Skip To Content

July 24, 2009

A Price Paid in Terror for Prisoner Releases

Haim Watzman correctly observes that there are terrible dilemmas involved in seeking to secure the freedom of kidnapped Israelis like serviceman Gilad Shalit (‘Gilad Shalit’s Plight, and Israel’s Dilemma,’ July 10).

At the end of the day, however, logic and experience have shown that freeing Palestinian terrorists to obtain their freedom is simply too high a price to pay.

Releasing Arab terrorists has resulted in further massive loss of innocent Jewish life. According to a detailed 2006 report produced by the Almagor Terror Victims Association, between 1993 and 1999, Israel released 6,912 terrorists, of whom 854 committed further terrorist acts, which claimed the lives of 123 Israelis. Almagor’s director, Meir Indor, disclosed in April 2007 that a further 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the previous five years were killed by Palestinians who had been released from Israeli jails.

The Zionist Organization of America shares the great pain felt by Israeli families when their sons are kidnapped by terrorists. We would support virtually any efforts to bring them home safely. But when the record clearly shows that prisoner releases bring only more terror, more murder and more kidnappings of Jewish people, we painfully must accept the fact that we will save more Israeli lives by not rewarding kidnappings through prisoner releases.

Ultimately, we must put ourselves in the shoes of the families of the inevitable, future victims of Arab terrorism perpetrated by newly released terrorists when considering freeing terrorists.

Morton A. Klein
National President
Zionist Organization of America
New York, N.Y.

Winston Churchill Was No Antisemite

Rafael Medoff makes some misleading claims about Winston Churchill that suggest Churchill harbored antisemitic sentiments (“Actions Speak Louder Than (Even Ugly) Words,” July 3).

Medoff refers to an unpublished 1937 article by Churchill which claimed that Jews were “partly responsible” for the mistreatment that they suffered. But the article was not penned by Churchill, but by one of his part-time ghost-writers, Adam Marshall Diston. Churchill disagreed with its contents and vetoed its publication.

Medoff also refers to Churchill making harsh remarks regarding what he claimed was Jewish domination of communism. But the evidence that this was an uncharacteristic lapse is strong. Churchill made these remarks in a single article. He never returned to this theme in his statements or writings; and while backing the anti-Bolshevik military campaign of the White Russians under Anton Denikin, he demanded of Denikin a written promise to suppress antisemitism in Russia.

Admittedly, Churchill did, as Medoff claims, “leave in place” the draconian 1939 White Paper restrictions on Jews entering Palestine. However, Medoff fails to note that virtually the entire British Cabinet would have opposed its rescission: In fact, in 1942, the Cabinet overruled Churchill when he tried to end the policy of discouraging illegal Jewish immigration into Palestine. Even then, Churchill often personally intervened or sought ways around the problem to enable Jews who reached Palestine to stay. The internees of the ships Patria and Darien II are two such examples.

Two new books on Churchill and the Jews (one by Gilbert, the other by Alan Makovsky) show Churchill’s efforts to assist Jews and Zionism during the Second World War to have been exceptional, sincere, persistent, usually forceful and occasionally successful.

Daniel Mandel
Fellow in History
University of Melbourne
Parkville, Australia

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.