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One Missing Word Sowed the Seeds of Catastrophe

Posted on Dec 20, 2008
Palestinian gunmen
AP photo / Khalil Hamra

Palestinian gunmen stand with their weapons during the funeral for a 40-year-old man in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday. The man was killed when an Israeli missile hit his house in Beit Lahiya.

By Robert Fisk

Editor’s note: This article was originally printed in The Independent.

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A nit-picker this week. And given the fact that we’re all remembering human rights, the Palestinians come to mind since they have precious few of them, and the Israelis because they have the luxury of a lot of them.

And Lord Blair, since he’ll be communing with God next week, might also reflect that he still—to his shame—hasn’t visited Gaza. But the nit-picking has got to be our old friend United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. This, you’ll recall, was supposed to be the resolution that would guide all future peace efforts in the Middle East; Oslo was supposed to have been founded on it and all sorts of other processes and summits and road maps.

It was passed in November 1967, after Israel had occupied Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Sinai and Golan, and it emphasises “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and calls for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict”.

Readers who know the problem here will be joined by those who will immediately pick it up. The Israelis say that they are not required to withdraw from all the territories—because the word “all” is missing and since the definite article “the” is missing before the word “territories”, its up to Israel to decide which bits of the occupied territories it gives up and which bits it keeps.


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Hence Israel can say it gave up Sinai in accordance with 242 but is going to keep East Jerusalem and much of the West Bank for its settlers. Golan depends on negotiations with Syria. And Gaza? Well, 242 doesn’t say anything about imprisoning one and a half million civilians because they voted for the wrong people. No one in 1967 dreamed that the Israeli-Arab conflict would still be in ferocious progress 41 years later. And as an Independent reader pointed out a couple of years ago, the Security Council clearly never intended the absence of a definite article to give Israel an excuse to stay in the West Bank. Alas, our reader was wrong.

I’ve been going back through my files on 242 and discovered a most elucidating paper by John McHugo, who was a visiting fellow at the Scottish Centre for International Law at Edinburgh University. He points out that pro-Israeli lawyers have been saying for some years that “Resolution 242 unanimously called for withdrawal from ‘territories’ rather than withdrawal from ‘all the territories’. Its choice of words was deliberate ... they signify that withdrawal is required from some but not all the territories”.

McHugo is, so far as I know, the only man to re-examine the actual UN debates on 242 and they make very unhappy reading. The French and Spanish versions of the text actually use the definite article. But the Brits—apparently following a bit of strong-arm tactics from the Americans—did not use “the”. Lord Caradon, our man at the UN, insisted on putting in the phrase about the “inadmissability of the acquisition of territory by war” in order to stop the Israelis claiming that they could cherry-pick which lands to return and which to hand on to. Britain accepted Jordan’s rule over the West Bank—the PLO were still shunned as super-terrorists at the time—but it did no good. Abba Eban, Israel’s man on the East River, did his best to persuade Caradon to delete both “the” and the bit about the inadmissability of territory through war. He won the first battle, but not the second.

That great American statesman George Ball was to recount how, when the Arabs negotiated over 242 in early November of 1967—at the Waldorf Astoria (these guys knew how to pick the swankiest hotels for political betrayal)—the US ambassador to the UN, Arthur Goldberg, told King Hussein that America “could not guarantee that everything would be returned by Israel”. The Arabs distrusted Goldberg because he was known to be pro-Zionist, but Hussein was much comforted when US Secretary of State Dean Rusk assured him in Washington that the US “did not approve of Israeli retention of the West Bank”. Hussein was further encouraged when he met President Johnson who told him that Israeli withdrawal might take place in “six months”. Goldberg further boosted his confidence. “Don’t worry. They’re on board,” he said of the Israelis. Ho ho.

It’s intriguing to note that several other nations at the UN were troubled by the absence of “the”. The Indian delegate, for example, pointed out that the resolution referred to “all the territories—I repeat, all the territories—occupied by Israel ... ” while the Soviet Union (which knew all about occupying other people’s countries) stated that “we understand the decision to mean the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all, and we repeat, all territories belonging to Arab states and seized by Israel ... ”. President Johnson rebuffed the Soviets and bluntly refused to put the word “all” in the resolution. Bulgaria, not surprisingly, said much the same as the Soviets. Brazil expressed reservations—rightly so—about “the clarity of the wording”. The Argentinians “would have preferred a clearer text”. In other words, the future tragedy was spotted at the time. But we did nothing. The Americans had stitched it up and the Brits went along with it. The Arabs were not happy but foolishly—and typically—relied on Caradon’s assurances that “all” the territories was what 242 meant, even if it didn’t say so. Israel still fought hard to get rid of the “inadmissability” bit, even when it had got “the” out.

