The Great Divide


Alfred Mendes looks at the roots of Zionism and the way the Balfour Declaration set in course the tragic history of Palestine-Israel.

One of the main causes (another being oil) of post-WW2 Mid-East instability, with all its concomitant crises, was the setting-up of the State of Israel in 1948. This is an indisputable fact - which must be kept in mind in order to gain a clearer understanding of the currently brewing US/Iraq confrontation. A few pertinent facts of an historical nature concerning the State of Israel would therefore be helpful - again, always keeping in mind that Judaism is a monotheistic religion originally adopted by a breakaway faction (now known as ‘Jews’) of a wider semitic-speaking Afro-Asiatic racial group of peoples in the Middle East. Simply put: these Jews therefore share a common lineage with those same Afro-Asians (including Arabs).

Over the following centuries the Middle East was to experience a maelstrom of religious-motivated violence (tragically still with us), invariably resulting in forced migrations of one group or another, of which the move by the Jews westwards along the North African coast with the advancing Islamic Moors in the 8th century is of pertinence to this article, inasmuch as the subsequent invasion of the Iberian peninsular led to the accompanying Jews being known as ‘Sephardim’ (Hebrew for Spain).

The term ‘Sephardim’ immediately brings to mind its corollary - ‘Ashkenazim’ - or Eastern European Jews, who constitute a majority of Jews worldwide today. A crucial and much-overlooked aspect of the Ashkenazim is that their racial roots lie mainly in the Khazar Empire (as it then was, north of the Caucasus). These were a Pagan Turkic people who adopted Judaism in the 8th century AD, but were subsequently defeated and driven from their homeland in the 10th century by the Varangians (Vikings), as a result of which many fled westwards eventually settling in eastern Europe.

The Ashkenazim played a crucial role in the setting up of the State of Israel, inasmuch as a group of them, formed in 1896 and calling themselves ‘Zionists’, were responsible for formulating the concept of such a State. This was basically a secular, atheistic group, the two most influential members of which were Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann (who would later become the first President of the newly-formed State of Israel). At the first Zionist Congress in Basel, in 1897, the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) was established - its head office based in Vienna. In view of the following paragraph, it is both significant and pertinent to note that the WZO moved their head office to Cologne in 1905, and thence to Berlin in 1911.

As recorded by Lloyd George in his "War Memoirs": in 1917 Britain (then in dire financial straits and facing a long drawn-out war) made a deal with the Zionists (their broker being Chaim Weizmann), whereby the latter would use their considerable political clout to persuade America to enter the war against Germany - in return for which, Britain would back the Zionist's call for the setting up of a 'State of Israel' in their 'homeland' of Palestine (conveniently forgetting that in the WZO Congresses of 1903/5 the Zionists has seriously considered adopting the British offer of settlement in East Africa [the Uganda Project]!). This was the Balfour Declaration which would subsequently - and understandably - sour relations between Germany and its Jewish citizens (most of whom were Ashkenazim) when, at the Versailles peace conference, the Germans first learnt of said Declaration (as revealed by Benjamim Freedman - who was a member of the US delegation at said conference - in his speech delivered in 1961 at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC)

The State of Israel was subsequently set up in 1948 by the Zionists, under the leadership of the Russian-born David Ben-Gurion (another atheist) who had emigrated to Palestine in 1906. The very term ‘atheist’ means disbelief in any ‘God’ and/or ‘religion’. Hence, an atheist cannot consider him/herself a Jew in the strictly religious sense of the term. To quote Rabbi E. Weissfish: “The Zionist ideology has no connection whatsoever with Judaism, on the contrary Judaism is totally opposed to Zionism”. It is thus incontrovertible that the two terms ‘Judaism’ and ‘Atheism’ are antonymous, a fact that Ben Gurion would certainly have been aware of - but here we have Ben Gurion himself, in his address to a special session of the Knesset in 1971, saying “An Arab can be Muslim or Christian. A Jew, however, cannot be a member of another faith and still be a Jew. A Jew can be an atheist, but if he adopts the Christian or Muslim faith - he is no longer a Jew”. This was clearly a duplicitous statement on his part, and, as such, therefore designed to confuse and divert attention from some hidden agenda. That agenda is perhaps best revealed in their book Dangerous Liaison by Alexander and Lesley Cockburn, a detailed and well-documented assessment of the secretive - and remunerative - relationship between The US and Israel over the past few decades. A story that would make the likes of Saddam Hussein smile with envy, and please the Industrial-Military Establishment in particular. Politically, the US needed to foster a well-armed, technically advanced Israel which would serve a triple purpose: acting as a foil against the Arab hosts of the vast oil reserves; satisfying its politically-influential domestic Jewish lobby; and in view of the earlier burgeoning friendship between Ben Gurion and the Soviet Union, would ensure that the latter would not gain a foothold in the area. This would lead to very close cooperation between their respective Intelligence Services, with, at times, gruesome consequences in various Central and South American states such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras Panama and Colombia - when Israel would act on behalf of the US both as surrogate suppliers of armaments (including ‘planes), and trainers in the art of assassination, torture, etc. to the police, militia and ‘death squads’ of those countries when it was politically inconvenient for the US to be seen to be doing so (as in the Iran/Contra affair). Furthermore, laundered money from deals brokered with the drug cartels in the region would be used to facilitate the financing of such activities.

We are thus faced by an incongruous situation: here is an influential, secular faction of Ashkenazim - of Turkic lineage - who, under the religious banner of the Star of David, are laying claim to a‘homeland’ (Palestine) that is not justifiably theirs! This also explains, to a large extent, the much-overlooked Ashkenazim/Sephardim schism within Judaism (a notable

example of which was the exposure, in the mid-’80’s, of Israel’s atom bomb plant in Dimona by one Mordechai Vanunu whose parents, being Sephardic Jews from Morocco, were made to move from Haifa into the desert at Beersheba, leading to his deep resentment).

Finally, and most importantly, it should be emphasised that Arabs and Jews had for centuries lived in peace in the region before the advent of Zionism. The only conclusion to be drawn from this story is that Zionism has inevitably led to the more widespread dissemination of that tragic phenomenon - anti-semitism - with not-a-little-help from the Balfour Declaration.