Thursday, February 24, 2011

Academic Interpretations

There's a new book out, edited by one Rory Miller, "Britain, Palestine and Empire: The Mandate Years", Ashgate: Farnham, Surrey, which seems to me, according to this review, to be decidely anti-Zionist.  Indeed, Miller has made a career out of the theme.

For example, as here:

In “Flawed Foundations: The Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate,” (Chapter 1) James Renton offers a highly nuanced analysis of the 1917 statement; he emphasizes that the majority of British policy makers viewed the document as a wartime measure (17-18) and that most did not, at the time, envisage it as laying the foundations for an actual Jewish state. However the reference to the “native population” rather than specifically naming the Palestinians left them at a distinct disadvantage in future negotiations. Since the Balfour Declaration did not specifically mention the Palestinians (citing only the “non-Jewish population”) they were subsequently viewed as a “disparate series of peoples” (35) and were therefore little considered or often ignored altogether. The recently published full-length book, The Balfour Declaration (2010), by Jonathan Schneer, provides a further expansion on the many motivations for and impacts of the 1917 Balfour statement.

Susan Pedersen describes the relative strengths of Zionist and Palestinian arguments for statehood in “The Impact of League Oversight on British Policy in Palestine” (Chapter 2). Pedersen convincingly demonstrates the pro-Zionist stance of the League’s Mandates Commission. She also details the successful efforts by Zionist leaders, particularly Chaim Weizmann, in putting their case before the international community. Indeed, the essays in this collection effectively highlight how the Palestinians were consistently out-maneuvered and out lobbied by the Zionists in the corridors of power in London and Geneva and even within Mandate Palestine. Thus the League increasingly came to support the argument that Mandate had been established to create a Jewish state and that it did not entail a “dual obligation” (58) as many British policy makers increasingly came to believe.

Of course, the idea that the powers convened at San Remo and at the League of Nations, as well as those at the Versailles Peace Conference simply knew that there was no "Palestinian Nation" but rather Arabs as individuals residing in the Mandate-to-be area, would never occur to Renton.  Pederson couldn't believe that the diplomats and their aides, despite heroic pro-Arab efforts, especially by Lawrence and then others at that March 1921 Cairo Conference, simply knew that the Jews were much more deserving of attention because of their historical connection which, at that time, unlike today, was indisputable and very-well known and accepted.

The Arab inability was based on their bad case.  They were at a distinct disadvantage because Zionism was genuine, portrayed a true and just concept which merited international support: legal, diplomatic and moral.

Any other interpretation, would be predicated on personal ideological frameworks.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What can you expect from a culture that overnight jettisoned their own culture for a domed down,paganized, proletarianized version of another roles daughter religion. I suppose that if the queen and the authors are stupid enough to worship a dead Jew on a stick, that makes the rest of us archangels.