By Israel Shamir
(based on talks given in Stanford University, California and American
- What has he found in her? - jealously gossip the shrills. -
Why does he
shower her with gifts? What's she got that we haven't?
She costs him a lot of money and good will, she alienated him
from his old
buddies, and for a good reason: the little murderous bitch, hers
is a brand
name for every mean trick, but he, usually tight-fisted and penny-pinching,
generously cares and stonewalls for her, lays low her enemies
her critics. What is the secret behind the peculiar love affair
Daughter of Zion from Middle East and the superpower across the
These questions tease the mind, and call us to explore the source
great anomaly of our time. Like exploring the source of Nile
century, it requires an ability to look into lions' eyes with
a white hunter 's disdain for death, and Sherlock Holmes' detective talents.
The current favourite explanation is a vaguely defined "strategic
of American corporations", sometimes deciphered as desire of
the US weapon
industries to sell their stuff to Arabs. Others prefer America's
have a base, or a "local cop on the beat" in the troubled area.
believe in Americans' guilt feelings, in the long shadow of Holocaust
psychological similarity. Another prolific school explains the
oil. Arab oil has to be under American control and who would
be better to do
the job than ferocious Hassidic Jews?
Although, this school explains everything by oil, whether it is
the war in
Afghanistan, looming American attack on Iraq, tension between
Pakistan, or trouble in Palestine. They remind me of ancient
philosophers who believed in existence of one basic element the
Thales said, water is the basis of all things.
Anaximenes said, air is the basis of all things.
Heraclites said, all is fire.
It is all pipelines, proclaims a chorus of experts whenever there
discussion of reasons behind American policies in the Middle
It seems quite convincing, until one is reminded a cheerful line
Safiye, the witty PNA man in London: "Palestine has a lot of
oil. Olive oil".
In order to understand the obscure charms of the Daughter of Zion, we
remember that Uncle Sam is but a third lover of the plucky girl.
predecessors, the British Empire in 1917-1922 and the Soviet
1945-1949, we have an advantage of full knowledge of sources
The archive documents were aired, published and analysed by better
while we can just sum up the fruits of their labour, and find
The first Prince Charming to be seduced by her husky voice was
Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour, who promised to turn Palestine
National Home for the Jews. Britain reneged on promises given
seized Palestine, enforced the Jewish rule in the land, killed
every unbending Palestinian leader, destroyed Palestinian economy
trained the future IDF shock troops to deal with natives. They've
preciously little in return. Palestine was an expensive thing
to run, and it
caused a lot of trouble. Perfide Albion became an object of much
the Middle East. British soldiers and officers were killed by
Palestinians and by not-so-easily placated Zionists.
Traditional explanation for their strange behaviour is an identical
that given for the US support. It is again "imperialism", "oil",
value", "divide and rule" and similar platitudes, (minus guilt
Holocaust, as it happened well before Hitler.) But a neat "collection
official documents, memoranda and letters of those in power in
London and in
Palestine" in the decisive years 1917-1922 contains just one
economic value of Palestine as perceived by the British statesmen,
"Palestine has no strategic value whatsoever ". There is
no "oil" in the
index at all.
In private discussions behind the closed doors of the Whitehall,
find even a shred of imperialist desires to divide and rule.
the British leaders "anticipated great trouble from Zionists"
Allenby). As Lord Cecil succulently put it, "we (the British)
are not going
to get anything out of it [of possession of Palestine]". British
need Palestine, they would love to get rid of the place, but
they did not
dare. The Palestine Papers put to rest the "imperialist" explanation,
alone oil, for the tumultuous affair between Zionists and the
Now, a thoughtful Israeli writer, Tom Segev, has proposed quite
motive in his best-selling book One Palestine, Complete.
English last year, it was acclaimed by the Jewish pundits of
"thoroughly researched" (Jewish week), "fascinating" (Hadassa
"landmark of information" (Houston Jewish Herald), while this
of Sharon, Ron Grossman of Chicago Tribune called it "brilliant.
fascinating narrative of the period".
Segev does not mince words. He rejects oil-strategy explanations
and in the
very beginning of his book, he affirms: England did it because
"certainly believed in great power of the World Jewry to
events, whether in the US or in revolutionary Russia. British
come to conclusion that it is worth their while to conquer Palestine,
suppress its people and to give it to Zionists in order to curry
the World Jewry.
