Tuesday, April 28, 2020

James Joyce and Zionism

I have mentioned the Zionism theme that appears in Chapter Two of Joyce’s Ulysses previously. 

Leopold Bloom, returning home from a non-kosher Jewish butcher shop where he purchased pork, he reviews a loose page he had picked up off the counter where paper was kept in which to wrap the meat. The page is from an illustrated Zionist advertising prospectus, and Bloom reads “Agendath Netaim: planters’ company.” He ponders over what he is reading:
To purchase vast sandy tracts from Turkish government and plant with eucalyptus trees. Excellent for shade, fuel, and construction. Orangegroves and immense melonfields north of Jaffa. You pay eight marks and they plant a dunam of land for you with olives, oranges, almonds, or citrons. . . . Your name entered as owner in the book of the union. Can pay ten down and the balance in yearly installments. Bleibtreustrasse 34, Berlin, W.15. 
There are scholarly articles on the subject (here; here; and here)

I have now seen this here
one could break up the work into “agen-dath.” “Agen” could mean “again,” as in the English, and “dath” could refer to the Hebrew word “da’ath.” “Da’ath” shares a root with the Hebrew word for "to know." Colloquially, however, this form translates as “religion” or “faith.”

Da’ath is spelled in Hebrew דעת whereas religion is דת. Almost the same sound in its pronunciation but not quite. 

Joyce is not bad a Hebrew:
BLOOM: (Uncloaks impressively, revealing obesity, unrolls a paper and reads solemnly.) Aleph Beth Ghimel Daleth Hagadah Tephilim Kosher Yom Kippur Hanukah Roschaschana Beni Brith Bar Mitzvah Mazzoth Askenazim Meshuggah Talith.
Or Gematria:
Bloom in turn wrote the Hebrew characters ghimel, aleph, daleth and (in the absence of mem) a substituted qoph, explaining their arithmetical values as ordinal and cardinal numbers, videlicet 3, 1, 4, and 100.

In fact, that Agendath Netaim appears here as well:

HORNBLOWER: (In ephod and huntingcap, announces.) And he shall carry the sins of the people to Azazel, the spirit which is in the wilderness, and to Lilith, the nighthag. And they shall stone him and defile him, yea, all from Agendath Netaim and from Mizraim, the land of Ham.

Why Did England Turn to the UN in 1947?

Einat Wilf, together with Adi Schwartz, has just had a new book published.  Entitled The War of  Return, it seeks to explain, as its subtitle reads: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace. It seems to be an important contribution to the pushback against the maliciousness and malignant misrepresentations of Arab propaganda.

An excerpt can be found here.

There is a typo which caught my eye which reads that

the Mandate, which was given to Britain in 1920 by the newly created League of Nations

That should be, arguably, 1922. True, the Mandate was decided upon in 1920 by a decision of the Supreme Council of the League of Nations at its conference in San Remo but it was phrased in general language, that “a Mandatory” be responsible for putting the Balfour Declaration into effect but without formally naming Great Britain. It was only in 1922 that the British Mandate, with all its 25 Articles, came into force voted upon by the full plenum of the League of 50 countries.  There is even an opinion that it was only in 1923 that the mandates administrating the countries evolving from the vanquished Turkish Ottoman empire came into force. 

But what caught my brain was this

The violent intercommunal struggle between Jews and Arabs, which started almost at the outset of British rule in the 1920s, eventually exhausted Britain, which decided to refer the question of Palestine to the United Nations 

That surely is wrong.

Between August 1939 and August 1947, there was no “intercommunal conflict” between Jews and Arabs. The Arabs had already gained their political goals in 1939 with the publication in May of the infamous White Paper which unilaterally altered the terms of the 1922 Mandate from reconstituting a Jewish National Home to establishing a state in Palestine, restricted land purchaces and severely curtailed Jewish immigration.

As stated therein:

Palestine was not to be converted into a Jewish State...His Majesty's Government...objective is self government, and to see established ultimately an independent Palestine State. It should be a State in which the two peoples in Palestine, Arabs and Jews, share authority in government in such a way that the essential interests of each are shared. 

There was, of course, normative Arab acts of murder, rape, theft and property damage against Jews but not in any organized fashion nor as part of acts conducted at the direction of a political command.  

The May 15, 1948 British White Paper is clear on who caused them to turn to the United Nations in early 1947:

a campaign of terrorism waged by highly organized Jewish forces equipped with all the weapons of the modern infantryman. Since the war, 338 British subjects had been killed in Palestine, while the military forces there had cost the British taxpayer 100 million pounds. 

That is, the underground war declared by Yair and the Lechi beginning in 1940, the revolt of the Irgun declared by Menachem Begin in 1944 and the United Resistance Movement of the Palmach and Hagana when they joined the Irgun and Lechi during 1945-1946.

I look forward to reading the book in its entirety.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

On the Anti-Zionist Crusades’ Crusade

Reading Emma Kellman’s 2014 paper, Politicized Historiography and the Zionist- Crusader Analogy, one may assume, mistakenly, that the attempt of Arab propagandists and their Jewish supporters to apply an anology, that Zionism is like the Crusades and will be ended as a foreign colonialist phenomenon, are from the post-1967 period and relate only to the territories Israel assumed administration over as a result of the Six Days War.

