The Hebron Massacre which happened at the end of August 1929, 78 years ago, has been all but displaced in popular memory with the Baruch Goldstein shootings. It is as if Auschwitz had been obscured in historical memory by the revenge killings of Nazis by the Jewish Brigade.
The horror of the Hebron Massacre though remains, it serves as a reminder of the savage animalistic brutality of the Arabs in their deeds. It reminds us that there is no moral equivalence between Arabs and Jews. It testifies to the lie that Jews lived in peace as minorities in Arab lands. In Hevron where Jews had caused no harm to Arabs, mobs gathered and burned, tortured, looted, raped and committed atrocities too hideous to name. And in Tsfar too, the hands of orphaned children were cut off, already dead bodies were eviscerated and castrated. The synagogue was smeared with the blood of a student and the stones of Hevron again ran with Jewish blood.
But most of all it serves as a warning for what is happening and what is about to happen.
From the report of David Hacohen on the Safed Massacre.
We set out on Saturday morning. . . I could not believe my eyes. . . I met some of the town's Jewish elders, who fell on my neck weeping bitterly. We went down alleys and steps to the old town. Inside the houses I saw the mutilated and burned bodies of the victims of the massacre, and the burned body of a woman tied to the grille of a window. Going from house to house, I counted ten bodies that had not yet been collected. I saw the destruction and the signs of fire. Even in my grimmest thoughts I had not imagined that this was how I would find Safed where "calm prevailed."
The local Jews gave me a detailed description of how the tragedy had started. The pogrom began on the afternoon of Thursday, August 29, and was carried out by Arabs from Safed and from the nearby villages, armed with weapons and tins of kerosene. Advancing on the street of the Sefardi Jews from Kfar Meron and Ein Zeitim, they looted and set fire to houses, urging each other on to continue with the killing. They slaughtered the schoolteacher, Aphriat, together with his wife and mother, and cut the lawyer, Toledano, to pieces with their knives. Bursting into the orphanages, they smashed the children's heads and cut off their hands.
I myself saw the victims. Yitshak Mammon, a native of Safed who lived with an Arab family, was murdered with indescribable brutality: he was stabbed again and again, until his body became a bloody sieve, and then he was trampled to death. Throughout the whole pogrom the police did not fire a single shot. The British police commander, Farradav, walked up and down the main street of the town, where everything was quiet, and did not go down to the scene of the massacre...
Instead of protecting the Jewish population and its property, the police commander had evacuated four thousand Jews from their homes to the courtyard of Government House, leaving their homes to be looted and burned. While the looting and killing were still going on, the police were searching the Jews for arms...
Can we not see the obviousness of the parallel to the governments that today look away from the murders of Jews, to Israel's own government which evacuates people from Gaza, from Sderot instead of fighting back against their attackers?
From Maurice Samuel, What Happened in Palestine
For many days before the horror began, the poison of incitement was felt everywhere. The Arabs spoke openly, shamelessly, and fearlessly of the massacre of the Jews to be arranged in the near future. They did not hesitate to reveal their whole detailed plan ... Facts and evidence are in the hands of the survivors. The landlord of the Hotel, Nachman Segal, said to the lessee of the hotel on Thursday: ``Pay me the rent today, because tomorrow no one among you will be saved.''
So too today the Arabs and Iran do not hesitate to openly state what they will do and the world ignores it and crosses its feet and sits back and the Israeli government does nothing.
Excerpted from a telegram from the Arab Executive to the British High Commissioner for Palestine (after the pogrom):
The world will see (as a result of an impartial inquiry) that Jews, whose aggressions have surpassed political aims to religious ones, whose provocations have lately become insupportable, as admitted by [British Mandatory] Government, etc., were responsible for the present troubles, together with the policy supporting them.
The Arabs still bloody with their crimes will always blame the Jews for their atrocities and much of the world will be willing to accept it for their own reasons.
On Friday morning, the day of the outbreak in Jerusalem, the Jews of Hebron were already alarmed. The day before, Aref el-Aref, Arab Governor of Be'ersheva, had been in the City and had preached in the Mosque (Ha' Machpelah). His words were repeated to the Jews; in the midst of open incitement to riot recurred those familiar and sinister words: ``The Government is with us!''
Today the statement might well be the U.N. ,England, Russia, France and the Bush Administration are with us.
