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ZIONISM
WereItosumuptheBaselCongressinaworditwouldbethis:AtBasel,IfoundedtheJewishState.IfIsaidthisout
loudtoday[1897]Iwouldbeansweredbyuniversallaughter.Ifnotin5years,thencertainlyin50.Everyonewillknowit
.TheodorHerzlDiaries1897
Herzlmissedhisgoalbyonly1year.

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HISTORY
AlNakba
TheIntifadas

ZionismemergedasanationalmovementinEasternEuropeinthe1880s.Itsfounder,TheodorHerzl(18601904),a
HungarianJew,dreamedofestablishingaJewishStateinthelandofPalestine,adreamwhichwastoberealized
throughcolonizationandlandacquisition.AccordingtoZionistarchives,theleadershipofearlyZionismbelievedthatthe
nativepopulationofPalestine,asaresultofthiscolonization,wouldsimplyfoldtheirtentsandslipawayor,ifthey
resisted,theywouldbespiritedacrosstheborders.

1967War
OriginalDocuments
TheBritishMandate
Zionism
PeaceProcess

~1948:LestWeForget(www.1948.org.uk)

KEYTOPICS

ZionisminUS:Haganah'sarmsprocurement

AMPPUBLICATIONS

ArmingDavid:TheHaganah'sillegalarmsprocurementnetworkintheUnitedStates1945
1949

AMPEVENTS!

ByRickyDaleCalhoun
JournalofPalestineStudiesVol.XXXVI,No.4(Summer2007),pp.2232

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PostedinZionism

AnticipatinganarmedconictinPalestineafterWorldWarII,theHaganahembarkeduponalargescaleefforttobuy
armamentstobesenttoPalestine.Throughfrontcompanies,andwiththecooperationofcertainLatinAmerican
governments,armspurchasedprimarilythroughtheWarAssetsAdministration,whichsoldsurplusU.S.mil
itaryequipmentinthewakeofWorldWarII,weretransferredillegallytoPalestine,oftenviaCzechoslovakia.Thisarticle
placesagroupofprominent,wealthy,andpoliticallyconnectedJewishAmericansreferredtohereastheSonneborn
group,areferencetotheinvolvementofRudolfSonnebornatthecenterofanetworkofHaganahopera
tivesinvolvedinthiseffort.
ON28MAY1947,UnitedStatesRearAdmiralR.H.Hillenkoetter,thedirectorofCentralIntelligence,addressedasecret
memorandumtothesecretaryofdefensetitledClandestineAirTransportOperations.InearlyApril,militaryauthorities
inEuropehadbecomeconcernedthatseveralplanesownedbysmallU.S.charterairlineswereengagedinyingarms
andmunitionstoPalestine.HillenkoettercitedevidencethatServiceAirways,Inc.,aU.S.civilcargoairline,wasutilizing
militarysurplusC46transportplanestocarryarmsfromCzechoslovakiatoPalestine.Hewasespeciallyalarmedby
reportsthattheAmericanciviliancrewsyingtheplaneswereillegallywearingU.S.ArmyAirCorpsuniforms.
HillenkoettercomplainedthatofcialsinItalyandSwitzerlandhadapparentlybeenmisled,believingthatthearms
smugglingightswerepartofasanctionedU.S.operation.HealsocitedtheactivitiesofOceanTradeAirways,Inc.,a
charterfreightcarrierheadquarteredatLaurinburgMaxton,NorthCarolina.OceanTradeAirwayswasreportedlyowned
byRalphCoxofNewYorkandhadacontractualagreementtocarryfreightforAmericanAirlinesOceanTradesight
crewsworeAmericanAirlinesuniformswiththeAAlogoinsigniaremoved.OneofOceanTradesairplanes,afourengine
C54Skymastertransport,wasengagedinregularightsbetweenPragueandBaytDaras,Palestine.OtherOceanTrade
Airwaysplanes,mostlyDC3sandC46s,hadbeenspottedonCzechoslovakmilitaryairelds,whereCzechoslovak
securityforcesstoodguardduringloadingandlayovers.Hillenkoetterbelievedthattheseaerialgunrunningoperations
weresponsoredbythegovernmentofCzechoslovakia,and,byimplication,theSovietUnion.Hillenkoetteralsonotedthat
minorofcialsintheItaliangovernmentwereassistingZionistarmssmugglingights:LeftwingItaliansareactively
collaboratingwiththeJewishmovementandfollowingthepartylinelaiddownbytheUSSRinsponsoringpartitionof
Palestine.[1]Infact,theillicitactivitiesofServiceAirwaysandOceanTradeAirwaysthathadarousedAdmiral
Hillenkoetterssuspicionswerebutthetipofaniceberg,partofavastsecretprojectundertakenbytheZionistmovement
tocircumventU.S.armsexportlaws.

