Menu JTA Search

Zionism Also on Trial in Cairo, Defense Attorney Says; Asks Leniency Not Acquittal

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Not only the defendants, but Zionism is on trial here, defense attorney Doss Pasha said today as he pleaded for lenienoy for Eliahu Khakim, on of the two Palestine terrorists being tried for the assassination of Lord Moyne.

Doss Pasha’s statement came in reply to a remark by the president of the court, who said that he wanted it made clear that this was a trial of a crime and not of Zionism. The president also asserted that headesired "to clear up the erroneous idea in certain circles that a Egyptian court is not legally entitled to try this crime which was committed in Egypt." He added that Zionism itself admittably should be judged by an international tribunals.

The defense lawyer said that the world-wide interest in the trial was proof that more than the defendants were being tried, and that the motives of the accused could not be ignored by the court. He invoked the "unwritten law" in behalf of his client, who, he said, believing Britain had betrayed the Jews of Palestine, had acted as would a deceived husband.

"The law," he continued, "provides a large margin of leniency when the culprit’s mind has been warped by passion; and what passion is more violent than the patriotism of these youths? Furthermore, they considered the crime a gesture of legitimate self-defense. British courts have often acquitted persons charged with ‘love crimes.’ You must not be less understanding than the British. I do not ask for acquittal, but punishment which will take into account the honest intentions of these youths." Youths Thinking Influenced by Balfour Declaration, Counsel States

Hassan Jeddawi, the attorney for Ephraim Ben Zuri, the other defendant, asked the court to remember that "the two terrorists were born shortly after issuance of the Balfour Declaration, and grew up in surroundings where the Balfour Declaration impregnated everything, and where everyone visualized a realization of a centuries-old dream." He quoted from a work by Prof. Joseph Klausner, in which the famed historian, discussing the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, wrote that "there are moments in history when we must forget the usual criteria of good and evil; when another criterion exists; the will to exist. Without spilling blood there were never any great historical moments." If a man of 70 thinks that, what would be the reactions of youths, Jeddawi asked.

Describing the sufferings of the Wandering Jew. Doss Pasha spoke of "the sufferings of a people fighting for survival while empires and dynasties crumbled through the centuries. How can we ignore the sentiments of these youths," he continued," hearing day and night of the plight of their brethren? It is not astonishing that they were unable to judge sanely between right and wrong. An Arab proverb says that the more a man is passionate, the more he is insane. Their patriotism is exaggerated, but patrictism is a virtue, you cannot love your fatherland too much."

At yesterday’s sescion the prosecutor demanded the death penalty on the grounds that the Moyne assassination was premeditated murder, and quoted prime Minister Chur chill’s statement that in the death of Lord Moyne the Zionists had lost a friend. He said that it was necessary to be hard in judging the defendants in order to extirpate the germ of a crime which, if allowed to, might spread, and urged the court to disregard the youth of the defendants.

Speaking yesterday, Abdel Fattah el Said Bey, one of the defense counsel, pointed out that the White Paper was a shock to the Jews of Palestine and that Britain had often taken wrong measures. The same anguish which led to the killing of Moyne, he said caused many Jews in Europe to commit suicide. Abdel Fattan recalled the murder of the Nazi diplomat Gustloff in Switzerland by a Jewish youth David Frankfurter, who was acquitted. Queried by the court as to whether there was not any other way, beside killing Lord Moyne, of bringing the Jewish problem to the attention of the world, he replied that "the Jews tried everything, but nobody listened, so some decided to sacrifice themselves in an attempt to help their own people."

The court granted the defense’s request that it be allowed to summon five witnesses from Palestine, including three political prisoners – Eliahu Korv, Moshe Svorai and the latter’s wife.

NEXT STORY