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Archive for the ‘Zionism’ Category

The British Labour Party and Zionism [1]

Posted by Steve Palmer on June 19, 2011

From Fight Racism Fight Imperialism, May 1983, pp 8-9

[The responsibility for establishing the Zionist state of Israel lies right here, in Britain. And the British Labour Party is the primary political instigator and supporter of the Zionist state. This article was written in 1983 to expose the role played by the Labour Party throughout its entire existence, which is continuing today through the fascistic genocidal blitzkrieg conducted by the Israelis against the people of Gaza].

The 1917 Balfour Declaration of the British government supported the ‘establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people’[2], Though the Balfour Declaration had been issued by Tories, it was rapidly endorsed by the Labour Party and the TUC in their `War Aims Memorandum’, adopted in December 1917:

`Palestine should be set free from the harsh and oppressive government of the Turk, in order that this country may form a Free State, under international guarantee, to which such of the Jewish people as desire to do so may return and may work out their salvation free from interference by those of alien race or religion.’[3]

The Declaration had several imperialist aims. One was an attempt to counteract the struggle by the Bolsheviks to overthrow the Russian government and take Russia out of the imperialist war then raging. A later Colonial Office memorandum, written for Winston Churchill in 1922 explained:

‘The earliest document is a letter dated 24th April 1917 in which a certain Mr Hamilton suggested that a Zionist mission should be sent to Russia for propaganda purposes. It is clear that at that stage His Majesty’s Government were mainly concerned with the question of how. Russia (then in the first stages of revolution) was to be kept in the ranks of the Allies. At the end of April the Foreign Office were consulting the British Ambassador at Petrograd as to the possible effect in Russia of a declaration by the Entente of sympathy for Jewish national aspirations. The idea was that such a declaration might counteract Jewish pacifist r propaganda in Russia.’[4]

A memorandum from Ronald Graham, Assistant Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Lord Hardinge, Permanent Under Secretary, dated 13th June 1917 remarks:

‘We ought therefore to secure all the political advantage we can out of out connection with Zionism and there is no doubt that this advantage will be considerable, especially in Russia …’[5]

The British imperialists were contemptuous of the indigenous Palestinian population – and said so quite openly to one another. Balfour explained in a Memorandum to Curzon that:

‘in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country … Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.’[6]

The Declaration had been made without reference to the Palestinian people, who overwhelmingly opposed it. It was therefore inevitable that a Zionist state in. Israel would be a racist state, and an outpost of imperialism in the Middle East.

It was the racist British Labour Party which was to be the midwife to the birth of the Zionist state. This was the logical outcome of the strong Zionist ties and sympathies of the Labour Party, allied to its unswerving support for British imperialism. In 1920, Paole Zion, the British section of the International Organization of Socialist Zionists, had affiliated to the Labour Party, and from the early twenties, the Zionist current in the party grew rapidly.

The central problem which taxed the Zionists, following the Balfour Declaration, was the need to build up the Jewish Zionist colony in Palestine, the Yishuv: in 1918, Jews in Palestine – the supposed homeland – formed less than 10% of the Palestinian population. Without massive Zionist immigration into the country, the plan for a Zionist state would have collapsed. By 1929 the Jewish population had nearly trebled to 156,000. The Zionists owned 4% Of the land, but 14% of the cultivable area. The Zionists, vigorously supported by their racist trade union Histradut, strictly enforced a policy of exclusively Jewish employment, both on the land and in industry.[7]

The Macdonald Letter[8]

In August 1929, weeks after a new Labour Government had taken office, hundreds were killed and many more injured in violent riots in Jerusalem. A government enquiry showed that the root cause of the hostility between Palestinian Arabs and Jewish settlers was the expulsion of peasants from land acquired by the Zionists, and recommended curtailing further Zionist immigration. Labour Colonial Secretary, Lord Passfield (formerly Sidney Webb), issued a White Paper recommending caution over unrestricted immigration to Palestine.

The Zionists unleashed a storm of fury. The Labour Prime Minister, Ramsey MacDonald, took control of Palestine out of Passfield’s hands and passed it over to a Cabinet committee which, jointly with the Zionist Jewish Agency, drafted a letter which MacDonald read to Parliament on 13 February 1931. The letter, addressed to Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader who was to become Israel’s first President, overturned the White Paper;

“the obligation to facilitate Jewish immigration and to encourage close settlement by Jews on the land, remains a positive obligation of the Mandate, and it can be fulfilled without prejudice to the rights and position of other sections of the population of Palestine’[9]

It was a testament of Labour support for Zionism, and as Weizmann remarked, the reversal in policy had a decisive effect on the establishment of the state:

