New Statesman: Invoking Destiny, Circumventing History.

As the bombs rain on Gaza, the latest edition of the New Statesman magazine, Great Britain’s main weekly centre-left magazine, defined the Palestinian struggle against Zionist colonisation and aggression as a “conflict between two peoples destined to claim ownership of the same land.”

The editorial obviously doesn’t enunciate how and why it became the ‘destiny’ of Palestinians to have been ethnically cleansed from their land and killed in their thousands (i.e. “conflict”) in what was initially a British imperialist project. But the New Statesman’s editorial in November 1917 endorsing the Balfour Declaration certainly does shed an incredible dose of light on how this destiny materialised. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Empire’s Balfour Declaration and the Suez Canal

For the average British pro-Palestinian human rights activist, the Balfour Declaration, published ninety- five years ago on the 2nd November 1917, is only mentioned in passing in their publications or agitations. For them, the declaration seems to have drafted in, one autumn day most likely alongside the brown and crimson leaves for then to triumphantly and jubilantly land on Lord Balfour’s, the British foreign secretary, desk. For them, it is more convenient to strongly imply that the Palestinian predicament began when the young United Nations partitioned Palestine on the 29th November 1947 or when the British Empire’s Palestine mandate officially ended on 15th May 1948. For them, the fact that up to 400,000 Palestinians under the Empire’s watch were ethnically cleansed between these latter two dates literally doesn’t warrant a footnote.[1]

This is certainly the impression given by reading the literature of “revolutionary socialists” as well as other supposedly pro-Palestinians. In his book “Imperialism and Resistance”, “revolutionary socialist” John Rees argues Continue reading

The Guardian, New Statesman and the Balfour Declaration.

“The settler owes the fact of his very existence, that is to say his property, to the colonial system.” Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth.[1] 

Imagine if China, for one reason or another suddenly replaced or supplanted the United States as Israel’s main diplomatic, financial and military benefactor. That the Chinese then provided Israel with all it required to continue the occupation and usurpation of Palestine and to further consolidate its illegal undertakings…What would we then make of American journalists or writers who then incessantly never fail to remind us of the culpable Chinese support for Israeli criminality while simultaneously totally ignoring, possibly even whitewashing the 40 years when the United States was Israel’s main benefactor?

Between 1917 and 1948 Great Britain more than any other nation helped to lay the diplomatic, governmental, military and economic foundations for Israel yet if one were to peruse British writing on Palestine, especially the writings of the supposed pro-Palestinians, one would naturally presume that the Palestinian predicament only began on the 15th May 1948 when the British Mandate officially ended and the State of Israel was declared. Continue reading