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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Rothschild & Co arrives in Pakistan

Rothschild & Co is a multinational investment bank and financial company, and the flagship of the Rothschild banking group controlled by the French and British branches of the Rothschild family. The banking business of the firm covers the areas of investment banking, restructuring, corporate banking, private equity, asset management, and private banking.

A delegation of the fabled Jewish company Rothschild, comprising the company’s partner and Managing Director, called on Pakistan’s Finance & Revenue Minister Ishaq Dar. Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha and senior officers participated in the meeting that took place at the Finance Division.

The meeting discussed the economic challenges being faced by Pakistan, currently grappling with the threat of default, and possible courses of action for Pakistan’s economic recovery.

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Who are the Rothschilds?

Rothschild & Co is a multinational investment bank and financial company, and the flagship of the Rothschild banking group controlled by the French and British branches of the Rothschild family. The banking business of the firm covers the areas of investment banking, restructuring, corporate banking, private equity, asset management, and private banking. It is also known to serve as the advisor and lender to governments and major corporations. In addition, the firm has an investment account in private equity.

Rothschild’s financial advisory division is known to serve the British nobility as well as the British Royal Family. Past chairman Sir Evelyn Robert de Rothschild was the personal financial advisor of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen knighted him in 1989 for his services to banking and finance.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812) rose to become one of Europe’s most powerful bankers in the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kessel – a principality of the Holy Roman Empire. It existed as a single entity from 1264 to 1567, when it was divided among the sons of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse.In pursuit of expansion, Mayer Amschel Rothschild appointed his sons to start banking operations in the various capitals of Europe, including sending his third son, Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777–1836), to England.

Rothschilds and the founding of the State of Israel

Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934) was the youngest son of James and Betty de Rothschild. A strong supporter of Zionism, his most outstanding achievements were supporting massive land purchases and underwriting Jewish settlements in Palestine and Israel. Edmond’s large donations lent significant support to the movement during its early years, which helped in the establishment of the State of Israel.

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In the 1880s, in his goal for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, Edmond’s philanthropy funded Jewish settlements and encouraged the development of agriculture and industry. ‘The Benefactor’, as he was known provided support for Jewish colonists, overseeing dozens of new colonies. Rishon le Zion (the First in Zion) was followed by others bearing the names of his parents.

Edmond stimulated the economic development of the settlements by investing in new crops, such as wine, grapefruit, and avocado, and industrial enterprises such as silk production; he played a key role in Israel’s wine industry. Under the supervision of his administrators in Ottoman Palestine, farm colonies and vineyards were established, and two major wineries were opened in Rishon le Zion and Zikhron Ya’akov. Edmond paid his first visit to the colonies in 1887, to inspect the progress that had been made in the first five years.

Beginning in 1916, the British hoped that in exchange for their support of Zionism, “the Jews” would help to finance the growing expenses of the First World War, which was becoming increasingly burdensome. More importantly, policy-makers in the Foreign Office believed that Jews could be prevailed upon to persuade the United States to join the War. At this time, there were very strong pro-Zionist feelings by many of the political elite and establishment. Many of Britain’s leaders, including Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and Balfour himself, felt for the Jews and their history. These men were deeply religious Christian Zionists. They had grown up on the Bible; the Holy Land was their spiritual home. They believed that modern Zionism would fulfill a divine promise, and re-settle the Jews in the land of their ancient fathers.

On November 2, 1917, the British Government expressed its sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations and announced that it would use its “best endeavors” to facilitate “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. The announcement came in a letter from Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lionel Walter, 2nd Lord Rothschild (1868-1937), the unofficial leader of the British Jewish community. The Balfour agreement became the diplomatic foundation stone of the state of Israel. The origins of the letter had begun in the early twentieth century, when Chaim Weizmann, the leading spokesman for Zionism in Britain began to solicit support among the British people, shortly after he settled in Manchester in 1904.

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The Balfour Declaration used deliberately vague language. The term “national home” was chosen to minimize the Zionist dream, to make Palestine a Jewish state. The Arabs, whose “civil and religious” (not national and political) rights were not to be prejudiced as the declaration put it, were referred to only as “existing non-Jewish communities”.

