Jerusalem: The Ultimate ‘White Man’s Burden’

In October 1943 (about the same time Bateson was developing the science used to create the counter culture), the Nazi armed forces still reigned supreme over continental Europe. However, on a global scale, Nazi power was rapidly faltering following the Russian victories at Stalingrad and Kursk. The Rommel offensive in North Africa and Egypt had failed in its objective to defeat the British in the Middle East, where the German army surrendered in May of 1943. Roosevelt would shortly travel to Tehran to meet with Churchill and Stalin in person, to finalize plans for the “D-Day” invasion, which would open a second front in Europe against the Germans. Stalin’s support for the invasion of Europe was bought at the price: the West agreed to concede postwar Eastern Europe to the Soviets.

The postwar fate of Mandate Palestine, and its Zionist project, was emerging as another looming question yet to be determined. The allied powers had been jockeying for influence in the Middle East against the Nazis; and in November 1943, Heinrich Himmler was still trying to rally support for the Nazi cause among Palestinian Arabs.

In the midst of this wartime situation, Winston Churchill was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, headed by Lord Alfred Webb-Johnson. In honor of Churchill’s election, Webb-Johnson presented him with a gift of two unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling: “The Burden of Jerusalem” and “A Chapter of Proverbs.”  Churchill, upon receiving the poems, immediately suggested that Webb-Johnson should also forward them to Franklin Roosevelt in America.  Webb-Johnson told Roosevelt:

I had the privilege of being a friend of Rudyard Kipling and of looking after him during his last illness. After his death Mrs. Kipling, as literary executor, had a great responsibility in regard to those of his writings which had not been published. She feared that the two works which I have the honor of offering to you, might lead to some controversy and she decided not to publish them. She evidently shrank from destroying them, however, for she entrusted copies to me. After her death I felt it my duty to ensure their preservation, although naturally respecting Mrs. Kipling’s decision that they should not be published.

And, just to be sure, Churchill personally sent Roosevelt an additional copy of the poems, along with his own brief transmittal note, which reiterated:

I understand that Mrs. Kipling decided not to publish them in case they should lead to controversy and it is therefore important that their existence should not become known and that there should be no public reference to this gift.

Roosevelt replied to both Webb-Johnson and Churchill (independently) on the same day, acknowledging receipt of the poems. He told Webb-Johnson:

I had read “The Burden of Jerusalem” before and I could understand why Mrs. Kipling thought it would be best not to publish it. Nevertheless, it is a gem. I had not read “A Chapter of Proverbs” before and I like it much.

To Churchill, Roosevelt wrote:

Those two little books are gems — and I can well understand why they should not be made public at this time. Perhaps “The Burden of Jerusalem” should wait until you and I are strong enough to carry Ibn Saud to Jerusalem and Dr. Weizman to Meca.

The poems were re-discovered by Christopher Hitchens researching at the FDR library in 1988, and have been the subject of several commentaries (Hitchens 1990, Hamilton 2013, Raine 2010) which, while claiming that “The Burden of Jerusalem” is to some degree anti-Semitic, nevertheless express their puzzlement about what in the poem would demand its suppression. The puzzlement is deeper regarding the second poem in the collection, “A Chapter of Proverbs”, which is not detectably anti-Semitic at all.

With this in mind, what do the poems reveal about Kipling? What do they mean? Why did Kipling’s widow, Roosevelt and Churchill all see they need to keep them secret? Why Churchill would see such importance in the poems, or why Roosevelt would respond to them with such glee? And, how did Roosevelt see the Burden of Jerusalem before Churchill sent it to him?  The poems are the basis for a great number of mysteries, which concern individuals with great political power.

“Burden of Jerusalem” is prefaced by a quote from the Biblical book of Genesis (16:6) describing how Abram turned his consort, Hagar, the mother of his child Ishmael, over to his wife Sarai for punishment.

But Abram said unto Sarai, “Behold
thy maid is in thy hand. Do to
her as it pleaseth thee.” And
when Sarai dealt hardly with her
she fled from her face.
Genesis XVI.6.

Kipling goes on to characterize this event as the beginning of “a feud — still unsubdued” about possession of Jerusalem. At the time this poem was written, Kipling had just recently paid a visit to Palestine, where the Anglo-Americans’ Zionist project was faltering because of contention between Jews and the native inhabitants of the land, the Palestinian Arabs, who were understandably clinging to their homeland. In the context of this Arab-Israeli conflict, Kipling’s poem makes sense as an attempt to paint the portrait that this conflict between Arabs and Jews is rooted in ancient Biblical times; an assertion of the mass media, even though there was little if any historical basis for it.

