I have pasted below a submission made to the UN Special Committee on Palestine in July 1947. The text is a statement made by the Iraqi representative Fadel Jamali, it is long (a shade under 5000 words) but well worth the read.
It shows how little the anti-Zionist arguments have changed in the last 70 odd years.
It also shows the evolution of the antisemitic arguments that are now causing so much consternation in the UK and USA and includes conspiratorial beliefs that are now flourishing healthily in the West:
“The Zionists have not come only for Palestine, which is mainly a barren, rocky and sandy country. Palestine is just a stepping-stone to the economic exploitation of the whole Middle-East. In the long run, the Zionists dream of big economic returns which will make up for the temporary losses. Hence, the whole world needs critically to examine Zionist propaganda and Zionist influence on the world press if we are to achieve peace in a democratic world. Great donations of money in a humanitarian guise for terrorism and aggressive invasion of Palestine must stop if we are to achieve peace in this part of the world.”
Nazi/Zionist comparisons were being made even as the survivors were still lived in the concentration camps from which they were liberated:
Some Zionists in this War probably joined the Allied Forces with a double end in view — the defeat of Hitler and the conquest of Palestine by force. They certainly learned some of the deadliest and most treacherous Nazi methods of warfare. They are applying them in Palestine today.
The irony of calling for a single democratic state that entirely ignores the expressed desires of one third of its potential inhabitants is lost on the representatives of various Arab states addressing the committee (as are many other things).
Published in full below:
Mr. Fadel JAMALI (Iraq): I have the honour on behalf of the Iraqi Government to subscribe to all that has been included in the memorandum submitted by the Arab States and beg permission to emphasize and to elaborate sore of its points in this additional statement. My statement consists of four headings:
1. Arabs’ right and aspirations and the Palestine Mandate
2. Zionist aims, claims, and methods
3. What is involved in the Palestine issue
4. Conclusions and proposals
(1) Arabs’ rights and aspirations and the Palestine Mandate.
Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world, and it is a vital part thereof. Geographically it is in the heart of the Arab world. To travel on the normal routes from north to south or from east to west of the Arab world one has to cross Palestine. Thus a traveller to Egypt from Iraq, or Syria, or Lebanon, or a traveller from Lebanon or Syria into Saudi Arabia and Hejaz for pilgrimage passes through Palestine. Palestine is only the southern part of the whole of natural and historical Syria. Nationally the indigenous people of Palestine are one and the same people as those of Syria, and culturally and nationally united with the rest of the Arab world.
The Arabs joined the Allies in World War I under the leadership of His late Majesty King Hussein and his sons (of whom King Feisal the First, the founder of the modern state of Iraq, was one) and fought for the liberation and unity of the Arabs, including the Arabs of Palestine. The Allies on their part made clear promises to the Arabs that they would support the Arabs in the attainment of their nationalistic aims, and they declared that their armies were coming to liberate and not to conquer the Arab lands, and it was taken for granted that the principle of self-determination would be applied to the liberated territories including Palestine. Palestine was no exception to the areas which were promised freedom and independence. But even without these promises are not the inhabitants of Palestine like the rest of the Arab world entitled to freedom and independence in their own home? The Arabs of Palestine, like the people of the rest of the Arab world, were hoping to attain their national aspirations. What was the result? The result was a great frustration and disappointment towards the end of World War I for in 1917 the Balfour Declaration was issued promising the Jews a Jewish national home in Palestine without the knowledge or consent of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, a great violation of all moral and human rights, and this is the root of all the trouble. When the Declaration was made, one of three assumptions must have been made: Either that Palestine was an empty country, a sort of no-man’s land; or that the inhabitants of Palestine represented an enemy population whose territory could be dealt with at will; or that Palestine was inhabited by a people whose territory could be colonized and exploited without recognizing their right to say anything. All and each of these assumptions are wrong for Palestine is not a land without a people to be given to a people without a land. It has its own indigenous population, the inhabitants of Palestine. Many of its men took part in the Arab revolt in World War I on the side the Allies and therefore they were entitled to their right to freedom and independence as friendly allies and not as enemies whose country could be disposed of without their knowledge or consent. Finally the people of Palestine, together with the people of the rest of the Arab World, are a people of great history and nature. They are not of the type to submit to foreign domination and colonization. The fact that some alien dreamers formed designs to come and occupy Palestine cannot be regarded but as a move of aggression and a violation of the principles of peace, justice and democracy.
