Lawrence of Arabia was really a Zionist?

  • #1
I'm not sure if this is politics or history but it certainly is both.

An extraordinary claim by a historian(Sir Martin Gilbert) Who claims to have uncovered evidence that T.E.Lawrence, far from being the staunch Arabist he was made out to be, may have had more Zionist leanings.

Anyone think the man responsible in no small part for the independence and formation of the Arabs states was also a Zionist sympathiser, it'll be interesting to see the sources when they arrive. I don't think the two are incompatible at all, I support both sides myself, or am against neither at least, I prefer to fence sit :smile:

Anyway just something that caught my interest in the news I thought I'd share.

Background information about T.E.Lawrence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._E._Lawrence

The article:-

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2300412.ece" [Broken]

Lawrence of Arabia was really a Zionist, historian claims
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Published: 24 February 2007

It appears to be revisionism on a grand scale. Popular imagination, fed on Peter O'Toole's portrayal in David Lean's film classic Lawrence of Arabia, will have a hard time absorbing the startling assertion by the historian Sir Martin Gilbert that its hero was in fact a "serious Zionist" who believed in a "Jewish state from the Mediterranean shore to the River Jordan".

Sir Martin, who plans to back up his myth-challenging claim in his next book, declared here this week that TE Lawrence, long regarded as the unrivalled prototype of the British Arabist, "had a sort of contempt for the Arabs, actually. He felt that only with a Jewish state would the Arabs make anything of themselves."

The British Jewish historian who has written histories of Israel and the Holocaust, as well as his monumental biography of Winston Churchill, made front-page news here when he told The Jerusalem Post during the city's international book fair: "The most interesting thing from an Israeli perspective is about Lawrence of Arabia. The great Arabist, right? The man who supported the Arabs and pushed for Arab nationhood in the 1920s. He is always pictured wearing Arab robes. What is so astonishing * which you'll see in my next book, Churchill and the Jews * is that he was a serious Zionist."

Sir Martin revealed last night that a series of minutes written by Lawrence, which he uncovered in the National Archive, demonstrated his sympathy with the Zionist cause. Working for Churchill in 1921, for example, he clearly identified "the area of Palestine from the Mediterranean to Jordan" as the "Jewish National Home".

While the discoveries overturn many popular assumptions about Lawrence in Britain and much of the Arab world, they will come as less of a surprise to prominent historians here.

Norman Rose of the Hebrew University, and a leading expert on the history of Zionism in Britain, leaves little room for doubt about Lawrence's admiration for Chaim Weizmann in his biography of the Belarus-born Zionist who became a British citizen in 1910, was the leading lobbyist for the 1917 Balfour declaration pledging a Jewish homeland, and the first President of Israel.

The biography quotes Lawrence as telling the Archbishop of Jerusalem, a sceptic about Weizmann, that the Zionist leader "is a great man whose boots neither you nor I are fit to black". When Weizmann finally settled in Palestine in 1934, and told his friend Lewis Namier that he regretted not having done so a decade earlier, Namier could not resist replying that Lawrence had remarked to him of Weizmann that "one does not build the National Home by living in a villa in Addison Road". This was hardly, to put it mildly, the sentiment of an anti-Zionist.

Lawrence, who had played a leading part in co-ordinating the Arab revolt against the Turks to serve British interests, mediated and translated at the post war Jewish-Arab accord between the future King Feisal of Iraq and Weizmann, which allowed for "large-scale immigration" of Jews to Palestine and implementation of the Balfour declaration in return for the Arab state promised * and then reneged on * by the British.

Professor Rose said yesterday: "I am no expert on Lawrence, but this was when many people did not see a contradiction between a Jewish National Home and Arab independence."

In 1921, when Churchill was Colonial Secretary, Lawrence worked closely with him as an adviser from the Department's Middle East Department, travelling with him to the Cairo conference when Feisal was assigned the kingship of Iraq and his brother Abdullah the Emirate of Transjordan.

It was from this period that several of the documents uncovered by Sir Martin originate. Lawrence, for example, wrote that part of Abdullah's job would be to "check anti-Zionism" and prevent infiltration from what is now Jordan into the "Jewish National Home".