‘it was under MacDonald’s letter to me that the change came about in the Government’s attitude, and in the attitude of the Palestine administration, which enabled us to make the magnificent gains of the ensuing years. It was under MacDonald’s letter that Jewish immigration into Palestine was permitted to reach figures … undreamed of in 1930.’[10]

MacDonald also expressed the Labour government’s support for the Zionists’ policy of apartheid in employment, which was directed against the Palestinian Arabs:

‘it is necessary also to have regard to the declared policy of the Jewish Agency to the effect that in “all the works or undertakings carried out or furthered by the Agency it shall be deemed to be a matter of principle that Jewish labour shall be employed.” His Majesty’s Government do not in any way challenge the right of the Agency to formulate or approve and endorse such a policy.’[11]

Labour’s complete contempt for the Palestinian Arabs was further confirmed by another incident recounted by Weizmann:

‘The first indication I had of the seriousness of MacDonald’s intentions was when he consulted me with regard to the appointment of a new High Commissioner to replace Sir John Chancellor.’[12]

There is no record that the Labour Party consulted the Palestinian Arabs, expelled from land acquired by Zionists, over who they would prefer as High Commissioner.

The First Intifada – 1936-9

Throughout the thirties, Arab resistance in Palestine to Zionist encroachment increased until it broke out into open rebellion against the British state in 1936.[13] The rebellion began in April with the launching of a general strike which lasted six months. The British responded by dynamiting houses, criminalising freedom fighters, and killing 1,000. Even as the general strike was still in progress, the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), meeting in Plymouth, showed its racist support for Zionism and contempt for the Palestinians:

‘the Congress earnestly hopes that the British Government … will take all the necessary measures to bring the present disorders to an end.’[14]

The Government followed this advice. The rebellion was crushed after three years by 20,000 British troops who left more than 5,000 Arabs dead and 14,000 wounded.[15]

A Zionist militia had been formed, armed and trained by the British, called the ‘British Settlement Police’. It was similar in composition and purpose to the ‘B Specials’ or UDR in British-occupied Ireland, and by 1939 it numbered 21,500 Zionists – 1 in 20 of the Jewish population! The British also formed joint terror squads with the Zionists, similar to the SAS, known as the ‘Special Night Squads’. Led by a British officer named Orde Wingate, these provided training for future members of the Zionist, terror gang known as the Irgun. The Zionist deputy head of these squads was Moshe Dayan, later to become notorious in the 1967 ‘Six-day war’. Dayan later, remarked:

‘In some sense every leader of the Israeli Army even today is a disciple of Wingate. He gave us our technique, he was the inspiration of our tactics, he was our dynamic.’[16]

After the rebellion was crushed, remaining opposition was further undermined by the policy spelt out in the Tories 1939 White Paper. This recommended sharply restricted Jewish immigration, regulation of land sales, and rejected a Jewish state, holding out promises of Palestinian self-government in the future. At its May conference, the Labour Party condemned these immigration restrictions at a time when European Jews were being brutally massacred by fascism, but it became clear that this criticism was simply ammunition to further Zionist designs:

‘This Conference reaffirms the traditional support given by the British Labour Movement to the reestablishment of a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine. It recognises that considerable benefits have accrued to the Arab Masses as a result of Jewish immigration and settlement. This Conference is convinced that under the policy of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, the possibility exists for continued and increasing peaceful cooperation between the Jewish and Arab peoples in Palestine.’[17]

1944: ‘The Static Arab’

In December 1944, the annual Labour Party Conference passed its strongest pro-Zionist motion to date:

‘there is surely neither hope nor meaning in a “Jewish National. Home”, unless, we are prepared to let Jews, if they wish, enter this tiny land[they’re talking about Palestine, not Britain!] in such numbers as to become a majority. There was a strong case for this before the war, There is an irresistible case now, after the unspeakable atrocities of the cold and calculated German Nazi plan to kill all Jews in Europe. Here, too, in Palestine surely is a case, on human grounds and to promote a stable settlement, for transfer of population. Let the Arabs be encouraged to … move out as the Jews move in. Let them be compensated handsomely for their land and let their settlement elsewhere he carefully organized and generously financed. The Arabs have many wide territories of their own; they must not claim to exclude the Jews from this small area of Palestine, less than the size of Wales. Indeed we should reexamine also the possibility of extending the present Palestinian boundaries, by agreement with. Egypt, Syria or Transjordan.’[18]

The racism behind-this motion was made clear by its drafter, Hugh Dalton, later Labour Chancellor:

‘In Palestine we should lean, much more [!] than hitherto towards the dynamic Jew, less towards the static Arab.’[19]

This shameless racism proved embarrassing even for the Zionists. Commented Weizrnann:

