Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Watching Grasshoppers

This morning I came to the conclusion that reading history is a lot more stressful than other kinds of reading. Reading history is a bit like watching grasshoppers. Now for most people, that would seem like a stress-free activity - lying out in the grass in the sun watching grasshoppers jump around. But just imagine that you were in a field where a few dozen grasshoppers were jumping around, each jump initiating and terminating in a state of almost total stillness for the grasshopper, and the task for you was to remember each position each grasshopper had been in before each leap. After all, if you didn't remember each position, it wouldn't be history. That's the sense I get reading a history book. And to top it off, there's always one more grasshopper jumping into the scene, usually from a hidden perch much closer than you would have imagined.
For instance, I'm reading a book called America and the Founding of Israel: An Investigation of the Morality of America's Role, written by John W. Mulhall, Deshon Press, 1995. Mulhall is a Catholic priest. In Section III of Chapter 4, he discusses President Wilson's approval of the Balfour Declaration, adopted October 31, 1917, which stated British intent to "view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." This statement was a shift of British policy toward Zionism after the 1916 change in Britain's leadership. Wilson, at first reluctant to agree because of conflicts between the Zionist aims and America's relationship with Ottoman Turkey, nevertheless gave in to pressure from the Zionists. According to the author, British Zionist chemist and bomb maker Chaim Weizmann contacted Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, "the preeminent Zionist leader in America," (p. 64) and other American Zionist leaders who were able to reverse President Wilson's position about this Balfour Declaration.
Now if that's not like watching a field of grasshoppers, I certainly don't know what is.

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