arab-say-no-to-jewish-homelandGeneral Lowther to Sir Edward Grey about Anti-Zionist Resentments in Turkey

FO 371/1245 – No. 146 Confidential                                         Pera, March 7th, 1911


In Mr. Marling’s despatch No. 992 Confidential of December 27th 1909, my 621 of August 31st 1910 and my No. 121 of the 21st ultimo, the question of Zionism or the unrestricted immigration of Jews into Turkey and more particularly into Palestine and Mesopotamia has been dwelt upon.

The Grand Vizier, during the discussion in the Chamber, ridiculed the whole movement as the fruit of the fancies of some Jewish idealists and incidentally referred to the red passports, which foreign Jews are compelled to provide themselves with on arrival at Syrian Ports and which entitle them to a sojourn in Palestine of three months only. The foreign missions have frequently had difficulties on this point in the past and they are certain to recur. The restriction of the right to acquire real property is more serious, as it is, strictly speaking contrary to Treaty, and, as a result of the complaints of foreign Jews, the various Embassies have recently addressed to the Porte an identic note verbale requesting the abolition of these disabilities as contrary to international engagements.

Gerard Lowther

(e.g. British Ambassador in Constantinople)

Source: Eliav, Mordechai. Britain and the Holy Land 1838-1914. The Magnes Press, Jerusalem 1997 pp. 373-375