Underground to Palestine:  A classic returns.

Underground to Palestine by I.F. Stone (Open Road Integrated Media) is a book that must be read by everyone who loves Israel, everyone who hates Israel, and everyone who wants to understand the Israel-Palestine standoff.

Stone (1907-1989) was a left-wing journalist who covered the birth of Israel for the progressive and experimental (no advertising) New York daily "PM." In 1946, he traveled with a band of Jews as they illegally crossed borders in Eastern Europe making their way to Italy to board an old ship, which ran the British blockade to Palestine.

This adventure is personal journalism at its best. Stone writes about the lives, hopes and outlooks of the refugees, the mechanics of the illegal immigration to Palestine, and the challenges of life at sea on an aged and overcrowded steamer.

He writes with love of his companions and love of the Zionist dream. His descriptions of the sites on the way are delicious. His style is direct and precise. This part of the book is a romantic adventure.

Open Road Integrated Media packages the original account of
Underground, with Stone's dispatches from Israel just before and after the declaration of Statehood (May 14, 1948), during the War of Independence, and the years following the United Nations sponsored truce. Stone provides exciting, as it happens, first hand reporting.

Stone was a leftist to the core. The preface points out that during the McCarthy years, the House Unamerican Activities Committee never subpoenaed Stone, because his views were so well known that there was nothing to expose.

In 1946 Stone advocated a bi-national state where the Arab and Jewish communities in Palestine would share power. For this view, Stone was read out of the Zionist movement.

This volume includes essays by Stone written after three decades of Israeli statehood. He blasts the Israeli establishment for its militarism, intolerance towards Arabs, abandonment of ideals of socialism, and departure from the Zionist dream. He laments the disappearance of the "Other Zionism," a minority tendency which called for Arab-Jewish partnership within an undivided Palestine.

Stone's book has two important lessons. First, it humanizes the victims of the Holocaust and underscores the humanitarian imperative of establishing the Jewish homeland. Secondly it offers a minority critique vital in understanding the Israeli-Palestinian standoff.

In the weeks ahead we will be marking Passover,
Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah), Israel Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron), Israel Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut) and the unification of Jerusalem (Yom Yerushalyim). Underground to Palestine would be an excellent source book to prepare for, study and debate these observances.
I. F. Stone
Open Road Integrated Media
I.F. Stone website