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The Zionist Connection II:
What Price Peace?


by Alfred M. Lilienthal


Published 1983




  From Part Two.  The Cover-Up
Chapter X
 Terror:  The Double Standard:


Israeli use of Letter Bombs


for the complete text of Chapter 10 go to:




In the fall of 1972 the major capitals in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. were rocked by a spate of letter and package bombs. This phase of the lethal-letter war opened with the letter-bomb killing of an Israeli diplomat in his London office. Coming on the heels of the Munich tragedy, biased world public opinion was only too ready to believe that these acts had been the responsibility of the Palestinian Black September group, although the strict security watch at the Israeli Embassy had intercepted seven other letters, only one of which contained a leaflet boasting Black September sponsorship. Upon close examination it remained very much of an open question who had been sending what bombs to whom.


   According to neutral observers in Britain, while the popular press tended to lean sympathetically toward the Israelis, "the serious press was more objective. After the thirteen letter bombs intercepted in London in November, British Jewry was talking of retribution, but so far as can be seen, there is no evidence to support the theory that Black September is behind the current wave of incidents." British writers, including those of the London Times, viewed evidence of the Palestinian complicity as "uneasy." Yet in the U.S. there was no indecision. The minds of the public were made up for them by the American press and the politicians, although a New York City episode took on the aura of a Hitchcock movie gone awry.


   In October, letter bombs addressed to two retired officials of Hadassah (Women's Zionist Organization) were discovered when they failed to detonate. Mrs. Rose Halprin, who had not been president since 1952, allegedly received one at her East Side home. There were fifteen Halprins in the 1972 Manhattan telephone directory, eighteen in the edition a year earlier. There was no listing for Rose Halprin. It was difficult to understand how a group of Palestinians 5,000 miles away could ever have obtained her name let alone her address.


   The second letter had been addressed to a one-time executive director (one newspaper referred to her as Hannah Goldberg and another as Mrs. Hannah Rosenberg) and was opened under police supervision without it exploding.27 Following the apprehension of the letter bombs addressed to the New York women, Mayor John Lindsay [368] [369] released this statement: "Terror by mail is the latest, and in some ways, the most vicious technique yet devised by conspirators against Israel. To direct it at two outstanding ladies of Hadassah here reaches a low in the politics of terror."


   At the same time a number of letter bombs sent to the Israeli Mission to the U.N. were also intercepted. (One of these was supposedly addressed to a diplomat not even as yet listed in the U.N. directory.) A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy was quick to be quoted:' The letters sent to New York show that the terrorist organization is not just anti-Israeli, as they claim, but anti-Jewish throughout the world." And to further this impression that the Palestinians posed a threat to all Jews, two letter bombs, also mailed from Penang, appeared in Rhodesia, sent to residents of Bulawayo. One had been addressed to prominent young Zionist leader Colin Raizon, another to the mother of Rhodesian Olympic weight lifter John Orkin. Both were intercepted by the police.


   Was it more than a coincidence that the letter bombs, sent to the Hadassah and to the Israeli Mission, all of which were intercepted, were received at a time when Israel was doing its best to coordinate its efforts with those of the U.S. in forcing the Legal Committee of the U.N. to adopt an antiterrorist pact with muscle as a means of further restraining the operations of the Palestinian guerrillas?


   This alleged introduction of bombs into the U.S., following in the wake of the Munich Olympics incident, played a major role in moving federal authorities to initiate a "dragnet" investigation and interrogation and surveillance of Arab residents and students in the country. Cracking down on Arabs and restrictive measures against all travelers passing through the U.S. was the inevitable result.


   On October 26, on page 2 in a five-column headline, the readers of the New York Times were told: "Israel Intercepts Letter Bombs Mailed to Nixon, Rogers and Laird." The story pointed out that the latest letter bombs were "similar to those mailed to Jews in various countries from Amsterdam last month by the Arab guerrilla organization known as the 'Black September.' One letter bomb killed an official in the Israeli Embassy in London."


   Two days later a UPI story, carried on certain radio stations, revealed that an American tourist, twenty-two-year-old Dennis Feinstein from Stockton, California, had been arrested by the Israeli police as he attempted to cross over into Lebanon. He was being held on suspicion of mailing letter bombs to top American officials. The story appeared in some papers, including the Washington Post.


   The Times News Summary and Index of the city edition on October 28 listed for page 3 under "International": "Israel holds American in mailing of letter bombs." But not one line of the story appeared in that edition. In the later edition the listing was deleted from the Index. In page 3 of the earlier edition there had been an unclear, meaningless photo of "men with opposing views scuffling on a Santiago, Chile, street," which appeared to have been dropped in as a last-minute filler replacement in a spot where the Israeli story might have initially been intended to go. New copy replaced this photograph on page 3 in the later edition.


   It took the Sunday Times of December 24, 1972 in a lengthy article, "How Israelis Started the Terror by Post," to place the responsibility for the spate of bombs. As noted by other European observers, it was out of character for the Black September not to have claimed "credit" for these incidents, as they had done instantaneously at the time of Munich and invariably on other occasions.


