What Price Israel?
From the brand new 16-page Introduction
completed September 20, 2003
by Alfred M. Lilienthal
Dear Alfred: ... I wholly agree that American partisanship in the Arab-Israel conflict is dangerous to both the United States and the Free World. My program merely calls for using the power of the President to bring the parties themselves to an agreement. For too long a time, this dispute has been a bitter cause of friction between the Arab nations and Israel. I would hope that both would be friends of the United States... With every good wish, I am
John F. Kennedy — 1960
Fifty years have come and gone since the first publication of What Price Israel? in 1953. I was 39 then, and now I am 89. The long sad story over this half-century has been one of conflict, aggression, terror, war, occupation, resistance, and so-called peace processes guaranteed to fail over and over again. I have seen it all—and yet I have hoped that somehow I would live long enough to finally see a just peace and true independence for the Palestinian Arab people.
Zionism has often been innocently defined as a movement to provide a homeland and refuge for Jews in need of safety in the land where their ancestors lived in ancient times. That definition only sounds good until we realize that almost a million Palestinian Arabs already living there had to be displaced and made homeless in the process. Incredibly, even today so many years later, many Americans and others worldwide still believe that it was "a land without a people for a people without a land." It was not!
Any real chance for Middle East peace—as well as defusing the reasons behind our present American-led "war on terror"—must be based on fact and not on intentional or unintentional distortions of past events. As British historian, F.W. Maitland, once wrote: "We study the day before yesterday in order that yesterday may not paralyze today, and that today may not paralyze tomorrow." The early history of the problem is therefore important. What really happened does matter. The true story, rather than slanted Zionist propaganda, about why a Palestinian Arab state did not come into existence at the same time as Israel can be found in the original text of What Price Israel? which has remained unchanged here in this 50th anniversary edition except for a few minor alterations in punctuation, spelling, and phrasing.
I do not know if I am the last, but surely I am one of the last living individuals who was at Lake Success, in the state of New York, on November 29, 1947 when the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Prior to the passage of the Partition Resolution in 1947, I spoke to the representatives of every one of the fifty-seven (then) member states of the United Nations in behalf of the anti-Zionist organization, the American Council for Judaism.
In fact, I lobbied against the Partition Resolution 181 because it was our belief that the creation of a "Jewish only" Zionist enclave in that region could lead to insecurity and war which would endanger the lives of Arabs and Jews alike. Finally, as patriotic Americans, we believed this did not serve the long-term interests of the United States. A state based upon religious or racial exclusivity could, I argued, result in what actually has happened these last fifty-six years: misery for all peoples in the area and American involvement in the on-going conflict in ways that has undermined our own democratic principles and national security. We foresaw that the price of Israel would indeed be high.
As an eyewitness to those past events, it is remarkable to me that the same kind of bribes and threats were being used to browbeat the United Nations delegations to vote for partition as have recently been shamelessly used to try to force U.N. members to support the American-Israeli war on Iraq.
What does Iraq have to do with Israel? Or rather, what does Israel have to do with American-led plans for so-called "pre-emptive" aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab and Muslim nations? I know that some of my colleagues for justice for the Palestinians would like to believe that American imperialism controls Israel rather than that Israel controls American foreign policy in the Middle East through the network of ultra-Zionist sympathizers within the U.S. who place their concerns for Israel above their concerns for America itself. Without the State of Israel having come into existence in 1948—there would be no need for a war on terror. Other conflicts would be going on around the world, including in the Mideast region, since human nature seems to have such a talent for strife. But this particular "clash of civilizations" between the West and Islam is primarily a tragic outcome of U.S. support for Israel.
To understand why reportedly many Arabs wanted to "drive the Jews back into the sea," we have to be aware of exactly why Zionism was seen by both Christian and Muslim Arabs as a grave danger to their home territories far beyond the narrow area in Palestine that most Western nations believed to be the only goal of conquest for the new Jewish state. It has never been the mere existence of Israel since its inception on May 14, 1948 that has been the major underlying cause of the region's over half-century of deadly turmoil. Rather, the true obstacle to a peaceful solution is the abnormal nature of Israel's statehood. It is a nation without a Constitution, a fact unknown to most Americans, and a state without officially declared borders. It is the kind of state that Israel has become which goes to the heart-core of the problem and has blocked progress toward peace in the region.
