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Thread: Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba | Lecture: Prof. Nur Masalha (2017)

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    Default Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba | Lecture: Prof. Nur Masalha (2017)

    W.M. Watt Annual Lecture 2017 - Professor Nur Masalha

    "Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba"

    Video link: https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/W.M.+Wa...lha/1_2y97c3la

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    Some members who have enquired as to the root of a lot of the current problems and challenges faced by the world today may find this an interesting lecture.

    This lecture on November 2nd 2017 coincided with the 100th year of the Balfour Declaration, penned that month by the then Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild.

    (Full copy of this letter shown on this thread below).

    Amongst many ideas considered by Prof. Nur Masalha, himself a Palestinian, is the idea of colonialisation of the mind, the "paradigma" (Greek, from where we get the latinised "paradigm"), postcolonial perspectives, interesting facts including the proliferation of streets in towns and cities in Palestine - to include Haifa and Tel Aviv - named after Balfour and how the history of Palestine from the perspective of the indigenous population, I would argue, has yet to be written from their perspective: it certainly seems as if Prof. Masalha has got the ball-pen rolling there.

    Critically he discusses British-Zionism and its historical impact in the area and the people residing there. And of course one can source the current modern political situation there back at least to this document and the political intrigues surrounding its implementation - it will of course have roots going back even further.

    Students of Middle Eastern history, in particular Palestinian history, and anyone generally wishing to study this material further may find the following a suitable companion to his lecture:

    "Theologies of Liberation in Palestine-Israel: Indigenous, Contextual, and Postcolonial Perspectives" (Edited by Nur Masalha and Lisa Isherwood - 2014)

    Just one example of the mind-set of Lord Balfour can be gleaned from this exchange with George Curzon, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1919 and 1924, in 1919:
    "in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country….The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And 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………. In short, so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate."

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    Edit: October 28th 22:48 GMT - for interest only, added snapshot of the original Balfour Declaration text with visible seal at top - left of and next to date (below)- TQ.

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    The document can be seen albeit fleetingly as well in this interesting interview snippet with Jacob Rothschild which can be seen on Archive.org here: https://archive.org/details/JacobRot...WayForTheCreat
    Last edited by Tintin; 28th October 2018 at 23:01.
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    Default Re: Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba | Lecture: Prof. Nur Masalha (2017)

    Thanks for this Tintin, very interesting, to say the least. I am somewhat skeptical of the letter purporting to be from the foreign office. Aside from the fact it is not on headed paper with either government or royal emblems of any sort, the grammar and punctuation are terrible. Even if it was meant to be a secret memo with plausible deniability, one would think that they would have had the opportunity to merely proof read it before dispatching it to Lord Rothschild?..x.... N

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    Default Re: Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba | Lecture: Prof. Nur Masalha (2017)

    That's a fair point, indeed Nasu.

    However, the text in itself, (even if this is a creative realisation using stock image library stationery facsimiles, of the actual document) has never really been in dispute, in at least as far as I have been able to determine.

    The lecture itself, respectfully, I would hope would be the focus here.
    Last edited by Tintin; 25th October 2018 at 12:22.
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    Default Re: Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba | Lecture: Prof. Nur Masalha (2017)

    It's a great lecture, he makes some very good points. As an armchair historian however, I hold out little hope for the Palestinians. Force, sadly, is the only thing that would move Israel and even if the world started supplying the Palestinians with the means to defend their own ground or regain lost ground, the Israelis have been fighting, stockpiling and training for far too long now.

    It is a sad by product of man's quest for meaning unfortunately. As we continually find new places to call home and observe our own version of paradise, we displace the people who were living there before, with different customs and traditions. Usually those indigenous inhabitants, so called, have lower levels of technology and or a lack of experience with our concept of legality and total war. When this is not the case, we find it much harder to conquer. So it was with the local Arabs, who the English chose to displace in favor of the Jewish people.

    My own two cents worth is that for any kind of mutual evolution to happen between the Israelis and the Palestinians in that region, they both must stop throwing stones and lead and forgive each other their past. Much harder to do than say, but it can be done, like in Norther Ireland. Otherwise the cycle of revenge killings will continue unabated...x... N

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    Default Re: Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba | Lecture: Prof. Nur Masalha (2017)

    Arthur Balfour was a white supremacist - And an anti-Semite

    Yousef Munayyer Forward
    Wed, 01 Nov 2017 12:00 UTC



    A century ago, 67 words changed the course of history in the Middle East. In a statement that could fit into two tweets, Arthur Balfour, then the British Foreign Secretary, announced that the British government would support establishing a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

    One hundred years later, the profound legacy of what became known as the Balfour Declaration continues to define the dynamic between Israelis and Palestinians. And though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London this week commemorating the centennial with Theresa May, it's worth understanding why the Declaration is really nothing worth celebrating.

    Though he may be most known for aiding the Zionist cause in 1917, it's crucial to remember that Arthur Balfour was a white supremacist. He made that much clear in his own words. In 1906, the British House of Commons was engaged in a debate about the native blacks in South Africa. Nearly all the members of Parliament agreed that the disenfranchisement of the blacks was evil. Not so Balfour, who - almost alone - argued against it.
    "We have to face the facts," Lord Balfour said.