The Prime Minister, Lloyd George "feared Jews", and in his memoirs
explained his momentous decision to support Zionists by urgent
need to form
an alliance, "a contract with Jewry", "a highly influential power
goodwill was worth paying for", in order to win the war. "The
Jews had every
intention of determining the outcome of the WWI. They could influence
to intensify their involvement in the war, and as the real movers
Russian revolution, they also controlled Russia's attitude towards
The Jews offered themselves to the highest bidder, and unless
clinch the deal first, the Germans would have bought them".
The astute Lloyd George based his opinion on the reports of British
ambassadors, who were unequivocal. "The influence of the Jews
great, - noted his man in Washington. - They are well-organised
especially in press, in finance, and in politics their influence
considerable". The ambassador in Turkey reported that an international
connection of Jews was the real power behind Ataturk's revolution.
Foreign Office undersecretary Lord Cecil summed it up, "I do
not think it is
easy to exaggerate the international power of the Jews". The
of International Affairs asserted that "the sympathy of Jews
was vital to
winning the war".
Jews fully shared this vision of united and powerful Jewry, writes
The postmaster general Herbert Samuel, a Jew and a Zionist, proposed
to give Palestine to Jews so "millions of Jews scattered around
including the two million in the US, would show lasting gratitude
generations". (It actually lasted less than 20 years until the
Zionist anti-British terror) In a proper British understatement,
wrote, "the goodwill of the whole Jewish race may not be without
The Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann "did his best to encourage
impression", says Segev. He "conjured up the myth of Jewish
"reinforced British predilection for seeing the Jews everywhere
every decisive event". But Brits were not biting until in 1917
military situation became desperate. Russian front had been collapsing
the influence of Bolsheviks, and Germans transferred divisions
Western front. Britain decided to deal with the Jews so they
America into European war.
Now, Tom Segev did not discover America, but he has introduced
rhetoric device, called "perception". Wisely, he does not say,
such a power that Britain preferred to deal with them and surrender
Palestine sacrificing thousands of British soldiers and millions
Palestinians". Instead, the Israeli writer Tom Segev uses a formula
perfectly acceptable even to severe Political Correctness enforcement
officers. Not "Jewish power", but "perception of Jewish power",
Jewish power" was the moving factor, akin to belief in witchcraft.
device and its application allow us to continue to deal with
peacefully, leaving the adjacent but troublesome question of
perception to some other time.
A perception is almost as good as a real thing, wrote Mark Twain
in his ¸1
million Bill. An American hero of this short story is universally
for a millionaire, though he has not a penny on his soul, and
he still makes
millions on the base of the perception.
The New York Times review of Tom Segev's book describes Balfour
British supporters of Zionists as "acting from anti-Semitic reasons".
an interesting definition: even devout Christian Zionists fully
of the Jewish state, are considered "anti-Semites", if they perceive
refer to the power of Jews. Before WWII, an anti-Semite would
Jewish power to be a rather negative After the war, in order
to be innocent,
one should not even notice Jews. That is why an open, no-holds-barred
of real extent of Jewish power would not be an easy one, as it
notoriously hard to measure and prove influence and no newspaper
network of the Western world would touch it with a barge pole.
Segev further protects himself by attributing to the Brits a
that "the Jews control the world" . No sane person, from Lloyd
Hitler, ever thought so. The world is too big and complex to
the Jewish apologists usually attribute this exaggerated claim
opponents, refute it and consider the case closed. We shan't
fall for it,
and keep the case open a bit longer.
Segev does not reason why hard-nosed British politicians and civil
succumbed to such an illusion, why they did not ascribe the "decisive
influence" to West African witch doctors or Chinese Tao masters,
but to the
Jews. This lacuna is filled by a thick volume by University of
Professor Alfred S. Lindemann published by Cambridge University
Press, Esau's Tears..
Lindemann refers to the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, when Jacob
the American financier, blocked the Russian attempt to obtain
sought in the international markets to finance the war, and provided
financial support for Japan, eventually causing humiliating defeat
Russia. Afterwards, Schiff boasted that "international Jewry
is a power
after all". Simon Wolf, another important American
Jewish leader, confidant
of presidents, lectured the Russians: "The Jews of the world
control much of
it. There is no use in disguising the fact that in the US, the
Jews form an
important factor in the formation of the public opinion and in
of finances. they exercise an all-potent and powerful influence".
after the Russo-Japanese war, their boasts were accepted as justified.
