top of page

A Revulsion of Feeling: How the Historical Memory of the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 Shaped Collective Identities

This is the third and final installment of the three-part series of papers I’m publishing on Substack (I guess we could call it my version pinning my homework on the fridge) in which I share with all of you what I spent my first year of graduate school researching. Much of this material will be at least somewhat familiar to many of you who subscribe to both the History Impossible Substack and to the podcast, since it covers the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939. However, I approached this subject from a different theoretical angle—that of the formation of group identity via collective memory—so it may be of some interest to many readers.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the work I produced during my first year in graduate school. I hope to produce more for you all next year, though much of my time will be spent focusing on my thesis, which is more closely related to the Salem witchcraft crisis’ effects that I spoke of in the first installment of this series, A Storm of Decay.

Please consider becoming a paid subscriber to help support me as I continue this educational journey. And please stay tuned for future episodes. We have another interview that I think will be of interest to a lot of you, and we’ll soon see the return of the podcast’s longest-running series.


“You are now in the flush of victory, and we remain under the spirit of being defeated and downtrodden. So both of us are under abnormal conditions; I consider you just as abnormal as we are. You are not considering the future—you are only considering the present. And we are not considering the distant future—only our present suffering.”

—Musa Alami

“The Jews, Christians, and Muslims are like three bewildered, disconsolate children at a party. 'We don't want jam; we don't want honey; we don't want cake. We want jelly.' Alas, there is no jelly.”

—Edward Keith-Roach

The gathering at the Beirut apartment in the spring of 1939 was full of high spirits. The members of the Arab Higher Committee were celebrating: after three years of boycotts, protests, fighting, and suffering, they had extracted the greatest victory in the history of their nationalist movement: concessions from the British Empire. This victory was not just over their imperial oppressors; it was a setback for their nationalist rivals, the Zionists, who, up until this moment, had seemed to have the world on their side. But with the release of the document known as the MacDonald White Paper, all that had changed. Jewish immigration to Palestine not only would cease, but it—and all immigration—would be placed under the jurisdiction of Arab leadership over the course of a few years, with true Palestinian statehood promised in writing to occur after that. However, one man was not smiling. In fact, the founder and leader of the committee, the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini, was firmly opposed to the proposal, despite it being a victory for his cause by most metrics imaginable, dissenting from the near-consensus on the White Paper's qualities. This disagreement became a feature of the still-gestating Arab national identity that had placed Palestine at its center.

A few weeks later, one of the most prominent Zionists in the world, Chaim Weizmann, gave an address to the English Zionist Federation. In this address, Weizmann responded to the White Paper by calling it “the death sentence of the [Jewish] National Home.”1 Continuing, Weizmann pledged not to “conclude on a sad note,” and that “we [will] carry on our work—it is an old tradition of ours—and no amount of obstacles will deter us from our purpose.”2 He concluded by claiming “I do believe that very soon there will be a revulsion of feeling, and that these temporary necessities […] will disappear,” and that “long before the Balfour Declaration, God had decreed that our destiny is bound up with Palestine, and against this decree, all decrees of humans, however mighty they may appear to themselves and at the time, are as naught; they will blow away like chaff before the wind.”3

The British Empire, meanwhile, had been attempting to thread the needle of the Palestinian Mandate for over two decades, trying to strike a balance between the competing nationalist interests of the Arabs and the Zionists, all while coping with the rise of an aggressive Nazi Germany in Europe. They were also coming to terms with their once globe-spanning empire going into decline, something on which they were intent to see done with their dignity as a nation intact. Two years earlier, in 1937, a document reporting the results of what was known as the Peel Commission made this clear, pledging that “The British people will not flinch from the task of continuing to govern Palestine under the Mandate if they are in honor bound to do so.”4 Seeing colonial holdings as progressing toward self-government—a frequently stated goal in the Holy Land—was part of the growing sense (and post-hoc justification) that the “demise [of the empire] marked the fulfillment rather than the renunciation of Britain's imperial mission.”5 There was also a long-standing undercurrent of Christian Zionism informing much of the decision-making that was in play. This was seen most dramatically when British Army officer Orde Wingate stated, “There is only one important book on the subject [of Zionism], the Bible, and I've read it thoroughly.”6 This attitude, while not wholly representative of the British imperial authorities in the Palestinian Mandate, would still loom large as a motivating factor alongside their more geopolitical concerns. This confluence of motives was ultimately what led to the British Empire to attempt their balancing act behind the scenes. Little did they know that in their efforts to placate their Arab enemies and cushion the fall of their ailing empire while some of them also attempted to fulfill their own sense of mission via their Christian Zionism, they had managed to make themselves an enemy of everyone.

The Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 has done relatively little to arouse the historical imagination, either among the populace or even among historians studying the long-running conflict in the Holy Land. In both the Arabic-speaking and English-speaking worlds, it has been overshadowed by other events in the conflict's history. As Oren Kessler explains, “no single general-interest account has yet been written of this formative but forgotten insurgency,” apart from three books written in English since the mid-1990s, a single book written in Hebrew, and very little work in Arabic.7 This neglect is due to many reasons, most of which go beyond the scope of this paper, but it is usually overshadowed by the official formation of the state of Israel in 1948, known to Arab nationalists as the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe,” marking it as a foundational date in the Arab nationalist historical memory. Quoting the Syrian academic Constantine Zurayk, Gilbert Achcar explains that the Nakba took on a greater significance than other events because it was “'not a mere setback or a simple transitory misfortune, but a catastrophe in every sense of the word, a calamitous ordeal among the most difficult that the Arabs have undergone in the course of a long history full of ordeals and calamities.'”8 This appears to be a sufficient explanation for how large the Nakba looms in the historical memory.

However, according to Mustafa Kabha, a deeper reason the Arab Revolt has been “completely overshadowed by the memory of the Nakba” is because “dealing with 1936-1939 requires more soul searching.” This is in part because its outcome came to represent one of the greatest failures of Arab nationalism, paving the way for the future Nakba, making it an inglorious event in their history. As Kabha explains, “it resulted in a self-inflicted wound that weakened Palestinian ability to cope with future challenges.”9 Similarly, the Zionists would frequently invoke 1948 as a historically definitional event in their history. In defending his new state's war with the Arab states and against accusations of “unwonted intransigence,” Chaim Weizmann would write in 1948 that “retreat would be fatal,” and that “independence is never given to a people; it has to be earned; and having been earned, it has to be defended.”10 Weizmann, like many who echoed him in the years and decades that followed, was mistaken if he believed that the idea of Zionist statehood needed to be earned (as opposed to negotiated) was borne by the struggles of 1948.

The Revolt was thus significant for multiple reasons. Overtly, it was a conflict between a semi-unified front of Arab nationalists and the British authorities of Mandatory Palestine, with the Zionists both taking part and getting caught in the crossfire, drawing them further into the conflict and deepening the divides that already existed and continued to exist in the region between these three factions. Less obviously, however, it was a conflict that served as the logical endpoint in the formation of these different groups' very identities that came to define them in the years that followed. This was thanks in large part to the historical memory the Revolt itself and what its outcomes represented. Therefore, it is important to ask: to what extent were the respective identities of the Arab nationalists, the Zionists, and the British Empire shaped by the events of the Arab Revolt? The short answer is, to a significant extent. When examining the events of the Revolt themselves combined with the contemporaneous observations and later reflections of those involved in the three factions involved, it is clear that each major power involved in the Revolt largely developed and even, in some cases, finalized their collective identities vis-à-vis the Revolt's events, turning the Revolt into a powerful example of historical memory that informed future behavior.