Biblical scholars, on the other hand, sometimes interpret “Sons of Ishmael” to be a characterization of all Gentiles or non-Jews, regardless of race or creed. This is consistent with Paul’s view in the New Testament. (For example, see Galatians 4; although Paul ultimately concludes that it is the Christians who are true children of Israel.)  If this was Kipling’s intent, it has the advantage of making the poem (mostly) more coherent to its stated theme.


In ancient days
and deserts wild
There rose a feud –
still unsubdued –
‘Twixt Sarah’s son
and Hagar’s child
That centred round Jerusalem.

(While underneath
the timeless bough
Of Mamre’s oak,
mid stranger-folk
The Patriarch slumbered
and his spouse
Nor dreamed about Jerusalem).

For Ashmael lived
where he was born,
And pastured there
in tents of hair
Among the Camel
and the Thorn –
Beersheba, south Jerusalem.

But Israel sought
employ and food
At Pharoah’s knees,
till Rameses
Dismissed his plaguey multitude,
with curses,
Toward Jerusalem.

Across the wilderness
they came,
And launched their horde
o’er Jordan’s ford,
And blazed the road
by sack and flame
To Jebusite Jerusalem.

In the above verses, the poem indeed describes what seems to be the beginnings of a feud; that is, Israel’s descendants, after sojourning in Egypt, have returned to Jerusalem and triumphed over their opponents, the Jebusites.

However, contrary to the inference of an Arab vs. Israeli conflict: in fact, the Bible does not describe this as part of a long-standing quarrel of “sons of Ishmael” (that is, Arabs) against Israelis over the possession of Jerusalem. As the poem admits: while the Jews sojourned in Egypt, Jerusalem was possessed by the Jebusites: that is, by Canaanites, who (according to the Old Testament) were descended from an entirely separate branch of the human family from the Semites (Shemites). This split occurring the generation after Noah. The Israelites took the promised land of Palestine from the children of Canaan (that is, Phoenicians), not from the ‘children of Ishmael’. (Noting, of course, that the poem presumes the accuracy of the Biblical account; notwithstanding the independent witness of archaeological & historical data, which is hard pressed to detect any difference between the Canaanites and ancient Israelites, or any invasion event such as described in the Pentateuch.)

Then Kings and Judges
ruled the land,
And did not well by Israel,
Till Babylonia took a hand,
And drove them from Jerusalem.

And Cyrus sent them back anew,
To carry on as they had done,
Till angry Titus overthrew
The fabric of Jerusalem.

Then they were scattered
north and west,
While each Crusade
more certain made
That Hagar’s vengeful
son possessed
Mohamedan Jerusalem.

Where Ishmael held
his desert state,
And framed a creed
to serve his need. –
God is Great!”
He preached it in Jerusalem.

Once again, if the poem is attempting to depict a single, ongoing “feud” between the Arabs and Israelis, then Kipling has a problem — the Diaspora of the Jews from Palestine was caused (as Kipling himself explained), not by Arabs, but first by the Babylonian conquest and then by the Roman conquest of Judea. The Babylonians, Persians, or Romans are obviously not Arabs.

The poem seems deliberately confused as to whether the “feud-still unsubdued” represents the Arab-Israeli conflict, or whether it is depicting a feud of Israelites against the entire world of Gentiles of every possible creed and color.

The poem tells us (more or less correctly) that the Jews then were scattered to the north and west into Europe and the steppes of Russia, more so than into Arab lands. When the Arab followers of Mohammed took Jerusalem, they took it from the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) empire, not from the Jews. The extent and significance of the Diaspora may have been overestimated by 19th century Zionist historiography; Judaism spread to northern and western regions by evangelism and conversion, while Palestinian Jews were more likely to be assimilated to the culture of their Roman and Mohammedan conquerers.

According to the Bible narrative, the twelve tribes of Israel were driven out of ‘Israel’ by the Assyrians and never returned. It was the only Judeans, the elites and key others that is, that were driven from Jerusalem to be returned by Cyrus. As we will discuss later, Kipling would have been very well aware of this, because of the popularity of “British Israel” theology at the time; that is, the view that the British were descended from the lost tribes of Israel, and had inherited their mantle as God’s Chosen People.

