Tuesday, December 29, 2020

"Learn to Shoot"

As Colin Shindler notes in his review of Dan Heller's book on Betar in Poland,

To the youth of Betar, he encouraged them to stand up for themselves and “learn to shoot” – as an educational strategy to raise national esteem. 


A 1936 Copy of the Article

In an academic treatment, Arye Naor writes:

...in his article “The New Alphabet,” urged the young to “learn to shoot!” This is the new alphabet, he said: just as one learns to read, now one must learn to shoot. “Each and every generation may have its own alphabet... . The generation being raised as we watch,on whose shoulders responsibility for the greatest turning point in our history will definitely be placed,” must know how to fire a weapon. Now, one should also “know some trade ...and to really be a man one must acquire a general grasp of ‘culture,’ and to be a Jew one must know one’s national language and the national history.” Moreover, he recognized that “A state is not established by gunfire; it is built with spades and hammers, with commerce, sweat, and intelligence.” The current zeitgeist recoiled from militarism: “It is disheartening, very disheartening that at this of all times the Jews must learn how to shoot. But we must, and there’s nothing to gain by disputing a necessity of historical reality.” He continued:

Recognition of historical reality commands us: if you are erudite and also know how to plough the soil and build houses, if all of you speak Hebrew and are knowledgeable in all of our national literature ... but do not know how to shoot, there will be no hope for you. However, if you know how to shoot, there may be hope. This is the language in which the historical reality of our times and that of our children speaks to us... . Of all the conditions for our political renaissance, knowing how to shoot is, regrettably, the most important.

I now came across two photos of the Brith HeChayil Army Veterans organization of th Revisionist Movement displaying a trining session in Warsaw in December 1938, including an ultra-Orthodox Jew illustrating the application of Jabotinsky's exhortation.

and here:

Some other photographs I found:



 Other training evidence here, and here.



From Betar North America

Izzy Herman, 1954


And Barak Koffler, instructor, with Chuck Shachna Waxman at left:


Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Ottoman Empire Revivalist Campaign

 On July 10, 2002, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. declared

The resurrection of Hagia Sophia is the harbinger of the Masjid al-Aqsa's freedom. The resurrection of Hagia Sophia is the footsteps of the will of Muslims all over the world to exit the interregnum...The resurrection of Hagia Sophia is the symbol of the re-rise of our civilization sun.

Moreover  The President of the Jerusalem Islamic Foundations Council, Sheikh Abdulazim Selheb, Masjid al-Aqsa Imam Sheikh Ikrime Sabri and Sheikh Kemal al-Hatib, the vice-president of the northern wing of the 1948 Palestine Islamic Movement, 

expressed their satisfaction with the opening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque.

Selheb was told by Erdogan

Masjid al-Aqsa is under occupation. The occupation state is trying to Judaize the first kiblah of Muslims and the holy city of Jerusalem. However, I tell the invaders from here that you will not be able to achieve this as long as the ummah has such men."

This is all part of the Ottoman Empire revivalist campaign, to restore that grand enterprise. First was the Mavi Marmara, then the sponsoring of Hamas, then support for Jerusalem property purchases and now directly aimed at the Temple Mount. 

We have been warned.


The Founding Governmental Decisions on Shiloh

 Thank you Wikileaks (via JL):-


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.


Monday, December 14, 2020

An Early "Al-Aqsa is in Danger" Appearance

Extended quotations from this article, "Zionism as told by Rashid Rida":

Muhammad Rashid Rida (b. 1865) established al-Manar (The Lighthouse), a journal dedicated to the religious and political revival of the Muslim world. He remained the journal’s editor and chief writer until his death in 1935...Rida’s geopolitical analyses greatly influenced Hasan al-Banna (1906 – 49), the founder of the Muslim Brothers, and still matter today in Arab political discourse...

