Irgun Zvai Leumi
OF THE IRGUN
Proclamation of IZL
THE IRGUN ZVAI LEUMI IN ERETZ ISRAEL
For publication in the Press
IZL Headquarters, Jerusalem, June 1939
The IZL was founded in the conviction that the solution of the Jewish problem through the creation of a Jewish Sovereign State within the historical boundaries of Palestine cannot be achieved without relying on a Jewish Military Force.
I. REASONS UNDERLYING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE IZL
1. The historical fact that the reclaiming of a homeland, independence and liberty of an oppressed nation never succeeds without the support of an adequate military force ready to stand up to threat and challenge.
2. The troubles in Palestine of 1920, 1921, and 1929 have proved conclusively that the Arabs use armed violence as a recurrent means to obstruct the establishment of the Jewish State, and that the passive attitude of the Jews in face of this violence is only encouraging Arab terrorists to continue.
3. We cannot depend on the Mandatory Power to check Arab violence and keep Palestine in a state of peace, which is the preliminary condition of the development of a Jewish State. The British Administration in Palestine is outspokenly anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish. Arab violence was instigated, favored and allowed to continue by this same administration as a means to "justify" the whittling down of the ever-hated, by them, Balfour Declaration and Mandate, a process which culminated in MacDonald's White Paper of May, 1939.
4. Assuming even that we are free from British hostility in Palestine, it is essential in the present state of world affairs, that we prove to the world that our right to a Jewish State is not only an historical and human right but that we are ready and prepared to back it with military force, rather than relying on British bayonets.
5. In the event of war Palestine will be a most precious strategical point in the Near East, of the greatest concern to the Western European Democracies. It will be an all-important highway and air route to the Far East, and oil reservoir for the British and French navy and air fleet. Purely rational and sentimental claims of Jewry to Palestine will be even less respected by Great Britain in case of war than they are in times of peace. Only as an armed force of sufficient strength to assure the defense of Palestine shall we be able to attain a bargaining position which will induce Britain to agree to the creation of the Jewish State. In this conviction, the IZL is preparing to widen its cadres considerably, so that in case of war, over 100,000 trained, disciplined and partially equipped men be concentrated by it in Palestine.
II. STRUCTURE OF THE IZL
New recruits are enlisted by recommendation of veteran members. Before taking the oath of secrecy and allegiance a newcomer is under full surveillance and has to pass a special test. Everyone, irrespective of party, is accepted, provided he adheres to the governing principles of the Organization.
The principles governing the IZL are strict military discipline and hierarchy. The IRA and similar national revolutionary organizations who fought for the liberty of their nations serve as an example. The organization is illegal in Palestine, hundreds of its members are in prison and suffering persecution in the hands of the British administration. Some have become permanent invalids; several scores have died in action.
At the head of the IZL is the commander and the command. Under them is the general-staff composed of all the heads of departments. Officers, rank and file are organized in small secret units. Training is done secretly. Each member knows only his friends in the unit and his direct officer. He has no means of contact with other units. Each officer knows only his direct superior. All the strings are carefully concentrated in the command. The military order is the only means of unification. Nothing but the military order forms the direct contact between all members and the command. Under this system the command controls many thousands of people without fear of a major attack on behalf of the authorities in Palestine.
1. Military. Fighting Arab terror by defense and retaliation measures. Since the publication of the White Paper in the beginning of May, 1939, the Organization is engaged in active resistance against Britain and the Arabs with the aim to defy the new Ukases. Already today, it is clear to Britain and the Arabs that no decision can be taken in Palestine without taking into account the reaction of the National Military Organization. Daily our military activities increase, and it is only the beginning of a warning that a Jewish Ghetto in Palestine will be established only over our dead bodies. In short, the IZL is the only body conducting the active resistance against the White Paper as reported in the world press. For us it is a battle for death or life.
2. "Aliya Beth" (Extra-legal immigration). It is a God-given right of the Jews to return to Palestine as free men to their fatherland. This right dates from times immemorial and was again asserted, in modern times, by the whole civilized world, in the Mandate for Palestine. Britain's action in closing the doors of Palestine for persecuted Jews is an act of black treason against a people with its back to the wall, as well as a cynical repudiation of a solemn international obligation. Here protests have no effect on the British. Only determined resistance will call them back to their senses. The IZL is responsible for organizing and conducting the mass extra-legal immigration to Palestine. Special squads have been set up in from concentration camps and prisons in Nazi-land, from hunger and misery in Eastern Europe. From April 1938 up till now we brought into Palestine over 15,000 people. Our principle in this work is: every Jew has a right to come to Palestine we will stick to it closely and, with all the devotion we possess, in defiance of the new British Nazi-Like laws until we will transform that which Britain calls "illegal" immigration into our recognized legal right before the whole world.
3. Enrollment, training, and equipment. The danger of war being imminent, the IZL is training and enrolling in its ranks thousands of Jewish youth in various European countries. They are prepared as the army of occupation and defense of Palestine, if necessary in time of war, or as the reservoir of the IZL in Palestine at the present. The IZL controls an aviation school and has a special squad of trained pilots. Equipment is undertaken only for Palestine. Especially in connection with the Aliya Beth we are now commanding hundreds of Jewish sailors, who, as already known, man the ships carrying our immigrants to Palestine under our supervision, and sail under the blue-white flag.
4. Propaganda. The secret broadcasting station "Liberated Zion" of the IZL in Palestine broadcasts twice daily in Hebrew and English. It is a most forceful weapon against the British Administration which suppresses free speech and press in the country. It informs the world of what is really going on in Palestine and calls upon the youth in Palestine and abroad to stand by us. We have two publications in Palestine: The "Sentinel" an English weekly bulletin distributed among the general Jewish public. Besides, frequent distribution of thousands of leaflets, posters, etc. All this is circulated secretly.
Outside Palestine we control one Jewish daily. "The Action" appearing in Warsaw and three weeklies in Polish, French and English appearing in France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland.
IV. POLITICAL AND MILITARY PROSPECTS
The tragic experiences of the last years have ultimately caused growing opposition and resentment to be felt among Palestine and World Jewry: opposition to the defeatists among us who have no belief in the strength of the Jewish nation and resentment toward the British Government that has openly broken its oath to the Jews and that proposes to create a Jewish Ghetto in the Jewish Homeland.
While we have every reason to expect that faced with a new and determined Jewry willing to battle and die for its survival, Britain will change its attitude and make possible a future understanding on the basis of a Jewish State friendly to Britain, we are quite prepared for the alternative: If England is not willing to help us, notwithstanding her solemn obligation to do so, the Jews will fight for their rights without England's help: for the Jews, after Britains's betrayal, are henceforward the masters of their own fate. An adequate solution of the Jewish problem is a profound concern of the non-Jewish world too, and England is in error to think that we will forever sacrifice our existence for the sake of H.M. Government's mistaken ideas about Palestine.
To the defeatists among us we say: Thanks for the lesson of "pacifism at any price." You have brought us to where we are now. But tens of thousands of Jewish youth, young sturdy men with a desire to live like free men are being organized and well trained: they are being prepared for the decisive battle that will be fought in Palestine and which will decide the fate of our people and country. We have learned the lesson of Round Table conferences based on the ideas of begging for justice and going unheeded, but tens of thousands, only the beginning , have not forgotten that theirs was a nation of warriors, and like the Macabees are ready to fight in order to reconquer the Land of Israel for Israel and their children. The are ready to fight as the English, French or Americans would have done in case their country were to be under enemy yoke, and as the Czechs are preparing to do now.
Of the world and the Jewish people at large, we ask to support us in our coming battles.