Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Arabs Who Fled Mandate Palestine, Came from...?

Is it possible that a great number of Arabs who fled Mandate Palestine in 1948 actually were Arabs from across the Middle East who had recently arrived for better employment opportunities?

Al-Jazeera source


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Jerusalem's Demography 1880-1948

Is Jerusalem a 'Jewish city'?

Today's anti/non-Zionists refuse to acknowledge Jerusalem's Jewish history and status or the fact that a concept of "East/West Jerusalem", at the most, was a 19 year aberration in the city's 3000 year history.

One measure is demography. What was the percentage of the city's Jewish community amongst the various populations prior to the city becoming "Israeli"? The city, by 1870, already had a Jewish plurality. And the succeeding years?

For reference:

The first table presents the growth of Jerusalem's population and as it is in Hebrew, we need read from right to left.

The years are 1880, 1900, 1910, 1931 and 1948.

In the walled Old City, the population dropped from 19,000 to 2,000 and of course, on May 28, 1948, the Jewish Quarter, the last of the areas where Jews still lived, surrendered.

In the New City, the Jewish population grew from 2,000 to 98,000.

The lower table focuses on the Old City with its Jewish and Arab population in 1880, 1910, 1922 and 1931, the last two years from the official British census counts (here and here). hy there are slight differences,  do not know.

In any case, the Arab terror riots of 1929 and then 1936-39 quite clearly caused an ethnic cleansing result of Jews from the city where Jews had lived consistently since the 12th century and in previous centuries, from 135 CE, at the will of foreign subjugators and rulers as feasible.

A second reference source of Jerusalem populations figures broken down to Arabs and Jews:

The figures are in the 1000s.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Jewish "Palestine Resistance"

When, in 1946, the term "Palestine Resistance" meant the Jewish fight for freedom and liberation from the repressive British mandatory regime:



Friday, March 18, 2022

The Anti-Semitism of Degas

From A Compulsive Perfectionist by Colin B. Bailey

The most dramatic—and saddest—aspect of Degas in the 1890s relates to his increasingly outspoken anti- Semitism and his reaction to the efforts to rehabilitate Captain Albert Dreyfus, who had been found guilty of espionage in December 1894 and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island.8 

As evidence tending to exonerate Dreyfus and implicate the highest echelons of the French military came to light in 1897, Degas’s relations with the Halévy family became more and more fraught. The Halévys’ elder son, Élie, noted in November 1897, “I have a Jewish name, even though I am Protestant.” (Degas also harbored an irrational dislike of Protestants.) The Halévys associated with journalists and intellectuals committed to proving (and publicizing) Dreyfus’s innocence. At their Thursday dinner on November 25, 1897, the day on which Le Figaro published Émile Zola’s first article in support of Dreyfus, Ludovic expressly forbade any discussion of the topic (“Papa was very annoyed, Degas very anti- Semitic”). Although no one knew it at the time, the last family dinner that Degas attended at the Halévys took place on January 13, 1898, the day on which Zola’s “J’accuse” appeared on the front page of L’Aurore. Their ebullient younger guests, whose company Degas usually relished, offended him with their pro- Dreyfusard opinions. He canceled the following week’s dinner on the day itself, writing to Louise:

You will have to excuse me tonight, and I would rather tell you right away that I am asking you to do so for some time. You could not have thought that I would have the heart to continue being cheerful and entertaining. The time for laughter is over. You kindly introduced me to these young people, but I constrain them and they are unbearable to me. Let me remain in my corner. I’ll be happy there. There are many good moments to remember.

The decision must not have been easy for Degas to take. Unaware of this crisis, on the evening of January 20 nineteen- year- old Julie Manet— another anti- Dreyfusard who would contribute funds to La Libre Parole for the repatriation of Jews to Jerusalem— went to Degas’s apartment to invite him to dinner. “We found him so worked up into such a terrible state against the Jews,” she noted in her diary, “that we left without asking him anything at all.” “To live alone, without any family, it is really too hard,” he had confided to Madame Giuseppe De Nittis in May 1877. In his rupture with the Halévys, Degas administered a selfinflicted wound.

...Degas, who initially appeared to Kessler like “an elegant grandfather . . . an apostle, untouched by the world,” became agitated when conversation turned to the Bernheim family, who dealt in his work. Referring to the father, Alexandre, who had established the business, Degas exclaimed, “How can one chat with people like that? Let’s see, with a Jewish Belgian who is a naturalized Frenchman! It’s as if one wished to speak with a hyena, a boa. Such people do not belong to the same humanity as us.”

Kessler recorded that Degas’s most deranged invective was reserved for compulsory education: 

“It’s the Jews and the Protestants who do that” [Degas said] . . .Degas became completely angry, thundering against the popularization of art and the unrestrained increase in  exhibitions, pictures, and artists...?

Amused and horrified in equal measure, Kessler left the dinner concluding that the artist was “a deranged and maniacal innocent.”

8 For what remains the best introduction, see Linda Nochlin, “Degas and the Dreyfus Affair: A Portrait of the Artist as an Anti- Semite,” in The Dreyfus Affair: Art, Truth, and Justice, edited by Norman L. Kleeblatt (University of California Press, 1987). Degas was joined by Renoir (and to a lesser degree Cézanne) in their at times violent anti- Dreyfusard positions; Monet  and Pissarro were ardent supporters of Dreyfus’s cause. Degas and Renoir both broke with Pissarro over the Dreyfus Affair.


Sunday, March 13, 2022

My Exchange with NYRB's Editor Following a Beinart Piece

After I read something Peter Beinart published at the New York Review of Books back at the end of January, I initiated corrspondence with the NYRB by first submitting a short letter-to-the-editor:

From: Yisrael Medad 
Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2021 9:02 AM
To: Editor 
Subject: Letter for Publication

Peter Beinart asserts that "Those Palestinians who can [vote in Israeli national elections] —the 'Arab Israelis' who hold Israeli citizenship—mostly vote for Arab parties that are, by custom, barred from Israel’s coalition governments" (What the Lincoln Project Gets WrongAbout Israel-Palestine, NYRB, Jan. 27). That assertion needs to be corrected.

Arabs have been enfranchised to cast their ballots in Israel's elections since 1949. In fact, the parties that traditionally received the most votes usually were Communist. That Israel, even until today, tolerates Communist parties supported mainly by the Arab minority, as well as pan-Arab nationalist factions, is a testament to its vibrant democracy. Moreover, these parties are not so much "barred" as not invited to join due to their principled ideological position which is anti-Zionist. It is not a racist policy as Arabs, as well as Druze, have served in government as ministers and deputy-ministers when members of other parties. Members of these anti-Zionist parties have been member of the Knesset Presidium.

 The reply within two days:

February 2

Dear Yisrael

Thanks for this communication, but we do not believe there is any need to correct Beinart’s assertion. Further, I am afraid you are misinformed.

First, one of two leading parties in the Arab Joint List is Hadash, which supports a two-state solution and is thus, by definition, not anti-Zionist. Second, many governing coalitions in Israel in the past have included non-Zionist ultra-orthodox parties representing, in some cases, Jews who do not recognize the state of Israel. In short, it is a canard that Arab parties are not admitted to coalition governments of Israel because they do not pass some ideological test of Zionism. The salient political fact is simply this: that no Israeli Jewish politician is willing to govern in coalition with the elected representatives of Arab citizens of Israel.

In other words, Beinart's assertion was completely correct, and the counter-assertion is incorrect.

Best wishes, 

Matt Seaton


My retort:

February 2

Dear Matt,

I think you have been misinformed.

Hadash is Communist and thus, by definition, anti-Zionist. It may recognize Israel as a state but that is not the same.

The Joint List comprises, as you surely know, four parties. "Leading" or not is an irrelevancy. But just as an aside, if the Ra'am Party pulls out, according to tonight's news, it will drop from 15 to 9 so how can one even judge what "leading" means?

As for the ultra-Orthodox parties, they define themselves as Zionist but claim their Zionism is Torah-based, whatever that means. Most actually do get to serve in the IDF in one form or another, something Arabs, the vast majority anyway, are loath to do. They even refuse in the main (I am sorry but exact figures are not at my fingertips) to do national service.

Moreover, to assert that "no Israeli Jewish politician is willing to govern in coalition with the elected representatives of Arab citizens of Israel" is a "salient political fact" is wrong as I pointed out that Arabs, elected in Arab lists as well as Jewish lists have served in coalitions.

I am sorry for disputing this so strongly but my suspicion is that you were provided that information and the person that did it either is ignorant or is purposely beclouding the issue.

As I have had letters previously published in the NYRB, I find it odd not to take a chance on me by publishing my letter, it isn't that long at all, and have Peter Beinart respond, you know, an element of open debate in his own name.

I trust your sense of 'fair play' would actually work in my favor.

Thank you for your reconsideration.


On February 11, I checked the latest issue and then wrote the following:

I see the new issue has appeared. My letter is not visible.

Can I assume my letter will not ever be published? Or is Peter still composing a response?


And the conclusion is:

Hi Yisrael

I'm afraid we don't publish letters in response to online-only pieces, unless the matter at dispute rises to the level of meriting a full Exchange between a correspondent and the author, and this didn't.

Best wishes, Matt

So, I made a pitch:

From: Yisrael Medad 

Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2021 2:41 PM
ToMatt Seaton  Subject: Re: Fw: Letter for Publication
Would submitting a piece to the online edition be a possibility for me then?

And the answer was:

Thu, Feb 11, 2021 at 9:44 PM Matt Seaton wrote:

Of course, you may submit. But I would advise you against offering a right-to-reply type response piece to the Beinart; it's not something we do, and we simply would have to turn that down flat.

I inquired as to how many words and was informed "optimal length for us is 1500-2500w".

On February 18, I submitted the following:

Is It To Be Competing Narratives or Narrative Cancelling?

We are now in an era, 45 years on since the UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 was adopted determining “that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination" and 30 years since it was rescinded, when presumed intellectual conversation can call for the dismantling of the Zionist project, openly suggest in one of America’s leading newspapers there is no need that a Jewish ‘home’ be a Jewish state in that it be replaced by an entity called “Israel-Palestine”, a senior level church officer can echo a New Testament blood curse, applying it to Israel and a Congresswoman can retweet a meme that Israel be eliminated by applying to it borders that delineate another state if afterwards in was deleted. As the conversation gets less intellectual and progressively ideological, even theological, the demands made in relation to Israel worsen in tone, become malefic and eventually, generate a sense of freedom for acts of illegality and eventually terror. This is not marginalization but cancellation.

It is not that anti-Zionism has never been a legitimate topic of debate. Of course it has. Indeed, a very small minority of fanatic obscurantist Jews, inheritors of the Satmar Hungarian rejection of all human efforts to re-establish a Jewish state, are quite active and find solace in misrepresented Talmudic sources. There are Jews who support and promote all forms of national identity, including one termed Arab Palestinian, but deny the same to those, Jews and non-Jews, who wish to see Israel continue to exist and flourish. There are anti-nationalist Jews steeped in progressive or communist or socialist theories who cannot bring themselves to identify with Zionism.

A century ago, some 300 American Reform Rabbis attempted, in a letter published in the New York Times, to abort President Woodrow Wilson’s approval of Palestine becoming reconstituted as the historic Jewish national home. The American Council for Judaism took up the anti-Zionist baton following the 1937 Reform Judaism’s decision rejection of the same. The Jewish Bund prided in its anti-Zionism. The ultra-Orthodox Agudah preferred to see themselves as the true Zionists, refusing to acknowledge full legitimacy of the World Zionist Organization even while eventually forming an awkward coalition with it.

These days, we witness the endeavours of a plethora of Jewish anti-Zionist groups, including the backing of a sham Twitter account of a long-dead anti-Zionist Rabbi, but it need be made clear that anti-Zionism, once a position of theoretical debate, is an historical fossil. At this time, with Israel's establishment and continued flourishing, if actively advanced, it is no longer a philosophical matter but one of eliminationist ideology (as illustrated by a Congresswoman’s T-shirt) that promotes staticide, that is the destruction of a state and endangering lives of upwards of 9 million humans as well as millions of Jews who would (not might) need to flee to it due to an upsurge in anti-Semitism. An op-ed recently published at the New York Times argues against sanctions that are in place against Iran, a state sponsoring regional and even global terror that also views a need to eliminate Zionist Israel, even through an act of legislature, yet its author supports sanctions on Israel due to Jews residing in Jerusalem suburbs, Hebron, the burial place of the Jewish people’s patriarchs and matriarchs or my community village, Shiloh, where scientific archaeological excavations conducted over a century by Danes, British, Israelis and Americans, have proven the Biblical narrative.

Moreover, in the immediate sense, persons and institutions who might also be non-Israeli such as Jewish and non-Jewish students who do support Israel, find themselves under verbal, psychological and even physical attack on campuses not only from fellow students or off-campus radicals but their lecturers as well. Already in 1990, pro-Palestinian promoters were aware of the need for progressive political support even as the messaging - “they [Jewish Americans] control Capitol Hill…they have big money and fear on their side” (at 2:38-43 in the clip) – is blatantly adoptive of anti-Semitic memes. We have now reached the point when the moderator of an international affairs commission of a Christian fellowship of 350 churches from more than 110 countries, representing over 500 million Christians worldwide stated, falsely, that people are killed every day as a result of the Israel-Palestinian conflict adding “the blood of the people of Palestine will be sought from” Israel’s supporters thus employing a meme of classic anti-Semitism.