On Friday morning the Jews of Hebron received, from an Arab source, the news that the Arabs were arming. Rabbi Ya'acov Slonim, head of the Sephardic Jewish community, and Rabbi Frank, head of the Ashkenazic community, turned to the Arab Governor of Hebron, Abdullah Kardos. The Governor calmed us and said: ``There is no fear of anything happening. The British Government knows what it has to do. In the place where two soldiers are needed, it sends six.'' And he added: ``I tell you in confidence that they have many soldiers in the streets, in civilian clothes; these soldiers circulate among the crowds, and in the hour of need they will fulfill their duty.''
How many today still put their faith in America, in World Opinion to protect them? How many listen to the reassurances and friendly statements of Arab leaders? How many are relieved now that the Arab League will meet with Israel? Do they not know that an Arab smile conceals a dagger and Arab friendship conceals a lie?
From Pierre Van Paassen's The Forgotten Ally
The mob, in itself not very numerous or impressive, dominated the scene. Sir John Chancellor, the High Commissioner, was on leave of absence, and his place at the top had been taken by Harry Luke, the Chief Secretary, as Acting High Commissioner.
I asked him if there were no arms on hand either.
``Plenty,'' he said.
``Well, then there is nothing to be afraid of,'' I suggested. ``Give me a gun and give a few more British subjects a gun, and we can keep order. If need be, you could arm a few thousand Jews. They are being attacked by people who seem to have plenty of arms. It would be logical, in view of the fact that the government does not possess the means to protect them, that they be allowed to defend themselves.''
``But that would mean civil war,'' objected Mr. Luke.
``Well, you pretty well have a civil war on your hands as it is.''
``We, the government, would merely become a third party of disorder if I carried out your suggestion,'' he said.
``Disorder? By suppressing disorder you do not become disorderly,'' I remarked. ``The Mufti's clique is the party of disorder, The Jews, whatever your objection to them may be, are the party of order. I have looked at the Arab rioters in Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and elsewhere. They are the lowest dregs of the population, uncouth hooligans, gangsters and cutthroats. As against them the Jews represent civilization here.''
``Ah,'' he objected again, ``but you must keep in mind that the government is neutral, must be impartial in this quarrel between Jews and Arabs. We are the watchdog...''
``Neutral and impartial when it is a question of barbarism versus civilization, when it is a case of gangsters attacking peaceful innocent citizens as those whose bodies I just saw piled up in a house in Hebron? .... Can one be neutral in a case like that? Isn't being neutral in such a case, tantamount to taking sides, if one leaves the way open for more attacks, more murders of women and children?''
``By the way,'' Mr. Luke broke in, ``are you a Jew?''
``No,'' I answered, ``must one be a Jew to want fair play?''
``Quite so,'' he came back, ``But you could be immensely useful to the government of Palestine. You represent a great liberal journal in America (the late New York Evening World), and we are very sensitive to American public opinion. I want you to have full facilities to probe the matter, to find out what really happened here, and to tell in what a grave predicament the government of Palestine was placed, caught between two fires, as it were...''
``But I cannot say that,'' I returned. ``You have just said the government is neutral. I can never hope to explain to the American newspaper reader that in the presence of an unprovoked attack by gangs of hoodlums on a peaceful community, the government looked on as an impartial spectator. Americans won't understand that. They expect something else from a government.''
``What, for instance?''
``Well, a whiff of grapeshot, for instance - a few volleys fired into the air by the police ... you can't be neutral in a case like that.''
``Well, no, but impartial we are...''
``You call that impartiality when a man like Captain Caffaretta of Hebron comes in and calmly relates how he watched the mob invade a rabbi's home and slaughter twenty-seven persons there.''
``There were only twenty-six killed,'' interrupted Mr. Luke.
``Yes, twenty-six adults and one baby of three months, that makes twenty-seven by my count .... Watch human beings being killed, he an officer in the British army, with a police guard at his beck and call and a service revolver in his pocket. One or two shots in the air by Caffaretta, and the mob would never have entered Rabbi Slonim's house.''
One or two shots fired in the air. But those shots are never fired. Instead governments do their best to remain neutral, tolerating Arab and Muslim massacres and tying the hands of those who would defend themselves, prioritizing appeasing the murderers above all else.
The finale to the Hebron massacre was inevitable. The British government responded by cutting Jewish immigration, reducing places where Jews might live and farm. The reward for the Arab murder of Jews is the same reward as the one they are given today.
The cartoon below shows a British officer receiving a report from an Arab policeman telling him, "All is peaceful, Sir," while Jewish bodies are piled under the floor. That report is still being received today from the Arab leaders and the Arab terrorists. It is Abbas saluting Bush and Brown and the bodies... the bodies are still piling up.