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Alan Hart, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Volume I: The False Messiah (Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press, April 2009). Revised and updated edition. Originally published in U.K. in September 2005 by World Focus Publishing. [Thesis. The Arab-Israeli conflict is the result of Zionism, an unjustifiable colonial project that is based on spurious historical claims and that would not have succeeded in founding Israel were it not for the Holocaust. Not only does Alan Hart claim that Zionism is it fundamentally unjust, inherently wrong, and politically disastrous for Palestinians and Jews alike, he also argues that it is founded on doctrines that are morally deficient and that betray Judaism’s fundamental values by cynically embracing realpolitik, thus undermining international law itself.] Appeal to the American People. Americans are “too uninformed to make your democracy work for the purpose of giving expression and substance to your idealism” (13). “Judaism is the religion of Jews, not ‘the’ Jews because not all Jews are religious” (15). This book is not about spiritual Zionism but political Zionism: “Jewish nationalism in the form of a sectarian, colonial enterprise” (15). Criticism of anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic is politically motivated (15-16). Jews need to learn to distinguish between Zionism and Judaism; failure to do so is reawakening anti-Semitism (16-17). Prediction of “an awesome effort” by “the Zionist lobby and other supporters of Israel” to prevent distribution of this book (18). Author’s Note. The publication of this book in “three or possibly four volumes” is planned over 18 months (18). It is written “in the conversational style of the television reporter and to some extent reads more like a novel than a conventional historical work” (19). “In the UK I had to set up my own publishing company to get the first hardback edition of this book in two volumes [in 2005] to the retail market place” (19). Acknowledgments. Authors, including Seymour Hersh and Ilan Pappe (20). Prologue: Waiting for the Apocalypse. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has the potential to cause world apocalypse (23-26). Understanding how Israel became “its own worst enemy” and why “the whole Arab world” is a powder keg is needed to avert this (2627). Israel is not a “Jewish state” because it has abandoned the “ethical principles of Judaism” (28). Most Jews moving to Israel are descended from converts, nullifying the notion of a “return” (28). How Zionism succeeded (29-30). Zionism cannot be identified with Judaism (30-31). Rebuttal of the charge of anti-Semitism (31-32). Hart’s book on Arafat as peacemaker (32-38). Zionists sabotaged this effort (38-40). They fear another holocaust (40-41). The Jews of the world can influence Israel’s future behavior (41-43). Concern for peace and fear of the rise of antiSemitism motivated this book (43-45). Ch. 1: A Voice from the Grave. Fond reminiscences about Hart’s personal relationship with and empathy for Golda Meir (47-62). Ch. 2: Britain Plays the Zionist Card, Eventually. Zionism was a “philosophy of doom,” the Enlightenment proassimilation Haskala movement was a “philosophy of hope” (63-65). A review of the history of the Jews in Palestine shows that the notion that Jews and Arabs have “an equal claim to the same
land” does not bear scrutiny (65-68). The Eastern European Jews who originated the Zionist movement were descended from Khazar converts around the time of Charlemagne, not Jews from Palestine (69-72). In 1897, when the Zionist movement was founded in Basel, there were about 500,000 Arabs and about 9,000 Jews in Palestine, most of whom opposed Zionism (72-73). So did Edwin Samuel Montagu, the only Jew in the British cabinet (73). Zionists propagated the myth that Palestine was uninhabited (74). Herzl tried to get the German kaiser and the Russian czar to pressure Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid to accept Jewish immigrants (74-78). He then turned to Britain and was prepared to accept a Jewish homeland in East Africa, but other Zionist leaders overruled him (78-80). Only Herzl’s premature death and the dynamic leadership of Chaim Weizmann prevented the collapse of the Zionist movement (80-81). On Nov. 2, 1917, the Balfour Declaration stated: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” came at a time when Britain had no legal authority over that territory (81-83). Ch. 3: Britain Betrays the Arabs. In 1914 Lord Kitchener, Britain’s secretary of state for war, promised British support for Arab independence if Arabs revolted against the Turkish Ottomans, and a deal eventually did lead to a revolt in 1916; that promise was betrayed on May 5, 1920: the European powers announced that the disposition of Ottoman territories would carve out French and British mandates instead of founding the United Syria that Arabs believed was their due (84-89). Ch. 4: Why Britain Played the Zionist Card. The state interests that motivated the Balfour Declaration have never been officially clarified, but Hart speculates that it had to do with stemming
