[lit-ideas] Re: U.N. Special Committee on Palestine

  • From: "Simon Ward" <sedward@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 17:31:20 +0100

"...one needs to remember that there was a good deal of support for the Nazi 
cause in Palestine prior to and during WWII."

And not just from the Palestinians.

'In 1940 and 1941, Lehi proposed intervening in the Second World War on the 
side of Nazi Germany to attain their help in expelling Britain from Mandate 
Palestine and to offer their assistance in "evacuating" the Jews of Europe 
arguing that "common interests could exist between the establishment of a new 
order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national 
aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO (Lehi)." Late 
in 1940, Lehi representative Naftali Lubenchik was sent to Beirut where he met 
the German official Werner Otto von Hentig and delivered a letter from Lehi 
offering to "actively take part in the war on Germany's side" in return for 
German support for "the establishment of the historic Jewish state". Von Hentig 
forwarded the letter to the German embassy in Ankara, but there is no record of 
any official response. Lehi tried to establish contact with the Germans again 
in December 1941, also apparently without success.'



  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lawrence Helm 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:46 PM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: U.N. Special Committee on Palestine

  Irene begins a response by saying Selbourne's overview is balanced and then 
goes on in the rest of her note as though she hadn't read it.  Omar declares it 
false and historically inaccurate without reading it -- very interesting.

  If there was any "stealing" or "conquering" being attempted in the 1947-49 
period, it was the stealing and conquering attempted by the armies that invaded 
the land allotted by the UN to the Jews.  A legal (as much as anything could be 
legal) partition had taken place by the UN and then the invading armies, Egypt, 
Syria, TransJordan, and Lebanon, supported by the Palestinians, attempted to 
"steal" and "conquer" it in defiance of the UN.  Israel's action during that 
period could only be described as "defense."

  Selbourne refers to the UN being overgenerous to the Jews in the partition, 
but one needs to remember that there was a good deal of support for the Nazi 
cause in Palestine prior to and during WWII.  The UN was formed by the victors, 
the anti-Nazi victors, after WWII and they were not inclined to be overly 
generous to the sympathizers of the defeated enemy.  Prior to and during WWII, 
the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini provided "enthusiastic 
support" . . . "not only for the Palestinian national cause but for Hitler's 
Germany.  He spent part of the war years in Nazi Berlin, where a 'pan-Arab 
government' in exile was formed, a forerunner of the Nasserite Pan-Arabism of 
the postwar years.  'Slaughter the Jews wherever you find them', al-Husseini 
declared in a broadcast from Berlin in 1942, 'their spilled blood pleases 
Allah'.  The widespread denial in the Arab and Muslim world of the scale, and 
sometimes even of the fact, of the Holocaust ties the knot of odium between Jew 
and Arab still tighter.  So too does the record of the asylum given in Arab 
countries, such as Syria and Egypt to German Nazis, as well as to several 
leading post-war neo-Nazi 'revisionists' who fled persecution at home."  
[Selbourne pp 181-182]



  From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
On Behalf Of Lawrence Helm
  Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 9:54 PM
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: U.N. Special Committee on Palestine


  In one of the books I'm reading, Selbourne's The Losing Battle with Islam, on 
page 182, he seeks balance and provides an interesting overview of some of the 
matters under discussion:

  "The United Nations decision on 29 November 1947 to partition Palestine, to 
the perceived disadvantage of the Palestinians, contributed to the confusion 
and bloodshed which were to follow.  It also ensured the hostility which the 
very existence of Israel was to arouse.  In their pro-Israeli partiality, some 
historians and commentators have sought to ignore the implications of the 
disproportions in territorial allocation in the UN partition plan.  Others, in 
their pro-Arab partiality, have sought to cancel the implications of the 
invasion of Israel on 15 May 1948 -- within a few hours of the proclamation of 
the new state on 14 May 1948 -- first by Egypt and then by the armies of Iraq, 
Transjordan (as it the was), Lebanon and Syria.

