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Battleground: Fact & Fantasy in Palestine Paperback – September 1, 2002
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The most shocking revelation is the part played by the British Foreign Office throughout the 1920s up until the establishment of Israel in 1948. The role of the UK was highly ambiguous to say the least. Further disillusionment came in the revelations of the role of the US State Department, particularly the delay in sending assistance to Israel during the 1973 war.
It seems that Israel cannot really trust any other government to safeguard its people, not even allies. As played out in the 20th century the game of realpolitik shows that any state puts it own interests first.
The book demolishes many romantic myths, such as the so-called war of Arab liberation against the Ottoman Empire. In truth, no such thing ever occurred in any real sense and the myth of Lawrence of Arabia is thoroughly exposed for the fraud that it is.
Katz also documents the real cause of the conflict, which should be clear by now to the objective observer. It is not about land or about a Palestinian state, but about the destruction of Israel. He exposes the propaganda war against Israel in its various manifestations.
There was the one conducted by the Soviet Union until its collapse in the early 1990s, there is the one conducted by Liberal/Left media like the BBC (See The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion by Bernard Harrison) from the beginning, and there is the relentless campaign of hatred in the Arab media (See Peace: The Arabian Caricature of Anti-Semitic Imagery by Arieh Stav). And let's not forget the religious front, briliantly dissected by Paul Charles Merkley in Christian Attitudes Towards the State of Israel .
Western politicians and media have ignored this last one, so crass, so blatant and so downright evil, for many decades. In our Internet age, however it cannot be concealed anymore. The continuing bias against Israel is explored by Stephanie Gutmann in her book The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy .
Battleground does a tremendous job of providing the verifiable facts in a highly readable text. In reading this book, I once again realized that Israel is a miracle, established by the hand of Providence. Despite all the betrayals and broken promises, the olive tree was planted and is thriving.
And Zionism is the only one of the great ideological "isms" that was successful and bore good fruit. If it had not been for the many obstacles and betrayals, many of those who perished in the Holocaust would have found refuge in Israel. The book Auschwitz & the Allies by Martin Gilbert documents this shameful history in great detail. The enormity of the betrayal fills one with revulsion and despair.
But Israel has already become a blessing to the world, as shown in the book Israel in the World: Changing Lives Through Innovation , by Douglas and Helen Davis. For further understanding of the background to the conflict, I recommend The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini by Chuck Morse.
And for further disturbing revelations, this time relating to European policy towards Israel, the book Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye'or is essential reading. But there is no better book than Battleground to expose the lies, the distortions and the root causes of the conflict. The book concludes with indices of relevant documents, a bibliography and an index.
Katz traces the origins of the Arab war against Israel. That means supplying background material on the Jews of the Levant prior to modern Zionism. That helps us all realize that Jews had an important connection to and presence in the Levant during the many centuries between the defeats by the Romans and World War One. And it makes it clear that Jerusalem was not an Arab city in the latter quarter of the nineteenth century but virtually the only Asian city with a Jewish majority.
The book exposes many antizionist fabrications about the history of the region. Sometimes, antizionists tell us that Jerusalem is a holy city for the Arabs. But the author shows us that Jerusalem has been important to the Arabs only recently, when the Jews have ruled it. It is important now, because it is the Jewish capital, and because it would give the Arabs more esteem were they to deny the Jews their own capital city.
The author also goes into some detail about the role of Great Britain in the history of the region from the end of World War One until Israeli independence. He mentions the revelations of Richard Crossman about the intentions of Britain's foreign minister, Ernest Bevin, to destroy the Jews of the region rather than act as an honest broker between the Jews and Arabs. And Katz shows how Britain acted as an active participant in the confrontation, with the explicit purpose of preventing the establishment of a Jewish state by force. That includes the infamous White Paper of 1939, which drastically limited Jewish immigration to the region just when it was most needed for those attempting to avoid death at the hands of the Germans.
I think Katz is at his best in discussing a very prevalent lie we all see today, namely that Arabs have at least as much of a right to steal Israeli land as the Israelis do to keep it. And that the reason is that there is an Arabic-speaking subpeople that can live only on Israeli land.
We've seen this argument before. When Germans wanted to occupy Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, they pretended to do so on behalf of the German-speaking "Sudeten" people. These were Germans who happened to live in Czechoslovakia. But there was no symmetry between the desire of Czechs to enjoy human rights, protected by their government, and the desire of many Germans to deny human rights to the Czechs. And once the Germans obtained Czechoslovakia, the pretense of a Sudeten people was abandoned.
The author makes us aware of a similar problem today. While antizionists may imply that there is a huge Arab population that can live only on Jewish land, that's simply not the case. Katz explains that when Arabs controlled the entire West Bank from 1948 through 1967, not even allowing Jews to live there at all, there were no demands for a separate Arab state there. And he makes us realize that even an Arab victory against the Jews of the region would not produce peace: the Arabs would continue to fight against each other for the spoils. In addition, I think that since the Jews have not been the source of the problem, removing them will not solve it.
The author quotes a few Arabs who feel there will not and should not be peace in the region as long as Israel continues to exist as a Jewish state. And this is a major point. Many people have the misimpression that since there are more Arabs than Jews, the Arabs have a right to oppress or destroy the Jews. Or at least that history is on the side of the Arabs, who will get what they want whether they have a right to do so or not.
But I think readers of this book will come away from it aware that Israel is a nation like any other. And that it is land-poor, not land-rich. In peacetime, Israel, like the Netherlands or the Czech Republic, simply will not be defeated. To get rid of such nations, small as they are, would require a major crime. Obliterating the human rights of the Czechs, Dutch, or Hebrews would be a crime as well. Tacit approval of these crimes would set a very poor precedent for everyone, and thus such crimes are by no means inevitable.