Ok

En poursuivant votre navigation sur ce site, vous acceptez l'utilisation de cookies. Ces derniers assurent le bon fonctionnement de nos services. En savoir plus.

lundi, 14 novembre 2016

"Against Our Better Judgment" The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel,

Zionism-1124.jpg

Review:
"Against Our Better Judgment"
The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, by Alison Weir
 
Ex: http://www.unz.com
 
weir.jpgAlison Weir's relatively short book covers the history of Zionism in the United States from the last decades of the 19th century until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. (She is working on a second volume that will carry this history to the present.) Its brevity does not mean, however, that it is in any sense superficial, as it brings out key historical information, all well-documented, that sets the stage for the troubled world in which we now live. While histories of Zionism have usually focused on Europe, Weir shows that American adherents of this ideology have been far more important than generally has been recognized

The basic theses of this book are encapsulated in the title and subtitle. The history of how American Zionists used America to create Israel was “hidden” in two respects. First, it was “hidden” in the sense that American Zionists often worked behind the scenes. More importantly, however, that history is known but has been kept hidden from the general public, who rely on the mainstream media, and exists almost exclusively in works produced by small publishers—often of a scholarly bent—read by only a few. As Weir points out, those who have tried to bring this information to the general public have suffered both venomous verbal attacks and economic threats that quickly silence the message and often destroy the messenger. This treatment obviously serves to prevent others from doing likewise—“Pour encourager les autres.”

America’s support for Israel ran “against our better judgment” in the sense that American foreign policy experts of the era covered by this work recognized that support for Zionist goals would damage American national interest and that this support only came about because of the political power of American Zionism.

While Weir is not a professional historian, she has intensively studied the literature on this subject for years, much of it rather arcane, as well as spending considerable time traveling in the region. Having a Ph.D. in history myself, I would like to point out that the writing of history does not require any specialized talents as are needed in such fields as theoretical physics or medicine, so that intelligent, hardworking laypersons can often produce works of great value. Weir does not purport to have pored over primary sources to discover new information, which is the hallmark of the professional historian’s craft, but rather synthesizes information from existing published studies that are largely unknown to the general public. Moreover, she brings to her work knowledge of the land and the peoples which she has picked up from her travels.

For those who still might find her background insufficient for her task, it should be further added that Israel apologist Alan Dershowitz, who lacks as far as I can tell any college degree in history, manages to produce works on Israel that are picked up by major publishers who would not think of publishing anything done by most academic historians. It might be added that academic historians, who specialize in monographs, would be loath to produce a comparable account of this subject from Weir’s perspective, since it would do little for their careers and might serve as their professional death knell.

While the book’s narrative is very readable and the key points can easily be digested by the average reader, it is nonetheless well-documented. To satisfy the more academic reader, the book has a section of extended endnotes longer than the narrative. I found the endnotes section valuable not only for confirming and expanding upon the content of the narrative but also in serving as a point of departure for additional research. I often switched from my Kindle book to a Web search, coming up with names of related books and articles that I would like to peruse, should I ever have the time to venture to a research library.

The work goes over a large number of little known but very important topics to demonstrate the powerful influence of Zionism over American foreign policy. Space, naturally, precludes me from discussing all the topics in detail so I have focused on those which seem to deal most directly with the major themes of the book.

The early political influence of Zionism is illustrated by the fact that in 1887 a Jewish American was made ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which then controlled Palestine and was thus considered by Zionists as the key country with which to deal. This set the precedent of a Jewish ambassador to this country that was continued for the next 30 years, by which time the Zionist search for outside support had turned elsewhere.

The book brings up the central importance of Louis Brandeis and his disciple Felix Frankfurter in advancing the interests of Zionism. Brandeis was a noted social and economic reformer who was a Zionist and happened to be very close to President Wilson, who would put him on the Supreme Court in 1916, the first Jew to hold such a position. Even after joining the Supreme Court, Brandeis used this access to Wilson to promote Zionist interests, sometimes acting as a go-between for Wilson and British Zionists.

