Monday, July 05, 2021

Julius Kahn, His 1919 Letter and the Irony

In a (Hebrew-language) tweet, I mentioned the 1919 letter of 299 Reform Rabbis to President Woodrow Wilson not to support the Zionism, the Balfour Declaration and a decision to reestablish the Jewish Nation Home.

I had previously included the episode in this previous blog post in 2017.

As some people asked my for sources, I simply upload here more material from the Hebrew Standard, The Sentinel and the New York Times as well as a book and an academic article. The episode is also mentioned here and here.










And just by the way, the  Julius Kahn Park in San Fransisco, so named in 1926, had it named changed.


members of the Chinese community...announced the effort to remove Kahn’s name — and his racist legacy — from a 92-year-old city playground.

Julius Kahn led the effort in 1902 to make permanent the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States. Members of the Chinese community today say that decision, rooted in racism, tore families apart. The act was finally repealed in 1943.

In calling for the Chinese Exclusion Act’s passage, Kahn called Chinese people “morally the most debased people on the face of the Earth,” and portrayed them as criminals. The rhetoric echoes our current national struggles.

Irony of ironies.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Syro-Palestine

My blog has multiple posts documenting that the Arabs residing in the territory of what was to become the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine viewed themselves not as "Palestinians" but "Southern Syrians" and did not reognize "Palestine" as a separate geo-political entity.

Have you heard of the 1921 Syro-Palestinian Congress?

It was founded on August 25, 1921 in Geneva by a group of Arabs from Greater Syrian, including  Palestine and even the Syrian National Society based in Boston, under the auspices of the Syrian Unity Party. The main aim of the congress was to try to influence the terms of the proposed League of Nations mandate over the region that would be awarded to France.

Its formation followed the July 1919 "Pan-Syrian" Syrian National Congress. 

On September 21, after almost a month of deliberations in the Plainpalais Assembly Hall , a public statement to the League of Nations was issued demanding:

Recognition of the independence and national rule (al-Sultan al-Qawmi) of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine; Recognition of the right of these countries to unite in the framework of a civilian government, responsible to a parliament elected by the people, and in association with the other Arab lands; Immediate annulment of the Mandate; Departure of the French and British forces from Syria, Lebanon and Palestine; and the annulment of the Balfour Declaration.

From the New York Times report:

Some of the attendees:

The members of the Interim Executive Committee of the Syro-Palestinian Congress:

Additional source.

An academic review suggests, contradistinctively, that Arabs representing Palestine "desired separate recognition of their cause". The author, Reem Bailony, notes that

in 1922, the Congress collected Palestinian protests against Zionism, the Balfour declaration, and the British mandate, in order to publish them throughout Egyptian newspapers. The Jerusalem branch was run by the Palestinian notable, Haj Amin al-Husayni [Jamal al-Husayni was the acting as secretary of the Jerusalem committee]. It acted as an important linkage between the activists within Syria, and those in Cairo and Europe

As Raja Adal suggests, to former Ottomans like Arslan, Syria meant "greater Syria and included not only the French mandates of Syria and Lebanon but also the British mandate of Palestine".

In other words, throughout the 1920s, the Mufti of Palestine was a pro-United Syria activist. A central figure, Michel Lutfallah, a Greek-Orthodox from a wealthy merchant landowner family of the Syrian community in Egypt, was the driving force and financier of the Congress and was appointed its president, was known for his "steadfast friendship" to the Hashemite family. Just prior to the French bombardment of Damascus in October 1925 responding to the Syrian Revolt which had begun in August, the Congress addressed an appeal to the League of Nations’ General Assembly to inform about ‘the unhappy position of the Syro-Palestinian people’.

For sure, other voices in Lebanon sought a reverse course of complete atomization of Syria into its Moslem Shiite and Sunni, Christian, Druze, Alawite, Ismaili, Kurd and Circassian and other components. Nevertheless, the concept of a 'Greater Syria' was the dominant narrative.

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Monday, June 14, 2021

More on 'Palestine is But Southern Syria'

Not only did the Arabs of Mandate Palestine claim they were but Southern Syrians, moreover, elements in Transjordan did as well.

June 14, 1928, Palestine Post:


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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Butto's Map Illustration

Diana Butto published an op-ed in the New York Times, entitled The Myth of Coexistence in Israelץ

It was illustrated by this misleading map series (yes, misleading):

So, to point out some very basic but important facts, I created another few maps:






And there's more: the diminishing Zionist homeland version (maps from decades ago)


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Friday, May 14, 2021

An American Jewish Zionist Forgotten Hero

Some two years ago, the Jewish Press published an appeal of mine:

Among the Jewish seven [six] killed victims listed in the newspaper report was an American Rabbi it seems, Yehudah Leib Lozovsky or a phonetic variety of that spelling [Lazovsky].

No other information about the Rabbi is available. It would be fitting that he be remembered.

I am asking the readers of JewishPress.com to assist with locating biographical information about the Rabbi. If you are aware of any details that could help, please contact...

I was unsuccessful.

I have now read a letter that has appeared in HaUmma quarterly, No. 222 by Moshe Ehrenfeld, an historian of the Haredi community's role in the 1948 fighting, relating that Lazovsky, an American, who was killed on April 6.

