The entry “British Empire” in the venerable Encyclopædia Britannica  begins:
BRITISH EMPIRE, the name now loosely given to the whole aggregate of territory, the inhabitants of which, under various forms of government, ultimately look to the British crown as the supreme head. The term “empire” is in this connexion obviously used rather for convenience than in any sense equivalent to that of the older or despotic empires of history.
The land surface of the earth is estimated to extend over about 52,500,000 square miles. Of this area the British empire occupies nearly one-quarter, extending over an area of about 12,000,000 square miles. By far the greater portion lies within the temperate zones, and is suitable for white settlement. The notable exceptions are the southern half of India and Burma; East, West and Central Africa; the West Indian colonies; the northern portion of Australia; New Guinea, British Borneo and that portion of North America which extends into Arctic regions. The area of the territory of the empire is divided almost equally between the southern and the northern hemispheres, the great divisions of Australasia and South Africa covering between them in the southern hemisphere 5,308,506 square miles, while the United Kingdom, Canada and India, including the native states, cover between them in the northern hemisphere 5,271,375 square miles. The alternation of the seasons is thus complete, one-half of the empire enjoying summer, while one-half is in winter. The division of territory between the eastern and western hemispheres is less equal, Canada occupying alone in the western hemisphere 3,653,046 square miles, while Australasia, South Africa, India and the United Kingdom occupy together in the eastern hemisphere 6,925,975 square miles. As a matter of fact, however, the eastern portions of Australasia border so nearly upon the western hemisphere that the distribution of day and night throughout the empire is, like the alternations of the seasons, almost complete, one-half enjoying daylight, while the other half is in darkness. These alternations of time and of seasons, combined with the variety of soils and climates, are calculated to have an increasingly important effect upon the material and industrial, as well as upon the social and political developments of the empire. This will become evident in considering the industrial productions of the different divisions, and the harvest seasons which permit the summer produce of one portion of the empire to supply the winter requirements of its other markets, and conversely.
The empire contains or is bounded by some of the highest mountains, the greatest lakes, and the most important rivers of the world. Its climates may be said to include all the known climates of the world; its soils are no less various . . . [and so on]
So begins a bit — just under 3/10 of the first page — of a nine-page celebration of the greatness of the British Empire. There’s also a full-page map, a Mercator projection, on heavier, slightly glossy paper, titled: Map of the World showing The British Empire. All arranged, I would say, with exemplary modesty, in as much as this nation-state-empire was one of the most cruel and destructive creations of the human species.
And now to Palestine and Israel
This is the
historic moment in human development to make a clean break with the past. Like a giant flash of lightning that transforms the blackness of night into momentary daylight, the explosion of commuication technology and its globe-wide adoption is the light illuminating our possible future. However, unlike a lightning flash in the dark, the light of uncensored open global communication is here to stay. We honest and decent human beings, and we are the vast majority of our species, will see to that. Iceland and Sweden are in the forefront, and of course Great Britain and Israel are trying their damnest to prevent uncensored communication. Before becoming specific, let me reiterate my ideological stance on a major contemporary struggle. My view of the situation in the “Greater Middle East”, which includes far more than the so-called “Israel/Palestine conflict”, hinges on the joint U.S.-Israeli colonial imperial campaign to eradicate Palestine.
The entire project to take the land of Palestine for a Jewish state was illegitimate from the start. This project is at the core of Zionism. Being “nice” to the Palestinians, as I’m certain many good and decent (but misguided) Jewish people favor, simply is not a cure for the cancer of conquest. The same for all conquests — of the Americas by Europeans and so on. The northern European/American project to retake the Ottoman Empire needs to be scrapped, completely given up. Jewish would-be conquerors of Palestine should be forced to leave and live elsewhere. Conquest is ALWAYS wrong, immoral, unethical and must be rejected. Great Britain was, throughout its imperial dominance, a leading curse of humanity, whose criminal history leaves a terrible legacy. Our task ought to be to clean it up as soon as possible. And of course the other European powers should leave Africa, probably the most despoiled population group in the world. What world-class monsters we so-called Whites have been, imposing “our” anti-civilization on the world.
