The Bahrain workshop and its associated economic plan are little more than elaborate smokescreens for U.S. president Donald Trump's political vision centered on the broader goals of normalizing Israeli occupation, consolidating the “Greater Israel” agenda, and effectively foreclosing Palestinian political aspirations. By working together with the government of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to redefine the conflict and do away with the traditional ground rules of the peace process, including the two-state solution, Trump is attempting to turn back the clock to the pre-1967 era when Palestinians were viewed mainly as an economic, humanitarian, and security problem rather than a political one. For Palestinians to effectively confront this unprecedented challenge, they will need to put their political house in order, including ending the debilitating political division between Fatah and Hamas, reviving institutional politics, and working to build a national consensus around a new strategy.
This essay looks at the hearing held by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in April 1922 on the subject of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, as well as the broader congressional debate over the Balfour Declaration at that crucial time. The landmark hearing, which took place against the backdrop of growing unrest in Palestine and just prior to the League of Nations' formal approval of Britain's Mandate over Palestine, offers a glimpse into the cultural and political mindset underpinning U.S. support for the Zionist project at the time as well as the ways in which the political discourse in the United States has, or has not, changed since then. Despite the overwhelming support for the Zionist project in Congress, which unanimously endorsed Balfour in September 1922, the hearing examined all aspects of the issue and included a remarkably diverse array of viewpoints, including both anti-Zionist Jewish and Palestinian Arab voices.