Sunday, November 24, 2013

Obfuscating the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence

Zionist historians are a real menace when it comes to the facts.

Take, for example, Norman Rose, Chair of International Relations at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and author of the book A Senseless, Squalid War: Voices from Palestine 1890s-1948 (2009).

Here he is, writing in that book, on the subject of the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence of 1915, in which Britain pledged support for an independent Arab nation (inclusive of Palestine) in return for the Arabs joining the British push to expel the Turks from the area of Greater Syria:

"[A]nxious to involve the Arabs in their war against the Ottomans, the British, through Sir Henry McMahon, High Commissioner in Egypt, pursued a labyrinthine correspondence with the Sherif Husayn of Mecca, the titular head of the Arab nationalist movement, who... was intent on attaining the greatest measure possible of Arab statehood... The original Arab demands... set out an audacious programme: a greater Arab state bounded by Persia and the Indian Ocean in the east, the Red Sea in the south, the eastern Mediterranean littoral up to Mersina (lying on the Turkish coastline) in the west, and in the north, on a line from Mersina and Adana to the Persian border." (p 14)

Just on that, one wonders why any objective scholar would describe an Arab proposal for an Arab state in an area overwhelmingly populated by Arabs as 'audacious', while not even mentioning initial Zionist claims to territory from the Nile to the Euphrates. Also, on a minor point of fact, Rose gets the detail of Hussein's claim wrong: the Indian Ocean is proposed in the correspondence as the southern, not eastern, border of the Arab state.

But those are mere trifles compared with what follows:

"The British agreed in principle, but with several reservations. They excluded 'portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo', and emphasised time and again that they were not free to enter into any obligations detrimental to the regional interests of their allies, the French. As these clearly included significant areas of the hinterland of the eastern Mediterranean coastline, Palestine, almost by definition - but never referred to by name in the correspondence - was also excluded. Husayn reluctantly accepted these caveats, but promised to return to his initial claims 'at the first opportunity after this war is finished'." (ibid)

The patently absurd suggestion here is that Palestine was one of France's "interests," and therefore excluded from the Arab claim.

If I reformulate Rose's final sentence as a syllogism, it will help to clarify just what kind of swiftie he is trying to pull here:

French interests include "significant areas of the hinterland of the eastern Mediterranean coastline."
Palestine is a "significant area of the hinterland of the eastern Mediterranean coastline."
Therefore, the French have a claim on Palestine which must exclude it from the Arab claim.

This, of course, is complete nonsense.

So what exactly constitutes those "significant areas of the hinterland of the eastern Mediterranean coastline" so dear to French hearts?

If we return to that part of McMahon's letter (of October 25, 1915) quoted by Rose, namely those "portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo," and if necessary, peruse a map of the area, it becomes abundantly clear that what the British wanted to exclude from the proposed Arab nation was the area comprising today's Lebanon and the Syrian coastline to its north.

Palestine, of course, is south of Lebanon, and so wasn't excluded.

I note that Rose is an academic at Israel's Hebrew University, one of the two Israeli academic institutions (the other being Haifa's Technion) that Associate Professor Jake Lynch of Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPACS) rejects institutional ties with, a stand that will see him in the Federal Court on November 27 fighting off charges of 'racism and discrimination' brought by Israeli lawfare outfit, Shurat HaDin.

Quite frankly, if this is how the Hebrew University does history, Jake Lynch's case is only bolstered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now for those who were not paying attention at the time; just why was "Southern Sudan" carved off from The Sudan?

Guess who supported it at the time and why?

What were the given reasons?

And what has been the pay off so far?