Subscribe to our newsletter at
Receive articles from Emperor's Clothes Website

Please send this text or the link to a friend.

Emperor's Clothes
[ ]

More Emperor's Clothes articles on anti-Semitism and its history, the Arab-Israeli dispute, etc.

With Internet Explorer, Best Viewed With Medium Text Size



Letter on Palestinian Suicide Terror Debate

Read the full debate at

"Was the Irgun Terrorist or Not?"
- Letter from Robin G.

Francisco Gil-White * Replies

[ Posted 6 August 2003, 11:20 ET ]


[ ]

Dear Prof. Gil-White,

I am a long-time subscriber to Emperor's Clothes and I read the 14 selected posts from the suicide terrorists debate with great interest. It made me see the pro-Israel side in a much more positive light. Thank you.

However, you claimed that "Begin and Shamir were never terrorists", and yet Atran argues against this in the paragraphs beginning as follows:

"As for Begin not being a terrorist, it is true that he gave British military personnel and support warnings before blowing them up. He did not do likewise for the Arab civilians he ordered murdered..."

Unless I am much mistaken you did not respond to this in any of the posts selected for publication on Emperor's Clothes. This could lead readers to gain the impression that Emperor's Clothes was whitewashing alleged Israeli crimes.

Especially in view of the fact that you accused others in the discussion of not retracting points when they were shown to be false, I think that you ought to either:

- Retract your claim that Begin was not a terrorist


- Rebut the argument that he was, given by Atran.

If you have already done one of the above, fine, but I think in that case you should link/publish it on Emporer's Clothes, otherwise the series looks incomplete in this respect.

Otherwise I find the debate quite persuasive in your favour. I must concur that Arafat is not advancing the cause of peace.


Robin G.


Francisco Gil-White Replies


Dear Robin,

Isolated acts of terrorism do not make an organization "terrorist". At least some individuals in every military or paramilitary organization commit crimes. Therefore, one cannot say, members of the X organization committed *this* act of terror and therefore the Xs are "terrorist." In the case of the Irgun, as in any other case, the question is: what was the Irgun's *policy*?

I do not know the specifics of the individual case Prof. Atran referred to, but Prof. Atran cannot make his case by pointing to just the one case. The other case Prof. Atran mentions is Deir Yassin, and this is the most serious accusation leveled against the Irgun in its operations against Arabs. But the accusation is fraudulent, and I *did* refute it.

I have given a fuller explanation of these views in my reply to another reader's letter, so I refer you to it here: 

Many thanks for writing!


Francisco Gil-White
Deputy Editor
Emperor's Clothes


Emperor's Clothes
Your Help


[How to donate]

Emperor's Clothes is where you come for *rigorously documented* information and analysis that exposes how the mainstream media deceives people about US foreign policy.

If you find us useful, then please do your part to keep us afloat with a voluntary donation. Please give as generously as you can, but of course, within your means (every penny helps):  $25, $50, $100, $500, $1000.

(If it's hard to decide how much we're worth, here's a useful comparison: for its misinformation, the New York Times charges about $50 a month.)

Our best is yet to come...

Here's how to donate to Emperor's Clothes!

  • To contribute by mail, please send your check to:
    Emperor's Clothes
    P.O. Box 610-321
    Newton, MA 02461-0321

  • To contribute by phone, please call us at 1 617 916-1705

Thank You!

Please send this text or the link to a friend.

Subscribe to the Emperor's Clothes Newsletter
Receive texts posted at Emperor's Clothes.

Emperor's Clothes
[ ]

This Website is mirrored at

We need your help...

Our June fundraising drive received a good response which allowed us to pay *past* debts. Now we need your help again, because we do not have the funds to cover June (!), July and August expenses.

Many thousands of people read Emperor's Clothes articles every day. If everyone chips in, we will have enough to cover urgent bills and some left for future months. At present, precious time that should be spent on Emperor's Clothes is instead being spent trying to cover expenses. This is frustrating because we have a lot of important material that has not yet been turned into finished articles. With your help we can be far more productive.

Please send whatever you can - $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 or more. Thanks!

Our best is yet to come...

[ To donate ]