Friday, February 06, 2009

Arab and Muslim attacks against Jews, 1907-1915

I recently posted events from the American Jewish Yearbook of 1914-15 showing that the frequent claim that Jews and Arabs lived together in peace before Israel is a lie.

It turns out that the American Jewish Committee has all their yearbooks archived on-line, and they are an exceptional resource for historical research. Here are the major events I found in those yearbooks of the friction between Arabs/Muslims and Jews in the years before the Balfour Declaration.

The Kabyles near Casablanca, Morocco, revolted,because the harbor works were in the hands of the French and because a Frenchman was appointed Director of Customs. A French battleship bombarded the town to oppose the attacks of the Moors upon the town, and the Arab tribes in turn attacked the 6000 Jews in the Mellah, killing 30, wounding 60, violating many women, carrying off 250 young women and girls. The Jewish quarter was ruined, and more than half the Jewish population fled to Tangier, Ceuta, Gibraltar, and elsewhere.

On the representation of the Consistory of Jerusalem the Grand Vizier of Turkey promised the Jews of Sanaa, in Yemen, full protection against attacks by Arabs to which they were subjected.

February: In Hebron, where out of a total population of 18,000 about 2000 are Jews, the Arabs decide to boycott Jewish merchants.

Community fearing attack by Arabs, telegraphs to Chief Rabbi in Constantinople, who makes representations to Minister of Interior. Latter sends energetic instructions to Governor at Haifa to prevent any disorders.

June 10: Jewish community, Haifa, brings action against editor of Arab newspaper El Carmel for continued anti-Semitic attacks. Defendant acquitted.

September 22: Jews forced to leave Yemen (Arabia) to avoid conversion to Mohammedanism.

April 28: Bedouins set fire to synagogue at Tschebel (Tripoli, Barbary), entirely destroying building, which contained valuable old manuscripts and books.

June 2: "Blood accusation" agitation in Turkey. Damascus paper El Muktaber charges abduction of Mohammedan child and publishes alleged confession by Jews. Chief Rabbi appeals to Government, which institutes criminal proceedings against editor of that paper.

June 4: Chief Rabbi, Turkey, receives telegrams from several places in Arabia and Syria, giving particulars of attacks made on Jews. Government takes precaution.

June 9: Report of attack by Bedouins on Jewish colonies, in vicinity of Nazareth and elsewhere; Chief Rabbi complains to Grand Vizier and Minister of Interior.

September 23: Arabs assault about sixty worshippers at religious service on Rosh Hashanah at Wailing Wall.

September 25: Forty-two Jews flee from Tripoli to Malta.

Feb. 2: Serious conflict between Jewish colonists in Palestine and the Arabs reported. Three colonists said to have been killed and seven wounded.

May 3: Anti-Jewish disturbances in Yemen. Several Jews murdered.

December: At Smyrna, two young Jewesses of seventeen and nineteen years abducted from their homes, to be converted to Mohammedan faith. Authorities refuse to restore them despite protests of Haham Bashi.

AUGUST (Yemen): Government permits organization of judicial tribunals exclusively of Arabs; this action victimizes Jews who may be falsely accused, as testimony of two Arab witnesses suffices to secure condemnation. --Jew ill-treated and left half dead in roadway because he submitted successful bid when invited to exchange large sum of money for Government. Complaint of Jew unavailing. — Heads of Jewish community imprisoned for disobeying edict ordering them to clean streets, no matter what their social status.

October (Yemen): Further cruelties of the Imam, spiritual head of Yemen, toward Jews reported. Jews denounced for alleged trading in intoxicating drinks promptly punished without investigation of the charges.

August. Bedouins attack colony of Rehobot, killing one colonist and wounding several others. --Rehobot vineyards penetrated by villagers from Zernuka, who kill Jewish student.

November. At colony of Kinneret two Jewish watchmen murdered by Arabs.

December. Near Tiberias, two colonists killed and several injured by Arabs.

January. At Hebron, Jewish storekeepers are boycotted by Mohammedan women.

April. Minister of Interior removes Governor of Tiberias on complaint of Chief Rabbi of his laxity in protecting the Jews against Arab attacks.

May. Minister of Interior orders officiais in Palestine to repress all anti-Jewish manifestations.—Chief Rabbi waits on Minister of Interior and reads to him two violent articles in Arab journal Palestine, and warns him that any disorders that might result therefrom would create bad impression abroad.

April: Merchavia, colony near Tiberias: Conflict between Jews and Arabs; two Jews killed.

Athlit: Klein, an American Jew, killed.
It should be noted that the Ottoman leaders generally took Jewish complaints seriously and would, for example, close down anti-semitic newspapers (temporarily) or arrest people who were inciting against Jews. But the Arabs throughout their lands were always antipathetic towards their Jewish neighbors.

It is also important to note that the Arab attacks against Jews, while numerous, did not come close to those happening in Europe at this time.

(Also, for those who want to check it out themselves: a Yearbook is for the previous year, so the events of the 1914-1915 yearbook are from 1913-1914. I think I got them all right but might be off by a year in some of the events listed above.)