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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 5, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

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country goes through a volatile period, it spills over into the united states. i would hope that in the next year, 18 months, that there is some kind of resolution of the hostage phenomena so that we can get back to the really serious issues that are important to the two countries. i'd also like to see my friends freed. c-span: did i read that you said something to the effect that it takes $360 billion to rebuild the country? guest: well, the estimates on reconstruction after the war range from $350 billion to $500 billion. i mean, we're talking a lot of money. and one of the problems, too, is that many of the kind of things that you do every five years, whether it's painting a room or reinforcing a bridge or whatever, haven't been done and there's an awful lot of basic infrastructure, unaffected by the war, that needs to be attended to. c-span: our guest for the last hour has been robin wright.
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and she is currently with the los angeles times. this is what her book looks like, "in the name of god: the khomeini decade." thank you very much for joining us. guest: thank you. ..
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a. >> i will tell you about this book that i have just
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written about "the balfour declaration." it was published or written and given to the cabinet and accepted by the british cabinet on november 2nd november 2nd, 1917. in the balfour declaration, great britain promised to support an establishment of a national home for the jews in palestine and as jackie said, today the bell fuller declaration is seen as the foundation stone of modern israel and something to be celebrated but others it is seen as a first step of the arab and dispossession and misery and something to be deplored. but everybody has viewed it as the inevitable byproduct of growing anglo zionist intimacy during world war i. every previous book to my
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knowledge about the declaration celebrates the remarkable campaign led by the zionist leader in great britain, of the russian born chemist and they celebrate how they talk the principles of his movement of zionism to their british sheet and in any way to why discredit his talents he was in the millions but talks about the contingency as i understood the balfour declaration nearly did not have been. it was not written in stone even after the publication the prime minister george was prepared to finesse the
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declaration under certain circumstances. so let me figure out how this works. here we go. 1914. the middle east. palestine was part of the ottoman empire whose capital was constantinople. it included much of the middle east and mesopotamia now the recall iraq and syria including lebanon and palestinian the arabian peninsula and egypt although although at distance of late under ottoman control control, really was under british control and the ottoman empire was ruled by
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a revolutionary party seizing power in 1908 called the committee of union and progress. this revolutionary regime had taken the sultan of the ottoman empire and made him into the puppet. the sultan by the way was also the most important figure in the islamic religion. also want to mention in 1914 before world war i began, a great britain had the significant middle eastern interest because it controlled the suez canal and dependent on maintaining control of the suez canal and it was the economic windpipe that could never allow another country to jeopardize their control of
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the canal. also france had economic interest in the middle east especially syria and lebanon and along the course of north africa 1914 before the war began the ruler and of the westernmost portion of saudi arabia was called the grand sherif hussain, this man. he was a direct descendant of the profit muhammed and the only direct descendant and only two bridges could occupy the position in the grand sherif hussain was an extremely important figure in the muslim world because
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it included within etfs the two most holy islamic cities, and i get -- mecca and also is an important figure because of his heritage as a descendant. now it grand sherif hussain nurtured ambition in 1914 and was already thinking probably about establishing himself as the hereditary ruler of the independent country and certainly at the least wanted much more autonomy within the ottoman empire. he was not the only arab nationalist buy any stretch of the imagination in fact, various groups situated throughout the middle east
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already talking about autonomy or independence. the first arab national congress net in 1913. that same year the grand sherif hussain sent his son abdullah, his second son but the one he depended upon most of this point* met with british officials in egypt and abdallah did so and spoke with the british consul general, an extraordinary figure and also with kitchener oriental secretary, a younger man called sir ronald stores. this figure. what did he want? machine guns. he wanted to know if britain would support his father in
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the rebellion against the ottoman empire, the turks. the british turned him down explaining to him that they wanted to maintain friendly relations with the ottoman empire. hof -- but then world war i began and britain feared to the ottoman empire would side with the germans and then what would happen? they feared british muslim subjects living in egypt and in the sudan and south asia and india and present-day pakistan would heed the call of the ottoman sultan who would demand they would wage a holy war against turkey's enemies and raise of jihad. then the prewar
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conversations were with abdallah and they rethought their position. perhaps they would support a rebellion against the ottomans after all. what they were thinking was that grand sherif hussain of mecca and medina, such an important figure of the islamic world would block the call for jihad in constantinople. in fact, they thought to more than that. they tried to figure out how they could win over the grand sherif hussain and kitchener had stores and said we will support you if you read bell. would you like to reconsider? if you do we can't even think about your replacing the sultan as the head of
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islam. this began a fateful correspondence. it was carried on between and a series of the british empire and grand sherif hussain now win the war broke out kitchener happen to be in london and was soon appointed secretary of war and did not go back to egypt. he was replaced by this man sir henry mcmahon. and he conducted the correspondence with hussain. this is one of the most infamous correspondence in history. i choose this portrait because i think just possibly it's just he was a complex individual and perhaps -- perhaps not easy with his conscience.
