Weekend Talk Shows Past - Meet The Press With Menachem Begin - 1948

(Menachem Begin in 1948 - Eventually lost the moustache. Eventually became Prime Minister) When Menachem Begin arrived in the U.S. in 1948, he real

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(Menachem Begin in 1948 - Eventually lost the moustache. Eventually became Prime Minister)

When Menachem Begin arrived in the U.S. in 1948, he really wasn't doing it as a member of the newly-formed Israeli government, he was visiting as former head of the Irgun zvai Leumi para-military underground movement, gauging the climate in the U.S. towards future relations between Israel and the U.S.

He was met with a skeptical mainstream press who seemed more interested in knowing if Begin was a Communist or not.

Then as now, the history of the region hasn't been largely understood by a lot of people as was evidenced by this exchange between Begin and Lawrence Spivak on Meet The Press from December 12, 1948.

Menachem Begin: “You know, this partition of the country was just imposed on our people. As a matter of fact, when Mister Ben-Gurion, who is now Prime Minister in our country, was in the U.S. during the World War in America, and visited the famous Baltimore Hotel, came out with the so-called “Baltimore Program” which went now into oblivion. And according to that program the whole of Western Palestine, through the Jordan (river), should be turned into a Jewish State. So as a matter of fact, then I would like to remind you, that when the Balfour Declaration was issued by the British, and when the amendment was approved by the League of Nations, Palestine was considered to be the territory of both sides of the Jordan. I would like even to remind you that the English had an argument with the French when the French would like to take TransJordan for their amendment of Syria and Lebanon. The English told that TransJordan is an integral part of the Jewish national home. So as a matter of fact, this partitioning of our country is an illegal act! And we are not going to recognize it. If our government will acquiesce in the partition of her country, we are certainly not going to fight it by arms . . .we are not going to fight any government of our people by force. We will fight only on the political field.”

Yes, confusing. Which is probably why a pre-1914 map is needed to make sense out of the whole thing. But more than that, confusing in the sense of how things got carved up going back as far as the result of the end of World War One. And the passage of time hasn't made any of it any easier to understand.

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