Monday, August 1, 2011

Hating Jews Years Before Israel Was Created

Anti-Zionist demonstration at Damascus Gate

The defeat of the Turks in late 1917 created a vacuum in Palestine. The British occupied the region, but the Mandate was not officially recognized until the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1922.  In the interim, the local Arab leadership was riven by inter-clan rivalries and hatred for the Hashemite Kingdom across the Jordan River. A half century of anti-colonial resentment, anti-Semitism, and fear of the Zionists were all mixed into the cauldron. 

The relationship between the British and the local Arab population was characterized by tension that sporadically erupted into insurrection over the next 30 years.The Arabs of Palestine were led by the powerful el-Husseini clan who controlled the office of the Mufti as well as the Mayoralty of Jerusalem.  One son, Haj Amin el-Husseini, was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921, but already in early 1920 the vicious anti-Semite was inciting anti-Jewish attacks.  
British guns at Jaffa Gate

Anti-Zionist demonstration
The first Library of Congress collection photos are from March 1920, a week that saw the  Syrian Congress proclaim independence for Syria and Palestine and attacks on Tel Chai, the Jewish settlement in the Galilee.  Zionist hero Joseph Trumpledor died in the attack.  The Library of Congress photos bear their original captions: “anti-Zionist” demonstrations.
Indian soldier searching
Arabs for weapons

Searching Jews
for weapons
One month later, Arab inciters, including el-Husseini, whipped participants into a frenzy to attack Jews in Jerusalem during the week-long Nebi Musa festival.  Newly formed Jewish self-defense groups, headed by Zev Jabotinsky, rushed to Jerusalem to protect their co-religionists but were arrested by the British.  The next set of pictures, taken four days into the rioting and attacks on Jews, shows the belated British defense measures and the search for weapons carried out on Arabs and Jews.
Note: The Arab attacks on Jews and against Zionism took place decades before the founding of Israel, years before the large aliya of Jews from Europe and Arab countries, and even more years before the administration of the West Bank became an international issue.

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