Monday, July 19, 2021

One of the most repeated lies made by Palestinian Arabs is that before Zionism, Jews lived in harmony with the Arabs of Palestine and throughout the Middle East.

Israel Joseph Benjamin was a Jewish explorer who traveled the world seeking to find the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in the 19th century. He describes, in simple terms, his visits to Jewish communities worldwide.

His straightforward testimony shows how poorly Jews were treated by their Arab and Muslim neighbors. 

Here he describes the situation of Jews in Palestine, whom he visited in 1847. He notes that their plight was in some ways the worst that he had seen among Jews anywhere. (Bolded highlights are mine, italics are his.)

The State of the Jews in Palestine

Deep misery and continual oppression are the right words to describe the condition of the Children of Israel in the land of their fathers. — 1 comprise a short and faithful picture of their actual state under the following heads.

1) They are entirely destitute of every legal protection and every means of safety. Instead of the security afforded  the law, which is unknown in these countries, they are solely under the orders of the sheiks and pachas, men, whose character and feelings inspire but little confidence from the beginning, It is only the European Consuls who frequently take care of the oppressed, and give them some protection.

2) With unheard of rapacity, tax upon tax is levied on them. With the exception of Jerusalem, every where the taxes demanded are arbitrary. Whole communities have been impoverished by the exorbitant claims of the sheiks, who, under the moat trifling pretenses, without any control, oppress the Jews with fresh burdens. It is impossible to enumerate all these oppressions.

3) In the strict sense of the word they are not even masters of their own property. They do not even venture to complain when they are robbed and plundered; for. the vengeance of the Arabs would follow each complaint.

4) Their lives are taken into as little consideration as their property; they are exposed to the caprice of any one; for even the smallest pretext, even a harmless discussion, a word dropped in conversation; is enough to cause bloody reprisals. Violence of every kind is of daily occurrence, When; for instance in the contests of Mahomet Ali with the Sublime Porte, the City of Hebron was besieged by Egyptian troops and taken by storm, the Jews where murdered and plundered, and the survivors scarcely even allowed to retain a few rags to cover them. No pen can describe the despair of these unfortunates. The women were treated with brutal cruelty; and even to this day, many are found who from that time became miserable cripples. With truth can the Lamentations of Jeremiah be employed here. Since that great misfortune up to the present day, the Jews of Hebron languish in the deepest misery, and the present Sheik is unwearied in his endeavours, not to better their condition, but on the contrary to make it worse.

5) The chief evidence of their miserable condition is the universal poverty which we remarked in Palestine, and which is here truly characteristic; for nowhere else in our long journeys, in Europe, Asia and Africa did we observe it among the Jews. It even causes leprosy among the Jews of Palestine, as in former times. Robbed of their means of subsistence from the cultivation of the soil and trade, they only exist upon the charity of their brethren in the faith in foreign parts.

... In a word the state of the Jews in Palestine, body as well as mind, is an unbearable one; and yet there the land yields most abundantly. If the possession of it were not to completely in the hands of the Arabs, — if one could only secure for the Jews some little portion of it and give them the means for its cultivation - sufficient sources of industry would be open to them; wherewith to obtain a livelihood. But what does it benefit them to cultivate the ground, if the Arabs rob them of the harvest?
I will continue to excerpt parts of this book. Sometimes his slightest side comment is stunning


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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