It seems logical to imagine that working so closely with the minister, he shared at the time Churchill's warmth to the idea of a Jewish homeland, and probably an eventual Jewish state. "Churchill was pro-Zionist," says Professor Rose. "No question."
I noticed in the wikipedia article a map penned by Lawrence himself, denoting envisioned borders for the Arabs, notice Sanai,the area beyond Egypt and the mountain where Moses recieved the ten commandments. I wonder if this was a nod to the Jews of the time?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7e/Lawrence_map800.jpg [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
23
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I think the key comment here is:
Professor Rose said yesterday: "I am no expert on Lawrence, but this was when many people did not see a contradiction between a Jewish National Home and Arab independence."
 
  • #3
Art
I think the key comment here is:
Yes most people thought then that the jews and the muslims could coexist in a single state. In fact I believe when the zionists declared independence it had less than wholehearted support from the jewish population of the time.

Perhaps the world would be a more peaceful place today if a single state solution had been adopted at the time with all Semites both Muslims and Jews living peacefully side by side.
 
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  • #4
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Yes most people thought then that the jews and the muslims could coexist in a single state. In fact I believe when the zionists declared independence it had less than wholehearted support from the jewish population of the time.
On what do you base this?
Perhaps the world would be a more peaceful place today if a single state solution had been adopted at the time with all Semites both Muslims and Jews living peacefully side by side.
Let's not get back to the whole "who started it" routine. By 1947 there was enough animosity to warrant a two state solution - take for example the 1929 Hebron Massacre in which the Arabs of Hebron massacred, raped and mutilated their centuries-long Jewish neighbours.
 
  • #5
Art
On what do you base this?
People such as Rabbi Judah Leon Magnes led a movement which favoured a bi-national solution. Also Brit Shalom also known as the Jewish-Palestinian Peace Alliance, who btw Einstein supported, also favoured a bi-national solution.

Let's not get back to the whole "who started it" routine. By 1947 there was enough animosity to warrant a two state solution - take for example the 1929 Hebron Massacre in which the Arabs of Hebron massacred, raped and mutilated their centuries-long Jewish neighbours.
I wasn't trying to be controversial but seeing as you brought it up there are also innumerable examples from that time of zionists massacring arabs and British too for that matter.

I'm not arguing with the terminology used but if the callous murder of 67 jews at Hebron constitutes a massacre what term do you think should be used to describe the brutal murder of >40,000 Lebanese civilians by Israel and it's militias in 1982 or the slaughter of more than 1000 Lebanese civilians last year? Genocide perhaps??

Here's a quote from the Polish immigrant David Gruen better known as David Ben-Gurion.
There is no question as to whether a reaction is necessary or not ... Blowing up a house is not enough. What is necessary is cruel and strong reactions. We need precision in time, place and casualties. If we know the family, strike mercilessly, women and children included. Otherwise the reaction is inefficient. At the place of action there is no need to distinguish between guilty and innocent.
In June 1963 Ben-Gurion resigned as Prime Minister because of the "Lavon Affair," and was replaced by Levi Eshkol. Pinhas Lavon had been Defense Minister in 1954 when an Israeli spy ring was caught in Egypt, trying to blow up the USIA and other Western targets and putting the blame on the Egyptians. Lavon refused to take responsibility, insisting that Ben Gurion had given the order. Does this sound like state sponsored terrorism to you?
 
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  • #6
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People such as Rabbi Judah Leon Magnes led a movement which favoured a bi-national solution. Also Brit Shalom also known as the Jewish-Palestinian Peace Alliance, who btw Einstein supported, also favoured a bi-national solution.
One needs to be very clear about the timelines in such circles of violence. The animosity between Arabs and Jews in Palestine did not form overnight. Unfortunately, support for Brit-Shalom drastically declined after the 1929 Arab revolt:
With the increased persecution of Jews, the outbreak of World War II and violence in Palestine, Magnes realized that his vision of a voluntary negotiated treaty between Arabs and Jews had become politically impossible. In an article in January 1942 in Foreign Affairs he suggested a joint British-American initiative to prevent the division of Palestine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Ruppin" [Broken] was among the founders of the Brit Shalom peace movement, which supported a binational state, but he left Brith Shalom after the 1929 Hebron massacre. Thereafter he was convinced that only an independent Jewish state would be possible, and he believed that the way to bring about that state was through continued settlement.
IMO, a binational solution is a pipe dream, not unlike communism and "enlightened" occupations.