Ye gods! Talk about sowing the seeds of future catastrophe. Well, Colin Powell, when he was George W Bush’s secretary of state, gutlessly told US diplomats to call the West Bank “disputed” rather than “occupied”—which suited the Israelis just fine although, as McHugo pointed out, the Israelis might like to consider what would happen if the Arabs talked about those bits of Israel which were not included in the original UN partition plan as “disputed” as well. Besides, George W’s infamous letter to Ariel Sharon, saying he could, in effect, keep large bits of the West Bank, set the seal on Johnson’s deception.

McHugo mischievously adds that a mandatory warning in a city that says “dogs must be kept on the lead near ponds in the park” clearly means that “all” dogs and “all” ponds are intended. These days, of course, we use walls to keep dogs out. Palestinians, too.

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By Steve E, December 22, 2008 at 12:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since I was a child I have been taught that the Arabs are bad and the Jews are good thanks to” Western Values” and MSM. After seeking the truth on my own I have come to believe in a different reality. The previous message that we must support Israel because its a stabilizing element in the Middle East just does not hold water for me. I will not accept being called Anti Semitic. I just ignore the the label.

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By brewerstroupe, December 21, 2008 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment

“The extended kingdoms of David and Solomon, on which the Zionists base their territorial demands, endured for only about 73 years…Then it fell apart…[Even] if we allow independence to the entire life of the ancient Jewish kingdoms, from David’s conquest of Canaan in 1000 B.C. to the wiping out of Judah in 586 B.C., we arrive at [only] a 414 year Jewish rule.” Illene Beatty, “Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan.”

“Recent archeological digs have provided evidence that Jerusalem was a big and fortified city already in 1800 BCE…Findings show that the sophisticated water system heretofor attributed to the conquering Israelites pre-dated them by eight centuries and was even more sophisticated than imagined…Dr. Ronny Reich, who directed the excavation along with Eli Shuikrun, said the entire system was built as a single complex by Canaanites in the Middle Bronze Period, around 1800 BCE.” The Jewish Bulletin, July 31st, 1998.

Even in biblical times there was a great deal of ethnic and even religious mixing in ancient Judea and Israel, which practically all the biblical prophets were perpetually railing against. Moreover, even during that time, there ware Jewish communities established in Arab lands, in Persia, India, East and North Africa. With the destruction of the Temple and the final fall of their autonomous Roman colony in 70 AD, the important families such as the High priests, members of the Sanhedrin, the Judaic internal court which handed Jesus over to the Roman authority and a few others, felt insecure, There had been a number of revolts and uprisings against their hegemony and their collaboration with Rome, Jesus was one non violent example, and so they decided to leave when the Romans pulled out. Most of the indigenous subsistence farmers, craftsmen and small-time traders stayed put and continued their lives as before. Some of these inhabitants were early Christians and form the ancestors of today’s Palestinian Christians, others remained Jewish. Modern research suggests that when Islam arrived in the area in 638 AD many of these Jews converted and that they form a considerable part of today’s Palestinians.

An invention called ‘the Jewish people’
By Tom Segev
Tags: Israel

Israel’s Declaration of Independence states that the Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel and was exiled from its homeland. Every Israeli schoolchild is taught that this happened during the period of Roman rule, in 70 CE. The nation remained loyal to its land, to which it began to return after two millennia of exile. Wrong, says the historian Shlomo Zand, in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened - hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of national-identity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua. It’s all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel, he asserts.

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By P. T., December 21, 2008 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

The Palestinians (Canaanites) were in Palestine long before any Jew showed up—and certainly long before any eastern European Jew showed up.  What kind of political entity they want—their own state or whatever—is for them to decide.  The point is the indigenous Palestinian people were ethnically cleansed by the Zionist colonists.

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By Howard, December 21, 2008 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

History counts a little here.  Jews hae lived in the land of Israel without interruption for at least 2000 years. By comparson, the Arabs can clain an association of a little more than 1,000 years.  the only indepentant state in the Land of Israel was a Jewish monarchy tht lasted more than 400 years.  What historical right do Paslestinins have to independence given that they have never had a state in all of recorded history ?

They cannot govern themselves because they are Syrian,Egyptian or bedouin Arabs locked-up in refugee camps and given pseudo-national identity just to be the spearhead to destroy Israel. This is the desire of the Arab countries surrounding Israel who started the attack back in 1948 and are responsible for instigating the Pals’s yet today and basiclly making thm refugees to begin with.  They refuse to help them or resettle them or give them economic aid or help. just lip service.