Brandeis would head the international Zionist Central Office during the teens but, perhaps even more significant, he would be a leading member of a secret society, the Parushim, the Hebrew word for “Pharisees” and “separate,” which covertly advanced the interests of Zionism in the United States and Europe. The Parushim was founded in 1913 by a University of Wisconsin philosophy professor, Horace M. Kallen, who ironically is considered to be the father of cultural pluralism in the United States. Obviously this idea conflicted completely with his support for the creation of a Jewish exclusivist state, but it is a contradiction that is rather commonplace among many Jews and liberal gentiles alike.

kallen.jpgKallen was regarded by some as first promoting the idea for what became the Balfour Declaration, which would set the stage for the modern state of Israel. He promoted this scheme in 1915 when the U.S. was still a neutral. He told a British friend that this would serve to bring the United States into World War I. It should be pointed out that at that time, despite serious diplomatic issues regarding German submarine warfare, the great majority of the American people wanted to avoid war and Wilson would be re-elected president in November 1916 on the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Kallen’s idea for advancing the Zionist goal, however, soon gained traction.

Frustrated in their efforts to achieve a Jewish homeland in Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, the American Zionists turned toward Britain to bring this about. In 1916 as World War I dragged on indecisively, Zionist leaders promised the British that in return for a Jewish homeland in Palestine—which the British could expect to gain from the Ottomans as one of the spoils of a victorious war—American Zionists would work to bring the United States into the war on behalf of Britain and its allies. Many British strategists at the time, such as Winston Churchill, believed that such an event would turn the tide for victory. Weir holds that it “appears” that the Zionists’ activity was one factor in bringing America into the war [1] and cites a number a number of reputable books and leading contemporary figures—such as then-British Prime Minister Lloyd George—that held that Zionists carried out their side of the bargain by pushing the United States into war.

The Balfour Declaration was a letter, dated November 2, 1917 (and coming out in the press one week later), from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Walter Rothschild, a British Zionist leader, officially stating that Britain would use its “best endeavours to facilitate the achievement” of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine.

Now even to give attention to the Balfour Declaration in a history of World War I is somewhat outré; to claim that it caused the United States to enter war is one of those ultra-taboos. Although my Ph.D. was in American history with a focus on diplomacy (and a minor in 20th Century European history), never did I come into contact with anything about the Balfour Declaration in my college studies (which, granted, did not deal with the Middle East). I only knew about it from reading what the mainstream historical profession would regard as disreputable authors.

Reference to the Balfour Declaration and the Zionist role in it was considered one of the daring things done by the iconoclastic Israeli “New Historian” Tom Segev who discussed it in his book, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate (2000). In a lecture on his book that I heard at the University of Maryland in 2002, Segev, though acknowledging that the British goal was winning over Jews to their side [2], derided the idea of any real Jewish power, attributing that mode of thinking to “anti-Semitism.” In 2010, Segev expressed this view in a review of a new book on the Balfour Declaration: “Obviously there was no ‘Jewish power’ controlling world affairs, but Weizmann [3] successfully pretended that the Jews were in fact turning the wheels of history. For once, the anti-Semitic image of the Jews proved useful — they were believed to be so maliciously dangerous that one would do best to acquire them as allies rather than as enemies.”[4]

segev.jpgAlthough Segev is a daring historian who often rejects the Zionist myths on the creation of Israel, in this case he essentially relies on a classic Zionist-constructed strawman, which involves greatly exaggerating the view that the Zionists (and Jews in general) don’t like. It is highly doubtful that the British foreign office believed that Jews were so powerful as to be “turning the wheels of history.” (If that had been the case, one would think that the British would have offered Jews much more than Palestine from the very start of the war.) Furthermore, as noted earlier, Weir does not subscribe to anything like this Zionist strawman in regard to the Balfour Declaration, or anything else, I should add.

However, what is important is not only whether the American Zionists were able to bring the United States into a war, but that they made a solemn promise to a foreign country that they would try to do so. As a matter of fact, since Zionists such as Brandeis knew much about Wilson’s thinking and undoubtedly were kept abreast on what Germany was likely to do (it being well-known that Germany was suffering from the British “starvation” blockade and that politically powerful voices there wanted to retaliate by pursuing a harsher submarine policy toward neutrals such as the U.S.), they may have realistically thought in 1916 that there was a good chance that the United States would shortly go to war whether they interceded or not, which meant it would be a wise move to make such a deal and be able to get credit for a result that was not of their own making.[5]

It is also of significance that the American Zionists promised to push the U.S. into war not because they believed that it was in their own country’s national interest—as was the case for a number of prominent Americans such as former President Theodore Roosevelt—but solely for what they considered to be in the interests of world Jewry. Ascribing “dual loyalty” to any Jews is regarded as a classic anti-Semitic canard. In this case, however, the American Zionists’ position did not even rise to the level of “dual loyalty,” being purely singular in that it evinced no apparent concern whatsoever for American interests.

