Ze'ev Jabotinsky was born 1880 in Odessa-Tsarist Russia to a liberal Jewish family. He is considered to be the most important right-wing Revisionist Movement member (which eventually evolved into the post-1948 Herut Party, and later became the Likud Party), who provided the ideological map for its future policies. At an early stage Jabotinsky was involved in organizing a militia to defend the Jews of Odessa, and in 1903 he went to Kishinev to cover the aftermath of its infamous pogrom. He worked as a journalist in Rome and Vienna and at an early age began to devote his outstanding skills as a writer, orator, translator, and polemicist for the Zionist cause. During WWI, Jabotinsky had promoted the establishment of Jewish fighting units within the Allied armies and was one of the founders of the Haganah (the Zionists paramilitary militia-army before the 1948 war).
Jabotinsky protested the exclusion of Transjordan from British Mandate Palestine, and in response he established the Revisionist Party in 1925 (so named because it sought to "revise" the terms of the Mandate, particularly to provide for the re-inclusion of Transjordan in Mandatory Palestine). He also set up the party's youth movement, Betar, which was characterized by militaristic, some might say fascist, appearance (dark brown uniforms), activities (parade ground drill) with firearm exercises, slogans, and a militaristic ideology and structure. Jabotinsky admired Mussolini (see photo), and his movement repeatedly sought affiliation with and assistance from Rome. Jabotinsky version of Zionism was single minded, exclusivist, and rigid. He died in America in 1940 in a car accident on a mission to organize Jewish participation in the Allied war effort.
Jabotinsky was an exceptionally talented and versatile man, an original thinker and ideologue, and a powerful political leader. His followers worshiped him (and still do today), while his enemies detested him with equal passion. Jabotinsky was one of the earliest advocates of using force to curb Palestinian nationalism, which he eloquently articulated in his IRON WALL article that was published in Ha'aretz Daily in 1923. He stated:
".... Settlement can thus develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an IRON WALL which they will be powerless to break down. ....a voluntary agreement is just not possible. As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rubble but a living people. And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they give up all hope of getting rid of the Alien Settlers. Only then will extremist groups with their slogan 'No, never' lose their influence, and only then their influence be transferred to more moderate groups. And only then will the moderates offer suggestions for compromise. Then only will they begin bargaining with us on practical matters, such as guarantees against PUSHING THEM OUT, and equality of civil, and national rights."
Contrary to the mainstream Zionist leadership, Jabotinsky publicly spoke his mind, and in our opinion, he also strategically influenced the conduct of the Zionist movement towards the Palestinian people. From the start, he criticized the ideologues in the Zionist leadership (such as Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett) who thought that Palestinians could be bribed into selling their country and rights. Jabotinsky thought that Jewish justice overrides Palestinian rights, and he was the first to warn the Zionist Movement that the clash between Jewish and Palestinian nationalisms is inevitable, and it should not be ignored. On the other hand, he advocated the use of force to curb the inevitable clash and to keep it at bay, instead of negotiating with the Palestinian people to resolve this issue. In that respect he stated in 1923:
"The Arabs loved their country as much as the Jews did. Instinctively, they understood Zionist aspirations very well, and their decision to resist them was only natural ..... There was no misunderstanding between Jew and Arab, but a natural conflict. .... No Agreement was possible with the Palestinian Arab; they would accept Zionism only when they found themselves up against an 'iron wall,' when they realize they had no alternative but to accept Jewish settlement." (America And The Founding Of Israel, p. 90)
Jabotinsky's IRON WALL doctrine caused many Zionists to brand him as a racist in the 1920s. However, as the Nazis rose to power in Germany, Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders recognized the "importance" of Jabotinsky's doctrine. Ironically, the Israeli Political Right's arguments dictated Israel's policies toward the Palestinian people from the 1930s to the present day.
In our opinion, tactically Jabotinsky was correct to point out that Palestinian nationalism could not be bribed, but maybe curbed by force. On the other hand, his doctrine has irreversibly shaped Israel's public opinion, and made its society rigid and inflexible. As a result, this doctrine has dictated a continuous state of war between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors. We are not here to defend Jabotinsky, however, we don't believe that he envisioned the current state of affairs when he wrote his famous doctrine. We also predict that if he were alive today, he would not approve of the current Israeli state of affairs. Based on our research, Jabotinsky was one of the few pragmatic Zionist leaders to ever exist, and he rarely allowed rhetoric to go ahead of reality. Sadly, over the years "flexibility & diplomacy" in Israel became synonymous with weakness if not anti-Zionism. What is even sadder is the impact of this doctrine on Palestinian and Arab societies too. Just as in the Israeli society, over the years Palestinians and Arabs became radicalized and in general they have started to develop their versions of the IRON WALL doctrine.