APRIL18,2015
CHICAGO

MAY9,2015
SADDLEBROOK,NJ

TheSonnebornGroug
WellbeforetheendofWorldWarII,theZionistmovementhadformallydecidedtoestablishaJewishstateinPalestine
(thesocalledBiltmoreProgramof1942).WithPalestinianArabscomprisingovertwothirdsofthecountryspopulation,
anymovetoimplementthedecisionwascertaintoberesisted.Bytheendofthewartherewasnolongeranyquestion
thatanarmedconictwiththeArabswouldbreakoutimmediatelyuponBritainswithdrawalfromPalestine.The
Haganah,themilitaryarmoftheJewishAgency(thehighestpoliticalbodyoftheJewishpeople,bothinPalestineand
worldwide[2])hadbeenbuildingupitsforcesandarmingfortheexpectedghtforsometime,butithadbeenhamperedby
theBritish,whorestricteditsaccesstoarms.TocircumventtheBritishblockade,theHaganahturnedtoSovietand
Americansourcesforweaponry.ThedemobilizationthatfollowedWorldWarIIaffordedtheZionistsenormous
opportunitiestoprocureweaponsintheUnitedStates.Americanfactorieshadproducedmassiveamountsofweaponry
duringthewar.Hundredsofthousandsoftonsofsurplusmilitaryequipment,frommesskitstotanks,airplanes,machine
guns,artillery,andevenwarships,werenowbeingofferedforsaleasscrapbytheWarAssetsAdministration(WAA).
Regulationsrequiredthatalltheweaponsberenderedinoperable,butinmanycasesthesoldiersawaitingdischargewho
performedtheneutralizationdidafarfromthoroughjobthedamagedonetodisableweaponswasoftenonlysupercial.
Moreover,asthematerialwasonlyjunk,anyonecouldbuyitlegally.However,on14December1947justweeksafter
theUNpassedthepartitionresolutionthatineffecttouchedoffthemilitaryconfrontationinPalestinePresidentTruman
invokedtheNeutralityAct,imposingaunilateralembargoonweaponstoboth
sidesintheZionistArabconict.Fromthenon,exportingAmericanarmstoPalestinewasillegal.[3]Bythattime,
however,ahighlysophisticatedarmssmugglingschemewasalreadyinplaceandwastakingfulladvantageofthe
opportunitiesofferedbydemobilization.TheFBI,CIA,CustomsService,andotherU.S.authoritiesuncoveredpartsofthe
operationwhileitwasinprogress,asevidencedbyHillenkoettersmemorandum.Nonetheless,itisbynomeanscertain
thatthedetailsofthecentrallyorchestrated
plotwouldhaveeverfullyemergedhadtheparticipantsthemselvesnotlaterrevealedbitsandpiecesoftheoperation.
Muchofitremainsshroudedinsecrecy.Theclosesttoacomprehensiveaccountexistingtodayisinvestigativejournalist
LeonardSlatersbookThePledge,writtenasaheroictributetotheparticipantsandpublishedin1970.[4]
AccordingtoSlater,whointerviewedmanyofthoseinvolved,theconspiracybeganwithameetingon1July1945inthe
NewYorkpenthouseapartmentofRudolfSonneborn,scionofawealthyAmericanJewishfamilythathadmadeits
fortuneintheoilandchemicalbusiness.BesidesSonneborn,thosepresentatthemeetingwereHenryMontor,directorof
UnitedJewishAppeal,thefundraisingarmoftheJewishAgencyintheUnitedStatesDavidBenGurion,chairmanofthe
ExecutiveoftheJewishAgencyandessentiallytheheadoftheYishuv[5]andseventeenprominentAmericanJews
whomSlaterdidnotname.Slaterdid,however,statecryptically:Onewasarabbivewerelawyers.Theotherswere
businessmen.Oneownedachainofdrugstoresonewasinjewelryanotherintheshoebusiness.[6]Hewentonto
revealthatthemenwereoneeachfromLosAngeles,CaliforniaBirmingham,AlabamaPhiladelphiaandPittsburgh,
PennsylvaniaClevelandandColumbus,OhioMinneapolis,MinnesotaSt.Louis,MissouriNewark,NewJerseyand
NewHaven,Connecticut.TherestwerefromNewYork.AllwereprominentmembersoftheJewishcommunityallwere
wealthy.InhisautobiographyForJerusalem:ALife,TeddyKollek,whoworkedasanoperativefortheHaganahmission
inNewYorkandwholaterbecamethepopularlongtimemayorofJerusalem,neverspecicallyidentiedtheSonneborn
groupassuchbuttoldessentiallythesamestory,puttingthenumberofmenatthecenteroftheHaganaheffortinthe
UnitedStatesataboutfortyAmericansutterlydevotedtotheJewishcause.[7]Kollek,whowasarelativelylowlevel
Haganaheldoperativeatthetime,maynothavehaddetailedknowledgeofthehighlevelcirclearoundSonneborn,or
hemayhavesoughttopreservethesecretofitsmembersidentitieswhenwritinghismemoirs.Sonnebornandhis
associateseventuallyadoptedthelegalcoverofacharity,theSonnebornInstitute,dedicatedtothereliefofEuropean
Jews.Infact,thegroupbecamethefundraisers,facilitators,andbehindthescenesmastermindsoftheHaganahsillegal
armamentsprocurementeffortintheUnitedStates,operatingseparatelyfromtheJewishAgencyandtherebyshieldingit
fromdirectinvolvementinunlawfulactivities.

MAY16,2015
SANTACLARA,CALIF.

CAMPUSACTIVISM

YetthemenbroughttogetherbySonnebornhadhighlevelconnectionswiththeJewishAgency.AbbaHillelSilver,
chairmanoftheAmericansectionoftheJewishAgencyandoneofthemembersoftheSonneborngroupwhocanbe
identied,providedaliaisonbetweentheillegalarmssmugglingoperationandtheJewishAgency.[8]BeneathSilver,
TeddyKollekrandaytodayoperationsfromarentedroomintheseedyHotelFourteenat14East60thStreet,New
York.[9]Kolleksaidofhisresponsibilities:
"Myworktouchedonweaponproduction...speculationsonshippurchasesdealingswithfactoriesandjunkyards
liaisonwithspies,mobsters,moviemoguls,statesmen,bankers,professors,industrialists,andnewspapermenandno
lackofillegalities,frompettytointernational....DealsweremadewithSouthAmericangovernmentstobuytanksand
innumerableotherthingsandshipthemontoPalestine."[10]
Kollekdescribedhisjobasthatofaharriedorganizerandcoordinator.Theprincipaloratleastthemostaudacious
buyeroperativeintheeldwasYehudaArazi,describedasaamboyantrisktakerwhousedmultiplealiases(Yehuda
Alon,JosephTannenbaum,JosedePaz,RabbiLefkowitch,Dr.Schwartz,Mr.Oppenheim,AlbertMiller)andwhohad
beenactivesmugglingarmsfortheHaganahintoPalestinefromEuropesince1938.[11]AlthoughArazimadeseveral
majorarmspurchases,hismainvaluetotheHotelFourteeneffortseemstohavebeenhisknowledgeoftheworldarms
tradeandhiscontacts,oneofwhomwasCountStefanCzarnecki,aPolisharmsdealerwithwhomArazihaddone
businessinEuropebeforeWorldWarII.[12]AnotherAraziassociatewasLeonardWeisman,whowasprobablya
memberoftheSonneborngroup.Weismanwasa34yearoldfromPittsburghwhohadmadeafortuneinscrapmetals
andconstructionmaterials.HisbusinessesincludedMaterialsRedistributionCompany,armthatdealtinscrap
machineryParagonDesignandDevelopmentCorporation,acompanythattradedinbuildingmaterialsandPratt
SteamshipLines.AfourthWeismancompany,FoundryAssociates,Inc.,existedonlyonpaper.Allassistedinthe
purchaseandillegalexportofarmsfromtheUnitedStates.[13]
PerhapsthemanmostindispensabletotheHotelFourteenarmspurchasingoperationwasscrapmetaldealerSam
Sloan.Sloan,thewelloffAmericanbornsonofpoorJewishimmigrants,scannedthelistsofneutralizedwarmaterial
offeredforsaleasjunkbytheWAA,identiedwhattheHaganahneeded,andthenutilizedanetworkofJewishAmerican
scrapmetaldealersscatteredacrossthecontinenttoexaminedesiredweaponsandreportbacktohimthemannerin
whichtheyhadbeenrenderedinoperable.Notalldepotshadsabotagedidenticalweaponsinthesameway,andSloan
usedthereportssentinbyhisjunkmentomixandmatchundamagedpartsfromdifferentlocationstodeterminewhere
toobtainallthecomponentsnecessarytoassemblefullyoperableweapons.[14]
WhenarmsarrivedinNewYorktheybecametheresponsibilityofElieSchalit.Thoughonly22yearsold,Schalitwasan
experiencedHaganahoperativewhosejobwastomovethearmsfromtheUnitedStatestoPalestine.[15]Schalit
receivedbehindthescenesassistancefromprominentNewYorklawyerNahumBernstein,whosetupseveralfront

