I notice that one of the arms of the Zionist lobby, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), has formally complained to the SBS Ombudsman about the station's screening of The Promise, Peter Kosminsky's stunning dramatisation of the unfolding of the Palestinian nakba (catastrophe) in the late 1940s, intercut with the Palestine of 2005. One monster moan, it may be viewed in its entirety at the Australians for Palestine website.
Relying on the patently absurd pretence that the colonial Zionist project in Palestine of 'out with the indigenous Arabs & in with Jews from wherever they can be scrounged' - with the lavish assistance of first the British and now the Americans - is really little more than just a "conflict of narratives," the document wails that "The Jewish [not Zionist you'll note] narrative is either falsified or simply not told."
An example of this, we are informed, is that "no mention is made of... the fact that the international community, as early as 1920, recognised the legitimacy of the Jewish people's [Zionist movement's] aspirations to reconstitute their national home in Israel [Palestine] and obligated Britain, as the Mandatory power, to 'facilitate Jewish immigration... and close settlement by Jews on the land...'"
'Wow!' the SBS Ombudsman is expected to exclaim, '"the international community," even as far back as 1920, was clamouring for a Jewish state in Palestine!'
And to ponder thus: 'That settles it then. If it was good enough for "the international community" in 1920, then it's good enough for me now. Who could possibly go up against "the international community"? If they, in their infinite collective wisdom, said in 1920 that the Zionists could have Palestine, who am I, or the people who actually lived there at the time for that matter, to get sniffy?'
Well, hopefully the SBS Ombudsman wasn't born yesterday and will ask herself just who was this exalted "international community" of 1920?
Footnote 8 informs us that:
"In April, 1920, following the end of World War I, a Council of the victorious Allied and Associated Powers met at San Remo and granted Britain a mandate to govern Palestine, the terms of which were ratified by the League of Nations in July 1922 and included an obligation that Britain 'should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Brittanic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
So, it transpires that, according to the fine print, this august entity, "the international community," turns out to be merely "the victorious Allied and Associated Powers" (AAP).
But who am I, or the 90% of the Palestinian Arab population at the time who were distinctly leery at the prospect of having their newly liberated turf handed over to some mob from Europe, to question the AAP's authority to confer legitimacy on whomever it chose? I mean, weren't the AAP the very fount of wisdom and probity in the post-war world of 1920? Were not they, of all people, in a position to somehow channel the will of the world when it came to disposing of the former Turkish province of Palestine?
Well, before we go along with the ECAJ's little sleight of hand here, maybe we need to learn a little more (if this isn't getting a tad too contradictory) about the secret white men's business transacted at San Remo. And who better to guide us than our good friend, JMN Jeffries, whose eye is nothing if not forensic:
"The next day, the 25th, was a Sunday. Two communiques were issued that same evening... The first said: 'The Supreme Council met at 11 am today at the Villa Devachan. There were present Signori Nitti and Scialoja, MM. Millerand and Berthelot, Mr Lloyd George, Lord Curzon, M. Matsui and Mt Underwood Johnson. [Mr Johnson was the United States 'observer'. He did not take an active part in, nor have any responsibility for, the proceedings.] The question of the Mandate for Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia was discussed, and the question of the new Armenian State was settled. The Council finally discussed the resumption of commercial relations with Russia...' The second communique... dealt with the afternoon session, and held no reference to the Near Eastern countries, as the Adriatic question and Germany's attitude to the Treaty of Versailles were the subjects of debate.
"So that the sole official information given to the world upon what had happened at the morning session of the 25th, as far as the Near Eastern countries were concerned, was that 'the question of the Mandates for Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia were discussed'. Discussed, indeed! During that session, which lasted for 3 hours, the 'examination of the Palestine question' which had begun upon the Saturday had been concluded, and Britain had been granted, or awarded, or indemnified with the nomination as Mandatory. And at this session, the Balfour Declaration had been inserted into the draft-Mandate which was being prepared as part of the coming Treaty [with Turkey].
"In fine, Sunday the 25th was the fateful day, the day of days, and that particular session was of pre-eminent interest, was a moment when the destinies of the most sacred land on earth were determined for, at the very least, a long period. A type of government, too, never before essayed in human society was inaugurated, or was introduced after some fashion, and the countries which were to govern thus unprecedentedly were named.
"Yet no faintest suggestion of what had been done was vouchsafed by the Conference chiefs in their official report of their transactions. They said that the question of the Mandate for Palestine (and for the other Arab lands) had been discussed, as though there had been some talk about it, and then they had gone on to other matters. More than this they never disclosed. The nearest they reached to any sort of explanation of their business was the last sentence of the previous day's communique, stiff wth constraint and wariness.
"It is true that official communiques are noted for their reticence. It is also true that international Conferences are fatiguing affairs, and that at the end of a long day tired men may cut their labour by giving the shortest possible account of what has happened. But reticence, not saying much about the event of the day, is one thing, and concealing it altogether when it is a final decision is another. The crucial meeting in this case was held in the morning, and there was ample time to announce what had taken place during it. The news could have been given in less than 20 words, in as many words as were employed to obscure it.
