Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Politics of Partition 1

"Having cut Palestine up in that manner, we shall then put its bleeding body upon a cross forever." Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan, Pakistan's UN representative, speaking at the UN against the partition of Palestine, 29 November, 1947

Second (but only in the chronological sense) to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in paving the way for the disappearance of Palestine, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 of 29 November, 1947, which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state, warrants more scholarly scrutiny than it's so far received.

In fact, it amazes me that no reputable scholar has, to my knowledge, devoted an entire book to it. Given Resolution 181's appalling repercussions, which are still with us today, its scandalous nature, both in terms of its content and the events surrounding its passage, its devastating blow to the credibility of the United Nations so soon after its creation in 1945, and its persistent use in Zionist propaganda, not least in this country, here is surely a subject in search of an author. (A suggested title: 'Giving the Zionists an Inch: The Politics of the Palestine Partition Resolution.)

Although I've posted on the subject before (simply click on the 'Palestine partition' label below), I keep coming across so many missing pieces of the partition jigsaw that I've decided to post them as I find them under the above heading.

The following reflection on the resolution as an act of "inter-continental aggression," comes from Anglo-Indian journalist G.H. Jansen's 1971 study, Zionism, Israel & Asian Nationalism:

"In that final vote [of 29/11/47] only Liberia and the Philippines among Afro-Asian countries voted affirmatively; China and Ethiopia abstained; and of the 13 negative votes, 11 were Afro-Asian, the other two coming from Cuba and Greece.

"No further evidence is required to prove that the Jewish State was thrust into Asia, against the wishes of Afro-Asia, by other continents - Europe, and North and South America. A clear case of inter-continental aggression.

"On this issue Europe, east and west, communist and anti-communist, was united. In order to get the British out of a particularly sensitive area of the Middle East, Russia and her junior partners switched from their established, doctrinal hostility to Zionism to a policy favouring partition and the creation of a Jewish State. No sooner was the state created than they switched back to opposition.

"From the Afro-Asian viewpoint the real villains of the piece at the United Nations were not the Europeans or the North Americans but the Latin Americans. The European and North American vote can be explained, though not excused, as an expiation of their anti-Semitic guilt. But that explanation does not apply to South America. A Zionist author has ascribed South American pro-Zionism to a belief in humanitarianism, Catholicism, the self-determination of peoples, the sovereign and juridical equality of states, and universality of UN membership. If this explanation is true the Latin Americans can be accused of the most insufferable hypocrisy. Perhaps the most charitable explanation is to say that with their Hispanic background they are more susceptible than most to quixotry. Yet, quixotic or not, their vote was decisive: a Zionist publication was quite correct when it described their support as 'the spinal column of the pro-Zionist bloc in the United Nations'.

"It should be made clear that not all the Latin American states were pro-Zionist. Cuba voted against and Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico abstained.

"The Colombian delegate was one who clearly saw the vote as inter-continental aggression: 'No wonder,' he said, 'that the plan has had to come across the Atlantic in search of the supporters it has failed to find in the countries adjoining Palestine in the eastern Mediterranean, in western Europe, or in the distant Asiatic mainland.'

"Not only the Latin Americans but almost all the pro-Zionist delegations at the UN in 1947 can be brought under the charge of hypocrisy. During the debates on the future of Palestine a resolution was put forward which asked all states to admit Jewish refugees on a quota system. It was defeated by a vote of 15 affirmative, 18 negative* and 22 abstentions. The geographical distribution on this humanitarian vote was almost the exact opposite of the political vote on partition. Those countries that voted for partition abstained on accepting Jewish refugees; and those delegations that voted against the Jewish State voted for accepting Jewish refugees. It was only the latest expression of an apparent correlation: anti-Semites are often pro-Zionist, anti-Zionists are often pro-Semites. The Zionists had no complaints about this outcome: 'It (the resolution) was denounced as gambling with the bitter lot of the refugees' wrote [Jewish Agency liaison officer with UNSCOP] Horowitz." (pp 201-202)

[*I don't have the documentary proof of Australia's vote on the vital third recommendation of this particular resolution (GA/PAL/85, 24/11/47) - the creation of a quota system for Jewish refugees - but I'd bet my bottom dollar that we voted against it.] 

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