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Lester B. Pearson Enabled Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

  • polly7 (2614 posts)
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    Lester B. Pearson Enabled Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

    Lester B. Pearson Enabled Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
    by Yves Engler / March 2nd, 2017

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    Pearson played a central role in Special Committee 1’s partition plan. Both the New York Times and Manchester Guardian ran articles about his role in the final stage of negotiations. Dubbed the “Canadian plan” the final Special Committee 1 agreement between the US and USSR on how to implement partition was “a result of the tireless efforts of Lester B. Pearson,” according to a front-page New York Times article. Some Zionist groups called him “Lord Balfour” of Canada and “rabbi Pearson”. In 1960 Pearson received Israel’s Medallion of Valour and after stepping down as prime minister in 1968, he received the Theodore Herzl award from the Zionist Organization of America for his “commitment to Jewish freedom and Israel.”

    By supporting partition he opposed the indigenous population’s moral and political claims to sovereignty over their territory. Down from 90% at the start of the British mandate, by the end of 1947 Arabs still made up two-thirds of Palestine’s population. Despite making up only a third of the population, under the UN partition plan Jews received most of the territory. Pearson pushed a plan that gave the Zionist state 55% of Palestine despite the Jewish population owning less than seven percent of the land. According to Israeli historian Illan Pappe, “within the borders of their UN proposed state, they [Jews] owned only eleven percent of the land, and were the minority in every district. In the Negev [desert]…they constituted one percent of the total population.”

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    Undersecretary Pearson was not supported by the Prime Minister, who wanted to align Canada more closely with London’s position. While King was concerned about Britain, other government officials sympathized with the Palestinians. Justice Minister J.L. Isley said he was “gravely concerned” the push for partition did not meet the Arabs “very strong moral and political claims”. The only Middle East expert at External Affairs, Elizabeth MacCallum, claimed Ottawa supported partition “because we didn’t give two hoots for democracy.” MacCallum’s opinion wasn’t popular with Pearson who organized late-night meetings allegedly to make it difficult for her to participate. Despite failing to convince her boss at External Affairs MacCallum displayed sharp foresight. At the time of the partition vote, notes The Rise and Fall of a Middle Power, “MacCallum scribbled a note and passed it to Mike (Pearson) saying the Middle East was now in for ‘forty years’ of war, due to the lack of consultation with the Arab countries.” She was prescient, even if she did underestimate the duration of the conflict.

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    Of central importance to Canadian support for partition was the belief that a Middle Eastern Jewish state would serve Western interests. An internal report circulated at External Affairs during the UN negotiations explained: “The plan of partition gives to the western powers the opportunity to establish an independent, progressive Jewish state in the Eastern Mediterranean with close economic and cultural ties with the West generally and in particular with the United States.” In a 1952 memo to cabinet Pearson repeated this thinking. “With the whole Arab world in a state of internal unrest [after the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy in Egypt] and in the grip of mounting anti-western hysteria, Israel is beginning to emerge as the only stable element in the whole Middle East area.” He went on to explain how “Israel may assume an important role in Western defence as the southern pivot of current plans for the defence” of the eastern Mediterranean. Pearson supported Israel as a possible western ally in the heart of the (oil-producing) Middle East.

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    Full article:  http://dissidentvoice.org/2017/03/lester-b-pearson-enabled-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestine/#more-66040

    Shlabotnik, broiles, Babel 17 and 3 otherswhispers, jwirr, ablamj like this

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  • Shlabotnik (467 posts)
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    1. Thanks for posting this,

    I found it an interesting read for sure. Certainly, Canadians, myself included probably had no idea of Pearson’s involvement from this perspective, and its truly eyeopening. I wouldn’t expect Canadians to upset their apple cart of rosy remembrances of Pearson though, as we are all taught that he was the kindly, Nobel winning diplomat who domestically gave us so many great things in the 1960’s, as well as pissing off LBJ over Vietnam. Still, as a diplomat born in 1897 with a world view of the times, I’m not about to burn him in effigy, but rather say he was gravely wrong in this, and were he alive today, perhaps he’d agree.

    ~ All Good things are Wild and Free ~