Winston Churchill and Theodore Herzl firmly believed that international
Jewry has enormous power in international relations. Professor
concludes, "they were not wrong in believing that Jews were a
power in the
world, and a rising one, particularly because of influence they
exercise in the up-and-coming US".
Lindemann concurs that the reason behind the Balfour declaration
was Balfour's and the US President Wilson's fear that the Germans might
make such a
declaration, rally influential Jews to the cause of the Central
put paid to the Anglo-American war effort . That is why English
outbid other potential buyers of the perceived Jewish influence.
It is well outside the scope of this piece to decide or even discuss
the Jews actually delivered the goods as promised, or were they
able to do
it, or even whether the Jews exist. It would suffice to say that
certainly appears so. America threw its fresh forces to the battlefields
Europe, tired German armies were defeated, Treaty of Versailles
fate of Germany and Palestine. Long standing traditionally good
between German Jews and Germans were irrevocably ruined by the
alliance of the Jews with the enemy of Germany. Eventually, ordinary
ordinary Germans and ordinary Palestinians were made to pay a
for the ambitions of the American Jewish leadership.
The British did not dare to cheat on the Jews after the war, as
threatened again by possible Jewish desertion, this time to the
cause. Head of British Military Intelligence General MacDonogh
highest circles of the Empire, "The most important thing about
not its topographical relation to Syria or anything else, but
interests the whole of the Jews all over the world. Zionists
tell me that if
the Jewish people did not get what they were asking for in Palestine,
should have the whole of Jewry turning Bolsheviks and supporting
in all the other countries as they have done in Russia" ..
Quite recently, Israeli right-wing, notably Sharon, Lieberman
repeatedly stated that "if the Jewish people didn't get what
asking for in Palestine", they will switch their support to Russia
President Putin. It took a few trips by Israeli ministers to
enforce the American leadership's commitment to support Israel,
was an empty threat. Now, for a first time in centuries, the
Jews lost their
perceived position of power brokers between two powers. Putin's
too weak to threaten America; radical Left is rather weak and
identifiable Jews; European Jews did not recover after the WWII.
It is luck
(or skill) of Israeli leaders that the US is lead by nincompoop
Bush, not by
people like President Nixon, or Lord Curzon, the man who said
in March 1920:
"The Zionists are after a Jewish state with the Arabs as hewers
of wood and
drawers of water. That is not my view. I want the Arabs to have
a chance and
I do not want a Jewish State" . But Nixon has been impeached
efforts of Jewish-owned Washington Post, and Lord Curzon perished
As he predicted, British Empire got very little good out of the
the Jews even in the medium run. British victory over Germany
in 1918 was a
Pyrrhic one, as it accelerated the decline of the Empire. Many
moaned that instead of begging for Zionist alliance and pushing
in 1915-1917, it would be better for the British if they would
British rule in Palestine gave England no influence, no profits,
strategic advantage, it did not even guarantee the Jewish support,
alone gratitude. Organised mainstream Jewry supported America,
communists supported Russia, while Jewish right-wing looked towards
Mussolini and Hitler for inspiration and assistance. Zionist
organisations, Hagana, Irgun and Stern Gang humiliated, terrorised
murdered British soldiers, officials and statesmen. Very soon,
understood that they made a big mistake to enter the deal.
as many leaders before them and after them, until Yasser Arafat,
needs a very long spoon to eat with Devil from the same pot.
The love affair between English Prince Charming and Daughter of
over, but she did not remain lonely and deserted. The place of
gentleman was taken by Joseph Stalin. In 1945-1949, the Soviet
the strong supporter of the fledging Jewish state. Russia voted
partition of Palestine, was first to recognise Israel, and was
supplier of arms to Zionists (via their Czech satellite)
while the West
imposed its blockade on the Palestinian side. Eventually, the
admirer dumped the girl, like his British predecessor, and returned
support the Palestinian cause. The strange zigzag of Russian
intrigued politicians and scholars, who offered predictable explanations:
"Stalin's desire for Middle East foothold", "Soviet belief in
sympathies of Jews in Palestine", "Russia's trying to undermine
imperialism" and surely, "oil", "expansionism" and "imperialism".
