print
memri
October 15, 2019 No.
8315

Palestinian Journalist: We Should Adopt 'Abbas's Idea Of Establishing A Fund To Help Eastern Jews Disenchanted With Israel Return To Their Countries Of Origin

In a two-part article in the Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, journalist Muwaffaq Matar called to adopt an idea presented by Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas in a booklet from 1982, titled "We Need an Arab Keren Hayesod." [1] In this 14-page booklet, 'Abbas reviewed the activity of the Zionist movement after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, with emphasis on the Keren Hayesod organization, which was established in 1920 to raise funds for encouraging Jewish immigration to Palestine and consolidating the Jewish settlement there. 'Abbas concluded the booklet by stating that Keren Hayesod had served its purpose and that Israel no longer had any use for it. However, he advocated establishing an "Arab Keren Hayesod" that would help Jews leave Israel. He wrote that the Zionist movement had lured the Jews to Palestine with lies and false promises, and that their lives there have been nothing but "pain, difficulty, anxiety and loss"; therefore, many of them now wished to flee Israel, and helping them do so would benefit both them and the Palestinian cause.

After summarizing 'Abbas's arguments in the booklet, journalist Muwaffaq Matar writes that the Zionist Movement deliberately pushed Jews to leave their countries of origin and emigrate to Palestine by drumming up fear of antisemitism, and also by initiating terrorist actions against Jews around the world. The greatest victims of its activity, he said, were not only the Palestinians but also the Eastern or Sephardi Jews, i.e., the Jews originating in Arab countries, whom he calls "Jewish Arabs." According to him, the Ashkenazi Jews, i.e., Jews of European origin, took over Israel's state institutions and positions of power, while using the Eastern Jews as pawns and settling them in Israel's border regions to serve as cannon fodder in the conflict with the Arabs. Consequently, these Jews are now disillusioned with Zionism and would be happy to flee the state of Israel. The uprooting of the Jews from the Arab countries, he adds, was the most dangerous plot in the history of mankind, second only to the extermination of the native Americans.

Matar claims that the Eastern Jews have remained devoted to their Arab culture and heritage and yearn to return to their Arab countries of origin. It therefore behooves the Arabs to liberate them from "the shackles of the racist imperialist state [of Israel]" by helping them to realize this hope. To this end, he says, the Arabs should implement 'Abbas's idea and establish an "Arab Keren Hayesod" that would raise funds for this purpose. Matar calls on the Arab states to facilitate their return by giving them back the property they left behind when they immigrated to Israel and allowing them to return to their cities and homes. He also calls on the Palestinians to foster ties with the Eastern Jews in order to pave the way for their return, and notes that the PLO began doing this when it founded the Committee for Interacting with Israeli Society in 2012.

These suggestions to fund the emigration of the Jews – who were ostensibly deceived into coming to Israel and now yearn to leave it – may be intended to justify the demand to let the Palestinian refugees return to their homes within the 1948 territories. These suggestions correspond to the uncompromising official Palestinian position in this matter, which is that all Palestinian refugees must be returned to their original homes and given compensation.


Mahmoud 'Abbas's 1982 booklet titled "We Need an Arab Keren Hayesod" (source: ia802804.us.archive.org)

The following are translated excerpts from 'Abbas's booklet and from Matar's article.

Mahmoud 'Abbas In His 1982 Booklet: An "Arab Keren Hayesod" Will Be Useful In Our Struggle Against The Zionist Movement

In his 1982 book, 'Abbas wrote about the need for an Arab equivalent of Keren Hayesod: "The Jewish Agency undertook to consolidate Herzl's ideas and implement them... It had two major funds: The [Jewish] National Fund, and Keren Hayesod... [The latter] was funded in London in 1920... Its role was to collect funds from Zionists and non-Zionists with the aim of financing the project of creating a strong foundation for [Jewish] settlement in Palestine and for the establishment of the Jewish national homeland... Most of its funds were used to establish 820 villages and settlements and finance many enterprises, including the General Mortgage Bank, the Land Development Company, the Mekorot Water Company, the Rasco [construction] company, the Solel Boneh [construction company], the Electric Company, the National Bank... the ZIM shipping company... and El Al Airlines...

