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

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia