By NATHAN J. FREEMAN
IN PALESTINE and among the working and oppressed peoples around the globe, May 15 is marked as Nakba Day. It is the Day of Catastrophe, the day on which an entity known as the State of Israel was declared and imposed on Palestinian territory by Zionist gangsters which used the Security Council of the United Nations to achieve its aim.
On Nakba Day, Palestinians throughout occupied Palestine and the refugee camps of the region, and Palestinians throughout the world reassert their right to return to the lands and homes of which they have been stripped by Israel. Supported by the Obama Administration in the U.S. and the Harper dictatorship in Canada, Israel continues to refuse to acknowledge any right of return for Palestinians.
Far from receding into the past, the events of the Nakba and the Palestinians’ determination to overturn the genocidal verdict of the imperialist powers concerning their continued existence as a people continue to stir world opinion. During the 60th commemoration of the Nakba in 2008 and since, for example, Palestinians have taken to massing as close as possible to the truce lines between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Typically the monopoly media in the U.S. and Canada, report these confrontations as “riots,” giving sympathetic details about Israeli army casualties. But the world’s peoples are by no stretch of the imagination ready to dismiss the entirely just struggle and sacred national aspirations of the Palestinian people.
In Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Palestinians this year are marking Nakba Day amid an unprecedented mobilization of support for hunger strikes which started in March and were transformed into a mass hunger strike in mid-April by more than 2,000 of their brothers, sisters, fathers, uncles and aunts who have been held without charge for years at a stretch under “administrative detention” in Israeli prisons.
Israel was the creation of a handful of Great Powers following the Second World War. One of them, the United States, was rising at the time and two of them, Great Britain and France, were nearing collapse. Although Canada was not a “great power” it attached itself to the rising star of the U.S.
On Palestine and a number of other matters, these Great Powers used the permanent seats they occupied on the Security Council of a newly-minted United Nations to rewrite some parts and disappear other parts of customary international and humanitarian law and on this basis establish the post-war arrangements and give their own meaning to the right of nations to self-determination. The artificial, externally-imposed and consciously anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab character of the so-called “State of Israel” ushered into existence by this bloc actually continued and further developed a “Creation story,” originally cooked up during the First World War by the British imperialists in cahoots with French colonialists, for something called the “Jewish national home.”
This notion of a “Jewish national home” was a cover story for the British and French colonialists’ bid to exploit the collapse of Russian influence on the diplomacy of the Ottoman imperial court. The notion itself was first put forward in a letter dated November 3, 1917 from British Colonial Secretary Arthur Balfour to Baron Edmund Rothschild subsequently dubbed the Balfour Declaration – which the Palestinian national movement labels “the First Nakba.” At that time, the Rothschilds’ pan-European banking system was bankrolling the armaments manufacturers on both sides of the Great War on terms premised on the “balance of power” that existed at the outbreak of the war. At this time too, however, on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia was in a state of collapse and no longer in a position to help hold in check the forces of rebellion roiling whatever remained of the eastern Ottoman empire. In its Arab regions, the Ottoman empire was an entity whose four centuries of cruelty had “dried men’s eyes with rage,” as the Palestinian historian Sami Hadawi would later write. It was with the view of filling this vacuum and denying that rebellion its victorious culmination that Balfour wrote his imperialist paymaster that His Majesty’s Government would “look with favour” on the creation of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine.
The Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian peoples who rose up in rebellion at the time were victimized by a ruthless secret diplomacy managed from London and Paris, rigged up with various Arab sellout “leaders.” For example, nothing was ever said explicitly about whether Balfour’s reference to a “Jewish national home” meant support for a Zionist state. That omission enabled any compromised Arab parties to these dirty deals to complain later that they “didn’t know.” Similarly, Balfour gave no hint of the agreement forged a year earlier by British and French diplomats Mark Sykes and Jules Picot respectively on behalf of their governments, to carve up the territory of the “Greater Syria” portion of the Ottoman empire at the end of the Great War. France would grab Syria and Lebanon while Britain would capture Palestine including Jerusalem. Despite the secrecy of the deals, it eventually became known that the foreign ministry in France was in correspondence with a number of prominent Arab leaders about the outlines of this scheme.
The eventual robbers’ deal struck among the Great Powers presented in the form of the Balfour Declaration was given the patina of “international law” in 1919-1920 by being incorporated into the League of Nations Covenant – the founding document of that body. The Rothschild banking system proceeded to finance one of the first mass human smuggling schemes of modern times, providing 1,001 props and back doors to facilitate the movement to Palestine over the next 15-18 years of tens of thousands of Jews mostly from the war-ravaged zones of the former Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires in eastern and southeastern Europe. The profits from such human smuggling were assured by the fact that such emigration undertaken without official British authorization was banned under the “Mandate” London was granted over Palestine by the League of Nations. Meanwhile, as Balfour himself later admitted, the strategic common interests of the Rothschilds and the British Empire greatly outweighed any humanitarian concerns about the injustice being done to the Palestinian Arabs as a result of propping-up this Zionist emigration scheme. These interests centred on retaining British imperial control over the Suez Canal – whose construction and operation the Rothschilds had financed – by preparing conditions for giving rise to a European “Palestine” statelet positioned at the closest available proximity to the Canal.