Historical Memory and the Formation of Identity

Thanks to its invocation of a collective past, social memory is tied tightly to the creation of communities and nations; this is the basis for historical memory. As Geoffrey Cubitt observes, “the past takes mental shape by being viewed as the breeding- and testing-ground of today’s social collectivities, which are themselves interpreted, by the same token, as the possessors of an organic durability rooted in the deep continuities of an earlier history.”11 Some might understandably assume that historical memory begins after some time has passed; similar to the regular, individual memories that populate our minds. However, this is not the case. As Cubitt notes, with the obvious exceptions of events that likely never happened in the first place, “the memory of an event or of a historical experience begins with the event or experience itself.”12 While a consensus on the contents of an event can never be reached through objective measures, this does little to prevent the events in question from taking on significance in the minds of those who experienced them firsthand.

In fact, this lack of consensus is why historical memory is so powerful; interpretation of the events themselves lies in the eye of the beholder, which is subject to all kinds of bias, preconceived notions, and political concerns. These biases, notions, and concerns affect people at all times, so it is obvious that events which take on greater meaning with time become meaningful almost immediately upon their occurrence. Though it by no means is always the case, Cubitt explains, “the establishment of this status [as potential objects of memory can be] more or less instantaneous.”13 Whether or not this status is conferred immediately following the event or years later, is less relevant than the power such memory possesses to change or even create a new collective identity, i.e. a community, based largely on imagined kinship through shared experiences. As Benedict Anderson writes, this identity is built on imagined kinship because “the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.”14 Anderson also persuasively argues that this collective identity “is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.”15 The power of the imagined community comes from the historical memory, and this historical memory can form just as the event that created that memory is happening. As Cubitt explains, “The ways in which an event or collective experience is registered in public and private consciousness at the time of its occurrence and during the period when it is still in living memory exert a powerful, though not necessarily a determining, influence on the meanings it may later be invested with.”16 The past, even the immediate past, is indeed a laboratory, and from that laboratory emerges the compounds that we recognize as shared identities.

This laboratory—this “breeding- and testing-ground of today's social collectivities”—can be seen through a variety of historical events, often violent ones that provide evidence of collective suffering. As Cubitt explains, “civil wars, national defeats, foreign occupations (with their accompanying experiences of resistance and collaboration), genocidal atrocities, episodes of state-sponsored terror [...] produce ruptures, conflicts and insecurities within society at large and within the lives of countless individuals.”17 However, even though violence often plays a role in this process of identity formation, it is not always framed in a negative light. Sometimes, the social memory is one of overcoming impossible odds to achieve greatness, or even “mere” survival. Sometimes it reflects a desire to justify investments—of capital, time, effort, lives. These different manifestations of historical memory—and certainly others—can be seen in various examples across human history. This includes everything from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan to the conclusion of the American Civil War, as referenced by Cubitt.18

However, among the most pointed examples of identity formation via historical memory—and most relevant to this paper—are those of the Arab nationalists, the Zionists, and the British Empire during the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939. All three factions developed and constructed their identities around their relationship to empire and connections to a particular place, that is, the Holy Land. This was even recognized in the years leading up to the Revolt itself, with Neil MacNeill observing in the New York Times on July 5th, 1931, that the factions' “conflicting elements make their conflicting claims, each backed by an extensive propaganda, that disputes everything put forth by the rival organizations while insisting on its own as alone just and fair.”19 While both the Arab nationalists' and the Zionists' relationships to empire were those of opposition in the interest of particular national self-determination, the British relationship to empire was one of maintenance, particularly of their imperial self-concept, with all three factions relationships to empire being determined by their own particular connections to the land that would become Israel. These connections were both internal and external, with the former manifesting in spiritual and religious connections, and the latter being more secular and political in nature.

The reason the violence that erupted in Jaffa in 1936 is known as the “Bloody Day in Jaffa.” That is, historical memory.

