A Tutorial for Memorial Day

Today, flags will fly in America’s front yards, a Memorial to the two great wars that kept our country free, and the world safe for democracy.

Anyway that is our orthodox explanation of 20th century history. But these slogans seem a bit jaded these days. What unifying idea could take their place? Here is one description:

Technological advance, which opened the competition for world empire, has finally shrunk our planet into a single neighborhood. Tolerance and understanding between nations are now bare necessities for survival of the human race, and no mere luxury for free thinkers. So where white Christian empires straddled the globe a century ago, racial equality, pluralistic democracy and human rights are the watchwords now….

Great é except this development did not follow anything like a straight line. The last century also witnessed unparalleled barbarism and slaughter. What went wrong?

Let’s step back to the year 1900. A change in the world order loomed as the grip of the British and French empires weakened. On the field were a number of ambitious upstarts – the USA, Germany, Italy, and Japan, and sleeping giants – Russia, China, the colonized continents, with a hundred dreams of nationhood.

Britain’s favored strategy was to play the balance of power in Europe. But when the war of succession broke out in 1914, she could not win it, save with American aid. This she was able to obtain – against our people’s better judgment – by manipulating American public opinion.

It was the end of European hegemony, the American Century. Yet it was also the Totalitarian Century. Our entry into the war had deeply destabilized Europe.

It is well known that the rise of Nazism was due directly to our defeat and humiliation of Germany, the reparations and hyperinflation. But our entry into WWI also triggered the rise of world communism. It kept Russia in the war, giving Bolshevik demagogues the chance to campaign on a peace platform. Hard pressed, the Germans sent their prisoner, Lenin, to Russia to destabilize the enemy on their Eastern front. The sequels were the Stalinist death camps and WWII. For the first time since the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, death tolls were counted in tens of millions. Half the planet é Europe, Japan, Russia, and China, fell prey to totalitarianism.

Had we just kept out of it, the European powers would have tired themselves out, and probably succeeded at building the modern structures of peace that started with the League of Nations.

On Memorial Day we would obviously rather not think that our boys died in vain, or worse. But we should remember the value of restraint, and that we have a pretty terrible record at setting the world to rights by military might. The business of America is business, not war. As the pre-eminent mercantile and military empire, our interest is stability all over the world.

Now the reason for bringing this up is not to rake the coals of 1917, but to take a sharp look at history repeating itself. We need to learn the lesson of 1917 now: leave well enough alone, avoid intrigues, and resist becoming a client of regional powers or lobbies.

Our world is not at peace, anti-terrorism measures remind us every time we get on a plane. Our foreign war that makes the world such an unsafe place has been going on against the tiny, pious people of Palestine since 1947 – in fact, since 1917. Jewish historians [2]

The Holocaust changed that completely, but there lies a second intrigue. The hard-liners who controlled the Zionist movement chose to maximize the sacrifice of the Jewish people! They knew this was the only event dramatic enough to gain the support they needed to expel the people of Palestine – the end justified any means to them.

Two Million to Bribe a President, but not a Cent for Rescue

Jewish historians have carefully documented this astonishing tale. In 1942, American Jews had learned of the extermination of their brethren in Eastern Europe, and sought a way to buy their freedom. The Nazis halted the liquidations in Slovakia for a payment of just $50,000, then agreed to let all the Jews of the Balkans and Western Europe go free for $2 million (about $1 per life!) The American Jews were eager to pay, but the Zionist command blocked this plan é they calculated that if Jews were saved, the Allies would never give the green light to the state of Israel! [4]

What we achieved with two great wars this: to turn the Holy Land into an apartheid nightmare, an aggressor state built on ethnic cleansing and racial supremacy, directly against our values and those of the liberal American Jewish community. Surely it must be completely unconstitutional for our country to finance a foreign racialist theocracy. The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” How in God’s name can Congress engage in establishing a state religion abroad for one of our religious minorities? Isn’t that also in violation of Amendment XIV, equal protection of the laws? Don’t our Christian and Muslim citizens now have an equal claim to send tens of billions of US tax dollars to Palestine?

Gradually, more Jewish intellectuals are finding the courage (to brave the smears and threats against “anti-Semitic self-hating Jews”) and speak out to say that Israel must be stopped. [6] was the root of Zionism, but Israel’s unbounded cruelty is now re-igniting enmity towards the Jewish nation.

If the Israelis could quit while they are ahead and stop pushing the Palestinians farther and farther into a corner, I would say let bygones be bygones, and so would the world. But they can’t. Israel behaves with the intransigent insolence of the usurper – whether this is racial chauvinism, the arrogance that comes of immunity from criticism, or the unruliness that comes of license and impunity. That is why the cover-up for Zionism must stop: to prevent further tragedy.

Settling civilians on occupied land is a violation of the Geneva conventions of war. In defiance of the entire world community, Israel even now insists on further invasive settlements, a proof that they want more land and war, not peace.

The Palestinian and other Arabs are tired of war; they want peace with Israel on almost any terms. But how can peace come when we continually arm the stronger side, the aggressor, the side in the wrong? With our money and arms going for ethnic cleansing, aggression, repression, torture and desecration of Christian and Muslim sacred places, we have destabilized a huge region which was once very stable and friendly to us. This is a very high risk. A sleeping giant, the Muslim world counts a population of 1 billion.

The carnage has already been great: over one million wounded in Palestine, millions of refugees, and human catastrophes in other parts of the Islamic world, Iraq and Afghanistan. Are these the first signs of a destabilization that will rip the 21st century apart é thanks to reckless American support of the “security concerns” of a “democracy”?

Let us return to the program of the American Jewish petition to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference:

“We rejoice in the avowed proposal of the Peace Congress to put into practical application the fundamental principles of democracy. That principle which asserts equal rights for all citizens of a state, irrespective of creed or ethnic descent…. We protest against the political segregation of the Jews, and the re-establishment in Palestine of a distinctly Jewish state as utterly opposed to the principles of democracy…”

Perhaps it is not too late… I hope my grandson will not be writing the same sort of post mortem in the year 2101, on the next generations of tragic victims of American foreign policy madness.


[2]  300 prominent representatives of the American Jewish community published a petition to Woodrow Wilson in the NY Times and presented it at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, protesting against the Zionist project, and demanding a pluralist democracy in Palestine. See http://www.al-bushra.org/jerusalem1/statement.htm

[4] Gore Vidal, in his foreword to “Jewish History, Jewish Religion, The Weight of Three Thousand Years” by Professor Israel Shahak. See http://djmed.virtualave.net/jewishtoc.htm

[6]  The term anti-Semitism is not correct here, because the major Semitic people are the Arabs. To say anti-Semitic for anti-Jewish is to deny the existence of the Arabs, and of the prejudice against Arabs, making the very term itself anti-Semitic!

Mr. John-Paul Leonard is a free-lance writer and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN)