Slice of blogosphere, from the National Post's "Full Comment" site:
(and I hope everyone can guess who "Gaard4thee" is...)
Larry Zolf: Izzy Asper and the Irgun
Posted: December 02, 2008, 5:53 PM by Marni Soupcoff
In his biography of Izzy Asper, Peter C. Newman says that Asper was a fan of the Irgun, the revisionist Jewish terrorists led by Menachem Begin who blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. That makes Izzy a bit of a Jewish radical, says Newman.
This got me thinking. The Post has not said a word about Anna Porter’s latest book: Kastner’s Train, The True Story of Rezso Kastner, Unknkown Hero of the Holocaust. Kastner saved the lives of Hungarian Jews like Peter Munk.The Irgun assassinated Kastner in Palestine. The Irgun says that Kastner dealt with the Nazis and betrayed the Jews.
Anna Porter’s book on the genocide of Hungary’s Jewish communities is the best book on the Holocaust by a Gentile ever written and rivals Prof. Michael Maris’s holocaust work on the subject. Anna Porter is an absolute marvel as an historian of the Nazis and the Jews in Hungary. Her book gives you the smell of death of Adolf Eichmann. Anna Porter insists that Kastner has not been given his due, his just recognition.
Izzy and the Irgun don’t see things that way. Anyone who dealt with the Nazis was a traitor to the Jewish people, says Izzy and says the Irgun and Menachem Begin. Anna Porter presents a great case.
Personally I grew up with the Irgun. Ben Hecht, too of the Irgun, whom Anna Porter dismisses, was my favourite Jewish writer. Hecht and Charles MacArthur wrote the classic “Front Page” in 20th century movies. Ben Hecht’s autobiography: A Child of the Century, was the best growing-up-Jewish-in-America book ever written when I was in college.Hecht was a friend of John Barrymore and W.C. Fields. Hecht once said Hollywood was so censorious it removed the word ‘nuts’ for fear it might offend a sensitive masturbator.
Hecht and the Irgun hated the British treatment of the death camp survivors. So did I. In my bar mitzvah speech I said the Labour party’s Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin were Nazis and Harold Laski a Jewish self-hater.
He was Hollywood to me. In Canada all we had were Wayne and Shuster and Bert Pearl. In the U.S. NBC, CBS, and ABC were Jewish owned and Jewish staffed. In Canada at the CBC, I and Jason Moscowitz were the two token Jewish reporters at CBC News.
I was pro-Irgun in the Asper sense but I didn’t hate the British. I married one.
Anna Porter is too hard on Hecht and Begin but she’s dead on in saying that Hecht’s book, Perfidy, on Kastner is very, very much over the top. Porter knows her Israeli and Jewish politics well. Anna Porter prefers Golda Meir and Itzak Rabin to Begin and Asper. So do I for the most part.
Still, Izzy Asper had his reasons to not like Golda Meir and Itzak Rabin. They were too socialist for Izzy. That’s too bad. Today Izzy would have been the perfect reviewer for the National Post of the Anna Porter book. -->
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3 CommentsClick here to post a comment
by Tim Cares
Dec 02 20086:50 PM
Israel elects terrorists as their PMs but the Palestinians can't.
I guess it's a case of do as I say...
Dec 02 20086:59 PM
wow tim ... you're a helluva lefty mouthpiece apologist.
yasser arafat was the biggest terrorist of them all and was the leader of the PLO for how long 30 years?
you are a symbol of what is wrong with our country today.
Dec 02 200810:55 PM
So, re the "goyish but good" books, was Harold Flender's Rescue in Denmark on the short-list? Or was it disqualified because technically the Holocaust didn't happen in Denmark?
But seriously, interesting review of an interesting book, especially for those of us who agonize about all the damn walls between "us" and "them".
I think H. L. Mencken would have been a better reviewer than Izzy, though. His 1938 newspaper column "Help for the Jews" showed he was one of the very few who understood Kristallnacht for what it was, and instantly understood that German-Jewish emigration, fast, was the only solution. Oddly enough he is now labelled an "anti-semite" by just about everyone...
Intellectual life in the West, I tell ya...