israel’s chief stooge at Westminster shames us again

Israel’s chief stooge at Westminster shames us again

 

Binyamin Netanyahu and Theresa May

By Stuart Littlewood

“As prime minister, I am proud to say that I support Israel. And it is absolutely right that we should mark the vital role that Britain played a century ago in helping to create a homeland for the Jewish people.” 

Thus spoke Theresa May the other day as she welcomed members of the Jewish community to 10 Downing Street. But by focusing on creating a homeland for the Jewish people she’s also celebrating the hell that Balfour’s Declaration created for the gentle Palestinians and for the rest of the region. “Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country,” said May, apparently blind to the reality.

Proud of “unspeakable misery, dispossession and displacement”

Right now we’re on the run-up to the centenary of what is arguably the biggest foreign policy blunder in British history: the Balfour Declaration. In 1917 Arthur Balfour, Foreign Secretary, bowed to Zionist demands for a homeland for the Jews in Palestine and gave an undertaking that set the world on course for long-term turmoil and, for the native Palestinians, unspeakable misery, dispossession and displacement. It was a criminal conspiracy. And Balfour was an A-list idiot who bragged that he wasn’t even going to consult the local Arab population about this theft of their homes and lands.

Yet he remains a hero of the Conservative Party which, led by Theresa May, plans to celebrate this hundred-year “running sore” – as Lord Sydenham called it – in great style, inviting Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu to the festivities. That’s if the mad-dog warmonger isn’t under arrest by then on imminent charges of corruption back home.

“I will always do whatever it takes to keep our Jewish community safe,” May added. “Through our new definition of anti-Semitism we will call out anyone guilty of any language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews. We will actively encourage the use of this definition by the police, the legal profession, universities and other public bodies.”

She was referring to the  International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

BDS “unsucessful”? Really?

One of May’s Cabinet minsiters, Sajid Javid, told the World Jewish Congress that the UK would celebrate the upcoming anniversary with pride. “Someone said we should apologise for the declaration, to say it was an error of judgment. Of course that’s not going to happen.” To apologise, he said, would be to apologise for the existence of Israel and to question its right to exist.

Israel stooge Sajid Javid

Israel stooge Sajid Javid

Instead, he emphasised the UK government’s intolerance towards any kind of boycott of Israel. He said:

I’ll be 100 per cent clear. I do not support calls for a boycott, my party does not support calls for a boycott. For all its bluster, the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] campaign is most notable I think, for its lack of success… As long as I’m in government, as long as I’m in politics, I will do everything in my power to fight back against those who seek to undermine Israel.

The UK, Javid said, has maintained close diplomatic, trade and security ties with Israel since its inception, and is counted upon by Israel to vote in its favour at the UN and other international institutions.

As Noam Chomsky has aptly observed: “People who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.”

Israel lobby stooges like May and Javid continue trying to ram their pro-Zionist nonsense down out throats despite the fact that last time they attacked the successful BDS movement, warning that her government would “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”, they came spectacularly unstuck. Two hundred legal scholars and practising lawyers from all over Europe put May in her place by pointing out that BDS is a lawful exercise of freedom of expression and outlawing it undermines a basic human right protected by international convention. Her efforts to repress it amounted to support for Israel’s violations of international law and failure to honour the solemn pledge by states to “strictly respect the aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.

May needs a crash course in human rights

Top legal experts were recently asked for their views by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Their verdict was that those in public life cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population”.

What’s more, there is an obligation to allow all concerned in public debate “to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”. Article 10 says that everyone has the right to freedom of expression including “freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers”. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says the same sort of thing, subject of course to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has sharply criticised the anti-Semitism definition touted by May. Firstly, it isn’t a legally binding definition so doesn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it cannot be considered a legal definition as it lacks clarity. Therefore, any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

He says it was “most unsatisfactory for the government to adopt a definition which lacks clarity and comprehensiveness” and suggests the government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy – a mere suggestion as to a definition of anti-Semitism that public bodies might wish to use. But no public body was under an obligation to adopt or use it, or should be criticised for refusing to. He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights mentioned above.

Legally invalid definition of anti-Semitism

According to Tomlinson, then, the IHRA definition doesn’t mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or urging BDS against Israel, can properly be characterised as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition in order to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully”.

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley has weighed in by criticising the IHRA definition for lack of legal force. “It is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.” He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover, the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

Sedley felt the IHRA definition was open to manipulation. “What is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted.”

