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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Albion and Israel - In the Same Boat, or Running Aground

The British press is naturally outraged that Shimon Peres dared suggest that the British political establishment was pro-Arab and anti-Israel, and that MP's cowardly courted Muslim votes first. Peres has already been forced to apologize for his understatement. And an understatement it is, coming in the same week when British PM David Cameron visited Turkey, a Muslim country that has over 10,000 political prisoners, and continues to occupy Cyprus-- yet his only mention of human rights was to condemn Israel for defending itself against a Turkish provocation.

So first let's look at what Peres actually said, because everyone in the British press from the Daily Mail to the Telegraph, are paraphrasing what he said, rather quoting or than linking to the original interview.

Peres: Our next big problem is England. There are several million Muslim voters. And for many members of parliament, that’s the difference between getting elected and not getting elected. And in England there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment. They abstained in the [pro-Zionist] 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution, despite [issuing the pro-Zionist] Balfour Declaration [in 1917]. They maintained an arms embargo against us [in the 1950s]; they had a defense treaty with Jordan; they always worked against us.

Morris: But England changed after the 1940s and 1950s. They supported us in 1967, there was Harold Brown and Mrs. Thatcher [who were pro-Israeli].

Peres: There is also support for Israel today [on the British right].

There's more to it, but aside from Peres' quip about anti-semitism, this is the significant part. Yet there's absolutely nothing here that can be factually denied. MP's do cater to Muslim voters, even at the expense of Englishmen. If the British political establishment sells out its own people for Muslim favor, is it any surprise that it does the same to Israel?

The same British press that constantly bashes Israel has predictably tried to spin this as the President of Israel attacking England, as opposed to the England's political establishment. What Peres actually said, is that England panders to Muslims because of a large Muslim population, and that it has a history of opposing Israel. Again, both are unarguably true, and Peres' statements are a mild version of the story.

For a much stronger quote on the topic, we can go back to the first US Ambassador to Israel, back to 1948.

"Facing (Ernest) Bevin across the broad table, I had to tell myself that this was not Hitler seated before me, but His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs... By this time he was in full swing and turned his attack upon the Jews. What extraordinary demagoguery! Banging his fist on the table, at times almost shouting, he charged that the Jews were ungrateful for what Britain had done for them in Palestine..."

From the Diary of James G. McDonald, My Mission to Israel, Page 25

Mind you, this is an American diplomat comparing the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Adolf Hitler... in 1948. It was not a compliment, and the language was far harsher than anything that Peres has said.

That sort of comparison seems outrageous, until you actually delve into the ugliness of British policy toward Israel at the time. Despite the Palestine Mandate, the goal of British foreign policy had become to prevent Israel from being created by any means necessary. That included reversing prior commitments, inciting Muslim massacres of Jews, blocking Jewish refugees from the Holocaust from escaping to Israel, arming and organizing Arab armies to invade Israel.

During Israel's War of Independence, Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb (aka Glubb Pasha) and Brigadier Norman Lash commanded the Jordanian Legion. During the war it was Glubb who cabled Lash with the message, "I have decided to intervene in force in Jerusalem".

This is how the scene was described in "O Jerusalem" by Larry Collins and Dominique Lappiere.

A few minutes later, Colonel Bill Newman, the Australian commander of the Legion's Third Regiment, and Major Bob Slade, his Scottish deputy appointed to lead the task force, assembled their Arab officers... Spreading his maps in the white glare of a storm lantern, Newman stabbed his finger at Jerusalem. "That's where we're going," he said. An explosion of joy and shrieks of delight drowned his words.

Once the Arab Legion helped ethnically cleans the half of Jerusalem they captured of its Jewish inhabitants, England was the only country to recognize the Jordanian annexation of the city.

After the war British forces conducted aerial provocations and attempted to use those to stage an invasion. Jordan's King Hussein had a piece of paper handed to him, a request for British troops. Only when it was clearly evident that there was no support back home for renewed hostilities, was further violence averted.