Unfortunately; the Balfour Declaration was included in a Mandate designed by the League of Nations giving it an apparent international character. But this was a glaring mistake of the League of Nations. It was a move by the League of Nations that led to the violation of world peace and stability in this part of the world for the last 30 years. The Mandate violated in general all the principles of democracy and self-determination which were contained in the Covenant of the League of Nations. In particular, it violated the very spirit and letter of Paragraph 4, Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations which reads as follows:
“Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized, subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities was to be a principal consideration in the selection of a Mandatory.”
This paragraph of Article 22 of the Covenant clearly recognizes the right of the Arabs of Palestine to independence and to the choice of the Mandatory power by the inhabitants. These rights the Mandate for Palestine ignored, just as it ignored the real object of the Mandate, that of holding people as a trust with the object of helping them toward self-government and independence and not with the object of imposing an alien body whose object is to dominate the country and establish a state therein. Thus we find that the Mandate over Palestine has no moral or legal foundations for the League of Nations had no legal or moral authority to violate the letter and spirit of its own Covenant.
What was the result? As was to be expected the Arabs from the very beginning never recognized the legality or the validity of the Mandate over Palestine. The day of the Balfour Declaration is a day of strikes and demonstrations every year throughout the Arab world. The Arabs of Palestine never stopped to resist or to protest against the imposition of the terms of the Mandate. Palestine turned into a land of struggles, strife and bloodshed instead of being a land of peace and harmony, and very naturally so, for no self-respecting people in the world can permit in any circumstances aliens to be introduced into their country by force and with the intention of dominating it while they have no say in the destiny of their own country.
The Arabs of Palestine resisted and revolted on several occasions in self-defence and the situation today is no better than what it was 30 years ago. The Arabs today, not only in Palestine but throughout the Arab world, are in a state of tension over the issue of Palestine.
They are all convinced that it is not right or just that the Arabs of Palestine should have been deprived of their rights to self-government and self -determination. It is not right that the independence of the country should have been withheld while surrounding Arab States like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Trans-Jordan, which were in the same category as Palestine and were all integral parts of the Ottoman Empire, have attained their independence. The Arabs of Palestine are as well developed as the Arabs of these States which have achieved independence. The wishes of the inhabitants of Palestine for independence and their rejection of Zionist penetration were formally expressed to the same King-Crane Commission appointed by the late President Wilson as early as 1919.
We in Iraq are directly concerned with the problem of Palestine not only because we are bound with the Arabs of Palestine by all the bonds that go to make one nation, but also because Palestine is so situated geographically as to be of vital importance to Iraq economically and strategically. Besides we have about 150,000 Jews in Iraq whose interest and welfare is bound up with the interest and welfare of our country as a whole. In Iraq Moslems, Christians, and Jews have lived happily together for centuries. Zionism, however, may poison the atmosphere of harmony between Iraqi Jews and their non-Jewish brethren, and we have to see to it in Iraq that Zionism does not disturb the good relationship prevailing between all the citizens of Iraq. As evidence of the importance we attach to Palestine this is the platform of our present Cabinet. Paragraph 3 reads as follows:
“Since Iraq considers the cause of Palestine to be its own cause the Government will endeavor by all means under its disposal to safeguard this part of the Arab World from the dangers besetting it.”
(2) Zionist Aims, Claims and Methods.
