Skip to comments.Know your history! Hugh Hewitt provides primer on Mideast events since 1894
Posted on 04/10/2002 12:36:26 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
As interest in the Middle East meltdown has crested, so too have calls to my radio program from the opinionated on all sides of the debate. Too often these voices make up in volume what they lack in basic historical understanding. The long road to April 2002 cannot be condensed into one, two or 50 columns, but I think there are some obvious facts that every would-be participant in the argument needs to absorb. Here are some of the many facts that ought not to be in dispute.
Jews have been in the Holy Land for more than 3,000 years. The first Jewish state was destroyed in the first century by Rome, but Jews have always remained in the land.
The Arabs far outnumbered the Jews in the area when Zionism became a political movement in the late 1800s. When the effort got underway to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine the region was controlled by the Ottoman Empire and had been for hundreds of years.
Zionism drew its impetus from the vision of Theodor Herzl, who watched the trial, conviction and public degradation of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus in late 1894 and early 1895. Dreyfus was a victim of a French anti-Semitism stoked by the arrival of tens of thousands of Russian Jews fleeing pogroms in the East. Even as France was convulsed by the Dreyfus case, German anti-Semitism grew into the malevolent force that would murder 6,000,000 European Jews.
The Dreyfus injustice turned Herzl from the idea of assimilation to the vision of a Jewish homeland, and the British government, in the persons of, among others, Joe Chamberlain, David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill and especially Arthur Balfour, gave life to the idea, though specificity did not arrive until World War I did. Then, in 1917, as the British began the conquest of Palestine, momentum for a Jewish homeland increased. The Balfour Declaration issued on Nov. 2, 1917, included the line that "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
Between 85,000 and 100,000 Jews were in Palestine at the time of the Balfour Declaration, and nearly 500,000 Arabs. Jewish immigration to the lands under British control following World War I would rise and fall over the next few years depending on the amount of persecution in Russia and elsewhere, but it rose rapidly as Hitler's horror began to unfold 40,000 in 1934 and 62,000 in 1935. Arab resistance to the influx had always been present, sometimes led to awful violence against the Jewish settlers and peaked in the years 1937-1939. In reaction to Arab protest, the British clamped on severe immigration restrictions just as the Holocaust got underway. There were a half million Jews in Palestine at the start of World War II and probably twice that number of Arabs.
Some of the Jews in Palestine adopted terror against the British as a means to the end of establishing a Jewish state. Familiar names like Menachem Begin and Yizhak Shamir were among those who carried out attacks on the British authorities. Some of the extremists in the Stern Gang resorted to cold-blooded murder. Begin's Irgun blew up the King David Hotel on July 22, 1946, and though Begin always insisted that he had warned the British, 41 Arabs, 28 British, 17 Jews and five others were killed.
Not long afterward, the British gave up trying to control the future of Palestine, and the United Nations stepped into the void. A plan for partition was produced and adopted by the U.N. General Assembly by a vote of 33 to 10, with a handful of abstentions, on Nov. 29, 1947. Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, having accepted the U.N. partition. The Egyptian air force attacked that night, and the armies of the Arab nations invaded the next day.
An armistice was signed on Jan. 12, 1949. Before that cessation of hostilities, approximately 650,000 Arabs had fled Israel. More than 550,000 Jews would leave their homes in Arab countries for Israel beginning at the same time, though their relocation occurred over a decade.
Another war followed in 1956, which did not result in substantially different borders from those of 1948-1949. But the Six Day War of 1967 saw the Israelis decisively defeat the Arab allies, and the borders changed dramatically with Israel occupying the Sinai, all of Jerusalem and the West Bank of the Jordan. The 1973 Yom Kippur War was another Israeli victory, but this one led to Sadat's decision to treaty with Israel and to Camp David I in September 1978, when Egypt and Israel made a peace that has now lasted a quarter century.
The Oslo process was to have produced the same result as Camp David I, and the Bill Clinton-brokered Camp David II was to have been the end game. Arafat and Barak could not do a deal, and the stage was set for the Passover War now underway.
British historian Paul Johnson's A History of the Jews is the best account of these events in detail, and my facts are drawn from his book. Others can argue that much more history is necessary, but before you enter the fray, at least commit this much to memory.
I believe this accounts for the Arab immigration.
Between the end of WWI, and the beginning of WWII, there was an influx of approx 400,000 Jews, and approx. 500,000 arabs.
"As interest in the Middle East meltdown has crested, so too have calls to my radio program from the opinionated on all sides of the debate. Too often these voices make up in volume what they lack in basic historical understanding. The long road to April 2002 cannot be condensed into one, two or 50 columns, but I think there are some obvious facts that every would-be participant in the argument needs to absorb. Here are some of the many facts that ought not to be in dispute...Thanks for the history lesson, Professors Hewitt and Johnson!
...British historian Paul Johnson's A History of the Jews is the best account of these events in detail, and my facts are drawn from his book.
Others can argue that much more history is necessary, but before you enter the fray, at least commit this much to memory." - Hugh Hewitt
(If you want OFF - or ON - my "Hugh Hewitt PING list" - please let me know)
From amazon.com:Editorial Reviews
"Paul Johnson says that writing A History of the Jews was like writing a history of the world "seen from the viewpoint of a learned and intelligent victim." Johnson's history begins with the Bible and ends with the establishment of the State of Israel. Throughout, Johnson's history is driven by a philosophical interest: "The Jews," he writes, "stand right at the centre of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose. Does their own history suggest that such attempts are worth making? Or does it reveal their essential futility?" Johnson's history is lucid, thorough, and--as one would expect of almost any project with such a broad scope--a little wrong-headed. By the end of the book, readers will be grateful for Johnson's questioning of the Jews' confidence in their cosmic significance. However, readers may also be a little annoyed by his energetic inquiries as to whether this significance was man-made or providentially provided. Either way, it's a given: for a historian of Israel, this should adequately settle the question. Johnson's 600-page history is probably the best we've got by a living gentile--which is no small accomplishment at all. --Michael Joseph Gross
A national bestseller, this brilliant 4000 year survey covers not only Jewish history but he impact of Jewish genius and imagination on the world. By the author of Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Eighties.
The author delivers a brilliant and comprehensive one-volume survey covering 4,000 years of Jewish history. His book is a forceful and sustained analysis of Jewish emergence and an interpretation of how Jewish history, philosophy, ethics, and social and political notions interplay with world history.
About the Author
Paul Johnson is a leading historian and journalist whose historical works have been translated into many languages. Born into a Roman Catholic family in Lancashire, England, he has remained a practicing Catholic and has covered every papal conclave since the 1950s. Among his books are Modern Times, A History of the Jews, Intellectuals, The Birth of the Modern, and A History of the English People. Johnson writes a weekly essay for the Spectator and is a frequent contributor to The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and magazines throughout the world.
He lives in London."
"Zionism drew its impetus from the vision of Theodor Herzl, who watched the trial, conviction and public degradation of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus in late 1894 and early 1895.
Dreyfus was a victim of a French anti-Semitism stoked by the arrival of tens of thousands of Russian Jews fleeing pogroms in the East..." - Hugh Hewitt
Theodor (Binyamin Zeev) Herzl
In Basle I founded the Jewish state . . . Maybe in five years, certainly in fifty,
everyone will realize it.
Theodor (Binyamin Zeev) Herzl, the visionary of Zionism, was born in Budapest in 1860. He was educated in the spirit of the GermanJewish Enlightenment of the period, learning to appreciate secular culture. In 1878 the family moved to Vienna, and in 1884 Herzl was awarded a doctorate of law from the University of Vienna. He became a writer, a playwright and a journalist. The Paris correspondent of the influential liberal Vienna newspaper Neue Freie Presse was none other than Theodor Herzl.