Linked to the Balfour Declaration, Weir points out that “American Zionists may also have played a role in preventing an early peace with the Ottoman Empire.”[6] In 1917, the U.S. State Department had heard that the Ottomans were becoming weary of the war, and it decided to send a secret mission to explore the possibility of detaching the Ottoman Empire from its alliance with the other Central Powers. Such a separate peace would likely leave the Ottoman Empire (or Turkey as it would become shortly)[7] in control of its Asian possessions, which would mean that since Britain would not gain Palestine, no home for Jews could emerge there.

This mission was headed by former Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who, though Jewish, was not a Zionist. However, he was persuaded by Zionists such as Brandeis protégé Felix Frankfurter, who was a member of the mission’s delegation, to abandon the effort. In a meeting with Morgenthau, Chaim Weizmann, a leading British Zionist who was alerted by American Zionists as to the danger posed by Morgenthau’s mission, also played a major role in stopping the potentially-peacemaking mission, as is indicated in Weir’s endnotes.[8]

Other obstacles to the Zionists’ goal in Palestine would also arise soon after the end of the war in November 1918. Important Christian Americans who were intimately involved in the Near East and supported self-determination for the Arabs recognized that this could not take place if the Zionists were able to set up an ethnic Jewish enclave on Arab land. They went to the Paris Peace Conference which, among a number of issues stemming from World War I, would deal with the territorial settlement.

As a result of the divergent views on the future status of the territory to be given up by the Ottoman Empire, President Wilson decided to send an investigatory commission to the region, which became known as the King-Crane Commission.[9] In line with Wilson’s goal of national self-determination, the commission sought to discover how the region’s inhabitants wanted to be governed, and they overwhelmingly expressed opposition to a Jewish home in Palestine.

kingcrane.png

Weir points out that “Zionists through Brandeis dominated the situation, however, and the report was suppressed until after the Peace Accords were enacted.”[10] At the Paris Peace Conference, Weir writes, “[t]he U.S. delegation was forced to follow Zionist directives.”[11]

kingcranebook.jpgOne minor criticism here is that the reader might incorrectly get the impression that the King-Crane Commission dealt solely with Palestine, while it actually involved all the territories severed from, or expected to be severed from, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey).[12] The issue of Palestine made up about half of the report on “Syria,” which also included present day Syria and Lebanon. The other two geographical sections of the report were “Mesopotamia” and “Non-Arabic speaking portions of the Former Ottoman Empire (Asia Minor).”[13] Thus the suppression of the commission’s report was likely due not only to opposition by Zionists, but also to other interested parties disturbed by its findings in areas other than Palestine. These parties would include the British, French and Greeks.

In regard to the report’s description of Palestine, however, Weir’s presentation was completely on the mark. The King-Crane report reflected extreme opposition to Zionism expressed by those Muslims and Christians who lived in Palestine as well as by those who lived in neighboring areas.

Weir points out that during the inter-war period, when Palestine was governed by Britain under a League of Nations mandate, which was intended to prepare the country for eventual independence, the American Zionists moved away from openly pushing for the establishment of an exclusivist Jewish state in Palestine since this ran counter to the temper of the times—which reflected American opposition to militant nationalism and dual loyalty, and respect for majority rule and national self-determination. Instead, Zionists focused on the development of Jewish institutions in Palestine, which would serve as a basis for a Jewish state. Zionist leaders, such as David Ben-Gurion, still viewed American support as key to their establishment of a Jewish state.

With World War II on the horizon, Zionists began to return directly to their goal of a Jewish state. A precursor of the current Israel lobby, the American Zionist Emergency Council (AZEC), began in 1939. In order to pressure the U.S. government to support a Zionist state, AZEC worked to establish more than 400 local committees under 76 state and regional branches to promote this goal. These committees distributed Zionist pamphlets, circulated petitions, and engaged in letter writing campaigns to promote the Zionist cause. AZEC also funded books, articles and academic studies for this same purpose.

By the end of World War II, Zionist efforts gave them considerable power in American politics. In order to appeal to the general American populace, they stressed the needs of the many Jewish European refugees, connecting the refugee problem to Palestine, the latter destination purportedly being the only solution to their existing homelessness. By this humanitarian argument, Zionists could thus appeal to many Americans who did not necessarily believe the Zionists’ contention that Jews had a historical right to control Palestine.

