When Zionists Loved Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Today you can hardly utter the acronym BDS without hearing that the very idea is anti-semitic.

But in the February 1921 edition of The Atlantic Magazine, Prof. Albert T. Clay (Assyrologist at the University of Pennsylvania) described how the Zionist incomers to Palestine were imposing their politics on the pre-existing Jewish minority there, which was largely made up of religious, non-Zionist Jews.

Ironically, their tactics comprised

1. Boycotting non-Zionist Jewish businesses;
2. Divestment of Zionist funds from non-Zionist Jews;
3. Sanctions such as threatening the removal of non-Zionist Jews from office, the closure of their businesses, denial of essential services to them, and their exclusion from any dealings with other Jews…

POLITICAL ZIONISM (Part IV) by Albert T. Clay.

The old resident Jews of Palestine certainly have other than religious grounds for their indifference toward the efforts of the Political Zionists. Last winter the [Zionist-dominated – ed.] Council of Jerusalem Jews appointed a commission of representative men holding leading positions, to visit parents who were sending their children to proscribed schools, in order to secure their withdrawal. Among these schools, which included those conducted by the convents and churches, some of which have existed in Jerusalem for a long time, are the British High School for Girls, the English College for Boys, and the Jewish School for Girls. In the latter, conducted by Miss Landau, an educated English Jewess, all the teachers are Jewish; most of the teaching is in the English language. This school, which is financed by enlightened Jews of England, was denounced more severely than the others, because, not being in sympathy with the programme of the Political Zionists, Miss Landau refused to teach the Zionist curriculum. She was even informed that her school would be closed.

In a series of articles that appeared in Doar Hayom, the Hebrew daily paper, last December, it was stated that the parents who refused to comply with the requests of the Commission were to be boycotted, cast out from all intercourse with Jews, denied all share in Zionist funds, and deprived of all custom for their shops and hotels. “Anyone who refused, let him know that it is forbidden for him to be called by the name of Jew; and there is to be for him no portion or inheritance with his brethren.’ They were given notice that they would “be fought by all lawful means.” Their names were to be put ‘upon a monument of shame, as a reproach forever, and their deeds written unto the last generation.’ If they are supported, their support will cease; if they are merchants, the finger of scorn will be pointed at them; if they are rabbis, they will be moved far from their office; they shall be put under the ban and persecuted, and all the people of the world shall know that there is no mercy in justice.’

A month later the results of this ‘warfare’ were reviewed. We were informed that some Jews had been influenced, but others–and the greater number, and those of the Orthodox, – those who fear God – having read the letters [signed by the head of its delegates and the Zionist Commission] became angry at the “audacity” of the Council of Jerusalem Jews “which mix themselves up in private affairs,” have Torn up the letter up, and that finished it.’

Then followed a long diatribe against these parents, boys, and girls, in which it was demanded that the blacklist of traitors to the people be sent to ‘those who perform circumcision, who control the cemeteries and hospitals’; that an order go forth so that’ doctors will not visit their sick, that assistance when in need, if they are on the list of the American Relief Fund, will not be given to them.’ “Men will cry to them, “Out of the way, unclean, unclean.” . . . They are in no sense Israelites.”

It is to be regretted that only these few paraphrases and quotations from the series of articles published can be presented here.

The work of the Councils Committee met with not a little success; pupils left schools, and teachers gave up their positions. Two instructors in the English College, whose fathers were rabbis, and a third, whose brother was a teacher in a Zionist school, resigned. Another refused to do so, and declared himself ready, in the interests of the Orthodox Jews, who were suffering under this tyranny, which they deplored, to give the fullest testimony to the authorities concerning this persecution. The administration, under Governor Bols, finally intervened, and at least no further public efforts to carry out their programme were made.

If, in this early stage of the development of Political Zionism, even the Palestinian Religious Jews already find themselves under such a tyranny, what will happen if these men are allowed to have full control of the government? And what kind of treatment can the Christian and the Moslem expect in their efforts to educate their children, if the Political Zionists are allowed to develop their Jewish state to such a point that they can dispense with their mandatory and tell the British to clear out? When such things happen under British administration, what will take place if the Jewish State is ever realized, and such men are in full control?…

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