...At first (1898) Rida described Zionism as a humanitarian resettlement plan that highlighted the poor material state of Muslims and their disunity and should thus encourage Islamic reform. Then (1902) he exposed Zionism as a political movement that aimed to take over Palestine. Following the Young Turk revolution he warned (1910 – 14) that the ultimate ambition of the Jews was to convert the al-Aqsa mosque into a Jewish temple and cleanse Palestine from all of its Arab inhabitants...

...A reading of Rida’s depictions of Jews as the embodiment of vices and the orchestrators of global-scale conspiracies is useful to the broader discussion on the proliferation of anti-Semitic ideas in the contemporary Arab world. Translations of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion have been available in Arabic since the mid-1920s, and by the late 1920s they were already incorporated as an argument against Zionism. Following the 1948 war, the Protocols proliferated as an explanation for the Arab defeat. However, Rida viewed Jews as the masters of anti-Christian and anti-Muslim conspiracies already at the turn of the century, with no experience of defeat in mind and no foundational hateful European textbook to guide him. It appears that he was acquainted, albeit not through primary sources, with French anti-Semitic expressions as well as with their refutations in France. Anti-Semitic allegations in Istanbul also did not escape him. Ironically and to a large measure, Rida’s developed anti-Semitism reads as accommodation of his original admiration of Jewish virtues with his realization that Zionism was a serious threat...

...The threat of Jewish manipulation of the situation in the Ottoman Empire continued to preoccupy Rida in the months that followed. In December 1910, he presented the Zionist danger in even graver terms: should the Jews realize their plan to take over al-Aqsa, they would expel the Muslims and the Christians from the Holy Land. He urged the Ottoman government not to facilitate Jewish purchase of land or massive migration to Palestine, arguing again that Zionism posed a grave threat...

...Rida had already predicted in the 1910s that Jewish ascendancy in Palestine would endanger al-Aqsa and result in the ethnic cleansing of the Arab inhabitants...Already in October 1928, only days after the tensions over the Wailing Wall began, Rida portrayed events in Palestine as a struggle between Judaism and Islam, as well as between Britain and Islam. In this struggle, the British were assisting the Jews as part of Britains’s “ambitious” and uncharacteristically ill-conceived plan to subordinate the Arab nation and impose British rule on the Arabian Peninsula and the three holiest shrines – in Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. In this struggle, the ultimate goal of the Jews was the destruction of al-Aqsa, the third holiest shrine in Islam, and its replacement with a new Jewish temple (“Fath al-yahud li-bab al-fitna fi al-Quds” [The Jews open the door to turmoil in Jerusalem], al-Manar 29, no. 6 (October 1928): 414 – 16. He argued in this context that the Muslim prophetic evidence for the Muslims’ claim to al-Aqsa was stronger than the prophetic evidence of the Jews, an argument he repeated later)....Rida’s views on Zionism in the months following the riots create the impression that once the focus of the conflict became the future of al-Aqsa, and waves of Muslim support for the Palestinian struggle reverberated in Egypt and elsewhere, the editor of al-Manar, euphoric and combative, took it upon himself to convince his readers – and possibly also himself – that there was no possibility other than the elimination of Zionism by the Arabs.

There you have it.

Europe and the US" by Daniel Rickenbacher:

In an al-Manar article appearing on December 2, 1910, [Rida] further warned that the Jews intended to turn the Al-Aqsa into the Jewish Temple and expel the Arab population from Palestine. Thus, the myth of the Jewish plan to take over al-Aqsa was born, a myth which would take full effect in the 1920s. The British war correspondent for the Daily Mail, J.M.N. Jeffries, while travelling in the Middle East in
the early 1920s, reported an interesting experience he had with one of the early propagandists of the Islamic cause in Damascus: “I learned how every pilgrim of any consequence to Mecca had our policy exposed to him. I came to know, in a sparringpartner sort of way, one of the Moslem sheiks chiefly engaged in this. He had just come from Mecca. (…) He was responsible, I had little doubt, for the leaflets distributed to Mecca pilgrims which bore a representation of the Mosque of Omar with either the cross or a Jewish symbol (I forget which) placed at its summit, supposedly, of course, by the British authorities in Jerusalem.” [Joseph Mary Nagle Jeffries, Front Everywhere (Hutchinson & Co., Ltd., 1935), 279–80. 

