Suarez, Thomas. State of Terror: How Terrorism Created
Modern Israel.

Reviewed by Elaine C. Hagopian

Thomas Suarez has added muscle to the growing revelations of the mendacity of the Zionist project in Palestine. An independent scholar, he spent years mining the British National Archives at Kew. His book is based primarily on declassified British documents covering the British Palestine Mandate (officially 1923-48; de facto 1920-48) through the 1948 war and thereafter.

While Suarez gives great attention to the terrorist methods used to facilitate ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, his overall emphasis is on the comprehensiveness of Zionist planning for appropriating Palestine without Palestinians. Circumventing the sympathetic but wary British Mandate authorities, and firmly establishing the “legitimizing” Zionist narrative needed to lay claim to the land and minds of Jews, the plan formed the existential bases of the state to be. He assiduously records how the main Zionist institution in Palestine, the Jewish Agency, orchestrated these efforts during the Mandate period. David Ben Gurion, later to be Israel’s first prime minister, served as the chairman of the Agency’s Executive Committee.

The Jewish Agency in Palestine, an offshoot of the World Zionist Organization, was founded in 1929 to represent the Yishuv’s (Jewish Settlers in Palestine) rela- tions with world Jewry, as well as with the British Mandatory officials and other relevant states and world institutions. It served in essence as the governing body for Jews in Palestine and the representative of the Zionist project abroad. It was charged with resettling Jews in Palestine and educating them ideologically and profession- ally to serve the needs of an emerging Israel.1 It also had a “defense” force, the Haganah, and a strike force, the Palmach. The Haganah engaged in anti-British and anti-Palestinian terrorism while other terrorist organizations, the Irgun and Lehi, received much of the notoriety. As Suarez documents, the Jewish Agency protected these terrorist groups whenever the British asked for the Agency’s help in control- ling their violence. Ben Gurion pretended concern but did nothing to expose or restrain the groups. He tolerated Irgun and Lehi’s independent terrorist activities

Elaine C. Hagopian, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College, Boston.


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because both groups were committed to achieving the same Zionist goal as that of the Agency, i.e., establishing a Jewish state.

To appreciate the political adeptness of the Jewish Agency and the various ter- rorist groups, one need only read Suarez’s chapters covering the forties. These chapters are an unrelenting litany of infrastructure bombings, letter bombs, mass killings, and massacres of Palestinian villagers presented in great detail. Equally, those chapters expose the systematic acts of terrorism directed against British Mandate officials, facilities, and infrastructure. Although the Zionists had been favored by the British, they had also become leery of their violence. Zionist terror- ist acts were further weakening an already war-torn Britain. Suarez alludes to the fact that the Zionists did not have a relationship of conflict with the British. Rather, they wanted to end the Mandate so that they could have an unobstructed go at the indigenous Palestinians. As Suarez points out, fighting the British served the Zionist claim that they were fighting a “war of liberation” against a colonial power, which suited their public relations in the West, especially in the USA. Each of the Zionist terrorist groups also carried out attacks against British facilities and indi- viduals outside of Palestine. Suarez further details the number of non-Zionist Jews killed, some of whom worked for the British in Palestine, because they did not embrace Zionism. Their example to other Jews was unacceptable.

There are a number of new revelations in this book as well as older ones, which are fleshed out. They contradict the manufactured public image of the creation of Israel. Take, for example, Zionist blockage of American and European resettle- ment rescue efforts of Jewish victims of Nazi Germany to places other than Palestine. Suarez notes:

rescue, Ben-Gurion preached, was not Zionism’s top priority; the top priority was furthering the Zionist state ... (82)

An intelligence Summary from April of 1945 quotes eliyahu dobkin, then head of the Jewish Agency’s immigration department, as saying that terrorist methods would be used to force european Jews to move to Palestine after the war and to prevent Jews in Palestine from leaving. (120)

Suarez concludes:

... the best estimate available is that after the war, only fifteen percent [of Jewish victims] would willingly have gone to Palestine despite years of the Zionists’ propaganda efforts. (120)

Suarez details other methods that Zionists strategists employed for the territorial and demographic transformation of Palestine. For example, the Jewish Agency developed Jewish settler “hiking parties” or “walking tours” as early as 1942. Their task was to compile intelligence surveys of Palestinian Arab areas. These would be used, especially in the 1948 war, to guide Zionist forces in their ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and land seizure. Moreover, in their effort to increase Jewish settlers in Palestine, the Zionists developed campaigns to encourage healthy American Jews to make Aliyah (immigration to Israel), a contrast to the needy Jewish survivors of Nazi concentration camps. Nonetheless, the latter cat- egory remained their main rationale for a Jewish state. The Zionists also sought to populate Palestine with surviving European Jewish orphans. These children could be easily socialized into the Zionist narrative and provide a ready-made second generation to sustain the transformation of Palestine. Suarez notes:

thousands of Jewish children were forcibly removed from the adoptive families that had saved them when their parents perished years earlier, the kidnappings sometimes assisted by Jewish Brigade soldiers. (122)

In short, there is an abundance of detailed information in State of Terror, which seals the coffin of the faux Zionist narrative. Nonetheless, two observations must be made. First, some familiarity with the historical period covered in the book is needed in order to follow the events recorded and analyzed by Suarez. Second, the importance of the tenure of the first British High Commissioner of Palestine, Herbert Samuel (1920-25), overlapping with the official implementation of the Mandate, must be recognized for establishing the demographic, political, and economic framework of the Zionist Project. The Jewish Agency built on Samuel’s work.

Sahar Huneidi chronicles Herbert Samuel’s policies at the very beginning of the British Mandate.2 Samuel was a committed Zionist well before he became the High Commissioner of Palestine. However, he represented himself as an impartial administrator. Huneidi records how he used his position to lay the foundations for a Jewish State in Palestine. Among his many official enabling actions were the following: promoted a liberal Jewish immigration policy; altered Ottoman “land use” definition of “ownership” of state lands so that when Jews purchased said lands, they could evict the Palestinian “land use” owners and gain territorial and economic entrenchment in Palestine; facilitated contiguous Jewish settlements of the Yishuv; promoted investments and financing to employ Jewish immigrants; enacted import customs policies to secure materials cheaply for developing a Jewish economy; and negotiated Palestine-wide project concessions for Jews, which advanced their future control of Palestinian economic life. Jewish immi- grants were also given immediate provisional citizenship, which permitted elec- toral impact. Samuel consulted regularly with Chaim Weizmann, then head of the World Zionist Organization. He worked closely with the Zionist Commission,

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later known as the Palestine Zionist Executive, precursor of the Jewish Agency, and with the National Council for Jews in Palestine (Va’ad Leumi), precursor of the Israeli Knesset. He blocked efforts by the majority Palestinians to gain mean- ingful representation while promoting Zionist power.

Huneidi provides an excellent context for Suarez’s book. However, it is his painstaking research, which documents the unconscionable strategy and terrorist tactics Zionists used to establish the Israeli Settler State. It mutes any belief that Israel would willingly allow any form of Palestinian self-determination or right of return. State of Terror should be added to the essential sources for researchers on this issue, as well as required reading for university courses on the Palestine/Israel Conflict.


2. Sahar Huneidi,
A Broken Trust: Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians (London and New

York: I.B. Tauris), 2001.