Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Karl Marx Confirms Jews Were A Majority In Jerusalem in 1854

Shlomo Avineri writes about Karl Marx and his days as a journalist.

While working for Horace Greeley's New York Daily Tribune back in 1854, Karl Marx wrote about the Ottoman Empire which at the time stretched deep into Eastern Europe. Marx wrote not only about the demographics, but also about the minorities who lived under Muslim rule.

Among the topics Marx wrote about was the situation in Jerusalem--and notes that in 1854 Jews were the majority population in Jerusalem:
He begins by stating that its "sedentary population numbers about 15,500 souls, of whom 4,000 are Mussulmans [Muslims] and 8,000 Jews." He goes on to say that "the Mussulmans, forming about a quarter of the whole, consisting of Turks, Arabs, and Moors, are, of course, the masters in every respect." After this dry recitation of facts, what follows is somewhat surprising. Marx goes on:

Nothing equals the misery and the suffering of the Jews of Jerusalem, inhabiting the most filthy quarter of the town, called hareth-el-yahoud . . . between the Zion and the Moriah . . . [They are] the constant objects of Mussulman oppression and intolerance, insulted by the Greeks, persecuted by the Latins [Catholics], and living only on the scanty alms transmitted by their European brethren.
Emet m'Tsiyon writes that Karl Marx apparently used the French diplomat and historian Cesar Famin as his source for the Jewish majority in Jerusalem:
Marx brought much of Famin's information into his article, sometimes quoting directly at length, sometimes paraphrasing. Famin wrote several books, mainly on history...

Here are Famin's numbers for Jerusalem's population in 1853. They are the same as those Marx reported in his article of April 1854. First I will give the English translation of Famin's words, and then his words in the original French:

The sedentary population of Jerusalem is about 15,500 souls
"La population sedentaire de Jerusalem est d'environ 15,500 ames:"
Jews . . . . 8,000 . . . Juifs
Muslims . .4,000 . . . Musulmans
Christians 3,490 . . . Chretiens
- - - - - - -------
. . . . . . . 15,490

This is the place for the name and other data about Famin's book:
L'Histoire de la rivalite et du protectorat des Eglises chretiennes en Orient (Paris: Firmin Didot freres, 1853). The breakdown of Jerusalem's population is on page 49.
Karl Marx and Cesar Famin have lots of company, confirming those numbers.

In The Jerusalem Population in the 19th Century -- Part 3, Emet m'Tsiyon quotes "Political History of Ottoman Jerusalem" by Abdul-Karim Rafeq in Ottoman Jerusalem: The Living City, 1517-1917:
The book contains a number of articles on various aspects of life in the city during the Ottoman period, and includes a survey of Jerusalem's political history in the period under survey, written by an Arab, Abdul-Karim Rafeq.

Here are population counts and estimates from the 19th century that he cites:

1) F Bovet was a French Protestant minister. He was in the Holy City in 1858 and was given demographic figures by the Prussian consul:

_7,000 _ Jews
_5,000 _ Muslims
_3,400 _ Christians
_____
15,400 total

2) Baron M de Vogüé, an inquisitive French traveler who spent considerable time in Jerusalem, gave these estimates/counts for the Holy City's population as of 1872:

_14,000 _ Jews
4-5,000 _ Muslims
7-8,000 _ Christians
__________
26,000 total

3) Nu`aman al-Qasatli was an Arab from Damascus ("a Damascene traveller and member of the Palestine Exploration Fund's expedition" to Israel). He gave estimates for Jerusalem's population as of 1874:

22,000 __ Jews
_6,000 __ Muslims
12,000 __ Christians
_______
40,000 total
In another post, Emet m'Tsiyon gives further sourcing for the Jewish majority in Jerusalem in 1854.

He quotes Yehoshua Ben Arieh, Jerusalem in the 19th Century: The Old City
This entry will present Ben-Arieh's estimates based on counts, censuses, and estimates made in the 19th century. The advantage in Ben-Arieh's work is that he presents estimates for various times throughout the century.

The Population of Jerusalem by Communities (1800-1870) (approximate figures)

Year __ Jews __ Muslims ___ Christians __ All Non-Jews __ Total
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1800 __ 2,250 __ 4,000 ____ 2,750 ______ 6,750 _____ 9,000

1836 __ 3,250 __ 4,500 ____ 3,250 ______ 7,750 _____ 11,000

1840 __ 5,000 __ 4,650 ____ 3,350 ______ 8,000 _____ 13,000

1850 __ 6,000 __ 5,400 ____ 3,600 ______ 9,000 _____ 15,000

1860 __ 8,000 __ 6,000 ____ 4,000 ______ 10,000 _____ 18,000

1870 __ 11,000 __ 6,500 ____ 4,500 ______ 11,000 _____ 22,000
The Jewish connection to Jerusalem, historically, religiously, politically--and geographically--is clear.

Palestinian Arabs may sit down with Israel and negotiate about Jerusalem, but in no way are they entitled to any part of Jerusalem on a silver platter.

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