Did Menachem Begin Really Say “Our Race is the Master Race” & “Palestinians are Beasts Walking on Two Legs?”
You may have seen it before (it is certainly something the Jew-haters of the world constantly drudge up): a supposed quote by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin stating that Jews are the master race.
The full “quote” is:
“Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”
Anyone familiar with Menachem Begin – who I believe was Israel’s best ever Prime Minister (and you can quote me on that) – will immediately know this quote is fake. He was a humble man, and a huge mensch, who was able to forge peace with Egypt’s Sadat. It makes no sense he would hold such reprehensible views, let alone articulate them.
But for those of you who require more than this, I have a real treat for you. You see, an Israel-hater has already done the work for us to show the quote is almost certainly fake.
Enjoy! (Hat tip: Teresa)
For the last several years, the following quotation has frequently been attributed to Menachem Begin (1913-1992), the Jewish terrorist sought by the British (1942-1948) who later became Prime Minister of Israel (1977-1983).
‘Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.’
Did Begin actually say that or is the quote bogus? Of course the hasbarists claim it’s bogus. Since hasbarists tend to lie a lot, their claims don’t have much value. Still, there is some uncertainty here; further investigation is called for. If it’s bogus, people need to stop using it.
The quote is prima facie very suspicious. Its earliest instance seems to be on the website of Texe Marrs. It is presented without any attribution — it is not claimed to be from Begin, and there is no attempt to cite any origin for it. To say that Texe Marrs is not a serious source is a gross understatement.
At some point, not clear exactly when, a source began to appear for the quotation: it was claimed to come from an article in the New Statesman of June 25, 1982, entitled “Begin and the Beasts” by Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk.
The earliest instance I have found of that linkage is from here, dated Aug 10, 2006. The author provides a link, but the link just goes to a copy of the Marrs piece, which has no mention of Kapeliouk. So far then we do not have anything resembling a credible source.
There’s a further reason for suspicion at this point. The Kapeliouk article is the very same source that is cited for the much more frequently quoted statement by Begin:
“[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”
The ‘walking on two legs’ quote has been cited and attributed to the New Statesman article for decades. According to Kapeliouk, Begin made the comment in a speech to the Knesset.
If the ‘master race’ quote is supposed to come from the same source, you might wonder why wasn’t it in much greater circulation prior to 2006? It’s a damning quote — more so than ‘walking on legs’. Looking more and more like someone made it up.
Wouldn’t it be nice now to dig up a copy of the New Statesman from June 1982? Simple empirical question: what did the article actually contain, hey how about we go read it, duh. I am going to make an effort to find the article. Of course, the New Statesman’s online archives do not go nearly back that far, we’ll have to try something else.
If we were to find the actual article and discovered no ‘master race’ quote, then we can be fairly certain that the quote is a fabrication.
If the Kapeliouk article does have the ‘master race’ quote, that should be good enough, since Kapeliouk was a serious journalist and there would be no a priori justification for believing he was lying or misquoting Begin.
Interestingly, the journalist and activist Franklin Lamb knew Kapeliouk personally. In July 2009, upon the occasion of Kapeliouk’s passing, Lamb cited the ‘master race’ quotation and attributed it to Kapeliouk in his article Remembering Amnon Kapeliouk. Lamb was active in the 80’s and was in Lebanon in the summer of 1982 during the Israeli siege of Beirut. He was there with his partner Janet Stevens who personally witnessed the horrors of Sabra-Shatila later that year and who was sadly killed in the Beirut embassy bombing in April 1983, while pregnant with Lamb’s child. (She seems to have been partial inspiration for the title character in John Le Carre’s The Little Drummer Girl.)
The fact that Lamb cites Kapeliouk for the ‘master race’ quote is, I think, significant and lends toward giving it credence. I would really hate to think that Lamb was just cutting and pasting from the internet when he included that quotation. I will try to find out.
Of course, if the New Statesman piece does contain the ‘master race’ quote, that still won’t be good enough for the anti-anti-Israel crowd. The hasbarists will simply say that Kapeliouk was lying and challenge anyone to find Begin’s actual Knesset speech.
They don’t even accept the authenticity of the ‘beasts walking on two legs” quote. (They, anxious to prevent Begin from appearing to be the racist and chauvinist that he obviously was, claim that Kapeliouk misquoted him since he was referring to Palestinian terrorists, not Palestinians. That interpretation is completely groundless, since it is stunningly obvious that Begin was referring to Palestinians per se.)
EDIT update 20120904: Franklin Lamb informed me in private correspondence that he in fact did not possess the New Statesman article nor did he take the quote directly from it. I assume he simply got it from its many instances on the internet.
EDIT update 20120909: I was able to retrieve the June 25 1982 New Statesman issue on microfilm. A screenshot of the “Begin and the ‘beasts'” article by Kapeliouk is here: http://i.imgur.com/vmfnb.jpg. It’s just one page.
Bottom line: the article does not contain the ‘ours is the master race’ quote attributed to Begin and supposedly taken from this very article in the New Statesman.
I think the evidence shows that at some point someone just pretended the quote came from the New Statesman. Maybe this guy started it all, hard to tell. Then from there the bogus citation just multiplied out over the internet.
As I noted, Texe Marrs seems to have been the first to put the quote out on the internet, though without attributing to Begin or citing the New Statesman. I’ve emailed Marrs to ask him where he got it from. I don’t expect an answer.
The quote must have come from somewhere. But there is no basis to think the words were spoken by Begin.
However, what Begin said – per a superb expose by CAMERA in 2004 (addressing Fisk’s first use of the false quote) was that those who come to kill Jewish children are “two-legged animals”.
In fact, if you Google the quote you’ll see that the source generally given is an article by a radical French-Israeli journalist, Amnon Kapeliouk, titled “Begin and the Beasts,” which appeared in the New Statesman, June 25, 1982. Here’s Kapeliouk’s claim:
For this reason the government has gone to extraordinary lengths to dehumanise the Palestinians. Begin described them in a speech in the Knesset as “beasts walking on two legs“.
However, the actual speech upon which Kapeliouk based his quote gives it a completely different meaning. Begin was talking, not about “the Palestinians” but about terrorists who target children within Israel, during a June 8, 1982 speech he gave in the Knesset in response to a no-confidence motion over Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.
In the context of talking about defending the children of Israel from terror attacks, he said the following:
The children of Israel will happily go to school and joyfully return home, just like the children in Washington, in Moscow, and in Peking, in Paris and in Rome, in Oslo, in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. The fate of… Jewish children has been different from all the children of the world throughout the generations. No more. We will defend our children. If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parents.
But, here there are Katyushas, missiles and artillery shells day and night, with the sole intention of murdering our women and children. There are military targets in the Galilee. What a characteristic phenomenon, they are protected, completely immune to these terrorists. Only at the civilian population, only to shed our blood, just to kill our children, our wives, our sisters, our elderly.
He clearly wasn’t characterizing ‘Palestinians’ as two-legged/footed beasts/animals, only those who would murder innocent children.
Previously on Israellycool: Did Golda Meir Really Say “There Are No Palestinians”?