Lazovsky had immigrated to Eretz-Yisrael some ten years earlier from America. He was an amateur geographer and researcher of the land's antiquities. He was in the house of Shmuel Eliezer Zilberman where, for three days, they held off the Arab rioters. At one point, he crawled out above the barriaded entrance and fired off some shots from a small Browning pistol he had.

The Arabs complained to the British troops in the area, who were Indian Moslems (those soldiers had been brought in earlier to guard the Haram A-Sharif). They tried to enter the buidling but were repulsed and then shot through the door and killed Rabbi Lazovsky and Zilberman.

They are buried on the Mount of Olives with the other casualties. Their graves are also, like Itzkkowitz, not in the best condition. Here is Zilberman's gravestone from several years ago:


Lazovsky's is also in bad condition and cannot be identified as which one in that row.

Worse, he is not yet (!) recognized by the National Insurance Institute. And, of course, as he was not a soldier or a member of an underground, not by the Ministry of Defense.

Lazovsky, an American Jewish Zionist. Little is known about him.

And a forgotten hero.

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Sunday, May 09, 2021

Jews in the Temple Mount 1833

What were two Jewish youngsters doing in the Temple Mount in 1833, reportedly?

Found here, in an article by Judith Mendelsohn Rood:

An example of the relations between the Muslim community of Jerusalem and the Khedival government is a case involving the Jewish community. On 11 July, 1833, in the period before the 1834 rebellion, a group of Khedival soldiers, along with a servant of the al-Aqsa Mosque escorted a Jewish youth, aged 15, to the shari'a court.27 They explained that some workers had found him in the draperies of the windows in the mosque. The mutasallim decided that the court should consider the case, and called for an investigation to be conducted by himself and a group of Muslims to ascertain what the “scoundrel,” who is not named in the document, did. The investigators found that the youth had broken most of the stained glass in a large window above the mihrab, as well as damaging the tops of some of the columns above the mi hrab which were found crushed and broken. They also found three broken windows to the right of the mi hrab above the school door. The stained glass in question “had been fashioned in an adroit way out of coloured gypsum in a strange and wonderful form long ago; this method is no longer used in this city.” They also found that the youth had come from the Maghariba quarter through a garden known as the Khatuniya and from there through the school known as Dar al-Aqsa, which is attached to the mi hrab.

This alleged vandalism had caused chaos (balbala) and the document records that “it seemed proper to turn the case over to highest authority because such a thing had never before been encountered.” According to the document, “[a]ll of the people of Islam grieved over this, and everyone lamented the contempt that was shown for the al-Aqsa Mosque whose virtues cannot be counted.” The mosque “had to be restored, and the scoundrel detained.” The mutasallim would detain him until an order would be issued concerning the correct course of action had been determined.

The next morning, another Jewish youth was found inside the mosque, and he too was arrested. The mutasallim asked what to do about this and the mulla qa di answered that Istanbul had to be contacted since this was a strange occurrence because the Jews did not “usually enter the Haram” (because of Rabbinical law concerning the holiness of the site and the danger that a Jew might inadvertently step upon the Holy of Holies, a law with the Muslim authorities were familiar) and because “they lived far from the place”. Therefore, the case was to be judged at the highest level. Unfortunately, neither the court registers nor other records reveal the outcome of these cases. However, it appears that the Khedival authorities, working with the Ottoman chief judge of the city, prevented any kind of mob action and maintained public order in the city, since there is no mention of an outbreak of violence during this incident in contemporary accounts of this period.

In addition to revealing some interesting architectural details, and their appreciation by the Muslims of Jerusalem, this document also gives us a glimpse of the significance of the al-Aqsa mosque to the Muslims in Jerusalem. The Khedival authorities in Jerusalem clearly recognized the importance of this case to the Ottoman authorities, and referred the case to them, rather than to Ibrahim Pasha or the hikimdar. It was only on this symbolic level that the Khedival government conceded the authority of the Ottoman State.

27.  Law Court Record of Jerusalem 317, 123. 23 Safar 1249.


One can only but wonder what, indeed, was their fate.


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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Lechi and "Hebrew Christians" in 1948

In this source, "Operation Mercy on the Eve of the Establishment of the State of Israel – The “Exodus” of Jewish Disciples of Yeshua from the Land of Israel in 1948" by Gershon Nerel, the English translation of his Hebrew article published in Iggud – Selected Essays in Jewish Studies, Vol. 2 – History of the Jewish People and Contemporary Jewish Society, ed. Gershon Bacon, Albert Baumgarten, Jacob Barnai, Chaim Waxman, and Israel J. Yuval (Jerusalem: The World Union of Jewish Studies, 2009), 83–109, I found a quite astonishing claim:


there were a few Hebrew Christians who were arrested and interrogated by the so-called “Stern Gang” (known in Hebrew as LEHI, an acronym for Israel Freedom Fighters), the most militant of the pre-state underground groups, who suspected that as Christian agents they were spies and collaborators with the British enemy. Some of the LEHI members suspected that the regular religious association of “the baptized Jews” with the English in joint meetings in their churches was nothing more than a guise for an espionage organization

In the Hebrew version, there is an assertion based on a R.G. Allison that one member of the community was executed.

I had never read such a claim in any Lechi publication or in other research works. I asked Aryeh Eldad who recently published a history of Lehi in its last year in Hebrew.

I will investigate.

P.S. Palestine Post, June 17, 1948


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