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but i may be reading too much into the picture. mcmahon promised british support for the independent arab kingdom of which hussain would be the leader. what form it would take was left unclear. it could be some who federation of arab states of which hussain would be like an emperor or sold 10 or something like that. what would be the boundaries of this independent arab entity? much depends on the translation of certain english words into arabic and then much depends upon how hussain understood the words and it did not help matters that stores was
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doing the translations and he admits in his memoirs that his understanding of arabic was quote imperfect. [laughter] anyway, historians have parsed these letters with a fine tooth comb. zionist and supporters of mcmahon have concluded that to make man meant to to exclude palestine from the proposed arab kingdom. but he did not say so on ambiguously. critics of mcmahon have claimed that mcmann included palestine with the envisioned arab independent state. i cannot possibly solve this
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dispute. but what i can do and what is beyond dispute is the following what is indisputable is mcmahon was intentionally vague and letters. as he wrote to his former chief who was called lowered harding now a very important official in the foreign office the viceroy of india under which mcmahon served i quote from a letter. >> what we have to arrive at now is to tempt the arab people into the right path and detach them from the enemy and bring them on to our side. this on our part is a matter of words and we must use persuasive terms and abstain
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from academic haggling over conditions. mcmann was successful and the letters were convincing. hussain agreed to launch a rebellion against the common enemy of the ottoman empire and its commenced june 1916. meanwhile back in london, the british realized they had better bring their french allies into the picture and some say defeated one extraordinary individual mark sykes this man was already an adviser to the government to the middle east the french chose
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as their representative and the discussion about to take place, this man, the two men went into the foreign office to pull out the maps and pulled out crayons. they assumed that they would defeat the ottoman empire and proceeded to redraw the map of the middle east in their own interest or of great britain and france as i understood those interests to me very broadly but the french would get control over syria and a colored that pollute on the map with their crayons and a british would gain control of mesopotamia and a color that read on the map. i should possibly explain
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aire at sa and the that is our the envisioned independent arab kingdom would be. but area and a there would have french advisers to suffice they must except and area b the same was true for the british. by the way you will see there is another color on the map and that is because they recognize that palestine was different because jerusalem at -- jerusalem is located there and contains police sites to the most important religions of the period. day colored it brown and agreed although the french would get part of what is northern israel it would be
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governed by the international consortium of powers or condominium of powers and they caught -- code that brown so let's see were we have gotten so far. british prompting and help the grand sherif hussain precede with a rebellion against turkey they may not have thought palestine would be part of the kingdom and certainly did not know in any event but to have the boundaries of the kingdom planned out and also their own roles with and it. and british officials understood as much and the
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most famous example is lawrence of arabia as we all know him. i chose this depiction because he looks to be troubled. i may read too much into these depictions but here is what he wrote in a letter we are getting them to fight for us and i cannot stand it. he was not the only british official to be so troubled. but back in london there was another group taking a profound interest in palestine, namely the zionist. they are jewish nationalist but they were saying the
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homeland of jews in ancient times should be the homeland again. it was currently part of the ottoman empire. we ottomans would not give it back to them. they tried and tried but it was impossible. 1897 and austrian journalist named theodore herzl founded the world zionist federation. the aim of this group was to persuade the great powers of europe to bring pressure to bear upon the ottomans or the turks on behalf of zionism. by 1914, the zionist had not been successful.
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they had a world presence by then and had the world organization with headquarters in berlin but britain in 1914 had a population of close 45 million and had a jewish population of 300,000. of those 8,000 resigned as organized to several competing groups. 292,000 british people or british jews fought of the zionist as impractical visionaries and dreamers but not that they were on friendly but in fact, it was late tenth support within the jewish community. but they were too busy
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earning winnings going about their business to pay a lot of attention to impractical dreamers as they deem them that is the majority risen choose objected strongly to zionism. they objected that jews share a culture and a belief system and do not constitute a distinct and separate nation. the anti-zionist jews are arguing they can practice their beliefs anywhere they should assimilate and the countries in which they lived in 1914 into sort england or france or the united states.
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they were called assimilation s to they argue the zionist they argue the homeland of palestine was opening all jews to the charge of two allegiance and this would only encourage anti-semites. palestine will become the world's ghetto one of them said. the leader of the anti-zionist jews was mr. wolf. this man. world war i began. the zionist in great britain were appalled as was the rebels.