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By Folktruther, December 21, 2008 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

Brewersstroupe—You don’t make a sufficient distinction between a power source, Zionism, and the rank and file people, Jews, who just wanted a place to live.  Those rank and file Jews, who were threatened with the loss of their livlihoods and lives, mostly would probably go anywhere, if they had a choice. 

Einstein went to the US in 1933 and Freud to England in 1938.  but most people are not intellectual celebraties, nor do they have enough money to bribe power, so when threatened they have to go where they can.  That by going to Israel they served the interests of Zionist power was probably the least of their concerns.

The vast majority of people don’t think in historical terms, they muddle through as best they can for themselves and their families.  To hold them responsble for the crimes of Zionism is like holding the German people responsible for the crimes of the Nazies.  It blames the evil of oppressive power on the rank and file population.

In a reasonable world people should have the right to go where they want and live where they want, as is now the case in the EU.  Since we don’t live in a reasonable world, restrictions must apply.  But to apply them to people threatened with death is perverse.

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By brewerstroupe, December 21, 2008 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

The Holocaust has, in the public’s mind, long been sufficient justification for the establishment of Israel. If, however, the public had been asked whether the Holocaust justified the displacement, without compensation, of up to a million Palestinians, the answer would have been no.
Zionists were aware of the problem.
Ben Gurion again:
“There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
– Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp. 121-122.

For this reason it was necessary to invent the myth of “a land without a people for a people without a land”. Compare this to the reports of early Zionists who went to Palestine:
In 1897, under order of First Zionist Congress president Theodor Herzl, two Austrian rabbis traveled to Palestine to explore the possibility of locating a Jewish state there. “The bride is beautiful,” the rabbis cabled Herzl, “but she is married to another man.”
Eliezer Ben Yehuda, a fanatical Zionist, was one of the settlers of the first wave. When his ship arrived in Jaffa in 1882, he found himself watching the Arab passengers on board and suddenly he realized that they were far more at home in the “Promised Land” than he was.  Eventually he found that he could not swallow his doubts so he left “Eretz Yisrael” and became a Territorialist, believing that the Jews should seek a country in a land other than Palestine.  (Karen Armstrong, Holy War: The Crusades and their Impact on Today’s World. Macmillan, London, 1988, pp. 60-64)
(I recommend this article to anyone whose curiosity has been aroused by this thread)

There is a wonderful archive of pictures of this “land without a people” here:

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By KDelphi, December 21, 2008 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

I hear this when a Zionist runs out of excuses (as you said, felicity). “Well, I guess you would like another holacaust or total destruction of the Jewish people”. Not all Jews are Zionists. (just as anti-Zionist does not equal anti-Jewish)

But, when it is pointed out that Zioniism is another form of Imperialism, that is what I have heard people fall back on.

Admitting that there was Zionist involvement with the Jewish emigration/lack of, before and after the war in Germany, is not the same as saying that the Holocaust did not happen. It is just saying that some Zionist Jews (as brewerstroupe and others have posted here) participated, in that, they seemed to only care about the Jews that wanted to emigrate to Israel/the Middle East. Some said things ilke “the old should perish to allow the young to start Zion” (I gave a couple links for it in my last post)

I dont know alot about this, but am trying to learn, and, it makes sense now..

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By Folktruther, December 21, 2008 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena- I always assumed that the most of the original immigrants to Isreal were Europeans, but this may not be true. 

Felicity, you are quite right of course that the Holicaust has become an ideological excuse for oppressing the Arabs and aggression against Muslim states.

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By felicity, December 21, 2008 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther etal - source is “History of the Islamic Peoples” by Carl Brockelmann with a review of events, 1939-1947 by Moshe Perlmann. 

I would like to add as an explanation of and perhaps excuse for some less than admiral behavior on the part of some Israelies. I have often thought that the ‘source’ of some Jewish thought even today is the Holocaust.  For some Jews it continues to be their subliminal reference point, the veiled vision that defines their politics’ angle of vision.

(I remember reading (somewhere?) that there are among some Jews a belief that the Jews have a right to claim all the land between the Mediterranean and the Tigris as rightfully theirs. A grandiosity engendered by a Holocaust?)

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By brewerstroupe, December 21, 2008 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Dear Cyrena. Nice to touch base with you again. I have been occupied with matters closer to home for some months. Good to see you still battling for truth.

The deeper one wades into the history of Zionism, the murkier the water gets. That it was a very well planned and organized movement, supported by very powerful people long before the advent of WWII is one of the salient facts that is not well known despite the volumes of literature published on the subject. To understand the complex symbiotic relationship of the Nazis and Zionists it is necessary to fully comprehend what is, in fact, a simple piece of logic known to any military historian/tactician.
A relatively small, well organized military force is perfectly capable of capturing territory and terrorizing its rightful owners out of possession but it is not capable of holding that territory as the numerically superior dispossessed become organized into a viable force. To hold territory, it is necessary to recruit a population to settle the land.

