Friday, December 9, 2011

Did a German Officer Prevent the Massacre of the Jews of Eretz Yisrael during World War I?

German General Falkenhayn on the Temple Mt with Jamal
Pasha, Turkish governor of Syria and Palestine, 1916
(Library of Congress collection)
A version of this article was published in print edition of The Jerusalem Post Magazine on Friday, December 9, 2011, and appears in the Jerusalem Post's online Premium Zone.

Please note the important comments below by the historian Michael Hesemann about the role played by the Vatican in the saving of the Jews of Palestine.

The Ottoman war effort in Palestine in World War I was led by German officers, and their involvement was recorded by the American Colony photographers.  German General Erich von Falkenhayn, an able Prussian officer who served as the Chief of Staff of the German Army, was the commander of the Turkish and German troops during the critical 1917-1918 period.


A German photographic collection contains a picture of Falkenhayn leaving Palestine in 1918 and bears an amazing caption which claims that Falkenhayn prevented a Turkish massacre of the Jews of Palestine [Unfortunately, permission was not granted to use the photo, but it can be viewed here]:
"Falkenhayn and the German Staff need to be credited with have [sic] prevented an Ottoman genocide towards Christians and Jews in Palestine similar to the Armenian suffering. Wikipedia: 'His positive legacy is his conduct during the war in Palestine in 1917.  As his biographer Afflerbach claims, "An inhuman excess against the Jews in Palestine was only prevented by Falkenhayn's conduct, which against the background of the German history of the 20th century has a special meaning, and one that distinguishes Falkenhayn."'" (1994, 485)
General Erich Von
Falkenhayn
(Bundesarchiv)
Is it true? Did a German general protect the Jewish population of Palestine from massacre?  My first impulse was to find proof otherwise.


A Falkenhayn family genealogy, posted on the Internet, elaborates further:  "While he was in command in Palestine, he was able to prevent Turkish plans to evict all Jews from Palestine, especially Jerusalem.  As this was meant to occur along the lines of the genocide of the Armenians, it is fair to say that Falkenhayn prevented the eradication of Jewish settlements in Palestine."


Again, is this true, or is this self-serving German testimony to balance the stain of Nazism two decades later?

Falkenhayn and Jamal Pasha in the
backseat of a car in Jerusalem (The
New Zealanders in Sinai and
Palestine, 1922)
 The German general is pictured here in a car with the Turkish ruler of Syria and Palestine, Jamal (also written as Cemal) Pasha, a ruthless ruler and one of the "Young Turks" leadership accused of carrying out the expulsion and massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians across the Ottoman-controlled region during World War I. 


Two of the "Young Turks" - Enver Pasha
(center) and Jamal Pasha (right). Were they
responsible for the Armenian massacre?
What were they planning for the Jews?
Another leader was Enver Pasha who led the Ottoman Empire during World War I and on occasion visited Palestine where he was photographed with Jamal on the Temple Mount and in Be'er Sheva.


Jamal Pasha suspected the loyalties of the Jews of Palestine.  The explosion of nationalistic movements across the Empire was eroding Turkish control, and Arab and Jewish nationalism had to be crushed.


Zionists were particularly suspected of leading opposition to Ottoman rule, and leaders -- such as David Ben-Gurion -- were frequently arrested, harassed or exiled.  Many were relative newcomers from Russia, an enemy state.  Meanwhile, over the horizon, 1,000 Jewish volunteers for the British army, including some from Palestine, formed in 1915 the Zion Mule Corps, later known as the Jewish Legion, and they fought with valor against the Turks at Gallipoli.




The two Pashas ride into Be'er Sheva
where the British army later broke
through and continued to Jerusalem
The Jews of Palestine feared that after the Armenians, the Jews would be next.  The fear motivated some to form the NILI spy network to assist the British war effort.


Sarah Aaronsohn, NILI founder
Eitan Belkind, who infiltrated the Turkish army and served on Jamal Pasha's staff, witnessed the killing of 5,000 Armenians.  Later his brother was hung by the Turks as a NILI spy.  Sarah Aaronsohn of Zichron Yaakov was traveling by train and wagon from Turkey to Palestine in November 1915.  On the way she witnessed atrocities committed against Armenians.


In 1916 she joined her brother Aharon Aaronsohn, a well-known agronomist, in forming the NILI ring.  Caught by the Turks in October 1917 in Zichron Ya'akov and tortured, Sarah committed suicide before surrendering information.