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but on the other hand, they quickly realized the war presented a great opportunity to zionism. if the british won the war, that would mean they had defeated the ottoman is. that they considered to be the main obstacle to the realization of their dream for palestine and what they hope to was british victory would lead to a british protectorate over palestine and the british would then allow massive jewish emigration into the country. now the zionist in great britain who understood this best and quickest and acted most decisively was chaim
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weizmann russian by birth and left russia become a a chemist and earned his degree in switzerland and practice and became a professor at the university of manchester in england. 1914 he was a relatively obscure figure in the british scientist movement and nobody would have predicted at that point* he would be merged as the leading advocate of zionism and great britain and became not only that but as most of you know, , the first president of israel. why should he had catapulted into the front rank? it turns out, he blesses
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uniquely able to charm the british governing elite and also uniquely able to teach to them the principles of his movement, as some. moreover, he somehow managed to persuade them something that we know simply was not true, namely the vast majority of jews were zionist. then there was something else about chaim weizmann he was one of a very small number who had a form of political jujitsu with to turn anti-semitic prejudices' to his own advantage into the advantage of his movement. house? many people among the british leadership accepted
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stereotypes about shoes that somehow they represented a vast subterranean influence upon though world and they were important and world world -- been world finance and in russia where the bolsheviks would soon take the country out of four and act chaim weizmann subtle prompting the governing elite drew what seemed to them to be the logical conclusion in order to win the war they needed the support of this powerful if subterranean group in order to get their support, they must win over the zionist and to do that they must offer palestine. hence "the balfour declaration" this was chaim weizmann extraordinary achievement based on the
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absolutely colossal bluff because we all know the jews did not represent a vast and powerful subterranean influence and certainly all jews were not zionist. let's see where we go to now. through the mcmahon and hussain correspondence great britain had one arab support and allowed the leader of the rebellion grand sherif hussain to believe the that britain would support the establishment of the independent carob came down. historians and partisans argued who did not believe from the outset we could leave that alone it is
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indisputable he will sega but in fact, one sign of support by promising to support the establishment of a home for the jews in palestine and they did this unambiguously with "the balfour declaration." after november 2nd 1917 believed they would inherit palestine one way or another the arabs believed quite likely the palestine would form quite a of an independent arab kingdom the british supported but they only had mcmahon intentionally vague letters on this matter. there is yet to another dimension to this story which further complicates and constitutes my original
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contribution. from the moment turkey enter the war, there were british people who wanted to our range separate peace with the ottomans. understand the zionist believe turkish control over palestine was their greatest obstacle and wanted total victory over turkey. the institution of a british protectorate and free immigration into palestine for the jewish people. the arabs believe that they were or what have to help defeat the ottoman empire then have their own independent kingdom who.
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said they too, like the zionist unambiguously unalterably opposed have a separate peace with the empire who in great britain favored the separate piece? there were a small number of british muslims in the country to black political influence and connections but they felt deeply it was a tragedy for great britain whose empire included 100 million muslims subjects to be at war with the greatest muslim empire, the ottoman empire. then there were the british turkophile said, the british
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people who believed their country should return to britain's traditional policy that had been shaped by the great british conservative leader who was born jewish although baptized at age 12 for 11. israelis policy is that britain should maintain the ottoman empire because it would act as keeping the russians from coming through the streets of the darden now and through the mediterranean sea that the british did not want. so the british to profiles wanted them to return to the old policy and also more liberal british turkophile who believed the ottomans government was more progressive and liberal
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government and more suitable than the czar russia which was most tyrannical the muslims and the turkophile as did have some influence and organize political pressure groups and gritted major members of parliaments from the house of commons and lords and also businessmen who had interest throughout the ottoman empire formed in not be insignificant pressure group the anglo-american in the society and then were the easterners they were men in the british government and had come to the conclusion that britain and france would never defeat germany on the western front.
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that was a killing field. no way to victory by just. a back door must be found. that was located in turkey it could be kicked open the door open by the turks themselves. they tried in the famous campaign that turned into another disaster. the man most associated in the early stages of four was none other than winston churchill and he was one of the architects of the ill-fated campaign and paid the price but there were many others. the easterners now concluded find a way to open by agreement. so we come.
