ANTI-ZIONISM IN PALESTINE
- Let’s look how grounded are claims of the Palestinians and of other anti-Zionists. They argue that Jews (especially Ashkenazi) are European colonizers, aggressive aliens who drove out or enslaved the unfortunate Palestinian natives.
But looking throughout history, everything is just opposite. The Palestinians are the heirs of the conquerors, the colonists who expelled or destroyed the Jews in Palestine, and prevented their return to their country.
Not in biblical times only (2,000 years ago), but also later Jews constituted an appreciable part of Palestine population. As early as in the 4th century, when Christianity became the state religion of Byzantium, the Jews were the absolute majority of the population of Palestine, despite the two preceding exiles / extermination (in the Jewish War and after Bar Kochba’s uprising).
The story of Jesus’ family who moved from the neighborhood of Jerusalem to Nazareth, as well as the «journey» of the Sanhedrin from Yavne to the vicinity of Haifa (Beit Shearim, Usha, Shfaram), and then to Tsippori and Tiberias, reflect the mass migration of Jews from Judea to the north of the country.
After a hundred years, in the 5th century, Christians became the majority in Palestine. Christianity was accepted both by the Roman colonists and by part of the Jews. True, the Judeo-Christians who accepted Jesus, but continued to observe Jewish customs, were persecuted and partially returned to Judaism. The Samaritans, who were also persecuted by the Christian authorities, remained the majority in Samaria.
After the Islamic invasion of the 7th century, the ruling Muslim minority emerged, but Christians remained the majority of the population, while Jews and Samaritans also remained in the field. Until the Crusaders invaded (11th century), Jews were the largest ethno-confessional group in Galilee, but they were also preserved on the outskirts of Judea, in Gaza, Ashkelon and in Transjordan.
- After the expulsion of the Crusaders, it turned out that the overwhelming majority of the population of Palestine are Muslims. Usually, this «coup» is attributed to peaceful Islamization, that is, a mass conversion of Christians, Jews and Samaritans to Islam. However, I have to question this «peaceful» version of Islamization.
The fact is that during this period, when the Crusaders ruled Palestine, then the Ayyubides (Salah ad Din) and the Mamluks, there occurred a sharp reduction in the total population in all of Syria and Palestine. Noticeably, mostly non-Muslims became extinct, whereas the number of Muslims decreased slightly. The reason for this phenomenon is known: the Muslims were the armed strong population, they were able to protect themselves from the famine and sword of conquerors, such as the Crusaders, Mamluks, Khorezmians, Mongols, Seljuk Turks.
In addition, Muslims participated as warriors and conquerors in wars that swept over Palestine. After the devastation of the country, these Muslim soldiers of different origins settled in the deserted cities of Palestine, and captured the devastated lands. However, most of the land then remained empty. The population of Palestine was reduced from 2.5 million at the beginning of CE to the historic minimum, only 150,000 people, in the 14-16th centuries.
Of the survivors, 10,000 were Jews and Christians, and 140,000 were foreign and local Muslims. Then, from 1512 to 1800, the population of Palestine gradually grew to 275,000. The number of Christians has increased by 400%, and the number of Jews has not increased, despite of the influx of Zionist immigrants from Spain, Europe and the Middle East. Why does? In order to solve this riddle, let’s turn to historical sources.
At the end of the 1580s, Abu Safin served as the governor of the district (Jerusalem) … He persecuted the Franciscans, demanded money from them and even arrested some of them until they called him «a demon in the guise of a man» … Abu Safin also harmed Jews in Jerusalem . He desecrated the cemetery on the Mount of Olives, burying dogs there; he expelled the Jews from the synagogue of Ramban and accused Rabbi Chaim Vital of refusing to restore the Gihon spring, which was equipped by the biblical king of Judea, Hezekiah. Rabbi Chaim Vital was forced to flee the city. This deprived the community of important sources of income…
Farukh Ibn Abdullah was a retired Mamlukese soldier of Circassian origin who bought the position of Sandjak Bey in Jerusalem for cash… Farukh, whose only goal was to increase his personal wealth, sought to cover the costs of buying a position, creating difficulties for the people of Jerusalem. With the same cruelty with which he treated the Bedouins, he continued to treat his subjects in Jerusalem…
The cruelty of Muhmad, the son of Farukh ibn Abdullah, surpassed his father’s cruelty. Some argue that Muhammad took his hand to the death of his father Ibn Abdallah … After his father’s death in 1621, Ibn Farukh killed the head of the family appointed by Ibn Abdallah before his return, and took his father’s place as Sandjak Bay. From this moment, Ibn Farukh demonstrated his cruelty towards the population and especially to the Jews. He extorted money from the community under various pretexts, executed people and laid his hand on the money that came from the diaspora to the community. Ibn Farukh arrested a group of dignitaries and rabbis in order to extract money from the community for the ransom; Among the prisoners: Shmuel Tardiola, Moshe Romani, Yoel Halevi and Abraham Ishpariel. Rabbi Abraham Ishpariel and his brothers were also beaten up by the people of Ibn Farukh …
Osman was the son-in-law of Muhammad Ibn Farukh, and when Ibn Farukh was absent from Jerusalem in because of his arrest, Osman ruled. Osman was no less cruel than his father-in-law. He visited the monasteries of Armenians, Greeks and Franciscans every week and demanded a lot of money until the leaders of the churches had to flee the city. The famous Jews of the city also had to seek shelter from Osman. Osman demanded a considerable amount of money from the Jewish community, and after the negotiations agreed to half. But when the Jews tried to pay money, he broke into the synagogue on Saturday and arrested the 15 most important people. Among the prisoners was Rabbi Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz, who was a rabbi of Jerusalem. After the large ransom was paid, the people were released, and Rabbi Yeshaya moved to Tzfat. «
This passage needs clarification. The Jews who lived in Palestine at that time were divided into two groups: «local», who were mainly engaged in agriculture, and newcomers: refugees from Spain (Sephardim) and Zionists, immigrants from Italy and other European countries, including Ashkenazi. Refugees and immigrants (Zionists) had no land or other property. Jewish residents of cities, Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias and Safed, mainly lived with alms from the rich communities of Turkey, Europe, Iran, Egypt. It was this money that fell into the funds of synagogues and private benefactors, and was confiscated by the local rulers, dooming the poor part of the Jews to starvation.