To summarize, during and before the War of Independence, England played much the same role in regard to Israel and the Arabs, that the Soviet Union would later play. Both direct and indirect hostilities took place between British and Israel forces. British commanders oversaw the ethnic cleansing and annexation of East Jerusalem, the Kfar Etzion massacre and many more. There is a great deal of history here, and too much of it to go into.

Considering the hostility of the English political and cultural establishment to Israel in the present day, when unions and academic groups call for boycotts of Israel, when judges allow vandalism on the ground that Israel was the target, and when Baroness Jenny Tonge claims that Jews harvested organs in Haiti-- Peres' remarks are if anything an understatement.

There are reasons for this behavior. Cynical and cruel ones, but reasons.

In the 30's and 40's, the British political establishment decided that the way to secure their control over the region was through a series of backward Arab Muslim client states. So it decided to bar Jews from Israel to keep the Muslims happy and avoid any independent State of Israel. There were many in England who disagreed with that policy and spoke out against it. And the aftermath of that policy was disastrous. Israel was reborn regardless, and the Arab client states were overthrown and turned into Arab Socialist dictatorships, who made common cause with the USSR.

England protected Egyptian forces in the Sinai, despite the fact that Egypt had already demonstrated its hostility to their presence. A few years later, England would be describing Egypt's leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser as another Hitler, and covertly trying to work together with Israel to reclaim the Suez Canal.

Iraq and Syria became Baathist dictatorships. Today both have fallen under the shadow of Iran, which carried out attacks on British troops in Basra, took British sailors prisoner, paraded them around, and then sent them back home. Jordan exists only because Israel and the US took over, where Britain left off. One day, it will also fall. Egypt is on its last legs of the Mubarak dynasty, which is likely to be succeeded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

England may be the next step for a Muslim Brotherhood take over. But rather than stimulating rational behavior, it has only stimulated more anti-Semitism, as if bashing Israel can somehow avert the inevitable. Of course it cannot. And will not. Pandering to Muslims will not preserve England. It will only put the very people who want to destroy England in positions where they can better control the political process. Meanwhile Cameron rushes ahead to demand that Turkey be allowed into the EU, because the disaster won't be complete until 30 million more Muslims flood European cities.

In the 30's and 40's, the British policy was to pander to Muslims and bash the Jews in the hopes of controlling the territory of the Palestine Mandate. Today it is still policy to do the same... in the hopes of controlling England itself.

It is easy enough to see how a policy that at least held some hope of useful gain has now become nothing short of desperate appeasement, masked by outbursts of frenzied hatred, that all involved pretend are completely normal. Attacks on Jews have hit a new high, much of that no doubt the work of Muslims. But the dialogue being carried on by the cultural and political leaders is nearly as bad.

I am no friend of Peres. I am actually a fierce critic of his, but he did not say anything that is not plain knowledge, or that can't be verified by numerous polls and articles. The response of the British press to run headlines such as "Fury as Israel president claims English are 'anti-semitic'" only demonstrates the level of bias, in the British press particularly in an article which does not actually manage to quote a single "furious" person.

As Cameron's latest visit to Turkey has shown, the political establishment continues to feel that pandering to Muslims and bashing Israel is in their interest. That is their unfortunate choice. There is plenty of history between Israel and England, both good and bad. And which is which has often depended on its leaders. The lack of leadership means that the behavior of a Brown or a Cameron are not surprising. But that same political establishment should ask themselves, what exactly have 80 years of pandering to Muslims brought them, except war on their own soil? And all the plays of Caryl Churchill and the films of Michael Winterbottom will not change that.

It is past time, that this very same establishment was forced to confront the bitter truth that its policies on the Middle East have backfired badly, that pandering to Muslims has turned its cities into war zones, and that worse is yet to come. England is coming into the same boat as Israel. Only as it has done before with Rhodesia, it is trying to sink the boat, rather than help bail it out. If England could work together with Israel when the Suez Canal was endangered, yet cannot when its own cities are endangered, one wonders exactly where its priorities are, and whether that is not exactly the same kind of misplaced priorities that has placed it in such peril today.

22 comments:

Keli Ata said...

There doesn't seem to be anything improper in what he said. Even without a knowledge of British Israeli history you can tell there's a deep-seated hatred of Israel.

