Sunday, June 20, 2010

A hero for our time

I grew up in Kochav-Yair, an Israeli town named after Avraham "Yair" Stern. When an Israeli minister gives a speech extolling Stern's memory, I can't help read and wonder:

"Stern's words of eternal dedication and national Jewish pride have been contaminated in public discourse. They have been turned from words of national consensus to negative remarks seen as 'extreme' and 'uneducated.'"

In 1940 Stern founded a militant organization -- terrorist, even, to his enemies -- dedicated to fighting the British rulers of Palestine and founding a Jewish State. When Ayalon, Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs, thinks of this eternal dedication and national Jewish pride, was he thinking of Stern's attempted negotiations with the Nazis (before the Final Solution, to be true) who were after all fighting the hated British? Or Stern's organization's participation in the massacre of Palestinian civilians in the town of Deir Yassin?