100 Years After Balfour Declaration, The Arabs Have Failed Where Israel Has Excelled

MEMRI Why International Farhud Day Stymies Invented Palestinian History

Lebanese Journalist: 100 Years After Balfour Declaration, The Arabs Have Failed Where Israel Has Excelled

February 20, 2018 Special Dispatch No.7344 https://www.memri.org/reports/lebanese-journalist-100-years-after-balfour-declaration-arabs-have-failed-where-israel-has

In a November 25, 2017 article marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, published in the London-based daily Al-Hayat, Lebanese journalist Karam Al-Hilu compared the meager accomplishments of the Arab world in the past century with those of the rest of the countries of the world, particularly Israel. He noted that Israel’s supremacy in the areas of science, economy, society, and politics is the source of its strength as well as the source of the Arabs’ failure in confronting it.

Karam Al-Hilu. Source: Madardaily, May 15, 2017

Karam Al-Hilu. Source: Madardaily, May 15, 2017

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]

“A century after the Balfour Declaration… the Arabs have not managed to build a [a single] state that possesses knowledge, justice, and the economic, social, and human capability for confronting Zionism. One hundred years have been squandered, in all aspects; during them, the Arabs have been confronting Israel while their cultural infrastructure was in crisis – in the areas of knowledge, politics, economy, society, and thought. According to the 2014 [UN] report on knowledge in the Arab world [the Arab Knowledge Report], despite the 500 Arab universities, with an enrollment of nine million students and faculties of 220,000 lecturers, higher education in the Arab world is very meager in scientific research, in its failure to adapt to digital culture, and in its incompatibility with [universal] scientific and human culture. Outlay on scientific research is extremely negligible. Even in Egypt, the Arab country where the [cultural] awakening is the most deeply rooted, [only] 0.43% of the [gross] national product [is allocated to scientific research], versus 4.04% in South Korea and 3.39% in Japan. Therefore, scientists and research output are a rarity in the Arab world, and the research that is published [there] constitutes only 0.8% of the global average. The number of patents registered to the Arabs in the past 50 years does not exceed [the number of those] registered by Malaysia alone.

“Not a single Arab university ranks among the 500 best in the world, while Israel supersedes the Arabs at an astronomical rate, in inventions and in hi-tech export. Israel has completely wiped out illiteracy [among its citizens], while among the Arabs, 23% remain illiterate.

“The Arabs have not, over the past century of conflict with Zionism, succeeded in building a [single] state of law and justice. The 2017 international transparency report showed that six of the 10 most corrupt countries in the world are Arab. Countries such as Egypt and Tunisia are ranked 108th in corruption, and Lebanon is 136th, while Israel takes 33rd place, which places it with the developed countries.[2]

“[The Arabs] have also not succeeded in building a ‘nation,’ a ‘homeland,’ or a ‘society,’ in the words of Constantin Zureiq,[3] for the tribal division still distances them from [achieving] pan-Arab unity. They also have not managed to establish a country [in which there is] economic justice; the class gaps [among the Arabs] are very great and unemployment, particularly among young people, tops out at 35.7% in Egypt, 32.1% in Iraq, and 45.3% in Mauritania.

“The Arabs’ resistance against Israel must start with their reading of these numbers and these facts. Indeed, they have spared no blood, martyrdom, or [self-]sacrifice, but they have been negligent in the areas of science, economy, society, and politics that are the source of Israel’s strength – just as they are the source of our failure in confronting it.”

 

[1] Al-Hayat (London), November 25, 2017.

[2] A reference to Transparency.org’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2016, published January 2017. The ranking of Egypt, Tunisia, and Lebanon given in the article are accurate, but Israel’s is not – it is actually in 28th place. Transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016#table.

[3] Syrian intellectual Constantin Zureiq was a pioneer in researching Arab nationalism.

Why International Farhud Day Stymies Invented Palestinian History

by Edwin Black https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/05/30/why-international-farhud-day-stymies-invented-palestinian-history/

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini and Adolf Hitler December 1941

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini and Adolf Hitler December 1941

When International Farhud Day was proclaimed at a conference convened at the United Nations headquarters on June 1, 2015, its proponents wanted to achieve more than merely establish a commemoration of the ghastly 1941 Arab-Nazi pogrom in Baghdad that killed and injured hundreds of Iraqi Jews. Farhud means violent dispossession. The Farhud was but the first bloody step along the tormented path to the ultimate expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from across the Arab world. That systematic expulsion ended centuries of Jewish existence and stature in those lands.