And every realm
they wandered through
Rose, far or near,
in hate or fear,
And robbed and tortured,
chased and slew,
The outcasts of Jerusalem.

So ran their doom –
half seer, half slave –
And ages passed,
and at the last
They stood beside
each tyrant’s grave,
And whispered of Jerusalem.

We do not know
what God attends
The Unloved Race
in every place
Where they amass
their dividends
From Riga to Jerusalem;

But all the course
of Time makes clear
To everyone
(except the Hun)
It does not pay to interfere
With Cohen from Jerusalem.

For, ‘neath the Rabbi’s
curls and fur
(Or scents and rings
of movie-Kings)
The aloof,
unleavened blood of Ur,
Broods steadfast on Jerusalem.

In these passages, Kipling has depicted the fate of Diaspora Jews in Europe: they become outcasts, wandering through realms where they are hated and feared, robbed and tortured. But, ages pass, and the Jews at last find a place alongside the European tyrants, even though they are still the “Unloved Race”.  They are, at last, left alone:  “Everyone (except the Hun)” eventually realize that “it does not pay to interfere” with these Jews with their “unleavened blood” — in their brooding determination not to forget Jerusalem.

The poem has generally been seen as anti-Semitic, for reasons that begin to become clear in these passages: the Jews are portrayed as steeped in a brooding, irrational hate against Gentiles, rooted in an ancient Old Testament fable. The poem reinforces prejudices against Jews as international bankers and “movie kings”, who would whisper their secret plans past the graves of tyrants.

For all its emphasis on ancient roots of conflict between Jews and others, Kipling’s poem conspicuously omits any mention of the New Testament tale in which Jews are blamed for the crucifixion of Christ. Perhaps the apparently agnostic phrase “we do not know what God attends the unloved race” is an oblique reference to the Christian god of the European realms, who kicked the ‘unloved race’ under the curb. Obviously, the medieval enmity of Jews and Christian gentiles has nothing to do with the ancient Old Testament story of Sarai and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael. It has nothing to do with possession of Jerusalem, or the quarrels of Christian crusaders against Mohammedans. It has everything to do with the contrived dialectic conflict of Christians against Rabbinical Jews over the blame for the death of Christ: a conflict invented by the Flavian Caesars.

Next, the poem imagines the conflict returning to its center at Jerusalem:

Where Ishmael bides
in his own place –
A robber bold,
as was foretold,
To stand before
his brother’s face –
The wolf without Jerusalem:

A riddle: who are the “bold robbers” who are standing outside Jerusalem? And, where was this foretold?

In Wars of the Jews, Josephus described the messianic Jewish rebels as ‘robbers’.  When Kipling uses the term ‘robbers’ in the poem, he may be reversing the situation Josephus described whereby the Jews were driven out of Jerusalem. Kipling is describing the ‘bold robbers’ returning to Jerusalem and recapturing the city.

In the Book of Revelation, a ‘New Jerusalem’ with a new population is foretold. This is perhaps the prophecy that Kipling is referring to.

Another (possibly layered) interpretation is that the “bold robbers” are the modern capitalist “robber barons”, the Anglo-Americans, who have recaptured Mandate Palestine from the Arabs. This is the return that was foretold in the Book of Revelation — as interpreted by Scofield and the Dispensationalists, at least.

The poem continues to describe the conflict unfolding into the present day:

And burthened Gentiles
o’er the main
Must bear the weight
of Israel’s hate
Because he is not
brought again
In triumph to Jerusalem.

At this point, the reader’s head explodes with the force of the internal contradictions in Kipling’s narrative. If the Jews have an age-old feud with the Arabs, then why is their hate directed towards Gentiles?  On the other hand, if the “children of Ishmael” includes the Gentiles, then why is the poem suddenly claiming that the age-old hatred is because “he is not brought again in triumph”? Why would the Jews expect any cooperation from their ancient enemies? No matter what interpretation we subscribe to, the contradiction seems insurmountable.

In actual reality, at the time the poem was written, the Gentiles (that is, the European Christians and Anglo-Americans) had just recently formed a historically innovative alliance with the Jews to bring them back to Jerusalem. In doing so, the “Gentiles” created a new enemy for the Jews, setting them up in opposition to the entire Arab world — an enmity which had been lost and forgotten. The ostensible enemies of the Jews in Europe were the Germans (that is, the Huns), more so than the Anglo-American Gentiles. The Anglo-American Christian Zionists were trying to re-interpret a thousand years of European history as “Judeo-Christianity”: an invented scenario in which God’s will for Christians and Jews alike is fulfilled through the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. Yet  the Jews are portrayed by Kipling as focusing their laser-like hate on the Gentiles, their ever-burdened benefactors.

