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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose

When Shimon Peres made his comment (which he now denies by the way through an Israel Radio interview with the President's office spokesperson on Monday) about Britain being anti-Semitic, he was drawing on a long and rich history of British action against Israel and the Jews.
While few arguments have resonated more widely, or among a more diverse set of observers, than the claim that Britain has been the midwife of the Jewish state, the truth is that no sooner had Britain been appointed as the mandatory power in Palestine, with the explicit task of facilitating the establishment of a Jewish national home in the country in accordance with the Balfour Declaration, than it reneged on this obligation.

AS EARLY as March 1921, the British government severed the vast and sparsely populated territory east of the Jordan River ("Transjordan") from the prospective Jewish national home and made Abdullah, the emir of Mecca, its effective ruler. In 1922 and 1930, two British White Papers limited Jewish immigration to Palestine – the elixir of life of the prospective Jewish state – and imposed harsh restrictions on land sales to Jews.

Britain's betrayal of its international obligations to the Jewish national cause reached its peak on May 17, 1939, when a new White Paper imposed draconian restrictions on land sales to Jews and limited immigration to 75,000 over the next five years, after which Palestine would become an independent state in which the Jews would comprise no more than one-third of the total population.


That this could happen at the height of the Nazi extermination of European Jewry of which Whitehall was keenly aware offered a stark demonstration of the mindset of British officialdom, which was less interested in stopping genocide than in preventing its potential survivors from reaching Palestine after the war.

So much so that senior Foreign Office members portrayed Britain, not Europe's Jews, as the main victim of the Nazi atrocities.

THIS ANTI-ZIONISM was sustained into the postwar years as the Labor Party, which in July 1945 swept to power in a landslide electoral victory, swiftly abandoned its pre-election pro-Zionist platform to become a bitter enemy of the Jewish national cause. The White Paper restrictions were kept in place, and the Jews were advised by Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin not "to get too much at the head of the queue" in seeking recourse to their problems.

Tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors who chose to ignore the warning and to run the British naval blockade were herded into congested camps in Cyprus, where they were incarcerated for years.

"Should we accept the view that all the Jews or the bulk of them must leave Germany?" Bevin rhetorically asked the British ambassador to Washington.

"I do not accept that view. They have gone through, it is true, the most terrible massacre and persecution, but on the other hand they have got through it and a number have survived."
Read the whole thing. The British have a despicable record when it comes to Israel, and but for their favoring the Arabs, Israel might have had both an overwhelming Jewish majority and much fewer Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

And by the way, I don't believe anyone in Israel believes Shimon Peres didn't say those things. And for once, we can even be proud of him for having said them (I'm generally not a big Peres fan as long-time readers know - it's refreshing to hear him speak the truth).


At 7:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

one should make sure one has the document content correctly:

Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

"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."

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Thermblog said...

What Peres actually said, is here :

I believe the operative phrase is:

in England there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment

The media interpreted “anti-Israeli” as “antisemitic” then reported it. This is essentially Jew-baiting because calling anything antisemitic has become worse than actually being antisemitic.

(I find Peres does an outstanding job in English interviews. He is very precise in his wording and really has a grip on the situation. Yes he's a bit of a lefty but then the world is that way. Someone without his purist, dreamy outlook would not have his credibility, given the bent of Joe Journo today.)

At 12:00 AM, Blogger muman613 said...

Peres {Yemach Shemo} is amongst one of the great traitors to the Jewish people. I don't know how Israelis could vote for such a self-hater as this. One who cannot take a strong stand for anything, let alone a strong stand to support his 'own people'. I feel saddened that this Peres is counted amongst the Jewish people, he is nothing to be proud of, and his mission of destroying the Jewish presence in the Holy Land will be the reason he rots in Gehinnom.


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