 

Jews had thrived in Iraq for 2,700 years, a thousand years before Muhammad. But all that came to end when the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, led the broad Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust that produced a military, economic, political, and ideological common cause with Hitler. Although Husseini spearheaded an international pro-Nazi, anti-Jewish Islamic movement from India to Central Europe to the Middle East, it was in Baghdad — a 1,000-kilometer drive from Jerusalem — that he launched his robust coordination with the Third Reich.

 

In 1941, Iraq still hosted Britain’s Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which controlled the region’s oil. Hitler wanted that oil to propel his invasion of Russia. The Arabs, led by Husseini, wanted the Jews out of Palestine and Europe’s persecuted Jews kept away from the Middle East. Indeed, Husseini persuasively argued to Hitler that Jews should not be expelled to Palestine but rather to “Poland,” where “they will be under active control.” Translation: send Jews to the concentration camps. Husseini had visited concentration camps. He had been hosted by architect of the genocide Heinrich Himmler, and the mufti considered Shoah engineer Adolf Eichmann not only a great friend, but a “diamond” among men.

 

Nazi lust for oil and Arab hatred of Jews combined synergistically June 1–2, 1941, burning the Farhud into history. Arab soldiers, police, and hooligans, swearing allegiance to the mufti and Hitler, bolstered by fascist coup plotters known as the Golden Square, ran wild in the streets, raping, shooting, burning, dismembering, and decapitating. Jewish blood flowed through those streets and their screams created echoes that have never faded.

 

The 1941 Farhud massacre, which was launched in tandem with an attempted takeover of the British oil fields and London’s airbase at Habbaniya, set the stage for the Mufti-Hitler summit and the establishment of three Islamic and Arab Waffen SS divisions in central Europe under Himmler’s direct sponsorship. After the State of Israel was established in 1948, mufti adherents and devotees throughout the Arab world, working through the Arab League, openly and systematically expelled 850,000 Jews from Morocco to Lebanon. Penniless and stateless, many of those refugees were airlifted to Israel where they were absorbed and became almost half the families of Israel.

 

Remembering the tragic facts of the Farhud process will make it harder for the newly-invented history to take root. After the Arabs rebranded themselves as “Palestinians” in May 1964 with the backing of the Soviet KGB, a new narrative began to come together. In part, it pretends that the Arabs of Ottoman and then British Palestine did not arrive in the seventh century during the Arab-Islamic Conquest, as history records. Their narrative now asserts that are actually descendants of the Canaanites and the Philistines. Palestine is named for the Philistines. After the Jews were expelled by the Romans in about 135-136 CE, the name of their nation was changed from Judea to Syria Palaestina. But in truth, the Israelites gave rise to the only true surviving Canaanites. The Philistines were Greek Island sea invaders defeated by Ramses III in about 1150 BCE and sequestered into the Gaza Pentapolis, not Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula who conquered in the seventh century CE.

 

Invented Palestinian history also asserts that present-day Israelis are almost entirely transplants from such alien regions as the Ukraine, Poland, Brooklyn, and Germany — or descendants thereof. Remembering the Farhud helps us understand that almost half the early Jewish families in newly-declared Israel were not from across the sea, but rather from across the river, across the bridge, down the road, and plucked from the same culture.

 

What’s more, the fabricated Palestinian history laments that Palestine became just a consolation prize for the Holocaust — a tragedy that either never occurred or was a purely European misdeed for which Arabs are not responsible and in which they were not involved. Remembering the 1941 Farhud and the Arab-Nazi alliance that sparked it, locks in Arab involvement in the Holocaust as one of full partnership with the Third Reich. This Nazi-Arab alliance thrived, complete with tens of thousands of Islamic and Arab volunteers arduously fighting in the trenches, coordinating diplomatic and strategic affairs through the Arab Higher Committee, broadcasting nightly incendiary hate messages beginning with words “Oh Muslims,” and undertaking all things calculated to advance a German victory which promised an Arab state in Palestine and a disappeared Jewish population. No wonder the Arab marketplaces were filled with placards that exhorted, “In Heaven, Allah is your ruler. On Earth, it is Adolf Hitler.”

 

The established and incontrovertible facts chronicling the Arab world’s deep and enthusiastic anti-Jewish alliance with the Third Reich during the Holocaust, which exploded into the Farhud, plus the subsequent population shift that Arab governments engineered to expel 850,000 of their own Jewish citizens, make it impossible to weave a fabric of invented history. Recognizing, remembering, and reminding the world of those facts on International Farhud Day, June 1, will help all participants and observers of the Arab-Israeli conflict confront the true legacy that has helped create today’s stalemate. Recognition is the first step along the painful path toward reconciliation.

 

Edwin Black is the New York Times bestselling author of IBM and the Holocaust, and the prize-winning book The Farhud — Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust. In 2015, Black organized and founded International Farhud Day.