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)

Wednesday 11 May 2011

"Seize Him! Kill Him!": Antisemitism in Haifa 100 Years Ago

Julius Rotschild's painting of Haifa (1915)
Just a small vignette from the archives ...

I've no idea of the name of the Egyptian agitator referred to below; if anyone has further information regarding him, it would be interesting to know it...

 As reported by the British Jewish Chronicle's Constantinople correspondent (JC, 25 November 1910), citing letters that had reached the Chief Rabbi of that city, an anti-Jewish organisation was that year established in Haifa.

The organisation's president was an Arab who had moved from his native Egypt to Palestine for the express purpose of stirring up Jew-hatred in that backwater Ottoman province.

He had placed 20,000 francs at the organisation's disposal, and  had won over an Arabic newspaper in Damascus that was previously friendly to Jews, by donating a large sum of money to that paper's coffers.  Another Arabic journal, Carmel, whose editor was bitterly antisemitic, was also on side.  The aim was to set fellaheen against Jews and bring aliya to an end. 

The Jewish Chronicle  of 14 July 1911 carried a report from its Salonika correspondent headed "An Unpleasant Incident at Haifa". 

"The odious campaign against the Jews which has for a long time been carried on by the Arabic paper Carmel continues to poison the minds of the masses," it began, and continued:
'A few days ago a meeting against the Cretans was held in the town, and among the speakers was Nedjar Natsar, editor of the Carmel.  He had scarcely commenced his speech when hisses were heard from various parts of the hall, and one young man, M. Salomon Bouzaglo, a former teacher in the service of the Alliance Israélite, unable to restrain his indignation, shouted "Get down from the Ottoman platform, you who sow discord among peoples!  Here in Turkey we want union.  Get down!"
The Arabs at first cheered, but the editor of the Carmel  and other enemies of the Jews declared that the Jews had insulted Turkey.  Nothing more was needed to inflame the meeting.  A dead set was made against M. Bouzaglo and cries were heard, "Seize him!", "Kill him!".
With great difficulty he succeeded in taking refuge in a shop which the mob soon besieged.  They would undoubtedly have torn the young man to pieces had not the police intervened and rescued him from their hands.  He was placed under arrest and detained thirty hours in the residence of the Governor, and it was only through the intervention of the British Consul (M. Bouzaglo being a British subject) that he was set at liberty.
It is remarkable that whn the Consul asked for the young man's release all the judges were unanimous in declaring that he was not guilty of any offence, and they refused to sign a document presented to them by the President in which Bouzaglo was accused of being "a revolutionary and spy, delegated by the English Zionists to excite the people." 
The Arabs are in a state of great excitement.  The editor of the Carmel and the anti-Jewish deputy for Damascus, Chukri El Assak, are endeavouring to arouse the masses by spreading most shameful charges.  The energy of the police alone has prevented an outbreak.'
The Haifa Jewish community decided later that summer to send  delegate to Constantinople to request that the editor's intrigues against them be stopped, but the Jewish Chronicle of 26 January 1912 was able to report that the Carmel, "which had been carrying on an agitation against Jewish emigration [sic] into Palestine and Judaism in general" had folded for want of readers.

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