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Emet m'Tsiyon

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Palestinian Arabs as Imperialist Paladins


Anti-Zionism is the anti-imperialism of fools.

One of the big falsifications is the regular depiction of Arabs, especially Palestinian Arabs, as innocent of doing anything bad in history. This falsehood goes back perhaps to Lowell Thomas' post-WW I depiction of TE Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, as the savior of oppressed, colonized Arabs from Ottoman Turkish tyranny. What is not said, almost never said, is that many Arabs from the leading Arab families held high posts in the imperial service. The Ottoman Empire was a Sunni Muslim state and most Arabs, as Sunni Muslims, were loyal to it. This has been confirmed by writers as diverse as the historian Elie Kedourie and the PLO propaganda hack Rashid Khalidi [when he thought that the hoi polloi were not paying attention]. Khalidi, we recall, is an old pal of Prez Obama and supposedly his chief instructor in matters Middle Eastern. That is, Khalidi conveyed to obama the straight Pan-Arab nationalist, pan-Islamist orthodoxy that has long been looked upon fondly in the State Dept and the CIA.

The Arab upper crust was so well integrated into the Ottoman governing class that the Arab historian Zeine N Zeine and the Turkish sociologist Zia Gok Alp both called the Ottoman Empire a Turkish-Arab state. As Ottoman officials, these Arabs took part in Ottoman tyranny and the exploitation and oppression of the subject peoples of the Empire, that is, of non-Muslims such as Bulgars, Armenians, Greeks, etc., as well as of the working poor among the Muslims.

The offspring of leading Arab families in what was designated "palestine" after World War One by the international community, mainly Western powers to be sure, received high posts in the Empire too [of course, there was no "palestine" under the Ottoman or Mamluk empires]. One of these families was the Khalidis of Jerusalem, the family of Obama's pal Rashid. Other leading Arab families of the future "palestine," like the Jerusalem Husseinis and the Abdul-Hadis of Nablus [Sh'khem] also received high imperial posts.

Let's start with the Khalidis. First, they are a "Prominent family of Jerusalem notables. It claims descent from Khalid bin al-Walid, the great 7th century Muslim general" [Shimoni & Levine, see below]. This founding Khalid was a military conqueror of Jerusalem, the Land of Israel and Syria.
-- Ruhi al-Khalidi was the Ottoman consul in Bordeaux, elected in 1908 and 1912 as one of three Jerusalem members of the Ottoman parliament.
-- Yusuf Dia` al-Khalidi, first speaker of the Ottoman parliament and later the Ottoman consul in Vienna, an especially sensitive position since the Austro-Hungarian [Habsburg] Empire coveted Ottoman territories and had indeed defeated the Ottoman armies on several occasions and taken vast lands away from it in the past. Hungary, Croatia, and Bosnia, were lands that the Habsburgs had taken away from the Ottoman state. So an Ottoman representative in Vienna had to be especially aware of events, trends, moods, military moves and public declarations in the Habsburg Empire.
-- Mustafa al-Khalidi was a chief of police in Beirut in the Ottoman period. To complete the account, we need to point out that the British appointed him as mayor of Jerusalem 1937-1944. At that time Jerusalem had a Jewish majority as it had had since 1853. The British disregarded the Jewish majority in the city out of their own Judeophobia. Does Sandra Mackey know about that disregarded Jewish majority??

Here are some of the Husseinis [al- Husayni]. The family claims descent from Muhammad. They accumulated large tracts of land in the villages northwest of Ramallah:
Musa Kazem el-Husseini, educated at the Ottoman School of Administration in Istanbul. He served as qaimakam [sub-district governor] in several places and as mutessarif [district governor] in Transjordan, the Arabian Peninsula, and Anatolia. Now as governor of a district in Anatolia he quite possibly governed a district inhabited by many Armenians. How did he treat the members of this oppressed people while governing in Anatolia?
Be that as it may, the British appointed him mayor of Jerusalem [a city with a Jewish majority since 1853] from 1918 to 1920. His son Abdul-Qader Husseini served under the leadership of their kinsman, Haj Amin el-Husseini, in the so-called Arab Revolt ["the revolt by leave"] of 1936-39 and collaborated with the Nazis as Haj Amin did. Abdul-Qader also led terrorist gangs against Jews and fellow Arabs. He went into exile in Baghdad with Haj Amin and there in 1940 a son was born to him named Faisal, while Haj Amin --who was also Abdul-Qader's uncle-- incited the Iraqis in favor of the Nazis and against Jews. Many Jews, estimated in number from 179 to 600, were murdered in the notorious Farhud pogrom in Baghdad in the spring of 1941, at the Shavu`ot holiday, attributed to Haj Amin's agitation, among other causes. Years later, Faisal was a part of the PLO terrorist Arab nationalist irredentist movement, inciting violence among fellow Arabs living in Jerusalem. He called himself "a peace activist." They all do, don't they? He once admitted that the Palestinian Authority was like a Trojan Horse against Israel.
Salim el-Husseini was appointed mayor of the newly formed Jerusalem municipality [baladiyyah] in the 1870s and several occasions afterwards, while the city already had a Jewish majority. Two of his sons, including Musa Kazem mentioned above, were appointed mayors of Jerusalem, Musa Kazem by the British and Hussein Salim by the Ottoman state [1909-1918].
Sa`id el-Husseini was a delegate to the Ottoman parliament after the 1908 and 1914 elections [candidates needed a rather high minimal income to be elected].

Lastly come the Abdul-Hadis of Nablus [originally NeaPolis, also Sh'khem]. They come last because of Nablus' lesser importance compared to Jerusalem.

Ruhi Abdul-Hadi worked in the Ottoman Empire's diplomatic service. He later held senior positions in the administration of the British mandatory government in the country. He subsequently became a minister in the Jordanian govt.
[see here for info about a latter-day Abdul-Hadi]

All this information of course refutes the usual simplistic fake history of the Arabs in the Land of Israel as propagated by such as Sandra Mackey and many others. The poor of the Arabs were poor and oppressed, by their own ethnic and religious brothers as much as by any one else. The Arab upper crust were part of the Ottoman imperial class and later enjoyed privileged positions under the British mandatory govt while Jews were discriminated against. The fact that the Muslim and Arab poor and workers and peasants were exploited by their own upper class makes the Ottoman Empire no less imperialist, indeed no different in principle from the Russian Empire where the Russian workers, peasants, and poor were oppressed by their own upper crust.
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Yaacov Shimoni and Evyatar Levine, Political Dictionary of the Middle East in the 20th Century (New York: Quadrangle 1972, 1974)

יעקב שביט, חיים באר, יעקב גולדשטיין -- לקסיקון האישים של ארץ ישראל 1948- 1799 [מרכז זלמן שזר]

יעקב שמעוני, לקסיקון פוליטי של העולם הערבי [ירושלים : כתר1988

Anti-Zionism is the anti-imperialism of fools

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