Kipling tells us that the proximate cause of “Israel’s hate” is because “he” has no triumph in Jerusalem. The referent of “he” is ambiguous: we are not sure if Kipling means the Jews, or the Gentiles. The fact is clear, however, that the Jews hate the “burthened” Gentiles; and that their hate is a burden that weighs on the Gentiles.

The mention of a “burden” calls to mind Kipling’s most famous poem, “The White Man’s Burden”, in which the White Men are encouraged to support Anglo-American colonialist domination of the “new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child”, even though there is little if any reward other than “The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard”. In this context, the Jews seem to fit perfectly: they too are sullen, ungrateful and vengeful, inexplicably lost in hate towards their benefactors. Indeed, the hate of the Jews towards the Gentiles, inexplicable within the skewed historical theory of the poem, comes into focus with the understanding that the Jews have become colonial victims of the Anglo-Americans, in exactly the same was as Africans and Native Americans were earlier.

Ironically, Kipling is correct in the assessment that the benefits of colonialism (whether in Africa or the Middle East) are quite minimal for the average White Man (that is, English rank-and-file scurvy seamen and white trailer trash); while he conveniently forgets to mention the upper-class bankers and industrialists who reap the benefits of wealth and power.

In the final stanza, the poem blames Abraham for having given rise to the conflict:

Yet he who bred the
unending strife
And was not brave
enough to save
The Bondsmaid from
the furious wife,
He wrought thy woe, Jerusalem!

This “woe” of Jerusalem is, to a great extent, falling upon the Gentiles at this point, as the bearers of Israel’s triumphant hate. Nevertheless, there is plenty of woe to go around — and to the extent that the Jews are continuing to suffer in the world as well, it is difficult to deny the anti-Semitism of this statement that Abraham, one of the great Jewish patriarchs, was nothing but a coward who was responsible for all the tragedy that followed. In this sense, the verse represents the essence of “blaming the victim”.

Andrew Hamilton (CounterCurrents) argued that “The Burden of Jerusalem” was suppressed by Kipling’s widow (and, presumably, by Roosevelt and Churchill as well) simply because of its anti-Semitism.  However, this does not seem to be an adequate reason for the poem to have been such an important state secret. Kipling’s anti-semitism was already well-known from his “Gehazi” and other works in “The Years Between” collection, published in 1919. Furthermore, as Hamilton noted:  “In a letter written from Jerusalem to his only surviving child, Elsie, Kipling reportedly observed that ‘many races are vile but the Jew in bulk on his native heath is the Vilest of them all.’

Kipling’s view of the Jews was further demonstrated in his story THE TREASURE AND THE LAW, in which he described how Jews kept their religion even while undergoing hardships; displaying a certain grudging respect for them, even though they “slink among rubbish-heaps.”

“Puck fell back a pace, laughing. ‘Kadmiel is thinking of King John’s reign,’ he explained. ‘His people were badly treated then.’

‘Oh, we know that.’ they answered, and (it was very rude of them, but they could not help it) they stared straight at Kadmiel’s mouth to see if his teeth were all there. It stuck in their lesson-memory that King John used to pull out Jews’ teeth to make them lend him money.

Kadmiel understood the look and smiled bitterly.

‘No. Your King never drew my teeth: I think, perhaps, I drew his. Listen! I was not born among Christians, but among Moors – in Spain – in a little white town under the mountains. Yes, the Moors are cruel, but at least their learned men dare to think. It was prophesied of me at my birth that I should be a Lawgiver to a People of a strange speech and a hard language. We Jews are always looking for the Prince and the Lawgiver to come. Why not? My people in the town (we were very few) set me apart as a child of the prophecy – the Chosen of the Chosen. We Jews dream so many dreams. You would never guess it to see us slink about the rubbish-heaps in our quarter; but at the day’s end – doors shut, candles lit – aha! then we became the Chosen again.”

However, Kipling also made a comment about Jews’ secret facility to create wars, displaying the anti-Semitic view that Jews carry the bulk of responsibility:

 “There can be no war without gold, and we Jews know how the world’s gold moves… a wonderful underground river… Such power have we Jews among the Gentiles. How should the foolish Kings know that while they fight and steal and kill?”