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companiestoprovidelegalcoverfortheillegalarmsexports.Oneofthesefalsefronts,MachineryProcessingand
ConvertingCompany,armthatsupposedlyconvertednonlethalmilitaryequipmenttrucks,jeeps,andothermachinery
forcivilianuse,providedcoverforthepurchaseandillegalexportofarmsmakingmachinesaswellasarmaments.
Anotherrm,OvedTradingCompany,whichostensiblyexportedequipmentandsuppliesusedinmining,providedlegal
coverforbuyingandtransportingexplosives.NewEnglandPlasticNoveltyCompanyandShermanMetropolitan
Companyweredummycorporationsthatownedseveralwarehousesusedtocollect,store,andconcealillicitgoods.
Bernsteinalsosetupacharity,MaterialsforPalestine,anditstwosubsidiaries,EasternDevelopmentCorporation,which
exportedlegalnonmilitarygoodsandmachinerytoPalestineasreliefsupplies,andInlandMachineryandMetal
Company,armthatexportedweaponscomponentsandweaponmakingmachinerydisguisedaslegitimatemachine
tools.[16]AdolfC.Robison,awealthytextilemanufacturer,wasthechairmanofMaterialsforPalestine(renamed
MaterialsforIsraelafterMay1948)from1947until1949.[17]Anothercompany,LandandLaborforPalestine,was
charteredasaJewishyouthgroup,butitsrealfunctionwastorecruit(illegally)Jewish(andsomenonJewish)combat
veteransoftheU.S.armedforcestoghtinPalestine.[18]
Attimes,theHaganahseldmenstolewhattheycouldnotbuy.Ononeoccasion,NathanLiff,owneroftheUniversal
AirplaneSalvageCompany,abusinessengagedinthescrappingofsurpluswarplanesataWAAdepotinHawaii,waited
untilthenightguardatthefacilitylefthispostforsupperandthenusedaforklifttoswapvehundredirreparable.50
calibermachinegunsthathehadboughtasscrapironforvehundredidenticalmachinegunsthathadnotyetbeen
renderedinoperable.LiffthenshippedthegunstoCalifornia,wheretheHaganahsWestCoastcoordinator,Hank
American Muslims for Palestine
Greenspun,sentthemontoPalestineviaMexico.[19]
Like