According to the testimonies of travelers of the time, similar methods of pumping money were used to «local» Jews: they were required to pay a land tax, which, according to the laws of the empire, was three times higher than the tax on Muslims, but in fact was greater. For non-payment of tax, heads of families were arrested and demanded a ransom. Since the farmers’ families did not have the money to pay the ransom, the prisoners were imprisoned to death, or the co-religionists payed the ransom.
Eventually, «local» Jews gave their land to Muslim neighbors and moved to cities hoping to participate in the «halukka», that is, to receive a share of aid from foreign co-religionists. Since aid came mainly through the Sephardim (formerly Spanish Jews), pre-existing urban communities of «Arabized» Jews joined the Sephardic communities. Together they constituted the majority of the Jews of Eretz Yisrael in the period before the 19th century.
3.But the Jews of Palestine faced yet another grave phenomenon: not only the Turkish authorities stole the miserable money of the «halukka», which were enticed by «envoys» or «moochers». Jews were robbed by Bedouins, Circassians, Lebanese Druze, and, of course, part of local Muslims, including yesterday’s Samaritans converted to Islam. Pogroms, murders for the purpose of robbery and just looting continued for centuries. Eventually, the Jews died out, despite the continuing waves of aliyah.
Here is a well-known example of looting: the Jews of Jerusalem paid tribute to robbers from the village of Siluan for the opportunity to bury their deads in the famous Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
«The British consul of this period wrote to his superiors at the British Foreign Office:
«The village of Silwan is a nest of robbers … Men, large size bodies thieves, are specialists who climb the walls at night to the city (Jerusalem). Since the large Jewish cemetery is nearby, they manage every year, with threats and violence, to squeeze large sums of money from Jews who pay them from a charity fund for the poor. «
The same consul notes that the Jews of Jerusalem are constantly hungry, and therefore are not suitable for construction work, which he (the consul) organized.
The Turkish authorities also demanded payment for the rights to burial.
The pogrom of 1822 in Safed, the expulsion of Jews from Gaza in 1820, and most importantly the «uprising of the Fellahs» in 1834, accompanied by pogroms in Jerusalem, Safed and Hebron (the Tiberian Jews paid off with a large ransom) — all this led to the flight of Jews from peripheral cities of Palestine to Jerusalem, and to the huge crowding and hunger in this city.
- Only in the 19th century did the Jewish population of the country begin to grow rapidly, both due to reducing mortality, and due to arrival of Zionist immigrants from all parts of the Jewish world. Ashkenazi, Sephardim, Bukharans, Maghreb residents, Mountain Jews, Yemenite Jews, Karaites … An ancient dream of returning to the Holy Land turned real thanks to the development of transport, and also to the strengthening of law and order in the huge Turkish empire.
Zionism began long before Herzl … But immediately there followed the reaction of the Turkish authorities and the Caliph, that is, the Turkish sultan.
“At home, the Ottomans met the Jewish immigrants with a series of «Entry Restrictions.» As early as 1882, the Ottoman local authorities, in pursuit of orders from the Ministry of the Interior, prohibited all foreign Jews, with the notable exception of pilgrims, to visit Palestine.41 Jews, however, could always enter Palestine as pilgrims, and then outstay their welcome.42 The mutasarrif of Jerusalem, Rauf Pasha, recognized that this did not accord with the Ministry’s real purpose, so he turned to Istanbul for advice. It was decided in 1884 that henceforth, Jewish pilgrims could only enter Palestine if their passports were properly visaed by Ottoman consuls abroad.43 On arrival, they were to hand over a deposit, guaranteeing their departure, and they were to leave after thirty days.44 When a bad harvest and anti-Semitic outbreaks in Romania during 1899 led to a new influx of Jews to Palestine, the Ottomans met the challenge by issuing on 21 November 1900 a circular with respect to the «Conditions of Entry into the Holy Land by Hebrew Visitors.»45 According to these regulations, the Jews were no longer required to pay a cash deposit as a guarantee that they would depart after one month. Instead, all Jews, including Ottoman subjects, were to surrender their papers on entry and, in exchange, were to receive a residence permit allowing them to stay in Palestine for three months. This permit, because of its color, became known as the Red Ticket. It was to be handed back by the pilgrims on departure so that a check could be kept on Jews visiting Palestine. Detailed registers were to be compiled every month to enable the authorities to expel pilgrims whose permits had expired. Officials who failed to enforce these orders would be severely punished.”
Sultan Abdulhamid II refused to accept Herzl’s proposal that the Jews will finance his debts in exchange for the permission to immigrate to Palestine. The Sultan, or Caliph, tried to save his power and empire from collapse, using Islam as a uniting factor, and also the enmity against the infidels: Armenians, Jews and Christians. He considered it right to stake on his role as the Caliph of Muslims, instead of developing the Ottoman Empire, relying on Jewish money and advice.
As we know, the Ottoman Empire collapsed after all. Atatürk abolished the caliphate and tried to weaken the influence of Islam in order to save Turkey from being seized by the colonialist powers, Great Britain and France. But today President Erdogan is trying to revive the lost Turkish caliphate, destroying the heritage of Ataturk. «Marmara Incident» was a provocation by Erdogan. This provocation gave him a pretext to aggravate relations with the Jewish state and incite the Turks against the Jews. Therefore, no apologies and humiliations helped Israel.
- Through the declaration of Balfour, the British Empire, for the first time in the Jews’ history, promised to facilitate the return of Jews to the Holy Land. However, it soon became clear that the declaration was just a trick, a political deception. The purpose of this scam was to disrupt the possible cooperation of Jews and Arabs against the colonial empire of Great Britain. When the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann and Faisal, the head of the delegation of the Arabs at Paris Conference signed a formal agreement, it lit a red light for the British government, and the last did its utmost to sow enmity between the two nations.
In 1921, the British appointed Amin al-Husseini as the Great Mufti of Jerusalem, in order to incite again the Muslims of Palestine against the Jews. He played a role, setting the Faithful Palerstinians against the Jews in 1922 and 1929, but then gone out of control of Britain and turned to Hitler as a more active anti-Semite than British colonial officials. It is not excluded that Amin was prompted by the activity of Izz ad Din al-Kassam, who was in the past an active Islamist insurgent who decided to transfer his activities from Syria to Palestine.
The pogroms of 1922 and 1929 were reminiscent of the Fellah Rebellion of 1834. As the pretext there was put forward the slogan of not allowing Jews to the Western Wall.
6.Palestinian anti-Zionism of the 20th century was a direct continuation of the centuries-old humiliation, murder and robbery of Jews in the past. This line of Palestinian behavior was first slipped in 1948, which caused panic among the Palestinian population. The incident in Deir Yasin, which was exaggerated by both Zionists and Arab propaganda, was allegedly proof of the Jews’ intention to avenge the centuries-old violence that the Palestinians are well aware of.
The entire anti-Zionist propaganda of the Palestinians, as well as the steadfast desire of the majority of Palestinians to destroy the Zionist state, also continue the millennial tradition of not recognizing the Jewish rights to Palestine as equal to the Palestinians’ rights. As in the distant past, confrontation with the Jews is the reason to receive unearned income. Today, the real Palestinian state lives at the expense of the anti-Semitic World and somehow does not hurry to get economically on its own feet.
The false anti-Zionist narrative of the Palestinians became the basis of the worldwide anti-Zionist ideology, which appeares surprisingly pervasive. Today, most Muslims, and some branches of Christianity, together with Western «left», «liberals», just secular anti-Semites, representatives of ruling «elites», drug traffickers, retired Communists, hold this ideology… Even the Israeli left cling to the wreckage of this completely debunked idea. Today, the «pro-Palestinian» anti-Semitism, that is anti-Zionism, is the most influential ideology of the World Village.
This false narrative of pro-Palestinian anti-Zionism serves a variety of political and monetary interests. It must be exposed, and not only to save the Jews from the new Holocaust. In many countries, including Europe, the US, Arab countries, Iran, Turkey and India, the progressive part of society is gradually coming to the right conclusion that anti-Zionism harms them. Our task is not to help the anti-Zionists by our actions, but to incline to our side as many people of different views as possible.
This does not mean that we must undertake again risky experiments like Oslo. Applying the necessary degree of violence against the Palestinians, we must try to help the development of the Palestinian society, its education in the spirit of peace and equality. It is necessary to demonstratively recognize those rights of the Palestinian people that do not violate our legitimate rights. Including recognizing of the really existing Palestinian state, contributing to its entry to the UN. And to continue the vital occupation of this state, to prevent both terror and escalating the military power of Hamas, until the peace will turn feasible.
In our case, the expression «war for peace» must be understood literally. There is simply no other way to stop the aggression of anti-Zionists.