Anony­mous Sol­diers: The Strug­gle For Israel, 1917 – 1947

  • Review
By – May 19, 2015

We believe in the sac­ri­fice of bat­tle and the sac­ri­fice of the Israeli youth that sets its goal the strength and inde­pen­dence of the core of the Hebrew strength,” exclaimed a pam­phlet by the right lean­ing Zion­ist under­ground Irgun in 1937. The time had come to end pas­sive defense,” demand­ed their leader David Raziel; now was the time to take the fight to the British rulers and Arab major­i­ty of Pales­tine and dri­ve them out so a Jew­ish state could be formed.

Pro­fes­sor Bruce Hoff­man, an expert on ter­ror­ism and insur­gency and direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Secu­ri­ty Stud­ies at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty, seeks to exam­ine the Jew­ish vio­lence in Pales­tine as a case study in exam­in­ing whether ter­ror­ism is effec­tive. In Anony­mous Sol­diers, he uses Jew­ish groups that employed what would wide­ly be described as ter­ror­ism — bomb­ings, bank rob­beries, assas­si­na­tions and shoot­ings — against the British and Arabs in the 1930s and 1940s as his lens for the his­to­ry of this peri­od and region.

Although this well researched book based on pri­ma­ry sources claims to cov­er the peri­od 1920 to 1948, its real focus is the last decade before Israel’s inde­pen­dence. It does not so much focus on the strug­gle between the groups as on the con­flict between the British and the Jew­ish Lehi and Irgun orga­ni­za­tions. Ter­ror­ism can, in the right con­di­tions and with the appro­pri­ate strat­e­gy and tac­tics, suc­ceed in attain­ing at least some of its prac­ti­tion­ers fun­da­men­tal aims,” the author concludes.

Notes, bib­li­og­ra­phy, index.

Relat­ed Content:

Seth J. Frantz­man received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty of Jerusalem where he cur­rent­ly holds a Post-Doc­tor­al Fel­low­ship. He is a colum­nist for the Jerusalem Post and Fel­low at the Jerusalem Insti­tute of Mar­ket Studies.

Discussion Questions