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The Arming of Zion
For six years the grappling masses surged to and fro over three continents, and at the end those who thought themselves the victors were further from the Holy Grail than at the start; at the victor-politicians' parleys the cock crowed a second time. Three decades earlier President Wilson had striven to cry that “the causes and objects are obscure … the objects of the statesmen on both sides are virtually the same,” and the outcome justified him. The German leaders then had decided to “foment” and Mr. House to “support” the world-revolution; the Zionists kept their headquarters in Berlin as long as they thought that a victorious Germany might set up the “Jewish homeland” in Palestine, and only transferred them when victory was seen to lie with the West.
The Second War again bore out the truth of Mr. Wilson's stifled cry. It could not have begun at all without the complicity of the world-revolution in the onslaught of the new “madman in Berlin,” and the peoples then overrun could discern no difference between the Communist and the Nazi oppression. Then, when the two turned against each other, Mr. Hopkins (in Mr. House's stead) began to “support” the world-revolution again, so that victory could bring no “liberation.” Hitler wanted to re-segregate the Jews; Mr. Brandeis in America similarly, and imperially, decreed that “No Jew must live in Germany.” Mr. Churchill desired that “three or four million Jews” should be transplanted to Palestine; the Communist state, by profession anti-Zionist, supplied the first contingent of these.
When the smoke of battle cleared only three purposes had been achieved, none of them disclosed at its start: the world-revolution, with Western arms and support, had advanced to the middle of Europe; Zionism had been armed to establish itself in Palestine by force; the “world-government,” obviously the result which these two convergent forces were intended to produce, had been set up anew in embryo form, this time in New York. The war behind the war was the true one; it was fought to divert the arms, manpower and treasure of the West to these purposes. Through the dissolving fog of war the shape of the great “design” first revealed by Weishaupt's paper, and exposed again in the Protocols, showed clear.
When the war began the intention to abandon the unworkable “Mandate” and withdraw from Palestine, after ensuring the equitable representation of all parties there, was official British policy, approved by Parliament. The Zionists saw that no British government, in any foreseeable future, could be brought to perform the actual deed of assassination: that is to say, to expel the Arabs from their own Palestine by arms. They set about to obtain arms for themselves under cover of the war.
The war was hardly begun when Dr. Weizmann appeared in Mr. Churchill's office. Unknown to the general public, this remarkable man for thirty-three years
(from the day of his interview with Mr. Balfour) had exercised mastery over the politicians of England and America. His person cannot have inspired such awe, so that they must have seen in him the representative of a force which cowed them; the one which Dr. Kastein called “the Jewish international” and Mr. Neville Chamberlain “international Jewry.”
Mr. Churchill, returned to office after ten years as First Lord of the Admiralty, presumably should have been absorbed by the war at sea, but Dr. Weizmann was concerned with other things. He said, “after the war we would want to build up a state of three or four million Jews in Palestine” and states that Mr. Churchill replied, “Yes, indeed, I quite agree with that.” Mr. Churchill, twelve months earlier, had called for “solemn assurances” to the Arabs that Zionist immigration would be regulated and restricted. Even today, in 1956, Palestine has but 1,600,000 Jews and a state of permanent warfare exists in Arabia in consequence of their introduction; if their number is to be doubled or trebled the shape of the future is apparent and Mr. Churchill, in 1939, presumably saw it.
Mr. Churchill then had no responsibility for Palestine. Dr. Weizmann evidently expected that Mr. Churchill would soon be Prime Minister. He then went to America and expounded his plan to President Roosevelt, finding him “interested” but cautious (his third election campaign impended), and returned to England, where Mr. Churchill had supplanted Mr. Chamberlain in the highest office.
Thus the situation of 1916 was recreated, with a small difference. Mr. Lloyd George was required to divert British armies to Palestine, for the initial conquest of the coveted land, and did so. Mr. Churchill was asked to divert arms to the Zionists there so that they could establish themselves, and sought to comply. Indeed, he had been giving orders in that sense for five months when he next saw Dr. Weizmann, and records them in appendices to his war memoirs.
He became prime minister on May 10, 1940 as France collapsed and the British island stood alone, defended only by the remnant of its air forces and its navy; the army had been destroyed in France. On May 23 he instructed his Colonial Secretary, Lord Lloyd, that the British troops in Palestine should be withdrawn and “the Jews armed in their own defence and properly organized as speedily as possible.” He repeated the order on May 29 (while the evacuation from Dunkirk was in progress) and on June 2. On June 6 he complained of military opposition to it, and at the end of June of “difficulties” with two responsible ministers, particularly Lord Lloyd (“who was a convinced anti-Zionist and pro-Arab; I wished to arm the Jewish colonists”).
Thus the matter was already being discussed in terms, not of national interest, but of “pro” this and “anti” that, the language of the soap-box. Mr. Churchill continued in this strain, telling Lord Lloyd that the large numbers of troops in Palestine were “the price we have to pay for the anti-Jewish policy which has been persisted in for some years” (the policy of his own White Paper of 1922). If the
Jews were properly armed, he said, British troops would be released for service elsewhere “and there would be no danger of the Jews attacking the Arabs.” He refused to acquaint Parliament with the views of the responsible minister: “I could certainly not associate myself with such an answer as you have drawn up for me.”
At that moment arms were more precious than diamonds in England. The armies rescued from France were without weapons and disorganized; Mr. Churchill records that the whole island contained barely 500 field guns and 200 tanks of any age or kind; months later he was still urgently appealing to President Roosevelt for 250,000 rifles for “trained and uniformed men” who had none. In those days I scoured the countryside to obtain, at last, a forty-year old pistol which would fire only single shots. Mr. Churchill's rousing words about fighting forever on the beaches and in the streets and never giving up did not thrill me, because I knew that, if an invasion once gained foothold, they were empty; men cannot fight tanks with bare hands. The unarmed state of the land was dire. I should have been bewildered had I known that Mr. Churchill, at such a time, gave his mind so persistently to the arming of Zionists in Palestine.
The danger of invasion was receding when Dr. Weizmann next saw Mr. Churchill, in August 1940. He then proposed that the Zionists should form an army of 50,000 men, and in September presented Mr. Churchill with “a five-point programme,” the main point of which was “the recruitment of the greatest possible number of Jews in Palestine for the fighting services.” He says that Mr. Churchill “consented to this programme.”
Lord Lloyd (like Sir William Robertson, Mr. Edwin Montagu and many others in the First War) fought hard to avert all this. He was pursued by the untimely fate which dogged many of the men who tried to do their duty in this matter: he died in 1941, aged only 62. However, responsible officials and soldiers never ceased to try and restrain the “top-line politicians” from this new diversion. Dr. Weizmann complains that, despite Mr. Churchill's support, “exactly four years were to pass before, in September 1944, the Jewish Brigade was officially formed,” and attributes this delay to the obstinate resistance of “experts” (his word). Mr. Churchill similarly complained: “I wished to arm the Jews at Telaviv … Here I encountered every kind of resistance” (July 1940, just before the air attack on Britain began).
Dr. Weizmann evidently thought the time was come to subdue this resistance by “pressure” from another quarter, for in the spring of 1941, he went again to America. At this time (as in the First War) he was nominally giving the British “war effort” the benefit of his scientific knowledge, on this occasion in the field of isoprene. He says he was “absorbed in the work,” but he contrived to make himself free from it and, as he was Dr. Weizmann, no difficulties arose about crossing the Atlantic in wartime.
The ground had been prepared for him in America, where Rabbi Stephen Wise
was instructing President Roosevelt (as he had instructed the long-dead President Wilson) about his duty towards Zionism: “On May 13, 1941 I found it necessary to send the president firsthand reports from Palestine” (the rabbi's firsthand reports about a “reported” pogrom in 1933 had produced the boycott in New York) “and write about the imperilled status of the unarmed Jews … The British Government ought to be made to understand how enormous would be the shock and how damaging its effect upon the democratic cause, if there should be a general slaughter because of failure adequately to arm the Jews as well as to strengthen the defences of Palestine with guns, tanks and planes.”
The president replied, “I can merely call to the attention of the British our deep interest in the defence of Palestine and our concern for the defence of the Jewish population there; and, as best I can, supply the British forces with the material means by which the maximum protection to Palestine will be afforded.” Equipped with this letter (as Dr. Weizmann once with a report of an interview written on British Foreign Office letter-paper) Rabbi Stephen Wise “the next day left for Washington, and after conference with high government officials felt more confident that the British would be made to understand that there must be adequate equipment (guns, tanks and planes) for our people in Palestine … And probably thanks to the intervention of Mr. Roosevelt, the business of parity had been dropped to a large extent” (the last allusion is to the insistence of responsible British administrators that, if arms were being handed around, Arabs and Zionists in equal numbers should be armed in Palestine; even Mr. Churchill had found difficulty in resisting this proposal).
These Zionist potentates in the various countries applied “irresistible pressure on international politics” in perfect synchronization. If London lagged in compliance, it was “made to understand” by Washington; had the positions been reversed the procedure would have been the opposite. Thus the mechanism had been well oiled when Dr. Weizmann arrived and he soon satisfied himself that “the top political leaders” showed “real sympathy for our Zionist aspirations.”
In Washington, as in London, he found the responsible officials a nuisance: “The trouble always began when it came to the experts in the State Department.” Below the “top-line politician” in Washington level ministers and high officials, and in Palestine American professors, missionaries and businessmen, all tried to keep American state policy free of this incubus. The chief responsible official in Washington is described by Dr. Weizmann in the identical terms used by Mr. Churchill to Lord Lloyd: “The head of the Eastern Division of the State Department was an avowed anti-Zionist and pro-Arab”; this indicates the original source of political vocabulary at the top level.