"The importance of this historical review about the two funds lies in the idea behind it: the hope that the Arabs will derive benefit from it in their prolonged struggle against the Zionist movement, with emphasis on examining the activity of Keren Hayesod, which is in charge of transporting immigrants and deportees to the Zionist entity and providing them with suitable employment and enticing housing [solutions] in Palestine.

"There is no doubt that the success of the [Zionist] program in causing Jews to immigrate [to Palestine] under the oversight of Keren Hayesod... was due to the conditions of oppression and emergency experienced by the Jews of Europe during World War II... But today there is a significant decline in the number [of Jews] who immigrate [to Israel] and a significant increase in the number of those who emigrate from it, which leads us to assess that the rationale for the establishment of UIA has evaporated and that this fund has lost its value and its function... What worries the Israeli leadership even more is that most of those who leave [Israel] are Ashkenazi, i.e., Jews of European descent, whose level of scientific and technical [education] are greater than that of the Sephardi [Jews], i.e., the Eastern Jews... Zionist ideology has lost its appeal... Now that Jews have lived in Palestine for many years... during which they have known only pain, difficulty, anxiety and loss, many of them have become convinced that it is time to leave for the farthest corners of the world...

"UIA has thus become... worthless and its task is done. However, the Arabs need [to establish] a fund to fulfill the same purpose. An Arab fund should undertake to mend what Keren Hayesod destroyed in the lives of the Jews and restore the situation to what it was by assisting those who were deceived and tempted [to come to Palestine] and are interested in fleeing from [this] hell... Today more than ever, the Jews desperately need the help of the Arabs, for [the Arabs] are the only ones capable of extending it and they are also the ones who have the greatest interest in rescuing [the Jews] from the deadly abyss into which the Zionist movement and global imperialism have pitched them. The economic situation of the Jews, both in 'Israel' and outside it, opened the eyes of many of those who were deceived by the lie of the Zionist movement. [Once] the racist massacres that forced some of them to flee to Palestine came to an end... and these motivations ceased to exist, all of them began to wonder how they could leave and where they could obtain the funds to emigrate elsewhere...

"Arab money – and it [certainly] exists – can... benefit both the Jews and the Arabs if it reaches the Jews who need it, to finance their emigration. This action in itself is a genuine struggle, no less important and vital than the other forms of struggle that are ongoing in the Palestinian arena, for just as we require weapons and information [efforts], we also need a program of this kind... We must establish an Arab Keren Hayesod. Are we capable of it?"[2]

Palestinian Writer: An "Arab Keren Hayesod" Will Rescue The Eastern Jews From The Hell Of Zionism

As stated, journalist Muwaffaq Matar published a two-part article on the need to establish an "Arab Keren Hayesod," inspired by 'Abbas's remarks in his booklet. In the second part of the article he wrote: "The Jews... and in particular the Arab ones and the Eastern Sephardi [Jews], who were deceived by the European Ashkenazis, were victims of the Zionist movement, and most of them began looking for ways to free themselves of its shackles some time after arriving in our occupied land. The Jewish Arabs and the 'Sephardi' Eastern [Jews] understood that the Zionist movement had turned them into tools, for the hopes and dreams they were promised by the Jewish Agency began to fade immediately after they left their countries of origin. They [soon] began to realize the true aim of the Jewish Agency [in bringing them to Palestine], if only because they were settled in the border regions, so they would absorb the fire while the Ashkenazis (the European Jews) were busy hatching plans to take over jobs, so as to install themselves as prominent decision[-makers] in the [state] institutions and later in the government ministries. Soon afterwards, wave after wave [of Jews] began fleeing from the so-called Zionist paradise...