‘I remember that my Labour Zionist friends were, like myself, greatly concerned about this proposal. We had never contemplated the removal of the Arabs, and the British Labourites, in their pro-Zionist enthusiasm, went far beyond our intentions.’[20]

The 1945 Labour Government

After the war, another Labour government was returned to power. Its policy towards Palestine was dictated by the Labour Party’s concern to safeguard Britain’s overall imperial interests. The war had weakened British imperialism. Britain had negotiated a massive dollar loan from US imperialism. Since Sterling could not be freely exchanged for other -currencies, scarce US dollars had to be conserved to pay back the US imperialists. Since oil from the Middle East did not have to be purchased with dollars, the control and security of these resources was therefore of vital importance to British imperialism, quite apart from its energy needs. Bevin, the Foreign Secretary, expressed Labour’s problem very clearly:

‘His Majesty’s Government must maintain a continuing interest in the area, if only because our economic and financial interests in the Middle East are of great importance to us and to other countries as well. I would like this fact faced squarely. If these interests were lost to us, the effect on the life of this country would be a considerable reduction in the standard of living. Other parts of the world would suffer too. The British interests in the Middle East contribute substantially not only to the prosperity of the people there, but also to the wage packets of the workers of this country. Nor can we forget our old and valued friendships with the peoples of the area.’[21]

To defend its empire, the Labour government, as Bevin hints, attempted to draw conservative elements of the Arab states into support for its designs. From this perspective, the establishment of a Zionist state in Palestine was – at this time – a threat to British imperialist interests. Richard Crossman, strongly pro-Zionist, claims that this was because Bevin identified Zionism with communism:

‘I tried to convince him that it was just because the leaders of the Yishuv were of Russian origin that nearly all of them were fanatically opposed to Russian Communism. Moreover, apart from a minority of fellow travellers, I added, the leadership of the Histradut … felt that the one Labour movement in the world whose ideals they shared was the British. But nothing could shake his idée fixe that the British position in the Middle East … was threatened by a Jewish-Communist conspiracy …’[22]

More plausibly, Mayhew, then Bevin’s Under-Secretary, argues that Bevin was opposed to a Zionist state because it would stimulate radical nationalism in the Arab states which might be directed against imperialist interests:

‘its success would condemn the Middle East to decades of hatred and violence, and above all – this was his immediate concern – that by turning the Arabs against Britain and the Western countries, it would open a highroad for Stalin into the Middle East.’[23]

Bevin’s fears of communist influence in the Middle East were not fanciful: the Labour government was already waging war against the Greek people led by communists, and in Azerbaijan and Kurdistan autonomous republics with Soviet backing had been established after the war.

But the Zionists began a war of terror against the British in Palestine; in the Labour. Party, tension on the question mounted. Within the Cabinet there was deep sympathy for the Zionists. At one point Richard. Crossman visited John Strachey, a member of the Cabinet Defence Committee, and asked his advice about an act of sabotage planned by his Zionist friends:

‘The next day in the Smoking Room at the House of Commons, Strachey. gave his approval to Crossman. The Haganah went ahead and blew up all the bridges over the Jordan.’[24]

It is impossible to imagine a British Cabinet.approving a similar IRA operation!

Michael Foot

The political atmosphere inside the Labour Party can be gauged from a pamphlet which Michael ‘Peacemonger’ Foot wrote together with Crossman entitled A Palestine Munich. Dismissing any danger to the future Zionist state from the surrounding Arab states, the pamphlet remarks:

‘there is nothing which any of these states can do in the nature of formal warfare either individually or collectively, that could not be countered by an airborne brigade or even an airforce demonstration.’[25]

The pamphlet explained the conflict in racist terms:

‘tribal, dynastic and religious antagonisms take more fanatical forms in the Oriental than in the Western world …

… the liberal era has never dawned on these countries. Such political mass movements as exist have a closer resemblance to the mass movements of the European Middle. Ages than to those of the era of enlightenment.’[26]

Although it might be expedient to preserve friendship with the states of the Arab League, this would backfire and threaten British imperialism:

‘Once we had defeated the Jews for them, the Arabs would demand immediate withdrawal of our troops from Palestine, and stage a revolt if this were not conceded. Then the last base for the defence of Suez would have gone.’[27]

Far better to back the Zionist settlers and to partition the state:

‘the government of the Judean State would be eager to negotiate a treaty of alliance with Great Britain…. such a-treaty would leave in British hands the port of Haifa and such airfields and installations as we require … Britain would be in a far stronger position than she is at present.’[28]

In the event, it was the Zionist terror campaign, and not the danger of nationalism or communism which threatened imperialist stability. With the encouragement of US imperialism, the Labour government announced that it would withdraw British troops from Palestine by 15 May 1948. The Labour Party breathed a sigh of relief, and Weizmann remarked ‘Now, thank God, we can live on friendly terms.’[29] Labour had created Zionist Israel and paved the way for genocide against the Palestinian people.