It is not that she doesn’t provide evidence otherwise but you might miss the brief mentions.

So here are three.

In his book, The Origins of Israeli Mythology: Neither Canaanites Nor Crusaders, David Ohana notes two pre-state sources for the Arab comparison of Zionism with the fate of the Crusaders.

The first is from the introduction of Said Ali el-Hariri`s Arabic “El-Ahbar el-Sniyeh Pi el-Harub el-Tzliviyeh” (The Cautionary Tale of the Crusader Wars), Cairo 1899, p. 6 when he observes that the aggressiveness of the European rulers toward the Ottoman rulers 
“bears an amazing resemblance to the actions of the crusaders in the past.” 
A second is just prior to the 1948 War of Independence, in a book published in Damascus, Vadia Talhok, “Al-Tslivia al-Jedira Pi Falestin” (The New Crusaders in Palestine), Damascus 1948 which contains a comparison of the Christian colonialism of the Middle Ages with the Anglo-French and Zionist colonialism. His conclusion is that 
“we shall cleanse Palestine of the star of David just as we cleansed it of the crusades.” 
Eli Kavon notes a third instance:
In September 1947, Jewish officials pleaded with the leaders of the Arab League to make peace with the emerging State of Israel. The League rebuffed the offer, claiming the Arabs would eject the Jews of Palestine as the Muslims had thrown the Crusaders out of the Middle East centuries before.
In fact, Ohana references several Israeli scholars debating the relevancy of the comparison in the 1950s. He also quotes from a 1955 interview with Arnold Toynbee with Uri Avneri which appeared under the title “Don’t Repeat the Mistakes of the Philistines and the Crusaders.” Toynbee had considered Zionism as a modern form of colonialism. He requested Israelis not to rely of rifles and bayonets and noted: 
“You have to learn the history of the country and even that of the crusaders, for example, for it belongs to you.” 
So, the imagery is old and it applies to Israel in any geographical configuration.


Monday, April 20, 2020

My San Remo Conference Decision Timeline

Nov. 9, 1914 -  "ultimate destiny of Palestine" is deliberated at British Cabinet.

Jan. 28, 1915 - "Future of Palestine" Memorandum to Prime Minister Asquith to establish a Jewish centre in Palestine

Nov. 2, 1917 - Balfour Declaration

Feb. 2, 1919 - Zionist delegation submits proposal Paris Peace Conference "to reconstitute the Jewish National Home " in Palestine.

Apr. 25, 1920 - San Remo Conference decides a Mandate of Palestine be awarded to Gt. Britain.

Jul. 22, 1922 - League of Nations appoints Gt. Britain as the Mandatory Power over Palestine.

Sep. 29, 1923 - Palestine Mandate formally takes effect.


P.S.  While Article 95 of the Treaty of Sèvres was the next international contractual agreement to follow San Remo, signed on August 10, 1920, adopted the main principles of the British Balfour Declaration regarding Palestine as fixed in the San Remo Agreement, that the High Contracting Parties agree to entrust the administration of Palestine to a Mandatory to be selected by the said Powers; that the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the Balfour Declaration in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, it was never ratified by Turkey as Mustafa Kemal had led a revolt to replace the Turkish government. A new treaty was arranged, the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. By that time, the League of Nations had awarded Gt. Britan the Mandate over Palestine.

1920 - The Year The `Conflict` Commenced

The Arabs` conflict with Israel and Zionism did not begin with a supposed conquest and occupation in 1967 nor was it in 1948, the year of the creation of the state of Israel its start. Neither was it 1929 as claimed by Hillel Cohen, for example, when three weeks of murderous riots swept the Palestine Mandate and Arabs killed and raped hundreds of Jews. And by `conflict` I mean not only an ideological confrontation which the PLO Charter marks as the year 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was issued or the first instances of violence over property and land purchaes, as in Jerusalem in 1851 or at Petah Tikva in 1886, among many cases of clashes which led to the murder or injuring of Jews some I have listed here.  My intention is the critical moment when the aspirations of Jews, the intentions of the British and the wishes of the Arabs came together and the result made it quite obvious that from this moment on there would be continued tensions of a political, economic, diplomatic and security character with only one winner.

The conflict commenced in 1920 when the three main actors, the Jews, the Arabs and the British clashed during the Passover holiday in the streets and alleyways of Jerusalem. Present were British military government commanders such as Ronald Storrs and Louis Bols; Arabs such as the future Mufti Amin Al-Husseini and Zionists including Pinchas Rutenberg and Ze`ev Jabotinsky.

While the claim is heard that the McMahon-Hussei Correspondence that began in July 1915, pointed to a British willingness to allot the area of Palestine to become part of a grand Arab State, the fact is that already at the end of June, British policy as contained in the De Bunsen Report was firm that Palestine was a special case and needed to be treated as a separate issue as regards post-War negotiations if Turkey would be defeated. In fact, Gt. Britain needed to retain Palestine in its sphere.