- Jabotinsky's institute in Israel
- IRON WALL, Jabotinsky's doctrine.
- Zionist FAQ: Why do Arabs only respect the language of force?
- Zionist FAQ: Israel has the strongest army in the Middle East, why Arabs cannot come to terms with this fact?
- More About Ze'ev Jabotinsky and 'Transfer' by Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons
- The Ideology of Betar
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
Ze'ev Jabotinsky wrote supporting Palestinian dispossession. He stated in December 1918:
"This matter is not an issue between the Jewish people and the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, but between the Jewish people and the Arab people. The latter, numbering 35 million, has [territory equal to] half of Europe, while the Jewish people, numbering ten million and wandering the earth, hasn't got a stone. . . Will the Arab people stand opposed? Will it resist? [Will it insist] that . . . they. . . shall have it [all] for ever and ever, while he who has nothing shall share forever have nothing." (Righteous Victims, p. 79)
What is perplexing is that this argument is much better suited to the United States than to Palestine. European Jews could have chosen New York City as well, where American Jews were influential in building the most important city on earth. Why should Jews be homeless while American Christians have vast unpopulated areas in the U.S.? It's also worth noting that Palestine in the early 20th century had twice the population density of the United States.
It is not only that this is fallacious argument, also if it is applied around the world, it would create chaos, especially when religion is used to carve up countries along religious lines, click here to read more about this argument.
Often Ze'ev Jabotinsky empathized with the Palestinian people's attachment to their country. He stated in 1923:
"They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true favor the Aztecs looked upon Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. Palestine will remain for the Palestinians not a borderland, but their birthplace, the center and basis of their own national existence." (Righteous Victims, p. 36)
In a similar vein, he also wrote in 1923:
"The Arabs loved their country as much as the Jews did. Instinctively, they understood Zionist aspirations very well, and their decision to resist them was only natural ..... There was not misunderstanding between Jew and Arab, but a natural conflict. .... No Agreement was possible with the Palestinian Arab; they would accept Zionism only when they found themselves up against an 'iron wall,' when they realize they had no alternative but to accept Jewish settlement." (America And The Founding Of Israel, p. 90)
These quotes should prove to the average Israeli or Zionist that Jabotinsky viewed Zionism as cruel, and also perhaps a necessary evil as well since he empathized more with plight and the injustice that came upon Europe's Jews. Similarly, David Ben-Gurion stated more than once of his readiness to "sup with the devil" (Shabtai Teveth, p. xiii, Preface) to increase Jewish immigration to Palestine, specially when the sword was hanging over Europe's Jews after the Nazis rise to power in Germany in 1933.
The road map for the Israeli leaders policies towards the Palestinian people was clearly stated by Ze'ev Jabotinsky in an article published in Ha'aretz newspaper in 1923:
".... Settlement can thus develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an IRON WALL which they will be powerless to break down. ....a voluntary agreement is just not possible. As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rubble but a living people. And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they give up all hope of getting rid of the Alien Settlers. Only then will extremist groups with their slogan No, never lose their influence, and only then their influence be transferred to more moderate groups. And only then will the moderates offer suggestions for compromise. Then only will they begin bargaining with us on practical matters, such as guarantees against push them out, and equality of civil, and national rights." (Iron Wall, p. 14)
Ze'ev Jabotinsky advocated the colonization of Palestine under the protection of arms regardless of the Palestinian people's objections. He stated in 1925:
"Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native [Palestinian] population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop under the protection of a force independent of the local population --an iron wall which the native [Palestinian] population cannot break through. This is, in to, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 28)
And he also stated that Zionists believed in an "Iron Wall" as follows:
"In this sense, there is no meaningful difference between our militarists and our vegetarians. One prefers an Iron Wall of Jewish bayonets, the other proposes an Iron Wall of British bayonets, the third proposes an agreement with Baghdad, and appears to be satisfied with Baghdad's bayonets-a strange and somewhat risky taste--but we all applaud, day and night, the Iron Wall." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 28)
Jabotinsky reiterated his IRON WALL doctrine again and again. He wrote in an essay, titled "The Iron Law", explaining how Zionist colonization of Palestine should be done. He wrote:
"If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will maintain the garrison on your behalf. ... Zionism is a colonizing adventure and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 45)
Jabotinsky was one of the few Zionists to early recognize the conflict between Jewish and Palestinian nationalisms. However, instead of advocating a dialog to resolve this potential conflict, he advocated the IRON WALL doctrine. He stated in 1926:
"The tragedy lies in the fact that there is a collision here between two truths ..... But our justice is greater. The Arabs is culturally backward , but his instinctive patriotism is just as pure and noble as our own; it can not be bought, it can only be curbed ... force majeure." (Righteous Victims, p. 108)
Despite this quote (and many other similar Zionist quotes), Israelis and Zionists adamantly argue that Palestinians have no right for self-determination since they were neither a nation nor a people , click here to read our response to his argument.