Right from the promulgation of the Balfour Declaration the Arabs expressed their apprehension and repugnance to Zionist demands. The Mandatory Power did its utmost to allay Arab fears of Zionist intentions, but time and experience justified Arab fears and apprehensions. The Zionists, coming first with modest demands, began to unfold their ambitions from year to year. Official Zionism today where the extremists stood 30 years ago — for a Jewish State in Palestine. The extremists today are not satisfied with Palestine alone. They want Trans-Jordan to be attached to Palestine to form one Jewish State immediately. This Jewish State might extend from the Nile to the Euphrates at a later stage and some pronouncements have appeared to the effect that Zionist ambitions do not fall short of the economic, if not political, penetration of the whole Middle East.
The Biltmore programme, which represents the original Zionist programme today, consists of turning Palestine into a Jewish Commonwealth, opening the gates of Palestine for unlimited Jewish immigration, vesting the Jewish Agency with the power of controlling immigration and upbuilding the country. Certainly this declaration shows that the Zionists have moved a long way beyond the Balfour Declaration and the terms or the Mandate. This is exactly what the Arabs had anticipated from the Mandate and the Balfour Declaration. The Mandatory Power insists that they never understood the Mandate to promise a Jewish State and had no such excessive Zionist demands and ambitions in mind. But there they are. I submit that there would be no problem in Palestine today were it not for Zionist ambition and Zionist aggression. These are the roots of all the trouble and unless the Zionists are definitely and finally told to abandon their political dream, there can be no peace in the Middle East. Palestine is being invaded today by armed illegal immigrants carried by ships. Terrorism is rampant. If this is not an act of aggression and an infringement of international peace we do not know what aggression is.
The Zionists have used many arguments to justify their intended domination of Palestine. The first is their historical connection with Palestine. This argument is not valid because historical connections with lands today inhabited by other peoples cannot justify movements in the world’s population. If this were to be permitted, most or the countries or the earth should exchange populations. South American citizens of Spanish descent cannot return to Spain today without the permission of the Spanish Government nor are the citizens of U.S.A., Canada and New Zealand of English descent entitled to go back to England without the consent of the Government of the United Kingdom. The historical connections or these people are relatively modern and not two thousand years old. Even if this principle were accepted the Jews are not historically more entitled to Palestine than its present-day inhabitants. The Jews actually ruled part of Palestine not more than 240 years and they lived there not even eight hundred years, the length of time which the Arabs lived in Spain, without the Arabs claiming any right to it today. The Arabs of Palestine, on the other hand, are mainly descendants of people who lived in Palestine before the Jews went there and have actually been in Palestine for the last fourteen hundred years.
As for the continued spiritual connection of the Jews with Palestine: This argument does not entitle them to return to Palestine either, for spiritually Palestine is holy to the Christians, Moslems and Jews alike. There are more than five hundred million Christians in the world and some three hundred million Moslems, all of whom are as much spiritually interested in Palestine as are the Jews. There is no reason why Palestine should be claimed as Jewish because the Jews have spiritual connections with it. The fact is that spiritual connections with a place do not necessarily entail political connections. All the Moslems in the world have spiritual connections with Hedjaz, but politically Hedjaz belongs to its own inhabitants. Moreover, the Moslems, with their traditions of liberalism and religious toleration towards the people of the book, namely the Christians and the Jews, have demonstrated how harmoniously Christians and Moslems live together in Palestine with freedom or worship enjoyed by all. The Jews as such have enjoyed such freedom of worship and toleration under the Moslems and they shall continue to do so. But Zionism poisons the atmosphere. Zionism has turned Palestine from a place of peace and spiritual life for all mankind into a place of material strife, struggles and bloodshed.
