It begins with the Zionist movement that took shape toward the end of the 19th Century. Zionism arose from persecution and slaughter of Jews. It was the position of the Zionist leaders that as long as Jews were scattered in different nations where they remained a small minority, they were easily subjected to atrocities inflicted upon them by the government and majority populace. That would continue, the Zionists reasoned, until Jews were gathered together in a homeland where they could erect their own government and militia, and their own power to fight back against their oppressors.
Sympathetic leaders of European nations approved the idea. On November 2, 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration promising a "Jewish National Home." Then came the fundamental error: the placement of that home in the region formerly known as Palestine.
Sense and Nonsense
Why Palestine? There were other areas of the world where a Jewish state might have been located. The ideal choice would have been Africa. Except for an occasional eruption of hostilities in certain neighborhoods, Jews and people of dark skin color ("blacks" is a bogus term for them), as two persecuted classifications of human beings, have cooperated well with each other. It would have made perfect sense to call a meeting between the heads of African states and Zionist leaders wherein a mutually beneficial deal was effected: land for the Jews in return for their technological help. The end result might have been an Africa different from that which exists today. It is conceivable that with the help of the Jews' brilliant technological and organizational skills, today there would be African nations so advanced in democracy and prosperity that the rampant disease, hunger, and violence now raging there would be at least greatly reduced.
Instead of pursuing that sensible course, the Zionists were obstinately determined to create a Jewish nation in Palestine, smack dab in the midst of hostile Arabs. Why? There was only one reason: because "God" promised the "holy land" (Judea and/or other nearby areas of the Roman Empire) to "his chosen people" (the ancient Hebrews or Israelites who became known later as Jews). It is that nonsense which remains one root cause, though not necessarily the entire cause, of the madness now taking place in the Near East (inaccurately identified as the Middle East or Mideast no matter how many millions or billions of times that misnomer is used in the communications media).
First Signs of Forthcoming Violence
As early as 1919 there were signs of the fighting between Muslim Arabs and Jews that was bound to ensue if the madcap scheme to plunk the Jews into the middle of people hostile to them was carried out. The leaders of the most strident opposition group, the Jaffa Muslim Organization, issued this statement: "We will push the Zionists into the sea or they will push us into the desert." [Quoted in Righteous Victims by Benny Morris (Knopf, 1999)]. With blind determination to avoid the predictable, on July 24, 1922, the League of Nations issued a Palestine Mandate approving the Jewish homeland promised in the Balfour Declaration, modifying the Declaration with clauses recognizing the rights of non-Jews in the region identified as Palestine.
Once persecuted European Jews and pogrom victims in Russia began their exodus to the area of Palestine where Israel was taking shape, Arabs began rioting and fighting what they construed as unacceptable incursions into their land. The violence was so alarming to the British government which controlled the region that its political leaders issued its 1939 "White Paper" drastically limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine. The end result was that millions of European Jews were trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Why the Jews Were Trapped
The reason why the Jews were trapped in countries occupied by the Nazis was that they were refused admission elsewhere. Acting on orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, ironically depicted as "friend of the Jews," the U.S. Government turned away thousands of Jews on ships which had carried them to American shores. Nor would the governments of other nations accept them. They were forced either to return to the countries where they were to be imprisoned and slaughtered or to sail on to Israel. Jewish leaders kept begging the government of the U.S. to allow immigration. Had their pleadings been heeded, a far greater number of Jews than those who eventually settled in Israel would have become citizens of the U.S., and the picture in the Near East might be different than it is now.
Creation of an Israeli State
On November 29, 1947, ignoring the certainty of the forthcoming violence that was bound to occur, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. As was to be expected, leaders of Arab countries refused to cooperate. What was then the Arab League of Nations, consisting of 22 countries, in effect declared "war on the Jews," determined to "drive them into the sea." A small, vastly outnumbered army of Jews, displaying the first signs of their brilliant military skills and innovative technology, soundly thrashed the troops from 22 Arab nations that encompassed a combined population of several hundred million.
On May 15, 1948, the State of Israel was formally established. While the heads of Arab countries refused to recognize Israel's existence, neither were they of the mind to try any more wars against Jews. The fanatical leaders of Muslim organizations and Islamist sects, however, were of a different mindset. "Death to the Jews" became their motto, and it was clear immediately that they would never accept co-existence with Jews in the region that ceased to be Palestine because it was carved by the British who had controlled it into separate states.
The Creation of Islamic Fanatics
While the madness of plunking Jews into the middle of hostile Arabs was taking its inevitable course, oppression of people in oil sheikdoms, and U.S. recognition of and cooperation with the brutal regimes of the Near East, were causing more and more people in that part of the world to turn to religion for succor and, indeed, what seemed to them to be their only hope to escape wretched poverty. U.S. political leaders, and Americans in general concerned mostly with how cheap the gasoline for their cars would be, blindly refused to recognize the buildup of a new force in the world based on quasi-religious fanaticism.