    "Men are not born equal, the white and black races are not born with equal capacities: they are born with different capacities which education cannot and will not change."
    But Balfour's troubling views were not limited to Africa. In fact, despite his now iconic support for Zionism, he was not exactly a friend to the Jews. In the late 19th century, pogroms targeting Jews in the Pale of Settlement had led to waves of Jewish flight westward, to England and the United States. This influx of refugees led to an increase in British anti-immigrant racism and outright anti-Semitism - themes not unfamiliar to us today. Support for political action against immigrants grew as the English public demanded immigration control to keep certain immigrants, particularly Jews, out of the country.

    The public found a sympathetic ear in Balfour. In 1905, while serving as Prime Minister, Balfour presided over the passage of the Aliens Act. This legislation put the first restrictions on immigration into Great Britain, and it was primarily aimed at restricting Jewish immigration. According to historians, Balfour had personally delivered passionate speeches about the imperative to restrict the wave of Jews fleeing the Russian Empire from entering Britain.

    It may seem astonishing that Balfour, whose support of the Zionist cause has made him a hero among Jews, would have implemented anti-Jewish laws. But the truth is his support of Zionism stemmed from the exact same source as his desire to limit Jewish immigration to Britain.

    Both can be traced back to his white supremacist beliefs. Balfour lived in an era of stirring nationalism, highly defined by ethno-religious identity. Because of these sentiments, the early 20th century was a time when ostensibly liberal Western nations struggled with the challenge of incorporating Jewish citizens. What the Zionists provided Balfour with was a solution to the challenges Jewish citizens posed to his ethno-nationalist vision, a solution that didn't force him to reckon with them. Instead of insisting that societies accept all citizens as equals, regardless of racial or religious background, the Zionist movement offered a different answer: separation.

    Balfour saw in Zionism not just a blessing for Jews, but for the West as well. As he wrote in 1919 in his Introduction to Nahum Sokolow's History of Zionism, the Zionist movement would "mitigate the age-long miseries created for Western civilization by the presence in its midst of a Body which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or to absorb."

    By both giving Jews a place to go and a place to leave, Zionism seemingly solved two problems at once, in Balfour's mind. In other words, his support of Zionism was motivated to an extent by his desire to protect Britain from the negative effects, the "miseries," of having Jews in its midst. Rather than protecting the rights of one of its minorities, Britain could simply export them, or at least, not import any more.

    Needless to say, this view of Zionism is steeped in the same kind of white supremacy as Balfour's view of South Africa's blacks. But his support of the Zionist dream had another problem. Rather than solving the problem of how to handle a minority living in a white majority country, the Balfour Declaration just shifted the same problem to a different geography.

    For the tension between ethno-nationalism and equality is equally present today between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea, where the Israeli state rules over the fate of millions of Palestinians who either have no right to vote, are treated as second-class citizens or are refugees denied repatriation. Today, it is Israel that views Palestinians like myself as "demographic threats", and sees "the presence in its midst of a Body which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or to absorb."

    That Balfour's legacy of supremacy persists as much as British support for Israel does is no accident. We have arrived at this point today because the supremacist attitudes of Balfour informed policy, lending imperial might to a project in pursuit of national self-determination for Jews by trampling on the rights of native non-Jews.

    Remarkably, Balfour was unabashedly aware of the hypocrisy of his stance. "The weak point of our position of course is that in the case of Palestine we deliberately and rightly decline to accept the principle of self-determination," he wrote in a letter to the British prime minister in 1919. "We do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country... the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land."

    Those Arabs, of course, made up approximately 90 percent of the population. My grandparents were among them.

    Therein lies the fundamental problem that continues through this day, 100 years later. Palestinians are denied the right to have rights because from the outset, their views, their human rights and by extension their very humanity, were consistently seen as inferior to those of others. That was clear in Balfour's perspective and the British Mandate's policy. And it persists in one form or another in many of the policies of the state of Israel through this day.

    Today as much as in 1917, the battle between ethno-nationalism and equality, between particularism and universalism, has risen to the foreground, from Donald Trump's rise in America to Theresa May's Brexited Britain. Rather than resolving this tension, Balfour's support for Zionism merely exported it to Palestine.

    Resisting the legacy of his racism will be the key to peace in Palestine/Israel and beyond.
    Yousef Munayyer, a political analyst and writer, is Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

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    Default Re: Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba | Lecture: Prof. Nur Masalha (2017)

    Quote Posted by Nasu (here)
    ... between the Israelis and the Palestinians in that region, they both must stop throwing stones ...
    Please allow me to highlight a mischaracterization, that is, in essence, an ongoing part of the Zionist strategy: The Zionists want the world to believe that there is a fight, a conflict, a dispute, an ongoing battle, a war between Palestinians and Israelis. Nothing could be further from the truth. The metaphor that just popped into my mind is the character 'Buffalo Bill', in the movie 'The Silence of the Lambs', standing over the hole that is the prison cell for his captive victims. Regardless what is going on in Buffalo Bill's mind, and in spite of how he might describe the scene, the reality is utterly and completely one-sided.

    The Palestinians have no army, no navy, no air force, no satellite recon, and they sure as hell don't have the nation with the largest military in the world militarily backing them and handing them literally millions of dollars a day to refresh their military.

    There is no battle, only slaughter, and only the Palestinians are being slaughtered. The worst that the Zionist Israelis could actually fear would be to get some Palestinian blood or Palestinian brain matter splattered on their clean uniforms. The Zionist Israelis have perfected the art of slow-motion genocide - killing Palestinians at a rate where the rest of the world stays silent and won't interfere.

    This ongoing genocide and imperialism MUST NOT be characterized as something where Palestinians have equal guilt as the occupying army that is slaughtering them. That is pure Zionist propaganda.


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