Last year saw the centenary of the notorious Balfour Declaration and there has been, especially throughout that year, much publicity and debate concerning this arrogant British government pronouncement and its aftermath. Yet, amid all of last year’s very deep concern and controversy, two immensely well researched and scholarly books on the subject appear to have escaped public awareness. One of these books, Balfour in the Dock, by Colin Andersen, published at a time when it should have attracted the greatest interest. The book reviews and pays tribute to a much earlier work, Palestine the Reality, written by the journalist, J.M.N Jeffries (1880-1960).
Colin Andersen studied Arabic at Sydney University from 1977-79 and to describe his masterful work, Balfour in the Dock, merely as a review would fail to do it justice. With no copies of Palestine the Reality to be found at the time in bookshops or libraries, Balfour in the Dock stands on its own as a volume of enormous merit and value. There can be no doubt either, that its publication played a valuable role in bringing about the sorely-needed re-publication of Palestine the Reality. Andersen’s book also serves as a biography of Jeffries, a British journalist, that among many other things reveals the difficulties Jeffries faced as he struggled, in the face of British government deceit, to get the truth before the public
Zionism’s early isolation and unpopularity
Jeffries reminded the world just how tiny a minority were the Zionists among world Jewry by 1914 – some 130,000 out of 13 million. Colin Andersen tells us that Jeffries cites a letter published 24 May 1917 in The Times, from David Alexander, the President of the Conjoint Committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and Claude Montefiore, President of the Anglo-Jewish Association. In their letter they express concern that the “establishment of a Jewish nationality in Palestine, founded on the theory of Jewish homelessness, must have the effect throughout the world of stamping the Jews as strangers in their native lands and of undermining their hard-won positions as citizens and national of those lands.”
The letter also pointed out that the theories of political Zionism undermined the religious basis of Jewry. The authors of the letter deprecated “most earnestly the national proposals of the Zionists” and the Conjoint Committee also expressed misgivings at the proposal to invest the Jewish settlers [in Palestine] with certain special rights in excess of those enjoyed by the rest of the population. The Committee noted that in all the countries in which Jews lived, the principle of equal rights was, to them, vital. Alexander and Montefiore ended their letter with these words: “The [Zionist] proposal is the more inadmissible because the Jews are . . . a minority of the population of Palestine, and it might involve them in the bitterest feud with their neighbours of other races and religions, which would severely retard their progress and find deplorable echoes throughout the Orient”.
In order to get their way, Zionism’s zealots needed to hide their true ambitions. Colin Andersen’s book provides much evidence of Zionist deceit and prevarication, reflected in various British government pronouncements. Theodor Herzl was the first president of the World Zionist Organisation and author of a manifesto entitled The Jewish State (Judenstaat). Colin Andersen tells us that “his followers soon realised that this was altogether too frank an admission of their goal, given that said state would have to be established on someone else’s land and at their expense.” One of Herzl’s early associates, Max Nordau, advised him that it would be better, publicly, to adopt the term ‘National Home’ in place of ‘Jewish State’. He actually admitted that he was recommending deceit as a method for achieving Zionism’s territorial ambitions:
“I did my best to persuade the claimants of the Jewish State in Palestine that we might find a circumlocution . . . that would express all we meant, but would say it in a way so as to avoid provoking the Turkish rulers of the coveted land. I suggested Heimstatt as a synonym for ‘State’. . . It was equivocal but we all knew what it meant.”
Zionism is founded upon deceit. Jeffries comments:
“Zionism, from the start, wherever it was to be installed, stood for sovereignty. The pretences of blended partnership and blended authority in Palestine – themselves indispensable – with which, till 1937 Partition was frankly proposed, it had been thought to delude the Arabs, never were the aim of the movement.” Andersen sums it up, observing that: “Jeffries understood exactly what the Zionists wanted in Palestine, and concludes that they had blinded themselves ‘not just to the wishes of Palestine’s indigenous majority Arab population, but seemingly to its very existence’.”
Speaking in the House of Lords on 22 June 1922, the Liberal, Lord Islington, speaking as a person “familiar with the conditions in Palestine, and the traditions of the people in that country” moved: “That the [Palestine] Mandate . . . in its present form is unacceptable to this House because it directly violates the pledges made by His Majesty’s Government to the people of Palestine in the [McMahon] Declaration of October 1915, and again in the [Anglo-French] Declaration of November 1918, and is, as at present framed, opposed to the sentiments and wishes of the great majority of the people of Palestine; that, therefore, its acceptance by the Council of the League of Nations should be postponed until such modifications have been therein effected as will comply with pledges given by His Majesty’s Government”.
The authors of Palestine the Reality and Balfour in the Dock present, in an abundance of well-documented and referenced evidence, how the British Government proponents of the Zionist agenda arrogantly and contemptuously misled and betrayed the public, and all those who placed their trust in them. They ignored opinion expressed by representatives of the Jewish community and dismissed the advice of those who had travelled to Palestine and understood the reality. The world has been lied to for over a century and the chief victims of Zionism, the Palestinian people, continue to suffer under the Zionist regime’s daily human rights abuses.
At times, over many decades, Israel’s human rights abuses and contempt for international law result in United Nations Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions demanding that it ceases its criminal behaviour. But Israel ignores each and every condemnation and continues, with impunity, to pursue its Zionist objective. The most recent Resolution to be passed, UNSCR 2334, affirmed that: “Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders.” The Resolution also demanded “that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
The Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine observed that the Resolution “required vigilant follow-up if it was to be meaningful”. There has been, of course, no follow up – and there never is. With the posturing completed, self-congratulatory world leaders wash their hands, job done, and go back to the normal practise of turning a blind eye to the Zionist nightmare until the pressure builds for yet another Resolution. The United States didn’t even pretend to support Resolution 2334 and justified its decision to abstain from voting with the excuse that “during the course of 2016, 18 resolutions adopted in the General Assembly and others in the Human Rights Council had all condemned Israel.” Thus, it would appear that, from the viewpoint of Zionist ideology, the more Israel offends against the norms of decency and respect for human rights, the greater right it establishes for itself to continue doing so.
Regarding the Resolution, the Security Council called on “both sides” to “observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground and rebuild trust and confidence.” This call would make it appear as though both Israel and Palestine were equal parties to a ‘dispute’ and that the internationally-recognised right of a belligerently Occupied population to resist living under alien military rule did not exist. The Security Council also called on “all parties to continue to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final-status issues in the Middle East peace process”. Conveniently, for Israel, that avoids all the other Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinian people, not least of which are Israel’s brutal blockade of Gaza and the denial of the right of return of Palestinian refugees. It is simply obscene to demand of a defenceless people that they ‘negotiate’ for whatever degree of liberty that their oppressor might allow. No agreement under such duress could possibly be valid.
The real problem is Zionism. As the two volumes Balfour in the Dock and Palestine the Reality so copiously evidence, Zionism is a self-absorbed, racist anachronism. The ideology’s proponents have never been honest and the attempt to engender a ‘negotiated’ settlement has resulted in nothing but inevitable failure and decades of extreme suffering for Zionism’s victims. The excuse for abstaining, voiced by the US at the Security Council, should alert us to the fact that so long as the very precepts of Zionism remain unchallenged, there will be no hope of prospects for peace. The repudiation of Zionism must be accompanied by sanctions against Israel for every human rights violation it perpetrates. Israel must be made to pay for its war crimes, and to go on paying until it abandons its founding ideology and joins the rest of humanity in respect for universal human rights, not just in words but in deeds. History has proved that toothless resolutions do nothing to save the victims – worse, the absence of sanctions perpetuates the nightmare.