  "Others have elided the complexiti4es of the passage of events from 1947 to 
1949.  A Guardian commentator in January 2004 could therefore reduce these 
events to 'the war that gave birth to the state of Israel in 1948', which by 
omission contains its own falsehood.  Others have translated the flight of 
Arabs in 1948 and 1949 -- thousands fled even before the hostilities had broken 
out -- into their 'expulsion'; or, better still, into their 'deportation' by 
the new state as it was attacked.  Some of those who were intended to be 
assisted by the attack -- the local Arab population -- stood their ground, 
fighting alongside the invading armies so that in certain sectors they for a 
while gained the upper hand.  Others cut and ran, led in their flight by their 
own communities' heads, many other tens of thousands of Arabs were driven from 
their ancestral homes and terrains at the hands of the Israelis.

  "In some villages and cities, including Haifa, Jaffa and Tiberias, the exodus 
appears to have been ordered by Arab community leaders themselves, often they 
were among the first to flee, having the means to do so.  As the then British 
High Commissioner for Palestine, General Sir Alan Cunningham, reported, 'the 
collapsing Arab morale in Palestine' was attributable in part to what he called 
'the increasing tendency of those who should be leading them [sc. The Arabs] to 
leave the country'.  Furthermore, 'in all parts of the country the effendi 
class has been evacuating in large numbers over a considerable period, and the 
tempo is increasing'.  As Hussein Khalidi, one of the Palestinians' leaders 
complained, 'Everyone is leaving.  Everyone who has a cheque or some money -- 
off he goes to Egypt, to Lebanon, to Damascus'.

  "Even before the invasions of May 1948 Israeli militias had acted brutally 
against local Arab population, as at the village of Deir Yassin on 9 April 
1948, when more than one hundred villagers were killed.  But in the repetitions 
of the history of this period, the numbers of those who were expelled, who were 
deported or who were 'ethnically cleansed' have often been exaggerated.  
Perhaps 700,000 fled the fighting in search of safety, or were driven from 
their homes as the Israeli army conquered, '600,000' were displaced according 
to the British Foreign Office estimate at the time.  In addition, from 1948 to 
1950, hundreds of thousands of Jews also left, or were driven by expropriation 
and attack from their homes in Egypt, Iraq -- where 118,000 of the total Iraqi 
population of 4.5 million were Jews -- Lebanon, the Maghreb, Syria and 
elsewhere in the Arab world, in August 2004, the Libyan leader offered 
compensation of their losses.

  "The fate of the Arabs in conflict which lasted until the uneasy truce in 
1949 was a many-sided matter.  So, too was the multiple invasion of Israel -- 
which at the time had an army of only 30,000 -- by neighbouring Arab nations.  
Nevertheless, a simplified history of complexity, war, fear, crime and flight 
as reduced the events, for many, to the victimization of Arab by Jew.  
Contrariwise, and with related simplification of the truth, it has been 
asserted by a Jewish historian that 'had the Palestinians and the Arabs 
refrained from launching a war to destroy the emerging Jewish state, there 
would have been no refugees and none would exist today'."

  Comment:  With such a small army, only 30,000, fighting the armies of Iraq, 
Transjordan, Lebanon and Syria, supplemented by Palestinians, who wished to 
drive the Jews out of the land, it would be too much to expect that the 
Israelis would fight according to Marquis of Queensbury rules.  They were 
desperately fighting for their survival, and while no one can know for certain 
at this late date how many Palestinians were driven out of battle zones, 
Selbourne tells us of the large numbers who fled in advance of the war.  Could 
they see the war coming?  I don't see why not.  Surely Iraq, Transjordan, 
Lebanon and Syria did some marshalling of troops that would have alerted the 
Palestinians to what was coming.  To stay could have meant becoming a victim as 
Irene suggests they all were, but to stay could also have meant joining the 
invading armies that had come to throw the Jews into the sea.


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