THE REVIVAL OF FANATICAL MONOTHEISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST
In spite of biblical scholarship and archaeological excavations carried out in Israel by Jews and Christians for almost a century, there has been a resurgence in the Middle East of fanatical Monotheism in an unholy alliance with racism and nationalism. The British, urged on by the French, are responsible for starting this and the Americans are now furiously fanning the flames.
During the First World War the British lent military and financial aid to encourage rebellions in the various Arab states living under the Ottoman Empire. The Arabs were promised future independence under the Hashemite monarchy as reward for their help in beating the Ottomans who had allied themselves with Germany. Under Ottoman rule Muslims, Jews and Christians had lived comparatively peacefully side by side for generations and could openly practice their faiths. During the war the British and French governments came to a secret agreement to start “nation building” in the territories previously under Ottoman rule by setting up puppet governments under their own control. In fact during most of its history Islamic rulers have tolerated the Jews whereas under Christian rule their role in the crucifixion of Jesus described in some of the gospels and their function as “unclean” usurers for the Christians has led to frequent outbreaks of persecution.
Britain was in charge of the future of Jerusalem and Palestine. Once it had been taken by the British army, with the help of the Arabs, the future of Jerusalem became the source of great controversy and eventually violent conflict. The public image of the campaign to free Arab lands from control by the Turks was coordinated behind the scenes by Mark Sykes a master of mytho-dynamics, or spin. In the British press Sykes portrayed the British as Crusaders bringing Jerusalem back under Christian control after it had once again changed hands between Christians and Moslems. In Jerusalem itself he portrayed General Allenby as a prophet fulfilling biblical prophecy.
Over the past seven hundred years both Christians and Muslims had governed the city for lengthy periods. Jerusalem was built up by Jewish kings from a small fortified hill settlement in the Eighth Century BC and was governed by them for a total of about four hundred years. It had been in the successive hands of Babylonians, Persians, Hellenes, Hashmoneans and Romans before Byzantine Christians built their shrines there. The Jews love of their city, which is the anchor of their past and their hope for the future, is intense.
The Betrayal of the Arabs
David Balfour’s infamous “Declaration” of November 1917 came like a bombshell to the Arabs who had been living in the Ottoman-governed state of Palestine and for which the British had urged them to sacrifice their lives to liberate. Balfour wrote a letter to Baron Rothschild for him to pass on to the international Zionist organisation. This is the essential passage;
“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.”
Before the war broke out Zionism had been founded with the aim of finding a homeland for the Jews but without success. Jewish financial support for the allies during the war was influential in the British Government’s decision to give them a homeland in Palestine. The vital question is, why were Lloyd George and Balfour prepared to promise the Jews a homeland in the new Arab state of Palestine? By doing this they betrayed their allies who were also enraged when the treaty of Versailles gave France a mandate to rule over Syria and Lebanon whilst the British got Palestine and Iraq?
The answer is truly astonishing. Obviously racist anti-Semites were keen to see the Jews leave Europe and the international capitalists wanted to get the support of the powerful Jewish financiers. However it goes deeper than that. As Lloyd George himself pointed out, the Nineteenth Century evangelical revival in Britain meant that many children knew more about Hebrew history than British history! Fundamentalist Christians have no doubt whatsoever that the events described in the Old Testament are true history. The history of the Jews led up to the incarnation of God in the form of their Saviour Jesus. Moreover unless the Jews returned to their holy city as prophesied how could Armageddon take place, righteousness triumph, and history come to an end? Ancient myth triumphed over current reality.