The terror squads were now turned on the Palestinian people. On 9 April-1948 the Irgun, led by Menachem Begin; conducted the massacre of Deir Yassin, when the Zionists butchered 254 Arab men, women and children in cold blood. This was only a particularly gruesome example from a genocidal wave of terror which drove 900,000 of the 1,300,000 Arab population out of Palestine, and left the Zionists holding 77 % of the land.[30]

Suez 1956[31]

With their state established, the Zionists began to threaten the countries bordering their statelet, carrying out repeated attacks on them. When the Egyptian leader Nasser requested arms from the United States to defend his country, he was told he could have them provided that he joined the US puppet states in the anti-Soviet Baghdad pact. Nasser refused and negotiated for arms with Czechoslovakia. The US imperialists then withdrew finance from the Aswan Dam project, vital to irrigating the Egyptian land. On 26 July 1956, Nasser announced the nationalisation of the Suez canal; instead of its revenues going to enrich imperialists, they would be used to finance the Aswan Dam.

The British and French imperialists were up in arms. And so was the ‘socialist’ Labour Party which condemned the nationalisation as ‘highhanded and totally unjustifiable’. A week later, Labour leader Gaitskell likened Nasser to Hitler and Mussolini and called on the government to supply the Zionists with British arms. Labour also made it clear that it did not rule out the use of force.[32]

Despite weeks of imperialist wheeling and dealing, it became clear that Britain and France did not have the support of the USA to use force, while the socialist countries and oppressed nations were siding with Egypt. Labour became increasingly worried that the use of force might endanger imperialism’s wider interests. This opposition was entirely limited to criticising the government’s tactics, and had nothing to do with anti-imperialism

On September 12, Gaitskell told the Commons that:

‘If the government do this, they will leave behind in the Middle East such a legacy of distrust and bitterness towards the West that the whole area will be thrust almost forcibly under Communist control. This is the greatest danger of all.’[33]

The British and French secretly arranged for puppet Israel to invade Egypt at the end of October, so that they could intervene `to keep the two sides apart’ – in fact to attack the Egyptians. When the news of the British invasion broke, the Labour Party did not attack the violation of Egyptian freedom nor did it utter even a whisper against the slaughter of the Egyptian people. Instead it condemned the government for losing an opportunity to attack the socialist countries, threatened with counter-revolution in Hungary.

The British and French imperialists backed down after the US showed its opposition for its own imperialist reasons – and after the Soviet Union threatened Britain and France with rocket attack.

The Six Day War

In the 1960s the Zionists staged a series of provocations against the Arab states. These reached a point where they could no longer be ignored, and Egypt, when she responded, was drawn into the carefully laid Zionist plans to occupy the Sinai and other territories. Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran on 22 May 1967. The British Labour Cabinet met the following day. According to Wilson, the Cabinet decided that:

‘Though several ministers, were committed friends of Israel and of Israeli leaders, we were all agreed to urge the utmost restraint, at a very difficult time, on her.’[34]

In fact, the Labourites had decided to give the Zionists full imperialist backing. The same day, Abba Eban flew to London:

‘From the airport in London, I drove with. Ambassador Remez to Downing Street …

Wilson’s reply was forthright. The Cabinet had met that morning and had reached a consensus that the policy of blockade must not be allowed to triumph; Britain would join with others in an effort to open the Straits.’[35]

Some ‘restraint’! When George Thomson, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, was dispatched to Washington, he was accompanied by a senior member of the naval staff in order to co-ordinate British plans to open the straits with the Pentagon.[36]

Labour’s plans to send a British American naval force to sail through the Straits of Tiran had been delayed by the reluctance of the French imperialists to join in the adventure and was pre-empted by the Zionists’ own attack on the Arab countries. Although the force never attempted to open the blockade, Labour had exhibited its usual enthusiasm for imperialist schemes. And this particular scheme had, without doubt, encouraged the Israelis to begin the Six-day war.

October 1973 War

In his book The Chariot of Israel, Harold Wilson explains the Labour Opposition’s reaction to the war of October 1973, waged by the Arab states against Israel, and which threatened to liberate the Occupied Territories from Zionist rule:

‘It was Labour who provided all the activity. As soon as the news of the invasion became known I telephoned the Israeli Ambassador … I was in contact with him each day to hear of developments. The first thing he told me was that Mr Heath’s Government had placed an embargo on the shipment of spares and ammunition to Israel needed for the Centurion tanks Britain had supplied when Labour had been in power. As soon as the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, returned to London, I went to No.10 to press him to change Government policy on spares and ammunition. When he refused, James Callaghan and I took up the issue publicly.’[37]