As for Javid’s crack about not having to apologise for Israel’s existence, he must have forgotten that in the wake of the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which granted the Jews territory within defined borders, they declared statehood in 1948 without borders, grabbing as much extra land as they could by armed terror and ethnic cleansing. The new state of Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949 was conditional upon honouring the UN Charter and implementing UN General Assembly Resolutions 181 and 194. It has failed to do so and to this day repeatedly violates provisions and principles of the Charter.

When the UK Conservative government makes pronouncements on foreign affairs it pays to consider that 80 per cent of its MPS are claimed to be signed-up members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) lobby group and this is a stepping-stone to higher office. CFI, according to its website, is active at every level of the party.

It is sad that so many of our politicians are so spineless and so insecure that they feel the need to herd together under the flag of what the UN has called a racist state.

 

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The Biblical Land: Given By God But Not Without Conditions

Posted on August 27, 2017

The presenter in the video above makes a good point. While according to the Old Testament, God issued a land grant to Abraham and his descendants, the biblical texts also tell us that the gift did not come without conditions. It was a contractbasically. And the Israelites failed to live up to it. This is what’s recorded in the biblical narrative. Sadly, many Christians today seem oblivious to the fact that the modern day state of Israel is following the same blind path. Hopefully the above video can make things a little clearer for them.

Back in June of this year, Palestinian Christians published an open letter to the World Council of Churches (WCC) asking that it recognize Israel as an apartheid state. I put up a post about it at the time, commenting that while the document makes no specific reference to Christian Zionism, it does nonetheless assert that Palestinians are suffering “because of one political declaration from a Western empire, based on a twisted theological premise.” And as I also remarked in the same post, the phrase “twisted theological premise” is an apt way of describing Christian Zionism. At any rate, I thought now would be a good time to re-post the open letter to the WCC, and so that’s what I have done below.

You’ll notice that among the signatories to the letter–the one at the very top of the list in fact–is the Arab Catholic Scouts Group. A bit earlier this month a group of Catholic Scouts were on a camp out near the West Bank village of Jibya when they found their campsite under attack by Israeli forces. Here is what a Catholic website reported at the time:

Israeli occupation forces yesterday raided a Catholic children’s scout camp, near the village of Jibya, organised by the Palestinian Holy Family Group from the Latin Monastery of Ramallah. They destroyed the tents and threw sound and gas bombs before they left.

Fortunately, the children were away from the camp attending a class in a hall close to the campsite. No one was injured, but the organisers say the children were very frightened.

The scout leader Samir Habash, said: “We practice our scouting right within the Palestinian natural environment, which is guaranteed by international and local scouting laws, but it appears that this right is forbidden to us because of oppressive occupation measures.”

He appealed to local and international scouting organisations around the world to publicise this barbaric attack, especially because it was targeting children.

The Scouts of the Palestinian Holy Family (for boy and girl scouts) were founded in 1996 and have about 180 members.

If you follow the link to the article you will see a picture of the destroyed tents.

Yes, the belief that “God gave the land to the Jews” has indeed contributed to a lot of suffering. This has been going on for a long time, and as the letter below points out, “the situation is still deteriorating.”

By the way, the letter makes reference to two other documents, one of them being the Amaan Call, issued by the WCC ten years ago following a meeting held in Amaan, Jordan. The other document mentioned is the Kairos Palestinedocument, a letter signed by Palestinian Christians and published in 2009. This latest letter urges Christians of conscience not to “hide behind the cover of political neutrality,” and also calls upon the WCC to support the BDS movement.

In June of this year, the WCC did in fact release a “Statement on 50 Years of Occupation.” The statement notes that “half a century after the 1967 war, there is still no peace and no justice among the inhabitants of the land of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.” It also asserts that Israel’s “matrix of control – in particular through the ever growing web of illegal Israeli settlements – is increasing rather than diminishing” hopes for peace.

Sadly, however, the statement does not include the word “apartheid,” nor does it endorse the BDS movement.

***

Letter from Palestinian Christians to the World Council of Churches

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

Background

As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration. The injustice was intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza, the fragmentation of our people and land through policies of isolation and confiscation of property, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the apartheid wall.

We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored—even dehumanized—the nation, our people who had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

Hundred years later, with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth (though not our memory), millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished, and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba continues.

A hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leaders’ callings, Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking, we have reached the “moment of impossible,” as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently.

Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning—a hundred years ago—on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?

Today is also an opportunity to remember the 10-year-old Amman Call. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity—those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that 10 years later the situation is still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace. We must ask ourselves today why that is.

We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort toward peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem, the city of Emmanuel!

While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last 10 years as a result of Israeli pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their partners in religious dialogue.

Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a painful price. We thank you for your efforts toward the refugees and toward ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

Our Call

“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Justice), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”. (Matthew 5:10-11)

As we stand in front of this “impossible moment,” it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call and adopt the following:

1. That you call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and in agreement of what a person like Desmond Tutu said and as the UN ESCWA report said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people.. We are disturbed by the fact that states and churches are dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination, and daily death in the land. Just as churches united to end apartheid in South Africa and whereby the WCC played a courageous and pivotal prophetic and leadership role, we expect you to do the same!

2. That you unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses. We ask that churches and Christians support the Palestinians in their request for justice.

3. That you take the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant. We ask that you adopt and live the theology suggested by Kairos Palestine and that you organize conferences to bring awareness toward this end.

4. That you take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region. We ask that you support us in combating the foundations of extremism and that you seek our council when acting against religious extremism so that you do not jeopardize and harm our standing here.

5. That you revisit and challenge your religious dialogue partners, and that you are willing to even withdraw from the partnership if needed, if the occupation and injustices in Palestine and Israel are not challenged.

6. That you lead campaigns for church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities on this side of the wall in cooperation with Palestinian tourist and pilgrimage agencies, in response to recent attempts by Israel. We ask that you publicly challenge any attempt by Israel or other Christians that discourage pilgrims from visiting Palestinian places.

7. That you defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and non-violently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and that you support atheltic, cultural, and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, apartheid, and discrimination, and accepts refugees to return to their homeland. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measure.

8. That you create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians. We ask that you publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.

9. We therefore propose as a matter of the greatest urgency that you create a strategic program within WCC similar to the program “To Combat Racism” to lead efforts to lobby, advocate, and develop active programs toward justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and maintain the presence of the Palestinian Christians through supporting their organizations, church work, and peaceful efforts.

As faithful witnesses, we acknowledge, affirm, and continue the long-standing prophetic tradition, especially the one started by the Amman Call and articulated in the Kairos Palestine document. We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call.

Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin brought to us and to all humanity, new life.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

12 June 2017

Signed By:

Jerusalem
Arab Catholic Scouts Group
Arab Orthodox Society, Jerusalem
Caritas, Jerusalem
Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees—Middle East Council of Churches
Greek Catholic Sayedat AlBishara Association
International Christian Committee
Laity Committee in the Holy Land
National Christian Association
Pontifical Mission Palestine
Sabeel—Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
Seeds of Better life
Union of Arab Orthodox Club, Jerusalem
Young Men’s Christian Association—YMCA
Young Women’s Christian Association—YWCA

 

Gaza
NECC office

 

Bethlehem (NCOB) Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem
The East Jerusalem YMCA—Beit Sahour Branch
The Arab Educational Institute
Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
Wi’am Center, Bethlehem
Saint Afram Assyrian Society
Holy Land Christians Ecumenical Foundation, Bethlehem
Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI)
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Jala
Arab Orthodox Club, Bethlehem
The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
Bethlehem Bible College
Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies
Alternative Tourism Group, ATG, Beit Sahour
Senior Citizen Charitable Society
Environmental educational Center, Beit Jala
Saint Vincent Charitable Society, Beit Jala
Shepherds’ Children Society, Beit Sahour
Kairos Palestine

Balfour’s Shadow – A Century of British Support for Zionism and israel

Balfour’s Shadow – A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel

Reviewed by Jim Miles

(Balfour’s Shadow – A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel.  David Cronin. Pluto Press, London. 2017.)

The Balfour Declaration, currently accepted by many as the founding legal statement for the establishment of Israel is really nothing more than a letter.  It was a letter of policy between government personnel and became a major part of foreign policy then, and its shadow effects have continued on rather effectively to now.  Balfour’s Shadow is a well written outline of the history of events after the letter: the immediate short term effects on British policy after WW I; the medium range policies that continued until after WW II; up to Britain’s current policy of advocating for and dealing with Israel.  It is not a pretty story.