On December 1917, a month after the publication of the Balfour Declaration and the establishment of the Jewish Legion, General Edmund Allenby entered Jerusalem, ending four centuries of Moslem Ottoman Empire rule, although military actions continued into September including in the area of Transjordan in which Jabotinsky and the Jewish Legion participated when they captured E-Salt. A Military Government, "Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (South)", was set up. In mid-April 1918, the seven members of the Zionist Commission arrives in the country determined to assure that the country follow the British policy decision to reconstitute the historic Jewish homeland.

By early May, Jaffa Arabs established a Muslim-Christian Association (MCA) established in Jaffa and their anti-Zionist activity was set about in earnest. The lines of the conflict-to-come were being drawn. In fact, the occasion of the marking of the first anniversary of the Balfour Declaration by processions of Jewish school children on November 2, 1918 developed into scenes of Arab ruffians, encouraged by the Arab Mayor and other officials, assaulting them. Jabotinsky wrote that there was a pogrom atmosphere and decried the lack of essential British security personnel.

In June 1918, representing the Zionist Commission, Weizmann traveled to southern Transjordan there to meet Faisal, a move originally suggested by General Gilbert Clayton already in February 1918. The intention was to create a mutual understanding that would result in an agreement between the two whereby both an Arab Kingdom and Jewish settlement in Palestine could proceed. That was followed in October with a meeting between Nahum Sokolov and Faisal and the talks then culminated in January 1919

At the June 4 meeting, Weizmann, true to his overly moderate position, let Faisal know that the Jews did not wish to establish a Jewish State in Palestine, but were willing to live under the suzerainty of Great Britain, and there was no intention of ousting anybody out of the country. For his part, Faisal stated that he quite realized the value of the Jews to Palestine, and that he himself was quite sympathetic to Jewish national aspirations. Despite the future January 3, 1919 agreement which was based on a two-state solution, an Arab state to include the entire area of Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia or as Faisal described it: as stretching north of Alexandretta until the shores of the Indian Ocean in the south, and a Jewish Palestine, Faisal`s future removal from his Damascus throne in 1920 dashed those hopes.  

In the meantime, between June 10 and July 21, 1919, the King-Crane Commission, sponsored by the American Administration, was visiting the area of Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. Its report, delivered to the Paris Peace Conference, was quite negative to Zionism and buoyed Arab aspirations of ending what they viewed as Zionist encroachment in Palestine.

Early on during his 1918 visit, Weizmann needed to offset Arab propaganda, both locally and in a meeting with the Sultan of Egypt. The charge was that the Zionists were planning to replace the Dome of the Rock with a Temple. This potential religious-activated fuse that could lead to an explosion was deeply imbedded in the Moslem distrust of Jewish designs. The British brought in to Jerusalem from Egypt a special all Moslem unit, mainly of Indian soldiers serving in the Expeditionary Force, to guard the Temple Mount. As Robert Mazza footnotes, according to PRO FO 371/3061 War Office to Headquarters Cairo, London, 21 November 1917, the Prime Minister  instructed Allenby that in his first announcement regarding the occupation of Jerusalem in House of Commons...(that) you entered Holy
City on foot…That Mosque of Omar and area around it has been placed under exclusive Moslem control.’  Thus, the issue of the holy sites and their status quo was already a high profile matter.  Weizmann did, however, propose to the British in May that the Zionists be permitted to purchase the Western Wall and its forecourt. That request was rejected by Gilbert F. Clayton, first Chief Administrator of Palestine, in June.

The scheme was taken up again in 1918, but again opposition arose and again it was abandoned. After the April 1920 Riots, the matter was discussed by the Palin Commission as just at that time, Moslems had been engaged in repairing the upper courses of the wall. That led to complaints by the Jewish community. The Zionist Commission protested to Colonel Storrs in a May 16 letter that the act of repairing the wall by the Moslems is a 'sacrilege'. Some six weeks after the riots, on May 30, Rabbi Kook wrote that the Temple area and the whole of the Mount are "bound in the end to revert to us" and asks the Government to entrust the Wailing Wall "to the care and control of the Representatives of Jewry: and any reparations that shall be required we shall carry out ourselves". 

The Jerusalem Rabbinate also wrote to Storrs on June 2 that the "The Holy Wall, the Wailing Wall is the property of Israel as far as the heavens and no other person or persons is allowed to touch it...At the same time we beg to declare our right to recognize the sacredness of the whole Moriah and Temple area; we are sure that the day will come and God will deliver his people; and our Holy Temple will be rebuilt in its glory as in the days of old...". For the British, all this was quite suspicious. They took the view, however, that as regards the Western Wall, Jews, while claiming it as their possession, they have no claim in law for the wall together with the rest of the Haram is the property of the Sultan of Turkey. For the Moslems the Jewish attitude regarding the Temple Mount quite an affront.

In addition to the above-mentioned MCA, Amin al-Husseini had opened a branch of the Syrian-based 'Arab Club' (El-Nadi al-Arabi) in Jerusalem on November 18 which was countered by the Nashashibi-clan`s 'Literary Club' (Al-Muntada al-Adabi). There were four other societies in Jerusalem alone. The self-inflicted internal dissension and rivalry was thus born, despite a Supreme Committee of the Arab Societies in Palestine being established in November 1919 in Haifa, which proved fatal for Arab Palestinian unity throughout the Mandate years and leading to assassinations and internal terror over the next two decades and more. Moreover, during this time and into the 1920s, the Arab claim was that Palestine was but the region of Southern Syria and the demand was for Palestine to be rejoined with Syria and not become itself independent.