Another claim of the Zionists that the Arabs are backward, and that Zionists coming to Palestine help them materially and raise their standard of living. This is a very old imperialistic argument. It is the argument of the white man’s burden, the fallacy of which is already exposed to the world. One aggression after another, one war after another, were waged on the strength of this argument and the world is sick of it. The truth is that this is an excuse for domination. The Arabs do not want that rise in their standard of living which leads to the loss of their own country and to the inflow of foreign elements who have come in to dominate it; the Arabs are not a backward race; they have a glorious historical record. They do not need the Zionists to bring them civilization and culture. They certainly do not welcome many of the things brought by the Zionist into Palestine in the name of civilization and culture. The Arabs want to develop in the modern world in their own way and from within for no real culture can be achieved by imposition or superficial imitation. The Arabs facing the modern world are hoping to achieve a new cultural synthesis which is completely consonant with their great philosophy and world mission, a culture has on a human brotherhood with no racial or religious discrimination or superiorities. Zionism, very much like Nazism, is based on racial and religious discrimination and cannot provide the culture which the modern Arab wants. It has already discriminated against Arab employment on so-called Jewish national land where no Arab can be employed. As for material development, the Arabs can develop better without Zionist intervention. We in Iraq are finding our own way towards material and cultural progress. No Zionists were needed to open a thousand elementary schools, send hundreds of students to European and American institutions, establish hundreds of hospitals and health centres in Iraq, and introduce great irrigation projects. We still have a long way to go, but we need no Zionists. Thus the Zionist argument of carrying the white man’s burden in Palestine is totally rejected.
Another argument used by the Zionists is that the Arabs have vast areas of land and that the Jews are homeless and they need land. The first part of the argument can be easily dismissed, for no matter how vast a people’s country might be it is their own right to decide whether they will accept any newcomers or not, and whom to accept.
The Arabs are not the only people who have vast areas. The United States, Canada, Australia, the countries of South America, all possess vast areas of land that need development, but no one sneaks of imposing any immigration on these countries without their consent, and especially an immigration which has an alien political domination as its aim.
But the most serious part of the argument is the question of homelessness. This is a very dangerous concept. Why should the Zionists assume that the Jews are homeless?
I submit that the home of every Jew is the country in which he is a citizen. The home of the Iraq Jew is Iraq, and I should hate to think that he felt homeless in Iraq. The home of the English Jew is England, and the home of the French Jew is France and of the Czechoslovak Jew, Czechoslovakia. There should be no Jewish homelessness and by spreading this concept Zionism is rendering a great disservice to Jews all over the world for delicate if right is to overcome wrong.
Here are some of the powerful means used by the Zionists to make their ambitions and aggressive intentions appear in be right. First, economic pressure. Zionists use great economic pressure to make the Arab sell his land. They allure him and they weaken him by offering an exorbitant sum of money, for his land. The weak Arab succumbs and soon finds himself a landless, homeless fellow. Economic pressure is used in gaining support and in averting attacks. We know of some well-known non-Jewish men who have been employed by Zionists and paid large sums of money to promote their cause. We also know of anti-Zionist people who cannot raise their voices fearing Zionist economic threats and boycotts. But money and economic pressure cannot make wrong right. With money goes political influence. In some countries Zionists have direct access to influential public men. With pressure of influence, with business partnership the Zionists gain supporters in many countries. Such support cannot make what is wrong right and what is unjust just.
Probably the most effective means which they have used to attain their goal is propaganda. The Zionists have a well-organized machinery of propaganda with which the Arabs cannot possibly compete today. They have access to the press in most of the Western countries, besides providing their own press. Through the press Zionists try to prove their wrong right, and the right of the Arabs wrong. They usually follow three lines of propaganda: One is that there is nothing in the way of their achieving their own aims except the Nazi effendis and feudal lords; the masses of the Arabs do not mind Zionist domination and flourish under it. To this line of propaganda I need riot add a word. You need only travel round the Arab world to discover for yourself whether it is only the effendis who are opposed to Zionism. I wish to assure you here that since the days of the Prophet Mohammed — may Prayer and Peace bless his soul — until today the Arabs have never been united on anything as they are in their unity to oppose Zionism. This is true not only of the Palestinian Arabs, but also of the Arabs throughout the Arab world.
I have just not a new book by a Dutch writer, Dr. Van der Neulen. It is called “Aden and the Hadhramut”, a journey to Southern Arabia. I will read one paragraph to show you how these Arabs feel about Palestine: “Palestine policy had to contend with some fundamental errors, the bitter truth of which we saw in these far Arab lands. The distrust that had arisen would only disappear with the passing of time and the implementation of a wise policy of justice to the original Arab inhabitants of Palestine. When we talked to the Arabs we found it possible, while acknowledging their acquired and ancient rights, to stress the desirability of cooperation with the Jews, that might be profitable to both parties, and to point to the wonderful benefits which Jewish immigration to Palestine had already produced. From the discussions of political difficulties in that county, so rich in Jewish, Christian and Moslem tradition, I found it possible to state that these errors have had repercussions in the most distant tribal Arab countries which show that even the Bedouin in far distant lands are interested in the question of Palestine.”
The second line of propaganda is that of Displaced Persons Camps. The question of displaced persons is a humanitarian matter which the Zionists try to exploit for their own political ends. The question of displaced persons should be settled on an international level, and the United Nations has already created a special organization to deal with the matter. This problem should not complicate the situation in Palestine arising from the Zionist struggle for political domination. To assist Zionist political domination in Palestine with the pretext of D.P.’s to create trouble in the Arab world. This is an anti-humanitarian act. One should not attempt to remove an injustice by committing a greater injustice.
The third line of Zionist propaganda is that of boasting of their own achievements in Palestine — sandy deserts turned into paradise, modern farms established, many factories erected, huge hospitals built, etc., etc. To this line of propaganda we have two observations to make. The first is that given an unlimited source of dollars from the Zionists in the United States and Western science and technique, any amount of construction and development could be done by anyone. The Arabs are doing their utmost with the limited resources at hand to work their own development. The second remark is that the Zionists fail to speak of the great losses incurred in what they have achieved. It is now a known fact that Zionist economy in Palestine is not self-supplied. It is running on a deficit of something like 40 percent paid from donations. But, one might ask, are the Zionists fools Why should they take such risk? The answer is quite The Zionists have not come only for Palestine, which is mainly a barren, rocky and sandy country. Palestine is just a stepping-stone to the economic exploitation of the whole Middle-East. In the long run, the Zionists dream of big economic returns which will make up for the temporary losses. Hence, the whole world needs critically to examine Zionist propaganda and Zionist influence on the world press if we are to achieve peace in a democratic world. Great donations of money in a humanitarian guise for terrorism and aggressive invasion of Palestine must stop if we are to achieve peace in this part of the world.
A new method used by extreme Zionists in post-war years has been a resort to force. Some Zionists in this War probably joined the Allied Forces with a double end in view — the defeat of Hitler and the conquest of Palestine by force. They certainly learned some of the deadliest and most treacherous Nazi methods of warfare. They are applying them in Palestine today.
These are some of the Zionists methods by which they wish to dominate Palestine but the fact remains that it would have been better for all concerned if the Zionists came with a direct force for the invasion of Palestine as the Crusaders did in the past. These round-about methods and these false pretences and camouflaged tactics cannot serve the purpose of peace. The undisputed truth is that the Arabs are unanimously opposed to political Zionism and that the Zionists can never establish a State in the Arab world. Such an attempt is doomed for it is unnatural to graft a foreign state on the Arab.
What is involved in the Palestine issue?
What is involved in the Palestine issue is whether the principles of peace and justice can prevail or whether domination by the force of money, distorted propaganda, political pressure and terrorism will succeed.
What is involved is the loyalty of the Jews in every city in the world — are they to be uprooted or helped to live in a free democratic world?
What is involved is the future of the United Nations and the maintenance of the principles of the Charter, for the illegal immigrants invade Palestine and the terrorists practise violence under the very eyes of the United. Nations Committee.
What is involved is the relationship between East and West for the East looks at Zionism as a Western desire inspired by old imperialistic methods which showed no respect for the rights and wishes of the people of the exploited country.
What is involved is the spiritual serenity of Palestine — whether it is to be a cradle of peace and holiness where the spirit of man can find a refuge, or a place where struggle and bloodshed between peoples of different religions and races prevail.
Much is involved in the question of Palestine and yet the question is so simple and the remedy is easy to apply:
It is simple in spite of Zionist claims and propaganda which have created a complex problem out of a simple matter of invasion and desire for domination. It is easy in spite of terrorist violence for we believe that terrorism could easily be squashed with firmer handling of the situation.
In conclusion, may I summarize my views and recommendations in the following:
Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world and the Arab population are the rightful owners of the country, and the Arabs will never yield Palestine or any part thereof. There is nothing between Arabs and Jews; as such they can live together harmoniously as they have done for thousands of years past.
The Mandate has no moral or legal foundation; it has introduced an element of trouble in Palestine which will continue to grow from year to year and disturb peace and stability throughout the Middle East unless the United Nations checks the source of trouble finally and completely.
The source of trouble is political Zionism with its ever-growing ambitions. Unless these political ambitions are finally and completely abandoned there can be no peace in Palestine or the Middle East. This can be done very easily if the United Nations declares that Zionist political ambitions are dangerous to peace and security in the Middle East, for Arab nationalism and political Zionism can not go well together in Palestine. Either one or the other must disappear. The Arabs being the rightful inhabitants in Palestine are not ready to give up their Arab nationalism which is directly connected with all the Arab world. They will sooner or later fight for their political existence and defend their own country if aggression is permitted to continue. The Zionists should be advised to content themselves with the cultural and spiritual home which they have already achieved and abandon their aggressive political designs.
The Zionists should all understand that a Jewish State was never promised and can never be established in the whole or part of Palestine. Such a State can never survive with hostile people surrounding it and will always be a cause of war and struggle. We do not believe that the Jews need a State for they belong to the States where they reside. If it is deemed that a Jewish State is a human necessity it should be dealt with outside Palestine where no trouble will ensue.
A unitary democratic state should be established in Palestine where the people of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion, shall work together and live together peacefully and in harmony. Those who do not wish to live in such a state should be advised to leave Palestine.
Some Zionists who want a Jewish State, no matter how small to begin with, and some non-Jews who are not familiar with the situation, speak of partition as a solution. I wish to make it clear that no partition in any form or guise will be acceptable to the Arabs. They will fight it and resist sooner or later for no Jewish State in any size or form will ever be tolerated by the Arab world. Moreover, partition cannot work for more than one reason for it can never separate the Arabs from the Jews completely, and the State derived therefrom can never stand on its own feet economically. But these are from the Arab point of view, secondary considerations compared with their firm determination to fight the idea of partition as well as the idea of the Jewish State. I hope the Committee will give due consideration to this point.
Palestine is already relatively over-crowded if due consideration were given to the barrenness of the country and the natural growth of the population. That is why immigration should be completely stopped. If immigration ever were possible it should not take place without the consent of the Arabs of Palestine and their view of the absorptive capacity of the country should be paramount. Even then immigration should not be discriminatory and there is no justification for having Jewish immigrants mainly. The quota should be fairly distributed amongst all Moslems, Christians and Jews who wish to come Palestine to lead a spiritual life.
An independent democratic Palestine shall be recognized by the Members of the United Nations, and as such it shall be a Member of the Arab League and of the United Nations.
An experience of thirty years proved that flagrant injustice was done to the political rights of the Arabs of Palestine. That injustice led to strife and unrest throughout this period. Many committees and commissions were sent and made reports, with no avail. The Arabs have become desperate and they have lost hope in committees. May this Committee at last, guided by the principles of the Charter, make such recommendations which will finally remove the source of trouble and injustice, bring about clarity and finality in the situation so that peace and harmony may prevail in the Land of Peace and in all the Middle East.