I cannot emphasize this enough. It is only when one grasps this concept that many pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Ben Gurion himself said:

“If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.”
– David Ben-Gurion (Quoted on pp 855-56 in Shabtai Teveth’s Ben-Gurion in a slightly different translation).

Strange as it may seem, Zionism had a strong interest in fostering anti-semitism. Much of what was published in the U.S. and Britain during the thirties was propaganda of the sort that led America into the recent occupation of Iraq and was denied by many German Jews. (Brenner deals with this) Germany was not the only target. Naim Giladi wrote of his experience as an Iraqi Jew:
The Lavon affair….. the fifties was designed to pressure on Egyptian Jews to move to Israel.
I may well be wrong but to my mind there seems to be only one explanation for the assassination of Lord Moyne…
.....Count Bernadotte:
.....the 1946 bombing of the British Embassy in Rome and the numerous letter bombs sent to British MPs…

....and that was to create a wave of anti-semitism and thereby encourage immigration to Israel.

The role of the British in the creation of Israel is often misunderstood. After a great deal of research, I wrote about it here:

Some little known facts:

“In 1937, Eichmann was sent to the British Mandate of Palestine with his superior Herbert Hagen to assess the possibilities of massive Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine. They landed in Haifa but could obtain only a transit visa so they went on to Cairo. There, they met Feival Polkes, an agent of the Haganah, who discussed with them the plans of the Zionists and tried to enlist their assistance in facilitating Jewish emigration from Europe.”

“In 1940, Lehi (Irgun) proposed intervening in World War II on the side of Nazi Germany. It offered assistance in “evacuating”.... the Jews of Europe, in return for Germany’s help in expelling Britain from Mandate Palestine.

Let me stress that anyone interested in these matters should do their own research and subject it to their own analysis. There may well be different conclusions to be drawn from the evidence. I have written mine simply to explain my unease with the idea that immigration to Israel was entirely justified by the actions of others, which is a part of the Israel narrative that I have come to question.

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By KDelphi, December 21, 2008 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

Howard—Yes, emigrate OR exterminate. I dont think that anyone is condoning it—but, like I said in an earlier post, it is good old Colonialism.

That is basically what the uS/UK did to the native population here. And the British to Palestinians. Israel was to become their Middle Eastern “island” to protect resources. And, now, it is the same thing for the Zionists, worldwide.

It is a small group of rich people, and, not all are Jews

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By Howard, December 21, 2008 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Well, that’s a new one; namely that the Nazi’s wanted the Jews to emigrate, not extirminate them.

Seven million men, women and children. Yes, as a policy of the Nazi government, namely outright destruction.

Contemptible words if I ever heard them. Would that all those murdered families could hear them.

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By Folktruther, December 21, 2008 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Brrewerstroupe—I don’t echo your concern of internatioal Jewry organizing a boycott and picking on poor Nazi Germany.  And one can view the oppresion of the German Jews ‘dispassionately’ more easily if one is counting the blows instead of experiencing them. 

That said, it is quite true that the original plan of the Nazies was the emigration of the Jews, not their extermination.  And this dovetailed with the Zionists, who wanted the Jews to have their own homeland somewhere.  I seem to remember some other place in Africa also mentioned.

But there were numerous factions of Zionists.  Noam Chomsky’s family, for example,espoused binational Zionism, and Chomsky worked on a racist kibbutz that discriminated against Arabs for a while with this ideology.  I had a friend whose parents were communist organizers who worked on a kibbutz before pursuing an academic career, a committed fighter against racism of all kinds.

You have to understand that the Ziofascism of the Likud Zionists was a small fraction of the ideology of most Jews, many of whom didn’t much care about Israel one way or another.  Who would ever have guessed that this faction would be funded and suppored by rich Jews to take over Israel and partially hijack the policy of the US.  And that apartheid Israel would come to ressemble the Nazi regime that massacred the Jews.

The Austrian writer John Musil, who was married to a Jewish woman and had to flee the Nazies when Austria was incorporated into the Reich, stated that we live in the shadow of impending historical events that we cannot envision at the time.  Israel has become a horrible perversion of a state, and one can now see historical influences that led to it.  But could one have seen them at the time?  I doubt it.

Still, its all blood under the bridge. The historical problem now is to disentangle anti-Zionisn from anti-Semitism and oppose it in Israel, the US and Europe.

