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In Defense of… Francisco Franco?

Aharon Lapid has penned a strange article on the Spanish Civil War and fascist leader Francisco Franco for the right-wing Orthodox weekly The Jewish Press.

I’ll readily agree to the following points: The Spanish Civil War was not an entirely black-and-white affair. The Republican cause was sullied by violence and hijacked by Stalinists. The oft-romanticized Abraham Lincoln Brigade was closely tied to the utterly ignoble Soviet-controlled American Communist Party. And, yes, in the department of faint praise, it’s true that Generalissimo Franco was not as bad as Hitler — and was much nicer to the Jews.

But let’s just say that Lapid stretches a bit (to put it mildly) when he compares Franco to Abraham Lincoln:

And though he would not have liked them very much, Lincoln would have well understood — and even sympathized with — Franco’s authoritarian methods of preserving national unity. It was Lincoln, after all, who suspended habeas corpus, ignored Supreme Court decisions prohibiting civilians from being tried in military courts, and undertook several other acts of questionable legality, all for the sake of preserving the Union.

Okay, Honest Abe did curtail civil liberties during wartime. That said, it’s hard to believe that, had he not been assassinated, Lincoln would have gone on to cling to power for 29 years or carried out mass executions and imprisonment of political foes during peacetime a la Franco.

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