FromNicaraguatoNewark
TheHaganahfoundLatinAmericascorruptdictatorscongenialtoassistinginthetransportschemeparticularly
12,009 people like American Muslims for Palestine
NicaraguanstrongmanGeneralAnastasioTacoSomoza.AfterinitialcontactsthroughanumberofJewish
intermediaries,TeddyKollekandYehudaArazitraveledtoNicaraguaandmetwithSomoza,whoprovidedthemwith
NicaraguandiplomaticpassportsandofcialauthorizationtopurchaseweaponsintheUnitedStatesandEuropefor
NicaraguasNationalGuard.SomozaalsosuppliedlettersofcreditdrawnagainsttheNicaraguangovernmentsaccount
intheamountof$3million,andheinstructedNicaraguanconsulatesinEuropetoarrangetransportofweapons
purchasedtheretoMarseilles,Trieste,andGenoa,ostensiblyforshipmenttoNicaragua.Inactualitythearmaments
wouldbeloadedaboardHaganahownedshipsanddivertedtoPalestine.AccordingtoKollek:Somoza,aswellasthe
foreignministerandthepresident,hadtosigntheletters.Itwasaperfectlyhonorabledeal,perfectlyproper.They
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couldntimagineanyonedoingotherwise,andtheycooperatedbecauseoftheirstrongbasicsympathyforourcause.[20]
HistorianAmitzurIlanindicatesthatSomozassympathyfortheZionistcausewasbolsteredbymoney.AccordingtoIlan,
Somozareceiveda3.5percentcommissiononallarmspurchasesmadefortheHaganahunderNicaraguanaegis.
SomozawasnotuniqueamongLatinAmericanleadersinthisregard.Britishintelligencesourcesaccusedthepresident
ofMexicooftakinga$1millionbribefromtheHaganahforsimilararmsbuyingandtransportconsiderations.Panamas
presidentreceiveda$100,000paymentforestablishingLneasAereasdePanamaSociedadAnonima(LAPSA),
ofciallyPanamasnationalairline,andpermittingittobeusedasalegalfrontthatallowedtheHaganahtopurchase
aircraftintheUnitedStatesandtakethemoutofthecountryunderPanamanianregistry.[21]
110
SourcesdifferastotheexactoriginsoftheHaganahsLatinAmericanconnections.Kollekindicatedthatthe
intermediarieswhoarrangedthemeetingwithSomozawereLazloWeiss,aJewishbusinessmanwithNicaraguan
connections,andaMr.Pataky,whowasoneofWeisssassociates.[22]SlaterpointstoCountStefanCzarneckiasthe
keygurewhoalertedYehudaArazitothepossibilityofopeningaLatinAmericanarmsconduitincooperationwithLarry
Ives,aretiredU.S.MarineCorpscolonelandarmsdealerwhodidaconsiderableamountoflegitimatebusiness
supplyingweaponsandsurplusU.S.militaryequipmenttogovernmentsinMexicoandCentralAmerica.[23]Ina1988
articlepublishedintheJournalofLatinAmericanStudies,IgnacioKlichindicatesthatSamuelZemurray,awealthyand
politicallywellconnectedRussianAmericanJewwhoownedthesinglelargestblockofsharesinthepowerfulUnited
FruitCompany,wastheprimemoverexertingbehindthescenespressureandinuenceonbehalfoftheZionistsin
CentralAmerica.[24]TelAvivUniversityhistorianRobertRockawaypointstoamoresinisterandunsavoryconnection.
AccordingtoRockaway,HaganahoperativeReuvenDafni,amemberofKolleksHotelFourteengroup,traveledtoMiami
andmetJewishgangsterbossSamKay,whohadconnectionswithcorruptofcialsinCubaandPanama.[25]
AllthersthandaccountsopenlyacknowledgethatlinksexistedbetweentheJewishAgencysclandestineU.S.arms
procurementnetworkandorganizedcrime.Indeed,connectionstotheJewishmaamayhavebeenmorecriticaltothe
operationssuccessthantheoperationslinkstocorruptLatinAmericanofcials.Inthe1940s,theportsoftheNewYork
areawerethoroughlycorruptedandunderthecontroloforganizedcrime.Thiswasparticularlytrueinthecaseofthe
freightdocksatNewark,NewJersey,whereJewishmobsterAbnerLongyZwillmanhadnotonlyestablishedcontrolof
thelongshoremensunionsandstevedorecompaniesbut,duringprohibition,gainedtremendouspowerandinuence
withpublicofcials,thepolice,andjudges.[26]Duringtheprohibitionera,Newarkspolicedepartmenthadbeenan
accessorytoZwillmansmassiveillegalliquorimportingoperationsNewarkpolicehadnotmerelylookedtheotherway
buthadactivelyassistedtheZwillmanmob,escortingtruckloadsofbootlegliquortopreventhijackingsbyrivalgangsters,
andguardingthewarehousesthatservedasliquordistributioncenters.[27]ElieSchalitcooptedNewarkspreexisting
cultureofJewishmobinltrationandofcialcorruptionandusedittofacilitateandprotectHaganaharmsshipments.[28]
TheHaganahalsofoundahospitableenvironmentontheNewYorksideoftheHudsonRiver.IntheNewYorkportitself,
theorganizedcrimesyndicaterunbyMeyerLanskyandAlbertAnastasiacontrolledthedocks.Lanskyidentiedstrongly
withtheZionistcause.Inaddition,theNewYorklongshoremenweremostlyIrishAmericanswhosebitterantiBritish
sentiments,combinedwiththepostwarrevelationsofthefullhorroroftheHolocaust,ledtosympathyforZionismthe
sameheldtrueforNewYorksIrishAmericanpolicemenanditsmayor,WilliamODwyer.[29]Suchconnectionsproved
invaluablewhenthingswentwrong,astheydidon3June1948.Onthatday,adocksidecraneonNewarksPierF
malfunctionedwhileliftingalargewoodencratelabeledfertilizerintotheholdofthefreighterExecutorboundfor
Palestine.Thecratefelltothedock,shattered,andseveralcasesmarkedDanger!HighExplosive!spilledout.Alarmed
dockworkerscalledpoliceandtheU.S.CustomsService,whoeventuallyfoundandconscated250tonsofTNTthat
hadbeenpurchasedandillegallydivertedbyoneoftheHaganahsfrontcompanies.Theincidentmadeheadlines,and
thetruckdriverswhohadhauledthecontrabandTNTtotheportwerearrestedalongwiththeiremployers.Justaswith
similarincidentsinvolvingliquorduringprohibition,however,allpotentialleadswentnowhere.[30]

SlateralsoreportsunsubstantiatedclaimsmadebyHaganahoperativesthatZionisteffortstosubvertU.S.law
enforcementreachedallthewaytoFBIDirectorJ.EdgarHoover.AccordingtoSlatersinformants,economistand
inuentialWashingtonpoliticalinsiderRobertNathanarrangedasecretmeetingbetweenHooverandunnamed
representativesoftheJewishAgency.NathanreportedlysaidthatHooverwassympathetic.[31]WhetherornotSlaters
claimconcerningHooverandtheHaganahhadmerit,therecanbenodoubtthattheAmericanZionistshadexcellent
politicalconnections.Onthemorningof24February1947,forexample,agroupofeighteendignitariesrepresentingthe
UnitedJewishAppeal,includingSonnebornandMontor,metforfteenminuteswithPresidentHarryTruman.[32]Henry
Morgenthau,Jr.,whowasalsopresent,hadrequestedtheappointment.ThereisnoevidencethatTrumanwasaware
thatSonneborn,Montor,andpossiblyotherspresentatthemeetingwereengagedinaconspiracytoviolateU.S.law,but
therosterofthoseinvitedtotheWhiteHouseclearlyillustratestheinterconnectednessoftheAmericanZionist
movementslegalandillegalactivitiesevenattheveryhighestlevelsofitsleadership.
Transatlanticsmuggling
TheHaganahsoperativeswerenothingifnotaudacious.YehudaArazievenmanagedtobuytheUSSAttu,a10,400ton
aircraftcarrier.AlthoughshornofherwoodenightdeckbytheNavyandthusnolongerabletolaunchandrecover
airplanes,thenearlynewshipwasabargainat$125,000,andAraziplannedtouseherforarmstransport.Morepractical
andcautiousmindsdecidedthattryingtosendanarmsladenshipthesizeoftheAttuthroughtheBritishnavalblockade
ofPalestinewastooriskyandimpracticalandeventuallysoldtheshipforscrap.[33]Purchasesofsmaller,morepractical
shipswentsmoothlyandunnoticedbyU.S.authorities.DuringthewartheU.S.Navyhadbuilthundredsofamphibious
assaultshipsoftheLandingShipTank,LandingCraftTank,andLandingShipInfantrytypes,aswellasothersmallcargo
types.Thesesmall,shallowdraft,dieselpoweredrollon/rolloffcargoshipswereidealfortheHaganahspurposes,and
itsagentsboughttwelveofthematsalvagepricesfromtheWAAusingfrontcompaniestohidethetrueidentitiesofthe
buyers.AlltheseshipsweresenttoItalian,French,andYugoslavportstoawaittheBritishwithdrawalfromPalestine,at
whichtimetheywouldsailwithweaponsobtainedandcachedinEurope.[34]
ProbablythebestknownaspectcertainlythemostglamorousoftheHaganahsillegalAmericanarmssupplynetwork
wasitsaircraftprocurementoperationsandaerialgunrunning.ThepersoninchargeoftheseoperationswasAl
Schwimmer,aformerTWAightengineerwhohadownwiththecivilianmannedAirTransportCommandduringthe
war,mostlyinthePacicandChinaIndiaBurmatheatresofoperations.(HelaterbecameheadofIsraelAerospace
IndustriesLtd.,Israelsaircraftandarmsmanufacturer.)AswithmuchabouttheHaganahsAmericanarmsoperations,
thestoryofAlSchwimmersactivitiesmustbepiecedtogetherfromseveralsourcesthatsometimesdifferonthedetails.
ServiceAirways,Inc.,thecorporateentitythathadattractedtheinterestofAdmiralHillenkoettersCIAeldagents,began
asalegitimatechartercargoairlineincorporatedbyIrvinSwiftySchindlershortlyaftertheendofWorldWarII.
Schindlersairfreightbusinessnevergotofftheground,andheoffereditscorporatefacadetotheHaganah.Schwimmer,
usingfundssuppliedinsmallinstallmentsbyseveralHaganahfrontcompaniesinNewYork,movedServiceAirto
CaliforniaandbeganbuyingsurplusairplanesfromtheWAAunderitsname.Amongtheplanespurchasedwerethree
LockheedConstellationtransportsandtwelveC46s.AfterdifcultiesinmeetingnewCivilAeronauticsAdministrationair
worthinessrequirements,andwheninvestigationbytheFBIpreventedSchwimmerfromgettingU.S.licensestooperate
theplanes,legalownershipoftheairplaneswastransferredtothenewlyestablishedPanamaniannationalairlineLAPSA,
allowingtheaircrafttobelegallyowntoPanamaandfromtheretoEurope.OneC46crashedinMexicoCity,killingthe
crew,butaConstellationandnineC46sarrivedsafelyatZatecairbaseinCzechoslovakiaon16May1948,justafter
IsraelsdeclarationofstatehoodandtheentryoftheArabarmiesintoPalestinetodefendthepartsofthecountry
assignedtothePalestiniansundertheNovember1947UNpartitionplan.Soontheseplanesbeganferryingarmsand
disassembledMesserschmittBf109ghterplanestoPalestine.[35]
TheHaganahsoperationatZatecwascertainlyamongthestrangestepisodesofthecoldwarera:U.S.militarysurplus
planesoperatedbyAmericancrews(whomayhavebeenwearingU.S.militaryuniforms)ewcapturedNaziweapons,
purchasedfromabankruptcommunistregimewithprivatelydonatedAmericanmoney,fromahighsecuritymilitary
aireldinSovietcontrolledCzechoslovakiatoZionistJewsinPalestine.Asifthiswerenotenough,theoperationswere
carriedoutinagrantviolationofAmericanlaw,atatimewhenStalinsblockadeofBerlinhadbroughttheUnitedStates
andtheSovietUniontothebrinkofwar.ThedangertoAmericasstandingintheArabworldwasobvious:Shouldoneof
thetransportplanesoperatingfromZateccrashorbeforceddowninArabterritoryanditsAmericancrewcaptured,the
ArabswouldblametheUnitedStatesforsecretlyarmingtheZionists.HadU.S.authoritiesknownwhatwasaboutto
happen,theywouldhavebeenevenmorealarmed.
SchwimmersgunrunnersweresoonjoinedatZatecbythreeB17FlyingFortressheavybombers.Thesehadbeen
boughtfromtheWAAbyaHaganahfrontcompanyintheUnitedStatesandownviaPuertoRicoandtheAzoresto
Czechoslovakia.SchwimmersPanamaniantransportplaneshadownthroughaloopholeinU.S.lawthebombers,still
underU.S.civilregistry,ewtoZatecinoutrightviolationofit.FederalagentsatTulsa,Oklahoma,actuallyseizedoneof
theZatecB17s,butaHaganahcrewstoleitfromtheunguardedairportandewitoutofthecountrybeforeofcials
knewthatitwasmissing.AfourthB17wasdelayedintheAzoreswithenginetroubleandasaresultwasseizedby
PortugueseauthoritiesalertedbytheU.S.StateDepartment.On14July1948,thethreeB17satZatec,stilllegallyU.S.
civilaircraft,tookoffforIsraelwithfullbombloads,bombingCairoontheway.TheB17ssubsequentlyewseveral
bombingmissionsinsupportofIDFgroundoperationsduringthesummerandfallof1948.[36]
TheHaganahwasnottheonlyZionistorganizationengagedinarmssmugglingintheUnitedStates.Inthelateautumnof
1944,theOfceofStrategicServices(OSS)compiledareportentitledTheObjectivesandActivitiesoftheIrgunZvai
Leumi.Init,theOSSidentiedfourorganizationsintheUnitedStatesassociatedwiththeIrgun:theAmericanFriendsof
aJewishPalestine,theAmericanLeagueforaFreePalestine,theCommitteeforanArmyofStatelessandPalestinian
Jews,andtheEmergencyCommitteetoSavetheJewishPeopleofEurope.[37]WestCoastcrimebossMickeyCohen
boastedthathehadraisednearly$1millionfortheIrgun.PartofthatmoneywasreportedlyusedtobuyaNavysurplus
amphibiousassaultshiptheAltalenafortransportingarmsboughtinEuropetoPalestine.AccordingtoRobert
Rockaway,YitzhakBenAmi,whowasheadoftheIrgunsEuropeanoperations,conrmedpartofCohensstory,putting
theamountthatCohencontributedtotheIrgunat$120,000.[38]
Conclusion
OntheeveoftheirdeclarationoftheJewishState,theZionistsfacedadifcultandcomplicatedproblem.Whilethe
Britishwereincontrol,theycouldnotgetenoughweaponsintoPalestinetoghtthewarwiththeArabsthatthey
expectedwouldstartimmediatelyuponBritishwithdrawal.Theirmajorsourceofmonetarysupportwasthelarge
AmericanJewishcommunity,buttheU.S.armsembargopreventedthemfromsimplybuyingAmericanweaponry,