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By mike112769, December 21, 2008 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

The West has taken it upon themselves to make money at the expense of others. It does not do our military-industrial complex any good whatsoever for peace to break out in the Mid-East. If Western leaders would slap Israel down, a healing process MIGHT begin. Don’t mistake me; I believe Israel has every right to exist. But at what cost? I also think that the rest of the Arab world is using the refugees as pawns against Israel. One of the pillars of islam is charity. Where is the charity of opened borders for their displaced muslim brothers? Why will the muslims not help their brothers? Western interference has helped no one but the West. How hard would it be for America , Britain, etc. to tell Israel when and where to stop this foolishness. God/Allah/Buddha/Whoever knows we do it to every other country on the planet; why not Israel? Surely the massive amount of money our “leaders” get from AIPAC and others doesn’t interfere in American politics! What about the christian zealots who think rebuilding Jerusalem will bring about the “End Times”?  Are these greedy nut jobs behind the whole mess? For oil and money and a personal belief? Something is not right. I have found that people, when not being messed with, usually manage to get along just fine with one another regardless of faith/politics/differences. People are people all over the world. We simply want to live and have a good life for our families. When government steps in, that’s where things start to go wrong. Israel wants to exist as a nation due to the holocaust. I have no doubt that the holocaust actually happened. The Jews say “Never again”! The rest of the world will not let this happen again either; regardless of how much territory you need for your “safety”. This also means we will not let it happen to any other people, including the Palestinians. Don’t you think it a bit strange that the West doesn,t try this blatant interference with countries who can be a true threat to them? The age of empires is over. I wish the American government could get that through it’s thick head and endorse Justice for EVERYONE, whether friend or foe.

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By Expat, December 21, 2008 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

felicity, December 20 at 10:10 am;

I’m late to the dance but; did you know Britain supplied Israel with 10 tons of heavy water for their bomb program?  Britain has never been an honest broker there.

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By cyrena, December 21, 2008 at 2:00 am Link to this comment

By Felicity:
•  “The British White Paper of 1939 sharply restricted Jewish immigration, a condition that was obviously ignored; in one of the earlier agreements the Jewish colonists were to settle only, creating their own state was forbidden.”
Thanks for this. It was another ‘ask and you shall receive’ moment, because I’m reading these comments backwards, and I first came across this question from Folktruther to you:
By Folktruther, December 20 at 10:57 am #
•  “Felicity, what is the source of the increase in between wars immigration of the Jewish population, and where did they come from.”
John G. Stoessinger (and other editors) do a good coverage of this in “Why Nations Go To War”.
But I couldn’t remember the details and I don’t have the book handy, so I couldn’t remember legislation that eventually capped, (or was intended to) what had become an overwhelming influx of Jews to Palestine in the years between the two World Wars.
So you’ve ‘prompted’ me that it was the British White Papers, and that is documented proof of the ‘rush’ on Palestine by Jews at the time, because it had in fact created a major panic, and obvious social upheaval. It didn’t start out that way, when there weren’t that many of them. But then, (and I don’t mean to be at all politically incorrect) more and more of them just kept coming and coming. So yeah, it DID create the same political and related social upheaval that would occur, particularly in terms of competition for natural resources like land and water in any society. It’s exactly what we’ve seen here and throughout the globe, a similarity that brewerstroupe noted in how so many Americans perceive immigrants here.

Meantime Folktruther, I can’t remember where ALL of them came from, because they came from different places at different times. I know that many of them came from other Middle Eastern (and yes, Arab) nations, where they weren’t undergoing any particular discomfort. (Keeping in mind that Arabs, Jews, and Christians lived together in the area in relative peace, prior to the Zionist takeover of Palestine.) Admittedly Jews and Christians were always a minority, but they WERE there, and scattered about. So some (Jews) came from Syria, and nearby environs, but they came from Russia and Eastern Europe, and places in Western Europe as well.

Herzl himself was a Hungarian Jew, but they came from all over the place, because that was the point. It was always the intent of the Zionist ideology to colonize the territory and designate it a Jewish (only) State.

You should check out the book.

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By KDelphi, December 21, 2008 at 1:10 am Link to this comment

Brewerstroupe—Here is a view by Yossi Schuartz. It is much in line with the views you stated (from what I could tell from your links and websites), but, seems to disagree as to whether Jewish people had a right to settle in Palestine, alongside Palestinians. Schuartz argues that, it is certainly not going to be possible, now.

Schuartz further argues that the Zionist approach to Palestine is not really much different than the atttempts at colonization by any colonial power, including Britian, and other European states.

The British issued the Balfour Declaration not only as a payment for years of the Zionist leadership’s support for its war against Imperial Germany, but as an instrument for the colonization of Palestine and the instrument for political control over the Palestinian population.

“Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad is rooted in present needs, in future hopes of far profounder import than the desires of the 700,000-plus Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.” (Cited in Harry N. Howard, The King Commission: An American Inquiry in the Middle East. Beirut: 1963.

