Sephardi-Arab joint resistance to European- Zionism: Reality and Hope 1908-1948

By Hillel Cohen
Submitted to Session P4801 (Mizrahi Cultural Trespassers: Boundary Crossing, Patriotism and Betrayal in Israel/Palestine, 2017 Annual Meeting
Hist
Palestine;
19th-21st Centuries;
Sephardi-Arab joint resistance to European- Zionism: Reality and Hope 1908-1948

While many members of the Sephardi / Mizrahi / Mughrabi communities in Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine saw no alternative but to acknowledge the hegemony of the European Zionist movement and others preferred not to be involved in public affairs, there were some (rare) cases in which individuals from these communities opted to distance themselves from what they experienced as Zionist- European aggression, and in some cases to cooperate with Arab nationalists against Zionism. In my presentation I will map the political attitudes of Mizrahi Jews in Palestine towards Zionism, then focus on two types of Mizrahi attitude (and activity): the one is pro-Zionist-pro-Arab attitude, whose basic assumption was the possibility to create win-win situation for Zionists and Arabs in Palestine; the other is the anti-Zionist pro-Arab approach, which was more marginal than the former, but received more cover in the contemporary Arab press. Reading both archival sources and the press regarding these activities reveals not only the marginality of this group, but also the desperate hope of the Palestinian Arabs to find allies among the Palestinian Jews.