revolutionary forces in Russia (90-97). Other possible motivations (97-99). Montagu’s Aug. 23, 1917, anti-Zionist secret memorandum (made public only in 1970) denying that there is a “Jewish nation,” denying Palestine was then “associated with the Jews,” and arguing that the Balfour Declaration will stimulate anti-Semitism (99-102). In 1919 Balfour dismissed Arab “desires” as of little “import” (103). Ch. 5: Ahad Ha-Am and the False Messiah. The spiritual Zionism of Ahad Ha-am (1856-1927) (pen name, meaning ‘One of the People,’ of Asher Zevi Ginsberg), “the preeminent Jewish scholar, philosopher, moralist and humanist of his time” (104; 104-09). Quoting Yehoshafat Harkabi’s Israel’s Fateful Hour (1988), Hart argues that “Judaism itself is not Zionist”; in fact, “Zionism was proscribed” (109-11). American Jews were at first almost universally opposed to Zionism (111). The immigration to the U.S. between 1881 and 1915 of 2.5 million Jews from Russia changed this (111-13). Adamantly opposed to Zionism: Irving Lehman, later chief judge of the N.Y. Court of Appeals, and Henry Morgenthau Sr., who said in his 1921 autobiography, All in a Lifetime: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history. It is wrong in principle and impossible of realization; it is unsound in its economics, fanatical in its politics and sterile in its spiritual ideas. I speak as a Jew” (114; 113-14). Ch. 6: The Honest Zionists. In June 1922 Secretary of State for the Colonies Winston Churchill issued a white paper stating that Britain did not aim at “the subordination of the Arabic population, language or culture in Palestine” (115; 115-16). Whereas Herzl advocated discreet and circumspect expropriation of Arabs under British protection, “revisionist” Zionism of Vladimir Jabotinsky regarded this as impossible
and plotted to use “colonization” under “the shield of force” in “defiance of the will of the native population” for “the transformation of Palestine from an Arab country to a country with a Jewish majority” (quoting from his 1923 essay “The Iron Wall,” which declared that “Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or it falls by the question of armed force”) (116-24). Twelve photo portraits (125-27). Ch. 7: America Retreats from the Moral High Ground. Hart hails Wilson for his vision and belief in international law; he was “screwed by Imperial Britain” (Hart argues against the consensus view that Wilson’s idealism was excessive, and argues that Wilson, disinclined to support Zionist goals but needing to accede to them to get British support for the League of Nations, had devised a commission (King-Crane) to oppose Zionism and might well have succeeded had he not fallen ill): present U.S. policy on Israel is a consequence of Wilson’s failure (128-46). Ch. 8: Britain Admits, Too Late, “We Were Wrong.” The mandate system violated the sovereignty of Palestinians and violated the principle of seeking the well-being of the inhabitants (147-50). The British manipulated the Hashemites to manage Arab reaction (150-52). Britain repressed growing Palestinian resistance (153-54). Britain effectively repudiated the Balfour Declaration in a 1939 white paper (154-59). Maps (16061). Ch. 9: Holocaust—Jewish Death, Zionist Life. “The Nazi holocaust” (16263). Zionists “used the persecution of Jews in Germany for the up-building of Palestine” (in the words of Enzo Sereni, a Zionist Jew from Italy (165; 163-65). While President Franklin D. Roosevelt sympathized with the plight of Jews, he “was not in favor of a Jewish state,” though for political purposes he “gave