“The Zionist dogma has incorporated most elements of the doctrines of anti-Semitism, starting from the argument of the incompatibility of the Jews and the Gentiles, through the call for the massive migration of the Jews to Palestine with the aim of establishing a Jewish State. Moses Hess, an associate in his youth of Marx and Engels, was the first theoretician of Zionism. In 1860 Hess wrote “Rome and Jerusalem”, which turned out to be a Zionist manifesto where he called for the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland. T In fact, it was precisely the same idea suggested by Lord Palmerston, in 1840, when Britain had established a consulate in Jerusalem, who proposed the founding of a European Jewish settler colony to “preserve the larger interests of the British Empire.” (Hidden History of Zionism, by Ralph Schoenman, Chapter 2)”

“The Zionists aim was to build a Jewish state and this could not be done without dispersing the local population and dispossessing them. From the very beginning the Zionists pretended that the country was empty and waiting for the dispersed Jews to return to their ancient home. In essence this was the same attitude of all the colonialists who claimed the doctrine of “discovery” over “empty” lands. The Zionists had for the Palestinians the same solution the Europeans had for the Indians whom they saw as a savage obstacle…”

“The Jewish people,” wrote Jabotinsky in the same way, “is a very bad people; its neighbors hate it and rightly so ... its only salvation lies in a general immigration to the land of Israel.” (Brenner, The Iron Wall). Is this Lenni Brenner?

The formation of a Jewish proletariat in agriculture and basic industry would be possible only through Jewish “territorial political autonomy”.

This position contradicted the long list of socialist leaders of Jewish origin (Rosa Luxemburg, Axelrod, Martov, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, etc…).

However, we live now in a different situation. The Israeli ruling class is in charge of a system mired in a very deep economic, social, and political crisis. The Israeli working class is under attack and sooner or later, will begin to fight back. Such a struggle will open the possibilities for many Jews to separate themselves from the American and the Israeli ruling class and allow them to identify themselves with working class internationalism.

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By cyrena, December 21, 2008 at 1:05 am Link to this comment

Re: By brewerstroupe, December 20 at 4:53 pm

Thanks for this brewerstroupe!! Very informative post, and I’m going to read more from the associated links.

I had no idea about the Zionist refugee training camps in Nazi Germany, or any of the associated details. It blows my mind to find this out, 
and connect the dots to what I DO already know of this history. (including the fact that the wording in 242 was very intentional.)

So, thanks for all of these references too!! Great tools for my further exploration. smile

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By Alaska numbnuts, December 20, 2008 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I posted this a few years ago but have to repeat it so my head doesn’t explode. I can’t understand why Israelis, with all their business sense and education, are not focusing on creating a modern regional economic powerhouse. They can, by decree, end the violence with Palestine. Palestinians want normal lives, as well.

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By Fadel Abdallah, December 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

So what’s new about Zionists, British and American colonialists stealing two important words from a document that has been proven to not be worth the ink consumed in writing it?!

They have engineered and executed a plan to steal a whole country from the natives who where the owners of that land. So in light of this, it’s only a minor crime that the expert criminals stole two words from a document to render it useless and meaningless!

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By Blackspeare, December 20, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

Individual acts of brotherhood are heartwarming nevertheless the Albania government in power during the Nazi occupation turned over Albania Jews to the Nazis.  The only Nazi occupied country that did not turn over the Jews was Bulgaria.  The Bulgarian King respected the Jews and refused to have his people round up the Jews.  The Nazis had to do it themselves.

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By brewerstroupe, December 20, 2008 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

In the early part of the twentieth century, the Zionist movement had one overwhelming problem - how to motivate sufficient people to leave their homes and migrate to the land they wished to colonize.
Lenni Brenner deals with this comprehensively in his “Zionism in the Age of the Dictators”

Regarded dispassionately, violent incidents against Jews in pre-war Germany amounted to no more than similar incidents that have erupted in both Britain and the U.S. such as the Brixton and Watts riots.

That the Nazi regime collaborated with Zionist interests is very well documented.
“During the 1930’s, in cooperation with the German authorities, Zionist groups organized a network of some 40 camps throughout Germany where prospective settlers were trained for their new lives in Palestine. As late as 1942 Zionists operated at least one of these officially authorized “Kibbutz” training camps over which flew the blue and white banner which would one day be adopted as the national flag of “Israel” “

...see Lucy Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945 (New York: Bantam, pb., 1976), pp 253-254; Max Nussbaum, “Zionism Under Hitler,” Congress Weekly (New York: American Jewish Congress), Sept. 11, 1942.; F. Nicosia, The Third Reich (1985), pp 58-60, 217.; Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement (1984), p. 175.

