Thursday, July 18, 2019

Arab-American Anti-Zionism Before Tlaib and Omar

The undermining of Zionism in America by Arabs and Muslims is not new.

As researched here, by Daniel Rickenbachert, there were early attempts and one of them was in January of 1930, when the Mufti-led Supreme Muslim Council (SMC) and the Arab Executive, sent two delegations to the US and to Britain to promote the Arab cause, this just after the murderous 1929 Riots.

As appears there, the delegation to the US consisted of the Syrian pan-Islamic activist Shakib Arslan, his brother Adel Arslan, Issa Bandak and three other members. In the US, the delegation met with the State Department, arguing that only the abolition of the Balfour Declaration could lead to a reconciliation between Jews and Arabs. The delegation also appealed to the Arab-Americans to “emulate the American Jews” by giving donations to the SMC. However, the undertaking was reportedly a financial disaster. This may explain why there were no further Arab delegations from Palestine during the next seven years.  

But the first one to speak out against Zionism was an American-Lebanese, Amin Rihani who arrived in the US in 1898.  That was in September 1917, two months before the Balfour Declaration, when he published an anti-Zionism piece. In his article




he listed anti-Zionist arguments as it being primarily a religious movement and that Arabs would not tolerate Jewish domination. He added that, echoing arguments from Reform Jews, Zionism would expose Jews to the accusation of dual allegiance.

But he could not avoid the basic truth:




Also in 1917, a Ramallah-born New York surgeon, Fuad Isa Shatara, Nazereth-born, eventually a suicide victim, and N.A. Katibah founded the Palestine Antizionism Society. 




Both of them into the late 1920s and beyond, published in their journal, The Syrian World



and see below.

And they were among the organizers of an anti-Zionist rally on November 8, 1918 in Brooklyn. The rally passed a resolution, describing the Arabs at risk of being  dominated by “a race rendered more powerful and wealthy through contact with the western civilization thus applying might against right” and protesting the “artificial importation of Zionists flooding the country against its natural capacities and thus forcing an emigration of the rightful inhabitants.”

Shatara of the Palestine Antizionism Society wrote two letters to Secretary of State Robert Lansing in November 1918 and February 1919, arguing that Zionism was in contravention to Wilson’s Fourteen Points.In December 1918, Phillip Hitti (a Maronite Lebanese) and George Khairalla established the New Syria National League. The group lobbied for the establishment of a Greater Syria under American protection, reaching from the Sinai to the Euphrates. These groups intensified their activities in light of the upcoming peace conference in Paris. Shatara and Hitti reached out to John Huston Finley, the chief of the Red Cross Commission in Palestine, asking Finley not to detach Palestine from Greater Syria.

See


And they all failed.

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