Wednesday, November 1, 2017

100 Years After Balfour: Zionist Ambition & British Imperial Enterprise Converged

As I read these articles & looked at the images it struck me how very little has changed.

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which Great Britain’s foreign secretary, Lord Balfour, stated in a note to his colleague, Lord Rothchild, that “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object...”

Zionists have long viewed this document as a “promissory note” giving a great power “seal of approval” to their quest to establish a state in Palestine. They will, therefore, be celebrating this anniversary.
In reality, however, there is nothing to celebrate.

The Balfour Declaration was nothing more than a shameful display of the arrogant self-interest of the colonial mindset and its racist insensitivity to the rights of indigenous peoples.

In effect, Balfour promised to give away the rights to a land to which Britain had no legitimate claim against the wishes of the people who lived there.

The declaration did not come out of the blue. It had a history and a political and cultural setting that was grounded in a meeting of minds of the Zionist movement and the British colonial enterprise.

Zionists sought a homeland where they could construct their national community away from the pogroms of Europe. After failed attempts to plant their roots in other locales, they set their sights on Palestine, which one of their leaders, Israel Zangwill, described as “a land without a people... for a people without a land”.

Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community to whom the Balfour Declaration was addressed, is pictured in July 1927

Even after it became all too clear that Palestine had a people who rejected their aspirations to create a Jewish home, the Zionist leaders were undeterred.

Zeev Jabotinsky noted: “If you wish to colonise a land in which another people are already living, you must provide a garrison or find a benefactor to maintain the garrison on your behalf... Zionism is a colonising adventure... it stands or falls on the question of armed force.”

The benefactor they turned to was Great Britain. To the British, they sold themselves as the ideal colonial agent — in the words of a Zionist leader, Max Nordau, “a people more industrious and more able than the average European, not to speak at all of the inert Africans”.

Theodor Hertzl described his effort as creating a colony that could serve as “a rampart of Europe against Asia... an outpost of civilisation against barbarism”, while Jabotinsky carried this further, arguing that “as the loyal bearers of Western culture” the Zionist colony would “expand the British Empire even further than intended by the British themselves”.

At one point, Hertzl even consulted with Cecil Rhodes, “a colonial expert”, on how to win British support for their venture.

Arab protesters travel to the Jordanian capital Amman for a demonstration against the Balfour Declaration in 1936. The banners read: ''Palestine for the Arabs'' and ''Our homeland is our faith and complete freedom is our life''

The British needed little convincing. At stake was their interest in protecting their position in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and access to trade and the resources of the Gulf and the East.

Building on their model of establishing “companies” to act as their “agents” (as they had done in Africa and South Asia) as early as 1876, Lord Shaftesbury, addressing parliament, said: “Syria and Palestine will before long become very important... The country needs capital and population. The Jews can give it both. And has not England a special interest in promoting such restoration? It would be a blow to England if either of her two rivals should get hold of Syria... Does not policy there... exhort England to foster the nationality of the Jews and aid them to return... To England then naturally belongs the role of favouring the settlement of Jews in Palestine.”

Building on this theme, a few years before the Balfour Declaration was issued, a prominent British military analyst wrote: “On general strategic grounds it is exceedingly desirable that the present too constricted frontiers of Egypt be extended... that a buffer state [be established in Southern Syria... and that if this buffer state became [our] dominion or genuine colony it would be a source of great strength... and the only possible colonisers on a great and worthy scale are the Jews.”

The fit between the British and Zionist designs was so perfect that Nordau later commented that if political Zionism had not existed, “Britain would’ve invented it”.

With the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, Britain was making clear its intent to foster not only a Jewish home, but, more to the point, a colonial outpost that would project and protect its interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.

What was to happen to the Arab inhabitants of that land was of little consequence to either the British government or the Zionist movement.
Chaim Weizmann, the former president of the World Zionist Organization, and his wife, Vera, are pictured outside of St James's Palace in London, where a conference was being held to discuss the creation of an Israeli state out of British-controlled Palestine.

The second part of the declaration read: “It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

But as the history of that region played out, it became clear that neither Britain nor the Zionists had any intention of allowing the Arabs to stand in the way of their colonial enterprise.
And now the US plays the British role... History repeats. As the US works on it's second Israel.


10 comments:

  1. Hi Penny, I hope you are doing well. i thought that I should comment when I am less stressful...still very stressed looking at my bank account knowing that I am currently in £40,000 debt with 6% added interest a year. By the end of this year, it will probably reach £60,000 and my Masters will bring it to another £80,000. I will never get out of these debts and I feel like I am tied to chains. Now that I am coming to the end of my time at university, I am starting to feel how tight those chains around me are. Knowing that it will be impossible for me to have my own house...and we have a lot of EU students in the UK who don't have to pay a single penny to be here (tuition fees, accommodation, etc).
    The other night, I went out with a friend and whilst waiting for her outside of McDonald's, I met a 23 year old homeless woman who said she was an ex-alcoholic. She said she had not had a bath in a month and could not get a job because because employers will not give her a job when she does not have a place to stay. I gave her £10 and she would not accept anymore. I also gave her my number and told her to call me if she ever needs a shower or anything. It really breaks my heart that this is happening. 23 years old...not much older than me. Meanwhile, we have a mixed race man who dresses up as a woman telling people that you can be 'white' AND have white privilege:https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/sep/04/munroe-bergdorf-on-the-loreal-racism-row-it-puzzles-me-that-my-views-are-considered-extreme
    Disgusting and heartless.
    It has really gotten to the point now where you cannot say anything without someone getting offended.
    I will be here more often now that I have my Masters application completed.
    And here's an interesting article about the Irish slaves in America: https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/niallodowd/why-the-irish-were-both-slaves-and-indentured-servants-in-colonial-america

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    Replies
    1. Hey Ally
      my apologies for not responding- the past few days have been extremely hectic!

      "Meanwhile, we have a mixed race man who dresses up as a woman telling people that you can be 'white' AND have white privilege"

      I'll look at the link but from personal experience- there is no white privilege! That's just another lie. Created to divide and conquer.

      Your debt load sounds extremely burdensome- I don't know what to say about that?
      Very nice of you to do for that homeless person
      and I will read the article about the Irish in America-
      thanks Ally- stay well :)

      Delete
  2. OK - as an Australian born and bred, My parents were born
    and bred in Australia ...
    however ... my grandfather was born in New Zealamd.

    OOOps .. heh

    ReplyDelete
  3. where are my comments relating to your post about the ramifications of the origins - th understanding - the hist-story - belongings - behind the Balfour declaration. Without the understanding of the details of that -
    you will never know the importance= since it was built. of the Suez Canal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Davoh: I checked in the spam file and there are no comments- sometimes, sadly, google just eats comments- I apologize for that occurring but it's not in my control- can you leave the information again?
      thanks

      Delete
  4. Can we remember the Crucial effort of the Australian Light horse ...

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  5. The crucial effort, and 'backstory' of the Australian Light Horse troopers - capturing the water wells at Be'er Sheva (Beersheba) ... without which - Israel could never come into existence.
    Yer i know, minor points, in the turning of History - as we think we know it now.

    ReplyDelete
  6. perhaps your Gurgle algorhythms will allow this piece of historical record through .. (wry heh)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Beersheba_(1917)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Also, since your focus tends to be on the Northern Hemisphere shenanigagans ..
    will try this ..
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-03/the-company-he-keeps/8674984

    But doubt that the "intrnet" gatekeepers will allow that info ..
    perhaps i should become paranoid?

    ReplyDelete

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