Thursday, 21 January 2016
Once Upon A Time Britain’s Survival Instinct Was In Tune With Reality
Introduction by Gilad Atzmon:
The following is an extract from a recent Haaretz article written by an ultra Zionist, Dave Rich Deputy Director of Communications of the dubious * Community Security Trust, a pro Israel extremist group concerned with the security of one people only. Unwisely, Rich reveals that in the 1970s the Brits understood what they were up against. They were concerned about Jewish power and the Jewish Lobby and for a good reason. Back in the 1970s, British survival instincts were on full alert. Reading this may make a few of you nostalgic.
Late in 1971 the British embassies in Washington D.C., Paris, Bonn, The Hague, Rome and Brussels received a request from Whitehall, to provide information about the activities of Zionist organizations in their respective countries. The embassy in Tel Aviv was also asked for its view and diplomats in Whitehall gave their own opinion of British Zionist lobbying.
FCO(Foreign Commonwealth Office) officials were well aware of “the sensitive nature of the paper”, as Richard Evans, head of the Near East Department, put it, and were keen that Israel should not find out.
British diplomats in Paris, Rome, Bonn and the other West European capitals were baffled by the project. The reality of Jewish life in post-Holocaust Europe seems not to have reached the mandarins of Whitehall. “There is really no Jewish life as such in the Federal Republic, and nor do the Jews form any kind of unified pressure group”, the Bonn embassy wrote poignantly when asked for an assessment of Zionist influence in West Germany.
At the heart of the FCO’s research project was a fascination with the power and influence of American Jewry. One Washington-based diplomat wrote of the “enormous influence (which can scarcely be exaggerated) of the Jewish intellectuals… It follows that much of the intellectual thought and discussion, certainly on the East Coast, is dominated by Jewish savants.” No evidence is offered of these intellectuals’ Zionist inclinations or writings, which was taken as read.
‘Why has the American Jewish community become so rich and powerful?’
The D.C. embassy’s 19 page response was written by Ramsay Melhuish, a future U.K. ambassador to Kuwait and Thailand. Despite offering a definition of Zionism as “active support for Israel and her policies”, it included two pages of demographic statistics about American Jews, including population size and distribution, birth rate, education, occupation, income and religious observance. Melhuish segued easily to comment on Zionist influence on Congress (Political); Zionist influence on Congress (Financial); Influence on the Election; Influence on the President; and Fund Raising Activity.
The confluence of Zionist activity with basic Jewish demography highlights how easily an investigation into Zionist influence – however that is defined – slipped into a more general suspicion of Jewish communal life and politics.
The impression given was of a well-organized, well-financed lobbying machine. It may have lacked the power to force any President to act against what he considered to be American national interests, Melhuish cautioned, but given the “universal appeal” of support for Israel this rarely mattered: Zionism in America was “quite distinct from the lobbying efforts of other ethnic minorities.”
The political use of “Jewish money” was of particular interest. One FCO official asked if “we might try and explain why the American Jewish Community has become so rich and powerful.” Melhuish wrote a second paper about “the battle for the Jewish vote and Jewish money” between Democratic Presidential nominees in 1972. The British embassy in Tel Aviv suggested examining “the alleged link between the financial contributions of American Jews to Israel and the profits of crime syndicates.”
The financial contributions of British Jews were the subject of a remarkable account in late 1972 by Sir Bernard Ledwidge, the British ambassador to Israel, of a fundraising dinner for 200 visiting British Jews at which Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was guest of honor. Donations were pledged in an atmosphere that Ledwidge compared to “a revivalist meeting when the confessions start to fly.” “After such an evening,” Ledwidge wrote to British Foreign Secretary Sir Alex Douglas-Home, “a professional diplomat is apt to feel that he understands less about life than he thought. To a functionary who has worked for a salary all his life, it is an eye-opener to discover that so much money is still in so few hands in our society.” Sadly, the response of the aristocratic Foreign Secretary to this particular observation is not recorded.
The ‘inhibiting effect’ of the Zionist lobby
Frustratingly, all the actual drafts of the research paper itself are missing from the relevant files in the U.K. National Archives, even though the paper clearly went through several drafts. The first draft suggested that Zionist lobbying had “a negligible effect” in Western Europe, and that, “while an important factor in U.S. politics, it could be over-ridden by the Administration if the American national interest demanded it.”
David Gore-Booth, a future U.K. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, felt that this underestimated Zionist influence in the U.S. and the U.K. For the former, he argued that neither party in the U.S. could run a Presidential campaign without “Jewish money”. And for the latter, while he acknowledged that Zionist influence in the U.K. was “less great” than in the U.S., he felt it was still able to have an “inhibiting effect” on policy.
His view of the ruling U.K. Labour Party was that “65 MPs in one party is a substantial body of men” that would place a Labour government under considerable pressure. This was probably an estimate of the Parliamentary membership of Labour Friends of Israel, as there were not 65 Jewish Labour MPs at that time. “Although the Jewish Lobby in the Tory party is much smaller,” he went on, “it can still not be ignored and Ministers are very sensitive to it.”
Gore-Booth’s candid fear that neither Labour nor Conservative governments could withstand “the Jewish Lobby” was shared by Ted Orchard, the FCO’s Director of Research. “I do not think it can be denied that under a Labour Government the pressures to adopt a less evenhanded approach to the Middle East are considerable”, Orchard wrote, adding that the “Jewish lobby” in the Conservative Party could also apply pressure to ministers.
To read the entire article: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.697926?v=2A91115FE31D978C4744F12E8D540005?date=1453280241298