alternative news

A LOOK BACK: HANNAH AHRENDT, THE CREATION OF ISRAEL, AND THE ...

January 7, 2012 By Joseph P. Farrell

As we enter the so-called year of the apocalypse, and a day after Dr. deHart and I released our first short ebook, Yahweh, the Two-Faced God: Theology, Terrorism, and Topology, it is good every now and then to look back and take stock.

As the Second World War was entering its last, apocalyptic spasms, the pressure and drive for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine grew, as the extent of Nazi atrocities against Jews and other groups became increasingly clear to the Allied armies advancing into Europe. The outcry and pressure for the creation of this state became well-nigh a dogma within the American and British Jewish communities, such that to challenge, or question, the notion, was perceived as being almost a form of treason, a kind of "heresy" to the prevailing dogma that the Jews, after centuries of persecution, needed their own homeland. In the earliest days of the Zionist movement, the talk did not always devolve upon Palestine. Uganda was proposed, and even, at times, Madagascar. One encounters such arguments being advanced even in - surprisingly - Hitler's Mein Kampf.

There were a few voices that did, however, speak out against the concept, giving stern warnings of its dire consequences for the future. One of these was President Harry S. Truman's Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, who predicted that US recognition of Israel would tie America's hands in dealing with the Middle East, and to a certain extent, the US would become the guarantor of Israeli sovereignty, a situation in which the tail can wag the dog as much as the dog can wag the tail.

There were voices of protest and reason within the Jewish community as well, and one of these, Hannah Ahrendt, beat Forrestal to the punch by a few years:

Arendt: Born in conflict, Israel will degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews will need to back away

Nor was Ahrendt timid in her warnings against the leaders who had, by then, become sacred cows for Zionists, directing some of her critique against Theodor Herzl, the founder and father of the movement, himself:

"[T]he Zionists, if they continue to ignore the Mediterranean people and watch out only for the big faraway powers, will appear only as their tools, the agents of foreign and hostile interests. Jews who know their own history should be aware that such a state of affairs will inevitably lead to a new wave of Jew-hatred; the antisemitism of tomorrow will assert that Jews not only profiteered from the presence of foreign big powers in that region but had actually plotted it and hence are guilty of the consequences...

"[T]he sole new piece of historical philosophy which the Zionists contributed out of their own new experiences [was] "A nation is a group of people...  held together by a common enemy" (Herzl)--an absurd doctrine...

"To such [political] independence, it was believed, the Jewish nation could arrive under the protecting wings of any great power strong enough to shelter its growth.... the Zionists ended by making the Jewish national emancipation entirely dependent upon the material intersts of another nation."

And there, indeed, is the crux of the matter, and Ms. Ahrendt saw it clearly, though without perhaps, having had access to the "hidden story": the real agenda, the agenda of "deep geopolitics" - to modify an expression of Peter Dale Scott - was in play. Enter the rise of 19th century Arab nationalism, a rise in part conditioned by the longing of Middle Eastern Arabs to be free of the rightly-perceived corrupt rule of the Ottoman Sultans, and in part conditioned by a kind of Islamic revival, a revival epitomized in the first claimant to appear in modern history to claim that he was the Imam Mahdi, the Muslim "messiah" in the Sudan. Leading a popular revolt against the British, the "Mahdi" managed to surround and decimate the British forces in the capital of Khartoum, including the slaying of the famous British General "Chinese" Gordon, a massacre memorialized in the film Khartoum, starring Charlton Heston and Sir Lawrence Olivier as Gordon and the "Mahdi" respectively. It is, incidentally, a memorable film, and well worth watching.

This led inevitably to British geopolitical anxiety about the region, and the prospect of a unification of Arab nationalism on the tottering hulk of the Ottoman Empire. Here too, we must look forward to the era of World War One. Petroleum, by the time that General Gordon led his ill-fated expedition into the Sudan, had become an important resource, and by the time of World War One, with British Admiral and First Sea Lord Jackie Fisher's decision to move the Royal Navy off of coal and on to oil, it became even more vital for the British Empire to "manage" the region...

Part Two continued tomorrow...