As Britain opted to turn over the troublesome issue of Palestine to the United Nations in 1947, Zionists pushed for a partitioning of Palestine between Jews and the indigenous Palestinian population. The partition plan discriminated in favor of the Zionists, since while the Jewish population comprised about 30 percent of Palestine’s population, the plan would award them with 55 percent of the land. And the Zionists’ real goal was not to be content with that amount but to also grab the remainder.

U.S. State Department officials strenuously opposed the partition plan, looking upon this approach as both contrary to America’s professed principle of national self-determination and its vital interests in the Middle East, where a vast majority of the governments and their people were vehemently opposed to Zionism. A leading State Department official in this opposition was Loy Henderson, Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs. Zionists viciously attacked him, demanding his removal and even threatening his family. The State Department chose to move him elsewhere and in 1948 President Truman named him Ambassador to Nepal, which kept him far away from anything to do with Palestine.

Removing Henderson, however, did not make the State Department favorable toward transforming any part of Palestine into a Jewish state. Among the higher level opponents were the head of the State Department‘s Division of Near Eastern Affairs, Gordon P. Merriam; Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, who later became Secretary of State; and George F. Kennan, the State Department‘s Director of Policy Planning, noted as the architect of America’s containment policy against Soviet Communism.

The State Department was not the only part of the executive branch of the United States government that opposed the Zionist goal for Palestine. The newly-created CIA reported in 1947 that the Zionists were seeking goals that would be harmful to both Jews and “the strategic interests of the Western powers in the Near and Middle East.”[14] The Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed partition and expressed the prescient fear that the Zionist aim was to involve the U.S. in their conflict with their Middle East enemies.

Despite this opposition from a consensus of foreign policy and national security experts within his own government, Truman opted to support the Zionist partition plan for political reasons, relying heavily on the views of his domestic political advisor, Clark Clifford, who maintained that the Jewish vote and financial backing were necessary to win the presidential election in 1948. Truman‘s Secretary of State George Marshall, noted for the famed Marshall Plan that helped to rebuild devastated Western Europe, and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal remained staunchly opposed to what they regarded as Truman’s willingness to sacrifice vital national security interests on the altar of domestic politics.

Weir points out that a number of wealthy Zionist Jews provided financial support for Truman’s presidential campaign in 1948, which may put us in mind of Zionist mega-donors of today such as Sheldon Adelson. One of these backers was Abraham Feinberg who funded Truman’s epic whistle-stop train campaign. Truman would give Feinberg credit for his victory. As quid pro quo, the Truman administration remained inert when the CIA later reported that Feinberg was involved in illegal gun-running to Zionist groups in Palestine.

paljord.jpg

I should add that while Truman has become something of an idol for recent historians, he was looked upon during his time as being driven by what would benefit his own political interest. As the redoubtable journalist H. L. Mencken quipped about Truman’s 1948 campaign: “If there had been any formidable body of cannibals in the country he would have promised them with free missionaries, fattened at the taxpayer’s expense.” In Truman’s defense, however, it should be pointed out that two of his key opponents in the 1948 presidential election, Republican Thomas Dewey and the left-wing Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace, Franklin Roosevelt’s former Vice-President, were both staunchly pro-Zionist.[15]

Weir describes a number of Zionists who maintained personal contact with Truman and likely played a role in shaping his policies. David K. Niles, Truman’s executive assistant, was regularly briefed by the head of the Washington Office of the Zionist Organization of America and was believed to be passing top-secret information to the Israeli government. Truman’s long-time friend and former business partner, Eddie Jacobson, was a staunch Zionist with close access to Truman who would describe his information to be of “decisive importance.”[16] Sam Rosenman, a political advisor to Truman, screened State Department memos to Truman.

Although the United States had announced its support for the partition of Palestine, it was apparent that the partition plan still lacked the necessary two-thirds vote to pass in the UN General Assembly. Consequently, the Zionists were able to get a delay in the vote and used that time to intimidate or bribe opponents to reverse their positions.

For example, Weir notes that Wall Street financier and perennial presidential adviser Bernard Baruch threatened war-torn France that it would be denied aid from the United States if it voted against partition. David Niles was able to get rubber baron Harvey Firestone to tell the Liberian president that he would terminate his planned expansion in his country if it did not vote in favor of partition. Haiti was promised economic aid if it would change its vote and support the measure. Costa Rica’s President Jose Figueres was said to have received a blank checkbook to get his country’s vote.

