Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Toward a Middle East Community of Nations

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Toward a Middle East Community of Nations

Article excerpt

Toward a Middle East Community of Nations

By Ernest Morgan

The shock of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination calls forth dismay and, at the same time, demands reflection in which there may be a source of hope. The nations of the Middle East are now called upon to replace an adversarial mode with one of cooperation and mutual support--in other words, to give history a new turn.

Actually, the roots of the conflict which has racked the Middle East for the past 50 years are to be found in European imperialism and Christian intolerance. To understand the problems of the Middle East and to solve them we need to understand their historic roots.

Now in my 91st year, I have witnessed the flow of modern history not only for many years, but from an unusual vantage point. During World War I, my father, Arthur E. Morgan, was a charter member and first secretary of the League to Enforce Peace, which developed the idea of a League of Nations and sold the idea to Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson's Vision

Wilson had a vision of giving history a new turn. He characterized World War I as "a war to end wars and make the world safe for democracy." His famous "Fourteen Points" for peace were clearly aimed in this direction.

But Wilson's plans for a creative peace with "the self-determination of peoples" and other progressive features were brushed aside at Versailles. The British and French politicians ganged up on him. They brushed aside his "idealistic notions" and went ahead with the harsh politics of imperialism. The defeated nations were abused and humiliated. The League of Nations was adopted as a sop to Wilson but was helpless in the face of the brutal injustice of the Versailles Treaty.

That treaty paved the way for the rise of Hitler and made World War II inevitable, with vast destruction of property and 45 million people killed. Seven million of those people were Jews deliberately murdered by the Nazis.

The Holocaust was not the first expression of Christian intolerance. Muslims and Jews had long been victims of this intolerance. In fact, it was the pogroms against the Jews in Russia that first gave rise to Zionism, when Theodor Herzl, an Austrian Jewish journalist, proclaimed that there should be "a national home for the Jews" where they could take refuge from persecution.

The Holocaust gave the Zionist movement an enormous boost, launching a mass movement of Jews into the Middle East. …

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