Friday, February 23, 2024

  • Friday, February 23, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

In 2012, to some fanfare, a history textbook meant for high school students was published called "Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine." On the left pages of the book is an Israeli (leftist) narrative of the the history of Zionism, and on the right hand pages is a corresponding Palestinian history, meant for people to compare and juxtapose both with each other.

Because of the parallel structure, there is no room for the "Israeli" side to mention anything about the 3,000 year Jewish history in the Land, the centuries of Jews sacrificing everything to return, the two millennia of Jews praying for the era when they can all return.  Which means that the book was a failure before it began, by framing the history of Israel to start shortly before the Balfour Declaration - a framework that ignores thousands of years of history and that makes it look like Jews are strangers in their own homeland.

On the Palestinian side, on page 3, we see a narrative that I had never heard before. And it is one that Arab historians have apparently been teaching as fact for a long time.


In light of the strong European colonial competition, Britain called for the formation of a high committee of seven European countries. The committee submitted its report in 1907 to British Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. The report asserted that the Arab countries and the Muslim-Arab people living in the Ottoman Empire presented a very real threat to the colonial countries. The report made the following recommendations: 

1. To promote a state of disintegration, division and separation in the region. 
2. To establish puppet political entities under the aegis of the European imperialist countries. 
3. To combat all kinds of unity (intellectual, spiritual, religious, or historical) and find practical means to divide the region and inhabitants from each other. 
4. To ensure the implementation of the previous recommendations, to create in Palestine a "buffer state" which would be populated by a strong, foreign human presence hostile to its neighbors and friendly to European countries and their interests. 

It could be strongly concluded, beyond any doubt, that the recommendations of the Campbell-Bannerman High Committee did in fact pave the way to Palestine for the Jews. They also gave British foreign policy and the Zionist movement the green light to annex Palestine from the other Arab lands and thereby create the nucleus of a colonial entity that would ensure the colonialists' influence in the region. 

So the British secretly conspired to wrest Palestine from the Arabs and give it to the Jews a decade before Balfour? That's big news! Why don't the Jews know about this?

I looked up what I could about Campbell-Bannerman and the 1907 Imperial Conference that he chaired. I found a two volume 800 page 1911 book that goes into great detail about Campbell-Bannerman and the Conference. 

Not a word about Palestine. Not a word about the Arabs that were supposedly a "threat to colonial countries."

How can something this important be first mentioned in English in a 2012 textbook, given the intense interest in Palestine?

The answer can be found in a 2017 article in Al Zaytouna by Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh. He says that many respected Arab historians have referenced and even quoted this document in their history books over the years, but none of them ever gave an actual reference to it, always quoting their colleagues.He traced the origins of this "document" to an Arab historian who says that an Indian fellow he sat next to on a plane in the 1940s told him he once heard about such a document. 

From that secondhand rumor came an entire branch of false Arab scholarship! 

Saleh is careful not to say that the document is fiction, even though there is not the slightest bit of evidence for it. But he does caution Arabs not to reference it anymore because it makes Arab "scholars" look silly.

This is the state of Arab scholarship in the history of pre-war Palestine. Nobody until 1917 bothered to verify the document because it was too good to check. The most basic thing any amateur historian does is look for the sources, and for decades no Arabs bothered. 

(After I wrote this I found that Maurice Hirsch of Palestinian Media Watch discovered the same thing in a 2022 article.)

(h/t Irene)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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