Friday, June 24, 2011

Rounding off the week

Webbery: Nayha Kalia writes on Sri Lanka's killing fields, Edmund Standing argues that the war on multiculturalism needs to be fought, Jim Denham takes on Gaddafi's foreign legion, George Monbiot names the genocide deniers, Ben Cohen reflects on the Yale antisemitism issue, Rosie deconstructs the Staggers' idiocy about the Gay Girl blog, while Marko blames the whole blogosphere, and Stuart surveys the week on the democratic left web. Three book reviews by Max Dunbar: of Owen Hatherley's Uncommon, of Owen Jones' Chavs and of Hitch-22.

75 Years In The Forward: British Colonial Minister William Ormsby-Gore reported in the British Parliament that the Arab population of Palestine has increased, mainly as a result of the increase of the Jewish population. Ormsby-Gore reported that since 1922, more than 250,000 Arabs have immigrated to Palestine. They have moved there to avail themselves of the economic opportunities that have been created as a result of the arrival of large numbers of Jews, who have settled mainly in the areas of Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem. In those areas they have created large agricultural settlements in which many Arabs work.
Music: First, some rebetika, the music of the "Greek" people dispersed from Asia Minor in the ethnic cleansing of the 1920s, as played in Israel today. Totally different, when I posted the Specials earlier this week, I somehow managed to miss George Szirtes' fantastic "A few days of ska" series. I had never heard of Slim Smith, who is great. Here's a different sort of ska, from South London:


Levi9909 said...

Here is a link to all the House of Commons debates that took place on 24/6/1936:

In the They work for you site you can also search words attributed to a speaker, like "Arab", "immigration", "Palestine" or even "250,000" to, eg, Mr William Ormsby-Gore. I couldn't find anything to tally with the assertion that "Ormsby-Gore reported that since 1922, more than 250,000 Arabs have immigrated to Palestine." It makes no difference to anything unless one supports nativist discourse but can anyone find any evidence for what Forward is saying?

kellie said...

The Forward appears to have been mistaken 75 years ago. The figure and explanation came from Mr Thomas Williams (Don Valley) on 19 June 1936:
Mr Thomas Williams (Don Valley)
Anything that leads towards the truth will help to clear the mind of every hon. Member in the Committee. Another figure I want to use which will have to be treated with reserve is that since 1922, I am informed, the Arabs who have emigrated into Palestine, number round about 250,000. It may be including the natural increase, slightly more or slightly less, but the point remains just the same. If conditions are so intolerable in Palestine as some people would have us believe, why have this extra quarter of a million Arabs emigrated to Palestine? Where have these Arabs settled on arrival there? If one examines Palestine, one will find that they are very largely settled upon those areas where a large quantity of Jewish money has been expended and where there are opportunities, not only for industrial expansion and remunerative employment, but a decent and healthy social life. Therefore, we ought to ask ourselves this question, when dealing with the grave situation in Palestine: Can it be true that Part II of the Mandate has really been violated? I would rather put the question in the opposite way. Has Jewish immigration interfered with, or has it assisted, the Arabs? The presence of a large number of Jews has created a ready market for the agricultural produce of the Arab farmers. Many Arab farmers have copied modern methods and efficient farms to their own great advantage, and to the advantage of the country. There is remunerative employment available for all those who have gone into Palestine, and there is little or no unemployment. What has happened with regard to the wages of the workers? We are informed that during the past 12 or 14 years they have increased by 200 per cent. It is not a very large money wage, I agree—3s. per day. But 3s. in Palestine, compared with 10d. in Iraq, or 1s. in Egypt is a considerable improvement in that direction.


kellie said...

Or perhaps the 1936 Forward article was accurate and the 2011 summary is sloppy?

Levi9909 said...

Yes, it would be interesting to see the original Forward from 1936.

kellie said...

No cameras in the house then, but here's a National Portrait Gallery photo of Tom Williams, miner and politician, to help us imagine the scene as he made his argument.

bob said...

Just for info, here is Ormsby-Gore (a Tory govt minister with some responsibility for Palestine) 1926 speeches Possibly partial rather than comprehensive. Includes reassuring Col Wedgewood (Tony Benn's relative) of the govt doing it could to help Iraqi Jews get out and to Palestine.

kellie said...

All kinds of resonances... here's Ormsby-Gore responding to questions on enforced demolitions of houses in Jaffa, and a collective penalty imposed on an Arab village following a bomb attack:

What a way to spend a sunny sunday afternoon!

N17 said...

Meho said...

Hi Bob, I just found out this
song came to the Balkans through Sephardic Jews. Hope you like it.

Daniel041 said...

Here is some ex-YUgoslavian music:

Idoli - The Defense and the Last Days (1982)

02. Poslednji dani 05. Nemo 10. Odbrana 11. Gdje si sad cica-maco 12. Glavna ptica

Daniel041 said...

Disciplina Kičme - I like when you feel uncomfortable (1983)

1. Clear them away 4. Winners 5. Youth does not justify unconsciousness


Daniel041 said...

Šarlo Akrobata - Bistriji ili tuplji čovek biva kad... (1981)

11. Problem 10. O, O, O ... 8. Čovek 3. Fenomen

Mali čovek želi preko crte

Daniel041 said...

Indexi - Modra Rijeka (1987)

02. Blago 03. Brod 04. More 07. Pustinja 08. More II 09. Modra rijeka II

Daniel041 said...


Vojna Poema, Crtomir, Nova Akropola, Kapital, Decree, Jagerspiel

Daniel041 said...