At the time, the British were moving north out of Sinai and pressing along the Gaza-Be'er Sheva front.


Sarah's brother Aharon wrote in his memoirs, "The Turkish order to confiscate our weapons was a bad sign.  Similar measures were taken before the massacre of the Armenians, and we feared that our people would meet the same kind of fate."


"Tyrant" Hassan Bey
One Zionist activist described the cruelty of the Jaffa Commandant, Hassan Bey, already in 1914:
"It would suddenly come into his head to summon respectable householders to him after midnight...with an order to bring him some object from their homes which had caught his fancy.  Groundless arrests, insults, tortures, bastinadoes [clubs] -- these were things every householder had to fear."
The most egregious act undertaken by the Turks was the sudden expulsion of the Jews of Jaffa-Tel Aviv on Passover eve in April 1917.  Between 5,000 and 10,000 Jews were expelled.  The Yishuv in the Galilee and Jerusalem sheltered many Jewish refugees, but with foreign Jewish financial aid blocked by the Turks and the land suffering from a locust plague, many of the expelled Jews died of hunger and disease. By one account, 20 percent of Jaffa's population perished.


A German historian, Michael Hesemann, described the horrible situation:
"Jamal Pasha, the Turkish Commander who was responsible for the Armenian genocide... threatened the Jewish-Zionist settlers.  In Jaffa, more than 8,000 Jews were forced to leave their homes, which were sacked by the Turks.  Two Jews were hanged in front of the town gate, dozens were found dead on the beach.  In March, Reuters news agency reported a 'massive expulsion of Jews who could face a similar fate as the Armenians.'"
In 1921, a representative from Palestine reported to the 12th Zionist Congress on "Palestine during the War."

“In Jerusalem [apparently in 1917] …dozens of children lay starving in the streets without anyone noticing them. Typhus and cholera carried off hundreds every week, and yet no proper medical aid was organized. … Through this lack of organization a considerable portion of the Jerusalem population perished. The number of orphans at the time of the capture of Jerusalem by the English Army was 2,700. “  He continued, “In Safed conditions were similar to what they were in Jerusalem; if anything, worse.… The death-rate here also was appallingly high; towards the end of the war the number of orphans was 500.”
What saved the Jewish community before the British completed their capture of Palestine in late 1917 and 1918?


Several accounts confirm that German officers and diplomats protected the Jews. 


Col. Kress van
Kressenstein
The Zionist Congress report credited foreign consular officials who "during the whole period of their stay in the country showed themselves always ready to help, and performed valuable services for the Jewish Yishuv [the Jewish community].  Especially deserving of mention are the German vice-consul Schabiner in Haifa... The Jewish population also benefited by the presence of the head of the German military mission, Colonel Kress van Kressenstein, who on several occasions exerted his influence on behalf of the Jews."


Last month, Falkenhayn's biographer, Prof. Holger Afflerbach of Leeds University told me, "Falkenhayn had to supervise Turkish measures against Jewish settlers who were accused of high treason and collaboration with the English.  He prevented harsh Turkish measures -- Jamal Pasha was speaking about evacuation of all Jewish settlers in Palestine."


Kressenstein reviewing troops with
Jamal Pasha
The professor continued, "The parallels to the beginning of the Armenian genocide are obvious and striking: It started with Turkish accusations of Armenian collaboration with the Russians, and the Ottomans decided to transport all Armenians away from the border to another part of the Empire.  This ended in death and annihilation of the Armenians.  Given the fact that Palestine was frontline in late 1917, something very similar could have happened there to the Jewish settlers."


"Falkenhayn's role was crucial, " Afflerbach explained.  "His judgment in November 1917 was as follows: He said that there were single cases of cooperation between the English and a few Jewish radicals, but that it would be unfair to punish entire Jewish communities who had nothing to do with that.  Therefore nothing happened to the Jewish settlements.  Only Jaffa had been evacuated -- by Jamal Pasha."


Hesemann, the German historian, cites Dr. Jacob Thon, head of the Zionist Office in Jerusalem, who wrote in 1917, "It was special stroke of good fortune that in the last critical days General von Falkenhayn had the command.  Jamal Pasha in this case -- as he announced often enough -- would have expelled the whole population and turned the country into ruins...."


Falkenhayn had no particular love for Jews, according to his biographer, Afflerbach.  "He was in many aspects a typical Wilhelmine officer and not even free from some prejudices against Jews, but what counts is that he saved thousands of Jewish lives."