Why start this “new morality” by imposing it on “The Jews”?
A fair question. The answer is immediate and straightforward. With the advent of instant unmediated open communication via the global internet available to millions of ordinary people, immediate unprecedented world-wide massive protests took place. People screamed, “We don’t want war! We don’t want murder!” This happened —
And what about the Zionist would-be colonizers
1. First, at the U.S. attack on Iraq (March 20, 2003). Massive protest demonstrations, extending to every continent, were held, involving of the order of 12 million people.
2. Second, at the U.S.-backed murderous Israeli attack on Gaza (27 Dec 2008), world-wide protests involving millions of people erupted.
3. Third, at the U.S.-backed Israeli massacre of civilians in the premeditated attack on the humanitarian aid ship in international waters bringing relief supplies to Gaza (31 May 2010), again global outrage was expressed by millions, condemning Israel.
Never before has there been almost instantaneous global awareness of major social-political events. We are living in an age absolutely without precedent. The three events above serve as markers for this abrupt change. For the first time in human history, and three times in just over seven years, almost the total world population with access to news stood instantly united in its abhorrence at the actions of a nation-state —
Those instant global revulsions at the actions of mass murderers (who still hold an armory of lethal weaponry) marks the start of the true “information age”, and with it the birth of growing global consciousness that the dominant system is unspeakably, brutally destructive and that we, the billions of ordinary people, in order to gain control of our own lives, will have to totally change the way societies are structured.
In truth it isn't a matter of singling out “The Jews” but of coming suddenly to the realization that human society cannot continue along the same lethal path if humanity is to have a chance to survive. Israel, like almost every nation-state, is a detestable centralized power structure rife with corruption, deceit and murder, impervious to morality and common decency. I know very well that there are many millions of people in the world who are out and out Jew-haters, people who greatly desire destruction of the Zionist nation-state. But to try to prevent its dissolution, supposedly to “stand up” against the widespread hatred, would be an attempt to avert a far lesser “calamity” (destruction of a single nation-state) by courting a much greater disaster (total collapse of global human society). In fact, control of the world by nation-states should be ended. They, along with all the institutions of capitalism, should be recognized as destructive of human well-being, and done away with. So, it’s not just Israel. Israel should be simply the first to go in the needed transformation of global human society.
who I think should be forced to leave Palestine?
I think they, like all people, should have the right to live wherever they choose if their choice does not displace the prior inhabitants and if they are welcome by the commuity into which they wish to move. Moreover, they should be helped to relocate so that they are not made into a new group of victims. Of course those Palestinians who want to return to their former homes in Palestine should also be helped, and compensated with money and any other appropriate forms of support to reconstruct their lives as much as is still possible. Obviously there will be Jewish people who will both want to remain where they are and who the Palestinians will be glad to have as part of their commuities. Broadly speaking, the realignment should be aimed at cementing friendships, avoiding the idea of punishment or revenge, and constructing true communal relationships in each local neighborhood.
In brief, the birth of this “information age” became possible because of the explosion of information technology, and the very human desire to understand reality. Thus, in spite of the undeniably tragic times through which humanity is living, I believe the emergence of the true “information age” is the counter development that will make it possible not only for our species to survive but to finally evolve into a truly civilized society. That is my hope and the source of my optimism for the future.
The British Empire. One hundred years ago, in 1910, the venerable “last authentic edition” of the famous Encyclopædia Britannica appeared, produced by, as the copyright statement informs us, The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge. Control of this major English-language encyclopedia then was bought by the Sears-Roebuck corporation in the U.S., which transformed it into a more “suitable” commercial product.
From the first edition that appeared in three volumes in 1768-1771, it had grown over the centuries into the twenty-nine volumes of the eleventh edition, published in 1910-1911.
George Salzman is a former American Jew living in Oaxaca, Mexico, an Emeritus Prof of Physics, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston.
All comments and criticisms are welcome. <firstname.lastname@example.org>