In late December 1918, an Eretz Yisrael Conference was convened in Jaffa with the participation of 114 delegates and produced a scheme for a provisional government for the country. Notably, it adopted the principle of national community autonomy and the equality of the Hebrew and Arabic languages. On the other side of the divide, the first Palestine Arab Congress was held in Jerusalem at the end of January and the first week of February 1919. Its resolutions confirmed the Syrian orientation: 

"We consider Palestine nothing but part of Arab Syria and it has never been separated from it at any stage…tied to it by national, religious, linguistic, moral, economic, and geographic bounds…Our district Southern Syria or Palestine should be not separated from the Independent Arab Syrian Government and be free from all foreign influence".

All during 1918 and throughout 1919, the Jewish Yishuv was also organizing itself and reestablishing various representative bodies such as City Councils (Va`ad HaIr), parties, teachers` unions and trade labor assemblies. In Jerusalem in April a Rabbinical Assembly was founded. On July 24, 1918, a foundation-stone laying ceremony was conducted on Mount Scopus for the future Hebrew University. On the eve of Succot, Zichron Yaakov was liberated. The Third Wave of Aliyah began in 1919, with approximately 40,000 Jews coming to Palestine over the following four years.

In Versailles outside Paris, the Peace Conference took place from mid-January and on February 27, the Zionist delegation made its proposals. The Land of Israel borders were to reach to the Litani River in the north, in the south, a line from a point near Akaba to El Arish and to the east, just west of the Hejaz Railway. But those were not to be. The Balfour Declaration would be implemented through the High Contracting Parties recognizing the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of the Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their national home and that the sovereign possession of Palestine shall be vested in the League of Nations and the Government entrusted to Great Britain as Mandatory of the League. 

Faisal, in correspondence with Felix Frankfurter, continued to express a sympathy with Zionist aims. It was becoming apparent, however, that Faisal`s political aims, upon which he had stipulated his agreement to accept Zionist goals, were being stymied and that would ultimately lead to a collapse of nascent Jewish-Arab cooperation.

On July 2, 1919, the Syrian Congress, representing prominent Arab families in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, adopted a resolution rejecting French rights to Syria, claiming Lebanon and Palestine as inseparable parts of Syria, and opposed Jewish immigration. This began to influence events in British-occupied Palestine. Earlier, at the end of March, British authorities in Palestine had denied Arabs a permit to demonstrate against Zionism. On October 25, 1919, a public statement by the MCA spoke of their opposition to giving their land to Zionist emigrants wishing to appropriate their land. 

This came after a meeting between Menachem Ussishkin and Musa Kazim al-Huseini, effectively the mayor of Jerusalem, on October 8, when al-Husseini was bluntly told that Palestine would be separated from Syria and under British protection to which he replied: "We demand no separation from Syria".  Throughout 1919, the pan-Syrian national theme was the only political goal of the Arabs of Palestine. The slogan at that time was "Unity, Unity, From the Taurus [Mountains] to Rafah [in Gaza], Unity, Unity."

Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, then still on active military duty, foresaw in March 1919, as he wrote to Lloyd George, that the Jews and Arabs would clash in the future and suggested investing British trust in the loyalty of the Jews. He also advised that "the Palestine Administration must be purged of those elements hostile to Zionism." These opinions got him appointed Chief Political Officer in August 1919. By this time, the population of the territory, not including Transjordan was estimated to be 639,000 of which 512,090 were Moslems, 61,000 Christians and 66,100 Jews. Samaritans residing in Nablus numbered 153. There was a Jewish majority in Jerusalem since the 1860s.

By late 1919, the reports of agents engaged in intelligence work for the Zionists were indicating a rise in the active hostility developing among the Arab population. Even a letter which used the phrase to describe Zionist intentions as a Jewish State "as Jewish as England is English" written by a Joseph Cohen in a letter to The Times of September 19th, 1919 was later noted as a contributory factor in the increase of Arab anger. On November 27, 1919, a protest against Zionism was sent to the U.S. Consulate offices in Haifa which including a direct threat of violence: ‘We hereby declare that we are not responsible for any trouble or disorder that may occur in this country as a consequence of the obvious general excitement and dissatisfaction.’ Jabotinsky was requested by Weizmann, who had returned to the country in October, to begin efforts to raise a self-defense unit as he had done in Odessa in 1905, and based on his military service in the Legion. On December 22, Tel Hai was attacked by marauding Bedouins who were rebelling against the French forces and Schneur Shapushnik was killed. On February 2, in another attack on Tel Hai, Aharon Sher was killed. In January 1920, at a meeting held at Nablus, the Supreme Committee of Arab Societies, decided to boycott economic Jewish activities (Islamic–Christian Conference to American Representative, Nablus, Jan. 16, 1920)

The French pressure to oppose Faisal`s promoted reign in Damascus began to affect the pro-Syrian elements in Palestine as did the non-publication of the King-Crane Commission report of the previous summer. The Damascus Congress in March had declared independence, naming Faisal as King of Syria and Palestine (and his brother Abdullah as King of Mesopotamia). Parallel to these developments, in Palestine itself, on February 27, non-violent demonstrations took place in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa. Shops closed down and the British district officials were presented with petitions. In Jerusalem, an estimated one thousand protesters marched, carrying banners with slogans such as "Stop Zionist Immigration" and "Our Country For Us".

