Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Muslim and Christian Palestinians May Outnumber Jews by Year 2000

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Muslim and Christian Palestinians May Outnumber Jews by Year 2000

Article excerpt

Muslim and Christian Palestinians May Outnumber Jews by Year 2000

By Andrew I. Killgore

"The land without people--for the people without land."

--Israel Zangwill, 1901

"But there are Arabs in Palestine. I did not know."

--Max Nordau, 1897

"My step on the road to reality was not taken until 1904, when I appear to have become fully aware of the Arab peril."

--Israel Zangwill, 1904

"By establishing the State of Israel in the traditionally Arab land of Palestine and by forcibly displacing its original inhabitants, the Zionists did not provide their adherents with a peaceful refuge, but placed them astride a volcano."

--Henry Cattan, 1976

"To the German Kaiser I shall say--let us go! We are aliens, they do not let us dissolve into the population, nor are we able to do so."

--Theodor Herzl's Diaries, about 1895

"We shall spirit the penniless population [Palestinians] across the border...the process of expropriation and removal of the poor shall be carried out discreetly and circumspectly."

--Theodor Herzl's Diaries, about 1896

When Theodor Herzl, the father of political Zionism and ultimately of the modern State of Israel, died in 1904 his dream of establishing in Palestine a state for Jews seemed dead. He had tried and failed to gain the support of a great power, without which he knew a future Israel could not be created. As a consequence, the seventh World Zionist Conference in 1903 had given up on Palestine and settled on Uganda in Africa as the site of a future Jewish State.

Herzl was despondent because he believed the world's Jews would never ingather in Uganda. He also was convinced, as the quotation from his diaries indicates, that Jews would never be allowed to "dissolve" into European society nor that they would be able to do so.

Austrian-born Herzl's conclusions were based on the old prejudices about Jews that permeated central Europe, and the poisonous anti-Jewish suspicion in "enlightened" France that attended the long-drawn-out trial for treason of Jewish Major Albert Dreyfus, which Herzl covered as a correspondent for his Vienna newspaper. Falsely accused, Dreyfus was finally cleared, but only after French society had been deeply divided over the matter.

Only 13 years after Herzl's death, however, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, named for its minister of foreign affairs, promising to support a Jewish State in Palestine. Herzl had failed because the Zionist movement at the time could provide no quid pro quo for any great power. But in 1916, when the wording of the declaration was being negotiated with the British, the Zionists promised secretly to help bring America into World War I on the side of the Allies.

There is no evidence that Zionist adherents had all that much influence in the Washington of 1916, or that they played a role in President Woodrow Wilson's decision to enter the war in April 1917.

Grabbing at Any Straw

But, as Winston Churchill wrote later, Britain was very near defeat after the carnage of the July-November 1916 Battle of the Somme when the British and French armies tried and failed to drive the German army from France's Somme Valley. And thus, as Churchill put it, Britain had to grab at any straw that promised succor to the Allies. That straw was the still officially secret Zionist promise to help influence U.S. opinion to join the Allied side. As the Encyclopedia Britannica 15th edition has it, Britain "hoped" that that would be the result.

The Balfour Declaration was one thing. Getting the Jewish State established was another. Hitler's persecution of the Jews in the 1930s drove large numbers of Jews from Germany and elsewhere in Europe to the relative safety of Palestine. And the unprecedented horrors of the Jewish Holocaust in Europe during World War II prepared the world to accept the birth of a Jewish State on May 15, 1948. It also prepared the world to close its eyes to the grave injustice inflicted thereby on the Palestinians, the trauma from which continues to haunt the world to this day. …

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