As a result of this behind the scenes skullduggery, the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947, voted in favor of the adoption and implementation of the partition plan as UN General Assembly Resolution 181. Although this resolution is widely believed in the United States to have created Israel,[17] Weir correctly points out that it “was of limited (if any) legal impact” since General Assembly resolutions, as opposed to those of the Security Council, are not binding on member states. Although the resolution recommended that the UN Security Council implement the partition, it never did.[18]

The effect of the General Assembly’s resolution, however, was to increase the fighting in Palestine. While the Zionist myth would have it that the Jews in Palestine were simply a peaceful community set upon by violent Arabs intent on genocide, Weir points out that Zionist military forces had been covertly preparing for war for some time. They had amassed extensive armaments, some of it coming illicitly from the U.S., and their troop numbers exceeded those of their foes even after five Arab governments had joined the fray. The traditional Zionist portrayal of Israel’s war for independence (which, of course, prevented independence for the Palestinians) as a David versus Goliath conflict in which the Jews miraculously overcame overwhelming odds is pure fiction, but it is still believed in many quarters today and continues to generate sympathy for Israel. On May 15, 1948, Zionists announced the establishment of their new state of Israel, for which they did not establish any boundaries.

sniego.jpgA quick aside here: somewhat ironically, in my view, Weir barely touches on the United States decision to recognize Israel. Moreover, what does exist is largely in the endnotes. Although there will be a second volume to Weir’s history, and the cut-off point for this volume has to be somewhere, still the fact that the book does make reference to events in 1948 would seem to have made it appropriate to discuss in some detail the issue of America’s quick recognition of Israel.

A number of interlocking organizations operated in the U.S. to raise money for Zionist paramilitary groups in Palestine, though this goal was kept secret. These organizations were under the direction of the leader of the Irgun Delegation, Hillel Kook, who operated under the name of Peter Bergson. During World War II, these organizations purported to be trying to alert people to the genocide of European Jews and trying to rescue those still alive. By promoting this purpose these organizations were able to attract substantial public support, including from those who would be repulsed by their funding of terrorist activities, which, Weir implies, was their real intent. The latter, she maintains, was made manifest by the organizations’ failure to actually rescue Jews from Europe.

The Irgun group engaged in numerous public activities to raise money, one of the most successful being a pageant entitled “We Will Never Die!” which, woven within the backdrop of the Nazi genocide, celebrated the Jewish contribution to Western civilization. Written by Ben Hecht, an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, the pageant included such Broadway and Hollywood celebrities of the era as Edward G. Robinson, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Leonard Bernstein. Forty thousand attended the extravaganza’s New York performances. It went on to play in a number of other large American cities. The group produced a number of other plays and rallies, one of which featured a young Marlon Brando, and raised $1 million.[19]

Some American Zionists, Weir observes, actually planned terrorist activities outside of Palestine in order to influence developments there. One such terrorist activity conceived by a group of American Zionists headed by an Orthodox Rabbi named Baruch Korff consisted of a plan to drop bombs along with threatening leaflets on the British foreign office in London, or anywhere in London if that were too difficult. The airplane pilot sought for this task, however, went to the Paris Police—he and Korff both being in France at the time—and Korff was arrested. Powerful people rushed to Korff’s defense and the charges were dropped. Korff thus was able return to his former activities in America as if nothing had happened. With this particular event thrown down the Orwellian “memory hole,” Korff resurfaced over two decades later as a public figure close to President Richard Nixon, influencing the latter’s Middle East policies.

The amount of money raised for Zionist groups during in the United States during these years is impossible to calculate accurately, but it would be enormous. Weir writes that between 1939 and May 1948 the Jewish Agency for Israel alone raised the equivalent of $3.5 billion in today’s dollars.

David Ben-Gurion, then de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, realized that the international concern for Jewish refugees could be used to advance the cause of a Jewish state by making it appear that no other safe refuges for Jews existed. Weir illustrates this deception by a discussion of the famous ship Exodus, which carried Holocaust survivors to Palestine when the British were not allowing illegal immigration there.