And see] The picture Jeffries described had been painted in the late 19th century by a Yeshiva, a religious Jewish establishment, for fundraising and decorative purposes. Thus, it bore no connection to the Zionist movement or the British government, nor of course did it express any intent to take over the Haram al-Sharif, the complex of Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount. Nevertheless, Arab and Islamic propagandists have used it as proof since the 1920s of alleged Jewish plans to take over the Al-Aqsa. In their view, Jewish state-building in Palestine during the 1920s seemed to confirm the correctness of the ‘Jewish War against Islam’ theme...

...The Fourth Palestinian Congress, which was held in Jerusalem in June of 1921, 

discussed the idea of dispatching delegations to the Middle East to propagandize their struggle and raise money. In June 1922, the first such delegation departed for Mecca, consisting of Abd al-Kadir Muzaffer, Rafiq Tammimi and Amin Nurallah. During a stay in Egypt, they produced a leaflet designed to call attention to the supposed threat, and which included a print of the by that time wellknown picture of the Star of David topping the mosque. After meetings with the religious leadership of the country and Rashid Rida, they published a Fatwa to call for the defense of Al-Aqsa. In Mecca, the delegation took part in the pan-Arab al-Jazirah congress, again raising this issue and resulting in the establishment of ‘Association for Muslim Solidarity’ to defend Al-Aqsa on August 9, 1922. In early 1923, Kamel alBudeiri campaigned among the Transjordan Bedouins using the yeshiva picture. To a significant degree, the spreading of the ‘Jewish War against Islam’ theme in the first half of the 1920s was therefore the consequence of a conscious propaganda campaign...

...In contrast to its propaganda campaign abroad, the SMC pursued its propaganda in Palestine with greater restraint. Thus, the call for the defense of Al-Aqsa did not affect the country until 1928{*}. The public festivities held on the occasion of completion of the renovations of the Islamic holy sites in August 1928 proved the success of the internationalization strategy. The event was attended by many international guests, including Abdullah I of Jordan and Abd al-Hamid Said, the president of the Islamist YMMA in Egypt...

...During the Wailing Wall riots in 1929, the Egyptian branches of the YMMA echoed the Mufti’s propaganda in Palestine, portraying the clashes as a religious struggle. The most popular allegation claimed that the Zionists were intent on destroying the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem and re-erecting their Temple. Moreover, the propaganda cited hadiths to prove Islam’s eternal enmity to the Jews. The major Egyptian newspapers published calls for the defense of Al-Aqsa. Paradoxically, the Jews were accused of seeking to reestablish their ancient kingdom and of spreading Bolshevism at the same time. In al-Manar, Rida began speaking of a “War on Islam” by the British and the Jews, crediting the latter with intent to destroy the three holiest places of Islam. In parallel, the SMC emphasized the Muslim character of Palestine by declaring its sanctity for Islam. This coincided with the now frequent use of the term ‘holy country’ by Muslims, which was probably influenced by the Jewish and Christian designation for the Land of Israel. SMC publications alleged that Zionism sought to eradicate Islam
from Palestine...

{*} I would not agree with that. All through the 1920s, the Mufti interfered with Jewish prayer customs at the Western Wall, specifically preventing benches as well as prayer separation screens (mechitzot).


Sunday, December 13, 2020

San Remo a la Martin Kramer

In Martin Kramer's treatment of the San Remo Conference, he, correctly, notes that that historic event highlights

Britain’s history of imperial self-dealing, which at San Remo and as a consequence of San Remo nearly undermined any prospect of a Jewish state.

 and therefore, to suggest, as he does, that this claim

San Remo was and remains more important to Israel’s legitimacy than the Balfour Declaration and the UN resolution

is incorrect is itself quite incorrect. He is wrong.

