The Balfour Declaration and 116,000 American Lives – Ron Unz 11/20/23


I’d recently mentioned that although I’ve encountered a multitude of so-called “conspiracy theories” on the Internet over the years, I’ve concluded that around 90-95% of them were false or at least unsubstantiated. However, the residual 5-10% were sufficiently well-documented and important that they had served as the basis for the lengthy American Pravda series I’d produced over the last decade, now numbering many dozens of articles and totaling well over a half-million words.

Unfortunately, the vast profusion of exciting but incorrect theories can often lead people astray. Sometimes a mainstream individual is so shocked to discover the reality of one or two stories he’d always seen dismissed by the media that he loses his bearings and begins carelessly swallowing many others as well, failing to properly separate the wheat from the chaff.

Consider the case of Tucker Carlson, who for many years had been host of the most popular news show on television. A few months before he was purged from FoxNews, he declared to his national audience that JFK had probably been killed in a conspiracy that very likely involved elements of the CIA, a segment that attracted millions of viewers on his regular live broadcast and additional millions on Youtube.

This led Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a scion of the Kennedy family and the slain President’s own nephew, to praise Carlson for the most courageous television broadcast in the last sixty years.

The most courageous newscast in 60 years. The CIA’s murder of my uncle was a successful coup d’état from which our democracy has never recovered. @TuckerCarlson

— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) December 17, 2022

So far, so good. Although people might still hotly dispute many of the details, the “JFK Conspiracy” has been massively documented over the decades, including by scholars and journalists of the highest reputation. But generations of a near-total media blockade meant that Carlson’s show probably reached more Americans with those important facts than anything since Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning film was playing in the theaters more than thirty years ago.

Unfortunately, Carlson later followed up that bold triumph by doing several segments on alleged space-aliens, endorsing the claims that UFOs had been captured and secretly hidden for many years by the American government, which then used the advanced alien technology to develop some of our leading military weaponry. Or at least that’s what I think he said, since I never watched any of that ridiculous nonsense, which was also widely promoted by other FoxNews hosts and apparently turned out to be based upon the revelations of a single government “whistleblower” with a history of psychiatric problems. The story provoked a flurry of media headlines, then quickly disappeared.

Decades of massive, detailed research by top experts should not be put in the same category as Alex Jones-type conspiracy-nonsense, and the former stories can be discredited by their association with the latter. Perhaps this might even be the nefarious purpose of promoting such disreputable leaks.

This particular example came to my mind last week when I published a long article on the surprising and controversial history of Zionism, the ideological movement that led to the creation of the State of Israel, highlighting some of the thoroughly-documented but little known elements of the story. Co-founder Max Nordau was much better known as a founding father of European racialism and the Nazi-Zionist economic partnership of the 1930s had been absolutely crucial in Israel’s creation. None of these historical facts are subject to much serious dispute, but for various reasons they have remained almost totally ignored by our mainstream media and history textbooks, so that today very few Americans are aware of them.

In my discussion, I mentioned the famous Balfour Declaration issued by the British government in 1917, a landmark Zionist political triumph that somewhat ambiguously promised the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. That agreement facilitated both the heavy Jewish immigration and the political momentum that eventually created Israel more than three decades later. My few words were not at all controversial.

Our very lightly-moderated website naturally attracts a host of highly-opinionated individuals who embrace a wide range of controversial views generally excluded from more mainstream venues. So that casual reference eventually touched off a heated debate in the comments on a notorious “conspiracy theory” very widespread among anti-Zionists.

Over the decades, many such activists have become firmly convinced that the powerful Zionist movement made a political bargain with Britain, using its political clout to drive America into the First World War in exchange for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, with the Balfour Declaration merely formalizing the deal. The arrival of large, fresh armies saved the Allies from looming defeat and tipped the balance against Germany in that colossal conflict, but also cost our country well over 100,000 lives. So the claim that the American decision for war was due to Zionist manipulation is completely incendiary. When I expressed my very strong skepticism regarding this historical scenario, I was harshly insulted and vilified, with most of the adherents being firmly convinced that the Zionists had secretly orchestrated America’s declaration of war as a crucial means of achieving their goal of a Jewish State.

A perfect example of such beliefs appeared in the 1981 memoirs of far right academic Revilo Oliver, who so fully accepted this conspiratorial narrative that he casually summarized it without argument in just a single sentence, writing that:

“…the Jews preferred to wait until the desperate British bought American troops with the Balfour Declaration, promising Palestine as the future capital of the International Empire.”

Veterans Day came a week ago, marking the 105th anniversary of the end of the Great War, once optimistically known as “the war to end all wars.” Perhaps twenty million died in that unfortunate conflict, which sparked the Bolshevik Revolution and also set the stage for its even greater sequel two decades later that laid the basis for our modern world at the cost of many tens of millions of lives and the destruction of most of Europe. As I discussed in a long article last November, I think a strong case can be made that without American intervention, a stalemate and negotiated peace would have resulted, probably producing a far better outcome for the world.

Since I hadn’t regarded the Balfour Declaration as relevant to the war, I’d never even mentioned it, but others had strongly disputed my views at that time, and if my critics are correct and America entered the war due to hidden Zionist machinations, my silence was a serious lapse. So with the origins of the State of Israel now very much in the headlines and the same controversy revived in stronger fashion, I’ve decided to take some time to carefully analyze and address it….

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