Friday, July 04, 2008

Stephen Sizer outdoes himself

Stephen Sizer is a radically anti-Zionist British evangelical, whom I have blogged about previously here, here, here and here. Follow those links and you should get a feel for Sizer's agenda and methodology. Even by his standards, though, the extract below, from an article on his website responding to this blog post by Irene Lancaster, takes some beating:

Regarding the fallacious assertion that Israel was attacked in 1967 – I would refer you to the confessions of Prime Minister Moshe Sharett (in his personal diary), General Mordicai Hod, Commander of the Israeli Air Force, General Haim Herzog, former head of Israeli Military Intelligence and Head of State, and Foreign Minister Abba Eban that Israel precipitated the 1967 war for their own purposes. Israeli’s survival was not at stake. Mordechai Ben-Tov, for example, admitted “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.” Similarly, even Menachim Begin admitted, “We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him (Egypt).” [my emphasis]
Yes, Sizer actually claims that Israel's existence was not threatened in the run-up to the 1967 war: a statement with which no serious historian would agree. Consider the following crucial bits of information from Michael Oren's book Six Days of War (Penguin, 2002):
The war decision of the Israeli cabinet, drafted by Dayan and passed by a 12-2 vote, was that
the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan are deployed for a multi-front attack that threatens Israel's existence. It is therefore decided to launch a military strike aimed at... preventing the impending assault. (pp157-8). Cf:-

p86: "It is now a question of our national survival" (Yitzhak Rabin)
p87: "The Arab states will interpret Israel's weakness as an excellent oppportunity to threaten her security and her very existence" (Aharaon Yariv)
p134 "The question isn't free passage but the existence of the people of Israel." (Ariel Sharon)
The same book also includes a photograph of Israelis digging trenches in the run up to the war. Presumably Sizer believes this was a cunning Zionist hoax to hoodwink the watching world.
No serious historian would claim that Israel's existence was not at stake in the run-up to the 1967 war. Sizer refers to alleged entries in the diary of Moshe Sharrett but, since Sharret died in 1965, these apparent confessions would seem to require an explanation beyond even Rev Sizer's powers of imagination. Regarding Mordechai Ben-Tov, Sizer omits to mention that he was a Knesset Member for Mapam, a miniscule Stalinist party controlled by the KGB. Ben-Tov was so slavishly loyal to Stalin that he had supported the Doctors Plot:-
"Bentov argued that revolution is cruel by nature, and therefore we must not rush to condemn events such as the infamous Doctors’ Plot, in which nine Russian Jewish doctors were arrested on false charges of plotting to murder top government officials." (See
As for the Begin quote, Sizer strangely omits Begin's next sentences: This was a war of self-defence in the noblest sense of the term. The Government of National Unity then established declared unanimously [sic]: we will take the initiative and attack the enemy, drive him back, and thus assure the security of Israel and the future of the nation.*
The selective quotation says a lot about Sizer's ethics and methodology. Why do so many people take him seriously?
[I should say that I sent this material by email to Sizer a few weeks ago. He responded but declined to comment on any of these points.]
* The quote comes from a 1982 Jerusalem Post article. Jerusalem Post's online archive only goes as far back as 1989 but I have a PDF copy of the relevant speech on my computer. If you would like to see it, let me have an email address and I'll send it to you.

1 comment:

James said...

At, Sizer has removed the reference to alleged entries in Moshe Sharett's personal diary. He retains the quote by Menachem Begin taken from its context, and the quote from the highly suspect Mordechai Ben-Tov.