Ze'ev Jabotinsky declared that settlement of the "land" is the only "law". He declared:
According to Ze'ev Jabotinsky, European Jews have little in common with the "Orient". He stated:
"There is no justice, no law, and no God in heaven, only a single law which decides and supercedes all---- [Jewish] settlement [of the land]." (Righteous Victims, p. 108)
"We Jews have nothing in common with what is called the 'Orient,' thank God. To the extent that our uneducated masses have ancient spiritual traditions and laws that call the Orient, they must be weaned away from them, and this is in fact what we are doing in every decent school, what life itself is doing with great success. We are going in Palestine, first for our national convenience, [second] to sweep out thoroughly all traces of the 'Oriental soul.' As for the [Palestinians] Arabs in Palestine, what they do is their business; but if we can do them a favor, it is to help them liberate themselves from the Orient.'" (One Palestine Complete, p. 151)
The concept of a Jewish majority in Palestine was an essential pillar for Zionism to be realized. This point was repeated over and over by all Zionists, not just Jabotinsky. For example, Ze'ev Jabotinsky introduced the Betar's Oath as follows in 1934:
"I devote my life to the rebirth of the Jewish State, with a Jewish majority, on both sides of the Jordan." (Israel: A History, p. 76)
Similarly, he stated
"For a long time, many Jews, including Zionists, were unwilling to understand the simple truth. They maintained that the creation of important positions in Palestine (settlements, cities, schools, etc.) is enough. According to them a national life could be freely developed even though the majority of the population were to be Arab. This is a great mistake. History proves that any national position, however strong and important cannot be safeguarded as long as the nation which built it does not constitute a majority. A minority can safeguard its cultural position only as long as it can control the local majority. Sooner or later, every country in the world is to become the national state of the predominant nation there. Thus if we desire that Eretz Yisrael should become and remain a Jewish State, we must first of all create a Jewish majority." The Ideology of Betar by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
Like all Zionists, Jabotinsky advocated not just a Jewish majority in Palestine, but also the use of force to "transfer" them out of their homes, farms and business. Ze'ev Jabotinsky stated in a letter to one of his Revisionist colleagues in the United States dated November 1939:
"There is no choice: the Arabs must make room for the Jews of Eretz Israel. If it was possible to transfer the Baltic peoples, it is also possible to move the Palestinian Arabs." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 29)
Similarly, he envisioned "brooming" the Palestinian people out of their homes in 'Eretz Yisrael". He stated:
"We Jews, thank God, have nothing to do with the East. . . . The Islamic soul must be broomed out of Eretz-Yisrael. . . . [Muslims are] yelling rabble dressed up in gaudy, savage rags." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 29)
Using the term "brooming" is meant to portray the Palestinian people as "subhuman", a term often suitable to describe flies. It is very sad how often politicians resort to dehumanizing their enemies to make a political point. What is even sadder, that this tactic was advocate by many Zionists who themselves had been victims of similar dehumanization tactics. Click here if you wish to read more racist Zionist quotes.
Just before Jabotinsky's death in 1940, he justified "transferring" the Palestinian people out of their homes as follows:
"The world has become accustomed to the idea of mass migrations and has become fond of them." He later added, "Hitler--- as odious as he is to us---has given this idea a good name in the world." (One Palestine Complete, p. 407)
Ironically, a Jew with Jabotinsky's caliber used Adolf Hitler as precedent to "transfer" the Palestinian people out of their homes. It should be noted that the atrocity of forcible expulsion ("transfer") was among the charges against Adolf Eichmann, one the architects of the Nazi Holocaust. The questions which begs to be asked is:
Isn't it anti-Semitism if a non-Jew (Goyim) uses Hitler as an example to make a point?
It should be NOTED, that when a "Jewish majority" in Palestine was not attainable based on Jewish immigration and natural population growth, Zionists advocated the use of force to ethnically cleanse and dispossess the Palestinian people. Click here if you wish to learn more about the subject.