All these explanations seem plausible. For us, the Israelis,
favourite one connected Russia's move with the Israeli Left.
In 1948, the
fighters of Palmach imitated the Red Army, sung Russian songs;
some of them
had Russian or Polish Communist background. Geo-strategists preferred
Russian search for a harbour in the Mediterranean, while political
scientists saw it as the struggle the between Russian Bear and
Lion for the influence in the Middle East.
We would not know the right answer, but last year the Foreign
Moscow and Tel Aviv jointly published two heavy (I know, I carried
volumes of documents pertaining to this period. It contains
confidential letters by Stalin and to Stalin, and provides a
into the Second Lover's Tale.
"Yes, our support of Zionist state is a complete break with the
long-standing Soviet tradition of supporting anti-colonial and
anti-imperialist movements. Yes, this decision of ours will poison
with the Arab world. Yes, it will enslave the native people of
But it can sway the American Jews to the side of the Soviet Union,
American Jews will deliver the US to us" - that was the true
Stalin and his men.
In those years, strong sympathies of the American Jews to the
led to the Rosenberg Trial, and Senator McCarthy already felt
it in the air.
Stalin, as the Brits before him, did not care much about Palestine.
not consider the British Empire an important enemy - after two
England was ruined. He was not interested in oil. He thought,
as the Brits,
to make a contract with the Jewry, to give the Jews what they
want and to
get their support in return.
It took him some time to understand his mistake. Israeli strongman
Gurion disabused potential friends of Moscow and stressed that
the first and
most important friend and master of Israel remains the American
leadership. When the first ambassador of Israel, Golda Meir,
Moscow, Stalin witnessed incredible surge of Jewish solidarity.
wives of Kremlin commissars, from Mrs Molotov to Mrs Whatshisname,
tears to Mrs Meir as to their long lost sister. The Jews in Russia
too many too important positions, and thousands of them crowded
in front of the Israeli embassy. Stalin hoped his support of
have helped him to captivate the mind of American Jews, but now
realised that, by means of Israel, the leaders of American Jews
the mind of Russian Jews. Instead of getting the Fifth Column
in New York,
he allowed Americans (via their Israeli ally) to activate their
in Moscow. Stalin underestimated the hold Israel has over Jewish
looked into this abyss and retreated as soon as possible.
Two previous important partners of the Jewish state supported
it as they
perceived Jewish influence in America being a joystick to the
control board. They believed: give to Jews what they want (Palestine),
they will give you what you want (America). For real or for perception,
came to grief. In a classic English story, A Monkey Paw, a magic
fulfils the owner's wish but in such a horrible way that he has
a reason to
regret asking for it. The alliance with Jews had a similar effect.
what they asked for, - victory in war or pro-Russian stand of
but came to regret it.
Still the belief in Jewish power is the most common one among
the elites of
the world. That is why many countries send to Tel Aviv their
best and most
experienced ambassadors, usually on their way to or from Washington
That is why, whenever a country wishes to beseech Washington,
it sends an
envoy to Tel Aviv. The Israelis pass the request to the right
people in the
US, and apparently it works.
This belief is the most common one in the US, as well. American
support Israel because they share the opinion of Lloyd George
They also respect the condition demanded by heirs of Jacob Schiff
but never mention the dreadful words, "Jewish power". In the
world free of
taboos, a new Henry Miller can't shock his readers referring
to sex, but to
the Jews and their unseen might.
Is it only a perception? Perhaps. But the American traditional
for it a real double price: they send their folks to fight a
within the last hundred years for somebody's else perceived interests,
their positions at the top table disappear daily. This perception
Iraq and Palestine, sends money to Israel, distorts the public
Not in vain, Mark Twain used to say, a perception is almost as
good as a
Palestine Papers, Seeds of Conflict, compiled and annotated
Ingrams., published John Murray, London 1972 page 77
Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete published by Henry
Holt, New York 2001,
Cambridge University Press, 1997
PRO.CAB. 27/24 quoted by the Palestine Papers.
C20/3 quoted by Palestine Papers.
Israel Shamir is an Israeli writer based in Jaffa. This article
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