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Ron Radosh

In his recent book, Palestine Betrayed, the British historian Efraim Karsh writes that rather than seek moderation and compromise, the Mufti put together “a growing number of armed gangs” that “roamed the country, attacking Jewish neighborhoods, British forces, and fellow Arabs who dared defy the anti-Jewish boycott, abstained from striking, or refused to provide the rebels with food and supplies.” When the gangs were next led by Syrian officer Fawzi Qawugji, “the gangs were organized, trained and armed,” and were able to “intensify their acts of murder, plunder and sabotage.”

The Mufti made it clear, as Hamas does today, that he would never even accept the right of the 400,000 Jews in Palestine to remain there safely. His goal, as he told the German consul in Palestine, was that “the Muslims in Palestine and elsewhere were enthusiastic about the new regime in Germany and looked forward to the spread of Fascism throughout the region.” That was the character of the leader of the Arab revolt on which Weiss and Horowitz look favorably.

But they do not have to depend on Sachar or Karsh for accurate reporting on the Arab revolt. They could, should they have wished, turned to The Nation magazine’s own editor and publisher in the years of its greatest influence — the 30s and 40s — Freda Kirchwey. Writing in a March 1948 report called “Arab Claims to Palestine Without Justification,” Kirchwey wrote that the Mufti “in 1936 again was responsible for new attacks upon the Jews of Palestine. At the same time, he caused the assassination of hundreds of prominent Arabs, including 24 leading Palestine Arabs who refused to accept his leadership.”

Moreover, she wrote, “The captured files of the German High Command in Flansburg at the war’s end reveal that the Arab riots of 1936 in Palestine were carried out by the Mufti with funds supplied by the Nazis.” When the Mufti then fled to Syria and later to Iraq, he was “directly responsible for the anti-Jewish pogrom, in which almost four hundred Jewish men, women and children were stabbed or brutally clubbed to death in the streets of Baghdad.”

In essence, in identifying the “Arab revolt” approvingly and as a precedent that informs their work today, Weiss and Horowitz are supporting a Nazi inspired terror which took place against the Jews and other Arab Palestinians who did not support the Mufti’s agenda.  It’s not only chilling that American students are being subjected to distortions of American history with fallacious analogies, but also that journalists, who purport to be serious about their craft, would distort the truth about the history of  boycotts and general strikes during the “Arab revolt” in Palestine.

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