Moreover, Kamer terms as "an arcane argument" that

the mandate enjoined Britain [in Article 6] to “encourage . . . close settlement by Jews on the land,” and [as] Britain had a mandate for all of Palestine...Jewish settlement anywhere in the land cannot be illegal...[and as] the [1947] UN General Assembly...resolution...wasn’t ever adopted...Thus, in the absence of a Palestinian Arab state, Israel stands as the sole successor state to the League of Nations mandate

One last bit of Kramer's argument is that to invoke San Remo so as to 

legitimate...Israeli sovereignty over all of mandate Palestine, is itself a deviation from the past Zionist and Israeli understanding both of San Remo and of the mandate. 

In response, I would suggest the following points:

1. The Mandate in any form could not have gone forward without San Remo. Whatever the status of the San Remo decisions (not all connected with the future of Palestine), the Conference was another important and crucial link towards Jewish statehood. Whatever changes and alterations in wording there were, as Kramer notes, without it, the future Mandate to be adopted later, in July 1922, might not have occured.

2. The dispute over whether "civil rights" included political rights of the Arabs of Palestine or whether any rights were "upgraded" is itself arcane as the term "Arabs" does not appear neither in any San Remo decision nor in the League of Nations Mandate decision. There were no specific "Arab political rights" that were guaranteed, as opposed to those of and for the Jews. In that territory slated to become the reconstituted Jewish national home, there were Jews and non-Jews and the geopolitical entity was first and foremost Jewish, especially through the historic connection of the Jewish people, as noted in the preamble, to that territory as is phrased in the Mandate decision. 

Indeed, that is obvious from the decision's wording:

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

Political is mentioned but in connection with Jews in other countries than Palestine and so the meaning Kramer attempts to apply to the term doesn't hold up to his intention. Furthermore, the decison reads that it deals with

the surrender of the rights hitherto enjoyed [emphasis added] by the non-Jewish communities in Palestine;

Obviously, "hitherto" refers not to some future right of separate nationality but of, yes, civil rights and liberties in the field of community and religious spheres, to the extent they existed. This was not to be on par with the Jews. Whatever France considered as adopted was not a significant aspect in what developed.

3. As for Kramer's assertion that "Palestine had been given not to the Jews but to the British", a Zionist delegation was in attendance and all were aware that indeed Palestine was intended for the Jews with British guardianship. That was the deal. But it was all lfor the Jews in any case.  Much anti-Zionist effort had gone into an attempt to get at Wilson and dissuade him for lending support to Great Britain's efforts and all was thwarted.

Even the wittling down of territory that was already planned by the British in favor of establishing an Arab regime in Tranjordan was not new, as unfortunate as it was as the original Zionist map presnted to the Versailles Peace Conference of January 1919 was not accepted even then.

4. Could San Remo been avoided? Was there a substitute? Of course not. The four powers making up the Conference, with observer status provided to the United States, were self-described as the liberators of the Ottoman Empire and so they were accepted. Their standing, in international law, provided the future state of Israel and, today, its presence in Judea and Samaria, the quite legitimate legal right to continue with the basic goals of the Mandate: close settlement by Jews on the land and Jewish immigration.

The belittling of the April 1920 San Remo Conference is unworthy, with all its negative aspects as he points out.


Tuesday, December 08, 2020

More Names of Jews Murdered Before 1920

Back in 2014, I published a post dealing with Jewish victims of Arab violence prior to 1920, the year generally assumed to be the start of Arab political-motivated terror against Jews residing in the Land of Israel.

I did so as there are propagandists who maintain Arab anti-Jewish violence was a result of the Zionist movement and the Balfour Declaration. And that relationships between the communities prior to these developments was amenable. Of course Haaretz published a criticism of seeing these earlier victims of Arab violence as part of the 'long story' of Arab terror.

That previous post's list had 31 Jews murdered between 1873 and 1920 prior to the Tel Hai incident in March and the Jerusalem riots of April. And it mentioned the first Jew killed on the background of purchasing property, Avraham Shlomo Zoref, which was in 1851 and added there:

I have not yet located a site to find names from 1851 to 1873. The list should be considered incomplete.

