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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Racist Zionism 06: Turkey, Arabs and racist Zionists 1908-1914

Young Turk revolution of 1908 - wars since 1911 - racist Zionist banks and diplomacy - anti-Zionist Turkish Jews - racist Zionists and Arabs in Turkish parliament - racist Zionist hopes for destruction of Turkey - institutions - Arabs and racist Zionists against Young Turks

from: Zionism; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 16

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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<THE YOUNG TURKS

[Revolution against the dictator pasha system in July 1908 - Turkey in wars since 1911]

When Wolffsohn next visited Constantinople, it was after the situation there had undergone a dramatic change. The revolution of the Young Turks (July 1908) brought to the fore new rulers and widespread hopes. It also restored a relatively liberal constitution; abolished the rule of corrupt palace cliques, of spying, and censorship; and established a parliament. Abdul Hamid survived for another eight months and - after a briefly successful counter coup - was replaced by Muhammad V. The years that followed were turbulent and saw (col. 1074)

almost constant warfare, beginning with the Italian campaign in Tripolitania (1911-12) and through two Balkan wars (1912-13) to World War I and beyond. It was hardly a time for gaining sympathy for [[racist]] Zionism. Whatever progressive ideas the Young Turks may have had initially, chauvinistic tendencies soon prevailed among them. They rejected suggestions for a less centralized regime and for a degree of freedom for the minorities. As far as Palestine was concerned, they proved as inflexible as the rulers they displaced. Nevertheless, conditions of political work in Constantinople itself underwent a slight change.

[The Anglo-Levantine Banking Co. with racist Zionist Victor Jacobson - racist Zionist diplomacy - Turkish Jews mainly anti-Zionist because of Ashkenazim dominance in racist Zionist circles]

The [[racist]] Zionist leadership sought to avail itself of the few opportunities that were now to be found on the Bosporus, mostly for the purpose of explaining the aims and purposes of Jewish settlement in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]]. With the opening of the Anglo-Levantine Banking Co., the post of deputy director was entrusted to Victor *Jacobson, a Russian [[racist]] Zionist with some experience in the Near East. Since the main task had been the proliferation of authoritative information, he was joined by another Russian [[racist]] Zionist, the journalist Vladimir Jabotinsky.

A small Turkish publication in French was turned into a well-edited daily, Le Jeune Turc [[The Young Turk]]. Apart from propaganda, however, there was little that cold be done in the political sphere. A visit by Nordau, who had friendly ties with some of the Turkish leaders, produced no change. He was told that the Jews would be allowed to take part in the development of Turkey but would not be allowed to concentrate in any particular area, such as Palestine.

Wolffsohn revisited Constantinoople (June 1909) to review the situation. This was to be his last visit there. IN 1911 he retired from the Executive and was replaced by Otto *Warburg, a "practical" [[racist]] Zionist, as chairman. This time Wolffsohn paid special attention to the attitiude of Turkish Jews, of whom only a few showed interest in [[racist]] Zionism; others were indifferent or unfriendly. The community saw much in-fighting: between Sephardi and Ashkenazi [[west European white skinned and blue eyed]] leaders, between those influenced by the French-oriented Alliance Israélite Universelle and the adherents of the German-Jewish *Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden [[Aid Committee, also: Central-Verein]]. Prominent among the opponents were Chief Rabbi Haim *Nahoum (later chief rabbi of Egypt) and a Jewish member of parliament from Baghdad.> (col. 1075)

<THE ARAB PROBLEM [Arab nationalism]

[Arabs as a "subject people" - prophecy of Ahad Ha-Am of a big war against the Arabs]

The Arabs themselves had become a significant political factor.

[[Under the pasha regime they were dominated by the Turks, and as long as they had no weapons the Arabs did not count for racist Herzl and his racist Zionist organizations and racist Zionist banks. But now Jewish racist Zionism provoked also national movements in the Arab population and Herzl's thesis that all Arabs could be driven away and enslaved was not right any more - but Herzl saw the problem in supremacy of the Jews against the Arabs...]]

As one of the subject peoples, they had little direct say in the past. In Palestine difficulties arose, from time to time, between Jewish settlers and the local population in connection with land purchases, commercial competition, labor disputes, or robberies. Labor troubles multiplied after the Second Aliyah brought young pioneers who sought to "conquer" labor opportunities in all Jewish settlements. But there, as elsewhere in the empire, Arabs were dominated and roughly treated by Turkish officials. The Arab national movement was in its infancy. One of the few who thought of it was Ahad (Aḥad) Ha-Am, who wrote as far back as 1891, in a famous article "Truth from Erez Israel  (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]]":

We abroad are accustomed to believe that Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] is almost totally desolate at present ... but in reality it is not so ... Arabs, especially those in towns, see and understand our activities and aims in the country but keep quiet and pretend as if they did not know, and that because they don't see any danger to their future in our activities at present, and they try to exploit us, too, and profit from the new guests while laughing at us in their hearts. But if the time comes and our people make such progress as to displace the people of the country ... they will not lightly surrender the place."

[Arabs in Turkish parliament since 1908 blocking racist Jewish Zionist activities in Palestine - racist Zionists are "separatists" - Turkish government with promises without fulfillment to all groups]

The situation began to change after the revolution of the Young Turks [[in July 1908, because with Turkish nationalism the rests of the Turkish Empire could not be hold any more from the national Arab movements]]. There were some 60 Arabs and a couple of Jews in the parliament, which counted less than 300 members. The Arabs influenced policy (mostly through (col. 1075)

personal contacts), introduced interpellations, and, in 1911, initiated two full-fledged debates on the dangers involved in Jewish immigration and land acquisition. In one of these  debates, the only speaker to refute their accusations was a Bulgarian Socialist member. Government spokesmen more than once made hostile statements stressing [[racist]] Zionist separatist aims. [[Racist]] Zionist representatives sought to counteract the assaults by denying separatist intentions. Jacobson also sought to establish contact with Arab members of parliament. The latter feared that government leaders belonging to the Committee of Union and Progress might be unduly influenced by Jews who were among the earliest supporters of the Committee. The Turkish authorities, on their part, chose to make promises to all and fulfilled very few of them.

[Racist Jewish Zionist hopes that the Turkish Empire will split - Turkey during World War I - Zionist proposals for the Turkish army - the aim of the foundation of a racist "Jewish State" by Jacobus Kann]

Not many realized at the time that the struggles in which Turkey had been involved, in the Balkans and elsewhere, were but the opening skirmishes in an approaching world war. Though talk of "partition" of the Ottoman Empire was heard long before and early [[racist]] Zionism itself had been influenced by it, the [[racist]] Zionist movement had to base its day-to-day work on repeated assurances that it did not seek to harm the unity of that empire.

When Turkey found itself at war with Italy in Tripoli, Nordau supported a proposal that a unit of Jewish volunteers be organized to fight side by side with the Ottoman forces. Another [[racist]] Zionist suggestion later spoke of organizing a medical unit to help the Turks in the Balkans. When the veteran [[racist]] Zionist leader Jacobus *Kann of The Hague published a book about a visit to Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] in which he openly stated that the ultimate aim of [[racist]] Zionism is the establishment of a [[racist]] Jewish state there, Jabotinsky, then in charge of [[racist]] Zionist press activities in Constantinople, vigorously protested to Wolffsohn and demanded the suppression of Kann's book.

This attitude did not seem to convincing to the Young Turks, while it made [[racist]] Zionism further suspect in the eyes of Arab nationalists. On the other hand, [[racist]] Zionist tactics were almost inevitably the outcome of the contradiction between the movement's immediate needs and its long-range goals. The immediate necessity was to preserve the existing yishuv [[Jews in Palestine before racist Herzl Israel foundation, before 1948]] and to increase, however slowly,  the number of new immigrants and settlements.

[The invasion of Zionist institutions in Palestine - Palestine Office under Ruppin in Jaffa - formation of local Arab nationalist groups fighting against Turkish Ottomanization - Zionist-Arab contacts against the Turks]

The hopes engendered by the changes in Turkey were soon reflected in growing Jewish activity: the number of settlements established in the years 1908-14 reached almost a dozen and a half. The same period also saw the opening in Jaffa of the Palestine Office of the Zionist Organization under Arthur *Ruppin, the foundation of Tel Aviv [[on desert land]], and the formation of organized public bodies of the new yishuv. All these naturally strengthened Arab opposition and coincided with the formation of local Arab nationalist groups and the appearance of their first newspapers in the country. Though the stirrings among the Arabs found little reflection in the Jewish press, some [[racist]] Zionist leaders soon realized their importance, and as far back as 1908 Wolffsohn used an expression which was later to be repeated by others: Governments change, but the people remain.

During the last year before the outbreak of World War I the first Arab-Jewish contacts that would be seen as politically significant, were introduced. when the Young Turks started taking stringent measures for the "Ottomanization" of their empire, some of the active Arab nationalists were in search of allies. A few turned to the Jews, who, they hoped, could help them with the press and public opinion in Europe. A director of [[the newspaper]] Le Jeune Turc [[Young Turk]], S. Hochberg, received an invitation to visit Beirut and Cairo in order to meet Arab nationalists. He went there, with Jacobson's consent and with the knowledge of the Young Turks, and, according to reports to his superiors, established a measure of accord. The support of Le Jeune Turc had been promised for Arab (col. 1076)

aspirations, without prejudice to the unity of the empire, as well as help in the European press, while the Arabs undertook to drop their opposition to Jewish immigration and to support Arab-Jewish understanding. Some of this spirit was also reportedly felt at a conference called by the same Arab activists in Paris in July 1913. This time, Jacobson joined Hochberg in the talks but these were inconclusive, though only muted opposition to Jewish immigration was voiced at the conference.

Another attempt at Arab-Jewish understanding was made in 1914. Arab politicians were again in need of propaganda assistance and, in conversations with [[racist]] Zionists in Constantinople, concentrated on Jewish financial aid for the expansion of Arab education, large-scale public works in Arab regions, and preventing the dispossession of Arab fellahin. The latter point was met by suggestions that agriculture be intensified, thus making room for new settlers as well as for the existing farmers. Parallel with these conversations, other talks were conducted by Nahum Sokolow, member of the [[racist]] Zionist Executive, who visited Beirut and Damascus in May 1914. Arab participants in these talks suggested a joint conference to be convened later in the summer and attended by members of the [[racist]] Zionist Executive like Sokolow himself, and not by representatives unauthorized to take decisions. Some of the Arabs called for the assimilation of the Jewish settlers among the local majority through the establishment of mixed villages and mixed schools. In the meantime, heavy clouds covered the international horizon. The joint conference which was to meet at the beginning of July was postponed for a few weeks. But on July 28 the first shots of World War I rang out in the Balkans, and on November 5 Turkey became involved in the war on the side of [[racist imperial]] Germany and [[racist imperial]] Austria.> (col. 1077)

[[Racist imperial kaiser Germany wanted to germanize whole Europe...]]

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Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1073-1074
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1073-1074
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1075-1076
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1075-1076
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1077-1078
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1077-1078


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