Knowing the history certainly puts England's current attitudes into context.

Mikec said...

English Jews Hope and pretend that they are English, my children, who are now in Israel, found out the hard way, at a top English Boarding school and in a 'Red Brick' univercity.

Two weeks ago, in the (English) city of York, I was told that the Jews were 'Christ killers' to my face.

Anti-zionism has become a screen behind which the age old English anti-semitism can prosper. The British believe that there is 'Something of the night' about Jews.

British actions in the 30's and 40's supported various attempts to obliterate Jews, including actively supporting the anahilation of Jews in Israel, and nothing has changed. In 1948 Britain expected another Holocaust, the eastwards extension of the Nazi one, led by their treacherous old ally Hajj Amin.

They were disappointed, now anahilation once more hovers on Israel's doorstep,ably engineered by pupils of the same Hajj Amin, still supported by the British Government.

The British people are not told of their complicity in the genocide of Jews, it is not in British history books, the British are not informed of the frantic efforts of the Foreign Office to keep Jews contained in Nazi Germany.

After all, the British establishment has plausible deniability, as always (just ask the Serbs).

Tracy W said...

DEAR DANIEL - THANK YOU!

All your colunns are brilliant but I feel that this one should be
as widely disseminated as possible.
==================================

It's past 23:00 hrs here and I'm still reading your column and the excellent links you provided for further background.

I just wanted to say thank you very much. This part of history should be known IN DETAIL by every Israeli, by every Jew.

I mentioned a while ago that Israel should have a museum to educate people about crimes against Jews committed by countries and groups other than the Nazis. The British deserve a museum of their own, such is the enormity of their crimes.

I'd like to add just one small detail: the arrogant Mr Blair who often comes strutting into Israel making demands to favor the Arabs is up to his neck in business deals with Arab countries.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/136610

The truth of the matter is that all the countries currently meddling into Israeli internal affairs (the territories are part of Israel!) are too discredited to even provide advice. They do not qualify for anything except for going on their knees and asking Jews for forgiveness.

Every time I see pictures of Israeli leaders shaking hands and smiling with certain foreign leaders it makes my stomach turn.

Anonymous said...

I find that Brits who claim to be progressive actually practice a reverse racism of low expectations. Before the Japanese assault and takeover of Hong Kong in WWII, the Brit commander onthe island remarked that although he knew of their preparation maneuvers, the Japanese were no threat because they were 'such little people" and therefore would pose no challenge for the (supoerior, and taller- I assume) Brits.)
Also, some Brits still refer to Blacks as Darkies, using the term in an exotic (with lower human expectation) manner. The same goes for their treatment of Arabs. They think they are so vastly superior to these exotic (yet lower -on-the-food chain) folks.....Well it ain't working out that way, it seems.

Anonymous said...

A conversation between two Englishmen: Do you know what´s the difference between a dirty Jew and a dirty Arab? The latter is so picturesque!

MartyP said...

I find it difficult to take an article seriously that can't even get the name of one of the countries it's talking about correct.

In the United Kingdom (the correct deminutive for the country you refer to as "England" - which is only one part of the Union) the muslim population currently stands at 1.6 million of a population of around 60 million (less than 3% of the total). These are largely of Pakistani origin. If Cameron is desparate to pander to around 1 in 50 of the population then why has he been tearing a stip out of Pakistan this week?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10834909

MartyP said...

I apologise - I was using the 2001 census. Upper estimates are now 2.4 million. Even so it shows that Peres' suggestion of "several million" voters (several wouold require more than 2.6) is just plain wrong.

Tom said...

This tiny, apparently insignificant nation of Israel has managed to survive millenia of hatred, genocide and rabbid determination of the world to wipe it out. Why? Nobody kicks the dead dog...
Does the devil know something we don't?
Israel is destined to rule the world - Micah 5:7-8; Isaiah 2:1-4

Edgar Davidson said...