I have now found an additional list which was published in the Davar newspaper on July 17, 1936, three months into the "Disturbances" which began in April that year and, eventually, lasted (with interruptions) until the Arab terror had forced Gt. Britain to issue the infamous May 1939 White Paper. Here it is:

I have attempted to confirm, as much as possible, from contemporary periodical accounts, the details in the above item.

I can now add names to the original list and, doing more research, add details to those I included in the first listing (so if you are counting, please review both lists as there are repeats):

Avraham Abba Zilberstein March 15, 1880 stabbed to death by robbers near Mishkenot Shaananim, Jerusalem. He was 17 and only 6 months married. Interestingly enough, he held American citizenship and the American Consulate involved itself in the murder. Here, from Havatzelet, March 

Nissan Menachem, son-in-law of the Rishon L'Tzion Avraham Ashkenazi, was murdered near Lifta on Jerusalem's outskirt, 25 Tishrei 1879

Yisrael Haim Sheinbaum fought with an Arab intruder who sought to rob him on March 13, 1881 in Meah Shearim. Critically wounded by knife stabs, he died on April 9.

Shlomo Telze, June 13, 1882, killed by robbers in his bed. His wife was critically injured.

Yechezkel Zacharin who exited his apartment on Friday night, June 28, 1884, was set upon by robbers, murdered and thrown into a water cistern, leaving a widow and small children:

Eliezer Epstein set out from Jerusalem by donkey for Jaffa after attending a court session, trying to obtain the return of loans that he had given but was waylaid on the road on the evening November 17, 1886 returning home. He was found about a hour's time outside the city, havng been shot. His head was sliced off:

On Friday night July 23, 1887, two women were found slain in their beds in Jerusalem, their throats cut, a Mrs. Shmuel Dov Yurist and Mrs. Yitzhak Poch.

On May 6, 1889, Yisrael Horowitz was beaten in his Jerusalem home in the Beit Yaakov quarter with iron bars , and died on May 29, 1889.

On October 28, 1899, Nissan Makanotof was killed in his bed in Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem, on December 2, 1899, Shmuel Aharon Goldberg and his wife Vita were killed, beaten and smothered to death.

Shalom Fischel Farber was murdered on March 21, 1900 while returning to his home in Gedera from Rechovot, near Zarnoga. He was a shoemaker.

Yaakov Tabah was killed on December 16, 1908 while accompanying two Arabs on a business trip on the road leading to Shchem in the north of Jerusalem.



Yisrael Mogilevitz Rozeman was the first martyr of Gedera, shot while on guard duty in late July 1890 and dying on the 13th of August.

Yisrael Korngold and Shimon Melamed were shot to death by Arabs on April 12, 1909 near Sejera.

On October 2, 1909, Yonah (Hamami) Kapra was killed in Rechovot, the moshava's first martyr. Returning from Gedera after collecting a debt for work done, 3 'Napoleans', he was robbed and shot in the head.

Avraham Berl was shot dead by Arab thieves who raided Sejera on June 6, 1910.

On July 15, 1911, Tzvi Bortanovsky was shot and killed by raiding Arabs at Sejera while on guard duty.

On February 23, 1913, Yehezkel Nissanov left Merchaviah in the company of Tzvi Nadav to distribute arms in Yavnael. They were ambushed by an Arab band and in the ensuing gun fight, he was shot dead. His daughter was born later that day and named Yehezkealah.

David Levytan was killed on August 4, 1913 in an almond grove near Rehovot, shot by Arab raiders where, four years later, another pioneer would be murdered.

On August 22, 1913, Shmuel Friedman was killed, stabbed to death near Zarnoga, on his way to assits pioneers at Rishon L'Tzion who owere being attacked by Arabs.

Moshe Barsky, for who Moshe Dayan was named, was killed by Arabs on November 11, 1913 returning to Degania bringing medicants for the sick Shmuel Dayan. As he had killed an Arab during the struggle, the Arabs conducted a revenge raid and murdered Yosef Saltzman of Kinneret on November 24, 1913 at Beitanya. Informed of his son's death, the Barsky's father wrote, "We are sending to you our second son to take the place of our son who has fallen. Moshe's death is bringing us all to ascend to the Land."

On February 12, 1915, responding to an attack by Arabs on M'lachamiah (to become Menachamia), Dov-Berl Klay Kolatshinsky set out to Yavnael for reinforcements and, upon returning with two others, they were ambushed and he shot and died. His body was tossed into the Jordan River and found only four days late.

Elazar Finkelstein, while guarding the fields of Ben Shemen, was shot by Arab marauders and died on April 20, 1916.

On June 29, 1916, two Jews, Yosef Amozig and Moshe Mallal, as reported in the following day's HeHeruth newspaper, were among those hanged by the Turkish Ottoman authorities for avoiding the military draft:

Mordechai Zohar, while guarding the almond grove east of Rechovot near Ramlah, was shot and killed by thieves on July 21, 1917.

On June 20, 1918, Moshe Segelovitz was shot dead by Arabs while guarding the fields of Merhaviya.

Michael Zeidelman was shot and killed while going to Rosh Pinna from Machanayim on September 7, 1918 in order to obtain more arms against maruading Bedouin from the Arab El-Haib tribe who were taking advantage of the vacuum left by the retreating Turkish army.

Schneour Shapushnik was in the fields of Tel Hai on December 12, 1919 when Bedouins attacked the community. The attack was thwarted but Schneour was shot dead where he worked.


Sunday, December 06, 2020

Three US Senators Visit Palestine 1936 - Addition

A further addition to the visit of the three US Senators to Mandate Palestine in August-September 1936. See here and here.


Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray)

[Washington,] September 22, 1936.

Senator Copeland of New York called on the Secretary of State yesterday afternoon for the purpose, so he stated, of reporting to the Secretary the results of the observations he had made during the course of a recent visit to Palestine, accompanied by Senator Hastings of Delaware and Senator Austin of Vermont.

Senator Copeland stated that he had not sought or desired to be a member of the party making an unofficial investigation of conditions in Palestine, but had agreed to participate upon the understanding that he was to be free to express his views on the situation without any obligation to Mr. Hearst, who, so it appears, financed the trip. The Senator stated that he made this clear to Mr. Hearst himself, who accompanied the party as far as Naples, and that Mr. Hearst “naturally” acceded to Senator Copeland’s wishes in the matter.

After expressing his praise of the various Foreign Service officers in the Near East with whom he came in contact, the Senator recounted his experiences with British officials, including the High Commissioner in Palestine, who, according to the Senator’s own statement, granted him every facility for the purpose of making his investigations, even to the extent of furnishing armed troops on trains proceeding to various points in Palestine.

The Senator pointed out that he had conferred not only with Jewish circles in Palestine but also with representatives of various Arab groups. He expressed the view that the Arabs in Palestine had profited by Jewish immigration and by the introduction of foreign capital in the country, but he was emphatic in his view that the British authorities had been remiss in the execution of the terms of the Mandate and in having failed to effect a conciliation between the Jewish and Arab populations. He expressed the opinion that Great Britain, instead of devoting herself to her obligations under the Mandate, was using Palestine as a political football for her imperial purposes. He revealed, during the course of his conversation, that he intended to make public statements in the above sense.

In reply, the Secretary pointed out that our Consul General in Jerusalem is a thoroughly experienced Near Eastern officer who has served in the Division of Near Eastern Affairs and had charge of Palestine there, and that we had kept ourselves constantly informed of all phases of the present situation. The Secretary furthermore expressed his confidence that the British Government was fully aware of the views entertained in Jewish circles in this country respecting [Page 451]the Palestine problem. He mentioned the fact that recent British reinforcements in Palestine have brought the number of British troops there to about 32,000. He pointed out to the Senator that, although there are in Palestine more than 10,000 American citizens, not one of them has as yet been injured and that all requests made by the American Consul General at Jerusalem for the protection of American nationals and interests in the country had been promptly accorded by the British authorities. He intimated to the Senator that, while keeping constantly on the alert in this matter, it might be delicate to make any demands upon the British Government as to the specific manner in which it should carry out its obligations under the Mandate. In this connection Mr. Hull referred to the debates in the House of Representatives at the time the Joint Resolution was passed in 1922 favoring the establishment in Palestine of the National Home for the Jews.20 He referred to the fact that the Resolution as originally drafted stated that this Government “pledges its support” to the establishment of such a home and that, at the instance of Mr. Hughes, then Secretary of State, the above expression was struck out and the Resolution was made to read that the United States “favors” the above-mentioned project.

Mr. Hull further reminded the Senator that any intervention on the part of this Government might bring forth a suggestion from the British Government that we assume responsibilities for the execution of the Palestine Mandate and recalled that at one time it had even been suggested that this Government accept the Mandate for Palestine. The Senator replied that he felt sure we would run no risk today of having the Mandate offered to us again, in view of the present weakness of the British Government as a result of the Ethiopian fiasco and the recent Anglo-Egyptian Treaty21 and the increased importance which Palestine had assumed in the defense of British imperial interests.

At the conclusion of his conversation with the Secretary, the Senator emphasized that he had only come to make a friendly visit upon the Secretary and to report on his visit to Palestine and stated that he was not requesting the Secretary to take any action in the matter. He did, however, feel that the Secretary would be justified, in view of present conditions in Palestine and in view of our Treaty with Great Britain respecting Palestine,22 in reminding the British Government of its responsibilities under the Mandate. He did not, however, ask the Secretary to take such action.

Wallace Murray

See Congressional Record, vol. 62, pt. 10, pp. 9799 ff.

Signed at London, August 26, 1936; for text, see British Treaty Series No. 6 (1937): Treaty of Alliance, etc.

Signed December 3, 1924, Foreign Relations, 1924, vol. ii, p. 212.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Who Assisted in the Release of Rabbi M.M. Shklov from Arrest?

Back in 2009, in a comment, I wrote:

If Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov, disciple of the Vilna Gaon and leader of the perushim in Jerusalem in the 1830s, could invite a missionary into his home to discuss religion but use him to advance the redemption process of Jews (see here)...

This was responding to those who then, and still do, hold to a belief that Christians volunteering in Judea and Samaria, as well as others who are advancing the cause of Zionism and Israel throughout the Land of Israel, are sinister missionaries.

I was using the example of Menachem Mendel of Shklov as an observant Jew who saw the usefulness of Jews and non-Jews working politically, diplmatically and practically for a common goal: the restoring of Jews to Eretz-Yisrael, the flowering of the Land and the furthering of the redemptive process.

Despite these Christians who he worked with, some Jews who had converted, that is, apostates, he had them in his house, discussed theology and Bible with them and sought them out. He had, as far as we know, no compunctions.

As is my wont, searching for material on another topic, connected to Yemin Moshe, I came across an article* that also included a short chapter on Menachem Mendel's life in Jerusalem.

He is considered as the renewer of the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Jerusalem after a century's hiatus.

As part of his activity to reverse the existing non-legal status of the residence of the Ashkenazim in the city, he, together with his son, were detained by the Pasha.

To whom did he turn?

Menachem Mendel, writing to Amsterdam, considered it a miracle that he was released, the day being the Seventh Day of Passover 1825. And his freedom was the result of two Christian missionaries, W.B. Lewis and a Dr. Dalton of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews (and see here; their headquarters were at "Palestine Place", Bethnal Green). That organization was qute assertive and determined by the Rabbi from Shklov was undetered and not frightened. He may have even thought that God was providing his divine assistance in the form of...Christian missionaries. He certainly did so in seeking to assure that Britain would establish a consulate presence in Jerusalem that would make it easier for the Jews to increase the likelihood of a future Jewish state and an ingathering of the Jews.

