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Jun-08-2009 07:35printcomments

The Palestinian Counter-Holocaust

Israel could have been a mingling of the two cultures, but the Jews would never and still won’t allow that as an option.

Palestinian rock thrower

(CALGARY, Alberta) - After regularly reading Salem-News over the last few months, I’ve encountered some ideas that the main-stream-media ignore. I’d like to comment, here, on Israel and the problems (what an understatement) in the Middle East.

This is not an analytical piece but rather the gathering of some facts about which I previously knew nothing. At the same time this is not an exhaustive or in depth study but rather my personal starting point.

Let me make clear at the outset that I am not and have never been anti-Semitic or prejudiced against any Jews. I have known quite a few Jewish people, all of them appearing to be like everyone else—some good, some bad, and the great majority of them in between—just like any randomly chosen group of non-Jewish people would be.

In fact, there are many Jewish people who have had a profound impact on my life—most of whom I never met, or were dead before I was born. It’s quite a lengthy list so I’ll just say Albert Einstein tops the list and leave it at that.

Separation of Jews

For what it’s worth, I’ve read James Michener’s The Source several times since it first came out in 1965. A survey of the history of the Jewish people and the land of Israel from pre-monotheistic days to the founding of Israel in 1948, I believe it to be historically accurate in a fictionalized way. At least I’ve never read anything negative about the book as being inaccurate or misrepresenting its theme.

The main theme I’ve garnered from the book is that the Jews have suffered persecution for thousands of years but it’s clear that the prejudice arises from the Jewish people’s wish to remain separate from their cultural environment. True, Jewish people were largely money lenders in recent centuries, but this was because it was one of the few occupations they were allowed to follow. This discrimination arises from the previous centuries of anti-Semitism. It’s a millenia old vicious circle.

Still, some Jews go out of their way to stay separate. As an obvious example, I think of the Orthodox Jews who wear all black including fully brimmed hats and cut their hair in earlocks. In a secular society they look “funny” and it is no surprise that the unwashed pick on them. Another example is the Jewish tradition to refuse to assimilate. Virtually every other culture through the centuries has assimilated in some way with other cultures. But never the Jews.

Another factor is the Jewish belief that they are the “Chosen people”. This has been a source of much discord on both an individual and a societal level for both Jews and non-Jews.

Pre-20th century Timeline


The Ottoman Turks conquered Palestine, and the country was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.


Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris begins financial backing of Jewish colonisation in Palestine. Beginning of the first wave of Zionist mass emigration to Palestine.


Ottoman government decides to close Palestine to foreign (non-Ottoman) Jewish business but not to Jewish pilgrims.


European powers press Ottoman government to allow foreign (non-Ottoman) Jews to settle in Palestine provided they do so singly and not in masses.


The first Palestinian protest against Zionist aims.


Ottoman government forbids sale of state land to foreign (non-Ottoman) Jews in Palestine.


European powers presses Ottoman government to permit Jews legally residing in Palestine to buy land provided they establish no colonies on it.


Publication of "Der Judenstaat" by Austrian Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, advocating creation of Jewish state in Argentina or Palestine. Ottoman Sultan Abd-al Hamid II rejects Herzl's proposal that Palestine be granted to the Jews: "I cannot give away any part of it (the Empire) ... I will not agree to vivisection."


First Zionist Congress, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, issues the Basel Program on Colonization of Palestine and establishes the World Zionist Organization (WZO). In response to First Zionist Congress, Abd-al Hamid II initiates policy of sending members of his own palace staff to govern province of Jerusalem.

Over the next few decades increasing numbers of Jews emigrate to Palestine to escape pogroms across Russia and Europe.

The Balfour Declaration

In 1917, as part of WWI, the British conquered Palestine which was, at the time culturally advanced with a high literacy rate.

The Balfour Declaration of Nov 2, 1917, was a formal statement of policy on behalf of the British Government written by Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour and sent to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

"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 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".

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely

Arthur James Balfour

For the next thirty years, the British waffled and delayed while the Zionists became increasingly aggressive and deadly in their efforts to oust the British. There is no reference to the Palestinian people, who already lived there.

In their deadliest attack on July 22, 1946, Irgun, led by Menachem Begin, blew up the King David Hotel, killing 91 and injuring 46. The bombing inflamed public opinion in Britain. The Jewish political leadership publicly condemned the attack. After the bombing, the hotel complex became a British fortress until its capture by the Israelis on May 4, 1948. The attack ramped up the conflict between Jewish miliants and the Mandate government to the level of a full scale war until Israel’s establishment on May 14, 1948.

Israeli terrorist activity on the part of Irgun, Lehi, (the British called them the Stern Gang) and Hagganah continued. For example:

§ Deir Yassin is a village located 5 kilometres west of Jerusalem. On 9 April 1948, about 120 members of Lehi and Irgun attacked the village. They massacred between 100 and 120 inhabitants of the village, mostly civilians.

§ On 17 September 1948, Lehi assassinated UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte who had been sent to broker a settlement in the dispute.

§ On March 31, 1948, the Cairo-Haifa train was mined near Binyamina killing 40 civilians and wounding 60. Responsibility for this act was never established.

Finally, my point

This exercise in trying to give some perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian situation clearly demonstrates that everything in the world is connected. There are no such things as isolated events.

My original intent was to try to establish some idea of responsibility for some of the Israeli/Palestinian situation. The Palestinians were a cultured people under the Ottomans and have been completely victimized by both Jews and most of the “civilized” countries of Europe and North America. The Jews did not acquit themselves particularly well throughout. The issue there, I think, was their intransigence.

In a 1937 editorial, David Ben-Gurion argued that a two state partition could never be an acceptable long-term solution: “The Jewish people have always regarded, and will continue to regard Palestine as a whole, as a single country which is theirs in a national sense and will become theirs once again. No Jew will accept partition as a just and rightful solution.” He believed that: “Our right to the entire land exists and stands for ever.”

There it is.

The UN

Israel was legally established on November 29, 1947 by Resolution 181 of the UN.

Thirty three countries voted in favour:

Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussian S.S.R., Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukrainian S.S.R., Union of South Africa, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Uruguay, Venezuela.

Thirteen countries voted against:

Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.

And ten abstained:

Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

I began this article wondering who voted in favour of Israel’s establishment because they are the ones primarily responsible for much of the current mess in the Middle East. The “country” called Palestine was occupied by people, most families having already been there for generations or centuries. In Realpolitick “might is right” and there was considerable guilt over the Holocaust. The state could have been a mingling of the two cultures, but the Jews would never and still won’t allow that as an option. Until 1948, Palestine was a British protectorate and they completely failed.

Until right now I always considered the Palestinians to be a bunch of crazed, backward people. How a little knowledge can change one’s perspective.

[Note: When I started writing, my working title was “Reflections on Israel”]

Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class—a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves—writing and trying to make the world a better place

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Giles May 11, 2010 7:21 am (Pacific time)

The reference to "Palestinian People" is disingenuous to a fault because there were Jews and Arabs that lived in this area so what is "Palestinian"? The word was only used as a reference to Muslim and Christian Arabs living in the area known as Palestine in 1967 before then there basically was no "Palestinian People". I'd like to hear Daniel's successful defence of this point.

Its worth mentioning that hundreds of Jewish fighters were hanged by the British in Palestine during the years pre-dating 1947. Often, gangs such as Stern or Lehi offered to spare captured British officers in return for the lives of their comrades of which were always refused by the British. So these executions were started and mainly carried out by the British with reprisals carried out by Jewish fighters in return.

What of the annexation of 77% of Palestine renamed as Jordan in 1922? No mention at all. So are we to understand that Jordanians too "stole Palestinian land"?

I don't understand the introduction to this "article". What relevance is there to the writer's relationship with Jews? He comes within a hair's breadth of that old line "some of my best friend's are Jewish" - the one that makes us Jews laugh as its almost always used as a crutch to support some rotten argument against Israel.

3/10 poorly written article with more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. If you are to present a timeline of what happened then at least pick up a book, this is real kids stuff.

I stand by my presentation. Perhaps next year, when I go into Junior High School, I can tackle it again and satisfy your low standards. 

giulianno April 29, 2010 1:23 am (Pacific time)

Please fotos wicht Palestinian and self Misil fron Iran. tank you Yfq39

jon June 15, 2009 9:12 am (Pacific time)

By the way, Daniel, I'll take you at your word that you're unbiased. But, you really need to read more on Jewish history, and what actually happened regarding the establishment of Israel. Most of the Partition Plan was based on demographics - - your assumption that Jews weren't living in Palestine is incorrect. Who was the Palestinian, Sharon or Arafat?  Answer: Sharon, who was born in Palestine. Arafat was born in Egypt.  Good luck in learning true history, rather than revisionist history!

Editor: What kind of needless insult is that?  You are obviously driving an agenda and making the pieces fit your needs.  Funny you begin by crediting Daniel at his word and concluding that this is revisionist history.  You remind me of the Israeli's who always rant on our stories often without a hint of truth.   

Jetblakc June 15, 2009 9:03 am (Pacific time)

I've been wrestling with my feelings on this issue for a long time and while I can't claim that either side has a clear moral authority on this subject, it is quite evident that neither side can create sufficient internal consensus to broker a lasting peace deal. Here's some food for thought though. check the wikipedia entry for isreali-palestinian conflict. You'll find examples of Palestinian-Arab brutality that basically mirrors the examples given above. How do you get two factions that can't manage themselves internally to stop playing tit for tat with one another?

jon June 15, 2009 9:00 am (Pacific time)

Daniel - - One of your main premises is faulty. In actuality, the Israelis were on-board for a two-State solution, back in '48. The Arabs and Palestinians said no, and instead attacked.
The Arabs States told the Palestinans to leave, and that they could return after the Jews were wiped out.
I could go on, but won't... I'll only say read your history (before 1948, there were Jews in Israel/Palestine... it wasn't like the Jews were imported from Europe... Ariel Sharon was born there, whereas Arafat wasn't). Read this...

Editor: Here we go again, the vast number of people who moved into Israel and formed what is now Israel were from Europe, everyone knows that.  The one thing I keep hearing is how incredible it would be if the two sides could just find a way to end the dying.  In the end there are problems on both sides, that is a fact.  However Jon's attempt to make people think that Israel doesn't sit on land wrestled and stolen from its previous owners causes all credibility to fall to the side. 

Chris June 15, 2009 8:23 am (Pacific time)

I'd done some meager research in the past about Israel because of the arguments back and forth about Jewish invaders, and being the homeland of Jewish peoples.  Wikipedia points has a timeline that goes beyond 1500, where you choose to cut off your analysis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Israel It paints your article as biased, in my estimation. You see, that area has a long history - we're talking thousands of years, in which the Jews are intimately involved. I find it interesting that it's also not the first time that this area was known as Israel.  This of course doesn't invalidate the rest of your article, but it does make it suspect. Please, in the name of an unbiased and complete picture... dig deeper.

Editor: You know as we do that the place we call Israel sits on land almost exclusively occupied by Palestinian people in 1947.  Recent history is relevant, ancient history not so much. 

Bill June 15, 2009 7:44 am (Pacific time)

I like that you approached this from a fact-based analysis. For your conclusions to be correct you must make sure your facts are as well. You state that, "Israel was legally established on November 29, 1947 by Resolution 181 of the UN." And then indicated that all the problems grew from this. The fact is that The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine. was a plan adopted by a decision of the General Assembly on November 29, 1947, and the decision recommended the division of the western portion of the Mandate of Palestine into two provisional states, one Jewish and one Arab, and provided the framework for a regional economic union. Those interested in forming a Jewish State accepted the UN resolution, and those not interested in an Arab state alongside of the Jewish State did not accept the resolution. With this full set of facts, I think you might rethink your conclusions and give serious thought to how the region would be different today if the Arab state had been formed alongside the Jewish state at the time of the original UN resolution.

Dorsett Bennett June 9, 2009 9:40 am (Pacific time)

Let me be upfront and explained that one of my grandparents was a Hebrew. I say Hebrew rather than Jew, because he was an orphan who was raised by a Christian family, and as a result was not raised in the Jewish faith. As an evangelical Christian I formally was an unquestioned supporter of Israel. No more. A simple and yet true statement is that one person's ‘freedom fighter’ is another person's ‘terrorist.’ During the American Revolution the British government undoubtably considered the American revolutionaries traitors and terrorists. Things are never as simple as history tries to teach us. During the American Revolution there were three general groups of people in regards to American independence: a) the revolutionaries; b) the monarchists [who supported staying in the British Empire]; and c) the folks that just wanted to be left the hell out of the fight. I remember an author who speculated that the ‘American’ population of that time was probably approximately equally divided amongst the groups, with somewhat more revolutionaries in New England and somewhat more monarchists in the southern colonies. It was documented that the British sometimes treated American prisoners ‘harshly’ and George Washington issued a standing order that such treatment was not be inflicted upon British prisoners. It would not surprise me if that order was occasionally violated. I am fairly sure that the British army in Palestine was more ‘Arabist’ in that they had trained the military force named the Arab Legion [which I believe ended up becoming the Jordanian army], and as they pulled out of Palestine their commanders tended to favor the Arabs in turning over key military positions. Tim--there were indeed atrocities committed by both sides. A group of approximately 80 medical personnel from a Jewish hospital in Jerusalem were massacred. There were other instances of Arab on Jewish violence, but I'm not going to go into that. At least some Palestinians left the area with the expectation that the five Arab armies invading Israel would crush the fledgling Jewish nation, and they could return to their homes and possibly obtain property owned by the Jews whom the Palestinians who left believed would either be killed or driven out of the country. It turns out that that did not work too well. Most of the Arab nations around Israel have utilized the Palestinian refugees as a political football. They have also sometimes oppressed and even brutalized those Palestinian refugees. For over six decades we have had this never ending and mindless circle of violence. A majority of the Palestinian voters supported Hamas. The PLO was able to illegally keep Arab political control [such as it is] of the West Bank, whereas Hamas rules the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Defense Force recently brutally attacked the Gaza Strip. They have repeatedly targeted Hamas leadership for assassination. Hamas has fired rockets into Israel causing a lot of mental distress to the Israelis within range. I believe the Israeli physical casualties have been relatively few. But it is likely that the Israeli children growing up under constant threat of rocket attack are likely to hold a dim view of the Palestinians. To all: I wonder about the possibilities of what could happen if Israel took the first step forward and stopped its blockade of the Gaza Strip, stopped the petty harassments, quit its assassinations, and recognized Hamas as the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people, if the Palestinians were treated like the Israelis would like to be treated themselves, then perhaps the Palestinian people might stop the rocket attacks and suicide bombings. A radical, if not particularly new idea for how the people of the Middle East should treat each other. Shalom and Salaam to all.

Daniel Johnson June 8, 2009 8:35 pm (Pacific time)

Jeffrey Levine: If I am an "Arabist" I became one in only a few hours. I used to be a full-throated supporter of Israel as the underdog. I started this article because I was wondering who at the UN was responsible for the resolution in 1947. (One thing I didn't run across was who made and who seconded the motion) One conclusion is clear and is the one I emphasized. 1. Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. 2. During WWI Britain captured the territory. 3. As part of the world's guilt over the Holocaust, the Jewish claim to the land (which is a religious claim) was taken seriously. 4. Because the British did not move quickly enough, the Zionists resorted to terrorism--no worse and no different than what is happening today 5. Britain ceded the territory to the Jews. 6. And here's the kicker: Through the entire process no one consulted the Palestinians WHO WERE ALREADY LIVING THERE AND HAD BEEN FOR GENERATIONS AND CENTURIES. 7. A peaceful solution could have been found, but the Jews, by their own words and actions would never accept any kind of compromise or dilution of their religious fantasies.

Anonymous June 8, 2009 6:22 pm (Pacific time)

I am also seeing more of our beloved servicemen on the USS Liberty cry out..it was a clear day, and the U.S. flag was clearly flying. False flag attacks are part of history. The owned mainstream media is not. I am NOT a conspiracy theorists, I read history, study humanity, but those who call me a conspiracy theorist watch tv. YOU are the conspiracy theorists. I love people, I love life, and I think obama is even ok, but just brainwashed. I wish I could spend some time talking with him. He actually seems like a good guy, but just off track from the brainwashing. His first job was with kissinger. I hope Henry is right, but I dont know. I hope obama can find his truth from his heart. He is our president and we need him. I am not too optomistic tho.