These connections would be forged and strengthened through the historical memory created by the collective experiences during the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939. In the most generalized framing possible, the Arab nationalists' historical memory would be one of suffering and humiliation, leading to a fractured identity that would be defined, in significant part, by the Revolt's primary leadership's lethal obsession with Jews. The Zionists' historical memory would be one of overcoming impossible odds in the face of existential destruction—both from their Arab rivals and from the growing threat of Nazi Germany in Europe—which would lead to a more unified identity that would be defined by a sense of being isolated and without meaningful allies. Finally, the British Empire's historical memory would be one of imperial failure thanks to their inability to strike a compromise between either the Zionists or the Arab nationalists, who continued their agitation and even violent revolt against colonial authority. This would manifest in a desire to justify their imperial investments (which included not just untold amounts of money and thousands of lives by the Revolt's end), by framing their presence—and thus identity—as one of peacekeeper, guide, and builder of new nations. This identity would be further complicated by the ever-present existence of the Christian Zionist beliefs held by many colonial authorities and British politicians involved in colonial affairs. It is to this complex relationship that we now turn for the first part of our deeper examination into the formation of these factions' collective identities through the historical memory of the Arab Revolt.

The Identity of Imperial Decline

Some aspects of British identity underwent a major transformation in the early years of the 20th century, especially when it became clear that their new Palestinian Mandate was eventually won from the Ottomans after the First World War. However, it began to become much clearer almost a year before the armistice. On November 9th, 1917, five days after it was written, the British press released what would become known as the Balfour Declaration, which guaranteed “a national home for the Jewish people,” as well as the promise that the government would “use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”20 This pledge marks what is often considered to be the official beginning of the British-Zionist relationship, but in truth, the relationship predated the declaration by many years.

Many members of the British government were already in support of the idea of a Jewish national home, with Winston Churchill proclaiming in 1908 that “I am in full sympathy with the historical traditional aspirations of the Jews. […] The restoration to them of a center of true racial and political integrity would be a tremendous event in the history of the world.”21 Lord Balfour had also developed a Zionist identity in the years leading up to 1917. Similar to Churchill, he had become friends with one of the most prolific Zionist advocates, Chaim Weizmann, first meeting the future Israeli president in 1906, despite his sponsorship of a 1905 law that restricted immigration, primarily of Jews from eastern Europe.22 Weizmann was a dinner guest of Lord Balfour's in 1916, and after considering a lengthy conversation in which Weizmann “laid out his much-repeated argument—that Zionist and British interests were identical,” Balfour attended a cabinet meeting in which he declared, “'I am a Zionist.'”23 The table had been set for the British-Zionist alliance.

This was also part of a growing trend within the British government that was more religious in nature than it was political, and one connected to the very nature of British identity. As Tom Segev notes, “Balfour […] also considered Zionism as an inherent part of his Christian faith.”24 This dual identity—of both Christian and proponent of a Jewish national home—was both symbolic and representative of many British statesmen and officials of the time, both coming from a problematic “belief in the mystical power of 'the Jews'” and “biblical romanticism.”25 Another example of this was Wyndham Deedes, the Chief Secretary to the British High Commissioner of Mandatory Palestine, who believed it was his Christian duty to “assist in the return of the Jews to the Holy Land” in order to “hasten the second coming of the Lord,” believing that the “unwritten compact between the British empire and world Jewry [would be] part of a common effort to bring about world peace.”26 In order to achieve this view that was so common in the British government, a tool would be needed: that of empire.

Wyndham Deedes, one of the many Christian Zionists in the British government.

In addition to their Christian romanticism, the British saw and justified their backing of aggressive Jewish immigration into the Holy Land in imperial terms. Playing the dual role of Zionist and British official, the famed future first High Commissioner for Palestine would write a memorandum in 1915 advocating for a British imperial conquest of Palestine, claiming that it “would allow Britain once again to fulfill its historic calling of bringing civilization to primitive lands.”27 To Samuel and others in the British government who had the same mindset, Zionism was the goal, and imperialism was the tool. It is also clear that this attitude was not exclusive to the Zionist project; it was in fact the norm of the time. As Tom Segev explains, “The proposal to seize Palestine accorded with the way people in London were thinking at the time. When they spoke about the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, there was a tendency to think of it as a large cake: this country would get one slice, that country another; the territory the Ottomans were about to lose was considered booty to be shared out among the victors.”28 While circumstances would change over the coming decades, culminating in the shifts created by the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, this imperialist perspective would continue to inform British decision-making, especially regarding their interactions with the Mandate's Arab population.

