The Palestinian Riots of 1920

I posted a version of “Israel’s Original Sin” on Daily Kos as well as this blog, and on Kos I got some criticism for the title, (which I have since changed. See update below.) such as “Really bad title for a pretty thoughtful diary”, “… an odd way to put a secular political thought and could be interpreted as incendiary speech”, and “I agree such a title might lead to people mistaking the intent of the author”.

Considering the criticism from the title and some of the dialog about the actual content of my post, I’m surprised that nobody mentioned the riots in the 1920’s, here described in a Wikipedia article: (I chopped the paragraph up for brevity)

With the outcome of the First World War, the relations between Zionism and the Arab national movement seemed to be potentially friendly, […] However, with the defeat and dissolution of the Arab Kingdom of Syria in July 1920 […] The return of several hard-line Palestinian Arab nationalists […] marked the beginning of Palestinian Arab nationalist struggle towards establishment of a national home for Arabs of Palestine […] Amin al-Husseini […] immediately marked Jewish national movement and Jewish immigration to Palestine as the sole enemy to his cause, initiating large-scale riots against the Jews as early as 1920

By “potentially friendly”, the article’s author means there was open acceptance by Arab leadership. On signing the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement for Arab-Jewish Cooperation in 1919, Faisal (who later became Faisal I of Iraq) stated (Also from Wikipedia):

We Arabs… look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, insofar as we are concerned, to help them through; we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home… I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of the civilised peoples of the world.

Unfortunately, the potential friendliness was marred by rioting instigated by an Arab nationalist who didn’t want Jews in Arabia. That nationalist, Haj Amin al-Husseini, later became one of Hitler’s allies.

Between two people, a dirty look might lead to a unfriendly shoulder bump which leads to a shove which leads to a punch. Perhaps instead of “Original Sin” I should have used “First Punch”. One could make a good case that the riots were the first punch. But the riots might have ended. When Israel was created, there was no easy way to undo what had been done. Still, in an escalating conflict it’s hard to define the first genuine act of aggression.

Update 2014 07/23: I wrote a post called “Israel’s First Sin and Continued Hope for Peace” and received so much criticism for that title that I have since changed it. This post was titled “Palestinian Sin”, and considering the criticism for other title, I have changed this title as well.

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