Yassin massacre in 1947 [sic: 1948].
Emanuel’s father was a member of the Irgun (or Etzel, short for Irgun Tzvai Leumi, [National military organization], the pre-state militia commanded by Menachem Begin, one of whose units took part in the Deir Yassin incident. Here is what a relatively well-documented Wikipedia article says about Benjamin Emanuel:
Benjamin Auerbach was born in Jerusalem in 1927, the son of pharmacists who had fled Russian pogroms. The family adopted the surname Emanuel in 1933, after Benjamin’s brother, Emanuel Auerbach, was killed in a skirmish with Arabs in Jerusalem. In the 1940s, Benjamin Emanuel interrupted his medical school training in Switzerland to take part in an unsuccessful scheme to smuggle guns from Czechoslovakia to the Israeli underground. He later served as a medic in the 1948 Israeli war of independence.
The business about Deir Yassin is new, but extreme right- and left-wing, anti-Semitic and pro-Arab websites have been happily claiming that Rahm Emanuel is the ‘son of a terrorist’ and illustrating it with quotes about the Irgun’s activities.
I am not going to try to write a history book here, but everyone is aware that the last days of the British Palestine Mandate were characterized by a struggle of various militias — Jewish and Arab — to control the land when the British left. Most of the Irgun’s violence was directed at the British, but not all of it. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that everyone involved in the conflict except for the British was a ‘terrorist’ in some sense.
Regarding Deir Yassin, accounts differ but probably about 110 Arabs were killed, combatants and non-combatants. There is no doubt that some civilians were murdered by undisciplined Irgun and Lehi troops, but Arab accounts were exaggerated, both in numbers and in details. For example, there were no rapes — even Arab sources admit that these were fabricated in order to stir up the populace. As far as I know there is no list of Jewish participants in the battle, and no evidence that Benjamin Emanuel was among them. Certainly there seems to be no source cited in the al-Kuds al-Arabi article.
I could be wrong, but unless evidence to the contrary shows up, I will assume that this ‘fact’ is simply made up.
Perhaps this is preparing the ground to attack Obama’s administration if it takes anything other than an extreme anti-Israel position. Look, the White House is still dominated by Zionists!