And just to confirm that Cameron and Hague cannot do enough to bolster their anti-Israel credentials, they have now appointed Simon Fraser as the new head of the Foreign Office no less. Fraser was sacked from his job in the last Conservative Government under John Major for cohabiting with an official of the PLO (which at the time was still officially designated as a terrorist organisation). He is now married to that PLO official. See:


http://edgar1981.blogspot.com/2010/08/new-head-of-foreign-office-is-married.html

Geoffrey Britain said...

MartyP,

Semantic distinctions of 'England' vs 'the UK' do not a rebuttal make.

British politicians are pandering to the sensibilities of the UK's Muslim population in the following ways:

The UK's allowance of Shariah law to slowly emerge as an alternative legal system in the UK is an example of pandering to the UK's Muslim population.

They are pandering to key foreign Muslim sensibilities when it suits them, i.e. Libya and Turkey. They are complicit in the unwillingness of Europe to confront the soon to be Iranian nuclear threat.

The UK's presence in Afghanistan would be an example of standing up to radical Muslim sensibilities, were it serious but it's a facade and mainly for show to provide political cover for the US.

Finally, by your own figures a 50% increase in but 9 years in the UK Muslim demographic is going to get politician's notice, especially in those cities where the Muslim minority is statistically significant in a politicians electoral prospects.

Emuna said...

I don't think it is just because of pandering to the Muslim voters.

The American right wing, like Pamela Geller propogate that the European + British right is Israel's friend. She also promotes the EDL who support Israel for the wrong reasons. The EDL are villified in the British media, and attacked at their protests by the English too, note their protests, their attackers are always white. The Israeli flag is shown whenever they are villified in the media, thus putting the image in peoples mind that Israel is a facist state. Never mind that British Jewish organisations have distanced themselves from the EDL.
Pamela Geller seems to think the EDL represent the English and welcomes their support. She doesn't see the damage it does Israel.

The EDL turn the English more against us, yet Geller promotes them. She also propogates that Churchill would have supported her cause, but in actual fact the family of Winston Churchill have spoken out against this and told the British EDL not to use Churchill in their material and that he would never have supported them.

The thing is, these type get a lot of publicity in England, as "look how bad these Zionists are and how they manipulate the US", the British public blame Israel for the Iraq war.

The point is, the British are not pro Israel. Peres was right. But the question is, why should they be?

Cameron responded to Peres by saying criticisng Israel doesn't make us anti-semitic just as critiscising a Muslim country makes us anti Muslim.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, yet again for another informative article, especially for the links (my son is doing GCSE history WWII) and this will be very useful.

I can say, yes, the ruling classes are pandering to Islam, because they have us over a barrel (of oil), always follow the money. Some are haters of Jews, but mainly it's money. Our rulers think they will stay 'friends' with us if we hate whom they hate, only for them it is an ancient hatred, but Churchill and Maggie Thatcher spoke for the majority of the people regarding their attitutde to Israel, I think.

Here in the United Serfdom, there are swathes of Muslim voters, and where they are, there happens to be more postal votes and there's always election rigging, and that's not a sweeping generalisation, it just happens to be true. In short, they bring their culture with them. 'Clever' Muslims aren't much better, they don't acknowledge that violence has anything to do with their religion and hinder rather than help the situation. Writing a fluffy new verion of the Qu'ran is useless, it is mansook already and will only be accepted by the liberal twit who will use it to further this National Socialism on smack. Ecumenical dialogue has not worked. In our society their alien politic, which happens to be a religion pervades all institutions, like chlamydia. Like chlamydia, people either don't know they have it, or suspect they do, carry on infecting others, whilst hoping it will spontaneously 'get better', but it is silent, and undetectably deadly to themselves and all those they infect until the day they learn they're sterile. Islam is another thing people don't talk about, and hope it will go away and just as sterile.

Yes, Cameron is a product of our red-brick universities, and yes, it is from the Chancellor's office down where I live. kb

Anonymous said...

Three corrections. I think Benny Morris meant "Harold Wilson" not "Harold Brown". Also in 1948 -51 the King of Jordan (actually Transhjordan until 1949) was Abdullah not his grandson Hussein. Also Pakistan recognized the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank along with Britain - those were the only two nations..

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

emuna,

anti-semitic and anti-israeli sentiments in the UK long predated the EDL

Tracy W said...