Aside from serving as a display piece for Kipling’s anti-Semitism, “The Burden of Jerusalem” seems to be cleverly contrived propaganda, justifying the Zionist project while obfuscating many historical realities — especially its suppression of the true reasons for enmity between Jews and Christians. With the new alliance between Jews and Christian Zionists, it was indeed a vital propaganda objective to put an end to that conflict. However, in the new postwar context, the poem’s anti-Semitism might have been seen as going too far towards undermining the friendship between Jews and Christians in the new post-war world. While anti-Semitism was nothing to be ashamed of in Kipling’s heyday, by 1943 it was no longer the least bit fashionable; which might have been sufficient reason for Roosevelt and Churchill to let sleeping dogs lie.

But why did Churchill and Roosevelt take such obvious glee in the poem? This question suggests another possible reason for the suppression of the poem: if Churchill and Roosevelt were anti-Semites themselves, they might have seen it as a rather jolly good joke at the expense of the Jews; which would be quite embarrassing in view of the fact that they were publicly posturing as friends of the Jews in the Zionist struggle against German oppression. Roosevelt was crucially dependent on the many Jews in his administration, and he relied on their support at election time. So much the worse, if the poem suggested that the Anglo-Americans saw the Jews as a racial minority to be exploited like any other colonialist holding.

Another clue to Kipling’s intention is found in its companion poem, “A Chapter of Psalms”, which on its face seems far more innocuous. Aside from Hitchens, there has been no commentary at all about it; and Hitchens’ comments were that stanzas 3 and 6 had something to do with Churchill’s reaction to Lend-Lease, and that stanza 24 evoked the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Such references, even if correct, would hardly justify classifying “Psalms” with “Burden of Jerusalem” as dangerous contraband.

By naming the Poem ‘Proverbs’, Kipling recalls the book of that name in the Old Testament, in which a father gives advice to his son, and the rewards of the righteous are contrasted to the destruction of the wicked.  For example: Proverbs 6:12-15

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,
winks with his eyes, signals[c] with his feet, points with his finger,
with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

By their light-hearted, humorous (if somewhat pompous) tone, Kipling’s verses also feel reminiscent of Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes (“to thine own self be true”, & etc.) in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  The advice is far-ranging, and often difficult to interpret.


1.     The wind bloweth where it
listeth, and after the same
manner in every country.
Be not puffed up with a
breath (of it)

The biblical references are John 3:8 (“the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the spirit.”) and Jeremiah 1:60, “ after the same manner the wind bloweth in every country”, where Jeremiah is explaining that the wind and lightning obey God, and yet they are not gods. Kipling seems to be advising against the vanity of a spiritual path that is not close enough to God?

2.     Of a portion set aside a
portion or ever the days
come when thou shalt see
there is no work in them

3.     For he that hath not must
serve him that hath; even
to the peril of the soul

4.     Take the wage for thy work
in silver and (it may be)
gold; but accept not honors
nor any great gifts

This seems to be basic advice for capital formation: by setting aside a portion each day, a man can become among the “haves”, and be always served by the “have-nots.” Kipling advises his son against vanity and to take only real things for his work.

5.     Is ye ox yoked till men have
need of him; or the camel
belled while yet she is free?
And wouldst thou be eved
with these?

6.     Pledge no writing till it is
written; and seek not
payment on (any) account
the matter shall be
remembered against thee.

The advice here, again, is to avoid being “yoked” like other “animals” — to avoid burdensome commitments such as pre-payments for future work.

7.     There is a generation which
selleth dung in the street
and saith: “To the pure all
things are pure.”

It is the Apostle Paul who said “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15).  Matthew, Mark and Luke agreed that Jesus said “this generation shall not pass away, before all these things have come to pass”, yet obviously the Second Coming of Christ in Glory has never yet occurred.

Is Kipling saying that Christianity is nothing but dung that is still being sold in the street? If so, as the virtual Poet Laureate of the British Empire, he was hardly in a position to say so more plainly than this.

8.     But count (thou) on the one
hand how may be so minded;
and after write according
to thy knowledge.

9.     Because not all evil beareth
fruit in a day; and it may
be some shall curse thy
grave for the iniquity of
thy works in their youth

Kipling reminds his son how rare this understanding of the world is, because the evil (of Christianity?) bears fruit slowly (if at all?). Noting that understanding is rare (and, it follows, that there are many ’sellers of dung’) — such knowledge should be referred to cautiously (if at all) because a person could be cursed in the grave for iniquity.

