The father of modern Zionism died one hundred and ten years ago today. There are many, especially in the Middle East, who wish he had never been born.
Theodor Herzl - the father of modern Zionism.
Theodor Herzl was born at Budapest, Hungary on May 2, 1860, and in his short life he sowed the seeds of what for many would become a dream, and for many more, a nightmare. Although there was Zionism before Herzl, in particular the Hovevei Zion, it is fair to say that it was he who first conceived of Zionism as a nationalistic movement.
Contrary to socialist propaganda, there is nothing per se wrong with nationalism, but the snowball Herzl started rolling would not simply establish a new, modern nation in the Middle East, it would as good as destroy an indigenous culture, scattering its denizens to the four corners of the Earth, and sow the seeds of unrest in the Middle East for decades to come.
Both Herzl’s own life and the way the movement took hold are thoroughly documented, although what is conveniently forgotten nowadays is that initially and for many years he was regarded by Jewish leaders as a marginal crank, and the Zionist venture as a heresy. Many editions of his book Der Judenstaat can be found at the Internet Archive.
A few months after Herzl’s death, Lucien Wolf, then Foreign Editor of the Daily Graphic, poured scorn on the project. An article written for the October 1904 issue of The Jewish Quarterly Review called THE ZIONIST PERIL, made the self-evident observation that European Jews were “a religious community of white men not essentially different from the European Roman Catholics and Protestants”, the obvious inference being they should not attempt to impose either their religion or their ideology on the Arabs, much less expel them from their land.
On Herzl’s death however, Chaim Weizmann became the acknowledged leader of Zionism, and set about propagating its perverted ideals with vigour, and the First World War - the Great War as it was then known – presented a magnificent opportunity to garner support for the project.
A Foreign Office memorandum dated June 13, 1917 (FO 371/3058) reports that according to Weizmann, the majority of Jews were in favour of Zionism, and “The minorities opposing the movement consist of a small oligarchy of Jewish cosmopolitan financiers...and a small fraction of the Jewish socialists...”
In spite of the falsity of that statement, the Balfour Declaration of later that year changed everything. Issued November 2, it read simply “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.”
That, albeit long sentence, has been called the most remarkable political document ever issued anywhere at any time: one nation promising to a second the land of a third that was currently ruled by a fourth.
The Balfour Declaration - the most perfidious political document ever issued.
The question arises, why would the British Government make such a promise, and more specifically, what did Zionist leaders offer in return? One “conspiratorial” answer is support for the war effort, particularly American support. The fact that the United States had entered the war earlier that year does not rule that out, but whatever went on behind the scenes, mischief was clearly afoot.
Even so, but for the Nazi persecution, the establishment of a Zionist state in the Middle East would probably not have succeeded. Throughout the 1920s and 30s there had been rising tensions between the Zionists and the Arabs resulting in atrocities on both sides. In August 1929, riots led to the deaths of 110 Arabs and 133 Jews, the so-called Western Wall Uprising. The British as the occupying power after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire were caught in the middle.
Before the end of the Second World War, and even as the Allies were fighting the Nazi menace supposedly to rescue Jews and others from tyranny, the Zionists turned on Britain and started a war within a war. There had been attacks by Zionist terrorists including the Irgun since before the outbreak of hostilities in Europe; for example, seven Arabs were murdered on July 5, 1938 in a number of coordinated shootings in Tel Aviv, then British service personnel were targeted. The most outrageous of these attacks was the King David Hotel Massacre of July 1946 which resulted in no fewer than 91 deaths.
It is interesting, indeed sickening, to read what the fanatically Zionist Jewish Virtual Library says about this outrage:
“The Irgun chose it as a target after British troops invaded the Jewish Agency June 29, 1946, and confiscated large quantities of documents. At about the same time, more than 2,500 Jews from all over Palestine were placed under arrest...A week later, news of a massacre of 40 Jews in a pogrom in Poland reminded the Jews of Palestine how Britain’s restrictive immigration policy had condemned thousands to death.”
So the British were to blame for murders of Jews in Poland!
“Irgun leader Menachem Begin stressed his desire to avoid civilian casualties and said three telephone calls were placed, one to the hotel, another to the French Consulate, and a third to the Palestine Post, warning that explosives in the King David Hotel would soon be detonated.”
Which the British ignored, so therefore they got what was coming to them. On the other hand, if mass murderer Begin had genuinely desired to avoid casualties – civilian and other – he could have refrained from planting the bombs in the first place.
“For decades the British denied they had been warned. In 1979, however, a member of the British Parliament introduced evidence that the Irgun had indeed issued the warning.”
Again, it was all the fault of the British.
This is the first rule of Zionist apologetics: “In any conflict between Jew and Gentile, the goy is always in the wrong.” Rule 2 is “If in doubt, refer to Rule 1.”
There followed of course the misnamed Israeli War Of Independence or Arab-Israeli War which resulted in the Nakba. A war can be many things; a particularly brutal boxing match can be called a war, so can a game of chess. In this context though the word war implies armies opposing each other, even if one is greatly superior to the other, like the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 which lasted a mere 40 minutes! The truth about the Arab-Israeli War is that it was simply a massacre and expulsion of innocent civilians. The greatest and most obscene massacre in this carnage was Deir Yassin, a scene of indescribable horror.