Under the Zionist concept of a Jewish state with worldwide nationalism, Jewish Israelis are first-class citizens and non-Jews—the Palestinians and others—can only be second-class citizens. And holding themselves out as the Jewish state only further encourages Middle East and South Asian countries to identify and conduct themselves as Muslim states with consequent prejudices and discrimination against their non-Muslim citizens and residents. Far from being a noble example to the rest of the Middle East and beyond of a modern democracy, Israel has become a polarizing factor based on Zionist notions of purported racial and religious Jewishness as its foundation.
No significant progress has yet been made toward bringing the Israelis and Palestinians to a lasting settlement, based on justice for both peoples, precisely because of the peculiar nature of nationality as defined in Israel that views all Jews everywhere as birthright Israelis. An Israeli state, propagating normal nationalism confined to its own borders, would by now constitute little or no threat to the Palestinians, and would no longer provide an ongoing provocation to Arabs throughout the region. On the other hand, a Jewish state, propagating an abnormal Jewish nationalism extending anywhere on the globe wherever Jews may dwell, must always be viewed as a threat both to Arabs as well as to all who identify themselves as Jews, even those of us who have long opposed being claimed by Israel as its potential citizens.
I cannot help but feel that it is ever more urgent to answer the concerns of many Americans preoccupied with Mideast terrorism, which is referred to constantly in our U.S. media as a characteristic of Palestinian crimes only, while vicious Israeli crimes against Palestinians are dismissed as self-defense measures. In actuality, neither side—Israelis nor Palestinians—has come into court of world opinion with clean hands. If the Palestinians have been guilty of terrorism, and they have, let us not forget who first introduced this disease into the region. It was the likes of Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, and Ariel Sharon, who later became Prime Ministers of Israel, and yet all had a long list of atrocities to answer to of their own.
It was in 1953, the same year that What Price Israel? was first published, that a young Sharon was the commander of killer Unit 101 that brutally massacred defenseless Arab civilians in the Palestinian village of Qibyah. Perhaps we cannot expect the less than scholarly George W. Bush to know about this lifelong criminal history of his Israeli "Man of Peace," but many of Bush's experienced advisors do indeed know they are dealing with a perpetrator of many inexcusable war crimes. Why then do these informed men and women go along with providing Israel with unbounded military, financial, and moral support when doing so is contrary to our own national interest and security? Tragically, when it comes to the Middle East, the old saying, "The more things change, the more they remain the same," still reigns supreme. The same old lies and chicanery on the part of fanatical Zionists are going on now in the Bush administration just as they were in the Truman administration.
In the Summer of 2003, we have seen great shock and sorrow expressed about very angry and seemingly "anti-Semitic" remarks in a 1947 diary of then President Harry Truman that had remained dust-covered and unread for over half a century until the Truman Library found it and released it to the public. In a July 21, 2003 article, "Truman did it to save his own skin," in the Jewish World Review, Sidney Zion laments with considerable rage that now the truth is out, and it shows that White House aide Clark Clifford told Truman he would lose the 1948 election unless he immediately recognized the Jewish state. Why the huge surprise that Truman's much acclaimed love and concern for the Jews has turned out to be a bitterly disappointing fable! The American champion of the founding of Israel made his pro-Zionist decisions far less due to his Bible upbringing or humanitarian motives than because of his political concerns to have both the Jewish vote and campaign money from wealthy Jews. Readers of the original What Price Israel? have known this for 30 or 40 or 50 years since they first read it. The truth was known then but was denied and covered up to make the existence of the new "Jewish state" appear to be the outcome of both a religious and humanitarian miracle.
Several months after Roosevelt's death and Truman's succession to the presidency, a Reuters news service headline in December 1945 had declared: "Truman Clarifies Palestine Stand: Not in Favor of a `Judaic' State." The article went on to detail Truman's outlook at the time, "As a true American, he did not feel that any Government should be based on religious or racial grounds, and he was therefore opposed to the creation of a `Judaic' State in Palestine. For the same reason, he would oppose one based on the Moslem religion or a Baptist denomination. The Palestine Government, he felt, should be the Government of the people of Palestine, irrespective of race, creed or color." The article goes on to describe the position of the American Council for Judaism as presented in person by Lessing Rosenwald to Truman—and Truman's stated view was virtually identical to our own as anti-Zionist Jews! So, what happened to change Truman's mind so dramatically?