Anonymous June 8, 2009 6:09 pm (Pacific time)

to author: more info for you. United Nations Resolution 127: " . . . 'recommends' Israel suspends it's 'no-man's zone' in Jerusalem". United Nations Resolution 250: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem". United Nations Resolution 251: " . . . 'deeply deplores' Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250". United Nations Resolution 252: " . . . 'declares invalid' Israel's acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital". United Nations Resolution 267: " . . . 'censures' Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem". United Nations Resolution 271: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem". United Nations Resolution 298: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's changing of the status of Jerusalem". United Nations Resolution 476: " . . . 'reiterates' that Israel's claim to Jerusalem are 'null and void'". United Nations Resolution 478: " . . . 'censures (Israel) in the strongest terms' for its claim to Jerusalem in its 'Basic Law'". United Nations Resolution 517: " . . . 'censures' Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon".

Anonymous June 8, 2009 6:08 pm (Pacific time)

the first thing that comes to mind is that you wrote this article to see who agrees, so we can be put on a no fly list. which rahm says if you are on the list you cant buy a firearm..whatever. I dont want to hurt anyone, but while I can speak, I will speak, when they say stop, I suppose I will stop. If the author of this story is serious, here is something I came across today. I read this today on a website called www.whatreallyhappened.com Mike Rivera wrote: According to the records of the International Red Cross, Jews represented only about 20% of the population of the Nazi slave labor camps. If we set aside the claim that the Jews were specifically targeted for extermination, then for every one Jewish survivor of the Nazi camps, there should be four other non-Jewish survivors of the camps. If we stipulate the intentional extermination of the Jews, then the ratio should of course be considerably higher. So, where are they? Where are the homosexual survivors, the Jehovah's Witness survivors, the disabled survivors, the political prisoner survivors, and the Gypsy survivors of the death camps? There should be at least four of these for every one Jewish survivor of the slave-labor camps. I have no problem with the jewish people, but I have been noticing how out of control governments have gotten, including our own here in the U.S. It can sometimes be kinda frightening.

Jeffrey Levine June 8, 2009 3:47 pm (Pacific time)

Mr Johnson is another Arabist that manipulates words very well to balme the Jews. He specifically does not speak to the namy atrocities of the Arabs during the same time periods. The reason for not finding any violence committed by the "Palestinians" is that they did not exist until after the Yom Kippur war. Most Arab leaders have indicated that the Arabs in Palestine are the same as Arabs everywhere. Most of the Arabs living in the territory of the Gaza Strip have no history there. They migrated to this area to work on building up Israel!.  Learn to tell the truth, it works better in the end.  drexpert@xemaps.com

Editor: Jeffrey, am I an "Arabist" because I care about the struggle of the Palestinian people?  The little Iraqi children I've seen in a devastating war zone and the poor suffering Afghans who cried in front of me over the most pathetic conditions on earth; does my passion to see to their well being make me the same thing?   If so then I will proudly wear your title and publish stories about it and sell t-shirts and bumper stickers, make it into a positive reference, would that suit you? 

I am equally amazed that you are actually using the word "truth"?  You I believe are one turned around human being.  I am not publishing your email address so you can promote your hatred.  Anyone who thinks the people of Gaza have gotten a fair shake is confused at best  You Zionists simply are not better human beings than your Arab neighbors.  Everyone wants the people of Israel to do well, but the cat is out of the bag and the nation's military is full of war criminals, as are Israel's top political positions.

As far as not having history in Gaza, you are more than mistaken.  These are the people who owned that land until it was murderously stripped from them during the formation of Israel.  You can't go back and change things like that, but if people of Israel had softer hearts then everything would be better.  Thank God there are good people in Israel to some extent, or it wouldn't even be worth remaining national allies.  I'm happy to rip your erroneous comments to pieces if that is what I need to do.  This is the last place you will ever have your propaganda simply posted without retort, that is if we publish anything from you in the future at all.  Finally what were the "namy" atrocities of the Arabs?  Google doesn't pull anything up on that at all.  Surely you don't make such grave errors when making your point... or do you?

This Arabist thinks you are one sloppy joe.

Tim King   

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