Weir points out that what is generally unknown to the public is that the French were willing to take in those Exodus refugees but Ben-Gurion rejected that solution, forcing those survivors to remain on board the ship for seven months. Weir quotes historian Baruch Kimmerling on the significance of the Exodus affair: “Ben-Gurion‘s strategy in the Exodus affair paid off. The fate of the refugee ship attracted considerable and sympathetic attention around the world, and served the Zionist cause well. Few observers at the time knew that many of the refugees from the Exodus had applied for immigration visas to the United States, and were hardly anxious to settle in Israel . . . . By dramatizing the fate of the survivors, in whom he had little interest except as future residents of the state he was building . . . Ben-Gurion helped to make Israel the world’s chief power broker over Jewish affairs.”[20]

urisexo.jpgWeir includes a brief reference to Leon Uris’s bestselling 1958 novel on the Exodus ship, and though it falls outside the chronological purview of this volume, I would add that the impact of the already mythologized Exodus event was greatly magnified by Uris’s book, which sold over 7 million copies and was turned into a blockbuster movie in 1960 by Otto Preminger, a leading film director of the era. The film has been identified by many commentators as having greatly enhanced support for Israel in the United States by Jews as well as gentiles and in the view of some scholars this movie has had a lasting effect on how Americans view the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Weir even acknowledges that it had initially shaped her thinking on the subject.[21]

While the pro-Zionist propaganda that inundated the American media played up the existence of Jewish refugees who allegedly sought to come to Israel, there was little popular attention paid toward the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were being driven from their homeland as a result of Zionist massacres and other forcible expulsion measures. A State Department study in March 1949 found the American public was “unaware of the Palestine refugee problem, since it has not been hammered away at by the press or radio.”[22]

To underscore the importance of what Weir presents on this subject, it should be pointed out that until fairly recently, Israel’s denial of ever having expelled the Palestinians dominated the public discourse in the U.S. It was alleged that when Arab armies were about to invade the newly-declared state of Israel, Palestinians left their homes in the new Israel at the behest of their leaders, expecting to return with the victorious Arab armies. Beginning in the 1980s, however, Israel’s so-called “New Historians,” relying on newly released Israeli documents, exploded this myth. They concluded that the major cause of Palestinian flight was Israeli military action, which included terrorist massacres and the fear of them.

Even without the discovery of this Israeli documentary evidence, or any other documentary evidence for that matter, the use of the cui bono test would strongly point to Zionist culpability for the removal of the native Palestinians. For the Zionists planned to create a state that was both democratic and Jewish. This would be impossible if a large number of non-Jewish people, who were largely hostile to Zionism, resided within the country. From this fact, it would seem reasonable to conclude that the emptying of Palestine in 1948 was not a serendipitous development from the perspective of the Zionists, but one that was intentionally brought about by them.

Weir observes that U.S. State Department experts at the time were aware of Israel’s inhumane actions and sought to take action to at least moderate Israel’s effort to achieve a permanent removal of Palestinians. The State Department threatened to withhold $49 million of unallocated funds from an Export-Import Bank loan to Israel if it did not allow at least 200,000 refugees to return to their homes. Although Truman sympathized with the Palestinians’ plight, and in early 1948 even briefly considered backtracking from the partition and supporting a UN trusteeship for the entirety of Palestine, he ultimately prevented the State Department’s move from being implemented.

Weir points out that those in the mainstream media who attempted to alert the American people to the reality of the dispossession of the Palestinian people were effectively prevented from doing so by pro-Zionists. The latter relied on hurling the career-destroying charge of “anti-Semitism” and threatening economic measures to harm any media outlet that would dare to disseminate information they deemed to be too negative toward Israel.

The individual whom the Zionists caused to fall the farthest was Dorothy Thompson. Weir deserves much credit here for pulling this once well-known figure out of the Orwellian memory hole. Thompson happens to have been one of the principal figures in my doctoral dissertation titled, ”The Intellectual Wellsprings of American World War II Interventionism, 1939-1941.”[23] And I have added a few additional points to what Weir has in her book to illustrate the high reputation Thompson had at one time.

Thompson was an early and persistent critic of Nazism. She had an interview with Hitler in 1931 before he had become German Chancellor, which was made into a book. Thompson portrayed Hitler and Nazism in a negative light and in 1934, the now Nazi government of Germany expelled her when she attempted to visit the country. From 1934 onward, the bulk of her writing dealt with the danger posed by Nazism to the Western democracies. After the start of World War II in Europe in September 1939, Thompson was a staunch interventionist who initially advocated greater American aid to the allies but by the latter part of 1941 she was advocating American entrance into the war.

doroth.jpgIn 1939, Time Magazine named Thompson the second most popular and influential woman in America behind Eleanor Roosevelt.[24] She spoke out about anti-Semitism and the plight of the Jews in Europe, and urged a relaxation of immigration restrictions so the U.S. could be a safe haven for Jews under threat in Europe. She also was a strong supporter of Zionism.