With such obliging support from the Zionist errand-boys of the Labour Party, it is a wonder that the Israelis bothered keeping their own Ambassador in London! Wilson goes on to quote the Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban:

‘The decision of Edward Heath and his government in London came as a specially harsh blow:.. the British example affected other European countries … It was only when Harold Wilson’s Labour Government came to power that the scar in our relations began to heal.’[38]


This brief survey of recent Palestinian history shows Britain’s responsibility for conceiving and nurturing the Zionist monster. It also exposes the key role consistently played by the Labour Party in this process throughout the entire period – at times even outdistancing the Zionists themselves. A golden testimony to services rendered by Labour comes from the late Zionist Prime Minister, Golda Meir:

‘From the very beginning of the labor movement in Palestine we were in close contact with the international labor movement, with the British Labor Party, and Trades Union Congress in England and with the labor federations in the United States. We believed in these organizations in their programs and policies, and we were certain that they, above all, in moral sympathy with our purpose would help us.

Probably one of the greatest factors in helping us to overcome our initial difficulties was the fact that from the very first, since 1917, we constantly received encouragement from the British labor movement and in later years from the American labor movement.’[39]

It is true that recently there have been gestures of support for the Palestinians from sections of the Labour Party. At the 1982 Conference a motion was passed reversing the formal politcy of the party. Dundee’s Labour Council has flown the PLO flag at the City Hall. Such gestures deserve support.

Yet they do not represent a trend and may have been encouraged by less generous motives than solidarity. Support for the Palestinians can easily be reconciled with attempts to share in Arab countires oil wealth. Representatives of no less than 12 Arab oil states have been lured to Dundee in the hope of attracting investment and providing jobs for Britishworkers. The fact is that today’s Labour Party is true to its history. It is thoroughly pro-Zionist and pro-imperialist. Some 120 Labour MPs are members of the. Labour Friends of Israel. Among the Zionists are many of the so-called ‘left’, including Tony Benn and Eric Heffer. Another Labour MP is Greville Janner, who returned from a visit to Zionist occupied Lebanon, remarking that ‘the soldiers’ restraint has been remarkable’.[40]

Opportunists like this form the core of the Labour Party and determine its political standpoint. The wretchedly pro-imperialist. Labour Party did not call a single demonstration during last summer’s Zionist butchery in Lebanon. Surely that says it all?


[1] A good history of the Palestinian resistance to Zionism and Imperialism is David Hirst’s The Gun and the Olive Branch (Futura Publications, London, 1978). See also Rosemary Sayigh, Palestinians: from Peasants to Revolutionaries (Zed Press, London, 1981), Nathan Weinstock, Zionism: False Messiah, (Inklinks, London, 1979)

[2] The Balfour Declaration is reproduced in Hirst, p38. For the imperialist interests involved, see Maxime Rodinson, Israel: A Colonial Settler State? (Monad, New York, 1973).

[3] This section of the ‘War Aims Memorandum’ appears in Jewish Agency for Palestine, Documents relating to the Palestine Problem (London, 1945, p77). The book, compiled by Zionists, is a compilation of speeches by leading Labour Party and Trade Union figures and of Labour and TUC resolutions supporting Zionism.

[4] Quoted in Doreen Ingrams (ed) Palestine Papers 1917-1922 (John Murray, London, 1972), p7.

[5] Ibid, p8.

[6] Quoted, ibid, p73.

[7] Palestine – Facts in Focus (BAZO-Palestine Solidarity, Glasgow, 1981), p7ff, Hirst, p63.

[8] The 1929 riots and their aftermath are described in Hirst, pp62-73.

[9] H.C. Hansard, Vol 248, col 754, February 13 1931.

[10] Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error (Greenwood Press, Connecticut, 1972), p335.

[11] Loc cit, col 757.

[12] Op cit., p335.

[13] Hirst gives a good account of the 1936-1939 Revolt – see his Chapter 3. However, the best account is undoubtedly by Ghassan Kanafani, Palestine: The 1936-39 Revolt (Tricontinental Society, London, n.d). Kanafani, a leading member of the PFLP, was assassinated by Zionist agents in Beirut on Saturday, July 8 1972. Figures for the size of the BSP are from Weinstock, p130.

[14] For the motion see Jewish Agency, p78. For the entire racist episode, see TUC Report 1936, pp393-6.

[15] Kanafani, op. cit., p25.

[16] Sayigh, p72.

[17] Jewish Agency, p79.

[18] Dalton, High Tide and After (Frederic Muller, London, 1962), pp145-6.

[19] Ibid, p146

[20] Weizmann, op cit, p436.

[21] H.C. Hansard, Vol 437, Col 1964-5, May 16 1947.