The Balfour Declaration was ultimately unsuccessful and many commentators place it among similar fruitless schemes. Surprisingly, the British by and large kept their word, and for at least two decades until the outbreak of the Second World War, they allowed the Zionist movement to bring hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants into Palestine. These new arrivals set up hundreds of settlements, including several towns as well as the political, economic, military, and cultural infrastructure of the future state of Israel. The Balfour Declaration was the opening chapter in a still unfinished story.

The original letter was presented to The British Library in 1924 by Lionel Walter, 2nd Lord Rothschild.

Foreign Office,

November 2nd, 1917.

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely

Arthur James Balfour

When Edmond died in Paris in 1934, he left a legacy that included the reclamation of nearly 500,000 dunams of land (a measure of land area used in parts of the former Turkish empire, including Israel where it is equal to about 900 square meters). and almost 30 settlements. In 1954, his remains and those of his wife Adelheid were brought to rest at Ramat Hanadiv in Zikhron Ya’akov.

Pakistan and the State of Israel

In an interview with Mr. Robert Stimson, the B.B.C. Correspondent, on December 19, 1947, referring to the Palestine problem, Jinnah observed that the Muslims of the sub-continent had been compelled to condemn in the strongest possible manner the unjust and cruel decision of the United Nations concerning the partition of Palestine. He further said,

“The Muslims of the sub-continent are reluctant to antagonize the United States or any other country, but our sense of justice obliges us to help the Arab cause in Palestine in every way that is open to us”.

After Jinnah’s death, whereas successive Pakistani governments parroted their commitment to the Palestinian cause, their support, even as the support of the Arab states, was nothing more than a cosmetic gesture. During the Suez crisis Iskander Mirza, Pakistan’s first president, had even secretly congratulated Israeli leaders on the “superb performance of your little army in giving a bloody nose to the Egyptians”. Pakistani gesture was not lost on the Egyptians.

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Fifteen years later, Inthe aftermath of the 71 War between Pakistan and India, Hasnain Heikal, President Nasser’s and President Anwar Sadat’s close confidant, and editor of the Cairo newspaper Al Ahram, while addressing his Indian audience, remarked, “you were not alone during the 71 war. We were with you”. Such are the dynamics of international relations. Today, the Muslim World, particularly the Arab Middle East, stands fragmented, more than it was after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog disclosed on  26 May 2022 he had an “amazing experience” while meeting in Israel a mixed delegation of Pakistani expatriates from the US and a PTV employee. Herzog was speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) about the Abraham Accords, a US-backed deal brokered by Jared Kushner, former US President Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law.

The Abraham Accords is a series of treaties normalizing diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, facilitated by the U.S. Administration, through Jared Kushner, between August and December 2020. In the span of five short months, these four Arab states joined Egypt and Jordan in making peace with Israel. The agreements were called “The Abraham Accords” in honor of Hazrat Abraham AS – the patriarch of the three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

With their characteristic duplicity, Pakistan’s Foreign Office and Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives said no official or semi-official delegation from Pakistan met the Israeli President. The Palestinian problem is one of the factors which generally determine Pakistan’s relationship with the Arab world. Does the not-so-secret meeting in Jerusalem reflect the Pakistan government’s desperate effort to use Israel as a conduit to the US to facilitate a favorable financial deal with IMF? Or, is it part of the US-sponsored regime change in Pakistan?

According to the Islamabad grapevine, Saudi Arabia is waiting for Pakistan to recognize Israel before the Saudis do so. However, Saudi airspace is already available for Israel. Saudi Arabia’s dependence on Pakistan for recognizing Israel is another reason for the slow movement on a financial bailout for Pakistan.

The Rothschild & Co visit to Pakistan should be viewed in this context.


Saleem Akhtar Malik is a Pakistan Army veteran who writes on national and international affairs, defense, military history, and military technology. He Tweets at @saleemakhtar53. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.