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Thursday, April 08, 2010

New Arab myth: "1936 strike was non-violent"

Alex Kane, a MondoWeiss blogger, writes in the Indypendent:
[I]n fact Palestinians have been nonviolently resisting Zionist colonization even before the State of Israel was founded, and well after. The 1936-1939 revolt against British colonial rule and Zionist colonization began with a “six-month general strike” that involved “work-stoppages and boycotts of the British-and Zionist-controlled parts of the economy” and was the “largest anticolonial strike of its kind until that point in history, and perhaps the longest ever,” as Rashid Khalidi writes on page 106 in The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. The revolt did have an armed component, though, that followed the general strike.
According to Kane, for six months the Arabs of Palestine engaged in a non-violent strike, and only afterwards it became violent.

Khalidi, in the book being quoted, implies that he "armed revolt" only started in September 1937. I exposed some of Khalidi's dishonesty in that same book here and here.

When was the exact beginning of the Arab strike? According to some Arab sources, it started on April 3rd, but the Palestine Post didn't notice any announcement until April 20, the day after a massacre of Jews in Jaffa.

Here is what the Palestine Post looked like on Tuesday, April 22, the day after the strike was announced publicly:
By Friday, some 6000 Jaffa Jews had evacuated their homes for Tel Aviv because of the "nonviolent" demonstrations:
The next few days saw no fatalities but much violence - arson, beatings, gunshots and threats against both Arabs and Jews by the strikers and demonstrators.

The following week was also largely quiet, although Arabs who were forced to strike were becoming increasingly upset at their loss of income. Many Jaffa dockworkers clandestinely started working in Haifa.

The week of May 10th saw increasing acts of arson and bombs being thrown at businesses that stayed open, as well as fires set at Jewish farms. The British police enforced curfews.

By Wednesday, there were three people murdered - two Jews and an Arab strike-breaker.


And that weekend, a bomb was thrown at the Edison Cinema in Jerusalem, killing three more.

This was just the first month of the "nonviolent" 1936 protest that Palestinian Arab admirers are now mooning over.

The facts are clear - the "strike" was the background of the violence, but the violence was prevalent throughout Palestine during what was euphemistically described in the English-language press at the time as the "disturbances."

Palestinian Arab supporters, however, are fond of rewriting history in whatever fashion they find convenient. While the Arabs congratulate themselves over the violence of the 1936-39 riots (which resulted in the death of thousands, mostly Arabs,) their Western allies are trying to reclassify them as a Gandhi-style set of peaceful demonstrations - to appeal to a different constituency.