Saturday, November 13, 2010

Diggers Who Died for Israel?

I've dealt before with the shameless Zionist appropriation of those bits of Palestinian history on which Australia has impinged, in particular the activities of the Australian Light Horse Brigade in southern Palestine against the Turks in 1917. A reading of my posts Anzac Day Special: Diggers Die for Israel (25/4/08) and Zionst Myth In-formation (1/5/08) should give you an idea of what I'm getting at. The Australian Jewish News has reported the latest episode in this conscious rewriting of history thus:

"Diplomats, civilian delegations and military representatives from around the world gathered in Be'er Sheva last Sunday to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the World War I battle that took place in that city. Defence attaches from Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Russia, South Africa, Austria, and Israel, together with high-ranking envoys from the United Nations international peacekeeping force in Sinai, joined the southern city's municipality for the day's events. The Battle of Be'er Sheva is famous for the charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade, which played a pivotal role in enabling British forces to conquer the Ottomans and paved the way for General Edmund Allenby to take control of Jerusalem on December 11, 1917. The Australian victory... was commemorated in 3 separate ceremonies. The first, co-hosted by the Australian Embassy, the Be'er Sheva Municipality and The Pratt Foundation, was held in the Park of the Australian Soldier, a Pratt Foundation gift to the city... Australian Ambassador Andrea Faulkner said her country has a special bond with the Israeli city, not just because of the battle, but also because of similar climates and water scarcity. The Park of the Australian Soldier, she observed, was testimony of the contribution made by the late Richard Pratt to cement the relationship between Australia and Israel, while simultaneously commemorating history... Referring to both world wars, Faulkner noted that many Australians had fought and died in what is now Israel. Of the 774 fallen Australian troops buried in Israel, 175 are buried in Be'er Sheva, she said." (Diggers not forgotten, 5/11/10)

Note how the Battle of Beersheba becomes the Battle of Be'er Sheva. Note the level of Israeli involvement in this 'commemoration', and the rhetoric of Australia's ambassador to Israel. And note especially the role of convicted price-fixer Dick Pratt's 'Park of the Australian Soldier', explicitly designed as a pilgrimage site to cement the relationship between Australia and Israel. All grist to the Israeli propaganda mill.

What particularly concerns me in this post, however, is Faulkner's reference to the 175 Australian troops, presumably light horsemen, buried in Beersheba. The question arises: did they (or their Turkish opponents for that matter) really need to die? And the fascinating answer is: not if the Morgenthau mission had succeeded.

Now just an historical footnote, it is worth recalling that US President Woodrow Wilson sent a mission to Europe in June 1917 in an attempt to persuade Turkey to break with the Germans and conclude a separate peace with the US, Britain and France. Headed by Henry Morgenthau Sr, America's ambassador to Turkey from 1912 to 1915, it was intercepted in Gibraltar by Chaim Weizmann, Britain's leading Zionist interlocutor and 'father' of the infamous Balfour Declaration. Concerned that the success of the mission would result in the Turk's holding on to their possessions in the Levant, an outcome which would frustrate Zionist designs on Palestine, Weizmann persuaded Morgenthau to back off and terminate his mission.

And the rest, as they say, is history, including the deaths of those 175 Australian troops. Regardless of the success or failure of Morgenthau's mission, the fact remains that the leading Zionist of the day (and later first president of the state of Israel), Chaim Weizmann, saw nothing wrong with sacrificing the lives of Australian (and British troops) so long as he could get his hands on Palestine. Indeed, given his role in scotching the Morgenthau mission, those 175 Australian deaths may legitimately be viewed as sacrifices on the altar of the Zionist project.

As a more moral associate of Weizmann's, Harry Sacher, argued at the time: "To oppose the advocates of peace with Turkey meant possibly prolonging the war. 'I myself would not buy a British protectorate at the cost of prolonging the war by a single day'." (The Balfour Declaration, Jonathan Schneer, 2010, p 273)

What was that line of George Santayana's? Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.


brian said...

back in 1917 the inhabitants of Be'er Sheva would have been mostly arab palestinians...

brian said...

'Towards the end of the 19th century, the Ottomans redeveloped the city. They built a police station in Beersheba in order to keep the Bedouin in check. They built roads and a number of small buildings from local materials which are still standing today. A town plan was created by a Swiss and a German architect, which called for a grid street pattern,[7] a pattern which can still be seen today in Beersheba's Old City. All houses built during that period were of one storey, and the two-storey police station towered above them. Most of the residents at the time were Arabs from Hebron and the Gaza area, although Jews also began settling in the city, and a slew of Bedouin abandoned their nomadic lives and built homes in Beersheba.'

'The 1947 UN Partition Plan included Beersheba in the territory allotted to the proposed Arab state as the city's population of 4,000 was primarily Arab

so in 1917, the aussies met mostly arabs....who have since been expelled..the current inhabitants are mostly new immigrants