Thursday, February 19, 2015

Islam in the Modern World and other studies by Elie Keduourie

Islam, according to Mr. Kedourie took a great hit during the Modern period of the 20th century because it woefully lagged behind European countries' technological advances.  The proud civilization, with a self image of religious superiority over the other original faiths believing Muhammad is the zenith and seal of prophecy, suffered humiliation when England and France completely dominated the former Ottoman empire setting up new individual Arabic states.

Mr. Kedourie outlines the historiography of the famous Lawrence of Arabia, T. E. Lawrence and shows definitively that his life's legacy is exaggerated.  He also claims that Arnold Toynbee deliberately changed British Policy away from the Balfour Declaration that committed aid to setting up a national Jewish Home in Palestine.  He also shows that the British double crossed the Sharifian Leadership in their commitments in promising Palestine.

The 1936 Arab riots are discussed in detail.  The diplomat, George Rendel is seen as completely unsympathetic to Zionism and borders on the Anti-Semitic.   Rendel always takes the side of Arab sensibilities and mischaracterizes the Mufti of Jerusalem as a reasonable man and not as the extremist that he actually was.  Mr. Kedourie points out that an unrealistic romantic attitude set in with the British diplomatic corp, one that ignored the brutal realities of life in the Arab world. The author speculates that had the British been more circumspect and more conservative and not romantic about the Arab world, had the British been much more forceful in following through with their original policies then one might have expected a much different outcome.

The book outlines the 1956 campaign of the Suez Canal crisis and shows how the British and French practically rope in the State of Israel to fight.  British interests in the Canal ignore the US.'s warnings and threats.

Mr. Kedourie also touches upon his experience in writing his original thesis severely criticising British policies that was supposed to grant him the doctorate degree (but was rejected out of prejudice by H. A. R. Gibb) by uncovering new material that seems to confirm and support his original thesis.