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Emet m'Tsiyon

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Britain Helps Build Up Arab Nationalism, Urges Arabs to Form an Arab League, Prevents Jewish Escape from the Nazi-fascist Domain

Britain has had a pro-Arab, pro-Muslim policy for a very long time. Copts in Egypt were complaining before World War I that the British overlords of the country favored the Muslim Arabs over the Copts who were the true natives of Egypt, long held [and still held in 2006] in an inferior status to the Arabs/Muslims.

The British occupation army in Israel took over the country in 1917-1918. Their policy, under General Allenby, was to favor the Arabs against the Jews in the country, and to encourage or even to incite Arabs against the Jews. Although Britain had persuaded the San Remo Conference [1920] and the League of Nations [1922] to endorse the Jewish National Home, British officials on the ground in the country had worked to thwart Zionism and Jewish immigration, while encouraging Arab violence against Jews, as at Jerusalem in 1920 and at Jerusalem and Hebron in 1929.

In early 1939, the British government issued a "White Paper for Palestine." A few months earlier --at Munich-- British diplomacy had helped Hitler's Germany take over the Sudetenland, a mountainous borderland of Czechoslovakia which served as an easily defended border zone, on the pretext that it had an ethnic German majority population. By losing the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia was left vulnerable to Nazi German invasion, which was thereby encouraged. Short months after the White Paper, on September 1, 1939, the Nazis and Soviets started the Second World War, of which the Holocaust was a component. The "Palestine White Paper" was of a piece with Britain's policy on the Sudetenland. During WW2, the beneficiaries of both policies, German Nazis and Arab nationalists, became allies.

What did the White Paper give the Arabs? It limited Jewish immigration into the internationally designated Jewish National Home to 15, 000 Jews per year for five years. After that, any further Jewish immigration would be subject to Arab approval. The League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission found Britain in violation of the terms of the Mandate. That did not stop the British. Indeed, not only did Britain close up the Jewish National Home to Jewish immigration when the Jews most needed a home, but the quota of 15,000 per year was never filled, although those were the Holocaust years. The vast British overseas dominions too were virtually closed to Jewish refugees from the Nazis. Further, British and other Allied forces refused to bomb the gas chambers or the railroad tracks leading to the death camps. Thus hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Jews who might otherwise have been saved, fell victim to Nazi German mass murder.

The British did something else in favor of Arab nationalism which has had a portentous impact till this day, not only on the Middle East but on the world. On the level of the Arab world in general, the British pushed the Arabs to found the Arab League. This is the conclusion of Robert Macdonald in his book, The League of Arab States. He writes:
During the early years of World War II. . . the British government determined to gain the support of the Arab leaders in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq by lending its support to some form of regional amalgamation. Foreign Minister Anthony Eden announced the new policy on May 29, 1941, the day after the collapse of [a pro-Nazi Arab war against Britain]. . . in Iraq. As he spoke, Axis forces were at the Egyptian frontier, and Free French forces had yet to move into Vichy-French Syria and Lebanon. [Robert W Macdonald, The League of Arab States (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1965), p33]
Here is what Anthony Eden said in the speech cited by Macdonald:
This country [the UK] has a long tradition of friendship with the Arabs, a friendship that has been proved by deeds, not words alone. We have countless wellwishers among them, as they have many friends here. Some days ago I said in the House of Commons that His Majesty's Government had great sympathy with Syrian aspirations for independence. I should like to repeat that now. But I would go further. The Arab world has made great strides since the settlement reached at the end of the last war [WW 1], and many Arab thinkers desire for the Arab peoples a greater degree of unity than they now enjoy. In reaching out towards this unity they hope for our support. No such appeal from our friends should go unanswered. It seems to me both natural and right that the cultural and economic ties between the Arab countries and the political ties, too, should be strengthened. His Majesty's Government for their part will give their full support to any scheme that commands general approval.
[Excerpt from a speech by Mr Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs at the Mansion House, May 29, 1941; reprinted in Philip W Ireland, ed., The Near East, Problems and Prospects (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942; 2nd prtg. 1945), p 222]
Within a few days, the British were able to move to support the claims of the Lebanese and Syrians against the French that the former League of Nations mandates were null and void and that the two countries should be considered independent. . . When no overt moves toward a realization of the long-cherished [cherished by whom?] dream of unity materialized, Mr Eden repeated his pledge.
[Macdonald, p 34]
Eden and his government appear to have been annoyed that the Arabs themselves had not yet acted for the "amalgamation" that Britain hoped for.
In answer to a parliamentary interlocution on February 24, 1943, he stated that "so far as I am aware no such scheme [for unity], which would command general approval [among Arabs] has yet been worked out." [Macdonald, p 34]
It was not long before Arab politicians got to work to satisfy British expectations.
Nuri as-Sa`id of Iraq came forward [spring 1943] with a plan calling for immediate federation of Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan under the sponsorship of the United Nations. . . He also proposed the establishment of an "Arab League," to be. . . open to all other Arab states [besides Iraq and Syria] . . . Nuri's plan . . . circulated to other Arab leaders and made available to British authorities, was limited to political reconstitution of "geographical Syria." . . .
Other Arab leaders by now had taken note of Eden's invitation [to unite]. . . [Macdonald, pp 34-35]

. . . Anthony Eden's 1941 suggestion of an Arab union. . . [p 76]
So the British helped the Arab nationalists against the French and against the Jews. They also helped the German Nazis kill more Jews by making it extremely difficult for Jews to enter the Jewish National Home, thus violating the mandate given to them by the League of Nations to foster development of the Jewish National Home. Note that Nuri as-Sa`id gave a copy of his plan for an Arab League to the British before the plan was fulfilled.

The insistent support that British diplomacy gave to Arab nationalism and pan-Arab unity notwithstanding, the typical "politically correct" hack historians in the West, in the Arab world, and some in Israel too, claim that Israel and Zionism always enjoyed unlimited, unconditional support from Western imperialism. In fact, Britain, France, and the United States showed more support for Arab nationalism than for Zionism and indeed opposed Zionism in practice.
It is also curious that the UK supported pan-Arab unity insistently, whereas not all Arab rulers were eager for it, for their own reasons. Certainly, Britain prodded the Arab states to form the Arab League, and this was needed to overcome Arab leaders' reluctance.
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Coming: The BBC and the Holocaust, Jews in Jerusalem, etc.


  • cyrus, I suggest that you learn english better so that I can understand what you said in your post. Since I have seen your blog, I am sure that you meant ugly and false and foolish and untrue. But your poor english keeps me from understanding it.

    By Blogger Eliyahu m'Tsiyon, at 12:26 AM  

  • [correction to cyrus] ... I am sure that you meant something ugly and false. . .

    By Blogger Eliyahu m'Tsiyon, at 12:27 AM  

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