Bret Stephens, who thinks that hard-core anti-Zionism is indeed a form of anti-Semitism, penned, “If anti-Semitism is a form of racism, and racist language is intolerable…might we someday forbid not only advocacy of anti-Zionist ideas, but even refuse to allow them to be discussed?” In connection with what can and what cannot be discussed, I wish to take Stephens question one step further and ask: if the negation of a people’s national identity and aspirations is legitimate, indeed, if it is acceptable to even refuse to acknowledge that an ethnic community also possesses national characteristics – as does anti-Zionism – cannot another people’s claim to national identity undergo scrutiny, debate and even negation?

As an example, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ernest Bevin, himself quite unsympathetic to the idea of a Jewish state, nevertheless had no compunction, in his words in the House of Commons on 18th February, 1947, to admit that “the Arabs...are therefore unwilling to contemplate further Jewish immigration into Palestine. They are equally opposed to the creation of a Jewish State in any part of Palestine”. Is it possible to express that point of view today, especially as regards the position of Hamas?

Can one point out that the term “historic Palestine”, geographically, always encompassed the territory that Jordan occupies? Can one point out the Jordan was the occupier of the West Bank until 1967? Can one note that the term “West Bank” was created only in April 1950 when Jordan annexed that area? Can it be recalled that in the United Nations Partition proposal of November 29, 1947, when delineating the borders between the Arab State and the Jewish State, a recommendation that was dashed when Arab-initiated violence broke out, never employed the then-unknown term “West Bank” but rather “Judea” and “Samaria”?

Is it possible to recollect that between 1920-1948, a Jewish population of several thousands who had been, in part, residing in Judea and Samaria for centuries, in Hebron, Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem’s Old City and environs, as well as newer communities in the Etzion Bloc and on the shore of the Dead Sea, were ethnically cleansed in a terror campaign instigated and led by the most senior Islamic cleric in the country, a campaign which included murder, rape, burnings and pillaging?

Is it allowed to point to the uniqueness of UNRWA, the United Nations agency that provides humanitarian care for Arab refugees from Mandate Palestine? That all the world’s millions of refugees have one agency and the relatively few from Palestine have another? That to have been a “refugee” all one needed was to have lived in Mandate Palestine for but two years previous to May 1948? That the status of refugee is applied solely to the descendants of males and also includes adopted children? That the true figure of actual refugees is less than 200,000 according to a US State Department July 2018 report?

Is it permissible to know what topics are mentionable and what are to be banished from all mention? And why? Are there any agreed upon definitions of such? Or is but one narrative the accepted framework while the other is denounced and deprecated?

Are acts of destruction committed by Arabs at locations of Jewish legacy sites, such as was found after the 1967 war on the Mount of Olives and over 30 synagogues in Jerusalem’s Old City discussable? Hasmonean Palaces outside of Jericho, additional archaeological sites or at the Temple Mount when a new, underground mosque was carved out of Solomon’s Stables? Moreover, is the claim of a 10,000 year old Natufian origin of the contemporary Arabs, made by the late Saeb Erekat, open for discussion or to do so would be causing major micro-aggressions?

If one is to hurl a charge of “illegal occupation”, is it permissible to bring up the 19-year occupation and annexation of Jordan or does one simply accept the proffered explanation that that occupation was entirely legal in that the Arabs of Palestine requested to be ruled by Abdullah I, even if the Mufti Al-Husseini had the monarch assassinated in 1951? When is a narrative a genuine reflection of history and when is it but a cover-up for bad politics or even plain revisionist history?

Zionism is, the narrative has it, a settler-colonial enterprise. But did not the Arabs come out of the Arabian Peninsula in the first third of the seventh century and, in a wave of conquest, subjugation and occupation, overrun many lands including, in 638 CE, the Land of Israel, ruled by the Persians who had conquered it in 614 CE from the Byzantine Empire, the continuation of the Roman Empire that had conquered Judea in 135 CE and altering its name to Palestina? What is a narrative, what is propaganda and what is the historical truth?

Having long abandoned anti-Zionism, Isaac Deutscher admitted in 1954 that that anti-Zionism “was based on a confidence in the European labour movement, or, more broadly, a confidence in European society and civilisation which that society and civilisation have not justified.” Does there exist among too many contemporary Jewish progressives a similar presumption of over-confidence? Or does their psychological and ideological opposition to the concept of Jewish national identity overcome rational incisiveness to what is actually occurring around them?