Dr. Weizmann realized that from this period on Washington was the place whence pressure might best be maintained on London, and early in 1942 transferred himself thither. His liberation from the scientific work which “absorbed” him in England was easily arranged, President Roosevelt
discovering that Dr. Weizmann was urgently needed in America to work on the problem of synthetic rubber. The American Ambassador in London, Mr. John G. Winant, scented trouble and “earnestly advised” Dr. Weizmann, when he reached America, to devote himself “as completely as possible to chemistry.” Mr. Winant was alarmed about the consequences of all these machinations, and foreboding eventually broke him; his death, soon afterwards, was of tragic nature. As for his counsel, Dr. Weizmann remarks that “actually, I divided my time almost equally between science and Zionism,” and if that was so “chemistry” came off better than any who knew Dr. Weizmann would have expected.
Before he left he “dropped in” at Ten Downing Street, where by 1942 he had been on dropping-in terms for nearly thirty years, to bid goodbye to Mr. Churchill's secretary, as he says. Not surprisingly, he saw Mr. Churchill, who said (according to Dr. Weizmann):
“When the war is over, I would like to see Ibn Saud made lord of the Middle East, the boss of the bosses, provided he settles with you … of course we shall help you. Keep this confidential, but you might talk it over with Roosevelt when you get to America. There's nothing he and I cannot do if we set our minds on it.” (Dr. Weizmann, after the interview, made a note of this confidence and gave it to the Zionist political secretary with instructions to disclose it to the Zionist executive if anything befell Dr. Weizmann; also, he published it in his later book).
Mr. Churchill erred if he expected Dr. Weizmann to help set up an Arabian “lord of the Middle East,” for that potentateship is obviously reserved to Zionism. Hence Dr. Weizmann did not even convey Mr. Churchill's message when he saw President Roosevelt and talked only about his scientific work. In other quarters he pressed for “America to send the maximum number of planes and tanks to that theatre” (Africa, where they would be most accessible to the Zionists in Palestine). At this stage he began close co-operation with Mr. Henry Morgenthau, junior, of the president's inner circle, who was to prove of “peculiar assistance” at the later, decisive moment.
Dr. Weizmann again encountered irritating hindrances: “Our difficulties were not connected with the first-rank statesmen. These had, for by far the greatest part, always understood our aspirations, and their statements in favour of the Jewish National Home really constitute a literature. It was always behind the scenes, and on the lower levels, that we encountered an obstinate, devious and secretive opposition … All the information supplied from the Middle East to the authorities in Washington worked against us.”
For nearly forty years, at that time, Dr. Weizmann had worked “behind the scenes,” deviously and in secret; history shows no comparable case. At one more behind-the-scenes meeting with President Roosevelt he then imparted Mr. Churchill's message, or rather (according to his own account) a different one: he said Mr. Churchill had assured him that “the end of the war would see a change
in the status of the Jewish National Home, and that the White Paper of 1939 would go.” He describes this as Mr. Churchill's “plan” but it is not the message previously quoted, although it might depict Mr. Churchill's mind. What is significant is that Dr. Weizmann omitted Mr. Churchill's main proposal, to make King Ibn Saoud “lord of the Middle East … provided he settles with you.”
Dr. Weizmann says that President Roosevelt's response to Mr. Churchill's plan (as thus misrepresented to him) was “completely affirmative,” which in Zionese means that he said “Yes” to a Jewish state (“a change in the status of the Jewish National Home”). The president, according to Dr. Weizmann, then himself introduced the name of Ibn Saoud, and showed himself “aware of the Arab problem.” Dr. Weizmann, if his account is correct, did not then say that Mr. Churchill recommended “a settlement” with Ibn Saoud. On the contrary, Dr. Weizmann “maintained the thesis that we could not rest our cause on the consent of the Arabs.” .
That was the opposite of Mr. Churchill's envisaged “settlement” and was specific: it meant war against the Arabs and American support for such a war. Thereon Mr. Roosevelt merely “again assured me of his sympathies and of his desire to settle the problem.”
There is some mystery in this reserve of President Roosevelt in the matter of “the Arab problem” which might have had important consequences had he not died, two years later, almost immediately after meeting Ibn Saoud. However, what he cautiously said and privately thought was no longer of vital importance in 1943, because the real decision had been taken. Behind the scenes, under cover of a war in Europe, arms were on their way to the Zionists, and this secret process was to determine the shape of the future. From this moment neither the top-line politicians, if they rebelled, nor the hard-pressed responsible officials had the power to prevent Zionism from planting in Palestine a time-bomb which may yet blow up the second half of the 20th Century.
For the time being Dr. Weizmann, in July 1943, returned to London, assured that “pressure” from Washington would be maintained.