The letter was not necessarily well intended.  Balfour himself was anti-Semitic.  Yet the letter offered support to the Zionists for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine.  Several factors accounted for this, one of them being this very anti-Semitism, as many British felt that Jews would never assimilate into their society.

Several other factors came into play:  Jewish support in the war effort was considered necessary;  the British wanted to protect the Suez Canal as the main route through to its then colonies of south Asia, mainly India;  and natural resources, oil, became a major interest after oil was discovered in abundance in the Middle East.  A colonial outpost would, Britain believed, help consolidate control of the region against Arab interests in an era when British racism ran rampant throughout its colonial networks.

From that beginning, Cronin highlights the major factors in the relationship between Zionists, Jews, and the British government.  He deals specifically with events pertaining to the government, and does not detail all that transpired during Britain’s occupation via the Palestinian Mandate.  But the general thread of the history is exposed throughout the work, accessible to both those with a strong background in the history and those just entering into the discovery process of Middle East history.  For the latter, Balfour’s Shadow provides enough detail that a reader should be motivated to research more information through other works (of which there are many).

In general, Cronin reveals that the methods used by the British to control the indigenous population of Palestine laid the foundation for the ethnic cleansing and later suppression of the Palestinian people.  Much history has been written about the Haganah, Stern, and Irgun ‘gangs’ fighting against the British, but the general trend of British behavior was to support the increasing settlement patterns, evictions, and land grabs of the Zionist settlers.

After the Nakba, Britain continued to supply Israel with military support ranging from hundreds of tanks, many planes, up to and including nuclear systems, in particular the sale of heavy water through Norway.  This period was a transition from British global power to U.S. global power: after the fake war for the Suez Canal and the later pre-emptive war of 1967, the U.S. had clearly taken the lead in supporting Israel. Britain however did not let go.

Indeed, Britain became one of the strongest voices in support of Israel as military trade and financial/corporate interests continued with mostly behind the scenes activities.  Additional information is provided showing how the British worked to sideline the PLO by effectively recruiting Arafat as leader of a recognized PLO ‘government’, leading to the false promises of the Oslo accords and the continued annexation, settlement, and dispossession of the Palestinians.

For contemporary events, Cronin highlights the bizarre career of Tony Blair.  At this point in time Blair was truly a “loyal lieutenant” for the U.S., adopting and promulgating U.S. policy for Israel and the Middle East in general.   Bringing the work up to current events, “Partners in Crime” outlines the corporate-military ties between Britain, Israel, and the U.S..  Most of the corporate interest is military procurement going both directions – hardware to Israel, spyware and security ware to Britain.  As always, these corporations (Ferranti, Affinity, Elbit, Rafael, Rokar, Lockheed-Martin) changed British views – at least of the elites – from tentative support to solidarity.  These friendly relations also helped tie Israel into the EU more strongly.

Today, official British policy remains as an ardent supporter of Israel, with a lasting pride in Israel’s founding.  The British colonial heritage rages on in the Middle East.

This is an excellent work most specifically for its focus on British attitudes concerning the development of Zionism/Israel, a history of war crimes and apartheid.  Kudos to Cronin for his extensive use of many personal diaries and notices and of official records from War and Colonial office files as well as Foreign and Commonwealth files for more recent materials.  It is concise and direct, an accessible read that can serve as a prerequisite for Middle East studies/Zionist studies and as a general guide to British policy for Israel.  [1]

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor and columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Notes: 

[1] Many books cover the development of Zionism and the creation of Israel.  For a more highly detailed development of the historical situation preceding and leading up to the Balfour letter itself, the best I have read is

The Balfour Declaration – The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.  Jonathan Schneer.  Anchor (Random House), Canada.  2012.

Balfour’s Shadow – A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel

A review of the book authored by David Cronin

By Jim Miles GlobalResearch,

July 01, 2017

The Balfour Declaration, currently accepted by many as the founding legal statement for the establishment of Israel is really nothing more than a letter. It was a letter of policy between government personnel and became a major part of foreign policy then, and its shadow effects have continued on rather effectively to now. Balfour’s Shadow is a well written outline of the history of events after the letter: the immediate short term effects on British policy after WW I; the medium range policies that continued until after WW II; up to Britain’s current policy of advocating for and dealing with Israel. It is not a pretty story.

