The Lydda “Massacre” of 1948, in the Eyes of Israeli War Veterans

In his much-vaunted book My Promised Land, the Israeli journalist Ari Shavit devotes a chapter to a “massacre” of Arabs that he claims took place in the town of Lydda during the 1948 war of independence. Last July, the historian Martin Kramer demonstrated in Mosaic that Shavit’s account was unfounded. Kramer recently presented his analysis in Israel, where a Hebrew translation of My Promised Land has yet to be published. The response of his audience, filled with veterans of the 1948 war, many of whom had taken part in the conquest of Lydda, was telling:

I could have dispensed with my own analysis. The reactions tumbled forth in immediate response ‎to Shavit’s text. I heard gasps of disbelief and angry asides. I didn’t ask for a show of hands as to ‎how many thought Shavit’s account had any credibility, and in retrospect I wish I had. But to ‎judge from the audible responses, it would not be an exaggeration to say that this audience was ‎surprised and offended.‎

[N]othing I heard, either in the lecture hall or outside of it, added to the store of ‎testimony about the “massacre” component of Shavit’s Lydda tale. The conquest of Lydda had ‎many moving parts, and most of the veterans I met served in the 89th Battalion under Moshe ‎Dayan. That meant that they were not in the city when the “massacre” supposedly took place, but ‎fought the day before, mostly on the road between Lydda and Ramleh. But I wasn’t looking for ‎new testimony, because there are plenty of recorded recollections from people who witnessed the ‎events. . . . I did want these veterans to know ‎what much of the world (Israel excepted) has been reading about their battle for over a year now. ‎And I wanted them to start to talk about it among themselves and with others.‎

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Ari Shavit, Israeli War of Independence, Lydda, Martin Kramer, Moshe Dayan

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security