Herzl first encountered the anti-Semitism that would shape his life and the fate of the Jews in the twentieth century while studying at the University of Vienna (1882). Later, during his stay in Paris as a journalist, he was brought face-to-face with the problem. At the time, he regarded the Jewish problem as a social issue and wrote a drama, The Ghetto (1894), in which assimilation and conversion are rejected as solutions. He hoped that The Ghetto would lead to debate and ultimately to a solution, based on mutual tolerance and respect between Christians and Jews.
The Dreyfus Affair
In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was unjustly accused of treason, mainly because of the prevailing anti-Semitic atmosphere. Herzl witnessed mobs shouting Death to the Jews in France, the home of the French Revolution, and resolved that there was only one solution: the mass immigration of Jews to a land that they could call their own. Thus, the Dreyfus Case became one of the determinants in the genesis of Political Zionism.
Herzl concluded that anti-Semitism was a stable and immutable factor in human society, which assimilation did not solve. He mulled over the idea of Jewish sovereignty, and, despite ridicule from Jewish leaders, published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State, 1896). Herzl argued that the essence of the Jewish problem was not individual but national. He declared that the Jews could gain acceptance in the world only if they ceased being a national anomaly. The Jews are one people, he said, and their plight could be transformed into a positive force by the establishment of a Jewish state with the consent of the great powers. He saw the Jewish question as an international political question to be dealt with in the arena of international politics.
Herzl proposed a practical program for collecting funds from Jews around the world by a company to be owned by stockholders, which would work toward the practical realization of this goal. (This organization, when it was eventually formed, was called the Zionist Organization.) He saw the future state as a model social state, basing his ideas on the European model of the time, of a modern enlightened society. It would be neutral and peace-seeking, and of a secular nature.
In his Zionist novel, Altneuland (Old New Land, 1902), Herzl pictured the future Jewish state as a socialist utopia. He envisioned a new society that was to rise in the Land of Israel on a cooperative basis utilizing science and technology in the development of the Land.
He included detailed ideas about how he saw the future state's political structure, immigration, fundraising, diplomatic relations, social laws and relations between religion and the state. In Altneuland, the Jewish state was foreseen as a pluralist, advanced society, a light unto the nations. This book had a great impact on the Jews of the time and became a symbol of the Zionist vision in the Land of Israel.
Hats off to the State of Israel,its goals and aspirations.
Its citizens differ in the administration of it just as citizens in the USA do..
Quite unlike some nations of Africa, South America,island nations in the Carribean, desert nations in the middle,near and far east, and those that straddle it, that are not led by direct or shadow military governments.
Members of free republic should know that the contributions to society as a whole by any citizen of a free country far excel those than that of citizens of an oppressed nation, where that expression is suppressed by prejudice ,whether stifled and/or instigated by religion or outright dictatorship...
God Bless America.
More when I get home from work.
I am recovering also! It was really a thrill to get both teams in the Final Four. BTW, our Men's Gymnastics team won the NCAA Gymnastics Championship last weekend so we claimed another title! My son went to the Spring Football scrimmage last Friday and he said the defense looks better and faster than last year!
Been a pretty good year for the Sooners and all of their fans! Have a good one and thanks for the link!
In case you (and other lurkers) don't know it, Hewitt's show can be caught live via the Web at www.smarttalk870.com.It still works.
(And I think all the programming from 870AM goes out live on the web via Windows Media player, although I haven't tried it in a while.)
In MOST of the country, Hugh can be heard LIVE from 3pm to 6pm - WEST coast time (6pm to 9pm - EAST coast time.)The Hugh Hewitt Show is heard on more than 40 radio stations nationwide. The following Salem Radio Network affiliates carry The Hugh Hewitt Show. You may obtain information about additional affiliates by e-mailing: Generalissimo@hughhewitt.com
In California, Hugh has recently added a FOURTH hour, from 6pm to 7pm, for LOCAL issues.
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