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i show you marvell duke mostly because i love his name. [laughter] marvell duke taxol does not play a hugely important role he is the first to try seriously to persuade the british government to open of back door to turkey and converted to islam and famous for rich then the first translation of the q'uaran and the author of many novels of life in the ottoman empire but his idea was threatened by sykes and so made sure he was denied a passport to travel to
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switzerland to meet with dissident turks about a separate piece. the second man who made a concerted effort to persuade the government and the turks to come together, was a businessman who was so obscure i could not find a photograph. his name was j.r. billing. keep turned out to me totally irresponsible, and reliable, a rogue and had private reasons for wanting a separate peace with turkey to get rich again. we will not spend much time on him either but then we get to the important men. henry morgenthau had been the american ambassador to turkey. he knew woodrow wilson and was an important fund-raiser
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for the democratic party. he and wilson talked about getting turkey out of the war. and wilson sent morgenthau on a mission and ostensibly to palestine to check on the condition during the war but really morgenthau was supposed to meet with turks to talk secretly about getting out of the war the reason why the american could do this well because the united states and turkey were not at war and have not declared war upon each other. the united states was at war with germany and austria. not turkey. chaim weizmann back in london learned about the expedition. he stormed into the foreign
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office to protest now june june 1916 -- 1917 the foreign office calmed him down and had come to oppose the morgenthau mission because at first it was favorable but it had to be kept secret. if people learned about it than they might begin to think that britain was not confident it could win the war and unfortunately, this mission was not kept secret it turned out more gets out could not keep a secret to save his life which is why somebody like chaim weizmann could learn about it in london having never spoken with mark and foul at all. but chaim weizmann is said to send me to stop morgenthau. he would break his journey at gibraltar and the british
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foreign office agreed and send him to gibraltar. from their chaim weizmann did it. every historian writes that this was a great performance and it was. and he dominated henry morgenthau and persuaded him to turn around and not continue with the mission and he crept back to the united states with his tail between his legs. ben the foreign office cent chaim weizmann to paris for the prime minister -- prime minister george and secretary balfour were at a meeting with other allied leaders. and george randolph four were high and praise from chaim weizmann but simultaneously, the foreign
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office was a ranging 41 figure my new favor historical figure, aubrey herbert. this man. to go to switzerland to talk to the turks about a separate piece. within-- of having sent chaim weizmann too gibraltar to stock market fast-talking to the turks about a separate piece come when they send aubrey herbert to switzerland to talk to the turks about a separate piece. i should just take a minute to explain aubrey herbert. he was the son of the earl of carnarvon and the half brother of the man who had discovered the tomb of king tad and the model for the hero of the grief thriller
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green mantle. he was the model four that figure. before the war he explored the ottoman empire and was a great expert which is why they could send him to talk to the turks and road with bandits and albania and also spent time clearly with more respectable elements because he was twice offered the albanian throne. [laughter] which he wanted to accept and the foreign office would not let him. [laughter] let me say again, just as the foreign office was dispatching chaim weizmann to checkmate marvell found they were sending herbert to discuss the possibility of a separate peace with the turks. chaim weizmann never knew about this and no other historian of "the balfour declaration" has written about it either.
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herbert headed for switzerland's and it is like reading about a thriller. i have his diary. he travels to switzerland and ostensibly to recover from war wounds are really of course, to meet the turks which she did and it safe houses. he picked up messages on really platforms and he returned from switzerland to paris where george and all four were at the meeting. the proposals said basically that a group of dissident turks were prepared to over three -- overthrow the government to make a separate peace with great britain if they perceive certain guarantees. lawyer at -- lowered george
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down about four receive two days later and had congratulated chaim weizmann on stopping the separate peace initiative now they can graduate herbert on starting a separate peace initiative with the dissident turks. kool-aid george a. confirmed easterner could not get the idea of a separate piece out of his head. he did not know about marmaduke pickthall and understood very early r.j. killing could not be trusted and could not trust loose lips morgenthau and feared correctly that herbert was only talking to the term from second graders and so he chose someone else, another instrument for pursuing a separate peace
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with turkey. none of the men so far but rather this man who was the most infamous arms dealer and of the generation you may remember the english television production ace of spies and in the production of have a figure that portrays basal but now, early in the war received word from a former turkish minister to greece and austria but he knew him because he had bribed him many times during the
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pre-war years. but now to cut short a long and complicated and absolutely riffing story for details, please read the book. [laughter] of dual told zahara he represented one of the tramp the leaders of turkey. and that they were willing to make a deal with the british about a separate piece. the message was given to lloyd george and understood he was not a second rate but at the top and empowered him to meet abdul in switzerland's to find out what would be turkey's terms for a separate piece.
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please understand the foreign office, the war office knew about j.r. pilling. the foreign office and the cabinet knew about herbert. only lloyd george and good chancellor of the exchequer the conservative leader new about zaharaf because he was the chancellor and would be responsible for arranging a multimillion dollar bribe that would go first to abdul then a huge sum to bribe the necessary officials and then to go with about one dozen other turkish leaders to live happily ever after in new york city.
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[laughter] notice belfour, the foreign secretary and head of the foreign office did not know about this. so it may try to explain the layers of intrigue. number one, surely the zionist would have been outraged to learn about the various missions i have just described because a separate peace would have allowed turkey to main control -- maintain control of palestine they do about more give out but believed he was defeated and the movement for a separate peace with turkey was defeated but they were wrong and the british did not enlightened them and obviously the arabs will likely have been outraged to learn the british were secretly negotiating with the arabs since they were involved in a rebellion at
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the ottoman the test. i apologize. you understand. number three. aubrey herbert would have been astonished to learn about zaharaf he thought he was representing the british government in the exploration of a separate peace with turkey that way george never said a word and let me underline lloyd george never told dow far -- bout for about zaharaf just as george was about to put his name on the famous declaration promising british support for the establishment of a national home for the jewish people in palestine. he was willing to double cross the zionist, arabs and his own foreign secretary in order to release to explore
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a separate peace with turkey. when i realized this was the case, i asked diplomatic historian friends of this was possible and they said of course. it happens all the time. [laughter] meanwhile, i am not a historian of turkey or the ottoman empire but from the british documents, and a stand there was a darker picture of intrigue and the trail on that side. the other great turkish leader was a man called -- at one point zaharaf asked what he was planning because he was not mentioned in these discussions and abdul said
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cohmad i myself in other words, he would poison him. unknown to abdul, -- have simultaneously begun exploring a separate piece and in fact,, he was behind the overtures to marmaduke pickthall and pilling and herbert. zaharaf mehta abdul karim several times during the summer and fall of 1917 but the climax came 27 of january 1918. his wife was living out the war on the swiss border maybe the austrian border but he was able to sneak
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into switzerland but zaharaf traveled to switzerland. he did not meet face-to-face the rather abdul karim shuttled between the two men he explained he was a human telephone. but for our most important purposes it includes the following words, palestine will not be a next four inc. british empire. this is nearly three months after publication of "the balfour declaration." had infer accepted the
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offer, and nobody would think a great deal of "the balfour declaration" today. it would be sidelined by history and another of the many beautiful promises made during the war by parties and all countries to persuade men to go on fighting and dying and it would count about as much as the other promises that we do know were made and later ignored, no annexation or open covenants openly arrived at. however, he did not accept. why? because this is january and 1918 and russia was just defeated and coming out of the war and now thought
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turkey and germany could prevail after all. let me be clear, the main reason why britain and turkey never concluded a separate peace is whenever one party was really and truly interested, it could see no other way to prevail prevail, the other party was not so interested because at that particular moment, the war was the wing well for it. never britain was willing to zig, turkey was about to sag. and thus, it continued to the end of the war. let me conclude, too often historians have teamed the declaration that bears the name of this man arthur
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about four to happen inevitable product of chaim weizmann bre-x campaign to educate and win over the british governing the elite. chaim weizmann conducted a brilliant can -- a bollea campaign but "the balfour declaration" was the highly contingent result of a tortuous process that might have turned out very, very different me and that process was characterized as much by the sea and betrayal as adherence to principles and liberal values. today we have only touched the tip of the iceberg so far as to see and betrayal go. during world war i planting dragon's teeth in the middle east the fruit gum the suspicion and resentment and
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recrimination, hatred and eventually appalling that a great myth, soldiers rose up from the ground and tragically they are rising still. that is the top. thank you. [applause]
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[no audio] [inaudible] a major emphasis for the declaration. i don't know if you discuss that at all. >> i assume everybody could hear the question? yes. i don't discuss it enough as several reviewers have pointed out to be.
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[laughter] here is my understanding. yes. lloyd george for example, was brought up in the welsh apples and new the bible very well and once said something like the geography of palestine is more familiar to me then the geography or pretend -- pretend so was he a christian zionist? yes. at some level. also belfour i know because i have read the letter from chaim weizmann was moved to tears when he told him the
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story of jewish suffering however lloyd george was capable of making anti-semitic remarks the they do document in the book. about four told chaim weizmann that he shares some of the anti-semitic postulants, that was the phrase, of the daughter of the great composer. what are we to think? these men held opposing notions about the jews in their own heads. if they come at some level take satisfaction is thinking their policies would lead to the fulfillment of biblical philosophy, perhaps. did that shape

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