Tuesday, February 10, 2015

  • Tuesday, February 10, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here's another in an occasional series of contemporaneous writings from the 19th century and earlier showing that the supposed tolerance that Muslims had of Jews is a myth.

From Remarks on the present condition and future prospects of the Jews in Palestine, by Arthur George Harper Hollingsworth, 1852:

The population in Palestine is composed of Arabs, who roam about the plains, or lurk in the mountain fastnesses as robbers and strangers, having no settled home, and without any fixed attachment to the land. In many of the ruined cities and villages there exists also, a limited number of Christian families, uncivilized, and not knowing correctly from what race they derive their origin. Poor, and without influence, they tremblingly hold their miserable possessions from year to year, without security, and without wealth, in a land which they confess is not their own. ...

The Arab and Christian populations diminish every year. Poverty, distress, insecurity, robbery, and disease continue to weaken the inhabitants of this fine country. Ruins fall upon ruins; solitudes increase in the deserted vallies. The land mourneth for its inhabitants. ...

Amongst the scattered and feeble population of this once happy country, is found, however, an increasing number of poor Jews; some of their most learned men reside in the holy cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tiberias. Their synagogues are still in existence. Jews frequently arrive in Palestine from every nation in Europe, and remain there for many years'; and others die with the satisfaction of mingling their remains with their forefathers’ dust, which fills every valley, and is found in every cave.

This Jewish population is poor beyond any adequate word ; it is degraded in its social and political condition, to a state of misery, so great, that it possesses no rights. It can shew no wealth even if possessed of it, because to display riches would secure robbery from the Mahometan population, the Turkish officials, or the Bedouin Arab. These Jews live chiefly on alm, collected from the nation in all parts of the world. There is no people more charitable, though that charity is generally exclusive, than the Jew. This money is precarious in .its amount, frequently tardy in its arrival, always uncertain when it may be received, lost sometimes in its passage, and accompanied ever by the degradation of receiving a distant and unsettled charity, supporting a wretchedly impoverished and famishing people. No advancement is made by the Jew of Palestine, in trafficking, in commerce, in farming, in the possession of settled houses or lands. There alone, where he ought to be first, he is last; and where in all other countries a Jew thrives and increases in wealth, in that one he is spiritless from oppression, and without energy, because without hope of Protection. He creeps along that soil, where his forefathers proudly strode in the fulncss of a wonderful prosperity, as an alien, an outcast, a creature less than a dog, and below the oppressed Christian beggar in his own ancestral plains and cities. No harvest ripens for his hand, for he cannot tell whether he will be permitted to gather it. Land occupied by a Jew is exposed to robbery and waste. A most peevish jealousy exists against the landed prosperity, or commercial wealth, or trading advancement of the Jew. Hindrances exist to the settlement of a British Christian in that country, but a thousand petty obstructions are created to prevent the establishment of a Jew on waste land, or to the purchase and rental of land by a Jew. “

...Agricultural pursuits are attended with much hazard, for, in the vicinity of the Jordan there are many Arabs, who support themselves chiefly by plunder. ...What security exists, that a Jewish _ emigrant settling in Palestine, could receive a fair remuneration for his capital and labour? None whatever. He might toil, but his harvests would be reaped by others; the Arab robber can rush in and carry off his flocks and herds. If he appeals for redress to the nearest Pasha, the taint of his Jewish blood fills the air, and darkens the brows of his oppressors ; if he turns to his neighbour Christian, he encounters prejudice and spite ; if he claims a Turkish guard, he is insolently repulsed and scorned. How can he bring his capital into such a country, when that fugitive possession flies from places where the sword is drawn to snatch it from the owner’s hands and not protect it ?

,,,Now, how is this poor, despised, and powerless child of Abraham to obtain redress, or make his voice heard at the Sublime Porte? The more numerous the cases of oppression, (and they are many), the more clamorous their appeals for justice, the more unwillingly will the government of the Sultan,—partly from inherent and increasing weakness, partly from disinclination,—act on the side of the Jew. They despise them as an execrated race ; they hate them as the literal descendants of the original possessors of the country. ...


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