[22] Richard Crossman, A Nation Reborn (Hamish Hamilton, London, 1960), p70.

[23] Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew, Publish It Not (Longman, London, 1975), p17.

[24] Quoted by Hirst, p122.

[25] R H Crossman and Michael Foot A Palestine Munich? (Gollancz, London, 1946), pp22-3.

[26] Ibid, pp24-5.

[27] Ibid, p29.

[28] Ibid, p31.

[29] Quoted by Crossman, p52

[30] Hirst, pp123-143.

[31] Hirst, pp1197-202.

[32] See Hugh Gaitskell’s speech on August 2 1956, H.C. Hansard, Vol 557, Cols 1612-1616.

[33] H.C. Hansard, Vol 558, Col 23.

[34] Harold Wilson, The Labour Government 1964-70, (Penguin, 1974), p508.

[35] Quoted by Harold Wilson, The Chariot of Israel (Weidenfeld and Nicholson; Michael Joseph, London, 1981), pp336-7

[36] Wilson, Labour Government …, p509.

[37] Op cit, p365.

[38] Ibid, p367.

[39] Golda Meir Speaks Out, ed Marie Syrkin (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1973), p54.

[40] Sunday Telegraph July 11 1982, p17: ‘British Jews and the “Big Lie”‘.


Posted in Imperialism, Labour Aristocracy, Zionism | Leave a Comment »

Niwdog’s Law

Posted by Steve Palmer on January 18, 2009

Godwin’s Law, as every good geek knows, predicts that discussions on the internet arrive at a point where someone accuses someone of being ‘almost as … as’, ‘as … as’ or ‘even …er than’ Hitler. Whoever does this first wins the discussion and the accusee loses, and the discussion is over.

It seems there’s a special inverted variant of this for Zionists – Niwdog’s Law. If you’re pro-Israeli and Israelis are busy blowing hundreds of children to pieces, it’s not very smart to start accusing others of being Nazis. So instead anyone who criticises Israel is accused of being ‘anti-semitic’, a holocaust supporter, card carrying member of the National Socialist Party, crypto-fascist  etc etc etc. Unlike Godwin’s law, where debate has to be allowed to develop and only one player hurl’s the Hitlerite comparison, Niwdog’s Law must be used before serious discussion – preferably before any discussion – of Israel begins. Once the accusation has been made, all players except the accusee are expected to immediately agree with the accusation and repeat it. If they don’t, then they themselves fall victim to Niwdog’s Law since silence clearly indicates agreement. Penalties include angst and guilt over whether one really is anti-semitic, loss of friends, acquaintances and spouses, stigmatisation, loss of job, physical beatings and death.

Niwdog’s Law is actually stronger than Godwin’s Law and its only know antidote. In any discussion on Israel, if someone applies Godwin’s Law, for example by suggesting that Israeli action is reminiscent of Nazi blitzkriegs then the accusee or an ally can immediately counter with Niwdog’s Law, accusing the accuser of anti-semitism.

Furthermore, it completely covered in Teflon. If you suggest that someone is following Niwdog’s Law, that suggestion itself is prima facie evidence that you should be Niwdoged. Only someone who is truly anti-semitic could possibly make such a suggestion. The Catch-22 of all Catch 22s.

Posted in Bourgeois Ideology, Racism, Zionism | Leave a Comment »

Israel scores ‘Own Goal’ with its sponsorship of Hamas

Posted by Steve Palmer on January 9, 2009

Israel apparently originally sponsored Hamas in an attempt to undermine secular and Marxist organizations in the Palestinian liberation movement. Ever heard the saying “What goes around, comes around”?

‘Politically speaking, Islamic fundamentalists were sometimes regarded as useful to Israel because they had their conflicts with the secular supporters of the PLO. Violence between the groups erupted occasionally on West Bank university campuses, and the Israeli military governor of the Gaza Strip, Brigadier General Yitzhak Sergev, once told me how he had financed the Islamic movement as a counterweight to the PLO and the Communists: “the Israeli government gave me a budget and the military government gives to the mosques,” he said. In 1980, when fundamentalist protesters set fire to the office of the Red Crescent Society in Gaza, headed by Doctor Haidar Abdel-Shafi, a Communist and PLO supporter, the Israeli army did nothing, intervening only when the mob marched to his home and seemed to threaten him personally.’

Former New York Times correspondent, David Shipler, Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land (New York: Penguin, 1987), p. 177.

See also this enlightening report from UPI:

‘Saturday, 24 February 2001 11:28 (ET)

Israel gave major aid to Hamas
By RICHARD SALE, Mideast Correspondent

NEW YORK, Feb. 24 (UPI) — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
speaking of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas recently described
it as “the deadliest terrorist group that we have ever had to face.”

