Reporters Barred from Observing Screening of Jews; Subjected to Anti-semitic Harangue
Menu JTA Search

Reporters Barred from Observing Screening of Jews; Subjected to Anti-semitic Harangue

Download PDF for this date

Ten correspondents who last night attempted to witness the screening of 500 Jews seized after three bombs exploded in the center of Jerusalem were detained by troops and taken to military headquarters where they were individually subjected to anti-Jewish harangues by the officer in command.

Immediately after the blasts, which occurred between 7 and 7:30 p.m., the correspondents left the Eden Hotel, which is adjacent to the scene of the explosions, and converged on a huge pit, originally dug as a foundation for a building, which was being used as a screening center for the arrested Jews.

When they arrived at the pit they were “invited” by a non-commissioned officer to climb into a military truck which would take them to headquarters. “If you won’t go voluntarily, you’ll be taken in chains,” he warned, when some of the reporters objected.

When they arrived at battalion headquarters, they were individually brought into the office of Lt. Col. Richard Webb, the commander of the First Battalion of Argyll Highlanders, who readily agreed to be interviewed and quoted.


The sense of what he said to the ten reporters is summarized in the following, which is a composite of his remarks, made over a period of an hour, using his own words:

“Jews are a despicable race. When things like this happen our boys get mad. I told them not to be biased, but we have to hit back and when we hit back the Jews keep quiet for four or five days. I’ve been on searches in these bloody collective settlements when men shoved women and children to the front and stayed well behind. These bloody Jews saved their skins at Alamein and other places and now they do this to us.

“You all know what these bloody Jews are and how they take advantage of everything. The Jews are very cocky about Sir Evelyn Barker’s departure, but let me tell them, the new GOC, who used to be my colonel, knows how to treat them much better than little Barker. Let them wait until he comes. What we have to do here is to be of real nuisance value to these Jews–ordinary Jews I mean. That will make them turn against the Stern Gang.

“Frankly, we brought you down here because you were distracting our soldiers. As a matter of fact we sometimes have to use rifle butts and you people have a rather embarrassing effect on the soldiers. Webb was asked at this point whether he could be quoted and replied: “Yes, by all means. You people were interfering with the soldiers and I just wanted to get you out of the way.”

After the separate interviews, Webb spoke briefly to all the correspondents, commenting that America refuses to come to Britain’s assistance and that “Britain would give up the mandate but for the Russians. They’re the key to all things.”


After the screening, during which no terrorists were found, had been completed, the correspondents were released. Among the 500 questioned was 70-year-old Moshe Kleinman, editor of Haolam, official organ of the World Zionist Executive. All of

According to figures available this morning, the soldiers caused at least $40,000 worth of damage in homes near the area where the explosions occurred. This figure does not include goods looted from shops whose windows were smashed by the blasts.

An official announcement this morning said that three of the twelve soldiers injured here last night were seriously wounded, while the others were “progressing satisfactorily.” It also disclosed that there were two other land mine explosions last night, one on a roadbridge between Haifa and Yagour and the other under a military truck at an undisclosed point.


Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency’s political department today categorically denied reports that the Agency has concluded an agreement with the British Government under which it compromised its claim to an immediate increase in immigration.

High Commissioner Sir Alan G. Cunningham today received Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog and discussed with him the problems of Jewish detainees in Palestine and Eritrea. They also considered the question of Jewish immigration and the fate of the visaless Jews now in Cyprus detention camps. Herzog submitted a number of proposals for lessening the tension in the country.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund