Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Booty Of Arab Books?

According to this report the author of  a doctoral thesis to be submitted next month at Ben-Gurion University claims
 'that Israel destroyed the Palestinian books in the framework of its plan to "Judaize the country" and cut off its Arab residents from their nation and culture. 
.... IDF troops plundered the books from the homes of Palestinians expelled during the "Nakba" and handed them over to authorities. The State proceeded to establish a library in Jaffa and other towns for the books, he said.
....This was a cultural massacre undertaken in a manner that was worse than European colonialism, which safeguarded the items it stole in libraries and museums," the researcher charged.
He added that some books were sold at discounted prices to Arab schools, while the others were transferred to the Hebrew University's library in Jerusalem.
The researcher estimated that about 6,000 Palestinian books are currently available at the National Library at Hebrew University. However, he claimed that many other books in Arabic, English, and French were not recorded, charging that most of them are being held in the library's warehouses and cannot be accessed. '
However, in 1948, in an article entitled "Arabs in Israel," Norman Bentwich, Professor of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, noted in regards to the work of the Ministry of Minorities, set up to safeguard the welfare of Arabs (and other non-Jews) in the newly-proclaimed Jewish State:
'Perhaps the most striking work in the Ministry is its effort to develop cultural life, in the midst of the uneasy truce, for the Arab population. It has already established some fifty primary schools in the towns and villages, with free education. A former Jewish Inspector of the Mandatory Education Department is in charge of the schools; another, an Oriental Jew, with a thorough knowledge of Arabic, assists him. The Ministry has also established one or two Arab clubs for reading and recreation, and has promoted a daily Arabic newspaper, El Yom (The Day). This is the first Arabic daily to appear in Israel. Several of the staff are Arabs, who have full freedom of expression; and some educated Arabs write to the Palestine Post, the English[-language] daily, voicing grievances about rent and employment, and the like.
A remarkable cultural enterprise is the establishment in Jaffa of an Arab library, which includes close on 100,000 books and periodicals salvaged from private houses that were deserted and broken into during the fighting. It includes, too, some Arab manuscripts from the ninth and tenth centuries, which may have value for scholars. The books and manuscripts are being catalogued by a Jewish scholar of Baghdad. The library is housed in a private mansion of one of the richer Arabs of Jaffa, and there is a project of making it a cultural centre. The whole cost to the Government so far has been only a few hundred pounds.
In Jerusalem 30,000 books were similarly salvaged and handed over for safe-keeping to the [Hebrew] University of Jerusalem. It is likely that the owners of the books will come to identify their property and collect it back; but the action of the Ministry will have prevented looting and destruction, and it has received the appreciation of the Arab population.'
Does that look like deliberate plunder to you?  No, not to me, either.
Read more of the Bentwich article here

Update Since this looted books story is already being used as anti-Israel propaganda by the usual suspects, it's as well to be reminded that in Hebron in 1929 Jewish manuscripts, including notable ancient documents, were looted from Jewish homes and synagogues. It's possible that some of this loot surfaced among  Jewish manuscripts shown by Arab dealers to the Rockefeller Museum.  Furthermore Jewish homes and synagogues/yeshivot were looted in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1929 and 1936-38; during the latter period, there was a pogrom in the south Jerusalem neighbourhood of Talpiyot, and at least one important Hebrew writer residing there had his books vandalised and looted. (Hat tip: E.)

7 comments:

  1. Thisstory is being pimped by the Forces of Darkness

    http://electronicintifada.net/content/great-book-robbery-1948/9104

    http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/2313/brunner_2_1_11/

    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/the-nakba-and-the-great-book-robbery-of-1948.html

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  2. Talking about books, Israel was there in 1000 B.C., long before anybody heard of Christ, Muhammad or George Washington. And it will still be there a thousand years from now.

    http://tinyurl.com/jerusalemscope

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  3. What a beat up, half the books were kept and the other half were only destroyed in 1958. Considering half the books published in Arabic appear to be Mein Kampf or the Elders of Zion, I can’t see what the problem is.

    Ian

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    Replies
    1. And it's been pointed out to me that many Jewish books and Torah Scrolls were vandalised and destroyed during the War of Independence as well.
      The usual suspects have been beating up on this thing since about 2010, a quick google suggests.

      Delete
    2. Also no one ever remembers the desecration of Jewish sites in Jerusalem and the west bank by Jordan.

      Ian

      Delete