Britain, A Silent Partner in the Holocaust -- More Obviously Involved in Baghdad
Furthermore, the same British decision-makers who made the War possible also closed off the Land of Israel, the internationally designated Jewish National Home ["Palestine Mandate"], to Jewish immigration by means of the 1939 Palestine White Paper. There were many other British acts flowing from the White Paper policy which it would be tedious to recount at this time. The White Paper clearly demonstrates the solid link between the falsely named "appeasement policy" of Neville Chamberlain and the British policy towards Jews and Zionism, since the Chamberlain government made both decisions. Further, when Churchill had taken over as prime minister, this link continued. Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, and other policy makers, directed the BBC to avoid reporting the Holocaust. Meanwhile, the same Eden favored the Arabs, encouraging "Arab Unity" through establishment of the Arab League, and even allowing [or encouraging] Arabs to massacre Jews in Baghdad. Eden's policy is specifically mentioned by a British military officer as preventing British troops from stopping the Baghdad massacre [the Farhud].
The pro-German Iraqi government was put down by a British invasion, and Egypt quieted by a show of force; then on May 29, 1941, Eden made a conciliatory speech in London in which he hinted that Britain would pay more attention to Arab desires. Privately Arab leaders were given hope for the future . . . [William R Polk, "The Arabs and Palestine," in W R Polk, D M Stamler, E Asfour, Backdrop to Tragedy: The Struggle for Palestine (Boston: Beacon Press 1957), p 282]Polk is not entirely correct here. There was no "British invasion" to put down the Rashid Ali al-Kaylani government. Actually British troops were already in the country by treaty with Iraq. They brought in to help them Jewish underground fighters from Israel, such as David Raziel, and Arab auxiliaries from Transjordan, then ruled by Abdullah I, the Hashemite relative of the Hashemites ruling in Iraq, both sets of Hashemites placed in ruling position by the British. Assyrian troops also helped the British war effort. However, Polk points out the significance of Eden's speech on 29 May, quoted in a previous post, which actually initiated formation of the Arab League [on formation of this embodiment of pan-Arab nationalism, also see Polk, pp 282-283].
Three days after Eden's speech,
The first Axis-style attack on a Jewish community in an Arab land occurred in Baghdad on June 1 and 2, 1941, in the brief interregnum between collapse of the pro-German Rashid `Ali regime and the arrival of the British troops. On this occasion, it was the mob, not the authorities, that took action. According to official sources, 600 Jews were killed ["killed" or murdered?--The number 600 by the way, is used by Elie Kedourie] and 240 injured, 586 business premises sacked, and 911 houses destroyed. Unofficial estimates were much higher. The massacre was carried out by troops, police, and other elements incited by the fallen Rashid `Ali regime, and seeking vengeance for its defeat. For two days the massacre continued unopposed, while the British army, which by this time had the city at its mercy, took no action but waited in the outskirts. Somerset de Chair, who was serving with the British forces as an intelligence officer, explains what happened [up till here, Bernard Lewis]:
Reading came to me. "Why do our troops not go into Baghdad?" he asked. "Already they may be looting. I know there will be many people killed if our troops do not enter."
This was my own view and the ways of the Foreign Office were beyond my comprehension. From the hour of the Cease Fire their word had prevailed. Having fought their way, step by step, to the threshold of the city, we must now cool our heels outside. It would apparently be lowering to the dignity of our ally, the Regent [King Faisal II the Hashemite, was a child], if he were seen to be supported on arrival by British bayonets. [Somerset de Chair, The Golden Carpet (London 1943), p 118; in New York ed., p 127]
The British ambassador to Iraq, Sir Kinahan Cornwallis, had already stated his view that British forces should not occupy Baghdad "except temporarily to secure favorable government or at request [of] Iraqi government." The Jews of Baghdad had learned in these two terrible days that they were completely at the mercy of their neighbors and masters. They had also learned that Western governments, solicitous for good relations with these same masters, would do little or nothing to help them. Needless to say the lesson was not lost on the masters themselves. [Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites (New York: Norton 1986), pp 158-159]Here Bernard Lewis quotes the words of De Chair that Eden's Foreign Office allowed the Arab mob of Baghdad to massacre and despoil the Jews of Baghdad. Quincy Wright, considered a leading American expert on international relations in the mid-twentieth century, wrote that:
Their [the Arabs'] attitude may have an important influence on the war, and British policy has sought to appease them. Britain has recognized the independence of Syria and the Lebanon [easy enough to do since these countries had been under French mandate], has offered its support for a federation of the North Arab states [eventuating in the Arab League], and has implemented its policy announced in 1939 of ending political Zionism in Palestine [the White Paper policy, found illegal by the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission]. [Quincy Wright, "The Future of the Near East," in P W Ireland, ed., The Near East: Problems and Prospects (Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press 1942), p 190]Here Wright clearly states that the British policy was to eliminate political Zionism. This is the same British government that refused to act to stop the Holocaust. Hence, it was the same decision-makers who decided and implemented both policies as discussed and described in previous posts. The school of historical falsifiers that has arisen to attack and undermine Israel since 1948, often officially and unofficially inspired by British and American Establishment elements, ought to consider the words of Wright. He clearly refutes the claim nowadays made by so-called "leftist" scribblers, including such as Chomsky, Christopher Hitchens, the late Edward Said, and a host of other liars of the pen, that Britain helped to establish the State of Israel. More ought to be said on this matter.
For accounts of the Farhud by Iraqi Jews, see works by Hayyim Cohen, Dr Heskel Haddad, Elie Kedourie, and the Hebrew-language novel, Sufah beyn haD'qalim by Sami Mikha'el, etc.
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Coming: More on Britain, the BBC, and the Holocaust, Jews in 19th century Jerusalem, etc.