The Palin Report at Paragraph 49 described it so: The demonstration which was attended by between two and three thousand persons, passed off quietly and the police kept the people well in hand, in spite of a provocative incident by the Jews in starting the Hatikva, the Jewish National Anthem as the procession was passing the Jewish Blind School.

On March 1, Tel Hai in the Upper Galilee, which did not receive promised reinforcements, was overrun, a casualty of the Franco-Syrian War. Joseph Trumpeldor was killed as he defended the settlement along with five others that day. On March 8, a day after Faisal was proclaimed king of the Arab Kingdom of Syria in Damascus, a second demonstration occurred in Jerusalem, this time a more event while, in the midst of this, on March 6 (or 26) Yehoshua Hankin met with a group of Syrian nationalists in Jerusalem led by Najib Sfeir and obtains an understanding that Palestine will become a Jewish national home.

A Zionist intelligence report detailed the route of the demonstrators as exiting the Haram courtyard. Then being joined by Bethlehem Christians, they left the Old City through the Damascus Gate to the Augusta Victoria Hospice where the offices of the Military Governor were, located on the Mount of Olives, and then back down passing in front of foreign consulates. Coming back to the municipality building, speeches were made. Jewish passers-byes were attacked and five were injured five before the Arabs being dispersed. The slogans shouted out were "Death to Jews" or "Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs!"

The speeches were described as of a violently political character and there was a good deal of shouting against the Jews, and the temper of the mob was "decidedly nasty". There was some stone throwing. Even the Palin Report concludes that `there is no doubt that the attitude of the mob on this occasion was seditious and extremely threatening. The Chief Administrator issued a prohibition on further demonstrations on March 11. The newly-founded Haaretz daily was reporting on what was being published in the Arabic press and so the political intentions of the Arabs was clear for all. On March 24, Haaretz reported that at a meeting of the Vaad Hair (the Jewish town council) the previous night, it was noted that Arabs had been attacking Jews going to the Western Wall as well as Jewish passersby on Hebron Street.

The Jewish self-defence force, now overseen both by Jabotinsky and Pinchas Rutenberg, increased recruitment, training and obtaining of arms during March. By the end of the month, 600 volunteers had been absorbed. Rudimentary training was carried out at the Lemel School and exercises in military-style movement was conducted on the slope of Mt. Scopus in a purposeful attempt to goad the British into taking a more serious attitude to the question of Jewish security.  However, the elections, set for April 19, for the first Asefat Nivcharim (Representative Assembly] and especially women`ssuffrage was the main focus of attention (over which Jabotinsky got into an argument with Rabbi A.Y. Kook as Jabotinsky argued for full representation of women in the electoral process whereas Rabbi Kook opposed women participating in the elections).

The first week of April brought together three holidays and a festival: Passover, Easter and Nebi Mussa. April 2 was Good Friday. For the Jews, Passover began Friday evening. The Moslems would mark Nebi Mussa. Jerusalem was as a magnet; all congregating into the city. The Nebi Mussa procession, with band and banners and marches was conducted on the Friday and Saturday without any violence. However, Sunday developed into a day of blood.

As described in the Palin Report, the Nebi Mussa procession halted in the Jaffa road outside the Jaffa Gate to hear speeches delivered by Sheikh Aref al-Aref. He was the editor of the Suriya al-Janubiya (Southern Syria) newspaper, the organ of the al-Nadi al-'Arabi. After the events, he was arrested and charged with incitement, but taking advantage of being let out on bail, he escaped to Syria together with his fellow conspirator Haj Amin al-Husseini. The crowd then halted further up the road and heard more speeches of a political character delivered from the balconies of the municipality and the Nadi el Arabi Club by the Mayor and other prominent Moslems, culminating in the portrait of Emir Feisal being displayed. Shouts of "King of Syria and Palestine" went up. The portrait was then carried in the procession with the flags.

By this time, the crowd had gotten itself into a highly self-inflamed condition and were being whipped up towards a frenzy. They moved off to the Jaffa Gate, the police moving them along. Someone had been filming opposite the Amdursky Hotel (inside the Jaffa Gate) with groups dancing with sword play.

The violence seems to have exploded, literally, when, at a point outside the gate somewhere between Christaki's Pharmacy and the Credit Lyonnais Bank, something was set off. The exact incident which caused the explosion has not been clearly ascertained but on the evidence of Messrs. Russell and Perrott, the report points to the origin of the affair as being an attack by a Moslem on some person in the crowd whose part was then taken by a Jewish soldier.

[A] riot broke out, the people began to run about and stones were thrown at the Jews…there were screams…I saw one Hebronite approach a Jewish shoeshine boy, who hid behind a sack in one of the wall’s comers next to Jaffa Gate, and take his box and beat him over the head. He screamed and began to run…The riot reached its zenith. All shouted, ‘Muhammad’s religion was born with the sword’ … my soul is nauseated and depressed.