In spite of this, the Zionist propaganda machine was able to portray the Nakba as a glorious victory, and all through especially the 1960s and early 1970s the Zionist entity as gallant little Israel surrounded by vile bloodthirsty A-rabs who wanted only to murder all Jews or push them into the sea. Anyone who attempted to bring out the true facts was given the silent treatment or smeared as an anti-Semite, tactics that were both unsubtle and primitive but shockingly effective, albeit more so in the United States than in Europe and the UK. Pre-eminent in this campaign of vilification was the ADL, an organisation that is now ridiculed by the Israeli press for finding anti-Semites under every bed.
Things began to change in the 1970s though; there was no single reason for this, but one was the growing Moslem presence in Europe, and even in the United States. In a 1976 interview, the Shah of Iran – who had recognised Israel – said the power and influence of the Zionist lobby in the United States was detrimental to Israeli interests because they were “pushing around too many people”. In 1980, the Anti-Arab Defamation Committee was set up, and with the rise of the Internet, it has become impossible to silence all criticism or exposure of any brutal régime. Even before the Internet though, increasingly unbiased media coverage and activism by leftists, humanitarians and others sympathetic to the Palestinian cause was getting the message across to the Western public. The first Intifada saw shocking images of Israeli soldiers breaking the arms of arrested civilians, and many other outrages.
The final straw came with the Gaza Massacre of December 2008 and the much smaller but outrageous Flotilla Massacre of May 2010. The usual suspects including the ADL made the same obscene noises about anti-Semitism, and attempted to justify these acts of barbarism, but no one was listening anymore.
People from across the entire political spectrum and from all around the world saw through the Zionist propaganda and lies. When “Nazis” and their fellow travellers talk about Zionist conspiracies and Zionist influence in the American media and government, they can be easily dismissed as cranks and hatemongers, while Arabs and Moslems can be tainted with “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?” When liberal politicians including former US President Jimmy Carter and mainstream academics speak out, it is not so easy, and when Jews, including Israelis join in the attack, well, if everybody hates you, maybe you’re doing something wrong.
That was the situation in the immediate aftermath of the Flotilla Massacre, after decades of being fooled by media blackouts, smears and lies, the whole world had woken up to the perfidy of Zionism. Now, in a heartbeat, that perfidy doesn’t seem quite so important anymore. Estimates vary but it is not unlikely that as many as 700,000 souls were expelled during the Nakba. But in April this year it was reported that as many as nine million people have fled the ongoing Syrian conflict, one million of them registering as refugees in Lebanon.
Nor is it only Syria, Iraq is now said to be under seige. It is true that the current situation in the Middle East has its origins in the lies about weapons of mass destruction that followed the 9/11 attacks, and that but for the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, probably none of this would have happened. It is though not only Zionists who can engage in apologetics.
Are Zionists making Arabs kill each other all over the Middle East? Is the legacy of the Bush Administration so strong that it forces Islamist fanatics to don suicide vests and blow innocent Moslems to smithereens?
What is happening in the Middle East today is somewhat akin to what happened in England in the 1640s, France at the end of the 18th Century, and the United States between the War Of Independence and the American Civil War. The big problem is of course that rather than facing swords, muskets and the occasional cannonball, the people of the Middle East – civilians as much as military – are facing modern weapons of mass destruction from automatic guns to powerful bombs to – on occasion – poison gas. It is all unnecessary, and it is happening on a scale that dwarfs the decades of oppression the Palestinians have suffered. The big question is what can be done to solve it?
The American public, the British public and the Western public in general have had enough intervention, meddling in other people’s affairs and perpetual wars for perpetual peace. Furthermore, the politicians know this and are now prepared to listen to the people; that was clear before Barack Obama was elected for his first term. It is no exaggeration to claim that if John McCain had won rather than Obama there would have been another full scale war in the Middle East. Obama has done his best to keep the US out of the current conflict, but the bottom line is that this is not an American or Western problem, rather it is one for the Arabs to sort out themselves. themselves.
The recent murder of three teenagers, apparently by Palestinian terrorists, has done nothing to advance their cause.
The Arabs, the Palestinians in particular, have long claimed they’ve had a raw deal, and no reasonable person who has studied the evidence could disagree. The Palestinians are entitled to their state, which means the ongoing expansion of settlements by the Zionists must stop, but the Arabs are in no position to negotiate this in any meaningful sense while the madness that is Syria continues, and while there is such large scale unrest throughout the Middle East. The world has now seen Zionism in its true form, but as long as the Syrian conflict continues, it remains only one of very many injustices in the region, and one of a vastly greater number throughout the world.
[The above article was published originally on July 3, 2014. The original article has been archived. The photographs of Herzl and the original Balfour Declaration have been added; the original linked video of the Shah of Iran has been removed from YouTube, but a similar video - a longer cut - has been added].
Back To AllVoices Index