"Today, 37 years after the first edition of President Mahmoud 'Abbas's booklet [was published], and eight years after the publication of its second edition, I believe that we must establish [such] an Arab fund, namely an Arab Keren Hayesod, in order to rescue the Jewish Arabs from the Zionist hell and resettle them in their countries of origin. [The Jews were uprooted from these countries] as part of the [Zionist] plot, which is considered the most dangerous plot in the history of mankind after the crime of the extermination of the Indians in what is today known as the United States of America.

"We must always remember that the Zionist movement failed to achieve its aim of exterminating the Palestinian people, but the heirs to its plots have not stopped and will not stop [pursuing] two other goals: [first], uprooting us Palestinians from our land and expelling us, and [second], uprooting the Jewish Arabs and the [Jewish] citizens of other countries from their homelands and forcing them to immigrate to the occupying state of 'Israel'... [The Zionists] pressure them [to emigrate] by evoking the hatred of Jews (antisemitism) around the world and the echoes of the bombings against [Jewish] institutions in [various] cities around the world where there are large Jewish communities. These bombings have been proven to be the result of plots by senior officials in the Jewish Agency and the Mossad…, aimed at bringing the victims to the [Zionist] hell.

"Today we demand an Arab plan and an Arab fund for supporting the Jewish Arabs who wish to return to their countries, their roots and their culture, which have remained unaffected despite all the Zionist westernizing plans. These people not only remember their Arab and Eastern heritage, but live it, with all its details and layers, and yearn for their countries of origin – Iraq, Yemen, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – so much so that they cry for the past and yearn to taste the happiness they had before the plotting hand of the Jewish Agency and the imperialist authorities reached them... We wish to liberate the Jewish Arabs from all the shackles that forced them to join... the ranks of our enemies. We already began doing so, officially... in 2012, when the PLO founded the Committee for Interacting with Israeli Society, although... in practice, the interaction began many years earlier, before the idea gained currency among the Palestinians and even the Arabs. The rapprochement between us and [the Eastern Jews] began with some limited contacts and activities in [the domains of] art and culture that reflected their connection to their countries of origin and their devotion to the culture they inherited, [devotion] with promotes the rapprochement between us and helps to remove the many barriers that were imposed by the policy of their [Ashkenazi] brethren. To [the latter] we say with bitterness: 'Allah will not forgive you. You wronged [both] us and them.'

"The Zionists are enraged by any rapprochement between us and the Jewish Arabs, but do not become as excited when there are contacts [between the Arabs] and the Ashkenazis (the European Jews). The reason is clear and perfectly simple: The Jewish Arabs have remained Arab in their essence, their culture, their history, and even in their ultimate future, which they can envision only in their countries of origin...

"We Palestinians are the first victims [of the Zionist movement], and the Jewish Arabs, who were removed [from their homelands] through systematic and organized pressure of deception and terror, are the second...

"The Jewish Arabs of Israel need the help of the Arabs, who can formulate a practical plan, with a timetable and [specific] destinations, to free them from the shackles of the racist imperialist state that brutally exploited them, their faith, their mentality, their personality and their physical presence and then discarded them like industrial waste or like a heap [of trash] left behind by over a century of conflicts and confrontations.

"The Arab authorities can cancel all the laws... [that impede the Jewish Arabs] from returning to their Arab cities and to their homes and neighborhoods, to live in peace and quiet. [The Arab leaders] can also benefit the Palestinian cause by helping the Jewish Arabs regain their property and by [improving] their image in the eyes of [Arab] society so as to facilitate their assimilation without political or cultural difficulties. Democracy is a tremendous idea that guarantees equality, justice and assimilation, but money is the means for realizing goals on the ground, and that is why we need an 'Arab Keren Hayesod.'"[3]

 

[1] A second edition of the booklet was published in 2011.

[2] Ia802804.us.archive.org.

[3] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), September 8, 2019.