The understaffed police forces proved to be very ineffective. After an hour and a half, troops were brought in. Another two hours would pass before calm was restored.
Jabotinsky and 19 other members of the Hagana were arrested, tried and sentenced to jail terms, with Jabotinsky receiving no less than 15 years as he was convicted of possessing arms. Arrested on April 7, Jabotinsky spent the rest of April, all of May and June in Acco Prison with his fellow self-defense activists. After protest, they were released on July 7. Aref and al-Husseini were charged with inciting the Arab crowds with an inflammatory speech and sentenced by military court held in camera to ten years imprisonment in absentia, since he had already violated his bail by fleeing to Transjordan to avoid arrest.

Beyond the immediate loss of life and property, the threat to the essential Zionist project became apparent. In an April 12 letter to Allenby, Bols, seeking to deflect harsh criticism of his conduct, suggested that the Zionist Commission be dissolved and called it an `irritant to the native (Arab) population`. It had become a quasi-government, he asserted, mirroring the departments of the Military Administration. Zionists were `being privileged and all the way were complaining of British prejudice and bias towards them`. Lieutenant-Colonel L.R. Waters-Taylor, the Military Administration`s finance advisor, was proven to have been also an advisor to Amin el Husseini. 

Within just two months, matters turned around. Herbert Samuel arrived to assume the position of High Commissioner and on April 24, the San Remo Conference decision confirmed Britain`s Mandate over Palestine. Nevertheless, the administration he inherited was far from being apro-Zionist and Balfour Declaration-supporting. 

One odd conclusion of these events culminating in the Riots is that of Mazza:
With the creation of political organisations on both sides - the Zionists with the Zionist Commission, later to become the Jewish Agency, and the formation of Muslim-Christian associations and later Arab societies - and the absence of political institutions, violence became a tool for political communication. 
In the first place Arab violence responding to Jewish national actions, such as purchasing property and farming preceded 1920 by almost 70 years. In the second, Jews built up a very complex political structure in Mandate Palestine. The Arabs did not, leaving political mainly to the Mufti although there were political parties if ineffective due to rivalries of the noble/notable families and clans.

Although the Military Administration ended on June 30, 1920, the direction taken by Samuel and subsequent officials was to prove inherently corrosive. 

In the June 25, 1920 issue the The Sentinel, based on a report of the J.C.B. (Jewish Correspondence Bureau forerunner of the JTA), Menachem Ussishkin presumed this is what would happen
M. M. Ussishkin, the noted Russian Zionist leader who has just returned from an extended stay in Palestine, declares that the situation there is steadily improving. The English government and the Zionists have arrived at the following program with regard to the future of Palestine : Immigration will be carried on, on a broad scale and will be controlled by the Zionists. The purchase of land will be centralized by the Zionists through their acquirement of istateland. All inhabitants will have complete internal cultural and judicial autonomy. The boundaries will extend to the Litany river and the Hedjas railway. A great national loan will have to be raised and the budget for next year will amount to 300,000 pounds. The regular transportation of immigrants at the rate of 3,000 monthly will commence in autumn and will be gradually increased. The Jewish Assembly in Palestine which will soon open will be made the supreme legislative body.
In reality, Transjordan was separated from the territory of the Jewish National Home, anti-Zionist officials remained (such as ET Richmond), a second round of riots broke out in May 1921 and in Jerusalem in November 1921 and in June 1922, the Churchill White Paper was published which indicated that
it is the intention of His Majesty's government to foster the establishment of a full measure of self government in Palestine. But they are of the opinion that, in the special circumstances of that country, this should be accomplished by gradual stages and not suddenly.
and as for Jewish arrivals, 
immigration cannot be so great in volume as to exceed whatever may be the economic capacity of the country at the time to absorb new arrivals. 
Moreover, it starkly declared that
what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community
and furthermore
Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become "as Jewish as England is English." His Majesty's Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab delegation, the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded `in Palestine.'
The path further on to the November 1928 Status Quo White Paper, the 1929 pogroms, the 1930 Passfield White Paper and the 1939 White Paper was thus set.

Another earlier complementary version of this appears here.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence Promised Arabs a State in Palestine?

One of the mainstays of those claiming that the Zionists did not deserve to be awarded the territory of Palestine, among several, is that the McMahon correspondence of 1915 alloted to Sharif Hussein that same territory as part of the promise of the Arabs to revolt against Turkey. Henry McMahon being the High Commissioner of Egypt at the time.

Many argue over exactly where were the geographical delineation lines. They even ignore this:
Feisal made the first challenge on 20 January I92I in an interview at the Foreign Office with R.C. Lindsay, representing Curzon, the Foreign Secretary. Feisal claimed that 'nothing in the original correspondence stated that Palestine should be excluded from the Arab boundaries'. To this Lindsay pointed out that Palestine had been 'expressly reserved' from these boundaries and the relevant passage from McMahon's letter of 24 October 1915 was read aloud to the Emir in Arabic. After an exchange of views Feisal conceded that it had been the original intention of the British government to exclude Palestine*
FO 371/6237, E 986/4/9I, 'Report on Conversation...20 January 1921'. Present: R.C. Lindsay, Major H.W. Young, Col. Cornwallis, Emir Feisal, Brig. Gen. Haddad Pasha, Rustum Haidar; see also FO 37I/6238, E 2I33/4/9I, FO to Herbert Samuel (Jerusalem) 22 February 1921, referring to Lindsay - Feisal conversation; Winston Churchill's statement, Hansard, 11 July I922, cols. 1032-4.

But there is another aspect: did the Arabs fulfill their side of the bargain?

If you saw the film Lawrence of Arabia or read Seven Pillars of Wisdom, you are of one mind.

Here is another mind in this article:
C.S. Jarvis, formerly Governor of Sinai, expressed himself in less complimentary terms: 'The Syrians as a people did nothing whatsoever towards assisting the Arab cause...beyond hold secret meetings and talk. The inhabitants of Palestine did rather less.' Lloyd George recalled ironically that 'the Arabs of Palestine, who might have been helpful in many ways, were quiescent and cowering. Right through the War and up to the end, there were masses of Arab soldiers from Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine in the Turkish Armies fighting against the liberation of their own rule...the Palestinian Arabs were fighting against us.'  Despite much encouragement, when the British troops were already firmly entrenched in Jerusalem, the results of recruiting for the Sherifian forces were disappointing; no more than 150 Arabs were recruited. The verdict of the Palestine Royal Commission was clear: 'It was the Sherif's own people . . who bore the brunt of the actual fighting. The Arabs of Palestine did not rise against the Turks.'
`Commenting on The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, General Sir H. G. Chauvel, formerly Commander of the Australian Division in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, wrote: 'Lt. Colonel Joyce has been kept in the background. He was in charge of the Hedjaz Mission, while Lawrence was only the liaison officer between Feisal and General Allenby. Joyce was the organizer of the only fighting force of any real value in the whole of the Arab Army, and I always thought that he had more to do with the success of the Hedjaz operation than any other British officer.' Chauvel to the Director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, I January I936, Allenby Papers, copy at St Antony's College, Oxford.
This as well
'I must honestly confess', Clayton told Sykes, 'that, viewed as a symbol of Arab nationalism, the Legion has been a failure. It has not been received with any enthusiasm by the local Arabs, in spite of much propaganda.... I cannot say that it is worth either the money or the time of skilled officers which has to be expended upon it.
And this
...the most crippling blow for McMahon was the revelation contained in Feisal's confidential message to his father. From its contents McMahon learned, much to his surprise, that Feisal wrote 'as an upholder of Islam against Christian encroachment' and seemed to imply that had the Turks been 'strong enough to keep Moslem frontiers intact... he would have backed' them rather than the British. McMahon had to concede the bitter truth that the Hedjaz Arabs were 'unlikely to act efficiently in Syria...or to cut the Baghdad Railway'. He advised the Sherif to confine his action to Arabia proper and to recall Feisal. 'We can...safely trust Sherif but we have no guarantee of Feisal's attitude.' 
In summation:
There was thus no unilateral commitment. The Arabs were equally under definite obligations to fulfil their part, and it was on the nature and quality of their performance that the 'permanence and strength' of the agreement depended. That recognition of the 'independence of the Arabs', in specified areas 'south of latitude 37 was conditional on an Arab revolt', was testified also by T.E. Lawrence (in a letter to The Times, 11 September 1919), and confirmed by Lloyd George
Let us not forget what the Jews did: the activities of the NILI spy ring, led by Aaron Aharonson, as well as the Zion Mule Corps, led by John Henry Patterson, and the Jewish Legion, with a first-hand account here and also here and here.

And do not skip this part in the article:
Grey, no less than Kitchener, appreciated the urgency of the matter and was favourably disposed. But suspecting (as it turned out quite correctly) some ulterior motives for the undue haste, he warned the High Commissioner to avoid giving the impression that the British supported Arab interests in Syria merely in order to establish their own at the expense of the French. However, McMahon, without further consultation, dispatched his crucial letter of 24 October 1915 to Sherif Hussein. Two days later he cabled that the matter brooked 'no delay' and he had, therefore, to act 'without further reference'. The Rubicon was crossed. The Arabs won their Magna Carta and Great Britain a standing embarrassment. The responsibility was solely that of McMahon.
Footnote 28:   'As you rightly say, it is very much to the High Commissioner's credit that he boldly took the responsibility on himself of replying to the Sherif without further reference, and I greatly hope that the latter will not stick out about the frontiers.' (Wingate to Clayton, 1 November 1915, Private, Wingate Papers, Box 135/5.

One more addition, from the 1922 White Paper:
it is not the case, as has been represented by the Arab Delegation, that during the war His Majesty's Government gave an undertaking that an independent national government should be at once established in Palestine. This representation mainly rests upon a letter dated the 24th October, 1915, from Sir Henry McMahon, then His Majesty's High Commissioner in Egypt, to the Sharif of Mecca, now King Hussein of the Kingdom of the Hejaz. That letter is quoted as conveying the promise to the Sherif of Mecca to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs within the territories proposed by him. But this promise was given subject to a reservation made in the same letter, which excluded from its scope, among other territories, the portions of Syria lying to the west of the District of Damascus. This reservation has always been regarded by His Majesty's Government as covering the vilayet of Beirut and the independent Sanjak of Jerusalem. The whole of Palestine west of the Jordan was thus excluded from Sir. Henry McMahon's pledge.


