Imagine if China, for one
reason or another suddenly replaced or supplanted the United States as Israel's
main diplomatic, financial and military supporter. That the Chinese then
provided Israel with all it required to continue the occupation and usurpation
of Palestine and to further consolidate its illegal undertakings…What would we
then make of American journalists or writers who then incessantly never
fail to remind us of the culpable Chinese support for Israeli criminality while
simultaneously totally ignoring, possibly even whitewashing the 40 years when
the United States was Israel's main supporter?
1917 and 1948 Great Britain more than any other nation helped to lay the
diplomatic, governmental, military and economic foundations for Israel yet if
one were to peruse British writing on Palestine, especially the writings of the
supposed pro-Palestinians, one would naturally presume that the Palestinian
predicament only began on the 15th May 1948 when the British Mandate officially
ended and the State of Israel was declared.
it is known, the defining document or declaration which paved the way, indeed
legitimised the Jewish colonisation of Palestine was issued by Imperial
Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour. The "Balfour Declaration"
announced that the British government would,
'…view with favour the establishment in
Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best
endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object…'
is rarely known, is the imperial jubilance which greeted the publication of the
Declaration in the British media. In the vanguard of this euphoria was the
liberalGuardian or the Manchester Guardian as
it was more accurately known then under the editorship of Charles P. Scott.
Cutting through the diplomatic verbiage and any possible obfuscation about the
intention behind the declaration, it editorialised in November 1917 that some
may speak of Palestine "as a country, but it is not a country...But it
will be a country; it will be the country of the Jews. That is the meaning of..."
the Balfour Declaration. The fact that in 1917 the population of Palestine was
80,000 Jewish and 700,000 Arab Palestinian literally meant nothing to the Guardian editor.
further stated that the British government's deliberate policy will be then
"to encourage in every way in our power Jewish immigration...with a view
to the ultimate establishment of a Jewish State."
urge to colonise Palestine with Jewish immigration was largely motivated by its
proximity to Egypt. As the Guardian stated, "Palestine has a special
importance for Great Britain because in the hands of a hostile Power, it can be
made...a secure base which a land attack on Egypt can be organised..."
Therefore, it is in Britain's interest that "no Power should be seated in
Palestine" that "is likely to be hostile" to British
left-wing New Statesman too
came out all guns blazing in support of the Balfour Declaration but was more
specific about the nature of Palestine's proximity to the Empire’s interests.
It informed its readers that the "special interest of the British Empire
in Palestine is due to the proximity of the Suez Canal." The only obvious
conclusion is then to imperatively "effect a Zionist restoration under
all, the New Statesman added,
the then position of Jews as "unassimilated sojourners in every land but
their own can never become satisfactory...It is far better...to make a nation
of them" in the interests of Empire.
more populist Daily Express concurred with the above
interpretation of the Balfour Declaration in that it is an "announcement
of a Jewish State" and also added that Jews from all over the world will
be included in what it perceived to be the "colonisation scheme." The London Times declared
"Palestine for the Jews" and reprinted a part of the cabinet approved
The Guardian's stance on the Balfour Declaration found congruence with the
Empire’s first Military Governor of Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs. He too
emphasised, but in biological terms, the importance of Egypt in that it was the
"jugular vein of the British Empire" and that the Jewish colonisation
of Palestine would bring forth "for England 'a little loyal Jewish Ulster'
in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism."
prominent left-wing politician in this period, Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, opted
for a geographical analogy to describe British interests in the Arab World. He
argued that Palestine was the "Clapham Junction" of the British
Empire. As such a "friendly and efficient population" is required to
settle there. And because Egyptians do not want the British occupation of their
country, Palestine should be settled with "men on whom we can depend, if
only because they depend on us...The Jews depend on us."
Winston Churchill, the Zionist colonisation of Palestine would mean that Jews
"would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British
However, what distinguished the Guardian's unequivocal endorsement
of the Balfour Declaration was not only the approval of Zionist colonisation,
which would explicitly lead to a "Jewish State," but also just as
equally the contempt it had for the indigenous Arabs of Palestine or in the
words of Storrs, the "present aborigines." In the spirit of
colonialism, the Guardian editorial racially degenerated and
dehumanised the Arabs of Palestine as "at a low stage of
civilisation" and that they contain within "itself none of the
elements of progress..." In other words the Arabs of Palestine were in a
state of perennial civilisational arrested development.
belittlement as a justification for colonialism was not unique to Palestine.
The insistence that natives of a particular land are at low level of
civilisation and therefore that land is ripe for colonisation by European
colonisers was also utilised in Africa and elsewhere. As Frantz Fanon was to
argue, Western bourgeois, "racial prejudice as regards the nigger and the
Arab is a racism of contempt; it is a racism which minimises what it
hates." C.P.Scott was merely confirming and endorsing the fact that
"racism is the ideological weapon of imperialistic politics."
a former Guardian writer
and Labour politician in this period, H.N. Brailsford claimed that the Arabs
were incapable of developing Palestine because they were "degenerate
semi-savages" who had no right to "exclude millions" of
settlers. For Churchill, the indigenous Arabs of Palestine were tantamount to
"dogs in the manger" and only because the dog had been lain there for
a long period, the dog has no final right to the manger. Or as he elaborated,
"I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red
Indians of America, or the black people of Australia."
is quite clear from C.P. Scott's Guardian and other editorials of November 1917
that the British Empire wanted Palestine colonised for its own interests or as
an early settler would argue,
"...the British wanted Palestine – and
very much so – for their own interests, and it was not the Zionists who drew
them to the country...had there been no Zionists in those days the British
would have had to invent them."
idea and will to plant Jewish colonisation in Palestine existed independently
of the ideology of Zionism. The Empire had its interests, namely Egypt and
specifically the Suez Canal. Much of the Empire's "plunder" or the
"treasures in India" was brought back to the imperial metropolis
through the Suez Canal.
What distinguished this "colonisation scheme" from previous ones in
Africa and Asia is that the British Empire utilised European Jews rather than
its own subjects from the metropolis.
this is the reason why in the final months of the "Zionist Mandate"
in 1948, Imperial Britain – the "greatest Empire in history" -
watched by while seven hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs were expelled,
directly and indirectly from the country and over 400 villages, towns and
centres had been ethnically cleansed of their indigenous inhabitants.