In early 1945 she took a trip to Palestine where she saw firsthand Jews oppressing Palestinians. She came to realize that the Zionists sought to create a Jewish exclusivist state, not one that would include all of its current inhabitants. Her criticism of Zionism led to charges against her of “anti-Semitism” and even pro-Nazism, as absurd as that was given her background.[25] As a result of this all-out Zionist attack, newspapers began to drop her columns. Especially harmful was her loss of an outlet in New York City—where she had received a large proportion of her income—when the New York Post dropped her column with no other major New York City daily being willing to pick it up. Her radio program and speaking engagements also disappeared. Despite these problems, Thompson would not back away from her criticism of Zionism. And she continued to do so in the dwindling number of newspapers that still took her column, which did not end until 1958.

It is significant that the black-out of Dorothy Thompson has continued after her death, and perhaps even become worse. In the effort to make the subject of American history more inclusive, recent historians have often added women who were little known in their own eras, whereas Thompson who had been an important figure remains unmentioned. It seems likely that she has remained largely unmentioned both for what she had to say about Zionism and also by the fact that she was blacklisted by pro-Zionists, the power of whom one is not allowed to publicly acknowledge. (This contrasts with those Americans who were blacklisted for being pro-Communist, who are now often praised as martyrs because of this treatment.)

To conclude the review, it should be emphasized that this concise book should be of value to a wide audience. The general reader with little background knowledge should easily pick up a number of key points that serve to dispel the many myths that loom large today in the mainstream media, while even those individuals familiar with the subject are almost guaranteed to profit from little known facts, especially in the notes section, that should augment their knowledge. And it is essential that many more Americans become aware of this knowledge if America’s position is to change regarding Israel and the Middle East in general. Such a change is essential not only to bring about some degree of justice for the Palestinians but in order to extricate the United States from the debilitating regional conflicts that its close connection with Israel has entailed. It will be interesting to see how Weir, in her forthcoming volume, deals with the problems America has faced in more recent years that ineluctably derived from the events described in this work.

References

[1] Alison Weir, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014), Kindle Edition, Kindle Location 364. Weir contends that there were a number of factors that caused the United States to enter World War I in April 1917, some of which she lists, and that “Zionism appears to have been one of those factors.”

[2] Some historians have diluted this Jewish factor, attributing motivation to British foreign policy goals in the Near East. A Jewish homeland allegedly could serve as a buffer zone that would protect the Suez Canal.

[3] Chaim Weizmann was a leading figure in the Zionist movement who served as President of the Zionist Organization and later as the first President of Israel.

[4] Tom Segev, “‘View With Favor’, Review of The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Jonathan Schneer, International New York Times, August 20, 2010, accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/books/review/Segev-t.ht...

In other parts of his review, Segev’s analysis is impressive. For example he writes: “The Balfour declaration thus finds its place among a multitude of fruitless schemes and indulgent fantasies, except, of course, that in this case, surprisingly, the British by and large kept their word. For at least two decades they allowed the Zionist movement to bring hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants into Palestine, and these new arrivals set up hundreds of settlements including several towns, as well as the political, economic, military and cultural infrastructure of the future state of Israel. But if Israel’s existence originated with the British, so did the Palestinians’ tragedy.”

[5] The controversial House-Grey memorandum, developed with Britain in February 1916, stated that at an appropriate time Wilson would call for a peace conference. If the Allies accepted the offer and Germany rejected it or acted intransigently at the conference, the United States would go to war against Germany. And if Germany accepted the offer and a peace conference did take place, the settlement would not be unfavorable to the Allies. Wayne S. Cole, An Interpretive History of American Foreign Relations (Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey Press, 1968), 363

[6] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Location 449.

[7] The Wikipedia entry for “Ottoman Empire,” states that the “’Ottoman Empire’ and ‘Turkey’ were often used interchangeably, with ‘Turkey’ being increasingly favored both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was officially ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name,” accessed December 13, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_Empire .

[8] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Locations 2668-2669 .

[9] The King-Crane Commission was originally created as the American Section of the Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey, which was also to include British and French members, and be like a number of other fact finding missions stemming from the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. These two countries failed to participate. Ken Grossi, Maren Milligan, and Ted Waddelow, Restoring Lost Voices of Self-Determination: Background to the Commission, August 2011, Part of the King-Crane Commission Digital Collection, Oberlin College Archives, accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.oberlin.edu/library/digital/king-crane/intro.h... .

