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Howard's End: The Nub Of The Problem

As the bombs of death and destruction fall across Afghanistan, the Islamic world erupts at the injustices, and the world appears to be heading towards World War III, the fundamental "Mother Question" - the historic Israeli Palestinian conflict which is at the root of this whole fiasco, still remains unresolved. Maree Howard writes.

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on America, the media and the public are minutely dissecting Islam, the Muslim world and the rationale and reasons of Osama bin Laden. This can be very healthy for world peace and equal co-existence, providing the world understands that what they are dissecting is the whole picture.

My husband is a Jew.

For decades, he has watched and waited for the Mother Question, caused by the West, to be resolved by the West - the Israel Palestinian issue.

He has an historic perspective of the ancient grievances and injustices on both sides which are again bubbling to the surface today in the form of bombs, bullets, death and destruction of humanity in Afghanistan who are innocent of any crime.

This story has a long and tortuous history which, to tell it in its entirety, would likely need a volume of some 2,000 or 3,000 pages.

If Scoop readers indicate a wish to learn more of the story about why we seem to be heading towards a Third World War and the Mother Question, I will try and serialise it over a number of days - if not, then I will stop writing following this column.

A modern starting point might be where we cast our minds back to the 1990 Gulf War and Saddam Hussein. At that time he said "This will be the mother of all battles based on the mother question - the Zionist State."

At this point it is equally important to understand the history of the Western politicians where, when dealing with the Muslim and Jewish world, it has been a story of mistrust, deception and betrayal based on the ability of those same politicians to use and abuse an issue in order to be re-elected and to retain and hold raw political power.

None could have put the perspective of my husband - a modern Jew living in peace and harmony in the Diaspora - better than Dr Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress, writing in New Outlook, November-December 1974. Goldmann wrote;

"If we had invested in the Arab problem a tenth of the energy, the passion, the ingenuity the resourcefulness which we developed in order to gain the support of Britain, France the US and Weimar Germany, our destiny in the development of Israel may have been quite different......We were not ready for compromises; we did not regard it as a major problem.....We did not make sufficient efforts to get, if not the full agreement of the Arabs, at least their acquiescence to a Jewish state, which I think would have been possible. That was the original sin."

Through the 1917 English Balfour Declaration, and earlier, the modern idea was actually for a Jewish national homeland, which became, and is now called by the Arabs, - the Zionist State.

The idea for a Zionist state, an entirely different thing to "a homeland", essentially came from Dr Theodore Herzl and then truly took root at the third World Zionist Congress at Basel, Switzerland in 1897.

A decision was take by just 197 men that every Jew who became a member acknowledged the sovereignty of a new Jewish State. Rabbi Elmer Berger appears to write despondently that therewith "ghettoised, corporate Jewish existence became a reality again and now existed upon a greater scale than it had before achieved."

Theodore Herzl was a Budapest-born Viennese journalist of the Neue Freie Presse, who earlier began a triumphal tour of the great capitals visitng Emperors, Sultans, the Czar, potentates and statesmen who received him as the spokesman for all Jews.

It was also Herzl's idea for a Zionist chartered company in Palestine under German protection but nothing came of this.

But he had created modern Zionism as an organised political force.

He once wrote that at Basel in 1897, "I founded the Jewish State......I hounded the people into the state sentiment and conveyed to them the emotion that they were the national assembly."

The national assembly was a meeting of just 197 men.

But Herzl was never truly the leader and began to realise that, with a shock and alarm, at the Basel congress of 1897, when "there rose before our eyes a Russian Jewry, the strength of which we had not even suspected."

By 1904 the full realisation of his captivity had killed him.

His1st lieutenant, Max Nordau, said after his death; " Our people had a Herzl but Herzl never had a people."

The divisions within Judaism against this "state" proposal was vertical among rich and poor alike. Although Dr Chiam Weizmann writes repeated phrases in his book such that the divisions about the scheme came only from " Jewish notables", Jewish magnates" and "rich Jews"

Notable Jewish historian Dr Kastein writes that the "executive" set up at Basel "was the first embodiment of a real Jewish international."

There were powerful forces at work involving like-thinking men at the highest level.

For instance, Dr Weizmann writes that he told Dr Herzl that Sir Francis Montefiore (a leading Jew in England) was "a fool", whereon Herzl answered, "He opens kingly portals to me."

The involvement of other "like-thinking men" in what Dr Kastein describes as "a real Jewish international" included Max Warburg, head of the great private banking house in Hamburg, Edouard Noetzlin, honorary president of the Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas, in Paris; Franz Philippson in Brussels; Wertheim and Gompertz in Amsterdam and, Jacob Schiff, of the firm Kuhn Loeb in New York.

These men, and others, operated across national boundaries in high political circles with intelligence information of the highest level.

At the 1897 Congress Max Nordau spoke of a "free and Jewish Palestine" Another delegate, Dr Nahum Sokoloff, said "Jerusalem will one day become the capital of world peace."

Nordau helped the process by writing such best-selling books of the 1890's as "Degeneration" in which he told the West that it was irredeemably corrupt.

After Dr Herzl died Dr Chaim Weizmann, the later Zionist leader, led the attack at the 1905 Seventh Congress on the earlier British offer of Uganda, which had been accepted but, on Weizmann's instigation, was then revoked.

The Jews of the West at that time were strongly opposed to Zionism as such, whether it led to Uganda, Palestine or anywhere else; they just wanted to stay where they were.

The Jews of Russia were depicted as needing simply " a place of refuge" from "persecution" so presumably, Uganda might have appealed to them had they had a choice.

That leaves us with the Jews who were already living in Palestine and were not averse to Uganda. They were denounced as traitors by the Russian Jews who had taken over Zionism.

Dr Herzl really became an instrument of Britain's vast colonisation effort at the end of the century. Much earlier he had apparently been willing to accept a new site for the Jewish homeland but he was overruled by the leadership. which ultimately proclaimed, under his portrait, the Zionist state in Palestine.

His classic " Der Judenstaat" (The Jewish State) led him to call for "a publicly recognised and legally secured Jewish home in Palestine."

But the Zionist claims in the West were always limited to; "Not a Jewish state, but a home in the ancient land of our forefathers, where we can live a Jewish life without oppression and persecution."

To critics they responded " Only those suffering from gross ignorance or actuated by malice could accuse us of a desire of establishing an independent Jewish Kingdom."

The word "home" quieted the fears of non-Zionist Jews. That it ultimately became a Jewish State is the continuing story of "The Mother Question."

The Balfour Declaration - "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

"Peace in Palestine cannot be achieved by force, but only through understanding" - Albert Einstein.

End of Part 1

P.S. According to recent media reports there have been 113 personal attacks on Muslims in New Zealand since September 11 - mostly by children on Muslim children in their schools.

On the rationale of treating Muslim children as "terrorists" why is it that all Catholics living in New Zealand are not "terrorists" as well because of the terrorism and bombings in Northern Ireland?

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