The names in Truman's time of Zionist American Jews who pressured, manipulated, or paid for the promotion of Israel include David Niles, Judge Sam Rosenman, Max Lowenthal, Abraham Feinberg, Eddie Jacobson, and A.J. Grandin. Secular or Christian Zionists close to Truman, such as Clark Clifford and Matthew Connelly, clearly made their decisions based on vote counting and campaign financing. Although What Price Israel? in 1953 dealt with many of these individuals, plus Silver, Wise, and others—there are resources today that were not available to me then or even later in 1978 and 1983. That is when I wrote the almost 1,000-page history, and its update, of the "special relationship"—facilitated by many influential American Jewish individuals and organizations—between Israel and the United States government: The Zionist Connection I & II.
The curse of our time is the proliferation of so-called "think tanks" that advise our public leaders. Their influence has increased tremendously during recent years. What many of these wretched groups actually are is on the other hand becoming increasingly revealed. Even our greatly controlled media pundits are becoming alarmed at the world chaos being created by the neo-conservatives who have so heavily influenced Bush's perpetual war on terror. Ironically many of the founders of this neo-conservative dynasty were at one time the same Trotskyists and other Marxists that I personally opposed back in the 1930s. At the 1936 World Youth Congress, I led the walkout against these Communist elements. How ironic to see these same shady characters later reinvent themselves dramatically into a new brand of conservatives and gain considerable influence during the Reagan presidency. They may have changed their name and hijacked true conservatism, but their agenda is the same as when the elders among them were Marxists. Control is the name of their game no matter what side they are playing on. Unfortunately many of these "neo-cons" are Jewish, and from this fact has indeed derived an outburst of suspicion and resentment toward Jews in general that could lead to very damaging anti-Semitism that would not otherwise exist.
However, I would like to stress to any Americans—who may be outraged by the conduct of the Kristols, Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Feith, and other extremist neo-con Zionists—that many of the rest of us Jews are not guilty of their offenses. All Jews are not Zionists, and all Zionists are not Jews. Starting with Bush, Cheney, and Ashcroft—plus many in Congress such as Tom DeLay—we have a long list of Christian Zionists presently running our country, who may envision an eventual Middle East catastrophe based on an interpretation of prophesy that Jews must move in mass to Israel so that Armageddon can occur and Christ return. The catch is that all those millions of Jews are to either be converted or slaughtered in this coming bloodbath. Just as the neo-conservatives have hijacked true conservatism, the Christian Zionists have distorted the teachings of Christian evangelicalism to create their own guaranteed self-fulfilling prophesy leading to an earthly hell and unspeakable destruction—which would constitute the true final Holocaust of the Jews as a people and a religion!
Sincere American Christians who presently believe this deadly doctrine are not at fault; they have been taken in by a unique re-interpretation of scripture that goes back to the Scofield Reference Bible of 1909 that was influenced and funded by Zionists. Former White House speech-writer and author, Grace Halsell—who investigated this "Dispensationalist" doctrine promulgated by Hal Lindsey, Jerry Falwell, Billy and Franklin Graham, and others—has revealed the history and impact of this dangerous movement in her book Forcing God's Hand: Why Millions Pray for a Quick Rapture—And Destruction of Planet Earth.
It is Washington that will be the principal ideological battleground where the crucial showdown will take place over whether there will or will not be a successful "Road Map" leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state to exist and flourish side by side with the existing state of Israel. If a real and lasting solution is to evolve, the voice of positive opposition in the United States—both Jews and Christians—as well as Arab Americans—along with secular groups right and left and in between—must be molded into a unified political force. The Zionist lobby, the many spineless politicians, and the biased media have to date had the final and decisive say as to the possibility of Middle East peace. They can similarly block any current or future peace plan as they have so successfully done other peace efforts in the past—the list would be a long one! Change will not be easy against such entrenched forces, but it is up to the increasing number of supporters of peace with justice to move forward with courage and determination.
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