That such riots should occur is understandable in the context of the times. The Weimar Republic had collapsed, International Jewry had organized a boycott of Germany see “Judea Declares War on Germany!” – London Daily Express headline, March 24th, 1933.

See also:

It is not difficult to understand why there was “widespread oppostion (sic) of Jews in pre-war Germany”.
My point is that it was little different to the widespread opposition to immigrants in the U.S. today. It was, however, capitalized on by Herzl, Weissman etc to further the Palestine enterprise.

Whatever one’s views on the pre-war situation in Germany, the question remains.

By what principle of justice can refugees dispossess another people and take their place?
The United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees states rather categorically:

Article 2. General obligations

Every refugee has duties to the country in which he finds himself, which require in particular that he conform to its laws and regulations as well as to measures taken for the maintenance of public order.

I suspect that we are actually in accord here. That Jews were entitled to refugee status is not seriously in dispute. Many people interpret this to mean that they had a right to immigrate to Palestine. This, given the Zionists stated intention to rule Palestine, is fallacious. The first entitlement of European Jews was to return to their homes and property in security. In fact, Palestine was a far less secure environment for Jews than post-war Germany.

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By bertie, December 20, 2008 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think going back only to ‘67 makes much sense, and I would guess the key players would admit the same if pressed.  It’s like arguing about the legitimacy of our presence in Iraq based only on the latest security agreement…

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By P. T., December 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

“referring to The Wall—you obviously do not mean THE “Wall” of the former Temple, right? You mean a fence or Wall that they have built since?”

I mean the wall Israel is building that cuts through the West Bank, not the ancient wall where the religious pray.

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By Robert, December 20, 2008 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 2008

Waging Peace
Muslims Who Saved Jews in WWII

“Agim Sinani holding a photo of his father, Abaz, who took in a Jewish family of three when Agim was nine, including Gertrude, who went to school with Agim

THE WASHINGTON, DC Jewish Community Center hosted an opening reception on Sept. 2 for an unusual exhibit featuring photos of Albanian Muslims who saved their Jewish fellow countrymen and others during World War II. Beside each remarkable black-and-white portrait was a vignette describing the stories of Jews fleeing the European Holocaust, and their Albanian rescuers.

Visitors filed into the community center’s Theater J to hear New York photographer Norman H. Gershman talk about his five-year “project of love.” At the beginning of World War II, he explained, Hitler’s army swept into southeast Europe and wiped out most of the Jewish populations in the Balkan states. But in the predominantly Muslim country of Albania—as well as in the Serbian province of Kosovo—Muslims took Jews into their homes, gave them Muslim names and papers, and disguised them as members of their families. Albanian Christians also took in Jews. If homes could not be found for them, Albanians placed Jews in hospitals behind doors marked “typhoid fever, quarantined.”

Gershman, who heard this little known story soon after the 9/11 attacks, saw in these Muslims’ selfless acts a testament to the “goodness of people” and resolved to tell their story. He hopes his exhibit counteracts the growing paranoia with regard to Muslims. “Not a single Albanian Jew—nor any of the thousands of other Jews who sought refuge in Albania—was given up to the Nazis by Albania’s Muslims during World War II,” Gershman said.

He traveled to Albania numerous times and interviewed some 70 families to discover their views on religion, faith and war. He learned about besa, a code of honor that Albanians take very seriously and which is treated as an Islamic duty. It demands that one take responsibility for the lives of others in their times of need. These are good people who felt obligated to help, Gershman said, even though if they were caught the Nazis would kill their whole family. “I defy anyone to say these people are terrorists or terrorism sympathizers. There are good people in the world, righteous people,” he insisted.

Jason Williams is producing a documentary film narrated by Gershman, with a summer 2009 release date, which records the oral histories of those who sheltered the Jews, as well as the people they saved. Williams showed a trailer to “God’s House: Muslims Who Saved Jews During WWII” before opening a question-and-answer period with Gershman and Joanna Newman, a survivor who, ironically, lives in Silver Spring, MD, one subway stop from Williams’ office in Takoma Park, MD.

When asked why his photos concentrate on Albania only, and also what happened to Jews in Kosovo, Gershman answered that some were arrested and taken to camps but others were saved. “It was a mixed bag,” he said.

There has been a Jewish presence in Albania since 1492, when Muslims and Jews alike were driven from Spain. After the Nazi invasion some 2,000 Jews, including 1,800 refugees from other European countries, were sheltered in Albania. “Albania is the only European country that saw an increase in its Jewish population during the war,” Gershman said. “My portraits of these people, and their stories, are meant to reflect their humanity, their dignity, their religious and moral convictions, and their quiet courage.”