The more, it would appear, Israel strengthens its position including diplomatic successes with Arab Islamic states, significant economic advances and major contributions to the rest of the world in the fields of science, health, agriculture, engineering and the like, the more the verbal abuse increases. Bristol University professor David Miller raged, “It's not enough to say Zionism is racism, Israel is a settler colonial society...The aim of this is…to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the word.” Jews, who have long suffered from racist ideologies of Aryan and White supremacism, have now been turned into people who benefit from a ‘white privilege’ while the majority of Israel’s population is basically brown and black and Israelis are out-and-out “white supremacists”. Furthermore, university students are being told “Zionism isn’t about self-determination, it’s about Jewish supremacy” and that “white supremacy [equates] with Jewish supremacy.” This is not solely verbal abuse but incitement to violence. It is the new form of the oldest hate, now practiced by so-called progressive leftists.

Israel is not a state à condition que. It is a state, as the 50-member League of Nations decided in 1922, that once existed and need be reconstituted, based on the historical connection of the Jewish people with the territory of their national home. Two fundamental rights were recognized for the Jews in their Land of Israel: the facilitation of Jewish immigration and the encouragement of “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands”. For sure, the rights and position of other sections of the population should not be prejudiced but those rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine were defined as “civil and religious”, not national nor political. Simply, Israel is.

No longer can there be suppression of discussion. No longer improper application of academic terminology. No longer ignoring the problems with the rival people claiming a more supreme right to the territory on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The debate over Zionism and the activities intended to oppose Israel as the Zionist state, the result of a 3,000-year old national identity legacy of the Jewish people, has evolved into a violent one, whether on campus or at work places. It does not solely target “Zionists” but seeks to highlight Jews as Jews, which, incidentally, proves, if backhandedly, that Zionism is indeed authentic Judaism.

Yisrael Medad is Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, resides in Shiloh and comments on political, cultural and media affairs.

But the response was:

Hi Yisrael

Thanks for a look at this submission. I'm afraid I will have to decline it as we already have a piece assigned and in the pipeline about Hebron and the related political, territorial, and archaeological disputes, and this would clash too much with that. I hope you are able to find the right platform for your piece.

Best wishes,

All I could do is respond:
Editorial discretion is a wonderful tool.
I look forward to see how much I clash.

And the article that did eventually appear in the issue of March 19 is


I Waited But It Wasn't Published

This letter-to-the-editor of the New York Review of Books was sent off on January 28:

David Shulman writes in his review of  Sylvain Cypel's "The State of Israel vs. the Jews" (NYRB, Feb. 10), regarding reported acts of violence perpetrated by Jews against Arabs in the territories of the Palestine Mandate which were at first annexed by Jordan and then came under Israel's administration after 1967, that 

"these events—a random selection—are [not] aberrations​ or exceptions to the rule. They​ are now the norm​...Settler violence,backed up by Israeli soldiers, happens​ every day​...The goal, by no means a​ secret, is to expel Palestinians from​ their homes and lands and, eventually,​ to annex as much of the West Bank as​ possible to Israel.​ Any means to achieve this goal isacceptable."

They do not happen daily but I fear Shulman would not believe that. His shared ideological outlook with Cypel will not permit it.  Given that it is no secret that since 1920 the Arabs residing in that area have been killing Jews and expelling them from their homes to prevent them from reconstituting their historic national homeland there, if only had Shulman noted the daily occurrences of rock throwing, firebomb tossing, the occasional stabbings, car-rammings and shootings committed by Arabs, we would have been provided with a slightly more balanced record of the reality, one which would allow us a better appreciation of the book under review.

Yisrael Medad
Shiloh​, Israel

It does not appear in the next edition. Nor the next.

Is it me? My views? Or the subject matter?

Or the editor?


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Yet Another Unpublished Letter-to-the-Editor

Sent on March 3:

In Isabel Kershner's despatch regarding Israel's High Court decision on property ownership in a Jerusalem neighborhood, she wrote "Israel captured the eastern part of the city, including Sheikh Jarrah, from Jordan in the 1967 war, then annexed it" ("Palestinians Threatened With Eviction Can Stay in Their Homes — for Now", March 1).

