The Centennial of the Deadly Riots That Shook Mandatory Palestine

One hundred years ago Saturday, a fistfight between two rival Labor Zionist groups gave way to fighting between Jews and Arabs in the Jaffa neighborhood of Manshiya. Oren Kessler describes what followed:

There were now several thousand people in Manshiya, where according to a subsequent commission of inquiry, “a general hunting of the Jews began.” Jews were assaulted—some fatally—in their homes and shops with blunt instruments, and afterward women, children and even the elderly came to loot. Three high-ranking Arab effendis, including the mayor, arrived to calm tempers but found Manshiya’s main street entirely pillaged.

It was nearly a week before order was restored. At least 100 people were dead, almost equally split between Jews and Arabs, with some 150 Jews and 75 Arabs wounded. As far as could be discerned, the fallen Jews were all killed by Arabs. Of the Arabs killed, the majority succumbed to the bullets and bombs of British troops and police. How many, innocent or complicit, were slain by Jews will likely never be determined.

Among those dead was the writer Yosef Ḥayyim Brenner, who not long before had warned of the dangers posed by Arab hostility toward Zionism. The Jaffa riots were not the first such outburst—the Nebi Musa pogrom preceded them by about a year—but they occurred on a greater scale, and presaged not just the Arab revolt of the 1930s, but also the disturbances in Jerusalem last week. To Kessler, the motivation for the violence can be found in a memorandum Arab leaders presented to Winston Churchill, then the British colonial secretary, in March 1921:

Jews, it said, were “clannish and unneighborly,” active across the globe as “advocates of destruction” who amassed wealth while impoverishing their countries of residence. It recommended he read The Jewish Peril, better known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The memo’s tone was threatening to the extent of self-sabotage. Yet viewed in hindsight, it was also prophetic. “The Arab is noble and large-hearted, he is also vengeful and never forgets an ill deed. If England does not take up the cause of the Arabs, other powers will,” it said.

Kessler also notes that many Jaffa Arabs “had come under the impression that most Jews were Bolsheviks, and that Bolsheviks opposed property, marriage, and religion itself.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mandate Palestine, Winston Churchill, Yosef Hayyim Brenner

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism