Sunday, October 21, 2007

When Arabs Persecuted Palestinian Jews

Like the miserable dog without an owner he is kicked by one because he crosses his path, and cuffed by another because he cries out--to seek redress he is afraid, lest it bring worse upon him; he thinks it better to endure than to live in the expectation of his complaint being revenged upon him. Brought up form infancy to look upon his civil disabilities everywhere as a mark of degradation, his heart becomes the cradle of fear and suspicion--he finds he is trusted by none--and thee he lives himself without confidence in any British Counsel Young, describing life for Jews under Muslim rule in Palestine in 1839, quoted by Joan Peters in 'From Time Immemorial', p. 187
In one chapter in her book, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine, Joan Peters writes about the countless attacks and massacres suffered by the Jewish community in 'Palestine' at the hands of the Muslims over the centuries before the reestablishment of the state of Israel. At one point, Peters writes:
The Jews under siege were as defenseless as their counterparts in the Arabic-speaking Muslim "Arab" world and as powerless as perhaps the black slaves called "Niggers" by the Southern whites--they too "knew what was good for them," and any attempt at redress for their grievances would only result in more extreme persecution. Both had to "keep their place." [p. 183]
This reminded me of Condoleezza's comment comparing Palestinian Arabs with African Americans in the old South. Before addressing Rice's comparison, here are some of the events that Peters mentions in her book that form the basis for her comparison:
1491: Bohemian pilgrim writes about Jerusalem that "There are not many Christians but there are many Jews, and these the Moslems persecute in various ways. Christians and Jews go about in Jerusalem in clothes considered fit only for wandering spite of all the troubles and sorrows inflicted on them by the Moslems, they refuse to leave the Land." [p. 176] 
1576: Ottoman Sultan Murad III enacts legislation to uproot and deport 1,000 of Safed's Jews to Cyprus to boost the economy. [p. 178] 
1586: Last remaining synagogue in Jerusalem is expropriated. [p. 178] 
Early 17th century: A pair of Christian visitors to Safed describe life for Jews that "life here is the poorest and most miserable that one can imagine...[and] pay for the very air they breathe" [p. 178] 
1660: Jewish community in Safed is massacred. [p. 178] 
1742: A rabbi is allowed to settle in Tiberias and his arrival "brought back the Jewish community of Tiberias, which had been virtually purged of Jews for seventy years" [p. 179] 
1775: Blood libel is spread against Jews in Hebron, resulting in mob violence. [p. 179] 
1783: Rise of El Djezzar ("the butcher"). He increases--by 25,000 piastres--the required taxes. He is known for torture, mutilations, and had an executioner travel with him. [p. 179-180] 
1799: Safed's Jewish Quarter "was completely sacked by the Turks" [p. 179] 
1801: Djezzar sends troops to destroy crops in Nazareth while in Ramleh "during the three days of pillage, the local Latin Christians were either murdered, or lost all their property and fled" [p. 180] 
1830's: During Egyptian reign of Palestine, Pasha Mehmet Ali "oppressed the inhabitants of these countries more severly even than those of his own pashalic [district] in order to fill his coffers." [p. 182] 
1830's "One book reported the game 'Burn the Jew,' a Christian-Arab children's pastime at Lent in Jaffa. [p. 1888] 
1834: Egyptian ruler Ibrahim Pasha levies conscription and when those in Eastern Palestine cross the Jordan to join in a revolt, "forty thousand fallahim rushed on Jerusalem...the mob entered, and looted the city for five or six days. The Jews were the worst sufferers, their homes ewere sacked and their women violated." [p. 183] 
1834: Jews in Hebron are massacred by "Egyptian soldiers who came to put down a local Muslim rebellion" [p. 183] 
1834: In Safed, the Jewish community is "brutally attacked by Muslim and Druzes" [p. 183] 
1834: In Safed, Muhammed Damoor 'prophesies' that on the 15th of June "the true Believers would rise up in just wrath against the Jews, and despoil them of their gold, and their silver, and their jewels"--this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. [p. 185-6] 
1837: Safed is hit by an earthquake which results in another attack by the Muslims on the Jews. [p. 183] 1840: Blood libel in Damascus has repercussions in Palestine. [p. 183] 
1840: British Foreign Secretary Palmerston writes that "reports from Sidon, Tyre, Acre and Caiffa [Haifa] complain of bigotry and outrages toward Christians: Confirmed by what is observed here in Jerusalem towards Christians and Jews." [p. 189] 
1847: Charge of ritual murder is brought against the Jewish community in Jerusalem. [p. 190] 
1847: Jewish visitor to Palestine writes about the Jewish community "They do not have any protection and are at the mercy of policemen and the pashas who treat them as they wish...they pay various taxes every now and then...their property is not at their disposal and they dare not complain about an injury for fear of the Arabs' revenge. Their lives are precarious and subject to daily danger of death" [p. 190-1] 
1848 Hebron plundered. [p. 191] 
1848-1878: Reports from the British Consulate in Jerusalem document scores of anti-Jewish violence. Example--"July, 1851: It is my duty to report to Your Excellency that the Jews in Hebron have been greatly alarmed by threats of the Moslems there at the commencement of Ramadan..." 
1858: Muslim in Hebron is confronted with his theft and vandalism of Jews and responds that "his right derived from time immemorial in his family, to enter Jewish houses, and take toll or contributions at any time without giving account" [p. 173]
Rice's comments are found in an article in Haaretz, which currently seems to turn up as a blank page [update: view article here], but which is quoted by Israel Matzav:
When Condoleezza Rice talks about the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel, she sees in her mind's eye the struggle of African Americans for equal rights, which culminated in the period of her Alabama childhood. Rice is very aware of political sensitivity, and avoids making such comparisons in public speeches and interviews, where she keeps to the official list of talking points. But in private, she talks about the segregated buses of her childhood. One can guess that the settlements, the checkpoints and the separation fences created by Israel on the West Bank bring back unpleasant memories of Jim Crow racial separation in the South. Her empathy for the suffering of the Palestinians under occupation goes beyond the strict interests of the administration in promoting the status of the United States in the Middle East and has the touch of her personal experience. ...Now, Rice is comparing Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayad, to Martin Luther King. [emphasis added by Israel Matzav]
Why Rice would want to degrade the memory by comparing him to someone like Abbas I do not know, but to compare Palestinian Arabs with the situation of African Americans in the US--even in the 1960's? Rice, who has erroneously claimed that Palestinian Arabs controlled Gaza and the West Bank prior to 1967, obviously is ignorant of other aspects of the lives of Palestinian Arabs as well-- As Efraim Karsh recounts:
The larger part, still untold in all its detail, is of the astounding social and economic progress made by the Palestinian Arabs under Israeli "oppression." At the inception of the occupation, conditions in the territories were quite dire. Life expectancy was low; malnutrition, infectious diseases, and child mortality were rife; and the level of education was very poor. Prior to the 1967 war, fewer than 60 percent of all male adults had been employed, with unemployment among refugees running as high as 83 percent. Within a brief period after the war, Israeli occupation had led to dramatic improvements in general well-being, placing the population of the territories ahead of most of their Arab neighbors
In the economic sphere, most of this progress was the result of access to the far larger and more advanced Israeli economy: the number of Palestinians working in Israel rose from zero in 1967 to 66,000 in 1975 and 109,000 by 1986, accounting for 35 percent of the employed population of the West Bank and 45 percent in Gaza. Close to 2,000 industrial plants, employing almost half of the work force, were established in the territories under Israeli rule. 
During the 1970's, the West Bank and Gaza constituted the fourth fastest-growing economy in the world-ahead of such "wonders" as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea, and substantially ahead of Israel itself. Although GNP per capita grew somewhat more slowly, the rate was still high by international standards, with per-capita GNP expanding tenfold between 1968 and 1991 from $165 to $1,715 (compared with Jordan's $1,050, Egypt's $600, Turkey's $1,630, and Tunisia's $1,440). By 1999, Palestinian per-capita income was nearly double Syria's, more than four times Yemen's, and 10 percent higher than Jordan's (one of the better off Arab states). Only the oil-rich Gulf states and Lebanon were more affluent
Under Israeli rule, the Palestinians also made vast progress in social welfare. Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared with an average of 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa). Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000 (in Iraq the rate is 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23, in Syria 22). And under a systematic program of inoculation, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were eradicated. 
No less remarkable were advances in the Palestinians' standard of living. By 1986, 92.8 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, as compared to 20.5 percent in 1967; 85 percent had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16 percent in 1967; 83.5 percent had electric or gas ranges for cooking, as compared to 4 percent in 1967; and so on for refrigerators, televisions, and cars. 
Finally, and perhaps most strikingly, during the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980's, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102 percent, and the number of classes by 99 percent, though the population itself had grown by only 28 percent. Even more dramatic was the progress in higher education. At the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990's, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 percent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria. 
All this, as I have noted, took place against the backdrop of Israel's hands-off policy in the political and administrative spheres [emphasis added].
In the aftermath of the intifada and terrorist attacks by which Palestinian Arabs have brought about their current situation--in addition to the Muslim members of the Israeli Knesset (whose membership is not revoked after meeting terrorists), the rights of Palestinian Arabs are protected by the Israeli Supreme Court. Here are some of its recent rulings:
Israel high court orders partial re-routing of West Bank security barrier 
Israel high court overturns blanket Palestinian student entry ban 
Israel high court allows Palestinians injured by IDF to sue for compensation 
Israel orders full review of security barrier after high court ruling 
Israeli police evacuate illegal West Bank settlement after high court ruling
Of course, if Condoleezza Rice is really interested in the struggle for the equal rights of unprotected minorities, she can always talk to her friends:
The Arab or Middle Eastern slave trade continued into the early 1900s[84], and by some accounts continues to this day. As recently as the 1950s, Saudi Arabia had an estimated 450,000 slaves, 20% of the population.[85] [86]
The situation is not black and white, but it might help if the person leading delicate negotiations between Israel and Palestinian Arabs--leading to a state adjacent to Israel--at least had some grasp of the history of the area. Condoleezza Rice is clearly not that person. Crossposted on Soccer Dad and Israpundit

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Anonymous said...

Hasn't Joan Peter's book been shown to be a fraud? I believe even Benny Morris showed her to be a hoax. No people were there? WTF?

Daled Amos said...

To say the book is a fraud it to claim that it is a deliberate attempt to mislead--if you have proof of that, please indicate.

That being said, there are major errors in the book--see for instance the letters to the editor regarding "Whose Palestine" by Erich and Rael Jean Isaac, and there response.

The errors in the book have to do with the calculation of the Arab population of 'Palestine' as compared with the Jewish population over time.

This has nothing to do with the history of the Arab persecution of Jews in Palestine over the centuries--all of which are documented by historians and indicated in her footnotes.

Next month, Andrew Bostom is coming out with a book documenting Moslem Anti-Semitism, which I expect will make mention of this topic as well.