March 11, 1895-August 26, 1976
Witness to History
As frank a critic of Zionism as he was of Nazism, Douglas Reed,
were he alive today, would he'd likely be inhabiting a European
Union prison as well as Orwell's Memory Hole.
For an overview of his journalistic
and literary career, see the entries in
Wikipedia.com and, just below, Ivor
Benson's preface to Reed's posthumously unpublished The Controversy
of Zion, from which we have formatted three chapters for this
March 28, 2008
Preface to Douglas Reed's The Controversy of Zion
The Author: In Europe during the years immediately before and
after World War II the name of Douglas Reed was on everyone’s lips; his
books were being sold by scores of thousand, and he was known with
intimate familiarity throughout the English-speaking world by a vast
army of readers and admirers. Former London Times correspondent
in Central Europe, he had won great fame with books like Insanity
Fair, Disgrace Abounding, Lest We Regret, Somewhere South of Suez, Far
and Wide and several others, each amplifying a hundredfold the scope
available to him as one of the world’s leading foreign correspondents.
The disappearance into almost total oblivion of Douglas Reed and all
his works was a change that could not have been wrought by time alone;
indeed, the correctness of his interpretation of the unfolding history
of the times found some confirmation in what happened to him when at the
height of his powers.
After 1951, with the publication of Far and Wide, in which he
set the history of the United States of America into the context of all
he had learned in Europe of the politics of the world, Reed found
himself banished from the bookstands, all publishers’ doors closed to
him, and those books already published liable to be withdrawn from
library shelves and “lost,” never to be replaced.
His public career as a writer now apparently at an end, Reed was at
last free to undertake a great task for which all that had gone before
was but a kind of preparation and education that no university could
provide and which only the fortunate and gifted few could fully use—his
years as a foreign correspondent, his travels in Europe and America, his
conversations and contacts with the great political leaders of his day,
plus his eager absorption through reading and observation of all that
was best in European culture.
Experiences which other men might have accepted as defeat, served
only to focus Douglas Reed’s powers on what was to be his most important
researching and retelling the story of the last 2000 years and more in
such a way as to render intelligible much of modern history which for
the masses remains in our time steeped in darkness and closely guarded
by the terrors of an invisible system of censorship.
The Book: Commencing in 1951, Douglas Reed spent more than
three years—much of
this time separated from his wife and young family—working
in the New York Central Library, or tapping away at his typewriter in
spartan lodgings in New York or Montreal. With workmanlike zeal, the
book was rewritten, all 300,000 words of it, and the Epilogue only added
The story of the book itself—the
unusual circumstances in which it was written, and how the manuscript,
after having remained hidden for more than 20 years, came to light and
was at last made available for publication—is
part of the history of our century, throwing some light on a struggle of
which the multitudes know nothing: that conducted relentlessly and
unceasingly on the battleground of the human mind.
It needed some unusual source of spiritual power and motivation to
bring to completion so big a book involving so much laborious research
and cross-checking, a book, moreover, which seemed to have little or no
chance of being published in the author’s lifetime.
Although there is correspondence to show that the title was briefly
discussed with one publisher, the manuscript was never submitted but
remained for 22 years stowed away in three zippered files on top of a
wardrobe in Reed’s home in Durban, South Africa.
Relaxed and at peace with himself in the knowledge that he had
carried his great enterprise as far as was possible in the circumstances
of the times, Douglas Reed patiently accepted his forced retirement as
journalist and writer, put behind him all that belonged to the past and
adjusted himself cheerfully to a different mode of existence, in which
most of his new-found friends and acquaintances, charmed by his lively
mind and rich sense of humour, remained for years wholly unaware that
this was indeed the Douglas Reed of literary fame.
Of this he was sure, whether or not it would happen in his lifetime,
there would come a time when circumstances would permit, and the means
be found, to communicate to the world his message of history rewritten,
and the central message of Christianity restated.
Interpretation: For the rest, The Controversy of Zion,
can be left to speak for itself; indeed, it is a work of revisionist
history and religious exposition the central message of which is
revealed in almost every page, understanding and compassionate of people
but severely critical of the inordinate and dangerous ambitions of their
In the final chapter, under the heading the Climacteric,
Douglas Reed remarks that if he could have planned it all when he began
writing his book in 1949, he could not have chosen a better moment than
the last months of 1956 to review the long history of Talmudic Zionism
and re-examine it against the background of what was still happening on
the stage of world politics.
For 1956 was the year of another American presidential election in
which, once again, the Zionists demonstrated their decisive power to
influence Western politics; it was the year in which the nations of the
West stood by as helpless spectators as Soviet forces were used to crush
a spontaneous revolt and re-install a Jewish-Communist regime in
Hungary; and it was the year in which Britain and France, under Zionist
pressure, were drawn into the disastrous fiasco of an attempt to capture
the Suez Canal, an adventure from which, once again, Israel alone gained
Everything that has happened since Reed wrote those last sentences in
1956 has continued to endorse the correctness of his interpretation of
more than 2000 years of troubled history.
The Middle East has remained an area of intense political activity
and of the maximum falsification of news and suppression of genuine
debate, and it was only the few with some knowledge of the role of
Talmudic Zionism and Communism who could have had any chance of solving
the problem of successive events of major importance, like the so-called
Six Day War in 1967 and the massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
Those who have read The Controversy of Zion will not be
surprised to learn that there were clear signs of collusion between the
Soviet Union and Israel in precipitating the Israeli attack on Egypt,
for it was only because Colonel Nasser had been warned by the Kremlin
bosses that Israel was about to attack Egypt’s ally Syria that he moved
nearly all his armed forces to his country’ s northern border, where
they fell an easy prey to Israel’s vastly superior army.
It seemed as if nothing had changed when in 1982 Israel launched a
massive and most ruthless attack on Southern Lebanon, ostensibly for the
purpose of rooting out the Palestine Liberation Organisation, but
actually in furtherance of an expansionist policy about which Jewish
leaders have always been remarkably frank.
By this time, however, the pro-Zionist mythology generated by Western
politicians and media in which Israel was always represented as a tiny
and virtuous nation in constant need of help and protection, was
obviously beginning to lose much of its plausibility, so that few were
surprised when the British Institute of Strategic Studies announced that
Israel could now be regarded as fourth in the world as a military power,
after the USA, the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China—well
ahead of nations like Britain and France.
More deeply significant was the reaction of the Jewish people, both
in Israel and abroad, to an apparent triumph of Zionist arms in Lebanon.
While Western politicians and media remained timorously restrained in
their comment, even after news of the massacre of an estimated 1500 men,
women and children in two Beirut refugee camps, 350,000 of the residents
of Tel Aviv staged a public demonstration against their government and
there were reports in the Jewish press that controversy over the
Lebanese war had rocked the Israel army and affected all ranks.
Of this, too, Douglas Reed seems to have had some presentiment, for
among the last words in his book are these: “I believe the Jews of the
world are equally beginning to see the error of revolutionary Zionism,
the twin of the other destructive movement, and, as this century ends,
will at last decide to seek involvement in common mankind.”