Active in Gaza and the West Bank Hamas wants to liberate all of
Palestine and establish a radical Islamic state in place of Israel.
It has gained notoriety with its assassinations, car bombs and other
acts of terrorism.

But Sharon had left something out.

Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but,
according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials,
beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect
financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.

Israel “aided Hamas directly — the Israelis wanted to use it as a
counterbalance to the PLO,” said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst
for the Center for Strategic Studies.

Israel’s support for Hamas “was a direct attempt to divide and dilute
support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious
alternative,” said a former senior CIA official.

According to documents obtained from the Israel-based Institute for
Counter Terrorism (ICT) by UPI, Hamas evolved from cells of the
Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928. Islamic movements in
Israel and Palestine were “weak and dormant” until after the 1967 Six
Day War in which Israel scored a stunning victory over its Arab

After 1967, a great part of the success of the Hamas/Muslim
Brotherhood was due to their activities among the refugees of the
Gaza Strip. The cornerstone of the Islamic movements success was an
impressive social, religious, educational and cultural
infrastructure, called Da’wah, that worked to ease the hardship of
large numbers of Palestinian refugees, confined to camps, and many of
whom were living on the edge.

“Social influence grew into political influence,” first in the Gaza
Strip, then on the West Bank, said an administration official who
spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to ICT papers, Hamas was legally registered in Israel in
1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movements spiritual leader, as an
Islamic Association by the name Al-Mujamma Al Islami, which widened
its base of supporters and sympathizers by religious propaganda and
social work.

Funds for the movement came from the oil-producing states and
directly and indirectly from Israel, according to U.S. intelligence
officials. The PLO was secular and leftist and promoted Palestinian
nationalism. Hamas wanted set up a transnational state under the rule
of Islam, much like Khomeini’s Iran.

What took Israeli leaders by surprise was the way the Islamic
movements began to surge after the Iranian revolution, after armed
resistance to Israel sprang up in southern Lebanon organized by an
Iran-backed movement called Hezbollah that bore similitaries to
Hamas, these sources said.

“Nothing stirs up the energy for imitation as much as success,”
commented one administration expert.

A further factor of Hamas’ growth was the fact the PLO moved its base
of operations to Beirut in the 1980s, leaving the Islamic movements
to strengthen their influence in the Occupied Territories “as the
court of last resort,” he said.

When the intifada began, the Israeli leadership was further surprised
when Islamic groups began to surge in membership and strength. Hamas
immediately grew in numbers and violence. The group had always
embraced the doctrine of armed struggle, but the doctrine had not
been practiced and Islamic groups had not been subjected to
suppression the way groups like Fatah had been, according to U.S.
government officials.

But with the triumph of the Khomeini revolution in Iran, with the
birth of Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorism in Lebanon, Hamas began
to gain strength in Gaza and then in the West Bank, relying on terror
to resist the Israeli occupation.

Israel was certainly funding the group at that time. One US
intelligence source who asked not to be named, said that not only was
Hamas being funded as a “counterweight” to the PLO, Israeli aid had a
more devious purpose: “to help identify and channel towards Israeli
agents Hamas members who were dangerous terrorists.”

In addition, by infiltrating Hamas, Israeli informers could listen to
debates on policy and identify Hamas members who “were dangerous
hardliners,” the official said.

In the end, as Hamas set up a very comprehensive counterintelligence
system, many collaborators with Israel were weeded out and shot.
Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet, and Hamas, unlike
the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing
to acknowledge its very existence.

Even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to
continue to give Hamas support: “The thinking on the part of some of
the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the other
groups, if they gained control, would refuse to have anything to do
with the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in
place,” said a U.S. government official.

“Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the
United States to deal with,” he said. All of which is viewed with
disapproval by some former U.S. intelligence officials.

“The thing wrong with so many Israeli operations is that they try to
be too sexy,” said former CIA official Vincent Cannestraro. Former
State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson told UPI:
“The Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting
terrorism. They are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then
tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer.They do more to
incite and sustain terrorism than curb it.”

Aid to Hamas may have looked clever, “but it was hardly designed to
help smooth the waters,” he said. “It gives weight to President
George W Bush’s remark about there being a crisis in education.”

Cordesman said that a similar attempt by Egyptian intelligence to
fund Egypt’s fundamentalists had also come to grief because of

An Israeli Embassy defense official, asked if Israel had given aid to
Hamas replied: “I am not able to answer that question. I was in
Lebanon commanding a unit at the time, besides it is not my field of

Asked to confirm a report by U.S. officials that Brigadier General
Yitshaq Segev, the military governor of Gaza, had told U.S. officials
that he had helped fund “Islamic movements as a counterweight to the
PLO and communists,” the Israeli official said he could confirm only
that he believed that Segev had served back in 1986.