The letter was not necessarily well intended. Balfour himself was anti-Semitic. Yet the letter offered support to the Zionists for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine. Several factors accounted for this, one of them being this very anti-Semitism, as many British felt that Jews would never assimilate into their society.

Several other factors came into play: Jewish support in the war effort was considered necessary; the British wanted to protect the Suez Canal as the main route through to its then colonies of south Asia, mainly India; and natural resources, oil, became a major interest after oil was discovered in abundance in the Middle East. A colonial outpost would, Britain believed, help consolidate control of the region against Arab interests in an era when British racism ran rampant throughout its colonial networks.

From that beginning, Cronin highlights the major factors in the relationship between Zionists, Jews, and the British government. He deals specifically with events pertaining to the government, and does not detail all that transpired during Britain’s occupation via the Palestinian Mandate. But the general thread of the history is exposed throughout the work, accessible to both those with a strong background in the history and those just entering into the discovery process of Middle East history. For the latter, Balfour’s Shadow provides enough detail that a reader should be motivated to research more information through other works (of which there are many).

Author David Cronin

(Source: @dvcronin / Twitter)

In general, Cronin reveals that the methods used by the British to control the indigenous population of Palestine laid the foundation for the ethnic cleansing and later suppression of the Palestinian people. Much history has been written about the Haganah, Stern, and Irgun ‘gangs’ fighting against the British, but the general trend of British behaviour was to support the increasing settlement patterns, evictions, and land grabs of the Zionist settlers.

After the nakba, Britain continued to supply Israel with military support ranging from hundreds of tanks, many planes, up to and including nuclear systems, in particular the sale of heavy water through Norway. This period was a transition from British global power to U.S. global power: after the fake war for the Suez Canal and the later pre-emptive war of 1967, the U.S. had clearly taken the lead in supporting Israel. Britain however did not let go.

Indeed, Britain became one of the strongest voices in support of Israel as military trade and financial/corporate interests continued with mostly behind the scenes activities.

Additional information is provided showing how the British worked to sideline the PLO by effectively recruiting Arafat as leader of a recognized PLO ‘government’, leading to the false promises of the Oslo accords and the continued annexation, settlement, and dispossession of the Palestinians.

For contemporary events, Cronin highlights the bizarre career of Tony Blair. At this point in time Blair was truly a “loyal lieutenant” for the U.S., adopting and promulgating U.S. policy for Israel and the Middle East in general. Bringing the work up to current events, “Partners in Crime” outlines the corporate-military ties between Britain, Israel, and the U.S.. Most of the corporate interest is military procurement going both directions – hardware to Israel, spyware and security ware to Britain. As always, these corporations (Ferranti, Affinity, Elbit, Rafael, Rokar, Lockheed-Martin) changed British views – at least of the elites – from tentative support to solidarity. These friendly relations also helped tie Israel into the EU more strongly.

Today, official British policy remains as an ardent supporter of Israel, with a lasting pride in Israel’s founding. The British colonial heritage rages on in the Middle East.

This is an excellent work most specifically for its focus on British attitudes concerning the development of Zionism/Israel, a history of war crimes and apartheid. Kudos to Cronin for his extensive use of many personal diaries and notices and of official records from War and Colonial office files as well as Foreign and Commonwealth files for more recent materials. It is concise and direct, an accessible read that can serve as a prerequisite for Middle East studies/Zionist studies and as a general guide to British policy for Israel. [1]

***

Image result

Title: Balfour’s Shadow – A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel

Author: David Cronin

Publisher: Pluto Press, London

Click here to order.

Notes

[1] Many books cover the development of Zionism and the creation of Israel. For a more highly detailed development of the historical situation preceding and leading up to the Balfour letter itself, the best I have read is: The Balfour Declaration – The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Jonathan Schneer. Anchor (Random House), Canada. 2012.

This review was first published in Palestine Chronicle, June 29, 2017.

Featured image from Book Depository

Palestinian Christians Send Open Letter to World Council of Churches

Posted on June 16, 2017

Palestinian Christians have published an open letter to the World Council of Churches asking that the international ecumenical body recognize Israel as an apartheid state.

“As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration,” the letter begins.

The document makes no specific reference to Christian Zionism, but it does assert that Palestinians are suffering “because of one political declaration from a Western empire, based on a twisted theological premise,” and calls upon the WCC to “take the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant.”

The phrase “twisted theological premise” is a pretty good way of characterizing Christian Zionism, and I probably couldn’t have come up with a better descriptor myself.

