What Is Behind the Violence In Israel and Gaza?

A review of Alison Weir’s book by Serena Wylde

Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the US Was Used to Create Israel

In this comprehensively researched book of 2014, Alison Weir relates how political Zionists went from a small interest group in the late 1880s, to a powerful movement in the 20th century, and achieved their goal of creating a Jewish state in 1948 in a land whose inhabitants were 96 percent Muslims and Christians, who owned 99 percent of the land.

Weir lifts the veil on the networking mechanisms used by the Zionists to skilfully insinuate themselves into key positions of power and influence in the US, to forward their political ambition of colonising Palestine.

She reveals how they set up committees, ran fundraising campaigns, launched political and public relations offensives to capture the support of congressmen, clergy, university deans, lawyers, editors and businessmen, but most importantly the press and the media. She illustrates how this enabled them to shape and influence public opinion through politics as well as entertainment, and explains how incrementally the movement came to dominate virtually every significant sector of American society, and even determine which candidates can become serious contenders for the US presidency.

The book’s interest, however, lies in its meticulous accounts of the range of experienced voices in the US State Department and Pentagon in the late 1940s who foresaw with total clarity the dangers of the Zionists’ proposal of colonising Palestine, and vigorously opposed it, as well as the lengths to which the Zionists went to discredit, defame, silence, and ultimately eliminate these voices, using their political and financial clout. Such was the disquiet, that in 1943 US officials and British diplomats prepared to issue a “reverse Balfour declaration”, which the Zionists succeeded in blocking.

The book tells the story of the power-brokering and corruption required to drive into existence the Zionist Project through ruthless determination and contempt for the lives of the indigenous population of Palestine. It should therefore come as no surprise that seventy-five years on we are living the consequences of what was forged through manipulation of the mechanisms of power. Nor will it be a surprise that the cry of anti-Semitism was systematically exploited against diplomats, journalists and military chiefs of the time who warned of the wider, long-term consequences of the Zionist ambition.

Weir counts the cost of these consequences for the Middle East, and the West. She shows how democracy has been distorted through the Israel Lobby, and illustrates the injustice, inhumanity and danger of promoting bigotry against the Arab world.

Whilst Weir’s research is focused on the pivotal role of the US, the Zionist Movement was international and included some powerful British elites. However, there were also key voices in Britain who opposed them. Middle East experts such as Gertrude Bell pointed out that Palestine was Arab and Jerusalem was sacred to all three major monotheistic faiths. Future Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon pointed out that Palestine was already inhabited by half a million Arabs who would ‘not be content either to be expropriated for Jewish immigrants or to act merely as hewers of wood and drawers of water for the latter.’

However, the debilitating effects of WW1 on Britain, particularly in 1916, handed the Zionists a bargaining opportunity. Confident in their control of US political decision-making, they told the British government that Zionists in the US would push America to enter the war on the side of Britain, if the British promised to support a Jewish state in Palestine afterwards.

Thus, in 1917 the [in]famous Balfour Declaration was sent in the form of a letter signed by the Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour to Zionist leader Lord Rothschild, promising to ‘view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.’

At the end of WW1 President Wilson sent a commission to Palestine to interview all sections of the population. The commissioners’ report stated that the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine could only be accomplished with ‘the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities. To subject the Palestinians to steady financial and social pressure to surrender the land, would be a gross violation of the principle of self-determination, and a betrayal of the sacred trust that the people should become completely free.’

The report further stated that meetings with Jewish representatives made it clear that ‘the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine’, and concluded that armed force would be required to accomplish this, and urged the Peace Conference to dismiss the Zionist proposals.

Zionists saw to it that the report was suppressed until after the Peace Accords were enacted.

