Hitler and the MuftiOriginal Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal, in reference to “Palestine 1936 Review: The Storm Before the Storm,” February 15, 2023. 

In Dominic Green’s review of Oren Kessler’s book Palestine 1936 (Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2023), he presents three fundamental concepts of the book that are inherently flawed. The first being his assertion that Jewish-Arab tensions arose after 1936, the second, his portrayal of the British as being “patrons” of the Jews, and the third, his representation of the Arabs being landless. 

Mr. Kessler argues that the Arab Revolt of 1936, led by Haj Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, “cast the mold of the Jewish-Arab encounter ever since.” However, this claim is noticeably challenging, as the Mufti incited massacres of Palestinian Jews in 1920, the Nebi Musa riots in Jerusalem (8 killed), in 1921, the Jaffa riots (47 killed) and in 1929, riots across Palestine (133 killed), the most horrific of which was in Hebron (67 killed). 

Leading up to the Nebi Musa riots, according to the Diary of British Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, “[British Army Chief of Staff Colonel Bertie Harry] Waters-Taylor saw Haj al Amin on the Wednesday before Easter and told him that he had a great opportunity at Easter, April 4, to show the world that the Arabs of Palestine would not tolerate Jewish domination in Palestine; that Zionism was unpopular not only with the Palestine Administration but in Whitehall and if disturbances of sufficient violence occurred in Jerusalem at Easter, both General Bols and General Allenby would advocate the abandonment of the Jewish Home. Waters-Taylor explained that freedom could only be attained through violence.” 

The Palin Commission of Inquiry was established to examine the reasons for the Nebi Musa riots. They concluded: 

“The Jews were the sufferers, and were, moreover, the victims of a particularly brutal and cowardly attack, the majority of the casualties being old men, women and children.” 

A year later, on May 1, 1921, Arabs attacked the Jews of Jaffa and five rural settlements. 47 Jews were killed and 146 wounded (The Political History of Palestine under British Administration, memorandum by His Britannic Majesty’s government presented in July 1947 to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine). The Haycraft Commission of 1921 concluded, 

“We have no doubt that the Arabs of Jaffa were the first to turn this quarrel into a race conflict, and, once this issue was joined, they behaved with a savagery which cannot be condoned.” 

Dr. Beadles, the Principal Medical Officer in Jaffa spoke of his examination of dead bodies: “I was struck most with the number of wounds on each body, and the ferocity of the wounds. I am speaking particularly of broken skulls. Some of the victims had dozens of wounds,” (Palestine Disturbances in May, 1921, Reports of the Commision of Inquiry with Correspondence relating thereto. Command Paper 1540).

The 1929 Palestinian Arabs perpetrated the grisly Hebron massacre of Jews, which is well recounted by the Wall Street Journal article of August 27, 2009, “Remembering the Hebron Massacre,”: 

“Arabs swarmed through Hebron screaming ‘Kill the Jews.’ They broke into the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, where many Jews had gathered for safety. There they wielded knives and axes to murder 22 innocents. In the Anglo-Palestine Bank, where 23 corpses were discovered, blood covered the tile floor. That day, three children under the age of five were murdered. Teenage girls, their mothers and grandmothers were raped and killed. Rabbis and their students were castrated before they were slain. A surviving yeshiva student recounted that he ‘had seen greater horrors than Dante in hell.’ When the slaughter finally subsided, 67 Jews had been murdered.” 

Mr. Kessler’s picture painted of the British as Jewish “patrons” and “enablers” could not be farther from reality. Mr. Green’s review states: “The Great Revolt’s ‘singular, undeniable achievement’ was forcing a British retreat from the Balfour Declaration, including its fatal consequences for the Jews of Europe.” However, it can be noted that the British undermining of the Balfour Declaration (a statement issued by United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, proclaiming Britain’s support for the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, which later served as the basis for the Palestine Mandate, established by the League of Nations San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920) began long before 1936. In December 1920, Winston Churchill addressing the British Cabinet said, “it is our duty, more than any other Government, to study policies which are in harmony with Mohammedan feeling.” (Christopher Catherwood, Churchill’s Folly) Churchill goes on to act upon these sentiments, when in March 1921 at the Cairo Conference, “with the stroke of a pen,” he created Transjordan, cutting off 75% of the land initially earmarked for the Jewish homeland, limiting it to 10,000 square miles west of Jordan. Winston Churchill wrote to Prime Minister David Lloyd George, “We consider it necessary immediately to occupy militarily TransJordania…” (F.O. 371/6342). In the White Paper of June 1922, Churchill created the notion of “economic absorptive capacity” as a means of limiting Jewish immigration into Palestine. The White paper states: 

“…it is necessary that the Jewish community in Palestine should be able to increase its numbers by immigration. This immigration cannot be so great in volume as to exceed whatever may be the economic absorptive capacity of the country at the time to absorb new arrivals.” 