"That 25th of April something of great moment had been accomplished, though the absolute character of the act remained undefined. It was, therefore, the duty of the Allied plenipotentiaries to make clear in an official statement what (in the current phrase) 'they thought they were doing'. That they made no such explanation shows how ill at ease they were about the character of the day's work.
"Babies born that April morning have become young men and women, and yet we are about as ignorant as they were in their mothers' arms of what occurred at the Villa Devachan. This only we know, that the Balfour Declaration was slipped into the Mandate, and that it was Signori Nitti and Scialoja, M. Matsui, Lord Curzon, Messrs. Berthelot, Millerand and Lloyd George between them who somehow nominated as Mandatories the countries represented by MM. Berthelot and Millerand and by Lord Curzon and Mr Lloyd George. It was a very intimate occasion, so intimate that 4 of those present suffered from ingrowing functions, nominating and being nominated at one and the same time. The sole clue to what a spectator might have witnessed of their proceedings from start to finish is to be found in the statement of a correspondent that 'One cheerful feature about the Conference so far is the progress made in settling the Turkish Treaty. Discussions have run on the most cordial lines'. Indeed they had done so.
"This is the most living account of what happened which we possess. The League of Nations' own account of the birth of Mandates is highly significant because, in an Irish way, there is no account. 'There is no record of the conversation by which Great Britain was selected as Mandatory for Palestine', confesses the League's official handbook.
"Under such circumstances, it is impossible to prevent imagination from playing with the scene at the Villa Devachan. One pictures the bustling but superfluous helpfulness of the other delegates as Mr Lloyd George efficiently levered the Balfour Declaration into the draft-Mandate. But the assumption of the draft-Mandate itself is not so easy to picture.
"Did Signori Nitti, Scialoja, Millerand and Berthelot segregate themselves and then propose Great Britain as Mandatory for Palestine? Did Mr Lloyd George simper and blush acceptance, or look sternly before him and say duty was duty? Did the French delegates then go to the chairs at the foot of the table? Did the British delegates take the vacated seats at its head, along with the Italians and the Japanese, meditate their choice with them for a pensive second, and then in chorus with them offer 'Syria' to France? Whereon did the French delegates, with national immunity from humbug, nod and thank the British for carrying out the arrangement of the previous September?
"Maybe it happened after this fashion: more probably it did not. Procedure demanded that all the Principal Allied Powers should nominate the Mandatory, so Mr Lloyd George and poor Lord Curzon, completely out of his element, one imagines, will, in some way that we cannot guess and upon which unhappily silence has been maintained, have taken part in nominating themselves.
I interrupt Jeffries' narrative flow at this point to remind you of ECAJ's characterisation of the San Remo cabal as "the international community." Well - surprise, surprise - where Zionist propaganda is concerned there is indeed 'nothing new under the sun':
"The official silence concerning the details of this odd performance has not prevented a hundred writers and orators in the service of the Zionist thesis from projecting ever since, through the best part of 2 decades, moving pictures of the moral glory which descended on the Villa Devachan that day. Mr Lloyd George has been presented, as upon the screen, in the role of the world's knight, bending a knee to receive Britain's obligations in Palestine. Like an accolade they were laid upon his shoulders by the incarnate kingly conscience of mankind.
"Whatever happened then, this did not. At San Remo the nomination of Mandatories, after the manner of the dubbing of knights, was not practicable, or rather was not picturable. Britain and France had long fixed their respective Mandatory spheres between them, and the story of their being 'chosen' now for these positions is only elaborate and disingenuous pretence. Mr Lansing, the American Secretary of State till that February, who knew all that was afoot, passed on these League and Mandate manoeuvres a judgment so apt that it must be quoted here. 'If the advocates of the [mandate] system', said he, 'intended to avoid through its operation the appearance of taking enemy territory as the spoils of war, it was a subterfuge which deceived no one. It seemed obvious from the very first that the Powers, which under the old practice would have obtained sovereignty over certain conquered territories, would not be denied mandates over these territories'.
"Pure clap-trap also is the story of the resigned acceptance by the Mandatories of their nominations, which in fact they 'accepted' with the resignation of stockbrokers accepting profits. Mr Lloyd George... already had blurted out in one of his unguarded moments that 'France would be compensated for the oil-wells of Irak by the Mandate for Syria'. As for what are called 'obligations', it would have been a rash statesman who would have dared to refuse a full load of them to Mr Lloyd George himself. That was the real situation. The chivalrous parties concerned were each responsible for his own knighthood, and even such a political gymnast as the same Lloyd George could hardly have laid his obligations upon his own shoulder and have bade himself to rise without throwing his frame and his features into contortions too unmannerly ever to be displayed to the public. Why, the secret of the scene could not even be risked by one word about it in a turgid little communique!" (Palestine: The Reality, 1939, pp 344-347)
Memo to the SBS Ombudsman: should an impeccably presented, high-falutin' document from any of the following outfits - ECAJ, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Zionist Council of Australia, or the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) - darken your doorstep, for God's sake, read the fine print.