‘We saw Jews with hearts Like Germans’: Moroccan immigrants in Israel warned families not to follow

Moroccan immigrants arriving in Haifa, 1954

Moroccan immigrants arriving in Haifa, 1954

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‘We saw Jews with hearts Like Germans’: Moroccan immigrants in Israel warned families not to follow

[This article, written by Ofer Aderet, first appeared on the Harretz website, and this version reprinted from the Portside website.]

Thousands of letters written in the early years of the state by immigrant soldiers to their families in Morocco reveal a gloomy picture. Most wanted to go home. ‘If you want my advice, stay in North Africa; it’s better than the Land of Israel.’

In 1949, in the midst of the War of Independence, an Israel Defence Forces soldier wrote a letter to his family who remained in Morocco. ‘We came to Israel and thought we’d find a paradise here, but regrettably it was the opposite: We saw Jews with hearts like Germans.’ He also had a word of caution for his relatives: ‘If you want my advice, stay in North Africa; it’s better than the Land of Israel.’

The soldier’s identity remains unknown, but thousands of similar letters that were deposited in the IDF and Defence Establishment Archive show that he was not the only Moroccan immigrant who harboured such feelings. Excerpts from the letters, which had remained below the radar of historians and researchers, are now being published for the first time.

Another soldier from North Africa was more direct and blunt, accusing the Ashkenazi Jews of racism. ‘The European Jews, who suffered tremendously from Nazism, see themselves as a superior race and the Sephardi [Mizrahi] Jews as belonging to an inferior one,’ he wrote to his parents. He complained that the North African new immigrant ‘who came here from afar and was not required to leave his home because of racial discrimination – is now humiliated at every turn.’

A feeling of injustice also arises from the lines that follow: ‘Instead of [showing] gratitude, they treat us like savages or something that is unwelcome. When I see [North] African friends wandering the streets, one without an arm, the other without a leg, people who spilled their blood in war, I ask myself, ‘Is it worth it?”

Historian Shay Hazkani – whose research focuses generally on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on how Jewish immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East were absorbed and treated during the early years of the state – discovered these letters in classified reports written by the postal censorship bureau that operated in the army from its inception. The unit’s members read the letters sent by soldiers and deleted classified information. Moreover, they also copied – without the soldiers’ knowledge or consent – passages that would interest the army and the civilian authorities. By this means it was possible to monitor the mood among the soldiers and to track other developments.

Dr. Hazkani was especially interested in what these historical sources could reveal – despite the problematic nature of reading personal correspondence – about the feelings of immigrants who had come from Morocco to fight in the war in 1947-48, who were opening their hearts to their families who remained behind.

‘The Poles control everything,’ one soldier wrote his family in Morocco at the time, noting that ’95 percent of the guys here are dissatisfied, and would like only to go back to where they came from.’ In the view of another soldier, ‘Palestine might be good for people who suffered in the camps in Germany, but not for us, the French, who are lovers of freedom.’ (He was referring to France’s protectorate regime, which ruled in Morocco until the country became independent, in 1956.)

Allegations of discrimination at the hands of Ashkenazi immigrants are rife in many of the letters Hazkani studied. One soldier, originally from Casablanca, wrote his family back home that the Polish Jews ‘think Moroccans are savages and thieves. When we pass by, they look at us like [we are] brutes.’ His dream was to return to Casablanca, he told his family, and he would go on crying until he was able to buy a plane ticket.

Morrocan immigrant at Dead Seas Industries potash plant, 1956

Morrocan immigrant at Dead Seas Industries potash plant, 1956

‘I can’t stand this country, which is worse than jail. The Ashkenazim exploit us in everything and give the best and easiest jobs to the Poles,’ a soldier wrote to relatives in Morocco. ‘The wages are worth nothing. For his easy labor, the Pole gets 2.5 liras, but the maximum we Moroccans can earn for our arduous and strenuous work is only 1.5 liras.’

The perusal of thousands of letters by new-immigrant soldiers from Morocco suggests that the majority of them wanted to return home and that they recommended that their families not immigrate to the Jewish state, or at least put off any such move. The percentages shift between periods and between the groups of letters sampled, but a summary drawn by the IDF turns up high numbers: About 70 percent who wanted to go back to Morocco and 76 percent who recommended to their families to stay put.

The army’s top brass itself generally displayed a patronizing, hostile and distant attitude toward soldiers of North African origin, according to the IDF’s own files, from which the letters quoted by Hazkani were taken. ‘Even though the soldiers are of inferior education and culture, they manifest potent criticism,’ one army report states. ‘North African immigrants suffer from an inferiority complex that might be caused by the way their Ashkenazi colleagues treat them,’ a censorship official wrote after analysing the soldiers’ letters.

‘This phenomenon is serious and raises concern,’ he continues, not just because of the damage to morale among the soldiers, ‘but also because of the information sent by the ‘offended’’ to their families and friends in their countries of origin.

Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics shows that 6 percent of those who immigrated from Morocco in the years 1949 to 1953 actually returned to their native land: 2,466 out of approximately 40,000. Proportionally, Hazkani found, this was almost twice the number of those who returned among the immigrants from Europe and America (Ashkenazim).

‘Human sheep’

Complaints about Israel did not only make people decide to leave the country. There was an Israeli government policy that was intended to hinder or delay immigration. In 1951, the government adopted a policy of ‘selective aliyah.’ In a 1999 article, ‘The Origin of Selective Aliyah,’ Dr. Avi Picard, from Bar-Ilan University’s Land of Israel Studies department, notes that the restrictions referred to the “quality” of the immigrants – who by and large came from North Africa at the time – and not their numbers, and were imposed via classification on the basis of one’s physical fitness, age and profession.

‘Don’t believe the Zionist Office in Morocco. It is spreading propaganda, lies and distortions,’ an immigrant soldier from North Africa wrote his family in an effort to dissuade them from making the move to the Holy Land. ‘Here you’ll be called ‘dirty Moroccans,’ and the papers will write that the Moroccans don’t know how to dress or how to eat with a fork. Only with their hands. They think that the only human beings here are the Poles.’

Military post office in Tel Aviv

Military post office in Tel Aviv

The unnamed soldier was referring to a series of articles published in Haaretz in 1949, which continue to resonate to this day. A reporter on the paper, Aryeh Gelblum, assumed a fictitious identity in order to document life in the immigrants’ transit camps. He published his grim conclusions under the headline, ‘I was a new immigrant for a month.’

‘This is an immigration of race such as we have never before known in Israel,’ he wrote, in reference to the North African immigrants. ‘We have here a people at a peak of primitiveness. The level of their education borders on absolute ignorance, and even graver is [their] incompetence at absorbing anything intellectual.’

Gelblum added, ‘Only slightly do they surpass the general level of the Arab, Negro and Berber inhabitants from their places [of origin]… They are completely subject to primitive and savage instincts. In any event, this is an even lower level than what we knew among the Arabs of the Land of Israel of the past.’ He continued: ‘What can we do with them? How can we absorb them? Have we considered what will happen to this country if they became its citizens? One day the rest of the Jews from the Arab world will immigrate! What will the State of Israel look like and what sort of level will it have if it has citizens like these?’

In the summer of 1950, Davar, the organ of the Histadrut labor federation, ran an article about a transit camp in Marseille where new immigrants, most of them Jews from North Africa, were waiting on their way to Israel. Terms such as ‘bad material’ and ‘human sheep’ were used to describe the prospective immigrants, who would have to be ‘kneaded’ in order ‘to shape them.’ The article went on: ‘Will it be possible to form new traits among these abject human beings? In Israel, will they not again descend into the atmosphere from which they were removed – among their brethren in the community?’

An article in Davar that September warned about the ‘oriental’ character of the people who would flood Israel. ‘Our fate depends on quality. In other words, the degree to which the non-oriental elements, which are the only ones that can sustain this country, will triumph. How to elevate them to the Western level of the existing community and how to protect ourselves with all our might against the possibility that the quality of the populations of Israel will fall to the oriental level.’

Similarly harsh comments were made by the country’s leaders, as has already been revealed. Levi Eshkol, the finance minister and later prime minister, was quoted in 1953 as saying, ‘We are shackled with human refuse, because in those countries they are sweeping the streets and sending us in the first row these backward people.’ Other leaders expressed themselves in similar terms.

Some of the immigrants from Morocco heard these voices and read the articles and were enraged. Their feelings were given expression in an article titled, ‘Moroccan Jewry Gazing toward Israel,’ published in 1949 in a Jerusalem-based periodical, Hed Hamizrah (Echo from the East). It opens by noting that at first ‘the enthusiasm of the masses of Jews [in Morocco] for making aliyah to the Holy Land was unbounded.’ Subsequently, however, when the newcomers encountered Israeli reality, ‘that enthusiasm began to be mixed with bitter disappointment.’

It is clear from this that the letters from the disappointed soldiers reached their destination in Morocco and resonated there. ‘The reports reaching here from Israel are ominous. We are told that the immigrants are being received in Israel with gross discrimination and scathing insults,’ the Hed Hamizrah writer noted. ‘The sorrow is heightened when you hear that these insults are not coming from gentiles but from their brothers who are in Zion, on whom they pinned all their hopes and from whom they thought to find succour and aid until they adjusted to life in Israel.’

Morocaan immigrant doing road work, 1949

Morocaan immigrant doing road work, 1949

The author wonders ‘what did we do to deserve having this trouble fall upon us, and this shameful attitude?’ He goes on to review the contribution of Moroccan immigrants to Israel’s rebirth: ‘Is this the reward that the official institutions pay us for having fulfilled our national duty in all senses? After all, you all know what we have wrought in the past and in the present. We were among the first illegal immigrants [ma’apilim] to Israel. Young sailors among us left their families and suffered together with their brethren in the concentration camps of Cyprus. Young lads from Morocco were also not lacking on [the ship] Exodus Europe 1947. Our boys fought like lions on all the fronts, in the north and the south, the Galilee and the Negev, in the Old City of Jerusalem and in the land’s other cities, and blood was shed everywhere.’

The article concludes: ‘Morocco’s Jews fought for the deliverance of their land, and why should they be discriminated against? Why is their blood different from the blood of their Western brothers? The bitterness caused by this insulting attitude is growing apace here. Everyone is demanding that the government of Israel right this wrong.’ Addressing members of Knesset, the writer calls for ‘the abolition of this racial discrimination, for we are the children of one father.’

Yaron Tsur, an expert in the history of Jews from the Arab and Islamic countries, addresses this issue in his 2001 book ‘A Torn Community: The Jews of Morocco and Nationalism 1943-1954’ (Hebrew).

‘The first testimonies about the cooling of the enthusiasm for the idea of aliyah to Israel are connected to the reports about the shock experienced by the immigrants from Morocco at what they viewed as discrimination against Sephardim overall and against Moroccans in particular in Israel,’ Prof. Tsur writes. ‘That was one aspect of their encounter with the ethnic problem. The potency of the negative impact these reports created may be gleaned from numerous testimonies. This discrimination was apparently the phenomenon that was most damaging to Israel’s image in the eyes of the [Moroccan] diaspora.’

According to Tsur, heightened efforts to portray the positive aspects of immigration to Israel were of no avail. ‘No propaganda could offset the impressions of the immigrants in letters from Israel and the testimony of those who returned,’ he notes. Complaints about discrimination were heard from every quarter in Morocco, he writes, and they also had an impact on the efforts to raise funds from Moroccan Jewry for the Zionist cause.

Thus, the professor describes a meeting in a private home in Rabat, at the end of which one of the participants said to the guest speaker, ‘You spoke well, but I will not donate anything and I will try to see to it that others follow my example, because you are treating Morocco’s Jews like savages.’ In another meeting, held by an MK from the Sephardi List, Avraham Elmalich, with Moroccan rabbis in the city of Port Lyautey (today, Kenitra), a religious court judge requested of him ‘that every son of Israel who will go up to Israel, whoever he may be, it will not be said of him, ‘This is an African, a Sephardi or an Ashkenazi,’ but just a plain Israeli.’

The soldiers’ letters also reflected this sentiment. One soldier wrote his family that the antisemitism in Israel was worse than in Poland. Indeed, he added, the discrimination was so widespread that it could be compared to the extreme nature of relations between whites and Blacks in America. Striking a similar note, another wrote, ‘Orientals are treated here like Negroes in the South of the U.S. There is great hatred between the Orientals and the Westerners, who make up the Government.’

One soldier wrote, dishearteningly, that despite everything, he preferred to remain in Israel and not return to Morocco. It is better to be a ‘filthy Moroccan’ than a ‘filthy Jew,’ he explained to his family.

Waxing poetic, another expressed the hope ‘to finish my service in the IDF and return to you, to my homeland Morocco, which I loved. This makes me very happy.’ One of his comrades-in-arms, who was from France, was frustrated at being identified, mistakenly, as a Moroccan. ‘I only know French but my skin is tan and I resemble a North African. What should I do? No one believes I am not North African. I don’t have a job, and even ‘white’ girls don’t want to dance with me,’ he complains. Another soldier cautioned his family that this was not the right time to immigrate to Israel. He explained, ‘You must know that the Arabs are our brothers, unlike the Ashkenazi Jews, who make our lives miserable. For all the money in the world I will not stay here.’

Moroccan immigrants in southern Israel

Moroccan immigrants in southern Israel

‘Big Brother apparatus’

An analysis of the letters reveals that the writers effectively refuted the central tenets of Zionist propaganda: The ‘homeland’ is not Israel but Morocco, and it is only to there that can one ‘return.’ As for the Jewish state, the only recourse is to flee it. Moreover, the brethren of Morocco’s Jews are not the Jews of Poland or Germany, as those who espoused the ‘ingathering of the exiles’ had hoped, but rather the Arabs. Thus, instead of a new – Israeli – identity, the hard landing experienced by some of Morocco’s Jews contributed to the shaping of a Moroccan identity.

The soldiers’ letters are quoted in Hazkani’s new book, ‘Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War’ (in English, from Stanford University Press). The historian has drawn in the past on the same collection of letters from the army’s postal censorship unit. One such study, which gave rise to an article in Haaretz in 2013, dealt with letters sent by soldiers from the front in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The letters themselves, in the army archive, are not accessible to scholars or others. Selected passages from them were quoted in internal military reports under the heading, ‘The Soldier’s Opinion,’ earmarked for senior ranks – and it is these reports that Hazkani was able to locate.

How did he get to this archival collection in the first place? At the beginning of the 2000s, Hazkani was the military correspondent for Channel 10 News. One day, while preparing an item about Israel’s arms deal with Germany in 1958, he came across an odd document. ‘It summarized the views of ‘ordinary’ soldiers about the deal… Their views were extracted from their personal letters, secretly copied by a massive Big Brother apparatus,’ Hazkani explains in his book.

Although the historian’s current focus is on soldiers of Moroccan origin, other archival documents show that they were not the only foreign-born soldiers during the state’s first decade who had scathing criticism about the Israeli society in which they found themselves. Soldiers from the United States, Great Britain and elsewhere who arrived as part of the Mahal project – involving army volunteers from overseas who were not immigrants – also weren’t wild about the so-called sabras. A survey conducted among the volunteers in 1949 by the Israel Institute of Applied Social Research (later renamed the Guttman Institute, and today called the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research) found that most of the newcomers expressed negative opinions about the Jewish state and its inhabitants (55 percent), with the bulk of the complaints referring to the phenomenon of proteksya (cronyism or favouritism). ‘Other reasons for resentment,’ Hazkani notes, ‘were chutzpah, egoism, hypocrisy and lack of respect.’

In this country, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ that’s important, one of the volunteers noted in his answers to the questionnaire. ‘Proteksya… proteksya… what chance does a guy like me have without that vitamin?’ added another. Some complained that the locals made no effort to be friendly, and were impolite, impudent and loud. A common theme was that Israelis think they’re always right and can’t abide the idea that sometimes the other side is right. The volunteers also felt that the locals attached too much importance to their country of origin, which affected their attitude. And, of course, that Israelis love aliyah but not olim.

The army’s postal censors diligently copied passages in which the volunteers expressed highly negative views about their experience in Israel. ‘It is enough if I say that when the Anglo-Saxons [first] came here, 95 percent were interested in settling. Today, you can’t even find 5 percent,’ a soldier wrote to his family in England. ‘In this country, soldiers try not to die for their country, but try, and with success, to have others (foreigners) die for their country,’ another observed. A volunteer soldier from the United States castigated the sabras’ ‘reprehensible behavior’ and termed them ‘irresponsible’ and ‘cheaters.’ ‘When I come back home,’ he added, ‘I’ll tell you how the people here falsify all the ideals that you work so hard for and that for the sake of their realization I came here.’

A South African soldier expressed anti-war sentiments, writing to his family that he didn’t want to fight for imperialism and the Zionists’ ‘territorial ambitions.’

Another maintained that ‘a golem is being created here, and no one knows how it [will] turn out when it grows up.’ The golem in question was the State of Israel itself, which arose, he wrote, thanks to lofty ideals but was losing control over its character and its future.

All pictures credit: Fritz Cohen/GPO/Haaretz

More on Palestine

The ‘Palestinian Problem’ is really the Israeli Problem

Attack on Gaza

Attack on Gaza

More on Palestine

The ‘Palestinian Problem’ is really the Israeli Problem

The biggest problem of the ‘Palestinian Problem’ is that the world doesn’t really give a toss what happens in Palestine until the Zionist, Israeli Settler State enjoys another period of slaughter of the Palestinian people. And even then criticism of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ is muted.

The fact that Palestinians, on a daily basis, are treated like second class citizens, who really don’t have a right to live in their own land is forgotten. The fact that they are probably being treated in a manner which makes the white supremacist South African apartheid regime pre-1990s seem quite ‘civilised’ is ignored. The fact that Palestinian land is being stolen from those whose families have lived there for generations – against all international ‘laws’, supposedly adopted to prevent such activity – happens on a daily basis with impunity. The fact that Palestinian children are dying and being injured at the hands of the Israeli military and police in numbers which would be received with shock and horror in those countries who seek to determine what happens in the Middle East and passes by without comment. The fact that Zionist fascist thugs roam the streets of the Palestinian occupied land, reminiscent of what occurred in Germany in the 1930s, isn’t even considered newsworthy.

It’s shameful that it was only shortly before the 73rd anniversary of the Nabka that two reports were published (one by the Jewish organisation B’ Tselem, This is apartheid, published in January 2021 and the other, A threshold crossed – Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, published by Human Rights Watch in May 2021) which openly condemned Israel as being an apartheid state.

For decades the Zionists had cynically hidden behind the Holocaust whenever their activities were challenged. They had become so confident (probably over-confident) in their propaganda exercise that they had started to conflate, and equate, criticism of the Settler State of Israel with anti-Semitism. This has had the effect, in the last year or so, of stifling debate about the rights of the Palestinians. That charade is starting to look slightly thin now when the forced evictions in East Jerusalem (highlighted by the Palestinian refusal to let it happen quietly) has made it difficult for the Zionists to deny the accusation that their racist state has been applying a policy of apartheid and ‘ethnic cleansing’ for decades.

It took the world a long time, far too long a time, to universally criticise and ostracise the racist South African regime. For the capitalist and imperialist countries (most of whom were racist in many respects) the existence of a tame attack dog in Africa which was willing to fight against any national liberation movements and stem the move toward Socialism was worth more than the local, national inconvenience of supporting a racially, unjust society. When the apartheid regime had run out of its usefulness changes in the society were accepted by the capitalists – although they did so in a manner which meant that capitalism wasn’t seriously challenged in the most industrially developed country on the African continent. (It should also be remembered that at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa Israel was that country’s closest military and diplomatic ally.)

Now Israel plays the slavish (but willing) role of imperialism’s attack dog in a part of the world that is politically and economically crucial for the short term existence of imperialism The more the Zionists crow about their right to live on stolen land; the more they spout about independence as a State; the more they prowl around the Middle East like an over-confident bully and gangster the more the reality they only exist due to the grace of the imperialist powers, mainly the United States of America, becomes evident.

How long will it be before the world opens its eyes to the crimes of the Zionist Settler State of Israel?

One of the other consequences when the simmering war goes on the boil is that there are a lot more articles from those who support the Palestinians in their fight for freedom and from injustice. Not that they’re not out there generally but when peoples’ concentration is directed to the situation in Palestine then more comments and information is forthcoming.

Below are links to some articles which have been published in the last week or so with salient comments to make on the reality of the past 73 years, on how the world sees Palestine and the biased manner in which Israel is treated by capitalist politicians and media.

However, although it is reasonable to condemn the approach of the leaders of the capitalist countries that doesn’t mean the people of the world, workers and peasants, equally maltreated by the economic and political system they live under, are totally blameless. Those politicians are in positions of power due to the action or inaction of the populace. Whether by crimes of commission or omission we are all guilty of what has happened, is happening and likely to continue happening if something is not done to prevent it for the foreseeable future in Palestine.

Long Live Palestine!

For further background information (mainly material from the 1960s-1980s) on Palestine you can click here.

(Notwithstanding the recent ‘cease fire’ the issue will not just go away. All those matters addressed below won’t disappear because the guns have fallen silent. A long term solution will have to be found and it will mean the State of Israel having to substantially change. The so-called ‘two state’ solution has been dead in the water for a long time.)

Sheikh Jarrah Shows that Palestine’s Nakba Never Ended

Two residents of Sheikh Jarrah write about their community’s fight against eviction – and why this month’s Palestinian uprising is just the latest chapter in a decades-long struggle against dispossession.

Another Nakba: ‘This Is My House, This Is My Door, You Are a Thief’

In the days leading up to the 73rd anniversary of the Nabka the aggressiveness and arrogance of the Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem was such that it would have been a surprise if matters did not reach a head close to the time of the date of the establishment of the Israeli Settler (and apartheid) State. (Note the contempt expressed in the faces of the young Zionists in the top picture.)

The Palestinian Body Is Whole Once Again

Palestinians disconnected from each other have struggled immensely to maintain a national project with clear objectives. Now, struggling together across the entire geography of historic Palestine, the Palestinian body is coming back together.

A Nightmare of Terror Across the Landscape of Palestine

As Israeli lynch mobs roam the streets attacking Palestinians, and as Israeli war planes drop bombs on Gaza, it’s essential to understand how we arrived at this moment.

On Palestine, the Media Is Allergic to the Truth

This article looks at how the media in the vast majority of capitalist countries falls over itself in support of the Israeli Settler State by always addressing matters as if the ‘both sides’ in the battle were on an equal footing – and forgetting the history of the conflict in general and always looking at matters as if they were all short term flare-ups.

Nine children killed in Gaza Strip as violence escalates

Although events got worse before they got ‘better’ – an uncertain cease fire – this article documents the cavalier attitude the Israeli Defence Forces have towards the lives of Palestinian children.

How the United States helps to kill Palestinians

U.S. policy has perpetuated the crisis and atrocities of the Israeli occupation by unconditionally supporting Israel in three distinct ways: militarily, diplomatically and politically.

Israeli forces kill 17-year-old Palestinian in Arroub refugee camp

The Israeli Defence Forces have been killing children on a regular basis for years. This is just yet another example where extreme and deadly force is being used against young people.

Gaza conflict: no matter how powerful Israel’s military becomes it still can’t win

‘ …. an apt summary is of a state that is impregnable in its insecurity. It is impregnable in the sense that it cannot be defeated, but insecure in that the underlying threats will not go away – as is evident in the current violent confrontations.’

Peaceful Coexistence in Israel hasn’t been shattered – it’s always been a myth

‘As a Palestinian from within Israel I have long been a second-class citizen, denied basic rights.’

Life inside Gaza during 11 days of bombardment

Guardian journalist Hazem Balousha describes living in, and reporting from, Gaza, under heavy bombardment until a ceasefire began on Friday, while historian Rashid Khalidi discusses the history of the Palestinian struggle for statehood. (Podcast)

Israeli social fabric is ripping at the seams

Israel has reached apartheid, the antithesis of Judaism’s long tradition of social justice.

Palestinian youth are leading a Popular Uprising to end Israeli Apartheid

The latest Palestinian uprising firmly rejects the conquest and division of our people legally and geographically, into separate, besieged, apartheid parcels of land similar to the Bantustans of Apartheid South Africa.

Why is accountability for alleged war crimes so hard to achieve in the Israel-Palestinian conflict?

‘The failure of the international community to bring about a resolution in the decades-long conflict reflects the highly politicised nature of international law.’

Likud Must Pay for Its Criminal Culture

The ruling party’s rap sheet is too long to be tolerated any longer.

And taking another historical perspective on Palestine;

What we did: How the Jewish Communist Left failed the Palestinian Cause

Although this article concentrates on the attitude of the Jewish Left in the United States in the late 1940s – at the time of the establishment of the Settler Sate of Israel – a similar approach would have been taken by many Communist parties throughout the world when the Soviet Union changed its approach to the ‘two state’ ‘solution’ of the situation in Palestine. Although a long term supporter of Comrade Stalin (and still am) this is one policy decision I have been unable to reconcile with his world view in general.

More on Palestine

The History of Palestine from the time of the plan of the establishment of the Settler State of Israel

A Palestinian child in 1970

A Palestinian child in 1970

More on Palestine

The History of Palestine from the time of the plan of the establishment of the Settler State of Israel

On this page we present an eclectic group of pamphlets, journals and reports that were published from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. These are reproduced in the hope of providing an historical background to the situation that we are witnessing in Palestine (in 2021) more than a couple of generations later.

What is striking in many of the images presented here is that the situation in Palestine has been dire, with the fascist Israeli forces implementing ‘ethnic cleaning’ in all their dealings with the Palestinian population from the very beginning and consistently ever since. (Note the date of the image at the head of this post.)

The situation before 1967

Israel – according to Theodore Herzl (1904) and Rabbi Fischmann (1947), nd.

Do you know – Twenty basic facts about the Palestine Problem, Facts and Figures Series, No 1, Research Centre, Palestine Liberation Organisation, Beirut, April 1966, 5 pages.

The UN and the Palestine Question, April 1947 – April 1965, Fayez A Sayegh, Facts and Figures Series, No 2, Research Centre, Palestine Liberation Organisation, Beirut, September 1966, 24 pages.

United States and West German Aid to Israel, Facts and Figures Series No 6, Asa’d Abdul-Rahman, Research Centre, Palestine Liberation Organisation, Beirut, October 1966, 53 pages.

The Partition of Palestine, Institute for Palestine Studies, Monograph Series No 9, Beirut, 1967, 55 pages.

Edwin Montagu and The Balfour Declaration, Arab League, London, 1969, 23 pages.

Deir Yassin, 1948 Zeita, Beit Nuba and Yalu, 1967, Palestine National Liberation Movement, Fateh, 1970, 18 pages. A twenty year span and the rise of terrorist gangs to statehood cannot change the Israeli-Zionist mentality, bent on destruction and terror.

The situation after 1967

Imperialism and the Middle East Conflict – Some Left Wing Viewpoints, No 1, Ad Hoc Committee for Peace in the Middle East, London, 1967, 34 pages.

Raphael’s ‘Virgin and Child’, Jerusalem Committee, London, 1969, 4 pages.

River without Bridges – A study of The Exodus of the 1967 Palestinian Refugees, Peter Dodd and Halim Barakat, Institute for Palestinian Studies, Monograph Series No 10, Beirut, 1969, 107 pages.

The June War – In the Light of its Aftermath, June 1967-Summer 1969, Vada Hart Nabky – Morssett Press, London, 1969, 32 pages.

To whom does Palestine belong? Henry Cattan, Institute for Palestine Studies, Monograph Series No 8, Beirut, 1969, 18 pages.

What if it happened to you? Jerusalem Committee, London, 1969, 15 pages.

World Public Opinion and the current aggression in the Middle East, No 4, United Arab Republic Ministry of National Guidance State Information Service, 1969, 34 pages.

World Public Opinion and Israel, No 5, United Arab Republic Ministry of National Guidance State Information Service, 1969, 75 pages.

World Public Opinion and the current aggression in the Middle East, No 7, United Arab Republic Ministry of National Guidance State Information Service, 1969, 18 pages.

World Public Opinion and the current aggression in the Middle East, No 15, United Arab Republic Ministry of National Guidance State Information Service, 1969, 25 pages.

Background Notes on Palestine, Report No 3, An Eyewitness in Jerusalem Spring 1969, John Carter, Jerusalem Committee, London, 1969, 21 pages.

Background Notes on Palestine, Report No 4, Visit to Palestine Summer 1969, Tom Fielding, Jerusalem Committee, London, 1969, 16 pages.

The Tragedy of Palestine from the Balfour Declaration to today, Anthony Nutting, The Arab League, London, 1969, 15 pages.

Tragedy of the Palestine Arab Refugees, 1969, 32 pages.

Israeli air attack on the National Metal Products Factory at Abu Zaabal, Cairo, February 12 1970, United Arab Republic Ministry of National Guidance State Information Service, 20 pages.

Israeli air raid on the Bahr El-Backar Primary School, Sharkia Governorate, UAR, April 8 1970, United Arab Republic Ministry of National Guidance State Information Service, 16 pages.

The Jarring Mission, The Arab League, London, 1970, 24 pages.

Zionism

Zionism and Racism – a case to answer, European Co-ordinating Committee of Friendship Societies with the Arab World, Paris, 1976, 26 pages.

Zionist Relations with Nazi Germany, Faris Yahya, Palestine Research Center, Beirut, 1978, 85 pages.

Jews, Zionism and South Africa, David Herman, Union of Jewish Students, London, 1989, 16 pages.

The Arab League, London

The Arab, Volume 2, Nos 31/32, The Arab League, London, August/September1969, 16 pages.

The Arab, Volume 2, No 33, The Arab League, London, October 1969, 12 pages.

The Arab, Volume 4, No 30, The Arab League, London, April 1970, 12 pages.

Jerusalem – El kuds al Sharif – The Rock of Faith, The Arab League, London, 1969, 8 pages.

A letter to the Holy Sees, The Arab League, Morssett Press, London, 1970, 24 pages.

Israelis versus Israel, The Arab League, London, 1970, 32 pages. The treatment of Arab Israelis – fifty years ago.

Solidarity with Palestine in Britain

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Fedayeen, Volume 1, No 2, October 1969, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, London, 1969, 8 pages.

Fedayeen, Volume 2, No 1, January 1970, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, London, 1970, 8 pages.

Fedayeen, Volume 2, No 2, March 1970, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, London, 1970, 10 pages.

Fedayeen, Volume 2, No 3, May 1970, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, London, 1970, 8 pages.

Fedayeen, Volume 3, No 1, February 1971, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, London, 1971, 6 pages.

American Imperialism – Palestine to Vietnam, Palestine Solidarity No 1, Liverpool University Palestine Solidarity Campaign, early 1970s, 12 pages.

Revolution – journal of the London Revolutionary Socialist Students Federation

Palestine, Special ‘Revolution’ Supplement, 1969, 4 pages.

Committees for Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution

Palestinian Revolution, Committees for Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution, Manchester University Students Union, March 1970, 16 pages.

Israel Palestine Socialist Action Group (UK)

I don’t know how long this publication (or the organisation) lasted after issue No 5/6. It’s possible it lived and died when a small group were in university at the beginning of the 1970s.

Flashpoint, No 3, Autumn 1970, Israel Palestine Socialist Action Group (UK), Reading, 13 pages.

Flashpoint, No 4, Spring 1971, Israel Palestine Socialist Action Group (UK), Reading, 20 pages.

Flashpoint, double issue Nos 5 and 6, Summer 1971/Winter 1971/2, Israel Palestine Socialist Action Group (UK), Reading, 23 pages.

American Solidarity with Palestine

The Middle East Newsletter was the journal of the Americans for Justice in the Middle East.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 2, No 9, November 1968, Beirut, 1968, 12 pages.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 3, No 4, May-June 1969, Beirut, 1969, 12 pages.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 3, Nos 5-6, September 1969, Beirut, 1969, 16 pages.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 4, Nos 1-2, March 1970, Beirut, 1970, 16 pages.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 4, No 3, April 1970, Beirut, 1970, 16 pages.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 4, Nos 4-5 July 1970, Beirut, 1970, 16 pages.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 4, Nos 4-5 July 1970 – Supplement, Beirut, 1970, 4 pages.

Butting in, butting out, The National Observer, Monday June 22, 1970, Supplement to Middle East Newsletter Volume 4, Nos 4-5, 1970, 1 page.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 4, Nos 6-7 August-September 1970, Beirut, 1970, 12 pages.

Middle East Newsletter, Volume 5, No 1, January 1971, Beirut, 1971, 16 pages.

General

Information Bulletin, No 10, 1968, Communist Party of Israel Central Committee – Tel Aviv, October 1968, 44 pages. Theses for the Sixteenth Congress of the Communist Party of Israel: Communism – Democracy – The Jewish People by Moshe Sneh.

Grim reports of repression in Israel-occupied lands, EC Hodgkin, 1969, 4 pages. This article was first published in ‘The Times’ on October 1968. It was then reproduced as an official document of the United Nations Security Council (number 5/9501, dated November 10 1969).

Hands off our people in Jordan, Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Palestinian People, London, 1970, 1 page.

Israel’s Threat to Judaism – In Palestine, Zionism v Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Rabbi Elmer Berger, A speech delivered to the Irish Arab Society, Dublin, 5th February 1970, Irish Arab Society, Dublin, 1970, 22 pages.

Nayef Hawatmeh, General Secretary of the Democratic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Interview with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Beiraq on 17th April 1974, Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Palestinian People, London, 1974, 28 pages.

Palestine, Yusef Sayegh, Free Palestine, London, nd, 22 pages.

Programme for National Palestinian Unity, Naim Ashhab, Political Bureau Member of the Central Committee of the Jordanian Communist Party, early 1970s, 8 pages.

One Jerusalem, Yael Guiladi, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1983, 75 pages.

Israel – The Political System, Israel Information Centre, Jerusalem, 1988, 31 pages. How Israel saw itself at the end of the 1980s.

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