Leb i Sol – Leb i Sol 2 (1978)

2. Kako ti drago 3. Aber dojde Donke 5. Dikijeva igra 7. Marija

Smak – Smak (1975)

03. Blues u parku 04. Biska 2 05. Put od balona

Daniel041 said...

Električni Orgazam (1981)

Nebo, Razgovori, Konobar, Pojmove ne povezujem, Infekcija, Voda u moru, Zlatni papagaj

Elvis J. Kurtović & His Meteors – Da Bog Da Crk'o Rok'N'Rol (1985)

Nosila je ljepotu ko prokletstvo, Krivo usmjeren

Daniel041 said...

Arhangel - Arhangel; Videosex - Pejd' ga pogledat Anja, Stakleno nebo; Riblja Čorba - U dva će čistaci odneti đubre; Time - Za Koji Zivot Treba Da Se Rodim; Zabranjeno Pušenje - Djevojčice kojima miriše koža; Prljavo Kazalište - Crno bijeli svijet; Partibrejkers - Ulični hodač; Vještice - Neobičan dan, Zlato; Luna - Lambo, Vila; Crvena Jabuka - Dirlija; Arsen Dedić - Život je more; Marko Brecelj - Gozd; Pop Mašina - Mir; Josipa Lisac - O jednoj mladosti; Tihomir Pop Asanović - Berlin Iⅈ Zana - Dodirni mi kolena; Bebi Dol - Ritam Srca; Piloti - Ne veruj u idole, Nina, Nedeljom uveče; Satan Panonski - Iza zida; Bijelo Dugme - Pjesma za malu pticu; Obojeni Program - Ona Je Tu; La Strada - Dosla su tako neka vremena; Katarina II - Aut, Geto; Haustor - Treći svijet, Uzalud pitaš, Šejn, Ena Azra - 041


The Plump said...

As others have pointed out the statement was not by Ormsby-Gore and I found no reference to it in Hansard so thanks to Kellie for finding the source.

I am away so have had to rely on the Internet so treat with caution. This seems to be one of those many myths that gets repeated as propaganda. From the best figures I could find the Arab population did increase from about 650,000 to 850,000 between 1922 and 1931. Therefore the statement takes that figure and assumes that it was all (plus a bit extra) due to immigration. Nothing to do with increasing fertility rates, nor the unreliability of previous census data.

In addition, even if there was substantial in-migration, relating it solely to economic development caused by Jewish immigration (around 90,000 over the same period) would seem to be pure guesswork, extremely unlikely (given employment practices) and would also exclude any development of the Palestinian Arab economy and any growth created by British Mandatory investment.

The first commenter gets it right about it making little difference, but these accumulated propaganda myths are used as tools of de-legitimation by one side or the other. I find it depressing how they have a life of their own despite the lack of substance.

kellie said...

Thomas Williams talks quite a bit more on the economy beyond the snippet I included in my earlier comment, making further comparisons with the wider region. I haven't read any detailed history of the period, so I'd be interested in what you make of it, Peter, and if you have any other ideas on the relative performance of the pre-Israel economy in Palestine compared to the region. As well as migration, what other factors might have made a difference?

The Plump said...

Kellie, I shall think on about some reading. Remind me again, I don't have access to the books I would usually refer to. Off the top of my head and so unreliable:

Rural economy

The effects were felt differentially. Land sales by absentee landlords adversely affected the Arab peasantry who were cleared from the land and was a primary cause of unrest and migration to the cities. Many had lost title to their land as a result of the Ottoman land registration in the 1860s. This and the use of tax farming had led to a rapid decline in agriculture before the First World War and lowered the living standards of the peasants in Ottoman Palestine and elsewhere. So agricultural production rose, though from a low base, as a result of the ending of Ottoman practices. Though the benefit was mainly felt by the Palestinian land owning elites and Jewish settlements.

Urban development was aided by British mandatory construction projects that absorbed some of the dispossessed rural migrants.

Jewish investment and development did lead to a growth in the economy and employment for Arabs. However, the Histadrut's policy of exclusive Jewish labour (justified as a way of not being colonialists exploiting native labour, but instead being nation builders) limited the employment of Arabs and was seen as discrimination by Palestinians.

And, it is worth noting that Palestine too suffered from the great depression. It is hardly surprising that the first major rising by the Arabs was in 1929 and was followed by the general Arab Revolt in the mid 30s.

However, the way this argument was used was to promote the line that Jewish immigration had improved the lot of the Palestinians; saying that they were beneficiaries of Jewish immigration - an idea first floated in Herzl's novel Altneuland. This was certainly not true for some of the rural population displaced through land sales and it misses the whole point about the conflict developing in Mandatory Palestine. This was not about economic development, it was about sovereignty - and it still is.

The Plump said...

Oh, and Kellie I should add that one of the reason for differential development was the underlying economic base. Palestine, along with the rest of what was Ottoman Syria, was already the best developed part of the region (other than some of Mesopotamia). Its major cities (Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem) were centres of education with strong foreign influences and the home of indigenous, anti-Turkish, Arab nationalism. The seaboard was a trading centre, with port cities and wealthy mercantilist families. Thus it was better placed to develop if the investment was forthcoming.

Secondly, as a result, Palestine was able to benefit from the boom years of the 1920's as much as it suffered from the crash of '29.

After the disturbances of 1921, economic growth cushioned the impact of immigration, though the problems were still there, which is why they re-emerged in 1929, with a far wider outbreak of violent Arab opposition.

Levi9909 said...

Peter and Kellie, a friend of mine has recommended The population of Palestine: population history and statistics of the late Ottoman period and the mandate by Justin McCarthy here:

for demographic info for the period from the 1890s to 1948. I am guessing Peter will know of it. The author has an interesting article, again on demographics, on Palestine Remembered