In the discussions at Versailles to formally end the First World War, the United States opposed the Anglo-French bid to extend their colonial system into the eastern reaches of the former Ottoman Empire. However, they did not publicly oppose the “Jewish national home” idea. They wanted only to block its being accepted and used to ramify the stealthy assertion of Anglo-French colonial stewardship over Greater Syria. To this end, the U.S. unofficially supported the organization and despatch of the so-called “King-Crane Commission” to travel the region and take evidence from Palestinian and other Arabs of the region, rejecting any further colonial interference in their struggles to assert their right to national self-determination. This was the point at which Canada entered the picture as a yes-man to the Great Powers’ scheme and so began its role as an enemy of the Palestinians’ aspirations for national independence.
Since the end of the Second World War, Canadian governments have rendered into an art form how to feign complete innocence about their own active connivance in Uncle Sam’s imperialist schemes. While Canada’s perfidy as regards its nefarious role in U.S. schemes to exterminate the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and North Vietnam has been well-documented, the Palestinian chapter of this sordid catalogue is less well-known.
Although Canada participated in the Great War as part of the British empire, after the war it took a pro-U.S. position against Anglo-French schemes for setting up mandates in Greater Syria with a League of Nations’ stamp of approval. At the final Imperial War Conference held in London among the colonial governments of the British empire in December 1918, a month before the launch of the treaty discussions at Versailles, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden proposed that the League of Nations mandate for Palestine go to the U.S., not Great Britain. British Prime Minister Lloyd George nonetheless succeeded in derailing any discussion of the notion “on the record” of the Conference.
Nonetheless, following the World War II, the last Mackenzie King administration (1944-48) was instrumental in bringing that entire development to fruition. Regardless of disagreements over this question or that, no Canadian government since – St. Laurent, Diefenbaker, Pearson, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien, Martin or Harper – has repudiated, questioned or soft-pedalled the upholding of Israel as the Jewish State. The Zionist theory of Israel as the national home of all Jewish people around the globe operates implicitly and explicitly as a program for destroying the collective existence and peoplehood of the Palestinians, i.e., a program of genocide against them. No Canadian government has ever taken issue with this position, either.
This brings us to present day when, this May 15, the Harper dictatorship will mark not Nakba Day, but rather the 64th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel as a Jewish State.
Canadians do not agree with their government being a partner to the genocide of the Palestinians. That places this issue on the agenda of all the forces fighting for justice and the rights of all.
1. The catastrophe (“Al Nakba”) made refugees of over 800,000 Palestinians, who were uprooted from their land and homes by marauding Zionist terror gangs and the British-trained soldiers and British officers of the “Haganah” army. International law recognizes the entitlement of these original refugees — and the continued entitlement as well of their more than six million descendants alive today – to a right of return to their lands and homes. International law further acknowledges a right of return for the 350,000 Palestinians displaced by the Israeli army in the June 1967 war. A large number of this latter group of refugees inhabit the Gaza Strip today, a region so besieged by the Israeli Occupation as to be known worldwide as “the world’s largest open-air prison camp.”
Zionist terror gangs served as the army’s cat’s-paw and advance force in 1947-48, doing the dirty work of throwing Palestinian Arabs down wells, poisoning water supplies with cholera and other deadly agents, and even rounding up Palestinian village women and children for Nazi SS-style execution, as at Deir Yassin in April 1948. Leaders of these gangs like Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir eventually went on to become Prime Ministers of the State of Israel, who insisted the Zionist aim was righteous and justified such fascist means.
The doctrine known among Zionists as the “Iron Wall,” justifying the use of terrorism against unarmed Palestinian civilians, was worked out in the 1920s by Vladimir Jabotinsky, a displaced Russo-Polish intellectual influenced by the model of the Italian fascist squadristi of the Mussolini regime. His secretary (who died in April 2012 aged 102) was the father of the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
2. David Lloyd-George, War Memoirs of David Lloyd George (Gollancz, 1933), Vol. 2.
3. Whether in bilateral relations with Tel Aviv, in relations with the Palestinian National Authority, or in diplomatic activity at the United Nations, Canadian governments have left no stone unturned when it comes to bolstering the State of Israel at Palestinians’ expense, regardless of whether the Palestinians live inside Israel, or the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, or were pushed into Jordan and southern Lebanon as the result of earlier episodes of Zionist aggression. Not only have Canadian governments defended a so-called Israeli right of self-defence, but they have participated and continue to participate in a wide range of Israeli state terrorist activities. These activities include everything from providing training personnel for the Presidential Guard of the Palestine Authority – a body run by a three-star Pentagon general which, under the pretext of protecting Palestinian President Abbas from “threats,” operates mostly to crush or attack Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation – to formal lecture programs and advice given to top Israeli military commanders. One such lecture series is given annually by Canadian Liberal MP Irwin Cotler. On various occasions during the 1980s and 1990s, Canadian passports have been forged and used for numerous terrorist and espionage operations of the Israeli Mossad in Jordan, Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. At the end of May 2010, the Harper government provided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting Canada en route to meeting U.S. President Obama, with highly-secure military command and control communications facilities for participating directly in the murderous Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, carrying humanitarian aid to the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip – an attack in which nine Turkish citizens were killed. Later in the fall of that same year, in the wake of the massive international public outcry against the Mavi Marmara massacre, the Parliament buildings in Ottawa were handed over to the so-called Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism. That body staged an outrageous series of so-called “hearings” intended to prepare public opinion for legislation that would treat all criticism of the conduct of the Israeli government as anti-Semitic hate crimes.
TML Daily, May 15, 2012, No. 69