Think about that.

And think about today's reality.

Of course there is a threat. No one denies or belittles that. But, obviously, it is possible for one to be discerning, selective and, depending on the circumstances, cooperative with such Christians.

* I found this material in an article in Cathedra of the Yad Ben-Zvi


Thursday, November 19, 2020

July 5, 1922: The U.S. and a Jewish National Home in Palestine

What was the understanding of the United States in 1922 when discussing a treaty with Great Britain that would supervise the rights of American citizens in Palestine?

From a July 5, 1922 exchange of diplomatic consultations:


New York Times Owner/Publisher in Palestine Trip

 It took place in April 1922, Passover time.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

When It Was Suggested Jews Buy Milking Stools

One of the more contentious issues Jews had to contend with at the end of the Ottoman Empire rule in Jerusalem and on into the British Mandate period was whether or not Jews could sit on benches in front of the Wetern Wall.

From Robert W. Nicholson's thesis here:

"...Jews did not own the Western Wall. Legally, it was the absolute property of the Muslim community: the Wall itself was part of the Haram, and the alley was part of an ancient waqf dedicated to North African Muslims. Islamic tradition venerated the site as the place where Muhammad had tethered his Buraq before ascending into heaven. Under the Ottomans, Muslim ownership was rigidly enforced. In 1840, government officials had denied a Jewish request to pave the alley since it was waqf property and connected to the Haram. Jews were forbidden to even raise their voices or display their sacred books before the Wall. In late 1911, the trustee of the waqf appealed to the Ottoman government to stop elderly Jews from bringing benches to the Wall. The concern was that it would establish a precedent that later generations might imply as a sign of ownership. Similar disputes occurred in 1912 and 1914.

These events show that Muslim attempts to restrict Jewish access to the site had been occurring long before the Balfour Declaration...

...For Storrs, the governor of Jerusalem, the Western Wall courtyard would remain a perennial source of anxiety...The most pressing issue involved, of all things, wooden benches. Elderly and infirm Jews who came to the Wall often brought these benches to sit on during long hours of prayer. Muslims alleged that the benches established a precedent for unlawful Jewish rights in the alley. Storrs combed through Ottoman records to determine what rights the Jews actually had been granted. Muslim authorities provided him with several rulings against bringing benches to the Wall. However, it was known that Muslims often entered into practical arrangements allowing Jews to bring these items anyway. Storrs eventually decided that the benches were illegal and that Jews only had a right of way at the Wall. They had the right to visit, but no more than anyone else.

Storrs tried to persuade the Muslims to allow the benches on humanitarian grounds but they refused...

...On September 28, 1925, Jews brought benches to the Wall for the observance of Yom Kippur. Muslims immediately complained to the government, and Storrs ordered police to remove the benches...He...tried to convince the waqf to build stone benches in the courtyard to obviate the need for the Jews to bring portable ones.

It reached the League of Nations Mandates Commission in the summer of 1926. A  solution came from a William Rappard, a Swiss member of the League of Nations Mandates Commission: a milking stool.

What do they look like?

Notice that it has but one leg.

On October 2, 1925, the Histadruth's Davar newspaper demanded the Wall be handed over to Jewish supervision and control:

An article by A.Z. Rabinovitz, also in Davar on October 7, pointed out the perceived legal inconsistencies under the Mandate:

According to the law it is permitted to bring defecating donkeys* near the Wall in front of Jews who pray there. But it is forbidden to bring stools…what a sacred law!

In May 1929, High Commissioner John Chancellor suggested another idea: the selling of special licenses to Jews that would allow them to bring benches to the Wall. That way, Chancellor suggested naively, everyone would win. The Mufti, it need not be emphasized, was not interested in the idea.

On August 23, 1929, the murderous Mufti-instigated riots broke out.

* A reference to an incident during Pesach 1922, when the Wall and pavement were covered in animal dung: