British Christian “Imperialism” led to Zionism and Israel’s Creation, Professors Claim

, Spencer Irvine, 3 Comments

The Modern Language Association held a panel discussion of professors who were critical of Zionism and Israel and sympathetic of the Palestinian effort to create a Palestinian state. The four professors focused on the origins of the Balfour Declaration and the creation of the Jewish state of Israel.

Nabil Matar, a professor of English, History and Religious Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, criticized British Christians’ link between Zionism and Christian “restoration.” Restoration, in his words, describes how Jews will be restored to the Holy Land of Israel in accordance with Christian biblical prophecies. British Christians “identified ‘restoration’ as Zionism” and the British could not contradict this Christian doctrine, said Matar. He continued, “Numerous English writers became addicted to” the end-of-the-world biblical prophecies, such as when “Christ will destroy their enemies, the papists, the Catholics [etc].”

“Thus,” Matar said, “was born the call of ‘restoration’ of Jews to Palestine” and he said it was “disingenuous” because “Christian doctrine never spoke of ‘restoration.’” Matar claimed that “restoration” was found only three times in the Christian Bible and the “militaristic disciples” asked Jesus Christ about restoring the kingdom by force. His second “disingenuous” reason was that the Christians “appeal to ‘restorationism’ by British Christian writers…was intended to rid England of whatever Jewish population there was.”

The defeat of naturalization in the United Kingdom is an example of “the most telling anti-Jewish ‘restorationism.’” James Balfour, the British foreign secretary who wrote the Balfour Declaration to help create the Jewish state of Israel, believed religion was equal to philosophy. Matar called it silly to conflate the two, and said Balfour was “a Zionist” and an “imperialist.” This “ruse” was the “conflation of Zionism and ‘restorationism.’” Then, the “British government began to confront the benign” non-Jewish populations and it began the “gullible restorationism” of the United Kingdom.

Mounira Soliman, an English professor at American University in Cairo, said that the Balfour Declaration pointed “to the Jewish Zionist efforts” and “the Palestinians were mostly unaware of it and therefore had to deal with its outcomes.” She said, “A modified version drafted by the Zionist committee…it is not surprising that the Arabs distrust[ed]” the British and Jews. The drafting process did not include Arabs, Soliman said. She continued, “This foreign group make, quite literally” a land of their own and “various actors [U.S. and the U.K….prefer to deal with others than dealing with the Palestinians.”

The Balfour Declaration “do not feature the perspectives of the Palestinians” and she lamented, “not much is written about the Balfour Declaration as such, giving a sense that there is not much out there.” She noted, “The topic is certainly a part of Palestinian [popular] culture.” However, most references are literary and not popular culture.

Hani Bawardi, associate professor of history at University of Michigan-Dearborn, outlined the Palestinian side of the Balfour Declaration. Bawardi claimed that Zionism “traveled like lightning” and some of the top motivations for Zionism were “religious feelings” and “economic greed.” He noted that the Balfour Declaration was designed to protect economic interests because it was to “protect France’s and the British’s largest investment in the Suez Canal.” He continued that the West and its rich financiers wanted to “drag the U.S. into World War One” and a congressional investigation “was shut down.” The West’s control of the League of Nations ended up “dividing Syria under the mandate” from the organization, Bawardi said. He claimed, “The cause of the trouble was mass immigration and loss of land by Palestinian peasants” in Syria during their civil war in 1925 and that “Syrian nationalist identity was soon absorbed by Arab nationalism.”

Mark Bayer, a Texas-San Antonio assistant English professor, compared William Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” to the Balfour Declaration. Specifically, he said, “The infamous ‘pound of flesh’ in Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’” is the comparable example. He said that the issue is both “communities already convinced of the veracity of their claim” and “both the British and the Zionists appear to deploy the same language.” He said that Zionism was “politically and militarily intertwined” for the British. But, the “pound of flesh” is a “rhetorically powerful Shakespearean metaphor” that led to the “iron law or use of irresistible force to reach Zionist demands.” Bayer warned, “These are words not to be forgotten by Arabs.”

“Zionists,” Bayer said, “were able to appropriate Arab land” through this Shakespearean “pound of flesh” metaphor. He claimed a Zionist leader “took the Balfour Accord from Great Britain.” He pointed out the differences between Zionists and the Palestinians, “we only disagree on the interpretation and the fairness of the declaration.” He added, “Israel wants to strip the remaining flesh from the occupied territories.” The “Merchant of Venice” character Shylock, in Bayer’s opinion, “represents cruel authority,” now, post-Holocaust, “demanding what is rightfully his.”

Photo by Zachi Evenor

 

3 Responses

  1. Rebecca

    February 10, 2017 5:02 pm

    Nabal Matar, Mounira Soleman, Hani Bawardi, and Mark Bayer have problems with Christians being Zionists. The first Zionists were Jews from Eastern Europe with a Communist bent. They went to Israel and started kibbutzim. The Communist idea was always a two state solution and that is what the Left still wants today-two communist states. It didn’t work out for them…The Christians Zionists have wanted a Jewish state in the Bible lands for the persecuted Jews. Christians (real ones) are against religious persecution, even/especially of Jews and believe they deserve a homeland.

  2. jobardu

    February 14, 2017 8:18 pm

    “sympathetic of the Palestinian effort to create a Palestinian state.”.
    That sounds so innocent and anodyne. But it isn’t. The Arabs and the Palestinians all want to eliminate Israel and kill all the Jews. At least that is what the Zogby poll has repeatedly shows. Zogby, as you recall, was President of the Arab-American Institute and thus has no reason to bias his finding against Arabs.

    The point is that sympathy and support of the Palestinian effort to create a Palestinian state is sympathy and support to commit genocide. For people who claim the moral high ground this makes them look awfully low and psychotic. A normal person might express sympathy with the Palestinians, as I do, but withhold active support until they abandon genocide.

    Not our liberal brothers and sisters. They want to advocate murder and be praised for doing so. Even Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao, among others, never claimed the moral high ground during their genocidal slaughters. To have no regret, second thoughts, to say nothing of guilt and shame, in these matters used to get you a free psychiatric evaluation, and possibly commitment to an institution. Now you get to be praised for your morality, become highly paid journalists, professors or liberal politicians. You even get to denounce anyone who questions your basic “goodness”. Does anyone think that what is going around can ever come around? I’m sure our leftist brothers and sisters don’t.

  3. Clive Delmonte

    March 12, 2017 5:03 pm

    I am astounded that three “professors” can ramble on about the Balfour Declaration and Zionism without squeezing in any comment on Russian antisemitism and the endless progroms which blighted life in Russia and Poland. Two of my grandparents emigrated separately to Israel in the 1880s, long before Balfour and long before Karl Marx had become fashionable. They were not interested in Zionism as such, or in Communism, neither of which were much in vogue outside Moscow.

    They were trying to escape from the ignorance displayed by the “professors” and from antisemitism more generally. They did not spend their leisure hours plotting the downfall of capitalism or the British empire.

    They were fully engaged in trying to scratch a living from the desert scrub they had bought from absentee landlords living the “high life ” in Cairo.

    It really is so tiresome to have to wade through the ignorance and antisemitism of these “professors” who are evidently not capable of ever seeing the truth.

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