Monday, April 20, 2020

  • Monday, April 20, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Students for Justice in Palestine tweeted this thread:

It was 84 years ago on April of 1936 when Palestinians began what we now call the 1936 Arab Revolt. In opposition to the British enforcement of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which prioritized Jewish immigration to Palestine and displaced indigenous Palestinians, the revolt began as a general strike. Rural Palestinians in the 1930’s lived during a debilitating economic depression. Their struggle was only worsened by British colonial policies and heightened anti-Semitism in Europe resulting in an increase of Jewish immigration to Palestine.

In response, the Arab Higher Committee led a general strike against the British and Zionist opposition. As the action progressed, however, the Arab Higher Committee had been accused of betraying the cause after agreeing to the request of the Arab kings to end the strike.

The general strike lasted for six months making it one of the longest general strikes in history and marking the start of the Arab Revolt that lasted until 1939. Today we want to honor this collective resistance as we continue our joint struggles for liberation!⁣ 
5000 Arabs were killed in the Arab Revolt, many by the British but perhaps most by infighting. Wikipedia summarizes:

 The revolt weakened the military strength of Palestinian Arabs in advance of their ultimate confrontation with the Jewish settlement in the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine and was thus counterproductive. During the uprising, British authorities attempted to confiscate all weapons from the Arab population. This, and the destruction of the main Arab political leadership in the revolt, greatly hindered their military efforts in the 1948 Palestine war, where imbalances between the Jewish and Arab economic performance, social cohesion, political organisation and military capability became apparent. 
The Mufti, Hajj Amin al-Husseini and his supporters directed a Jihad against any person who did not obey the Mufti. Their national struggle was a religious holy war, and the incarnation of both the Palestinian Arab nation and Islam was Hajj Amin al-Husseini. Anyone who rejected his leadership was a heretic and his life was forfeit. After the Peel report publication, the murders of Arabs leaders who opposed the Mufti were accelerated. Pressed by the assassination campaign pursued by the rebels at the behest of the Husseini leadership, the opposition had a security cooperation with the Jews. The flight of wealthy Arabs, which occurred during the revolt, was also replicated in 1947–49.

Thousands of Palestinian houses were destroyed, and massive financial costs were incurred because of the general strike and the devastation of fields, crops and orchards. The economic boycott further damaged the fragile Palestinian Arab economy through loss of sales and goods and increased unemployment.

Clearly, the revolt did not achieve its goals, although it is "credited with signifying the birth of the Arab Palestinian identity." 
The revolt killed thousands of Arabs, destroyed the Arab political and economic leadership in Palestine, and the results were disastrous for any Palestinian national aspirations since there was no leadership or unity in 1948. There is a direct line from the 1936-9 Arab Revolt to what the Palestinians call the naqba.

So why would anyone who pretends to be pro-Palestinian celebrate this huge failure?

Because there was a single positive result for the Palestinians. The British, cowed by the threat of further Arab violence, agreed to severely curtail Jewish immigration to Palestine a was agreed previously. This occurred on the eve of the Holocaust, meaning that hundreds of thousands - or perhaps millions - of Jews that would have loved to flee Nazi occupied Europe for Palestine could not do so.

That White Paper was the only result that could be considered positive to the antisemitic Palestinian Arabs of the time. And today, that is still the only concrete result of the revolt that anyone can point to.

Which means that anyone who celebrates the Arab Revolt is either unaware of its results, or they are thrilled with the only result - that Jews fleeing antisemitism could not find safety in the Jewish ancestral homeland.

It is true that the Mufti originally rejected the White Paper, because he felt it didn't go far enough:

The Arab Higher Committee initially argued that the independence of a future Palestine government would prove to be illusory since the Jews could prevent its functioning by withholding participation, and in any case, real authority would still be in the hands of British officials. The limitations on Jewish immigration were also held to be insufficient since there was no guarantee immigration would not resume after five years. In place of the policy enunciated in the White Paper, the Arab Higher Committee called for "a complete and final prohibition" of Jewish immigration and a repudiation of the Jewish national home policy altogether.

In June 1939,Hajj Amin al-Husayni initially "astonished" the other members of the Arab Higher Committee by turning down the White Paper. According to Benny Morris, the reason that the advantageous proposal was turned down was entirely selfish: "it did not place him at the helm of the future Palestinian state."
But in the end the Palestinian leadership accepted it:
In July 1940, after two weeks of meetings with the British representative, S. F. Newcombe, the leader of the Palestinian Arab delegates to the London Conference, Jamal al-Husseini and fellow delegate Musa al-Alami, agreed to the terms of the White Paper, and both signed a copy of it in the presence of the prime minister of Iraq, Nuri as-Said.
In summary, the Revolt was a disaster for Arabs and an absolute catastrophe for the Jewish people. In the zero-sum world inhabited by Arabs, your enemy's loss is your gain by definition.

The only possible thing that SJP is celebrating is the the death of untold numbers of Jews.

⁣ (h/t Tasha)


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