The Passfield White Paper of October 1930 concluded that there was “no margin of land available for agricultural settlement by new immigrants,” therefore establishing the official British policy of restricting Jewish immigration and land purchases in Palestine. In 1934, Britain further restricted Jewish immigration into Palestine by deducting the number of “illegal” Jewish immigrants from the quota for legal Jewish immigration (Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial). 

By the time the Peel Commission was appointed in 1936 to investigate the causes of unrest in Palestine, British Anti-Jewish sentiment was highly apparent. In 1937 the Commission issued a report nullifying the Balfour Declaration, stating “the Mandatory has fully implemented this obligation to facilitate the establishment of a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine.” 

This anti-Jewish sentiment would continue to be acted upon by King George VI and his government. On February 28, 1939, the King’s private secretary transmitted a note to Lord Halifax reading “His Majesty has heard from Lord Gord [Lord Gord was the then High Commissioner in Palestine] that a number of Jewish refugees from different countries are surreptitiously getting into Palestine and his Majesty is glad to think that steps are being taken to prevent these people leaving their country of origin” (Martin Gilbert, “British Policy Towards Jewish Refugees 1933 to 1946). The word went out to the capitals across Europe to discourage accepting Jewish refugees from the German Reich. The Romanian government was reproved for allowing 850 Jews to board an immigrant ship bound for Palestine. The reason for these actions, as Malcolm McDonald told the British Cabinet, is that “[Britain] could not afford to forfeit the confidence and friendship of such a large part of the Muslim world.” In the words of British Foreign Secretary Irwin Halifax in 1939, “It seems to me that it is morally wrong for us to insist on sending more and more Jews into Palestine against the wishes of the Arab inhabitants of that country.” (Martin Gilbert, “British Policy Towards Jewish Refugees 1933 to 1946). 

Finally, in May of 1939, the British took a dastardly anti-Jewish stance with the release of the White Paper of 1939. It cut Jewish immigration to zero from May to November 1939, then to 75,000 total for the five years until the end of 1944. The White Paper stated that after 1944, the British would not “be under any obligation to facilitate the further development of the Jewish National Home by immigration” and “no further Jewish immigration would be permitted unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it.” It further declared that the Jewish population should comprise 1/3 of the population of Palestine. Legal sale of land to Jews by Arabs is restricted to within an area of 400 square miles, or 4% of the Palestine Mandate. 

It can be noted, according to a British memorandum, that in the spring of 1944, 24,000 of the 75,000 certificates of immigration had not been utilized (The Political History of Palestine Under the British Administration). Reasonably, one can say tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of European Jews could have been saved from Hilter’s gas chambers if they could have entered Palestine.

In 1946, the British Government “conceded the demand of the Palestine Arab leaders who, under the advice of the former Mufti of Jerusalem, demanded immediate stoppage of Jewish immigration and deportation of Jews who were already in Haifa harbor, as a condition for attending a round table conference which the government is trying to convene” (San Francisco Chronicle, August 14, 1946). 

Finally, Mr. Kessler’s contention that land sales drove Arabs off the land and destroyed Arab economy is directly refuted by the Peel Commission Report of July 1937 which states: “The Arab population shows a remarkable increase since 1920, and it has had some share in the increased prosperity of Palestine. Many Arab landowners have benefited from the sale of land and the profitable investment of the purchase money. The fellaheen are better off on the whole than they were in 1920. This Arab progress has been partly due to the import of Jewish capital into Palestine and other factors associated with the growth of the National Home. In particular, the Arabs have benefited from social services which could not have been provided on the existing scale without the revenue obtained from the Jews.” 

In 1946 the Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry determined: “As pioneers in Palestine,” states the Report of the Anglo-American Committee, “the Jews have a record of which they can be proud. In Palestine there has been no expulsion of the indigenous population and exploitation of cheap Arab Labour has been vigorously opposed as inconsistent with Zionism.” 

In summary, the assertion that the past and present cycle of Palestinian Arab terrorism “began in 1936” can be discredited by looking farther back in history. Regrettably, for the past 100 years, the Arabs of Palestine have committed massacres and murder of Jews in the Holy Land without ever offering an olive branch of peace. 


George Blumenthal 



The idea of a Jewish Homeland took shape in the 19th century. From its inception, through its implementation and up until today, Muslims have consistently objected to it. We trace the history of these objections through primary sources, secondary sources and images.

  1. American Presidents
  2. India, Muslims and Oil
  3. Arab Murder,Mayhem and Massacre
  4. Pogroms
  5. Winston Churchill
  6. Theodor Herzl
  7. The Balfour Declaration
  8. The Grand Mufti
  9. The State of Israel