Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The October 1938 'Ultimatum'

I was asked by a Menachem Begin Heritage Center employee to help research an item he came across via a poem by a Warsaw Ghetto poet, Władysław Szlengel, who was close to the Revisionist thinking. It referred to an "ultimatum".

I was not aware of the event but set about doing what I could.

It seems that during 1938, the Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini had ensconced himself in Syria and was promoting his violent reign of terror (that he had begun in April 1936) from Damascus. The Peel Partition Plan had been made a year earlier and now the British had set up the Woodhead Commission.

The Arabs were convening in Cairo and this 

'World Parliamentary Congress of Arab and Muslim Countries for the Defense of Palestine' convened in Cairo in October 1938, it marked Egypt's assuming a central place in unofficial Arab-Muslim efforts to assist the Palestinian Arab cause

On it briefly:

What set off my colleague's interest was this:

an editorial of the Davar newspaper on October 14 which blasted an "ultimatum" directed to Chaim Weitzmann. 

But what was the ultimatum?

It was that the Arabs, even if they would be completely destroyed, they would not allow Jews to settle in and build a majority in Arab Palestine.

Haaretz had a Reuters report from October 10

which I found in Chicago The Sentinel as "dire calamities":

Some further background:

and the author of that book further pointed out:

It seems that Haaretz was very concerned about the ramifications of the 'ultimatum' publishing, on October 12, that "the threat issued this past week by one of the nationalist Arab groups in Damascus to the Zionist movement that revenge will be taken against Jews residing in Arab countries":-

In other words, what occured as a result of the 1947-1948 war, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were set up and forced to flee from the Arab states they had lived in for centuries, even before they became states, was in th Arab mind a decade earlier. The man behind all this was staunch Syrian Arabist Nabih al-Azma (in the middle)

who, already in 1925, "convinced...al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, to establish a special finance committee for the Syrian Revolt in Jerusalem". In 1931, he was living in the Palestine Mandate  and then, when the Mufti fled to Damascus, reciprocated.  As a  leaders of the Istiqlal party, Nabih al-Azma, with others, took over the Palestine Defense Committee in Damascus. Money was collected in Syria and it was transferred through al-Azma, who lived in Palestine, to the AHC leadership. Weapons were also procured by Istiqlal members in Transjordan and smuggled into Palestine. In July 1936, the Palestine Defense Committee dispatched about 700 Arab volunteers to fight in Palestine under the command of Fawzi al-Qawuqij. An Arab congress took place in Bludan, Syria in September 1937 and its the main organizer of the event was Nabih al-Azma, then a member of the Syrian National Bloc party, who received payments from the Italians. It was well-attended by leading Arab nationalist and pan-Islamic politicians and would prove instrumental in internationalizing the Arab-Zionist dispute in Palestine and in mobilizing Arab and Muslim public opinion. Seems he's mentiond in here.

The French eventually arrested al-Azma and others of the Palestine in March 1939 and two of their newspapers banned. The Committee was moreover discredited by the publication of evidence showing that Nabih al-Azma had been embezzling funds from the Palestine Defense Committee.



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