Additionally, the letter makes reference to two other documents, one of them being the Amaan Call, issued by the WCC ten years ago following a meeting held in Amaan, Jordan. The other document mentioned is the Kairos Palestine document, a letter signed by Palestinian Christians and published in 2009.

This latest letter urges Christians of conscience not to “hide behind the cover of political neutrality,” and also calls upon the WCC support the BDS movement.

The WCC is scheduled to hold a meeting next week in Bethlehem.

The Friends of Sabeel of North America is calling upon members of the public to sign onto the letter. I reproduce the letter in full below. You can go here to sign onto it.

***

 

Letter from Palestinian Christians to the World Council of Churches

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

Background

As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration. The injustice was intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza, the fragmentation of our people and land through policies of isolation and confiscation of property, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the apartheid wall.

We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored—even dehumanized—the nation, our people who had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

Hundred years later, with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth (though not our memory), millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished, and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba continues.

A hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leaders’ callings, Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking, we have reached the “moment of impossible,” as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently.

Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning—a hundred years ago—on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?

Today is also an opportunity to remember the 10-year-old Amman Call. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity—those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that 10 years later the situation is still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace. We must ask ourselves today why that is.

We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort toward peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem, the city of Emmanuel!

While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last 10 years as a result of Israeli pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their partners in religious dialogue.

Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a painful price. We thank you for your efforts toward the refugees and toward ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

Our Call

“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Justice), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”. (Matthew 5:10-11)

As we stand in front of this “impossible moment,” it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call and adopt the following:

1. That you call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and in agreement of what a person like Desmond Tutu said and as the UN ESCWA report said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people.. We are disturbed by the fact that states and churches are dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination, and daily death in the land. Just as churches united to end apartheid in South Africa and whereby the WCC played a courageous and pivotal prophetic and leadership role, we expect you to do the same!

2. That you unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses. We ask that churches and Christians support the Palestinians in their request for justice.

3. That you take the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant. We ask that you adopt and live the theology suggested by Kairos Palestine and that you organize conferences to bring awareness toward this end.

4. That you take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region. We ask that you support us in combating the foundations of extremism and that you seek our council when acting against religious extremism so that you do not jeopardize and harm our standing here.

5. That you revisit and challenge your religious dialogue partners, and that you are willing to even withdraw from the partnership if needed, if the occupation and injustices in Palestine and Israel are not challenged.

6. That you lead campaigns for church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities on this side of the wall in cooperation with Palestinian tourist and pilgrimage agencies, in response to recent attempts by Israel. We ask that you publicly challenge any attempt by Israel or other Christians that discourage pilgrims from visiting Palestinian places.

7. That you defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and non-violently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and that you support atheltic, cultural, and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, apartheid, and discrimination, and accepts refugees to return to their homeland. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measure.

8. That you create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians. We ask that you publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.

9. We therefore propose as a matter of the greatest urgency that you create a strategic program within WCC similar to the program “To Combat Racism” to lead efforts to lobby, advocate, and develop active programs toward justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and maintain the presence of the Palestinian Christians through supporting their organizations, church work, and peaceful efforts.

As faithful witnesses, we acknowledge, affirm, and continue the long-standing prophetic tradition, especially the one started by the Amman Call and articulated in the Kairos Palestine document. We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call.

Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin brought to us and to all humanity, new life.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

12 June 2017

Signed By:

Jerusalem
Arab Catholic Scouts Group
Arab Orthodox Society, Jerusalem
Caritas, Jerusalem
Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees—Middle East Council of Churches
Greek Catholic Sayedat AlBishara Association
International Christian Committee
Laity Committee in the Holy Land
National Christian Association
Pontifical Mission Palestine
Sabeel—Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
Seeds of Better life
Union of Arab Orthodox Club, Jerusalem
Young Men’s Christian Association—YMCA
Young Women’s Christian Association—YWCA

 

Gaza
NECC office

 

Bethlehem (NCOB) Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem
The East Jerusalem YMCA—Beit Sahour Branch
The Arab Educational Institute
Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
Wi’am Center, Bethlehem
Saint Afram Assyrian Society
Holy Land Christians Ecumenical Foundation, Bethlehem
Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI)
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Jala
Arab Orthodox Club, Bethlehem
The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
Bethlehem Bible College
Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies
Alternative Tourism Group, ATG, Beit Sahour
Senior Citizen Charitable Society
Environmental educational Center, Beit Jala
Saint Vincent Charitable Society, Beit Jala
Shepherds’ Children Society, Beit Sahour
Kairos Palestine