In the Interwar period, Zionists focused on creating Jewish institutions in Palestine, such as the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and attempting to buy up land from the Muslim and Christian inhabitants. Weir writes that in 1933 a pact was struck with the Nazis known as the “transfer agreement” whereby Jews who wished to go to Palestine could transfer their capital there. However, the Muslims and Christians did not want to sell their land. So, although by the late 1940s the Zionist immigration and buyout project had increased the Jewish population of Palestine to 30 percent, their land ownership barely surpassed 6 percent. At this point Zionists created a number of terrorist groups to fight against both the Palestinians and the British. Future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin headed one such group. Weir writes that he later admitted his terrorism in an interview on American television. When asked how it felt to be the father of terrorism in the Middle East, he proudly responded: ‘In the Middle East? In all the world!’

If the idea behind Zionism was to create a state where Jews worldwide could escape anti-Semitism, the “recruitment” of Jews to emigrate to Palestine proved a problem.

Iraq’s then Chief Rabbi declared: ‘Iraqi Jews will be forever against Zionism. Jews and Arabs have enjoyed the same rights and privileges for 1,000 years and do not regard themselves as a distinctive separate part of this nation’.

Jewish-Iraqi author, Naeim Giladi, who later lived in Israel, wrote: ‘Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel. To force them to leave, Jews killed Jews.’

In 1947 Britain announced it would end its control of Palestine, and handed over the territory’s fate to the United Nations. Zionists pushed for a General Assembly resolution to give them a disproportionate 55 percent of Palestine.

The US State Department strenuously opposed this partition plan, ‘considering Zionism contrary to both fundamental American principles and US interests’. The director of the State Department’s Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs, Loy Henderson, warned that the creation of such a state would go against locals’ wishes, imperil US interests and violate democratic principles. He emphasised that the US would lose moral standing in the world if it supported Zionism: ‘At the present time the United States has a moral prestige in the Near and Middle East unequalled by that of any other great power. We would lose that prestige and would be likely for many years to be considered as a betrayer of the high principles which we ourselves have enunciated during the period of the [second world] war.’

Henderson pointed out that: ‘[Proposals for partition] are in definite contravention to various principles laid down in the [UN] Charter’ and warned that such a partition would have to be implemented by force, was ‘not based on any principle’, and ‘would guarantee that the Palestine problem would be permanent and still more complicated in the future.’

Zionists attacked Henderson virulently, calling him “anti-Semitic”, demanding his resignation, and threatening his family. They pressured the State Department to transfer him elsewhere, and in 1948 President Truman sent Henderson to the slopes of the Himalayas.

An internal State Department memorandum accurately predicted how Israel would be born through armed aggression masked as defence:

‘…the Jews will be the actual aggressors against the Arabs. However, the Jews will claim that they are merely defending the boundaries of a state which were traced by the UN… In the event of such Arab outside aid, the Jews will come running to the Security Council with the claim that their state is the object of armed aggression, and will use every means to obscure the fact that it is their own armed aggression against the Arabs inside which is the cause of Arab counter-attack.’

The UN General Assembly was luke-warm towards the proposal of partitioning Palestine, so Zionists bullied the “awkward” delegations using blackmail and bribery. Financier and long-time presidential advisor Bernard Baruch told France it would lose US aid if it voted against the partition plan. Delegates’ wives were sent mink coats, (the wife of the Cuban delegate returned hers).

On 29th November 1947, UN General Assembly Resolution 181 passed. The irony, however, is that, unlike Security Council resolutions, these are not binding on member states. The UNGA Resolution was a “recommendation” without legal impact.

It did, however, increase the fighting in Palestine. ‘Within months the Zionists had forced out over 413,000 people. Zionist military units had stealthily been preparing for war before the UN vote and had acquired massive weaponry, some of it through a widespread network of illicit gunrunning operations in the US under a number of front groups.’

What the State Department and Pentagon analysts had predicted ensued. There were at least 33 massacres of Palestinian villages, half of them before a single Arab army joined the conflict. Numerous convents, hospices, seminaries and churches were either destroyed or cleared of their Christian custodians. The massacres were carried out by Zionist forces and militias that had engaged in terrorist attacks in the area for years preceding the partition resolution. Zionist forces were better equipped and had more men under arms than their opponents.

By 1949, Israel’s “War of Independence” had ruthlessly driven out over 750,000 Palestinian men, women and children.

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