Zionist leaders the impression that he did support their cause” (168; 165-82). President Truman was conflicted on the Zionist question (182-97). A 1946 AngloAmerican committee of inquiry on Palestine opposed the establishment of either a Jewish or an Arab state, but the role that Zionists were playing in U.S. politics deprived it of any effective backing (196-206). Zionism looked on Jewish refugees in Europe as manpower and justification (206-10). Ch. 10: Zionist Terrorism and Ethnic Cleansing. As the U.N. took over the problem of Palestine, two terrorist organizations born of Zionism were active there: Irgun and the Stern Gang (211). The latter, which included Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin, future Israeli prime ministers, was a more radical offshoot of the former and it proposed an alliance with the Nazis in 1941 in “one of the most amazing and infamous documents in all of human history” (212; 212-14). Menachem Begin (215-17). Stern Gang terrorism: Lord Moyne, Britain’s resident minister for the Middle East (Nov. 6, 1944); the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, 91 dead (Jul. 22, 1946); Deir Yassin, 254 Palestinians (Apr. 9, 1948) (217-39). Recommendation of Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006) (239-40). Ch. 11: President Truman Surrenders to Zionism. The Palestine problem became the first test of the U.N.’s authority (241-42). A majority (partition) and minority (unitary state) plan advanced to the General Assembly (242-43). The U.N. lacked legal competence to rule on Palestine (24345). Zionists supported partition (25446). Prince (later King) Feisal of Saudi Arabia was willing to come to an accommodation with Zionism through the minority plan (246-49). Zionist pressure through 26 U.S. senators and other leaders swung the U.N.’s 33-13
vote on Nov. 29, 1947 (249-58). Afterwards, Truman favored declaring the plan unworkable and going back to the General Assembly (258-64). Chaim Weizmann played a key role in changing Truman’s mind and getting the U.S. to recognize Israel immediately on May 14, 1947, in a series of circumstances of Byzantine complexity about which much is still unknown (264-87). Ch. 12: Forrestal’s “Suicide.” James Forrestal, Truman’s secretary of defense, attempted to keep U.S. policy from being dictated by Zionism (288-90). Forrestal’s background (290-95). With Truman’s approval, Forrestal attempted to extricate U.S. policy on Palestine from partisan political pressure, and was vilified politically as a result (295-317). There is reason to doubt whether Forrestal committed suicide in May 1949 (317-21). Endnotes. 11 pp. Index. 5 pp. About the Author. Alan Hart was born in 1942. He is a former Independent Television News (ITN) and BBC “Panorama” correspondent who worked in the Middle East for three decades and has been personally acquainted with many leaders on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including Golda Meir and Yasser Arafat. He is the author of Arafat: Terrorist or Peacemaker? (1984) and later served as an intermediary between Arafat and Shimon Peres. [Additional information. Alan Hart set up his own independent production company in 1973, called World Focus, with an aim to making a film on the
global poverty and the North-South gap (“Five Minutes to Midnight”). His volume on Arafat was later published in a revised version by Indiana UP as Arafat: A Political Biography (1988). He has become a vehement anti-Zionist; he spent five years working on Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. Hart maintains a Facebook page as well as a website: www.alanhart.net which posts characteristic statements: “Alan has long believed that what peacemaking needs above all else is some TRUTHTELLING, about many things but, especially, the difference between Zionist mythology and real history, and, the difference between Jews and Judaism on the one hand and Zionists and Zionism on the other. . . . Alan is a fiercely independent thinker. He hates all labels and isms and has never been a member of any political party or group.”] [Critique. This volume is written in a breathless, conversational style. It is a very personal work: sincere, highly moralistic, self-important, and with no pretence to evenhandedness. These qualities will appeal to some; others will be put off. As a historian Hart is both amateurish and tendentious. His chapters often reads like heavy-handed briefs. Portraits of historical actors are one- or two-dimensional, and Hart does not do well in portraying the context of the historical events he describes. His book’s documentation is sparse, his research is rather superficial, and his conclusions are sometimes speculative. The book is also sloppily edited, with frequent typos. Still, for all the volume’s defects, it cannot be denied that Hart is effective in calling attention to many primary sources that undermine the narrative of Israeli history generally accepted in U.S. political discourse.]
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