I wasn't trying to be controversial but seeing as you brought it up there are also innumerable examples from that time of zionists massacring arabs and British too for that matter.
Again, one needs to examine the historical contexts in these events.

I'm not arguing with the terminology used but if the callous murder of 67 jews at Hebron constitutes a massacre what term do you think should be used to describe the brutal murder of >40,000 Lebanese civilians by Israel and it's militias in 1982 or the slaughter of more than 1000 Lebanese civilians last year? Genocide perhaps??
Israel never murdered 40,000 Lebanese, it (foolishly) entered into a bloody civil war. The total casualty number from the period of Israel's involvement does not approach even half of your figure. The famous massacres of Sabra and Shatila, for which Israel was indirectly responsible, were committed by http://www.aceviper.net/members/cobra/07.html" [Broken]:
By noon on Thursday, September 16, 1982, the Shababs started advancing through the Beirut Airport Road. By 4:30 p.m., the Lebanese Forces had crossed the Israeli lines surrounding the camps. Sharon had given strict orders to Hobeika to guard against any desperate move, should his men run amuck. They were to behave like a real dignified, regular army not like "chocolate soldiers" and coordinate with the Israeli command. Their mission was to exert pressure an the Palestinians to drive them all out of the camp, and pick out the PLO agents left behind after the evacuation of the Palestinians in August, 1982. They were rallied at the Cite Sportive and held prisoners. After inspection the civilians would be sent back to their homes. However, Hobeika gave his own instructions to his men: "Total extermination ... camps wiped out."
Nonetheless, it is a shameful stain on Israel's history, which led to a 300,000-strong demonstration in Tel-Aviv and ultimately, a bitter dispute between prime-minister Begin and Ariel Sharon. Now let us get back to the original argument.

Here's a quote from the Polish immigrant David Gruen better known as David Ben-Gurion.
I was searching for the source on Google, but all it came up with were anti-Israeli sources. Perhaps you can provide a reliable source, preferably one that will present the entire passage so we can recognise the context.

In June 1963 Ben-Gurion resigned as Prime Minister because of the "Lavon Affair," and was replaced by Levi Eshkol. Pinhas Lavon had been Defense Minister in 1954 when an Israeli spy ring was caught in Egypt, trying to blow up the USIA and other Western targets and putting the blame on the Egyptians. Lavon refused to take responsibility, insisting that Ben Gurion had given the order. Does this sound like state sponsored terrorism to you?
Actually, Lavon never blamed Ben-Gurion, since Ben-Gurion was retired at the time, but on the head of military intelligence, Binyamin Gibli. Still, Lavon resigned as defense minister and was succeded by Ben-Gurion, who went on to become prime-minister yet again. It was at this time that the tensions between the two emerged, due to Ben-Gurion's refusas to acquit Lavon based on the findings of a commission his own government initiated. The politics of that period are the subject of endless studies and debates, but it is generally agreed that Lavon was "picked on" by Ben-Gurion, whose strong-armed politics may have been necessary at earlier times (see the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altalena_Affair" [Broken]) but were now obsolete, and his breakaway party won only 10 seats in the next election.
 
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  • #7
194
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Let's not get back to the whole "who started it" routine. By 1947 there was enough animosity to warrant a two state solution - take for example the 1929 Hebron Massacre in which the Arabs of Hebron massacred, raped and mutilated their centuries-long Jewish neighbours.
YONOZ take to heart the statement made by YONOZ this has nothing to do with "Who Started it" it is about whether TE Lawrence had in mind a Jewish state within the unified arab states.
You seem to have taken an opportunity based on some nonspecific statements by ART to hijack this thread and turn it into a lets blame the Arab nation thread.
Both sides have carried escallating attacks on civilians and to call them acts of terrorism or acts of valid defence can be equally applied to both sides.
Can we have the original thread back now please.
 
  • #8
23
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YONOZ take to heart the statement made by YONOZ this has nothing to do with "Who Started it" it is about whether TE Lawrence had in mind a Jewish state within the unified arab states.
You seem to have taken an opportunity based on some nonspecific statements by ART to hijack this thread and turn it into a lets blame the Arab nation thread.
Both sides have carried escallating attacks on civilians and to call them acts of terrorism or acts of valid defence can be equally applied to both sides.
Can we have the original thread back now please.
My apologies.
 

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