Alex Rose

A world that does not know how it began

“What is morally wrong cannot be politically right.” [NATIV Vol. 1 2003: ‘Palestine: The Original Sin’ by Meir Abelson]

Abelson, a Hons. Graduate of London University was highly qualified in many fields. Among them, he was a researcher of the Arab-Israel dispute and author for 9 years of the monthly ,”Letter from Jerusalem” which was circulated to 9 countries, and printed partly at the Foreign Office and partly at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The author commences with the definition of the word Zionism which at the time was anathema to the Muslim Arabs, but was not always so. He records the “most famous Mark Twain’s visit to Palestine in 1867, German Kaiser Wilhelm 2’s likewise visit in 1898 and Dr. W. E. Blackstone’s visit in 1891.

He asks the question, “And what of “Arab nationalism”? At that time, no one had heard of a “Palestine Arab people”; the term was not invented until after 1964, entirely for political reasons.

In 1906, Farid Kassab, a famous Syrian author, expressed the view uniformly held by the Arabs:”The Jews of the Orient are at home. This land is their only fatherland. They don’t know any other.”

When the Balfour Declaration, was communicated to Emir Hussein of the Hejaz in 1918 remarked “with an expression of goodwill towards a kindred Semitic race”, and his son Feisal, acting officially for the Arab movement, wrote on March 3, 1919:

“We Arabs look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, insofar as we are concerned, to help them through. We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.”

But then the rot began. How was it possible that in just 3 years—from1917 to 1920, [when the 1sr pogrom occurred] Arab goodwill was transmuted into hatred and enmity? In March 1921, Winston Churchill visited Palestine, and met with a formal body calling itself the “Executive Committee of the Haifa Congress of Palestinian Arabs.”They presented him with a memorandum protesting Zionist activity in Palestine, arguing that Jews were not a nationality but a religion; that they had destroyed Russia, Germany and Austria, and that they took but never gave.—They wanted the British to make Palestine part of Syria.

This document which Churchill rejected, emerged from a population that was mostly subject to lawlessness and banditry, and of which 85% of the men and 93% of the women were illiterate, while the remainder were Muslim landlords—a parasitic upper-class known as effendis. The ideas of democracy and nationalism were utterly alien to them.

On December 9, 1917, General Allenby made his historic entry into Jerusalem. He spoke as if the Declaration had never been issued. In fact, no mention was made of the Jewish National Home in any official announcement in Palestine until May 1, 1920.

During 1920, Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, who was well disposed towards the Jews, recorded that Colonel Warters Taylor met with Haj Amin—a violent anti-Jewish agitator—and told him that “he a great opportunity at Easter to show the world that Zionism was unpopular not only with the Palestine Administration, but in Whitehall; and if disturbances of sufficient violence occurred at Easter, both General Bols and General Allenby would advocate the abandonment of the Jewish home.”

Haj Amin took the Colonel’s advice and instigated a riot. The Jews were given over to slaughter, rape, torture and looting for 3 days before the authorities raised a hand to interfere. Three weeks later, riots in Jaffa elsewhere left 43 Jews dead.

The British arrested him; he escaped and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in absentia. However, a year later some British Arabists persuaded Samuel to pardon him.

Three years later, Colonel Patterson remarked grimly: “Bols went, but the system he planted remained, as did anti-Semitism.” In July 1922, the League of Nations approved the appointment of Britain as the Mandatory Power. President Wilson rose from his sick bed and cabled the following protest to the British Cabinet:

“The Zionist cause depends on rational northern and eastern boundaries for a self-maintaining, economic development of the country. This means, on the north, Palestine must include the Litany River and the watersheds of the Herman, and on the east it must include the plains of the Jailor and the Haran. Narrower than this is a mutilation—-“

The 1st Civilian High Commissioner was Sir Herbert Samuel. At his reception a member of his staff reacted strongly, “and there I was at Government House, with a Union Jack flying as large as life, and a bloody Jew sitting under it.” Throughout his whole tenure of office, Samuel suffered acutely from his consciousness of being a Jew. His appointment of Haj Amin to the powerful position of Mufti of Jerusalem was but one example of this behavior.

It was during the term of Sir John Chancellor that the 2nd bloody massacre of Jews took place, in 1929. It was while he was on a visit to London. The acting High Commissioner Harry Luke, known to be unfriendly to the Jews faced the agitators and the disarming of the Jewish villagers, For 8 days the country was given over to an orgy of slaughter, rape, castration and unspeakable mutilation. The worst barbarisms took place at Hebron, Safed, Jaffa and Motza. The victims—men, women and children—were beaten, stabbed, their limbs amputated, stomachs were ripped open, and women were raped.
Since the days of the Crusaders, no such massacre of Jews had occurred in Palestine. The Government reacted by appointing more Commissions. If it is true that power corrupts, the 1st casualties of that process seem to be truth and principle.

Upon the issuance of a White Paper in October 1930, David Lloyd Jones observed:” They dare not try to kill Zionism directly, but they try to put it in a refrigerator.”In 1936, armed revolt broke out again all over Palestine—for the 6th time since British occupation. During widespread riots in April 1938, among them was a young boy named Shlomo Ben-Yosef, who was sentenced to hang for allegedly possessing arms. The government did not assert that he had killed or injured anyone! In fact, he was put to death on a Jewish holiday.

On May 1939, the British passed the infamous White Paper, of which the main provisions were: no partition; an independent Jewish State; an independent Arab state within 10 years; Jewish immigration after 5 years would not be allowed “unless the Arabs of Palestine were prepared to acquiesce in it.”

As Meir Abelson approaches conclusion, he says the following:

“Today, many of the old pretexts for Britain’s dereliction have been demolished: “the absorptive capacity of Palestine”, “the landless Arab”, the twice-promised Land”. But there is one which not only remains to this day, but has grown into a reincarnation of the monstrous demon which stalked the world in the Middle Ages: anti-Semitism. “. And –painful though it may be to admit —– the fact is that the seed was sown by the British in Palestine under the Mandate, with a resolution which, had it been more honest and constructive in attitude, would have avoided over 80 years of bloodshed and pain. “

Then there was the important history of traditional Muslim-Arab hostility and violence towards Jews as “dhimmis”—-viz, Jews and Christians living under Muslim rule and subject to discriminatory restrictions. The British, however, added a political dimension to this age-old religious prejudice, and the two together, fertilized with European anti-Semitism, became the poisonous weed that has strangled the Middle East ever since.

“We witness the eager sponsorship by Britain of a 3rd partition of Palestine by carving out a ‘Palestinian’ state, occupied by a people, invented—on their own admission— some 40 years ago, and who never cease to proclaim that their aim is still to destroy Israel.”

“We are told that the Arabs must be assured of ‘even-handedness’—something which the Jews have lacked at Britain’s hands ever since 1917; and this from the country which created the Arab-Jewish conflict, and which therefore might be expected to display less presumption and more humility. However, as the prophet Zephaniah wrote: ‘The unjust know no shame.’

Lord Samuel approached Field Marshal lord Plumer in delegation, warning that if a planned procession of Jewish war veterans were held, they ’would not be responsible for the peace of Jerusalem. ‘Plumer withered them with the reply: ‘No one asked you to be responsible. I am the High Commissioner, and I will be responsible. ’The Arabs never tried that trick again as long as the Field Marshal remained in Palestine; nor were there any pogroms under his rule. ‘Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue’

This is a lesson for today.”

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.