This fall Gershman is publishing a book, Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II. The Jewish Community Center exhibit runs through Nov. 30. For more information about Gershman and the Eye Contact Foundation he founded to support this project, visit <>.”

Delinda C. Hanley

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By Folktruther, December 20, 2008 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

BreuerStrupe—There is much evidence AGAINST offical oppression of Jews in pre WW2 Nazi Germany?  Always good to know where you are coming from. Jabotinsky was a fascist too who formed a movement to subjugate the Palestinians. He spawned the Likud terroists whose values now rule apartheid Israel.

The moral right of people who are being threatened with being killed in their native land to immigrateis uncontested by those with any moral sense or sense of decency.

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By KDelphi, December 20, 2008 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

brewerstroupe—I think (I should let him speak for himself), what Folktruther meant by it , was that the problem was not so much Jews moving to Palestinian land, it was the forced evactuuatian of Palestinaians and occupation of most of their land.

Sure, all invasion and forced immigration is wrong. But, he-he, think about where we would be (I would be better off—my dad wouldve stayed in Scandanavia)

I agree with alot of what you say, and, the quote is unforgiveable. I just think that you mistook the point. Maybe not.

I think most would agrere that there was “widespread oppostion of Jews in pre-war Germany”—to put it mildly!! (do you have a link or book, that posits that there was not? ) The discussion, I believe, on this site, anyway, is whether or not the Jewish people should be WHERE they are.Which displaces Palestinians.

The current setllements are illegal—no question.

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By brewerstroupe, December 20, 2008 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

“if they came from Nazi Germany their immigration was justifiable.”

May I ask Folktruther, what legal or moral principle justifies forcing an “immigrant” population onto an unwilling and blameless third party?

Zionism had declared its intention of rule in Palestine. In 1923, Jabotinsky said:

“We cannot give any compensation for Palestine, neither to the Palestinians nor to other Arabs. Therefore, a voluntary agreement is inconceivable. All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population.”
The Iron Wall – “O Zheleznoi Stene” – Rassvet, November 4, 1923.

The Palestinian people, well aware of Zionist intent, were adamantly opposed to mass immigration of Jews and with very good reason.

Even if there was widespread official oppression of Jews in pre-war Germany and there is much evidence to the contrary, how does one justify the invasion and subjugation of a people who had nothing whatsoever to do with that oppression?

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By KDelphi, December 20, 2008 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

“ALL the occupied territories.  The matter was dealt with recently in the World Court decision on the illegality of The Wall.  The Wall is illegal for being built on Palestinian land. “

P.T.—It is true.The US runs into difficulty, in that, the US, too, is occupying lands where it is are illegal for us to even be there.

I know that this is dense (please dont say so—I just did, and I am trying to learn about this stuff—it is complicated!), but, referring to The Wall—you obviously do not mean THE “Wall” of the former Temple, right? You mean a fence or Wall that they have built since?


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By John F. Butterfield, December 20, 2008 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

The words “the” and “all” or whatever are not needed.

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By Folktruther, December 20, 2008 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Felicity, what is the source of the increase in between wars immigration of the Jewish population, and where did they come from.  At that point they weren’t necessarily colonists and if they came from Nazi Germany their immigration was justifiable.

I suppose their orginal sin was demanding their own state when the majority population was Arab.

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By P. T., December 20, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Legally, this is a non-issue.  The World Court has already ruled on the matter:  Israel must withdraw from ALL the occupied territories.  The matter was dealt with recently in the World Court decision on the illegality of The Wall.  The Wall is illegal for being built on Palestinian land.  There have been numerous U.N. resolutions as well.

Israel is not in the occupied territories because of a document’s wording.  Israel would be there regardless.  It is in those territories to grab Palestinian land and water.

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By felicity, December 20, 2008 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Fascinating, Mr. Fisk.  Between the two world wars the number of Jewish colonists in Palestine had risen from 70,000 to about 700,000.  Jewish villages had increased from 50 to 150.  The ratio of all others and the Jews had decreased from ten to one in 1918 to about two to one in 1938. 

The British White Paper of 1939 sharply restricted Jewish immigration, a condition that was obviously ignored;  in one of the earlier agreements the Jewish colonists were to settle only, creating their own state was forbidden. It would seem that the wording of a resolution may be a handy way to get around the intention of a resolution, but in the end actually unnecessary.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, December 20, 2008 at 10:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I remember it, FRENCH is the official International language.

And as a result, UN resolution 242 was written in French, where as all 101 students remember, the article “le” or “la” precedes the desired word, and can be included as a “the” or not. It is not definitive.

So it comes down not to the word “all”, but whether the phrase “withdrawal from territories” is more accurate than “withdrawal from THE territories”.

The former implies some; the latter implies ALL.

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