Historian Avi Shlaim was invited to speak on Balfour and Palestine: From Balfour to May on Tuesday night at St James’s Church in central London.
St James’s is a church hostile to Israel and no expense is spared. In 2013 St James’s dedicated its entire Christmas to demonising Israel’s security wall at a cost of £30,000.
St James’s knows how to harness extremists’ hatred for Israel and on the way out on Tuesday The Rev Lucy Winkett was beaming with pride at seeing 300 people in her church. One can only imagine the usual turnout on Sunday mornings.
Su McClellan, of Embrace the Middle East (see below), set the dire tone for the evening when she described Shlaim’s family as simply having “left Iraq for Israel for various reasons”.
Those “various reasons” might have included the Farhud massacre visited on Baghdad’s Jewish community in 1941 which was followed up with continued oppression and confiscation of property by the Iraqi government. Shlaim’s father lost everything it seems. None of this was mentioned.
Farhud and Hamas were the main words totally absent from Shlaim’s talk. He blamed the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians solely on Israel. He claimed “settlements only are continuing the conflict.”
Shlaim seems proud to be a part of the British establishment. Throughout the evening he repeated that he married the great-grand-daughter of David Lloyd George and said that although “his wife was proud of her great-grand-father she was ashamed of the role he played in Palestine”. Palestine, he said, had been “wiped off the map”.
Lloyd George was Britain’s PM at the time of the Balfour Declaration which promised a national home to the Jewish people “in Palestine”. Shlaim ascribed the Declaration to Lloyd George’s “anti-semitic view that the Jews were uniquely influential.”
Meanwhile, Shlaim repeated Christian metaphors to appeal to his audience. He condemned Winston Churchill as a “dog in a manger” for overly praising Jews during the 1936 Peel Commission and he criticised the “old historians who stick to Israel’s beginning as one of immaculate conception”.
Quite incredibly Shlaim then praised Ilan Pappe as his inspiration. Pappe has been described by Benny Morris as “one of the world’s sloppiest historians”. Pappe has also been caught on film agreeing propaganda may be more important than facts.
Shlaim then claimed the Balfour Declaration meant Palestine had been “twice promised”, having already been promised by the British to the leader of the Arab world, via an exchange of letters, in return for Arabs fighting the Muslim Ottomans during World War One.
Shlaim continued that the “intrusion of a foreign entity in the shape of the Zionist movement showed a total disregard (by the British) for the indigenous population”.
He concluded by praising the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC dedicates itself to the demonisation and eradication of Israel) and saying that only recognition of a Palestinian state as a UN member can “save Israel from itself”.
During the Q&A Shlaim defended the Labour Party against “alleged anti-semitism within the Labour Party” and praised Jeremy Corbyn (warning: this kicks off a bit):
Shlaim should watch the film Whitewashed: Anti Semitism in the Labour Party.
At the end Rt Rev Michael Langrish gave a fundraising appeal for the church’s Embrace the Middle East charity to raise money for the Palestinians (this despite the Palestinian Authority having paid out $1bn to Palestinian terrorists over the last four years).
Last year the appeal was for Gaza. This year it was for Palestinians in the “occupied West Bank” and….Israel.
According to Langrish “In Israel, many Palestinian girls living in the northern city of Acre, families who lost their homes in that 1948 war, live in a cramped neighbourhood that resembles a refugee camp in all but name…Many of them have been abused in various ways. They battle mental illness. They face pressure to drop out of school and marry young.”
Here he is:
If only St James’s Church gave such thought and money to those really struggling in Britain or, dare one suggest, Syria.
Shlaim is actually right that Palestine was “twice promised” once to the Jews and then to the Arabs, another example of “perifidous Albion”. Nothing about the White Paper and the sudden embracing of the Arabs when British politicians decided that Arab oil was more important than Jewish lives. As for the fund-raising for the Palestinians, they need the money less than any other group, considering how funds are lavished upon them by the European Union, the UAE, Qatar, etc. How about donating some money to the victims of Arab terrorism in the UK or the victims of Grenfell. Does Avi Shlaim blame the Jews for Grenfell as some other antisemites have done?
Also it’s arguable as to whether Palestine was included in the promise to the Arabs.
Actually, someone (maybe you, Richard) should have innocently asked why Shlaim’s family left Iraq. The answer would have been most interesting, though not, of course, truthful.
I wanted to but I wasn’t called on.
A large slice of Palestine was given to the Arabs as Jordan as from 1921 and especially between 1947 and 67. If anybody took the name Palestine off the map it was the Jordanians. Why does the Hashemite Monarchy NOT name itself, “Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine on the Jordan”?
Besides, where are the refugee camps in Northern Israel? As regards overcrowded conditions if you deliberately indulge in, “maternity ward politics,” do NOT expect sympathy.
Reblogged this on teddymcnabb.
A willing Jew dances in church for the Christians, even to the extent of lying, to vilify Israel
Palestine was twice promised to Jews, but each time smaller. In 1917, it included Transjordan. In 1920, it included only the new Mandate from river to sea.
Then came the Withe Papers, each with new restrictions to Jewish emigration that culminated in the near total stop at the time Jews needed it most.
We were promised the incredible shrinking country. We got it but at what cost!
Palestine was never ‘promised’ to Jews. Jews were permitted to immigrate to Palestine ‘under suitable conditions’ whereby, if they took up Palestinian citizenship, could help the already existing Jewish community to set up a ‘National home’ ie. religious, political and educational centres. There was undoubtedly some in the British cabinet at that time who hoped that the ‘National Home’ would one day become a State nevertheless Palestine was never ‘Promised’ to Jews.
No, it was promised to Jews in 1917 as a NATIONAL HOME. Then as Arabs did not want anything to do with Jews, they agreed to get 3/4th if MANDATE in San Remo 1920 and let the rest to Jews.
Britis then imposed progressively restrictions to Jewish emigration, denying their promises bit by bit.
Your history comes right out from an antisemitic madrassa.
Your laughable interpretation of written documents is a bit outrageous but you know that, don’t you?
What does NATIONAL HOME means? What is the interest of Jews to have one more country if it is to be a minority, a persecuted one? To be massacred Jews could stay in Europe.
But people like you were chanting “Jews, go to Palestine!” in the streets, then.
That’s what they did…
Now, people like you chant “Jews, out of Palestine!”
You know what? We’ll wait you agree with your racist chants and we’ll decide that we’ll stay put in our promised country.
Jose, please, try and be civil, please. Typing out comments in an angsty and angry way is not going to help your point. Due to your outrageous slurs i’m going to avoid most of what you typed and go to one of your Questions. You asked “What does NATIONAL HOME means?” If you had read my previous comment you would have noticed that i explained what a ‘National Home’ meant. ie. religious, political and educational centres. There was undoubtedly some in the British cabinet at that time who hoped that the ‘National Home’ would one day become a State nevertheless Palestine was never ‘Promised’ to Jews.. Please, Jose, state your case as to why you disagree with what i said. There’s some other points i would like to address but let’s stick to national home for the present time. So after reading this, Jose, go get a nice cup of tea and calm yourself down then put on your mature adult cap and THEN type out your response.
I’ll be civil when you stop this racist drivel.
Now, explain what of that NATIONAL HOME you describe was not present in Poland, France, UK, USA and that would appeal to Jews? Nothing.
So what you describe is a stupidity: you’re selling wind to Jews and hope they’ll be happy with that? Really?
NATIONAL HOME means only one thing to Zionist Jews: a state where they will be a majority and therefore not suffer the racism they were experiencing in all the above-mentioned democracies.
Jews were buying a STATE, not a UNICORN.
Same thing: why do you think Jews accepted the partition of Palestine Mandate into Transjordan and Palestine, with Transjordan being excluded for settlement?
Answer: because that was to be the end of Arab claims on the rest. Jewish settlement from river to sea, unlimited.
That was the second empty promise the British did. The limitations started no more than two years later, with the first White Paper and continued all the way to a complete stop of immigration, so that Jews could be better taken care of by Nazis in Europe.
Now explain: why do I have to be civil to someone that throw such bullshit at my face?
outrageous slurs and foul language, do you have no decency, Jose? Tell you what, type out your comment again but minus your first and last sentence and i will respond to your questions. In the meantime read this headline from the JTA dated March 1926.
Should have included the link. JTA March 1926 http://www.jta.org/1926/03/26/archive/palestine-not-jewish-state-but-national-home-briand-says-on-behalf-of-french-government
Well done Richard. your summary of that evening is quite accurate. I did not get a chance to ask a question at Q&A so, after the meeting I went directly to Schlaim and reminded him that thanks to BDS, the closure of Sodastream meant the loss of about 250 jobs for the Palestinians. I then asked him if that is what he wanted. He dropped his head and did not reply.
I have since written to Schlaim at Oxford University asking for various other questions to be answered.