New York Post

MONDAY, JULY 12, 1948

Britain’s Bitter Fruit

Anti-Semitism in the Middle East Fails to Produce
a Harvest–Except Perhaps for Egypt


British intrigue against Israel bears better fruit, and there is much gall for all concerned to drink. All over the world the British are now regarded as enemies of liberty; a people who know no pity and who pursue refugees form death camps on the high sea; a people who have no piety and who shell the sacred city of the earth; a nation that breaks solemn obligations to those who side with her in her darkest hour and that is untrustworthy in a historical trust. The British have become the torchbearers of anti-Semitism in our day. In the intervals between their periodic requests for loans from this country–never to be repaid–they stage their little orgies of anti-Semitism and preach it from soap boxes, from pulpits and from the government seat in parliament. Israel-baiting is the latest pastime in London salons and saloons, as well.

* * *

The British gave up their mandate in dishonor. For three decades and especially during the past ten years, they have done everything that could be of hindrance to the Jewish national home. Before leaving the country, they made a deliberate plan to fight the Jews of Palestine, not with British soldiers, but with Arab soldiers, and not with British money, but with American money. They calculate that the Israelis would beat the Army of Liberation of the ex-Mufti. The British fear and mistrust the ex-Mufti and, in this manner, played against him, while on the surface they support his Arab Higher Committee.

Then they let loose on Israel the Legion of John B. Glubb Pasha, and did it with outright deceit in Parliament. Bevin had promised that this Legion, brought in the closing days of the mandate from Transjordan to Palestine for police duty, would be returned to Transjordan when the time came, but it was not. Later he promised that its British officers would be withdrawn—but they were not. The Legion numbers between 15,000 and 20,000 trained tribesmen. As long as it is intact, Transjordan is stronger than any other Arab country; if the Legion is defeated in its fight against Israel, the British reputation in Arab lands will be very low. Therefore the British organized the invasion of Palestine by five Arab states—Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq–with two more states, Saudi-Arabia and Yemen, contributing.

* * *

The brunt of the fighting on the Arab side was carried by the Transjordan Legion. It was heavily mauled. It is probable that a third of Glubb’s troops have been killed or wounded. Bevin exhorted Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq to provide more help and to take a greater part in the war. Lebanon lies practically at the mercy of Israel; the Syrian army has not been able to penetrate the Israeli border. The Egyptian army, however, has made headway, entering Gaza in the Arab section of Palestine.

The Israelis surrounded part of the Egyptian army near Isdud. Then came the truce, requested by the British to save the army of Glubb Pasha from expending its manpower beyond the limit where it could no longer be a fighting force.

The British asked for an extension of the truce. Is it possible that they have become repentant of the injustice they did to Israel in the closing days of its statelessness and in the opening days of its statehood? No, there is something else. They miscalculated.

* * *

They counted on the Negeb as their own. Sooner or later they will have to leave the Suez Canal zone, as they left Egypt proper, and they are concerned about obtaining the Negeb for a strategic base facing Egypt and the Canal. With war and diplomacy, pressure and intrigue, they thought they would get the Negeb transferred from Israel to their puppet Abdullah. But now the cards in the game have become very mixed up. The queen of spades—the Negeb—has been dropped in the shifting from on player to another.

King Farouk of Egypt kissed Abdullah on his visit to Cairo, but told him that the Negeb should be Egypt’s prize. What has Bevin won? Instead of a Negeb under President Weizmann, Professor at Manchester University and friend of Balfour and Lloyd George, a Negeb in Egyptian hands? This means no Negeb for the Suez Canal and for the “lifeline of the Empire.”

Was it not written in this column on April 23 that Britain bets on the wrong horse? The wrong horse it is—Egypt and all the Arab League. And much gall will be left for the British to drink form the keg of their intrigue.