The Israeli Embassy press office referred UPI to its Web site.’

Posted in Dumb Sh*t, Own Goal, Zionism | Leave a Comment »

More Israelis killed in road accidents than by Hamas

Posted by Steve Palmer on January 8, 2009

I decided to check out how dangerous Hamas attacks on Israel really are.

Turns out that Israeli drivers are MUCH more dangerous than Hamas:

Year Killed
in Road Accidents
by terrorist attacks”
2000 421 43
2001 475 247
2002 456 453
2003 418 212
2004 428 118
2005 381 54
2006 373 29
2007 351 13

Sources: Statistical Abstract of Israel (various years) and
Anti-Israeli Terrorism in 2007 and its Trends in 2008

When we flip to the 2008 Abstract’s Table 3.30, we find the following causes of death for 2005 (latest available year):

Cause of Death – selected Number of Deaths
Breast Cancer
Transport Accidents
Intentional Self-Harm
Mental and
behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use
“Killed by Terrorist
Gastric and Dudenal

Comment seems superfluous.

Finally, a letter from the Jerusalem Post a few years ago by a visitor to Israel:

Competing risks and realities

American leaders have stressed the importance of leading normal lives in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Travel, shop, eat out, and take in that movie.

But what if your normal life includes regular trips to Israel? The US State Department has issued a warning urging Americans, for their own safety, not to go there.

One cannot deny that, with help from the media, Israel is perceived as a dangerous place due to the threat of terrorism. Indeed, while recently in Israel giving talks and attending a conference, I received numerous e-mails from colleagues and friends worrying for my safety, admonishing me to avoid public places, or otherwise urging me to watch out. I truly appreciate such genuine expressions of concern, but they stem from the aforementioned perception that Israel is much more dangerous than America. A simple review of available data, however, suggests the opposite.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, during the 442 days from the beginning of the current Palestinian intifada until the end of December, 2001, 120 Israelis were killed by terrorist suicide bombings, shootings, hit-and-runs, stabbings, or other means within “Israel proper,” that is, not including terror victims in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

All of these murders are tragic, and I do not intend in any way to make light of them here. However, given that 6.3 million people reside within Israel proper, these deaths work out to an annual personal risk of death from terrorism of 16 in one million, within the boundaries of Israel proper, which would be the destination of most visitors.

Is this a big risk or a little risk? Let’s compare first with the risk of death from motor vehicle accidents in Israel, since one thing tourists do is travel around. Again, excluding the West Bank and Gaza, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reports 461 traffic fatalities during the 2000 calendar year. This adds up to an annual personal risk of 73 per one million, which is nearly four times higher than the risk of death from terrorism.

So what, you say – this makes Israel look worse! Look again. The 2000 Statistical Abstract of the United States reports that about 41,500 traffic fatalities have occurred in each of the past several years in the US. With a population of 286 million people, the annual personal risk of death from a motor vehicle accident in the United States is 145 per one million.

That’s right – the personal risk of road death is nearly twice as high in the United States as in Israel. And the risk of road death in the United States is nearly eight times higher than the risk of death from terrorism in Israel! Since we Americans readily accept the 145 per million risk of road death without worry, why has the US State Department warned us not to travel to Israel?

Let’s put this into an even more direct perspective. My recent visit to Israel was one week in duration. Since I did not enter the West Bank or Gaza, my combined probability of dying from either terrorism or a car crash on this visit equaled 1.7 in one million.

Had I followed the State Department’s guidance and canceled my visit to Israel, I would have instead enjoyed a 2.8 in one million chance of being killed in a motor vehicle accident at home. In other words, for those keeping score, my death risk would have been 65 percent higher in the US than in Israel.

And I have neglected to note my 23 combined hours flying El Al, one of the safest activities available within the limits of Earth’s atmosphere. It seems that the most dangerous thing I did on this trip was drive from New Haven to JFK Airport!

Perceived risks govern human behavior more than actual risks, and the elevated perceived risk of terror in Israel relative to the actual danger is no exception. I know of at least two canceled academic meetings and a third that is in jeopardy due to the perceived danger of holding such events in Israel. To the extent that terrorism relies on this psychology of fear, such cancellations are victories for the terrorists. And, while the fate of academic events is important to me, this is nothing compared to the economic losses Israel faces from the drop in tourism and other business revenues.

When the US State Department issues travel warnings, many people listen. If citizen safety is the goal, perhaps the State Department should urge all of us Americans to stop driving. But then, wouldn’t that conflict with the goal of leading a normal life?

The Jerusalem Post – January 8, 2002
Edward H. Kaplan

(The writer is the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Management Sciences, Yale University.)

Posted in Bourgeois Ideology, Dumb Sh*t, Imperialism, Zionism | 2 Comments »