Video: An Introduction to the History of Israel with Paul Marks

I have been looking forward to this one for a couple of reasons. One I know very little about the topic so it represents an opportunity to be educated. Two, because it is the first time I have successfully used a new gadget to capture a much better standard of audio. I think it has come out a little quiet, especially for people listening on a train, but it is much less muffled and noisy than the on board zoom-mic achieved. What does it sound like to you?

Paul starts his history of Israel with the effort by the Roman’s to remove or obliterate the religion from what was known then as Judea.

He then traces the history of conflicts through to the late twenties when the Ottoman Empire are in power. One of the effects Paul traces from this time is that land ownership is decided politically in Israel. The small amount of private land is respected as such to this day. In highlighting this he seems to be seeking to defend the settlement of Palestinian land by Israelis.

Paul covers in detail the effect of the British mandate and the errors made by the British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel and his appointment of the Grand Mufti. His description of British immigration policy and the psychology of Jewish military leaders that led them to reject that policy was perticularly crisp.

As he moves forward into the sixties and seventies Paul is even handed in his description of violent acts perpetrated by Jew on Jew, Jew on British and violence between Muslims and Jews.

Paul also spends some time on the rise and fall of Socialism in Israel, especially the kibbutzim, and notes with interest that Israel is, exceptionally, becoming more conservative. Although the ways in which this conservatism are expressed is more appealing for Paul (who is a Christian and Conservative Councillor) than many other libertarian supporters it is an interesting recovery.


  1. The Grand Mufti – not the Grand Turk. Although as someone who tells a story about the struggle between the first Assad and the Syrian President (also a socialist) but, for no reason, moves the story from post 1967 (when it actually happened) to post 1973 (when it had all ready happened), I am in no position to be critical.



  2. A very informative and also very interesting talk, Paul. You have filled in some of the gaps for me, as well as providing me with some new info, as for instance about H.C. Samuel, of whom I had never heard.

    I have watched the video three times now, and am gearing up for a fourth visit.

    Simon, many thanks for putting on the event and making and publishing the video; as well as for the writeup.

    It seems to me that if the Israelis, meaning both the individual persons constituting the populace and the Israeli leadership, are becoming more “conservative,” in today’s parlance this means among other things a turn away from leftism, which libertarians most certainly should applaud. As libertarians, I don’t see that we’re concerned with folks’ religion, as long as it is (unlike some!) a benign one. Although from a purely sociological point of view, a good deal of discussion is possible on the issue of whether, and if so what sort of, religion generally tends to encourage or discourage libertarian worldviews and principles.

    So Israel, if it really is becoming more conservative — in the sense of less leftish — does provide some encouragement to those of us in the West who seem to be losing more and more of our liberty to those who seek to dictate our views and our lives.



  3. The level of general ignorance is extreme – today I came upon stuff about Israel wanting to “occupy Iran”.

    Iran is more than twice the size of Texas and has a population vastly greater than that of California. Israel is about the size of New Hampshire.



  4. Interesting figures from the CIA World Factbook:

    Geographic extent:

    Iran: 1,648,195 sq km
    Israel: 20,770 sq km

    July, 2014 estimated populations:

    Iran: 80,840,713
    Israel: 7,821,850

    Note: approximately 341,400 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank (2012); approximately 18,900 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2012); approximately 196,400 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2011) (July 2014 est.)



    1. I notice that the CIA calls Jews who live in “East Jerusalem” (as of the cease fire line in the city in 1948 was some sort of proper border) “Israeli settlers”.

      It is not just Israel – it is everything. If a Republican does win in 2016 (and if they do not – it is time to give up on the United States of America and form a new defensive alliance of the States ending the bankrupt Federal government), they will have to do what Reagan did in 1981 – dismiss a lot of key officials and start again. In the CIA, the Justice Department, the military – well in just about everything.

      Things have got so bad that I know longer really trust the American government on national security matters – after all a government is just the individual human beings who are elected or appointed.

      If they are untrustworthy and of dubious loyalty – so is the government itself.

      I will irritate my anarchocapitalist friends by saying I still basically such institutions (i.e. the people who make up the institution) as the Texas Rangers or the South Dakota State Police. But the FBI and the CIA (and so on) – no too many dubious people have slipped in (been appointed) for these organisations to be considered trustworthy.

      There are good people still in these organisations – but there are also a lot of really bad people. Obama people.



  5. Is there any possibility that the Israeli move away from leftism is, at least in part, a result of the usual rejection by the children of the beliefs, standards, and mores of their upbringing? In the ’50’s and even the ’60’s, here at least, the U.S. was far more conservative (by today’s standards) than it is today; I gather that that’s true in the U.K. as well; the present disastrous adoption of leftist attitudes and policies, the leftist worldview, is said to be the result of the generational rebellion of the late ’60’s and the ’70’s against those stuffy old fogeys of the stiflingly stupid parents and grandparents. Or so the theory goes, and it’s at least plausible to the layman. (And as I recall, Dorothy L. Sayers makes the same point in her novel Gaudy Night, published in 1935.) ???



    1. Yes, I believe this to be true from the perspective of a British man. The present undercurrent of political consensus is very strongly influenced by the social changes of the 1960’s. I believe it to derive from generational rebellion as you say and changes in the physical standard of living.



    2. I do not know Julie. I do not even know if there is a real shift to a more conservative attitude (or whether I was mistaken), the election in March will tell us.

      Remember the education system and the cultural elite in Israel is leftist – and George Soros and co are hard at work.



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