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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Going back a little further to the 1920 Syrian boycott of Jews

Yesterday I blogged about an Arab boycott of Jews in 1921 and 1922.

Michael Pitkowsky tweeted me with a reference to an earlier boycott call that is more interesting for the other things it says than for the boycott call itself. This comes from the book "The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War" by James L. Gelvin:

Palestine is our Country!
The Decision of the Palestinian General Congress
On Friday, 27 February 1920, at 3:00 in the afternoon, a meeting was held at the Arab Club, which included delegates from the Higher National Committee, the Syrian General Congress, and representatives from the Arab Independence Party, the Syrian National Party, the Syrian Union, the Syrian Pact, the Iraqi Pact, the Democratic Party, the Moral Revival Association, the Arab Club, leaders from the Hawrani, Dandashli, Karak, Fadl, Sakhur, and Circassian tribes and communities; finally, a large number of religious leaders, lawyers, journalists, merchants, secondary school students, and the heads of the guilds of Damascus.
Having considered the Palestinian situation, they agreed on the following five points:
1. We confirm what we have always said, that Palestine is an integral part of Syria. We demand that it remain so, and shall use all measures to the last drop of our blood and the last breath of our children to achieve this end.
2..Because we come from all parts of Syria, we consider the Zionist danger to be directed against us and against our political and economic existence in the future. We shall therefore throw back the Zionists with all our force. If the allies continue to let them pursue their activities we shall oppose them by all means possible....
O Arab sons of Palestine:
The Syrian nation and the Palestinian associations are incensed that the [allies] would seek to detach Palestine from its motherland, Syria, under the guise of establishing a national government. How can we accept the life of slaves to the Jews and foreigners and not defend our political and natural rights? Raise your voice, protest this treachery, and never fear threats or intimidation....lf there exists a man among you who, bribed by gold or honors, rallies to the occupation government, stay away from him, boycott him, and show him your scorn, for he is a traitor to his country and his nation. Likewise, boycott the Jews; sell them nothing and buy nothing from them. Boycott those who sustain them and serve them as underlings....
Life, life, O Brothers! 

After I wrote this up, I see that I had been alerted to this quote back in 2009.

And as I noted previously to that, guess how the "Paletinians" of 1920 referred to the split of Syria and Palestine?

They called it "the Naqba."

Yes, one of the great ironies of history is that the term used today to describe the 1948 setback for Palestinian Arab nationalism  is same term that the same people's ancestors used to describe the beginning of Palestinian Arab nationalism.