The history of the British people has been indelibly stained by the record of the British Government’s mendacious, mal-intentioned management of the Palestine Mandate.
As the reader will see, those twin contortionists, the British Government and the Mufti, strove to prevent Jewry from building its future in its historic homeland of Israel and, in the process, sowed the seeds of the myths that fuel anti-Semitism and hatred for Israel to this day.
The treachery of the British Government’s administration of the Mandate, coupled with its outrageous appeasement policies towards the massive illegal Arab immigration, was evidently a cynical real-politick strategy aimed at securing Britain a geo-political foothold in the Middle East by courting the favour of the Arab nations.
Slick British cloak and dagger diplomacy, which that country had relied upon in building its empire over the centuries, was a tragic flop. The British failed utterly to recognise and accurately gauge the Arab capacity for disloyalty and inherent inability to negotiate in good faith. In consequence, they failed to correctly foresee the future landscape of the Middle East with Britain ultimately playing no role in it.
Meanwhile the Mufti’s unceasing incitement of Arab religious fanaticism failed to deliver an undivided Palestine to the Mufti. At the same time it proved ultimately and tragically to be the precursor to the myths that have sustained the unreasoned hatred for the Israelis by the people of the “PA territories”, Gaza and much else of the Arab world.
The history of the British people has been indelibly stained by the record of the British Government’s mendacious, malign management of the Palestine Mandate.
Perhaps unintentionally, it was the outrageous 1930 Hope Simpson Report that served to seal this disastrous record. While this document strangely contains numerous internal contradictions, listed by the report’s own author, to its erroneous conclusions, it was pivotal in that it proclaimed that it was Jewish immigration that dislodged indigenous Arabs from their homeland and employment in Palestine.
Despite its contradictions, the 1930 Hope Simpson report contributed significantly to the perpetuation of the myth, abiding to this day, that Jews are the illegal occupiers of Arab land when in fact the precise opposite is the truth. That did not prevent the Mandate authorities from acting in accordance with its conclusions.
The report is replete with falsehoods about unemployment and loss of land among Arabs, which were used by the British Gov’t to justify blocking Jewish immigration as late as 1943. The British scandalously turned a blind eye to the massive illegal Arab immigration, while making no effort to direct the Police to prevent it nor to apprehend and deport illegal Arab immigrants. But again, curiously, the report actually acknowledges the injustice of these practices in blocking Jewish immigration and damns the British Government.
The Report exposes succinctly the insidious behaviour of the British Government, which did not shrink from manipulating the terms of the Mandate to support their anti-Zionist and pro-illegal Arab immigration policies. Examples were Britain grossly exaggerating Arab unemployment and falsely claiming that Jews were robbing the indigenous Arab population of their land and employment. The complete opposite was the truth.
The fact that the Mandate incorporated no protections for the illegal Arab immigrants did not stop the British from acting outrageously as though it did. Prior to the influx of large numbers of Illegal Arab immigrants during the British Mandate, the indigenous Arab population had been small and its numbers had not grown for centuries, due largely to poor Arab health systems yielding high infant mortality rates and short adult life spans, all coupled with a desultory Arab economy.
The later illegal Arab immigrants, benefitting greatly from the Jews’ superior health and robust economic systems, enjoyed reduced infant mortality rates, longer adult life spans and consequently grew in numbers. But these Arabs were not indigenous to Palestine as falsely put out by the British and Arab leaders.
The illegal Arab immigrants also set about stealing land that the Jews had reclaimed from desert scrub and made fertile, dislodging them from their employment and committing widespread atrocities against the Jewish population, including murder and massacres, crimes for which they were rarely if ever held accountable.
The record of the British Government’s management of the Mandate is one of open hostility towards the Jews, extreme favouring of the Arabs and both utter disregard for and deliberate distortions of, the contractual terms of the Mandate. The Government went so far, in a 1930 White Paper, as to propose suspending Jewish immigration until the Arab “landless situation and primitive Arab farming methods had been improved”.
However, in a strange departure after publication of a written protest by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in 1931 temporarily alleviated some of the White Paper restrictions by stating that only Arabs who could show they had been displaced and had failed to re-establish themselves, could qualify as “landless Arabs” and be given the right to State lands, or cash in lieu, per the 1930 White Paper. (Notably, MacDonald was one of the three founders of the British socialist Labour Party which later exhibited ongoing antipathy towards Jews and Zionism up to Britain’s withdrawal from the Mandate in May 1948, and indeed in later years after the creation of the new State Of Israel.–David Green)
Again, Britain’s insidious duplicity is manifested in this dubious act of generosity. “Landlessness” was a common characteristic of Middle Eastern countries and, in any event, less than 1% of the Arab population actually registered claims under the White Paper “Landless” provision.
The reality was that the illegal Arab immigrants were almost totally disinclined to work in agriculture. They flooded instead to the cities where the pay was higher and working conditions less arduous. The British “Landlessness” measure was thus reduced to another contemptible thumbing of Britain’s nose at the written word and spirit of the Mandate contract and to the legitimate aspirations of the Jews, simply adding to the British Government’s already outrageous manipulation of the terms of the Mandate.
In 1936 public hearings were held in the course of a British Royal Commission initiated to investigate “disturbances”. Officials were “astonished” to hear of the extent of illegal Arab immigration, and the widespread Government employment at low pay rates of illegal Arab immigrants.
Nevertheless proposals, by such as Chaim Weizmann, for allocating the entire immigration quotas to Jews, were dismissed by the British, in a by now characteristic sleight of hand, on the ludicrous grounds that it would over-burden the Government’s administration of immigration.
In adopting their position the British government cited the potential for bias due to Jewish wealth in the UK and the dangers of alienating the Arab countries. As well, the British ignored the “low quality” of many of the illegal Arab immigrants while inventing concerns [particularly regarding “Bolshevism”–Editor] about “undesirables” among the legal Jewish immigrants.
The British were not lacking in champions supporting their mendacious approach to the management of the Mandate. The British appointed, Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini of Jerusalem had of course historically aided and abetted anti-Jewish pogroms and actively supported Hitler in his quest for a “final solution to the Jewish question”. Another prominent ally to the British was one George Antonius, an Arab Orthodox Christian political historian and activist, author of the 1939 book “The Arab Awakening” and who testified at the Royal Commission in January 1937. Together, Antonius and the Mufti sought to re-write history by fostering myths of a benign existence of Jews and an absence of anti-Semitism in Arab lands.
The underlying impetus for the Arabs’ anti-Semitic anti-Zionist stance was the fear of the feudal Arab leaders that they would lose the power, and consequent sources of wealth, that had been accorded to them by the Ottoman Turks, if Palestine was overrun by Jews. The Arab masses being unmoved by entreaties of patriotism, the Mufti therefore resorted to fanning the flames of their deep rooted hatred of Jews and aiding the flooding of Palestine with hordes of illegal Arab immigrants.
The 1930s was marked by continuing turbulence, made no better by a succession of treacherous British Government reports, White Papers, the duplicitous conclusions of the Royal Commission. The latter affirmed that the Mandate’s purpose was a Jewish national home, but its conclusions were antithetical to it.
In 1938 the British Foreign Secretary, Malcolm MacDonald, refused to negotiate with influential Arabs, believing that the Mufti and his followers were largely the instigators of the Arab violence and intimidation. But the the Arab terrorists were encouraged to continue their campaign of intimidation and violence by dint of perceived prevarication in the British Parliament. That latter was more destabilizing than if the British had adopted a firm position of support for a Jewish state.
The Arab terrorists have been compared to gangsters and even communists; they used the point of a gun to exact tribute from all and sundry and were suspected of the murders of many prominent Arabs who had so much as hinted at their opposition to the violence. Many opponents of the Mufti fled Palestine in fear of being targeted. But through it all the British continued to pay lip service to stemming illegal Arab immigration by deeming most of the latter to be legal to avoid offending the Arab countries.
While the Jews reluctantly but increasingly accepted the idea of Partition the Arabs persisted in their hostility towards it, continuing their campaign of intimidation and murder against the Jews.
The opposition of Christians towards the Jews for a time cooled tensions between the former and the Muslims. However Christians ultimately also became targets, their women being forced to wear Muslim garb and their shops to close on the Muslim sabbath. Ultimately, even Muslim Arabs were targets of victims of the Mufti’s fanaticism; the author lists the names of number of prominent Muslims who paid the price of dissent.
This chapter includes a fascinating and detailed table (pp. 318-320) documenting “disturbances” (read Arab riots) and the British Goverment/Mandatory authorities’ response to them for the years 1920-1940. From this single example the reader can deduce a vicious circle: British policies abbet/facilitate Arab violence>>Jewish immigration inhibited or suspended and available lands curtailed>>more Arab violence ad infinitum.
“Disturbances” and influences:
Haj Amin al-Husseini appointed Grand Mufti by British High Commissioner. Arab onslaught against Jews in Jaffa, Petah Tikva, “abetted” by “British officials” (de Hass, History, p. 501). Haycraft Commission Report on riots, October 1921
Suspension of Jewish Immigration.