The Amazing Saga Of Two-Gun Cohen
By Steven Plaut
31 August, 2012
In November 1947, the United Nations was considering the creation of a
Jewish state in parts of Western Palestine and a new Arab state in the
The hopes of the Jews rested in large part on China. The five-member
Security Council had to approve putting the resolution before the
General Assembly, but China, one of the five, was threatening to veto
The head of the Chinese delegation was approached by a hero of the
Chinese campaign against the Japanese during World War II, a man who
had been a general and senior adviser to President Sun Yat-sen. The
general persuaded the delegation to abstain. The Security Council
voted approval and the Partition Resolution was sent to the General
Assembly, where it passed. Modern Israel came into existence.
The general who persuaded the Chinese not to oppose the resolution was
not Chinese himself – but, in fact, a Jew born in Poland in 1887.
Morris Abraham Cohen was brought to London from Poland when he was
still a toddler and grew up in the impoverished East End of London.
By the time he was 12 he had become a skilled boxer and a pickpocket.
He quickly amassed a police arrest record and his family sent him to
reform school until he was 16. Once released, he went to Canada to
work on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, near some Indian reservations.
The farming bored him; he preferred work as a carnival barker and con
man. This got him arrested yet again and he did some jail time.
While wandering the Canadian West he became friendly with the local
Chinese. Cohen liked Chinese cuisine (what Jew doesn’t?) and the
Chinese outlook on life.
One day Cohen wandered into a Chinese eatery and realized the owner
was being robbed. Cohen beat the robber to a pulp. The Chinese were
so impressed, they embraced Cohen as one of their own. He joined the
local chapter of nationalist leader Sun Yat-sen’s political movement
and started to pick up some basic Chinese. Cohen raised funds for
Sun’s movement and helped procure arms.
After serving in World War I as a Canadian soldier, Cohen headed off
in 1922 to China with plans to work as a railroad developer. But once
in Shanghai he found work as a writer on the English-language
newspaper associated with Sun Yat-sen’s movement.
The Chinese called him Ma Kun (“clenched fist”), which was as close as
they could get to Morris Cohen. He procured arms for a warlord of
Canton in the 1920s and was adviser to Wu Tiecheng, the Canton police
chief who later became mayor of Shanghai. Cohen began to serve as part
of Sun’s guard force, and eventually commanded the entire 250-man
presidential bodyguard unit.
Always armed, Cohen managed to defend Sun from more than one
assassination attempt. After Cohen was wounded in his hand while
driving off one group of assassins, he started carrying a second
pistol and local Westerners immediately dubbed him “Two-Gun” Cohen,
the nickname he carried with pride for the rest of his life.
Eventually he was appointed head of the Chinese secret service. His
sidekick was another Jew, an anti-Soviet Russian named Moses
Schwartzberg who had been part of a plot to assassinate Lenin in 1918.
(Schwartzberg was the model for the James Bond character later
developed by Ian Fleming - SP)
Because of the importance of the Schwartzberg-Cohen pair, Yiddish
became one of the three languages of the Chinese secret service, after
Mandarin and English. Schwartzberg would later organize a regiment of
1,200 Jewish volunteers to fight for Israel in its War of
After Sun Yat-sen died, Two-Gun Cohen was named commander of the
Chinese 19th field army. He worked for a while for Chinese President
Chiang Kai-shek. He led Nationalist troops in fighting against both
the Japanese and the Chinese communists. He was the only European
ever to serve as a Chinese general.
When the Japanese invaded China in the 1930s, Cohen worked for British
intelligence. Just after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong was
invaded by the Japanese. Two-Gun got Sun Yat-sen’s widow out safely
on one of the last planes to escape. Cohen himself was captured by the
Japanese and thrown into the Stanley Prison Camp, where he was beaten
After the war he lived in Canada, where he helped the Zionists obtain
arms for Israel’s War of Independence. He eventually returned to
England, where he died in 1970. On his tombstone in Manchester his
name appears in English, Hebrew, and Chinese characters. His funeral
was attended by representatives from both Chinas, which were still at
war with each another. It was the only thing in the world on which
they could agree.
There is a special entry about Two-Gun in the Spy Museum in
Washington. Two books have been published about Two-Gun’s life. Rob
Reiner (the "meathead" from the Archie Bunker show -- SP) is working
on a movie about Two-Gun.
Two-Gun’s cousin, the journalist Marion Dreyfus in New York City,
tells me her family still has many scrolls and silks that Two-Gun sent
them from China. She found a plaque on the wall of the Shanghai
synagogue commemorating Two-Gun as one of the ten most important Jews
in Chinese history.
When Cohen returned to Manchester after the war, he and his cousins
went into the raincoat business, the weather in England being ideal
for such a venture. Two pistols and a Chinese generalship
notwithstanding, Two-Gun was a proud Jew – and he could even get you
a raincoat wholesale!
2. If anyone is feeling just a smidgen of pity for the Corrie parents
and their terrorist daughter, I think you will be cured of that if you
read what the Corrie's lawyer, the one they selected and hired, has
Lawyer for Corrie family on PA TV in July:
Nazi Germany's founding was legal
but Israel's founding was theft
Lawyer Abu Hussein:
"Nazi Germany was a state based on the rule of law
for a short while... the State of Israel was founded
from the start on robbery and theft"
by Itamar Marcus
Yesterday, an Israeli court ruled that Rachel Corrie's death was a
"regrettable accident," but that Rachel Corrie "chose to put herself
in danger." Rachel Corrie was killed when she was run over by an
Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, at a time when Israel was working to
curb terrorist activity in the area. Corrie's family sued Israel for
"wrongful death." The family's Israeli Arab lawyer, Hussein Abu
Hussein, said in a statement to the press: "It's a black day for activists of human rights and people who believe
in values of dignity. We believe this decision is a bad decision for
all of us - civilians first of all, and peace activists." (NY Times,
August 28, 2012)
Palestinian Media Watch is releasing a statement made by the Israeli
Arab lawyer last month that shows his attitudes towards Israel in
In a Palestinian Authority TV interview, Abu Hussein said Israel's
founding was worse than the founding of Nazi Germany because "Nazi
Germany was a state based on the rule of law for a short while,"
whereas "the State of Israel was founded from the start on robbery and
theft." He also called Israel a "giant monster" and indicated that
people should take action against Israel: "We all want to step on its
head, but talking is not enough. Everyone has their role."
The following is the transcript of Abu Hussein's interview with
Israeli Arab actor, Mohammad Bakri, who hosts the weekly PA TV show:
Hussein Abu Hussein, Israeli Arab lawyer: "Nazi Germany was a state based on the rule of law for a short while
and it found refuge in the law. [However,] the State of Israel was
founded from the start on robbery and theft of a nation's homeland.
Actually, the correct and true legal definition of what happened to
the Palestinians is homeland theft... We suffer from a great
injustice from the giant monster. This monster attacks us daily and
bites into our flesh in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle [region
in Israel], Jerusalem, and the occupied territories, the West Bank and
Gaza. Every day it bites into our body."
Mohammad Bakri, Israeli Arab actor (who was cleared of libel charges
by leftist Court judges in Israel):
"I want to step on the head of this monster."
Hussein Abu Hussein, Israeli Arab lawyer:
"We all want to step on its head, but talking is not enough. Everyone
has their role."
(PA TV (Fatah), July 2, 2012)