The term "annexation", as defined in international law, means "the forcible acquisition of territory by one State at the expense of another State". In 1967, the eastern districts of Jerusalem had been illegally occupied by Jordan, which had invaded the city in 1948. Israel but reunited the city, in a defensive war against Jordanian aggression, which, except for those 19 years of Jordanian occupation, had been but one city, not two, for some 3000 years.



Jews Supporting Judea and Samaria in 1862

The report on charity endeavors for Jews in Eretz-Yisrael in the year 1862, including Hebron, from the Occidental - American Jewish Advocate:


Wednesday, March 09, 2022

An Air Strike Arranged Against the Dissidents at Deir Yassin

For the Record 


HC Deb 19 April 1948 vol 449 cc117-8W117W

Mr. Sorensen asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any further statement to make about the capture of the Arab village of Deir Yassin in Palestine by Jews on 9th April.

Mr. McNeil I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend has now received additional information from the High Commissioner. The figure of Arab casualties given to the House on 12th April has been confirmed by a visit to the village by a representative of the International Red Cross, who has stated that in one cave he saw the heaped bodies of some 150 Arabs, men, women and children, whilst in a well a further 50 bodies were found. The approaches to the village are strongly held by Hagana and the Palestine Police could not enter to conduct investigations without a considerable show of force. The terrorist groups claim that Hagana facilitated the mounting of their attack on Deir Yassin, although the Jewish Agency issued a statement on 12th April expressing118W horror and disgust at the barbarity of the manner in which this action had been carried out by the terrorists. The Zionist General Council, however, meeting in Tel Aviv on the same day, ratified an agreement for co-operation between the Hagana and the Irgun Zvai Leumi. Units of the Hagana have now taken over occupation of Deir Yassin from the members of the terrorist groups who originally attacked the village.

Invitations to the Press conference given by a Jewish spokesman for the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Group, which took place in the heavily guarded Jewish settlement of Givat Shaul, near Deir Yassin, were issued by telephone to selected American and Jewish correspondents. The fact that this conference had taken place was not known to the authorities until the following day. No correspondents of British newspapers were invited.

In view of the difficulties of military operations against the village, which would probably be very costly in British lives, the High Commissioner, in consultation with the Air Officer commanding arranged for an air strike against the terrorists, with the object of turning them out of the village. Before the attack could take place it became known, beyond the possibility of doubt, that the members of the terrorists' groups who had originally occupied the village had left. In these circumstances it was decided not to proceed with the air operations.

It must be realised that with the progressively reduced strength of our Armed Forces as our withdrawal proceeds, intervention in every instance of violence between Arab and Jew is not practicable. Within the limited resources available, however, every possible action will be taken to prevent the spread of civil conflict and to punish those responsible for such barbarous acts.


Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Substitute "Palestine/West Bank" for "Spain"

If you do that while reading this abstract, you'll realize the media is not all that dependable.

Taking sides: Translators and journalists in the Spanish civil war

Marcos Rodríguez-Espinosa, University of Málaga, Spain


Soon after the uprising of General Franco in July 1936, the elite of international journalism turned its attention to the political undercurrents of the emerging Spanish Civil War, a historical period which would become a ‘golden age’ for foreign correspondents, and a conflict where women would for the first time play a leading role in global war reporting. Their battlefield accounts often reflect a biased understanding of the ideological confrontation of the two warring factions, referred to in Anglosaxon media as ‘Loyalists’ (Republicans) and ‘Nationalists’ (Francoists), whereas domestic reporters preferred the more categorical ‘rojos’ (reds) or ‘fascistas’ (fascists). 

For many foreign journalists, sending their chronicles back home meant paying a heavy toll, since correspondents were only allowed on the frontline when accredited and any journalist held prisoner could easily be mistaken for a spy. Drawing on a selection of historical, journalistic, media and translation studies research sources, as well as on a number of memoirs, personal accounts and biographies, in this article we discuss some up to now uncharted issues arising from the symbiotic connection between translation and journalism during the Spanish Civil War: 

(a) their lack of proficiency in Spanish and their unfamiliarity with the country made it necessary for many correspondents to rely on the assistance of interpreters, fixers, guides and press officers, recruited for their ideological commitment to the rebel military uprising or to the Republican Government; (b) the role of translation in the Press and Propaganda Offices set up by the incipient Nationalist government, the Spanish Republic and the Catalan and Basque autonomous governments; and (c) the complex relationship between foreign correspondents and translators working for the censorship departments set up by Francoist and Republican Press Offices in order to prevent journalists from revealing information which might undermine the morale of civilians or troops, and the international reception of the narratives they sought to disseminate abroad.