[10] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Locations 502-503.

[11] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Location 505.

[12] The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919, http://www.hri.org/docs/king-crane/. The report includes discussions of territory intended to have been taken from Turkey in the Treaty of Sevres, which Turkey never accepted and was not implemented.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Quoted in Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Location 798.

[15] Wallace had no chance of winning the election but Truman’s backers feared that he could syphon off enough liberal votes in large Northern and Midwestern states to enable Dewey to win the election. The issue of Israel did not play a role in Strom Thurmond’s 1948 campaign in the South, which focused on states’ rights and racial issues.

[16] Quoted in Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Location 894.

King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919.

[17] Jeremy R. Hammond, “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel,” Foreign Policy Journal, October 26, 2010, accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/10/26/the-myth-o...

[18] More than this, the UN General Assembly, after the vote, created another committee that came to quite different conclusions. Jeremy Hammond writes: “The Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question was established by the General Assembly shortly after the issuance of the UNSCOP report in order to continue to study the problem and make recommendations. A sub-committee was established in turn that was tasked with examining the legal issues pertaining to the situation in Palestine, and it released the report of its findings on November 11. It observed that the UNSCOP report had accepted a basic premise ‘that the claims to Palestine of the Arabs and Jews both possess validity’, which was ‘not supported by any cogent reasons and is demonstrably against the weight of all available evidence.’ With an end to the Mandate and with British withdrawal, ‘there is no further obstacle to the conversion of Palestine into an independent state’, which ‘would be the logical culmination of the objectives of the Mandate’ and the Covenant of the League of Nations. It found that ‘the General Assembly is not competent to recommend, still less to enforce, any solution other than the recognition of the independence of Palestine, and that the settlement of the future government of Palestine is a matter solely for the people of Palestine.’’’ Hammond, “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel.”

[19] Marlon Brando was very close to Jews before he became a movie star and later donated a considerable amount of money to Zionist causes. He expressed more negative views of Jews toward the end of his life. See: Allan M. Jalon, “How Marlon Brando Became Godfather to the Jews,” Forward, September 16, 2015, accessed December 13, 2015, http://forward.com/culture/320671/how-marlon-brando-becam...; Danielle Berrin, “Marlon Brando and the Jews,” Jewish Journal, July 30, 2014, accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.jewishjournal.com/hollywoodjew/item/marlon_bra....

[20] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Locations 1249-1256.

[21] The movie had an all-star cast (and a very popular, award winning theme song), which included: Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Peter Lawford, Sal Mineo, and Lee J. Cobb.

[22] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Locations 1370-1371.

[23] Stephen John Sniegoski, “The Intellectual Wellsprings of American World War II Interventionism, 1939-1941,” (PhD diss., University of Maryland-College Park, 1977).

My research on Thompson included a visit to the archival collection of her papers at the George Arents Research Library at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, in 1976, where I perused some material dealing with her break with American Jews, which was outside the scope of my dissertation.

[24] Thompson’s correspondence in her manuscript collection at Syracuse University illustrates her importance. The Overview of the Collection states: “Correspondents include authors (John Gunther, Wallace Irwin, Alfred M. Lilienthal, Edgar A. Mowrer, Vincent Sheehan, Johannes Urzidil), literary figures (Jean Cocteau, Rose Wilder Lane, Thomas Mann, Rebecca West), politicians and statesmen (Bernard M. Baruch, Winston Churchill, Ely Culbertson, Ralph E. Flanders, Felix Frankfurter, Charles de Gaulle, Cordell Hull, Clare Boothe Luce, Jan Masaryk, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman).” Overview of the Collection, Dorothy Thompson Papers, Syracuse University Libraries, accessed December 13, 2015, http://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/t/thompson_d.htm.

[25] Thompson’s relationship with American Jews actually began to sour toward the end of the war before the emergence of the issue of Zionist mistreatment of Palestinians. She differed with the Jewish establishment regarding her opposition to the Anglo-American incendiary bombing of German cities, which involved the killing of tens of thousands of civilians, and also the demand for a Carthaginian peace with Germany that was reflected in the Morgenthau Plan. She viewed these actions as violating the alleged idealistic purpose of the war, whereas many Jews sought punishment of the German people because of what the Nazis had done to their co-religionists.

Écrire un commentaire