 

Click here to add your signature to the letter

Preparing for War on Hizbullah

 

The US and its Arab allies are drawing up plans to suffocate the movement financially as a prelude to eventual militarily action

By Abdel Bari Atwan

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May 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –   The US-led war on the Islamic Sate group under the banner of fighting terrorism may be viewed by many, especially by Arab members of the coalition that is waging it, as legitimate. But in our view it increasingly looks like a cover or smokescreen aimed at paving the way, or bestowing legitimacy on, a different war: one aimed at eliminating resistance to Israel in the region, and specifically the Lebanese Hizbullah movement.

The US war for Kuwait in 1991 was fought for the same purpose. A trap was set, after careful planning and precise distribution of roles, for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Its aim was to drag him into Kuwait to provide a pretext for destroying Iraq, aborting its scientific progress and military ascendancy and undermining its regional role. It is no exaggeration to say that the proxy war on Syria war has a similar objective– not only to destroy and fragment Syria as an adversary of Israel, but to lure a reluctant Hizbullah into the conflict and thus diminish its enormous popularity and the place it gained in hearts of tens or hundreds of millions of Arabs after its two great victories against Israel: First, when it succeeded in liberating southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000 after years of persistent resistance, and again in July 2006 when it also fought valiantly and stood fast in epic resistance to an Israeli onslaught that sought to annihilate it.

Most of the regional moves currently being made by the US — including Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Riyadh and the Eager Lion military exercises in Jordan – have one ultimate objective: to declare all-out war on Hizbullah. This includes drying up its financial resources and criminalizing the organization, in the same way Saddam Hussein was criminalized and the Palestinian resistance movement prior to that: first during the days of the PLO and its factions, and then with the rise of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups that continue to fight Israel.

The West has a variety of problems with Iran, and the country’s nuclear ambitions are one of the most prominent. But it is possible to live with, and even contain, these ambitions by various means. However, Iran’s unforgivable sin in the West’s eyes was to support Hizbullah in Lebanon and transform it into a formidable military force that poses a real deterrent and threat to Israel at a time when the Arab states were surrendering to it. Many have stopped referring to it as the enemy and instead begun building bridges of cooperation and normalization with it and treating it as a strategic regional ally.

Hizbullah crossed all American and Israeli red lines by developing a vast missile capability (100,000 missiles according to some estimates) along with fighting skills that most of the region’s armies — including the Israeli army — lack, combining attributes of conventional armies with expertise in guerrilla warfare. Moreover, four years of fighting in Syria has further strengthened, developed, and modernized these skills.

There have been reports in recent days of an unpublicized closed-door meeting in Washington involving a number of Gulf and Arab states aimed at agreeing a strategy for confronting Hizbullah in the coming period. Participants included Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE. This was intended to prepare for the two multilateral summits (with Arab/Muslim leaders and Gulf rulers respectively) that Trump will attend in Riyadh.

Reports from this meeting indicate that the joint Western-Arab plan for confronting Hizbullah include imposing financial sanctions on the organization’s members, supporters and sympathizers around the world, especially Lebanese expatriates in Africa and Europe who provide financial support for the party or institutions affiliated or close to it. This will involve measures to monitor money transfers and dry up all the party’s external funding sources in order to create difficulties for its leadership in financing its political and military structures and its extensive social institutions and activities.

The war on the hardline jihadi groups such as the Nusra Front and IS is drawing towards a close. Nusra is besieged in Idlib, rural Damascus and a few enclaves in rural Aleppo. The recent Astana agreement delegated the task of liquidating it to the so-called moderate Syrian opposition factions backed by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. As for IS, it has lost most of Mosul, and the war to liberate al-Raqqa by the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is now imminent, and will begin as soon as sufficient supplies of American tanks, armoured vehicles and missiles have been delivered to these forces.

In other words, the destruction of the ‘Islamist’ groups that are internationally designated as terrorist organizations will open the door wide to the more important war on Hizbullah, not only in Syria but in Lebanon too. It is to begin with an economic war and culminate in a military offensive — as, indeed, the wars on Iraq did.

Could this scenario which is being implemented in stages against Hizbullah (and by extension Iran) achieve the same success it did against Iraq – and prior to that against the Palestinian presence in Lebanon, which was ended with the 1982 Israeli invasion? It is hard to give a categorical answer to this hypothetical question. What can be said, however, is that circumstances have changed, and Israel has changed as well. Hizbullah is the pivot of a regional and confessional structure, and has the open and total support of Iran, and of Iraq to a lesser degree. Any war against it will not be easy. If the 1991 scenario succeeded in Iraq, that was due above all to Arab collusion and betrayal, as well as the demise of the Soviet Union which left the US as the world’s unchallenged hegemon.

The wars currently unfolding in the region and the conspiracies being hatched are all for the sake of enhancing Israel’s security and stability and maintaining its military power and supremacy. It is ironic that this is happening around the time of the centenary of the infamous Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot agreements. For the task now being undertaken is aimed at consolidating the Zionist presence in Palestine and the region envisaged in that Declaration, while dismembering the states that emerged from the womb of those agreements.

This article was first published by http://www.raialyoum.com

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

The Balfour Declaration – A Century of Jewish Power

May 17, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon

This year, Palestinians and their supporters mark the 100th anniversary of The Balfour Declaration, a written statement from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, to Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, in favour of the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

For Palestinians, The Balfour Declaration was the beginning of their plight: a century of ethnic cleansing at the hands of European newcomers who claim Palestine as their historic home. Yet, for some reason, supporters of the Palestinians are desperate to suppress discussion of the motivation for the Balfour Declaration – how and why did it come about?

The Balfour Declaration provides solid evidence that the dominance of Jewish political lobbies in world affairs is not really a ‘new development.’ In 1917, at the peak of WWI, it was up to a few Jewish financiers and lobbyists to decide the fate of countries, continentsand the outcome of global conflicts.

In his invaluable book, The Pity of it All, Israeli historian Amos Elon suggests that the 1917 Balfour Declaration was at least partially motivated by the British government’s desire to win the support of pro-German American Jews so that they would help to pull the USA into the war. 

Elon argues that at the beginning of the war,  German- American Jewish financierssidedwith the Germans and would reject any possible alliance between the USA and England.  “Jacob H. Schiff, head of Kuhn, Loeb—at the time the largest private bank in the United States after J. P. Morgan—declared that he could no more disavow his loyalty to Germany than he could renounce his own parents. Schiff prayed for Germany’s victory. In a statement to the New York Times on November 22, 1914, he charged the British and the French with attempting to destroy Germany for reasons of trade.” (The Pity Of It All, pg. 455)

And German-American Jews were not alone in the Jewish community.  Russian-American Jews also supported Germany in the war.

 “Eastern European Jews in the United States, repelled by the anti-Semitism of czarist Russia, were equally pro-German. In Russia itself, Jews of the Pale greeted German troops advancing into Poland, Byelorussia, and the Ukraine as liberators. In a sense, they were.” (ibid)

According to Elon, the Brits encountered an American Jewish problem.

“The British government took these developments very seriously. In a fit of paranoia, the British ambassador in Washington even suspected the existence of a veritable German Jewish conspiracy in the United States directed at Britain.” (Ibid)

Elon’s conclusion is clear.

“The 1917 Balfour Declaration, calling for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, was at least partly motivated by the British government’s desire to win support among pro-German American Jews.” (ibid)

Elon’s reading of the circumstances that led to the Balfour Declaration is pretty much the same as  Benjamin Freedman’s in his notorious 1961 address. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8OmxI2AYV8

Freedman states that Zionists offered Britain their support in pulling the USA into the war in return for a British commitment to make Palestine into a Jewish homeland in the future. Freedman believed that Germany’s post-WW I animosity towards Jews stemmed from what they regarded as the betrayal and complicity of German-Jewish financiers in their defeat.

100 years after the Balfour Declaration, Palestinian solidarity enthusiasts choose to avoid discussion on the global Judeo-centric politics that led to the  declaration,  even though it was arguably the most significant event that shaped the Middle East and present day Palestinian reality. This reluctance suggests that the solidarity movement is itself an occupied territory. Once again, we observe that the discourse of the oppressed is controlled by the sensitivities of the oppressor.

To learn more:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/nakba-history-and-the-origins-of-the-jewish-state-the-role-of-the-balfour-declaration/5338365

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