10. The fool brayeth in his
heart there is no God;
therefore his imaginings
are terribly returned on
him; and that without interpreter

The answer is not to turn to atheism, because that is a terrible, lonely and imaginary path.

11. Get skill, and when thou
has it, forget; lest the
bird on her nest mock thee,
and He that is Highest
look down

12. Get knowledge; it shall
not burst thee; and amass
under thy hand a peculiar
treasure of words;

13. As a King heapeth him
jewels to bestow or cast
aside; or being alone in
his palace, fortifieth
himself beholding (them)

14. So near as thou canst, open
not thy whole mind to
any man.

15. The bounds of his craft are
appointed to each from of
old; they shall not be known
to the cup-mates or the

These passages describe a skill that must be acquired and forgotten, and a “peculiar treasure of words” that must be amassed, as a King heaps up jewels. This is the wisdom of the “craft” that is appointed “from of old”, which must not be revealed to “cup-mates”. The “craft” is a reference to freemasonry, which is to be kept secret.

16. For three things my heart
is disquieted; and for four
that I cannot bear:

17. For a woman who esteemeth
herself a man; and a man
that delighteth in her

18. For people whose young
men are cut off by the
sword; and for the soul
that regardeth not these

19. In three things, yea and
in four, is the metal of
the workman made plain:

20. In excessive labour; in
continual sloth; in long
waiting; and in the day
of triumph.

In these passages, Kipling seems to be describing his views of sins that he “cannot bear”, and the virtues of simple workmen who avoid both excessive labor and sloth, which brings about the day of triumph. Plato’s famous “Noble Lie” in his “Republic” referred to the metal of workmen, which is brass or iron —  as contrasted to the metal of the elite, which is silver or gold.

21. There is one glory of the
sun and another of the
moon and a third of the
stars: yet are all these
appointed for the glory
of the earth which alone
hath no light.

Kipling’s essay “Proofs of Holy Writ” imagines that Shakespeare and Ben Jonson collaborated to come up with the text of Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-20 that was used in the King James Version of the Bible. The verses read:

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.


The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

In this poem “Chapter of Proverbs”, as in the Bible, the condition of the earth is that it has no light. Kipling’s poem has the sun, moon and stars supplying light and glory; while according to Isaiah, it is “the Lord” who is giving everlasting light which supersedes the sun and moon.

Supporting this contention is the manner that Lucifer is described at the end of Revelation, as understood by Freemasons. (As we will discuss later, Kipling had extensive connections with the Freemasons.) For example, Albert Pike wrote:

“Lucifer, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable, blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish souls? Doubt it not!” Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, p. 321, 19th Degree of Grand Pontiff;

Masons from the first initiation are urged to “seek the Light!”  The average Mason is continually saying that he is “seeking the Light,” and will spend his entire life “moving toward the Light.”

22. Hold not back (any) part
of a price.

23. Despise no man even in thy
heart; for the custom of
it shall make thy works of
none effect

24. Use not overmuch to
frequent the schools of
the scribes; for idols are
there and (all) the paths
return upon themselves.

25. Envy no man’s work nor
deliver judgement upon
it in the gate, for the end
is bitterness.

These verses 22 through 25 seem to represent good Judeo-Christian fatherly advice to avoid idol-worship, envy and bitterness: perhaps trite, but hard to disagree with. But beginning at verse 26, we find the following:

26.    Consider now those blind
worms of the deep which
fence themselves about as
it were with stone against
their fellows;

27.     And reaching the
intolerable light of the
sun straightway perish
leaving but their tombs;

28     By those whose mere multitude
the sea is presently stayed;
the tide itself divideth
at that place.

29    Small waves after storm
laying there seeds, nuts
and the bodies of fish,
(at last) an island ariseth
crowned with palms; thither
the sea-birds repair.

The “blind worms of the dark” are, of course, people. Kipling may mean those “dark” people who are the “white man’s burden”, or he may mean to be talking about blind, stupid people of any race and creed. They have fenced themselves with stone against each other. Stone is the work of freemasons, and is found in dark (Platonic?) caves. The stones that divide people against each other might refer to the various exoteric nationalities and religions which are foisted on the hoi polloi by the elite and the elect.

