Friday, June 14, 2013

Zionist Historical Documents - Herzl "What is a State", Balfour Declaration, Faysal-Weizmann Agreement


Theodor Herzl – February 18, 1898

“What is a State?”

Theodore Herzl is accredited with being the father of political Zionism and his address to a German-Jewish audience in Berlin on February 18, 1898 is noteworthy of consideration on a few levels.  First, the address, and thus the origins of political Zionism, took place during a period of increasing nationalism on the international stage due to centuries of domestic oppression by European political and economic caste systems and, in cases of foreign territories that would eventually gain independence, European colonial imperialism.  The first thing in Herzl’s speech that draws attention is his declaration that “there is a Palestine; it is located on the Mediterranean”[1].  The argument from the modern Zionist and pro-Israeli views that there was not a Palestine until after the beginning of the British protectorate has been long increasing in utilization and volume, yet we read contrary to this argument from the speech by the father of political Zionism himself.  Apparently, Herzl viewed the national interests of the Jewish people as a hybrid form of justified colonialism, which to him reasoned as a “consequence of overpopulation” in Europe and a “policy which England” had “been pursuing for decades and which has been regarded as exemplary by many nations” [2].

While the man seemed to feel strongly concerning the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people, especially those in Europe who were assimilating into the various Christian gentile states at the end of the 19th century, his disregard for the native population who already occupied the Palestinian land, and other colonized lands, seems naïve in his statement “What is a state?  A big colony.  What is a colony?  A small state. “[3].

Perhaps, like many reformers throughout history, Herzl did not foresee the future international corruption that would become the international political movement of Zionism and the state of Israel.  Perhaps, in retrospect of the late 19th century European Pogroms against Jews, the idea of a Jewish state, once it would become powerful, committing atrocities against another ethnic group, as was done to the Jewish people, never crossed his thoughts.   After all, when Herzl gave this speech in 1898 the Ottoman Empire still possessed Palestine.

Balfour Declaration

Arthur James Balfour was the Foreign Secretary for the United Kingdom in 1917 and accredited with the infamous Balfour Declaration sent to Baron Walter Rothschild, a member of one of the wealthiest banking families in Britain, and the Zionist Federation of Great Britain.   The Balfour Declaration certainly isn’t taught about in American schools prior to the private sector college level and then only if a student is specifically studying the Near East and Israel at a 300 or higher level.  For as much as Israel impacts United States foreign policy, this is a designed flaw.  What is most interesting about this Declaration, or political support agreement, is the fact that there were four drafts of the Balfour Declaration prior to the Final produced text in October 1917.  Obviously, the first chronological draft was written by the Zionist Federation of Great Britain.  Interestingly, as in any negotiation of wording, the Zionist draft states that “His Majesty’s Government” would “use its best endeavors to secure the achievement of this object”, which was “the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish People”[4].  Balfour’s draft from August 1917 rewords the statement to read “will be ready to consider any suggestions on the subject which the Zionist Organization may desire to lay before them” [5].  Apparently Lord Milner, who was a member of the British War Cabinet in 1916 and later was elevated to Minister of War, was the main author of the final Balfour Declaration.  In the final draft of the declaration, a protection for non-Jewish people was added under the statement that with the promise of British support that it be understood “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities” [6],  This obvious commitment of respect was obviously thrown to the side after the establishment and international capital-military strengthening of the nation-state of Israel, and nowhere is the example of this blatant disregard more evident than the 1967 offensive and the modern illegal settlement building that is occurring today.

Faysal-Weizmann Agreement

Before Britain was even placed into a protectorate position over Palestine in 1920, a political agreement between Emir Faisal, brief ruler of Syria in 1920 and later king over the territory known as Iraq from 1921 until 1933, and Chaim Weizmann, who would later become President of the World Zionist Federation, emerged out of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.  While there was no Palestinian voice present at the conference, the brief leader of Syria negotiated with aspiring Zionists interests and produced the Faysal-Weizmann Agreement.  Before we look at some of the articles that would impact the Palestinian population, a population poorly represented at the conference, Article IX must be noted: “Any matters of dispute which may arise between the two contracting parties shall be referred to the British Government for arbitration” [7].  Here it must be considered that almost 100 years after this agreement that Israel still turns to the United States for “arbitration”, which often bait the United States into launching economic sanctions (Iran), funding and arming rebels (Syria), and toppling and rebuilding governments (Iraq).  If there are any questions as to the nation-state of Israel’s influence in these examples, those questions can be put to rest by watching archive video footage of the annual AIPAC lobbyist conferences for those specific time frames.

Reading the Faysal-Weizmann agreement, it is obvious that the (brief) Syrian leader sold the native Arab population of Palestine down the river.  In article IV, Faysal agrees that “All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale” [8].  In article VII he agrees to allow the Zionist Organization into Palestine “to use its best efforts to assist the Arab State in providing the means for developing the natural resources and economic possibilities thereof” [9].  A true leader who cared for the national interests of his people (instead of being bought) should have recognized that the native Palestinian population did not have the capital or technology to compete with this foreign influx of both international capital and technology, and would eventually become bought out, closed out, owned, and at the political whim of new masters.  Either Faysal was either completely incompetent in understanding capitalism or one of the largest individual sell-outs in history. 



[1]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 51.

Theodor Herzl.  Die Welt.  Who Fears a State?  February 18, 1898.  Public Domain.

[2]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 51.

Theodor Herzl.  Die Welt.  Who Fears a State?  February 18, 1898.  Public Domain.

[3]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 51.

Theodor Herzl.  Die Welt.  Who Fears a State?  February 18, 1898.  Public Domain.

[4]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 97.

Balfour Declaration.  1917.  Public domain.

[5]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 97.

Balfour Declaration.  1917.  Public domain.

[6]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 97.

Balfour Declaration.  1917.  Public domain.

[7]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 98-99.

The Faysal-Weizmann Agreement.  January 3, 1919.  Public Domain.

[8]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 98-99.

The Faysal-Weizmann Agreement.  January 3, 1919.  Public Domain.

[9]  Smith, Charles  D.  2010.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, p. 98-99.

The Faysal-Weizmann Agreement.  January 3, 1919.  Public Domain.

 

 
 
 

 

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