Monday, July 23, 2007

Too Stupid...

First thing you see on the home page of
The men of the Jewish Legion, Betar, Brit HaBirionim, Brit Hashmonaim, Irgun, and LEHI were brave and selfless souls who forced the British from the Land of Israel and defended Jewish neighborhoods and communities from Arab terrorist attacks.

Uh, really? News to me.

British efforts to defeat the Ottoman Turks in the Near East during World War I were welcomed by many Jews in Palestine and the Diaspora. Zionists saw in the conflict an opportunity to further the movement for a recreated Jewish homeland. The British Govemment was pressed to permit the formation of a Jewish unit that would participate in the liberation of Palestine. Before the war ended five battalions of Jewish volunteers of several nationalities were raised for the British Army, the 38th through 42nd (Service) Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). Together they were known as the "Jewish Legion." The 39th Battalion was made up almost entirely of Jews who were resident in the United States and Canada.

The idea was first raised, on December 1914, by Vladimir Jabotinsky and was supported by Yosef Trumpeldor, a Zionist who had been the first Jewish military officer in the Russian Army, an honor earned by outstanding bravery. By the end of March 1915, 500 Jewish volunteers from among the Jews in Egypt (deported by the Turks) had started training; Jabotinsky served as an officer. The British military command opposed the participation of Jewish volunteers on the Palestinian front and suggested the volunteers serve as a detachment for mule transport on some other sector of the Turkish front. Trumpeldor succeeded in forming the 650-strong Zion Mule Corps, of whom 562 were sent to the Galipoli front where Trumpeldor led his troops with great distinction. Meanwhile, Jabotinsky pursued his project of a Jewish Legion for the Palestinian front. Finally, on August 1917, the formation of a Jewish regiment was officially announced. The unit was designated as the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and included British volunteers, members of the former Zion Mule Corps and a large number of Russian Jews. On April 1918, it was joined by the 39th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, more than 50 percent of whom were American volunteers.

Fought with, forced from... same thing, right?



Sultan Knish said...

fought with 1918

forced from 1948

george washington had fought alongside the british, clearly he couldn't have played a role in forcing the british out

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

George Washington didn't force out the British as a member of the British Army. No one would use Washington as an example to say, "Braddock's men fought bravely to force the British out." It makes no sense.

In contrast to the rest of's list, the Legion was a British unit. It ceased to exist when the British annulled it, more than 30 years before the War of Independence. Its members did not, as members of the Legion, fight AGAINST the British. That some veterans did so, effectively switching sides (though not to as sharp a degree as Washington) does not mean that's gloss of the Legion's history (and historical affiliation) is correct.

Sultan Knish said...

The Jewish legion did in fact 'fight' the British as the Jewish Legion post WW2. Jewish soldiers in the Jewish Legion in Allied Liberated Europe helped smuggle Jews into Israel, subverted the British command, stole arms, forged documents and assassinated leading Nazis. When the British shipped them back to Israel, the fighting soon became less abstract.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Nope. You're thinking of the Jewish Brigade. Different war, different guys. Most of the Brigade soldiers had been in diapers when the Legion was around. The Brigade was essentially a Haganah front, and made up mostly, IIRC, of first-generation sabras. The Legion was more ideologically and geographically mixed (Americans, Canadians, and British Jews from the UK and Palestine), and, AFAIK, wasn't actually involved in working behind the Brits' back.

This isn't to say that the men in the Legion were necessarily more loyal to the British than Zionism, just that the relationship wasn't ever put into a situation (while the Legion was in existence) where it was tested-- unlike the Brigade, which pitted the goals of the Zionists, esp. regarding refugees, in direct opposition to British policy. One factor here was that the British/Zionist divide wasn't quite as pronounced in 1918 as it was in 1945. Another was location and timing: the Legion fought in the Jordan valley and the Battle of Megiddo. They were too busy with these campaigns to become disgruntled with British policy. The Brigade, by contrast, only got into Europe in 1945, and even then, was only stationed in Italy. Once the war was over, there was little for them to do except hunt Nazis and watch Jewish refugees languish in DP camps. It's not surprising they started assisting with the Beriha.

Sultan Knish said...

the jewish brigade was also referred to as the jewish legion

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

News to me.