IT'S NOT JUST THE OIL.

England - Jewish Virtual Library:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/England.html

A few examples:

1190: York Massacre - over 150 Jews were killed.

1217: "English Jews were forced to wear yellow badges in the form of two stone tablets identifying them as Jews."

"...between 1263 and 1266, one Jewish community after another was ransacked and many of its inhabitants killed."

1290: "Edward I expelled the Jews from England, making England the first European country to do so."

~~~~~~~~~

The long and bloody track record of English crimes against Jews has been almost forgotten.

I wish columns such as this one appeared more often.

And I wish Israelis honored the memory of millions of Diaspora Jews who suffered at the hands of European (other than the Nazis) and Muslim hosts by building a museum and education center in Israel.

It's easy and convenient to blame the Nazis for everything, and by implication whitewash crimes committed by other countries. They trust that new generations everywhere won't have the time to learn the truth.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

For many in the UK, Arab and Muslim countries are still associated with the romance of colonialism, not so a Jewish Israel.

Bit of a paradox.

Tracy W said...

Speaking of romance, there is a strange and often warped British attraction for everything Arab.

Years ago I was struck by a statement made by a British journalist-turned-novelist during an interview. He said he had never felt more alive than when he was in Gaza. (What?!!!)

I had forgotten his name but remembered that quote so I just managed to Google him. His name is Matt Beynon Rees and he writes thrillers set in Gaza. He says:

"Though I've written a crime novel about the place, to me Gaza isn't primarily a place of carnage. It's the most beautiful spot imaginable and the place where I feel most alive."

"Sometimes these experiences left me quivering with adrenaline, other times with laughter. But always they made me feel more alive than I've ever felt at home."

http://www.mattbeynonrees.com/memoirs.htm

Hmm... It made me wonder about his choice of excitement and the nature of his attraction.

The British are a complicated people, with their own system of castes, their gloomy, damp climate, and dreadful cuisine.

And there must be something about a certain social class that makes them vulnerable to unlikely seductions, such as the Soviets (Philby), and violent and primitive desert tribes (Lawrence). Or currently, Gaza - not exactly the French Riviera. But there you are. And then, in spite of their weirdness and disreputable associations, they have the gall to tell the Jews how to live their lives and run their country.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

it's the colonialism romance, orientalism, getting away to third world countries and assuming that they're so much more exotic because they're different

Emuna said...

Sultan,

I know anti-semitism predated the EDL, but that was not what I was articulating. I mean that whenever the EDL are shown as thugs and fascists on TV, the Israeli flag is shown with them and this plants images of a "fascist state" being supported by fascists to the watching Brit. This is not good for Israel since the EDL do not speak for her.

Anonymous

It's hard to believe that you live in England and your son is doing GSCE history. I hope he is not as misinformed as you appear to be. If you were living in England, you would know that the "barrel of oil" is not the reason for most Brits and Europeans to be anti Israel. They were anti Israel when they had North Sea oil.

When people distort facts to fit into "it's the Muslim vote they want" this detracts from the reality of the situation.

For example you said "I can confirm", how do you confirm? When it is a fact that anti semitism predated the oil barrel.

Churchill wanted the Jews out of England and Europe that's why he supported Israel and for political expedience. He was an anti-semite.

Margaret Thatcher's constituency was Finchley, which is mainly Jewish, and she needed their votes. That's why she had to pretend to be pro Jewish. She was no more pro Israel than other Brits.

Please do not pretend to know things that you do not. We all know that England and Europe and the Xtian world in general is anti-semitic, the Muslim votes have little to do with that.

Anonymous said...

I general ,Jews, as opposed to Arabs are not good at serving, flattering or making you feel that you are so wonderful. The British with their class system don't like that.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

There is that certainly. The east is good at unctuousness, at a fake servility that can turn into violence at the drop of a hat.

Avi said...

Greenfield, I disagree about the servility part,

I'd say the English have a "Laurence of Arabia" syndrome, they are Islamophiles on the whole, Muslim culture is celebrated, whilst Islamophobia does exist too, on the whole they're Islamophilic.

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