Why has no one heard about Falkenhayn and his role in protecting the Jews of Palestine?  Afflerbach responded, "The action was forgotten, because Falkenhayn prevented Ottoman actions which could have resulted in genocide... The incident was not discussed for decades.  It restarted only in the 1960s when scholars started to remember it."


Post Script:

Turkish troops evacuate Jerusalem
Turkish sources indicate considerable tension between Jamal Pasha and Falkenhayn. The following account appears in the English-language Turkey in the First World War:


"The British attack on Jerusalem began on 8 December. The city was defended by the XX Corps, commanded by Ali Fuad Pasha. Falkenhayn did not send reinforcements to Jerusalem because he did not want the relics and the holy places damaged because of severe fighting. [emphasis added.]"


"After withdrawing from Jerusalem, Ali Fuad Pasha sent a cable to Jamal Pasha: "Since my first day as the commander of the defense of Jerusalem, I did not receive any support except one single cavalry regiment.... The British, who benefited from the fatigue of my poor soldiers..., invaded the beautiful town of Jerusalem.  I believe that the responsibility of this disaster belongs completely to Falkenhayn!"


"Falkenhayn put the blame on Von Kressenstein and his chief of staff...Dissatisfaction with the advice and command of General Falkenhayn was growing.  His inability had resulted in the loss of the Gaza-Beersheba line.  His refusal to send reinforcements had resulted in the loss of Jerusalem.... Enver Pasha was losing patience too.  On 24 February 1918, he replaced Falkenhayn."

Irony of ironies. The Jews of Palestine owed their survival during World War I to a German army officer, and, by extension, the State of Israel's foundations were established thanks to Falkenhayn.  Some 25 years later the German army would assist in the genocide of the Jews of Europe. Ultimately, survivors of the Nazi genocide would find shelter in Falkenhayn’s legacy.

The writer served as a senior Israeli diplomat in Washington.  Today he serves as a public affairs consultant.

11 comments:

  1. Hi.
    Very interesting post, have put a link to your posting.
    Will.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pave the Way Foundation has the original documented evidence that it was Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli (future Pope Pius XII) , in 1917 was approached by the Jewish community of Switzerland to intercede to protect the Jews of Palestine. He acted promptly and was assured that the German government would protect the Jews of Palestine even with use of arms. Go to www.ptwf.org to download these original Vatican documents.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pius XII: Sympathy for Zionism
    New documents reveal how Eugenio Pacelli saved Jews in Palestine

    Eugenio Pacelli, who in 1939 became Pope Pius XII, actively supported Zionism during World War I, German historian Michael Hesemann claims in his book “The Pope Who Defied Hitler. The Truth About Pius XII.” Hesemann, who is one of the few historians with access to the Vatican Secret Archives, states he found evidence that Pacelli in 1917 as Apostolic Nuntius in Munich, successfully intervened in favour of the Jewish settlers in Palestine. He located five documents in the collection of papers from the “Nuntiatura Apostolica Baviera”, which under the headline “Guerra Europ, Palestina # 1, Pop. Giudaica e delle Cittá Santa delle Palestina” (European War, Palestine # 1, Jewish Population and the Holy City of Palestine) document his demarche. Originally, the Jewish Community of the neutral Switzerland had approached Pope Benedict XV., asking him to use his influence to prevent a Turkish aggression against the Jewish population of Palestine, which at that time belonged to the Ottoman Empire.

    Instead of approaching the Ottoman government in Constantinople, the Pope decided for a clever diplomatic move. The Muslims Turks would not care too much for the Pope, but certainly had an open ear for their most powerful ally, the German Reich. Since the Holy See did not have a Nuntiature in Berlin, but in Munich at that time, Pacelli would be resposnible. Benedict XV. knew that his Nuntius always was friendly towards Jewish affairs.

    Only a few weeks before he was sent to Munich, when Pacelli was Undersecretary of State of the Holy See, responsible for Foreign Affairs, Zionist leader Nachum Sokolow came to Rome to learn about the Holy See’s position on the question of a future Jewish state in Palestine. When he was received by Pacelli, he was deeply moved by his warmth and openness towards Zionism. To his uttermost surprise, Pacelli suddenly asked him if he would like to meet the Pope. Sokolow never thought this would be possible for a Jew. Thanks to Pacelli, he had a private audience with Benedict XV a few days later, which lasted for 45 minutes. The Pope called the Zionist initiative “providential” and “in accordance with God’s will” and relased Sokolow with the words: “I am sure we will be good neighbors”. Sokolows six-pages-report on this encounters, written on May 10, 1917, can be found in File A 18/25 in the Main Archive of Yad Vashem.

    Only a few month later, the Zionist settlers were in danger. The Turks suspected the Jews to be collaborators of the British, who had supported the Arab revolt and opened a second front in the southwest of the Ottoman Empire. In a similar way, two years before, the Armenians were suspected to be collaborators of the Russian, another enemy of the Turks.

    Cemal Pasha, the Turkish Commander who was responsible for the Armenian genocide with its 1.5 Million victims, threatened the Jewish-Zionist settlers. In Jaffa, more than 8000 Jews were forced to leave their homes, which were sacked by the Turks. Two Jews were hanged in front of the town gate, dozens were found dead on the beach. In March, Reuters news agency reported a “massive expulsion of Jews who could face a similar fate as the Armenians”. A report of the Zionist Office in Copenhagen expressed the worry that the Jews of Palestine would face extermination by hunger, thirst and diseases.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When on May 7, 1917 the Social Democrat representative Oskar Cohn, a Jew, brought the Anti-Jewish violence in Palestine on the agenda of the Reichstag, the German government refused to bother the Turkish ally. The deportation of the Jews was called a simple “security measure”. “This makes the Vatican initiative even more important”, Hesemann states, “another element of pressure had to force the German government to act. This came from the Catholic Church, with its 25 Million believers an important power in the Reich.”

    On the same day, when the Papal Secretary of State requested if he could “act for the protection of the Jewish sites and population of Jerusalem”, Pacelli drafted and sent a letter to the Bavarian Secretary of State, Ritter von Dandl, asking him for an urgent intervention in Berlin. A copy of both, the draft and the final version, Hesemann located in the Vatican Secret Archives – as well as the surprising reply.

    Other than half a year before, this time, the Berlin State Department reacted and sent a demarche to the Ottoman government. On November 27, 1917, according to an internal memorandum, they received the reply from Constantinople that “there is no reason to fear that the Turkish authorities in Palestine order measures against the Jewish population.”

    Consequently, Ritter von Dendl and through him Pacelli were informed two days later: “According to the available information from the Turkish side, care was already taken for the protection of the the holy sites of Jerusalem which are also subject of veneration by the Muslims and also for the population. Of course this includes the Jews, who don’t have to fear any exemptions.”

    On December 11, 1917, when the British Forces under command of General Allenby conquered Jerusalem, the Jews of Palestine could indeed feel relieved.

    The discovery of Pacellis correspondence in this matter confirms the claim of the Israeli diplomat and historian Pinchas Lapide (1922-1997), who stated in 1967 that
    Eugenio Pacelli contributed to “save the Jews of Jerusalem as well as the holy sites from an almost certain doom.” According to Lapide, the Vatican demarche was of vital importance for the safety of the Jewish settlers, since at that time the Turkish troops in Palestine were under the command of a German General, Erich von Falkenhayn. About him, his biographer Holger Afflerbach stated: “An inhuman excess against the Jews in Palestine was only prevented through Falkenhayns conduct, which has a special significance in respect to the German history of the 20th century.”

    The Zionists were aware of Pacellis demarche. Dr. Jacob Thon, head of the Zionist Office in Jerusalem, wrote in December 1917: “It was an special stroke of good fortune that in the last critical days General von Falkenhayn had the command. Cemal Pasha in this case – as he announced often enough – would have expelled the whole population and turned the country into ruins. We and the whole population, Christians as well as Muslims, must remember P.(acelli) with deep gratitude, since he saved the civil population from doom when he prevented the planned evacuation of this area.” (Letter to the German Embassy in Constantinople of Jan 1st, 1918, Microfilm K 1800 72/73, Zionist Central Archive, Jerusalem)

    Eugenio Pacelli continued to be a friend of Jews and Zionists, even when the Holy See adopted a rather sceptical policy. In 1922, the Vatican’s official newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano” expressed worries about the socialist ideas circulating among Zionist settlers. But only four years later, Pacelli encouraged German Catholics to join and support the “German Comitee Pro Palestine to Support the Jewish Settlement in Palestine”, founded in 1926. Among its board members was not only Albert Einstein, but also Pacelli’s closest friend and advisor, the German politician and Catholic Prelate Dr. Ludwig Kaas.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Nuntius also met Sokolov again. When the Zionist Leader visited Berlin in 1926, he wanted to see Pacelli and ask him for advice. Although the Nuntius was severly ill and at the hospital at that time, his physicians allowed a five-minutes-visit. Eugenio Pacelli let him leave only after ninety minutes. “It was obvious how interesting and uplifting the conversation with the Nuntius was, a discussion of historical questions, Jewish as well as Catholic”, the German Zionist Kurt Blumenfeld, who waited for Sokolov in the hospital library, revealed in his autobiography “Living the Jewish Question” (1962).

    Once again, the man who became Pope Pius XII proved to be a friend who always had an open ear for the affairs and problems of Jews.

    ReplyDelete
  6. (Sorry, for whatever reason the second part of my posted 3-part report is missing:) When on May 7, 1917 the Social Democrat representative Oskar Cohn, a Jew, brought the Anti-Jewish violence in Palestine on the agenda of the Reichstag, the German government refused to bother the Turkish ally. The deportation of the Jews was called a simple “security measure”. “This makes the Vatican initiative even more important”, Hesemann states, “another element of pressure had to force the German government to act. This came from the Catholic Church, with its 25 Million believers an important power in the Reich.”

    On the same day, when the Papal Secretary of State requested if he could “act for the protection of the Jewish sites and population of Jerusalem”, Pacelli drafted and sent a letter to the Bavarian Secretary of State, Ritter von Dandl, asking him for an urgent intervention in Berlin. A copy of both, the draft and the final version, Hesemann located in the Vatican Secret Archives – as well as the surprising reply.

    Other than half a year before, this time, the Berlin State Department reacted and sent a demarche to the Ottoman government. On November 27, 1917, according to an internal memorandum, they received the reply from Constantinople that “there is no reason to fear that the Turkish authorities in Palestine order measures against the Jewish population.”

    Consequently, Ritter von Dendl and through him Pacelli were informed two days later: “According to the available information from the Turkish side, care was already taken for the protection of the the holy sites of Jerusalem which are also subject of veneration by the Muslims and also for the population. Of course this includes the Jews, who don’t have to fear any exemptions.”

    On December 11, 1917, when the British Forces under command of General Allenby conquered Jerusalem, the Jews of Palestine could indeed feel relieved.

    The discovery of Pacellis correspondence in this matter confirms the claim of the Israeli diplomat and historian Pinchas Lapide (1922-1997), who stated in 1967 that
    Eugenio Pacelli contributed to “save the Jews of Jerusalem as well as the holy sites from an almost certain doom.” According to Lapide, the Vatican demarche was of vital importance for the safety of the Jewish settlers, since at that time the Turkish troops in Palestine were under the command of a German General, Erich von Falkenhayn. About him, his biographer Holger Afflerbach stated: “An inhuman excess against the Jews in Palestine was only prevented through Falkenhayns conduct, which has a special significance in respect to the German history of the 20th century.”

    The Zionists were aware of Pacellis demarche. Dr. Jacob Thon, head of the Zionist Office in Jerusalem, wrote in December 1917: “It was an special stroke of good fortune that in the last critical days General von Falkenhayn had the command. Cemal Pasha in this case – as he announced often enough – would have expelled the whole population and turned the country into ruins. We and the whole population, Christians as well as Muslims, must remember P.(acelli) with deep gratitude, since he saved the civil population from doom when he prevented the planned evacuation of this area.” (Letter to the German Embassy in Constantinople of Jan 1st, 1918, Microfilm K 1800 72/73, Zionist Central Archive, Jerusalem)

    Eugenio Pacelli continued to be a friend of Jews and Zionists, even when the Holy See adopted a rather sceptical policy. In 1922, the Vatican’s official newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano” expressed worries about the socialist ideas circulating among Zionist settlers. But only four years later, Pacelli encouraged German Catholics to join and support the “German Comitee Pro Palestine to Support the Jewish Settlement in Palestine”, founded in 1926. Among its board members was not only Albert Einstein, but also Pacelli’s closest friend and advisor, the German politician and Catholic Prelate Dr. Ludwig Kaas.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mhessemann. All this is very interesting. You seem very informed about Pius XII.

    I'm sure you can name a single Nazi (many of whom still considered themselves Catholics)that he ever excommunicated over their participation in the Holocaust. There had to be at least one, no? Maybe just one member of the Einsatzgruppen or a camp commandant?

    OK, I'll give you another shot..perhaps you can tell us about a single Vatican document issued during the Shoah that unambiguously stated that what Hitler was doing to the Jews was evil and that any Catholic who participated would be excommunicated?

    Pius XII undoubtedly saved some Jews during the Shoah, mostly in Rome. It's good that he did, but how many more would have been saved if the Pope had taken a stand earlier?

    BTW, Hitler only came to power in 1933 because Germany's Catholic Center Party agreed to be part of his coalition. Pius was Vatican Secretary of State at that time, he and the Church were under no illusions as to what Hitler had planned and had they spoken out, the Center party would never have joined Hitler's coalition and Hitler might never have even come to power.

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  8. Max Nordau and the Israel-born Jewish scholar AS Yahuda expressed the fear of Ottoman persecution of the Jews in Israel in a letter to Oscar Straus at the start of WW I. Straus conveyed his concern to the German ambassador to the US.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/12/professor-bigers-turkophilic-fantasies.html

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  9. Mr. Rob, the Pope can only excommunicate Catholics. Anyone who became a member of the SS had, by order of Heinrich Himmler, leave his Church before; no Catholics were accepted into the SS. So how could the Pope have excommunicated non-Catholics? Instead, several Catholic Bishops, supported by Pacelli as Secretary of State of the Holy See and applauded by the Osservatore Romano,
    excluded active members of the Nazi party from the Catholic sacraments as early as 1930; the order was only lifted after the Nazi take-over of power, since they feared a new persecution, a step critizised by Pacelli.
    Indeed Pope Pius XII saved more than 850.000 Jews from the Shoah. To avoid a more severe persecution which would end all possibilities of the Church to help and save their victims, the Pope never accused the Nazis openly. Instead he not only only supported the US alliance with Stalin as a way to get rid of Hitler, but also conspired with the German military resistance who planned to assassinate Hitler - the same group which coordinated the unfortunately unsuccessfuk "Valkyre"-operation. This was the only time in younger history that a Pope was involved into a conspiracy to actually assassinate a head of state!
    From the very beginning, the Vatican had condemned Nazi antisemitism. As an example just take the Encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge", the only one ever written in German, read in every German church in 1937 - the harshest condemnation of a political system ever in the history of modern Papacy.
    The Vatican never had control over Catholic parties, neither in 1933 nor today. Indeed the coalition of the Center party with the Nazis in 1933 lead to the end of the Party itself; its leading member, Prelate Kaas, left the party and migrated to Rome, out of protest. Still there were Catholics who ignored the warning of their bishops and believed that they could control Hitler, who even considered him "the lesser evil", compared to Communism. Pacelli knew they were wrong. But the Lateran treaty of 1929 forced the Vatican to stay politically neutral and not to influence political parties in any part of the world. All you show is the Vatican's lack of political power, NOT Pacelli's position!

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  10. These posts carry lengthy quotes about the Armenian genocide written by Eitan Belkind, a member of the NILI spy group with the Aaronsohns.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2008/05/activist-zionists-armenian-genocide-in.html

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2008/05/activist-zionists-armenian-genocide.html

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2008/07/jews-caught-up-in-armenian-genocide.html

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2008/07/armenian-genocide-german-role-in-it-as.html

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  11. That a massacre of the Jewish Community in Jaffa is questionnable. Aaron Aaronssohn (original founder of the NILI and older brother of Sarah) after meeting with Mark Sykes (of the Sykes Picot agreement) prepared a memorandum for Sykes to fire off to the English Zionist Federation. The aim was to obtain world attention especialy from the Jewish Community in the United States who at that stage were not keen on the Zionist vision. By suggesting that Jewish communities would never be safe under a Muslim regime and thus needed a state of their own. It is notable that much of Jewish Palestinian community objected to the activities of the NILI and themselves were not in agreement with the Zionists. At that stage of the war British forces were moving up the eastern mederreanean coast there was a real Turkish concern that British forces would try a coastal landing around Jaffa. The entire population of Jaffa was instructed to move out not just Palestinian Jews. In fact some dispinsation were given to Jewish families. As is not uncommon when homes, shops and businesses are deserted looting occurred. In June that year Spain, Sweden and the Vatican all neutral nations at that stage sent envoys to investigate the alleged abuses. Spanish and Vatican Envoys rapidly concluded that reports of Jewish massacres and persecutions were without foundation. The Swedish envoy wrote " the Jewish community of Jaffa had fared far better - and certainly no worse - than the resident Muslim population." The US consulate in Jerusalem also reported that the accounts of violence were "grossly exaggerated". In the original reports references were made to Jewish people being hung. Aaron Aaronshon ultimately conceded that no one had been hanged though some people had been arrested for looting.

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