Monday, June 10, 2013

Partition of Palestine and the Creation of Israel

When the modern nation-state of Israel was created under UN General Assembly Resolution 181 the former British protectorate of Palestine was partitioned, similar to the partitioning of India and the creation of Pakistan, which resulted in the creation of the modern nation-state of Israel. The difference between the events in India and the events in Palestine was that a foreign ethnic entity was implanted, in internationally recognized state form, into a predominantly Arab region which caused displacement of large segments of the indigenous population. The creation of the Jewish state, made possible by an international Zionist movement, was not an isolated result from the events of World War II. The international Zionist network had long planned to establish a Jewish state, specifically aimed at the so-called holy land of the Torah, using international capital to purchase land in Palestine under Ottoman rule and later under British control. In addition to using international capital to purchase up tracts of land, Jewish settlers also were able to utilize international capital to import agricultural technology that Arab farmers in the region did not possess and could not match.

After World War II and the establishment of the UN Security Council, two of the most powerful states, the United States and Britain, stood as staunch supporters of a homeland for the Jewish people. The Belfour declaration stands as one of the pre-Israel historical documents that show such support. Zionist networks had worked hard to maintain Christian political support in Britain and as Jewish and Zionist immigration into the United States began to heavily increase, American political and economic support for the new state of Israel also vastly increased. Constantly increasing American economic and military aid to Israel since 1950 can be easily verified and today Israel receives over 3 billion dollars each year from the United States government in the form of foreign aid. Today, through western economic and military support, the nation-state of Israel holds a military hegemon on the Middle East region and is viewed by many as a nation-state above international law. The treatment of the Palestinian people, from the blockade on Gaza to the apartheid wall to illegal land confiscation and settlements, has often instigated anti-American sentiments from the Arab world, due to American support, and leaves the U.S. in a bad political light. In addition, when Israel commits human rights violations and the international community brings forth resolutions of condemnation before the United Nations, the United States uses their UN Security Council veto to block any resolutions critical of Israel. Israel has so much sway over the American government that the U.S. often finds itself being lobbied into issuing international economic sanctions on nation-states with ambitions for nuclear energy, under false accusations of manufacturing weapons, while their ally Israel actually possesses nuclear weapons, but has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (Iran signed the NPT in 1968.

How does the nation-state of Israel secure such blind international support from the West? There are a few reasons. First, the western nation-state powers are predominantly Christian. In addition, the masses of those nation-states are uneducated and many have difficulty differentiating between the biblical tribes of Israel and the modern nation-state government of Israel. In addition, the Christian states are capitalist in nature and the working masses have little time for researching facts or following Congressional procedures. Second, the Western state governments are representative democracies, which make government decision-making, foreign and domestic, relatively easy for manipulation. In the case of United States legislation on behalf of supporting Israel, this manipulation is achieved by the major Zionist and Christian Zionist lobbying powers such as AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) and CUFI (Christians United for Israel), and a plethora of other lobbyist organizations, which lobby both Republican and Democratic seats (votes). There is no other lobbyist network in Washington with such bi-partisan influence and power.

The Zionists have always been highly skilled at working within empires and states, from the Ottoman Empire through the British Empire and now the United States, to achieve their political means, the top objective being the creation and strengthening of the nation-state of Israel. There are many different views of the nation-state of Israel, from people viewing them as a staunch ally of the United States to the view that Israel is a regional tyrant and a regional instigator (protected by the United States). I personally view the one-way U.S.-Israeli relationship as a negative one that further damages the image of the United States on the international stage. Perhaps during the Cold War era Israel could have been considered a strategic investment for the U.S., but the validation period for this argument is long gone and the U.S. receives little to nothing in return from such sacrifices. The United States has submerged itself heavily in debt and is currently forced to make many domestic fiscal cuts, from budget cuts in the Department of Defense to education and law enforcement, yet the annual billions of economic and military welfare to Israel continues while Israel, a so-called U.S. ally, refuses to even stop building illegal settlements when the U.S. Secretary of State visits (one of many examples of Israel not listening to U.S. requests).

American Israel Public Affairs Committee. What is AIPAC?. AIPAC, 1989.

Hersh, Seymour M. The Samson option: Israel's nuclear arsenal and American foreign policy. Vintage Books, 1993.

Kuziemko, Ilyana, and Eric Werker. "How much is a seat on the Security Council worth? Foreign aid and bribery at the United Nations." Journal of Political Economy 114, no. 5 (2006): 905-930.

Lesch, Ann Mosely. "Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-1977." Journal of Palestine Studies 7, no. 1 (1977): 26-47.

Mearsheimer, John J., and Stephen M. Walt. "The Israel lobby and US foreign policy." Middle East Policy 13, no. 3 (2006): 29-87.

Muhammad, Dedrick, and Farrah Hassen. "Christians United for Israel and Attacking Iran." Foreign Policy in Focus (2008).

Öke, Mim Kemal. "The Ottoman Empire, Zionism, and the Question of Palestine (1880–1908)." International Journal of Middle East Studies 14, no. 03 (1982): 329-341.

Usher, Graham. "Unmaking Palestine: On Israel, the Palestinians, and the Wall." Journal of Palestine Studies 35, no. 1 (2005): 25-43.

Vereté, Mayir. "The Balfour Declaration and its makers." Middle Eastern Studies 6, no. 1 (1970): 48-76.

Part II

I tend to view Zionism and Jewish networking, especially with the amount of capital flowing across nation-state borders to build the Jewish presence in Palestine from the decline of Ottoman control to the end of the British protectorate, as the main nationalist force even though the course textbook makes the statement that “the majority of the Jewish immigrants in the first wave following the pogroms of 1881-1884 were not technically Zionists” (Smith, 29). The reason I state this view is because if the Jewish religion is based on the concept of Jewish people being “chosen” and the promise (by God) of the Promised Land (which is no rational way to conduct international political decision making), how can this international ethnic network not be considered Zionist in nature? Not only was Theodor Herzl a leading voice and organizer for Jewish nationality, but wealthy Western Jews such as “Sir Moses Montefiore and particularly Baron Edmond de Rothschild of the great banking family, who between the 1883 and 1889 gave the settlers 1.6 million pounds sterling” funded land purchasing and the import of agricultural technology to ensure settler success (Smith, 29).

The nation that was created, even though the Jewish nation had always been a nation spanning across international borders, was coined by Herzl as “Der Judenstaat (The State of the Jews)” with a message directed toward “wealthy Jews in the West” with hopes “that those Jews would provide financial assistance” to the establishment of a Jewish state (Smith, 31). The message was well received. At the end of the 19th century, the World Zionist Organization created its own bank “and in 1901 the Jewish National Fund was established for the express purpose of purchasing and developing land for Jewish settlements in Palestine. The fund played a major role in the acquisition of land that became inalienably Jewish, never to be sold to or worked by non-Jews” (Smith, 32).

Smith, C. D. (2010). Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict: A history with documents, 7th ed. Palgrave Macmillan: New York.

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