Friday, April 10, 2020

The Other Tale or What Matti Friedman Missed

Makor Rishon published an interiew-review with Matti Friedman now that his new book has been published in Hebrew. The book, `Spies of No Country` is based mostly on the reminisces of four former members of the pre-State Palmah`s “Arab Section”. It was first called the `Mista’arvim Unit` which engaged in intelligence gathering and sabotage operations both in the territory of the Palestine Mandate and in Arab countries.

The story is important, even if a Forward reviewer thinks negatively of  Friedman`s book (it avoids the `moral` question of killing and links up with the current `political` question) although he did express appreciation of the book. In fact, two of the protaganists have already published their memoirs, one almost 30 years ago and another 18 years ago.

I have not read the book (but commented on it briefly). But from what I have read, I do not think Friedman related to the issue of Jews spying and operating in Arab neighborhoods and countries, disguised as Arabs but simply the Shachar Unit of the Palmah.

If, indeed, that is the case, I would wish to make sure that the other two pre-State undergrounds also had their own Jews-as-Arabs agents.

On July 26, 1938, five years prior to the establishment of the Palmah unit, the Irgun sent Yaakov Raz, 

dressed as an Arab porter into Jerusalem`s Old City market area on a reprisal mission following Arab terror attacks on the Jewish population.

He took part in attacks against Arabs in reprisals for attacks against Jews, and in his last operation, he was suspected by Arab passersby who grabbed him and dumping his vegetable basket, revealing a bomb. He was severely wounded when they fell upon him nd stabbed him repeatedly. Arrested by the British, he was subjected to constant interrogations and at the beginning of August, he felt he was too weak to prevent an accidental divulging of secret information he was party to while delirious, and so, under the covers, removed his bandages and undid his stitches thus bleeding to death. Israel`s national poet Uri Zvi Greenberg wrote a poem in his honor:
...Does anyone know how his face shone in the Jerusalem dawn?
I know, I know his face, for I shine in its light
He was sent forth from Lachish and Betar
A single man, enemies felled by his might.
So once walked, in the early hours of Jerusalem...
...Among demeaned Jews, among Jewish slaves
The lone hero and most beautiful person.
As the attackers circled and pierced him through
Taking their meals or stretched out in bed,
The Jews of Zion, the listless Jews,
Did not know whose body fell dead.

Another Irgun fighter was Rachel Ohevet-Ami (Havshush), born of Yeminite and Moroccan parents. On June 9, 1939, she was given a 15-kilogram food basket with the bomb hidden underneath to be brought to the entrance of the Central Jerusalem Prison on the day it was full of Arabs coming to visit the Arab gang members imprisoned fpor anti-British and anti-Jewish terror. She donned traditional dress including a veil. It being too heavy for her, she requested a young Arab to help her. After being paid, he went to a guard and told him there was something suspicious as the girl`s Arabic was not local, the basket was unduly heavy and it contained Jewish-style bread. She was arrested despite a struggle. A British demolitions expert defused the time mechanism (a few days later, another Irgun bomb at the Central Post Office killed him as he dattempted to defuse it)

In a 1964 photograph

At her trial, the judges accept the testimony that she was not yet 18 years old and instead of the gallows - Emergency Regulations had supplanted normal legal procedures at this time - she was sentenced to life imprisonment.

A third Irgunist was Baruch Mizachi

Born a Moslem Arab in Safad, he became a member of Betar, converted and joined its fighting ranks. He was detained and flown off to Eritrea where he was wounded by gunfire from the guards. He had insisted that he be allowed to take his tallit and tefillin with him to exile. 

Upon his return, he was sent on April 18, 1948 on an intelligence mission to Jab`a, a village near Jenin, the site of the headquarters of the Arab Liberation Army whose commander, Fawzi al-Qawuqji, led during 1936 the Army of the Arab Revolution in South-Syrian Palestine. At a roadblock he was identified, taken to a cave near Jab`a and executed, his body found only after 1967 and reburied.

A Lechi fighter, Elisha Ivzov, was also operating in Arab districts disguised as an Arab. On January 4, 1948, he drove a lorry loaded with with explosives into Jaffa and parked it in an alley adjacent to the Sariah Building, headquarters for the Arabs military units attacking Tel Aviv and its environs. Dozens died and scores were injured in the blast.

On March 5, another truck was loaded with a ton or so of explosives and Elisha drove off 

to Jab`a to eliminate the ALA command center. At the Tannin roadblock, like Mizrachi after him, he was stopped. His guide gave him away. Two British Army deserters who had prepared bombs for the Arabs in Jerusalem, attempted to defuse the bomb but it went off, killing them and others. Elisha was then summarily shot dead and buried in nearby Kuffeir. In 1950, his body was exhumed and returned to Israel.

And so, there is another story to tell. Palmah undercover agents were not the only, and, indeed, not the first to so operate.