Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Balfour Declaration, Arab supremacy and Abbas

Exactly one hundred years ago today--November 2, 1917--the British Foreign Minister, Arthur James Balfour, revolutionized the Middle East with a single 128-word document. That document is as simple as it is short:

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

(You may wish to note that the 'Palestine' noted in this document is not any pre-existing Arab Palestine; it refers to the name given to the Jewish land of Israel by the Roman Emperor Hadrian almost 1,900 years ago, as part of his attempt to erase the Jewish Israel from the world; until the 1960's, it was commonly accepted that anyone called a 'Palestinian' was a Jew. For example, the forerunner of today's Jerusalem Post was called the Palestine Post. That newspaper was not an Arab paper. It was a Jewish paper  servicing the information needs of the Jewish community in 'Palestine';  at that time, an Arab would often be insulted to be called a 'Palestinian')

For Jews who had prayed for centuries to return to their ancestral homeland, the Balfour Declaration seemed like a Blessing. It certainly triggered a strong immigration of Jews into the Jewish homeland (Conflicting Arab and Jewish responses to the Balfour Declaration" ,,  no date, retrieved November 2, 2017). For Jews today, this Declaration is, arguably, as relevant now to Israel's existence as it was 100 years ago.  

But for today's Arabs, the Balfour Declaration has been no blessing. Instead, it was the first of many curses--in the form of 'catastrophes'--they have endured for 100 years (Zena Tahhan, "100 years on: the Balfour declaration explained", aljazeera, October 29, 2017). The Declaration simply does not conform to the Arab notion that Arabs cannot share anything anytime anywhere with non-Arabs. This is especially true regarding land in Israel: Arab Supremacy dictates that the presence of Jews in Israel is not to be tolerated.

In fact, Arab nations in the Middle East have lived for much of the last 100 years with an ideology of intolerance (Jihan A. Mohammed , "Arab Supremacy", kurdishquestion, 07/11/2014). This ideology is very clear: Arabs are supreme over non-Arabs, and non-Arabs in Arab lands will be treated accordingly. 

On  a daily basis, the Palestinian Authority leads the Arab world in its commitment to this sense of Supremacy. This is why we've seen headlines like these:

-Chana Roberts, "Arab MK: Jews have no right to self-determination", arutzsheva, October 13, 2017;

-Jeremy Sharon, "Temple Mount is for Muslims and Palestinians only", jerusalempost, July 26, 2017;

-Aaron Klein, "Temple Mount 100% Islamic", wnd, 06/01/2008; 

-"Abbas' religious advisor: Israel invading the Temple Mount, a purely Palestinian Islamic site", Official Palestinian Authority paper, Al-Hayat  Al-Jadida, June 30, 2017, per pmw.

-Jonathan Tobin, "Abbas: Arabs in Israel; no Jews in Palestine", commentary, July 30, 2013.

Arab supremacy underlies an Arab-first/Arab-only ideology that encourages Arab nations to exploit and maltreat non-Arab minorities who live with them (Jihan A. Mohammed, ibid). It drives Arab nations to submerge themselves "in a false sense of religious and cultural superiority" (Ali Alyami  , “Arabs: Trapped in Their Superiority Complex”, sharnoffsglobalviews, June 26, 2013).

This sense of superiority is routed in Islamic values. For example, one observer of Islam describes the Arab notion of supremacy this way: “From the beginning of Creation, humans of every race have been wondering which race is the most superior…. Allah created the creation…and He then made them two groups (Arabs and non-Arabs) and made me [the Arab individual] from the best of them [the Arab] (“Superiority of the race of Arabs over non-Arabs”, Islamicvirtues, December 12, 2013).

Islamic supremacy is the basis for Arab supremacy (David French,  "Dispelling the 'few extremists' myth", nationalreview, December 7, 2015). It's also the basis for Arab attitudes towards Israel (ibid). It's why we see these headlines:

-Robert Spencer, "The   Qu'ran: Israel is not for the Jews", meforum, Fall 2009, vol 16, number 4;

-Abdur Rahman Muhammad, "Salafi Imam: we must believe Arabs are master race", singularvoice.wordpress, February 19, 2008;

-"Is Islam just a front for Arab Supremacy?", reddit, no date, retrieved November 2, 2017 [reddit is not the most reliable of sources; but this particular citation seems interesting].

The 128 words of the Balfour Declaration have revolutionized the Middle East. Because of this Declaration, the map of the Middle East has been forever altered. Arab hegemony over the Middle East has been forever changed. The history--both Biblical and secular--of the Jewish people has been forever redirected. Western notions of  equal rights, capitalism and democracy have been brought to a region dominated by supremacist Arab leaders who rule with totalitarian cruelty. 

Mahmoud Abbas objects to this Jewish revolution. He embraces the supremacy of Islam. He embraces Arab Supremacy and the intolerance it generates. 

Abbas will never accept the Balfour Declaration. Never.

The following might be of interest:

Ali Alyami  , “Arabs: Trapped in Their Superiority Complex”, sharnoffsglobalviews, June 26, 2013…

Arab autocracies perpetuate suffering and encourage violence evident by the current tumultuous state of affairs in Arab World….
Arabs in the Middle East are plagued by “…autocratic rulers, whether presidents or kings, give up their authority only when they die; its elections are a sick joke; half its people are treated as lesser legal and economic beings, and more than half its young, burdened by joblessness and stifled by conservative religious tradition, are said to want to get out of the place as soon as they can.”
The ongoing bloody battles between Sunni and Shi’a Arabs in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain demonstrate the perilous stagnation of educational, social, political (freedom of expression) and economic progress Arab societies have suffered from for centuries.
Having deluded themselves into believing in their cultural and religious supremacy, the Arabs missed at least 100 years of transformational developments which include scientific and technological advancement and the evolution of democratic institutions which made it possible for the individual to think analytically, to explore and invent freely.
As correctly pointed out by historian Bernard Lewis in his famous book, What Went Wrong, the Arabs isolated their societies from the transformative processes that shaped and propelled much of the world from agrarian subsistence into scientifically and politically flourishing nations.
In an unprecedented interview on a Saudi satellite channel, a former member of the Saudi Shura Council, Ibrahim Al-Buleihi, gave a rare assessment of the reasons for Arab backwardness. He, like Bernard Lewis and some notable Arab critics, attributed the lack of Arab political, educational, technological, economic and social progress to Arabs’ rejection of the Industrial Revolution and its empowering values. However, Al-Buleihi went further, saying that the Arabs have submerged themselves in a false sense of religious and cultural superiority which he feels prevents them from benefiting from the gargantuan political and scientific achievements of other societies, especially the West.
During the Western transformational era (Industrial Revolution), Arabs refused to relinquish their centuries-old social and political arrangements such as political and religious totalitarianism and discouragement of self-reliance.
In reality Arab regimes, especially in the oil rich Gulf Arab countries, are still encouraging their populations’ dependence on the state. By clinging to old traditions of isolation and rejection of empowering modern democratic values, the Arab autocracies not only isolate their captive populations from the age of enlightenment, but from each other. Additionally, the false sense of religious, ethnic and cultural supremacy that made most Arabs scornful of non-Arabs and non-Muslims was and still is used by some Arab regimes to turn their people against each other and against Arab and non-Arab societies.
Generations of Arabs have been trained to be suspicious and distrustful of each other within each country based on religious, ethnic and gender differences. This prejudice colors their perception of and relations with their Arab brethren. Moreover, beliefs about who are “the real Arabs” play a major role in Arab societies and how citizens of each country relate to other Arabs. For example, desert dwellers, especially in the Arabian Peninsula, consider themselves “the real Arabs,” but are considered by other Arabs to be backward nomads.
The killing and destruction that are engulfing most Arab countries now, especially the carnage in Syria, are symptomatic of religious intolerance, social stigmatization, gender segregation, political oppression, corruption and scientific backwardness that have resulted from Arabs’ self-inflicted stagnation.
For example, the daily atrocities committed by the autocratic Alawite regime in Syria (aided in part by Lebanese Shi’a Hezbollah) and their mostly Sunni opponents (supported by the Qatari and Saudi autocracies and inspired by the lethal Saudi Wahhabi doctrine) have their roots in similar centuries-old religio-political animosities.
The bloody Shi’a -Sunni conflict raging openly in Syria and other places has detrimental implication for all Muslim societies. A segment of every Arab and Muslim society is Shi’a who have been oppressed by their governments and resented by their Sunni compatriots. The strategic-turned-religious war in Syria is spelling over onto Shi’a citizens in other Arab countries, especially in the oil rich Gulf region, where sizable segments of those societies are Shi’a.
A recent announcement issued by the ministers of the autocratically ruled Gulf Arab states, known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), threatened to punish known Hezbollah sympathizers working, residing and doing business in the Gulf Arab states. The reason given is retaliation against the Lebanese Hezbollah outfit that is fighting on the side of Syria’s autocratic Shi’a dynasty. GCC’s ministerial announcement to punish members of Hezbollah residing and doing business in the Gulf Arab states, was echoed by the Qatar-based extremist spiritual advisor to the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Alarmingly, Al-Qaradawi was complimented by the Saudi Mufti, Abdul Aziz Al-Alshaikh, for calling on Sunnis to go and fight Shi’a in Syria. Calling on Sunnis to fight Shi’a in Syria will strengthen oppression of Shi’a by their Sunni governments and will heighten resentments of Shi’a by their Sunni compatriots in their own homelands.
Despite centuries of failures, setbacks and disappointments, one would think that the Arab regimes and societies would have learned that their entrenched ways of doing things have failed them miserably. Sadly, Arab autocracies and theocracies, especially in influential countries like Saudi Arabia, continue to use and emphasize the same values and methods that contribute to social chaos, impede political reforms and prevent technological and scientific advancement.

This is still happening at a time when most Arab citizens, men and women, are educated, aspiring to a better future, economic opportunities and freedom of expression. By continuing their tyrannical and divisive methods of ruling, the remaining Arab autocracies are perpetuating suffering and encouraging violence in their individual countries and among Arab states as shown by the current tumultuous state of affairs in Arab World.

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