stockpilingitinAmericanports,andshippingittoPalestinethemomentthattheBritishdeparted.RudolfSonnebornand
thesmallgroupofwealthy,inuentialmenthatheassembledthreeyearsearlierovercametheproblembymoldinga
solutionthattookmaximumadvantageofanumberofconditions:solidaritywithintheAmericanJewishcommunity
SovietwillingnesstotakeadvantageofthesituationtodamageU.S.relationswiththeArabworldwidespreadsympathy
fortheJewsinspiredbytheHolocaustcorruption,malfeasance,andderelictionofdutyonthepartoflocalofcials
connectionswiththeAmericancriminalunderworldandlegalexpertisetoexploittheweaknessesandloopholesinU.S.
law.TeddyKollek,ElieSchalit,andtheircohortsimplementedthesolutionbycreatinganorganizationthatwascentrally
controlledbutsufcientlycompartmentalizedtoassureitssecurity.AmericanintelligenceofcersnotedtheHaganahs
steadybuildupofarmsinPalestineandtheFBIuncoveredbitsandpiecesofthesmugglingoperation,butU.S.
authoritiesevidentlyneverobtainedaclearpictureoftheZionistarmssmugglingorganizationsstructureandthey
certainlynevergainedanunderstandingofhowitfunctionedorwhomastermindedit.Becauseofthatfailure,theynever
seriouslyhindereditsoperationandneverhadanychanceofstoppingit.Despitetheheroicmythinwhichithas
previouslybeencloaked,theJewishAgencysU.S.armsprocurementeffortamountedtoahighlyeffectivecriminal
conspiracy.
Notes:
[1]CentralIntelligenceAgency,ClandestineAirTransportOperations:MemorandumfortheSecretaryofDefense(28May
1948).Declassieddocument,casenr.EO200100059,released27September2001.CIAFOIAElectronicReading
Room,http://www.cia.gov(accessed26January2007).
[2]TheJewishAgencywasrecognizedundertheLeagueNationsMandateforPalestineasapublicbodyforthepurpose
ofadvisingandcooperatingwiththeBritishMandateauthorityinmattersasmayaffecttheestablishmentoftheJewish
NationalHomeinPalestine....SeeASurveyofPalestine,vol.2(Washington,DC:InstituteforPalestineStudies,
1991),p.909.
[3]LeonardSlater,ThePledge(NewYork:SimonandSchuster,1970),p.45.
[4]Slater,ThePledge.
[5]BenGurionremainedheadoftheJewishAgencyExecutivefromitsformalestablishmentin1929untilhebecame
Israelsrstprimeministerin1948.
[6]Slater,ThePledge,p.24.
[7]TeddyKollek,ForJerusalem:ALife(NewYork:RandomHouse,1978),p.67.
[8]Kollek,ForJerusalem,p.70.
[9]Slater,ThePledge,pp.8197.
[10]Kollek,ForJerusalem,pp.6869.
[11]AmitzurIlan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace:Arms,Embargo,MilitaryPowerandDecisioninthe1948
PalestineWar(NewYork:NewYorkUniversityPress,1996),pp.6566.
[12]Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,p.133.
[13]Slater,ThePledge,pp.13640.
[14]Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,p.91.
[15]Slater,ThePledge,pp.5865.
[16]Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,pp.9192.
[17]GuidetothePapersofRobisonFamily(19041995).AmericanJewishHistoricalSociety,CenterforJewish
History,NewYork.http://ndingaids.cjh.org/?fnm=RobisonFamily&pnm=AJHS#a1(accessed29April2007).
[18]Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,pp.9192DavidJ.Bercusson,TheSecretArmy(Toronto:Lesterand
OrpenDennys,1983),p.146.
[19]Slater,ThePledge,pp.198204GiveonCorneld,HawaiiResidentsAidedUnderdogIsraelsStruggleNathan
Liff,HonoluluStarBulletin11,no.288(15October2006).
[20]Kollek,ForJerusalem,p.71.
[21]Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,p.101.
[22]Kollek,ForJerusalem,p.71.
[23]Slater,ThePledge,p.133.
[24]IgnacioKlich,LatinAmerica,theUnitedStates,andtheBirthofIsrael:TheCaseofSomozasNicaragua,Journalof
LatinAmericanStudies20,no.2(November1988),pp.389432.
[25]RobertA.Rockaway,ButHeWasGoodtoHisMother:TheLivesandCrimesofJewishGangsters(Jerusalem:
GefenPublishingHouse,2000),p.247.

