QuoteOriginally posted by: DCFCSo why did they support Zionism, as in the Balfour Declaration?An artifact of WW I. Britain needed the support of some Zionists. "Support" is for me too strong a word. It went through some of the motions of this, but there was never a real policy to do it.I accept your scholarship on this matter, but these are selected statements. The actions seem far more muddled, implying a lack of clear consensus.I wouldn't characterize Britain's acceptance of the Palestine Mandate, including being "responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home," as being muddled regarding its support of Zionism.Quote they wanted an alien state created in the middle of the Arab world in order to keep a "Greater Arabia" from becoming a serious problem on down the road. Divide and conquer is a technique of Empire going back to the Romans. However, Israel cannot survive without a powerful patron willing to keep this "alien state" going, whatever the cost. Given the nature of policy making, it is really hard to see British interests being served by having to defend Israel. During this period the assumption had to be that the USA would not help, so it would have been awesomely expensive.Much as with the US in Iraq, I suspect that the Brits underestimated the difficulty of the effort. I agree that Israel cannot survive without a powerful patron, but the real question is, did Britain realize that this would be the case and that the task would be too great for Britain? There was certainly not a small amount of rhetoric to the effect that the locals would welcome the Zionists. Whether or not those spreading the rhetoric knew that it was not really the case is not as important as whether the Brits hearing it believed it to be the case, and I suspect that many of them did. Add to this an early form of Christian Zionism in Britain, and I think it likely that they could have talked themselves into thinking they could do it.QuoteAlso, the most violent divisions in the ME were between different flavours of Islam, Jews just weren't much of an issue. If the Jewish settlers have even tried to act like civilised people, then Israel might today be a California in some confederation of ME states.They could have, for intance bought the land. This would not have been expensive, certainly a lot less than the subsequent wars.1940s Palestine was close to worthless, the Rothschilds could have swapped it for a tonne of gold.This view is consistent with the quotes you cite. There was a win-win scenario, there isn't now.That's simply not true, Dominic. The earliest Zionist settlers did buy the land they settled on. And they even went so far as to compensate fellahin (peasants) who they were displacing from tenant farms. But the land prices skyrocketed, and they simply could not afford to buy very much more. The Rothschilds dropped a lot of coin on the situation, but there simply was not enough money to accomplish what you suggest, particularly when the locals started realizing what was going on and doing all they could to limit land sales to Zionists.QuoteArab unity is as much a myth as European. The principle killers of both races have been their own race. Few Americans realise their incredible achievement in forging a diverse state with only one big war.Again, the perception mattered more than the fact: what did the British think was the case?Quoteif, per chance, this nation were to be unified into one state, it would then take the fate of the world into its hands and would separate Europe from the rest of the world.Frankly laughable. Even when one stops laughing, the historical context is my earlier post about Suez, and the routes to British posessions in in India and the Far East. Hence British, and to an extent European fears. Suez is now of much less significance, and trade with India is not critical to either side.Most of the rest of your comments need to look more at the perception -- as suggested in the now laughable comments -- than at the fact.QuoteWe see modern Israel as an American client. However the early settlers were very much to the left of the spectrum. Given American interests in oil, if the US had seen a threat, it might have backed the Arabs when keeping the peace. The Russians although no friend of Jews, might have seen the chance to kick the British empire on its way down, and supplied help to the Zionists, thus ensuring the USA did not like them at all.In short, if the British had put up more of a fight and lasted longer, there is a good chance that we'd have Jewish suicide bombers fighting against an oppressive Palestinian state backed by the USA. If one looks at US/Israeli relations for the first 20 years of its existence, the idea that Israel was not inevitably a US ally looks pretty plausible.The State Department in the US was from the very beginning anti-Israel. They pretty reasonably decided that it was better to keep on good terms with 100 million oil-controlling Arabs than with 10 million Jews. US support for Israel has always, always been a domestic rather than a foreign policy matter.
Last edited by Marsden
on September 3rd, 2003, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.