While the “Gentiles” of Isaiah 60 rise to the light of the Lord and their days of mourning are ended, the “blind worms” find the light intolerable, and they are killed in a great multitude — great enough to stay the sea, divide the tide, and create an island. Seeds, nuts and the bodies of fish join in the rising mass. Kipling’s symbolic framework may come from Proverb  10, 20: “when the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone but the righteous stand firm forever.” Crowned with palms, the new island may represent the new state of Israel. The image of an island arising out of a storm is also an apocalyptic reminder of the Genesis flood, and Noah’s landfall — which God promised would never be repeated, but that promise now seems to be null and void.

30     Till man coming taketh
all to his use and hath no
memory of aught below
(his feet)

31    Out of the dust which
had life come all things
and shalt thou be other
than they?

32     Nevertheless, my son, dare
thou greatly to believe.

Kipling ends with a vision that those in the future will have no memory of the vast plague of death that brought about the new world. This is already true of present-day Americans: few remember, or even realize, that a flourishing, teeming multitude of Native Americans once filled the continent, before it was taken over by European caucasians.

The images are chilling.  Kipling reminds his son that he is composed of the same dust that the worms are made of, but they are dead and trodden underfoot — while the elect survivors believe greatly, and “taketh all” with unconscious pleasure, and no respect for the dead. They are, after all, just dark worms (metaphorically speaking.)

There remains the question of who will be the survivors, and who will be the worms. In “Chapter of Proverbs” the answer seems clear enough: the enlightened ones will be the diligent capitalists who study the Craft (freemasonry and/or its affiliates), keep their wisdom to themselves, stay in the light, and avoid being caught in stone tombs. Another famous poem of Kipling’s, “Recessional”, provides further insight:


God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine –
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law –
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word –
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

In this poem, Kipling makes it clear that the Old Testament’s “Lord of Hosts” is now the patron of the British navy, who has been given “dominion over palm and pine”, that is, the domain that formerly belonged to Israel —  as long as they remain prayerful, avoiding “such boastings as the Gentiles use”, much less the “lesser breeds”; and above all, as long as they never forget (their elect status.) Although the logic is not completely coherent, Kipling is clearly claiming that the British elite have displaced the Jews as well as other Gentiles in the role of God’s chosen people.

Another manifestation of British-Israel may have been the swift adoption of the practice of circumcision throughout the Anglo-American world at that time, ostensibly for reasons of medical sanitation. Kipling described this secret ersatz-Jewish identity in his work THE GARDENER (1926). Though the hero ‘Turrel’ seems to be a British Gentile, Kipling used veiled metaphors to indicate that the character had been circumcised. Kipling’s circumcision imagery below will be clear to all except the most metaphorically challenged.

“A christening, by the Rector, under the name of Michael, was the first step. So far as she knew herself, she was not, she said, a child-lover, but, for all her faults, she had been very fond of George, and she pointed out that little Michael had his father’s mouth to a line; which made something to build upon.

As a matter of fact, it was the Turrell forehead, broad, low, and well-shaped, with the widely spaces eyes beneath it, that Michael had most faithfully reproduced. His mouth was somewhat better cut than the family type. But Helen, who would concede nothing good to his mother’s side, vowed he was a Turrell all over, and, there being no one to contradict, the likeness was established. In a few years Michael took his place, as accepted as Helen had always been – fearless, philosophical, and fairly good-looking.”

In addition to his interest in British Israel theology, Kipling was also very involved in Freemasonry, as were Roosevelt and Churchill. Their Masonic connections are given in “10,000 Famous Freemasons” by William Denslow:

Sir Winston L. Churchill …. was initiated in Studholme Lodge No. 1591, London and raised March 25, 1902 in Rosemary Lodge No. 2851.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt … [was] a member of Holland Lodge No. 8, N.Y.C and received the 32° AASR (NJ) at Albany, N.Y. Feb. 28, 1929, while governor of N.Y.  [His sons were all Freemasons and] he became the first honorary grand master of the Order of DeMolay. d. April 12, 1945.

Rudyard Kipling was initiated in Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782, Lahore, Punjab, India in 1886, by a special dispensation, because he was only 20 years and six months old. ….  On his return to England, he became a founder of the lodge Builders of the Silent Cities No. 4948, in 1927, and of Author’s Lodge No. 3456. He was further appointed poet laureate of the famous Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No. 2, of Edinburgh, Scotland, in which, by tradition, Robert Burns, q.v., had previously served in a similar capacity.