   With the exception of the first London bomb, which just missed detection, the bomb in the Bronx post office, and the one mailed from India, which injured jeweler Vivian Prins in London, all the other numerous letter bombs sent in Europe and the U.S. to Jews and Jewish organizations were somehow intercepted or proved to be duds. In contrast, almost all of the bombs addressed to Arabs and Palestinians worked successfully. The device for these bombs is very simple, and they have been generally termed to be uniformly deadly. In the words of the police in New York regarding the Hadassah letters: "They failed to detonate even though the trigger was lying directly against the blasting cap." And the Palestinians proved on many occasions their ability to handle infinitely more sophisticated weapons than these.


   While the invention of the letter bomb went back to a brilliant but unbalanced Swedish chemist, Martin Eckenberg, who killed himself at the age of forty-one in a London prison in 1910, Zionist terrorists, the Stern Gang and the Irgun, had brought the weapon to the Middle East. In 1947 letter-bomb campaigns were directed against prominent British politicians believed to be unsympathetic to the Zionist goal of establishing a state in Palestine, and figured in the internationally publicized incident in which the brother of a British officer, Roy Farran, who had been acquitted of murdering a Jewish youth in Palestine, was killed by a parcel bomb admittedly sent by the Stern Gang.


   The Zionist apparatus literally exploded when a Times front-page story headlined an excerpt from Margaret Truman's book alleging a 1947 letter-bomb attempt by the Stern Gang on the life of her father.] The Anglo-Jewish press across the country reverberated with criticism, one newspaper going so far as to make the familiar charge of "anti-Semitism." In a New York Times Letter to the Editor, Benjamin Gepner, who identified himself as the U.S.-Western Hemisphere leader of the "Stern Group," insisted that it was absurd even to think that there could have been such a plot against the President. The letter-bomb attempt apparently had taken place at a time when the Chief Executive was urging Zionists to be more restrained in their demands and to become more sensitive to the Palestinian plight. Aside from the fact that the authoress had little reason to pull this assassination attempt out of the air, the Stern Gang's own long record of terror supported the plausibility of the story.


   Explosive devices were widely used by the Israelis in a broad campaign directed against German scientists working in Egypt in 1962 and 1963. A bomb placed in a gift parcel exploded, killing scientist Michael Khouri and five others with him, and an attempt was made on the life of Dr. Hans Kleinwachter, another scientist. Another package addressed to a West German scientist working in Cairo blew up when opened, blinding his German secretary. The daughter of German scientist Dr. Paul Goerke was threatened with a similar fate.


   The Israelis succeeded in their reign of terror. Almost to a man, the West German scientists working on the development of rockets for President Nasser's army quit their Egyptian positions and returned home. This is recounted in detail in The Champagne Spy,28 authored by Israeli spy Wolfgang Lotz, who boasted of having sent messages out of Cairo on the wireless hidden in his bathroom scales to his chief, saying that he was "sure we can induce additional German scientists to leave by dispatching more threatening letters and seeing that they are published in the German press." After a public reprimand by Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, Israeli Security Chief Iser Halprin resigned in an admission of Israeli complicity in the campaign against the Germans.


   There were still other bomb varieties in which the Israelis excelled. Prior to the June 1967 war, the Chief Intelligence Officer in the Gaza Strip and' the Egyptian Military Attache' in Jordan were both killed by book bombs. In the wake of the 1972 Lydda Airport massacre, the Palestine Popular Front's spokesman, Ghassan Kanafani, was blown up when a plastic bomb attached to the exhaust of his car exploded. And a series of booby-trapped letters, sent that fall, killed or badly injured a dozen senior Arab guerrillas and prominent Palestinians in Beirut.


   Following the Kanafani death, Ma'ariv the Israeli daily, wrote: "The terrorists' statement linked the death of Kanafani to Israel and accused her of mounting this operation. Israel does not deny this or confirm it." Some eleven days following this incident, Anis Sayegh, a Director of the Palestinian Research Institute in Beirut, received an envelope ostensibly addressed to him from the Islamic Higher Council. When he opened it, it exploded, causing him partial blindness and the loss of three fingers. Within the same time period, another mail parcel exploded in the hands of the Director of a Beirut bank and the security officers of the Fateh in Beirut. (One had to closely scan the small print and the back pages of the Times to find a line or two, if that, about these incidents.)


   In putting together all the pertinent bits of this tragic history, this observation is very much in order: The terrorists of yesterday have since become Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Generals, and other VIPs of the Israeli state of today, and the armies that brought Israel its "liberation" and widely employed terror-the Haganah, Irgun, and the Stern Gang-have become the victorious armies of Israel today. While letter bombs and other forms of terrorism have been used by both sides, it was the Israelis who introduced them into the Middle East and made, as usual, the perfect propaganda use of the deadly explosives. For it was the exploitation of terror, above all, that continued to provide the public excuse for the adamant Israeli refusal to recognize the PLO, which for so long was supported by the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations and greatly complicated the task of reaching a Middle East settlement.