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The Palestinian Counter-HolocaustBy Daniel Johnson Salem-News.com
Israel could have been a mingling of the two cultures, but the Jews would never and still won’t allow that as an option.
(CALGARY, Alberta) - After regularly reading Salem-News over the last few months, I’ve encountered some ideas that the main-stream-media ignore. I’d like to comment, here, on Israel and the problems (what an understatement) in the Middle East.
This is not an analytical piece but rather the gathering of some facts about which I previously knew nothing. At the same time this is not an exhaustive or in depth study but rather my personal starting point.
Let me make clear at the outset that I am not and have never been anti-Semitic or prejudiced against any Jews. I have known quite a few Jewish people, all of them appearing to be like everyone else—some good, some bad, and the great majority of them in between—just like any randomly chosen group of non-Jewish people would be.
In fact, there are many Jewish people who have had a profound impact on my life—most of whom I never met, or were dead before I was born. It’s quite a lengthy list so I’ll just say Albert Einstein tops the list and leave it at that.
Separation of Jews
For what it’s worth, I’ve read James Michener’s The Source several times since it first came out in 1965. A survey of the history of the Jewish people and the land of Israel from pre-monotheistic days to the founding of Israel in 1948, I believe it to be historically accurate in a fictionalized way. At least I’ve never read anything negative about the book as being inaccurate or misrepresenting its theme.
The main theme I’ve garnered from the book is that the Jews have suffered persecution for thousands of years but it’s clear that the prejudice arises from the Jewish people’s wish to remain separate from their cultural environment. True, Jewish people were largely money lenders in recent centuries, but this was because it was one of the few occupations they were allowed to follow. This discrimination arises from the previous centuries of anti-Semitism. It’s a millenia old vicious circle.
Still, some Jews go out of their way to stay separate. As an obvious example, I think of the Orthodox Jews who wear all black including fully brimmed hats and cut their hair in earlocks. In a secular society they look “funny” and it is no surprise that the unwashed pick on them. Another example is the Jewish tradition to refuse to assimilate. Virtually every other culture through the centuries has assimilated in some way with other cultures. But never the Jews.
Another factor is the Jewish belief that they are the “Chosen people”. This has been a source of much discord on both an individual and a societal level for both Jews and non-Jews.
Pre-20th century Timeline
The Ottoman Turks conquered Palestine, and the country was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.
Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris begins financial backing of Jewish colonisation in Palestine. Beginning of the first wave of Zionist mass emigration to Palestine.
Ottoman government decides to close Palestine to foreign (non-Ottoman) Jewish business but not to Jewish pilgrims.
European powers press Ottoman government to allow foreign (non-Ottoman) Jews to settle in Palestine provided they do so singly and not in masses.
The first Palestinian protest against Zionist aims.
Ottoman government forbids sale of state land to foreign (non-Ottoman) Jews in Palestine.
European powers presses Ottoman government to permit Jews legally residing in Palestine to buy land provided they establish no colonies on it.
Publication of "Der Judenstaat" by Austrian Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, advocating creation of Jewish state in Argentina or Palestine. Ottoman Sultan Abd-al Hamid II rejects Herzl's proposal that Palestine be granted to the Jews: "I cannot give away any part of it (the Empire) ... I will not agree to vivisection."
First Zionist Congress, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, issues the Basel Program on Colonization of Palestine and establishes the World Zionist Organization (WZO). In response to First Zionist Congress, Abd-al Hamid II initiates policy of sending members of his own palace staff to govern province of Jerusalem.
Over the next few decades increasing numbers of Jews emigrate to Palestine to escape pogroms across Russia and Europe.
The Balfour Declaration
In 1917, as part of WWI, the British conquered Palestine which was, at the time culturally advanced with a high literacy rate.
The Balfour Declaration of Nov 2, 1917, was a formal statement of policy on behalf of the British Government written by Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour and sent to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:
"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, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
For the next thirty years, the British waffled and delayed while the Zionists became increasingly aggressive and deadly in their efforts to oust the British. There is no reference to the Palestinian people, who already lived there.
In their deadliest attack on July 22, 1946, Irgun, led by Menachem Begin, blew up the King David Hotel, killing 91 and injuring 46. The bombing inflamed public opinion in Britain. The Jewish political leadership publicly condemned the attack. After the bombing, the hotel complex became a British fortress until its capture by the Israelis on May 4, 1948. The attack ramped up the conflict between Jewish miliants and the Mandate government to the level of a full scale war until Israel’s establishment on May 14, 1948.
Israeli terrorist activity on the part of Irgun, Lehi, (the British called them the Stern Gang) and Hagganah continued. For example:
§ Deir Yassin is a village located 5 kilometres west of Jerusalem. On 9 April 1948, about 120 members of Lehi and Irgun attacked the village. They massacred between 100 and 120 inhabitants of the village, mostly civilians.
§ On 17 September 1948, Lehi assassinated UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte who had been sent to broker a settlement in the dispute.
§ On March 31, 1948, the Cairo-Haifa train was mined near Binyamina killing 40 civilians and wounding 60. Responsibility for this act was never established.
Finally, my point
This exercise in trying to give some perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian situation clearly demonstrates that everything in the world is connected. There are no such things as isolated events.
My original intent was to try to establish some idea of responsibility for some of the Israeli/Palestinian situation. The Palestinians were a cultured people under the Ottomans and have been completely victimized by both Jews and most of the “civilized” countries of Europe and North America. The Jews did not acquit themselves particularly well throughout. The issue there, I think, was their intransigence.
In a 1937 editorial, David Ben-Gurion argued that a two state partition could never be an acceptable long-term solution: “The Jewish people have always regarded, and will continue to regard Palestine as a whole, as a single country which is theirs in a national sense and will become theirs once again. No Jew will accept partition as a just and rightful solution.” He believed that: “Our right to the entire land exists and stands for ever.”
There it is.
Israel was legally established on November 29, 1947 by Resolution 181 of the UN.
Thirty three countries voted in favour:
Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussian S.S.R., Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukrainian S.S.R., Union of South Africa, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Uruguay, Venezuela.
Thirteen countries voted against:
Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.
And ten abstained:
Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.
I began this article wondering who voted in favour of Israel’s establishment because they are the ones primarily responsible for much of the current mess in the Middle East. The “country” called Palestine was occupied by people, most families having already been there for generations or centuries. In Realpolitick “might is right” and there was considerable guilt over the Holocaust. The state could have been a mingling of the two cultures, but the Jews would never and still won’t allow that as an option. Until 1948, Palestine was a British protectorate and they completely failed.
Until right now I always considered the Palestinians to be a bunch of crazed, backward people. How a little knowledge can change one’s perspective.
[Note: When I started writing, my working title was “Reflections on Israel”]
Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class—a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves—writing and trying to make the world a better place
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