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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

 

Zionists And the Land

From Michael Ionides, Divide and Lose: The Arab Revolt of 1955-1958: London, Geoffrey Bles, 1960 in Khalidi, Walid, From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948, Beirut: Institute for Palestinian Studies, 1971.

From a chapter dealing with the basic aims of political Zionism. This excerpt expounds upon Zionist propaganda techniques from Ionides, a British civil engineer; Director of Development in Trans-Jordan, 1937-39:

Zionist propaganda was brilliantly and selectively adjusted to all sections of opinion in England. The public was divided in its sentiments, in favour of the Zionists or in favour of the Arabs, in several cleraly identifiable groups...

Upon this diverse body of opinion, Zionist propaganda played with a repertoire adroitly selected and blended to make the best appeal to each segment of the audience. In every argument there was always an element at least of objective truth, from which an illusion of wholeness could be constructed. Both the imperialists and the socialists were open to the argument that the ordinary simple Arab folk ought to welcome Jewish immigration, must welcome it, were wrong to oppose it. To the socialists, it was because the Arab benefited from the knowledge, skill and dynamism which the Jews brought in to the economy. For the imperialists it was because the Arab thinks of his pocket first and likes firm, efficient rule under which he can profit. To those who believed on the one hand that the Arab population at large bitterly resented Jewish immigration, the Zionist argument was that this proved that it would be wrong to leave a minority of Jews in Palestine at the mercy of a hostile Arab majority; or alternatively, the exact opposite, that the Arabs did not really object but rather welcomed the Jews; the conclusion being the same either way, that there should be more immigration. To those who argued on the other hand that opposition from the Arabs was only the work of a few evil-intentioned agitators, in the pay of our adversaries, the Zionist line was that this proved the exact identity of interests between the British people and the Zionists to opposed this fanatical, unrepresentative minority. If Arabs sold their land to Jews, that proved that the Arabs were corrupt, that they only thought of monetary gain, and that Arab opposition must therefore be inspired by unworthy, morally contemptible motives and that it ought to be brushed aside. If on the contrary Arabs refused to sell their land to the Jews, that showed that they were not co-operating with British policy and that it was the duty of the British Government to oblige them to do so. If the Arab population was tranquil, that proved that all was well and that they had no serious objections to Zionist immigration. If they agitated, demonstrated or revolted, then they were endangering the security of the realm, seeking to frustrate the legal purpose and obligation of the Mandate, and threatening imperial communication. When agitation or revolts subsided, that proved that feeling could not be very deep, for otherwise the agitation would surely have continued. While agitation or revolt was in progress it would be wrong to yield, for that would be appeasement; when agitation had ceased or subsided it could be said that the disorders had been put down with that firmness which all Arabs respect, and that it would now be wrong and unnecessary to make any concessions lest that should encourage further demands. If the Arabs were violent, that showed their savage nature and they deserved all they got; if they just talked but did nothing, that showed they had no guts and deserved all they got.

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