Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Betar-Lead Protest Against Lord Caradon at YU

The Yeshiva University student organization invited Lord Caradon, then the United Kingdom's UN Representative, to speak at YU in May 1968.

The Betar members attending the university immediately set about to scuttle that event given the recent remarks Caradon had uttered as regards Israel maintaining its control over Judea and Samaria.

Here is a picture from The Commentator, and that's Baruch Kraus at left, Yaakov Sklar behind and me, Yisrael Medad, third from left:

Here is something I wrote back in Friday, 31 Jan 2003:

YU's student council had decided to invite Lord Caradon, the UK UN representative, to speak at the university in 1968. The Betar club opposed this, set up a petition table to collect signatures, an opposing table of "free speech" popped up next to us and the confrontation was on.

As a result of the activity, and the fear that YU would be in an intolerable PR position, we of Betar were invited to confer with the Rav. As we were TI boys, our entrance to his office was met by sneers from his Shi'ur students (they assumed that if not on our way out of the college, we were in for a tongue-lashing). About an hour later, we walked out with the Rav basically committing himself to undue the invitation (which was accomplished) but with a promise to publicly air his views on the matter of territorial withdrawal. He accepted our reasoning about the situation in that if Caradon came, the scene would get very messy.

This was causing quite a stir as since the issue of missionaries almost a decade earlier, the Rav had really never spoken out specifically on a political (rather than a Mizrachi religious concern) question. His talk was broadcast over the university radio and several of his former students took pains to come.

If I am not mistaken, it was then that he expounded on the parallel of the doctor being the expert on breaking Shabbat to heal by insisting that military persons are those one goes to on matters of security. Of course, he was not aware of the intense politicization of the IDF (I presume so for otherwise, why would he set such a parameter) but it was quite an event (in the 1969 yearbook, p. 31, there's a picture of the table and a young me)..

As it happens, in an interview published in the Journal of Palestine Studies, “An Interview with Lord Caradon,” Spring - Summer 1976, pgs. 144-45, he was asked :

Q.  Would you say there is a contradiction between the part of the resolution that stresses the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and that which calls for Israeli withdrawal from “occupied territories,” but not from “the occupied territories”?

and he replied:

A. I defend the resolution as it stands. What it states, as you know, is first the general principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. That means that you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it. We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that I cannot at this moment recall the exact words that set us off, it must have been bad.  Here's what I found previously:

Akiva Orr, Matzpen founding member tells this tale from Caradon:

"In 1938 I was the District Commissioner of the Nablus district. The Palestinians rebelled against Britain and a member of your family participated in an attack on a British police station. I was the judge who sentenced him and I gave an order to blow up this house. I am sorry for it and I have come to ask for your forgiveness".

And Orr continues:

I don't know if they forgave him. However I know no Israeli governor ever asked forgiveness of a Palestinian family for giving an order to blow up their house. I wasn't surprised to hear of Hugh Foot's behavior because it matched my impression of him at the gathering in Leeds. Though he surprised me once more. When I met at Jerusalem in 1997 a delegation sent by the British organization "Medical Aid for Palestine". This organization gathers donations, medical equipment and volunteer medical staff in order to support the Palestinian health services. The organization was headed by Lord Gilmour, who served for a while as the minister of defense in the Thatcher's cabinet. When I met Lord Gilmour in Jerusalem I asked him how was Lord Caradon doing. Gilmour was surprised: "Didn't you hear he has died?" I apologized that I did not. He added "So you haven't heard about his last request", "Regretfully not", I answered.

Lord Gilmour added "He asked to be buried wrapped in the Palestinian flag".

Until this very day I wonder why the last request of the British representative to the UN, who served in important government positions in Britain, was for his coffin to descend to the grave wrapped in the Palestinian flag.



I found this here:

April 16, 2012 at 12:24 am
“Joseph Kaplan on April 15, 2012 at 11:26 pm
“Anyone who remembers the Ravs reaction to the potential demonstration by Beitarnicks (Spring 1968)”

You’ve mentioned this before, Mycroft, and although I have racked my brains I just don’t remember it. (I’m not questioning your memory; I’m lamenting my own.)”

I believe your brother Prof Lawrence Kaplan has commented in the past about the speech in Rubin schul by the Rav. My understanding ofthe Ravs position BTW is in general counter to the Betar blogspot quoted by abbas ranting. Note I wrote my understanding I am not claiming that anyone else is intentionally distorting the Rav-my recollection of the speech-remember its 44 years ago and consitent with what I believe the Ravs opinion on these issues would be.

and this there:

Yisrael Medad
April 16, 2012 at 10:09 am
Having written that blog post (http://betarimna.blogspot.com/2011/01/betar-lead-protest-against-lord-caradon.html), I wish to add something here.

The Rav received us and accorded us his full attention and engaged us in a discussion that was open and considered, both halachically and politically and perhaps even ideologically, that is, hashkafa-wise.

It was my impression then, as it is some 44 years on, that the Rav was convinced that we had a point (maybe even [had him] over a barrel) and moreover, that he could not overcome our position through ‘normal procedures’, that not even his influence could affect the situation. Wisely, perhaps due to thinking he was out-maneuvered on the ground, he optioned for a platform that he could completely control: a radio broadcast and a presentation of a semi-halachic/semi-hashkafa address/shiur. I rememeber sitting in the dorm lobby watching leading Rabbis gathered there and taking notes as he spoke with almost adoration. We were out-maneuvered.

We won on the field. Caradon had the invitation somehow withdraw. The Rav won on his field.

Yisrael (Winkelman) Medad, YC 1969,
former Rosh Hanhaga Artzit, American Betar, 1967-1969


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