[26]SeeMarkA.Stuart,Gangster#2LongyZwillman,theManwhoInventedOrganizedCrime(Secaucus,NJ:
LyleStuart,1985).
[27]Rockaway,ButHeWasGoodtoHisMother,pp.3536Kollek,ForJerusalem,pp.7476.
[28]Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,pp.6365.SeealsoStuart,Gangster#2.
[29]Kollek,ForJerusalem,pp.7587Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,p.85Rockaway,ButHeWasGood
toHisMother,pp.24546.
[30]Slater,ThePledge,pp.15270.
[31]Slater,ThePledge,p.76.
[32]PresidentialAppointmentsCalendar,Monday,24February1947.TrumanLibrary,Independence,MO.
[33]Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,pp.9596.
[34]Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,p.183.
[35]Kollek,ForJerusalem,pp.7678Ilan,TheOriginoftheArabIsraeliArmsRace,pp.90100Slater,ThePledge,
pp.14147.
[36]Slater,ThePledge,pp.287311.
[37]CentralIntelligenceAgency(OfceofStrategicServices),TheObjectivesandActivitiesoftheIrgunZvaiLeumi(23
October1944).Declassieddocument,casenr.F200501205,CIAFOIAElectronicReadingRoom,http://www.cia.gov
(accessed2February2007).
[38]MickeyCohen,InMyOwnWords(EnglewoodCliffs,NJ:PrenticeHall,1975)Rockaway,ButHeWasGoodtoHis
Mother,p.251.
RICKYDALECALHOUNspent22yearsengagedinthepurchase,processing,andexportofleaftobaccobeforecoming
toacademiain2000.HeholdsaB.I.S.degreeinarchaeologyandanM.A.inhistoryfromMurrayStateUniversity,andhe
ispresentlyworkingtowardaPh.D.inhistoryatKansasStateUniversity.Hisareaofinterestistwentiethcenturyforeign
affairsandtheroleofintelligenceindecisionmaking,withaspecialfocusontheMiddleEast.HisarticleThe
MusketeersCloak:StrategicDeceptionduringtheSuezCrisisof1956appearedinStudiesinIntelligence51,no.2
(June2007),publishedbytheCIAsCenterfortheStudyofIntelligence.

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