Even Lord Webb-Johnson, the English physician who gave Churchill the poems, was a Freemason. In fact, he was the senior grand deacon of the Grand Lodge of England in 1936.

Freemasonry, of course, is a secret society. Little (if anything) is known about its higher levels because these higher levels require oaths of secrecy. However, it is clear that its philosophy is drawn from ancient Babylonian, Egyptian and Jewish sources; and that it welcomes members from all faiths and ethnic backgrounds, but its beliefs and rituals are not compatible with fundamentalist interpretations of any of the  exoteric Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism or Islam).

Kipling was a close friend of Freemason Cecil Rhodes and the Jewish Freemason Lord Nathan Rothschild, whom he often vacationed with.

In his third will Rhodes left his entire estate to Rothschild as trustee. Rhodes stipulated that his gigantic fortune be used by his disciples to carry out the ‘secret society’ program he envisioned. Rothschild appointed Freemason Alfred Milner to head up the secret society for which Rhodes’s first will made provision.

Lord Milner once remarked of himself, “My patriotism knows no geographical but only racial limits. I am a British Race patriot.”

Upon his appointment by Rothschild to chair Rhodes’s secret society, Milner recruited a group of young men from Oxford and Tonybee Hall to assist him in organizing his administration of the new society. All were respected English Freemasons. Among them were Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Balfour, Lord Rothschild, and some Oxford College graduates known as “Milner’s Kindergarten.” In 1909, Milner’s Kindergarten, with some other English Masons, founded the Round Table. The grandfather of all modern British Masonic “think tanks” was born.

This is perhaps the most important context for the “Burden of Jerusalem”.  As powerful, well-connected British Freemasons, Kipling,  Roosevelt and Churchill were were more concerned with matters of finance, international relations, and propaganda, and with the goal of preserving and furthering the aims of the Anglo-American imperial project, than they were concerned with a misinterpretation of ancient history. In that light, Kipling’s clever historical misdirection was a masterstroke of propaganda.

However, the poem, equally disdainful of Jews, Arabs, Germans and other Gentiles, may have been pitched too obviously to elite Masonic feelings of superiority over all varieties of “hoi polloi”.  And I would argue that this is the most important reason why the consensus was so easily achieved, that the poem must be suppressed: especially in conjunction with “Chapter of Proverbs”, it gave away too much of the contempt of the Anglo-American elite towards all other peoples, including Christian Gentiles as well as brooding Rabbinical Jews.

I believe this is also the basis of Roosevelt’s remark that publication of the “Burden” should wait “until you and I are strong enough to carry Ibn Saud to Jerusalem and Dr. Weizman to Meca”? Because Kipling’s propaganda theme (that is, the theme of Zionist control of the Middle East) was based on bringing Ibn Saud to Meca, and Weizman to Jerusalem, under the pretense that Ibn Saud was entitled to rightfully possess Arabia as an Arab, while Weizman was entitled to rightfully possess Jerusalem as a Jew. To achieve the reverse, the Anglo-Americans would need to own both provinces outright, and establish a secular dominance over both. Or perhaps Roosevelt meant something equivalent to “when pigs fly”; that is, never.

The poems also display an understanding that the real reason for the Zionist project in the Middle East had little to do with justice for the Jews in the wake of the Hitlerian pogroms (which had not even yet occurred as of the time Kipling was writing). It was, rather, yet another chapter in the actual historical enmity between Christians and Mohammedans, now being fought by proxy; and (most importantly) it was justification for the projection of Western power in the Middle East, which was emerging as an economic necessity because of the growing recognition of the vital necessity of access to Middle Eastern oil.

The final ironic stanza indicates some possibility that Kipling had arrived at a self-conscious understanding that the Anglo-Americans were not blameless, saint-like figures.  Abraham can be seen to represent not only the ancient Biblical figure, but also the new Anglo-American parents of the situation — who by cowardly promulgating the Balfour Declaration, had effectively  given the holy land to the Jews without actually taking it from the Arabs. Thus, the British had in fact kindled a struggle between Jews and Arabs which had not existed as a historical reality since the 4th millennium BC, if ever. However, the cure for this problem (as Kipling would have seen it) would have been for America to redouble its commitment to the Zionist project, ensuring a Jewish triumph in Jerusalem and finally ending the strife that Abraham allowed to begin. This may have represented yet another level of insight that Churchill and Roosevelt wanted to keep away from the light of day.

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