In many ways, the development of the British relationship with the Arabs of the Holy Land ran parallel with that of their relationship with the Zionists. British interest in the region as a whole long-predated the First World War, thanks largely to their battles with Napoleon in the early 19th century and their alliance with the Ottoman Empire and their occupation of Egypt in 1882. It was in this interest that an attitude of Orientalism began to develop and would later inform, at least in part, their interactions with the Arabs of the Holy Land. Zachary Lockman notes that this attitude can be seen most prominently in the writings of the Earl of Cromer, Evelyn Baring, who was “widely regarded as a leading authority on Egypt and the Orient in general, and his views can fairly be taken as representative of much of British […] elite and popular opinion,” and who “establish[ed] what he saw as the unbridgeable gap between the 'logical' West and the 'illogical and picturesque' East, between the European mind and the Oriental mind.”29

This attitude pervaded both British imperial policy in the Middle East and in part explains why British pledges toward their Arab allies in 1915 in a series of documents colloquially known as the McMahon correspondence “became an outstanding bone of contention,” which the Lebanese author and diplomat George Antonius also called “the main piece of evidence on which the Arabs accuse Great Britain of having broken faith with them.”30 These letters, which were between British Indian Army Officer Henry McMahon and the King of Hejaz, Hussein bin Ali, contained promises of territory to be given to the Arabs in exchange for their support of the British against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, but this territory eventually went to the Jews thanks to the promise made by the Balfour Declaration. This inconsistency was informed by British Orientalism, but it was also imperialist hubris. In what Tom Segev calls their “imperialistic arrogance and a powerful sense of cultural superiority,” it is understandable that one might believe they took the concerns of the Zionists more seriously than those of the Arabs. This is only partly true; as Segev points out, “the British pretended, and perhaps some of them even believed, that the establishment of a national home for the Jews could be carried out without hurting the Arabs.”31 It was this hubris, fueled in part by their Orientalist interpretations of the Arab “mind” as being one of irrationality in need of tempering, that informed British counterinsurgency policy when the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 kicked off in earnest.

The British response to the outbreak of violence during the Arab Revolt, which began with “an attack on April 15th, 1936 on a convoy of taxis on the Nablus to Tulkarm road in which the assailants murdered two Jewish passengers,” was swift and would quickly become defined by its brutality.32 In practice (and indeed, in implicit principle), British counterinsurgency was defined by policies of treating all Arabs as equally complicit in the violence that broke out across the Holy Land. This often came in the form of collective punishment techniques, policies that often resulted in the mass destruction of property. As Matthew Hughes explains, “During army searches, soldiers would surround a village […] the men and women then divided off, held apart from the houses, often in wired 'cages', while soldiers searched and often destroyed everything, burnt grain and poured olive oil over household food and effects,” with the largest destruction occurring during an operation on June 16th, 1936, in which up to 240 buildings were destroyed.33 These brutal policies also resulted in violence against villagers, including sexual violence, as well as forms of torture against captured combatants; all of this was to done to break the spirit of the rebels in the Revolt. However, the cost was ultimately too high for the British and by 1939, the possibility of negotiating a settlement with the rebels entered the picture. Because the central issue was Jewish immigration into the Mandate, the Peel Commission of 1937 and later, the MacDonald White Paper of 1939 both centered on this topic.

The Peel Commission contained the first official suggestion of a “two-state solution,” making it clear that “the problem cannot be solved by giving either the Arabs or the Jews all they want.” It therefore concluded, “two sovereign independent States would be established--the one an Arab State consisting of Trans-Jordan united with that part of Palestine which lies to the cast and south of a frontier [and] the other a Jewish State consisting of that part of Palestine which lies to the north and west of that frontier.”34 This was rejected by both the Arabs and the Zionists. The MacDonald White Paper made a far less conciliatory approach and placed the question of Jewish immigration into Arab hands over the course of a decade. According to the Parliamentary deliberations on the White Paper, this move was based on “the desire to give to the Arab section of the population of Palestine an opportunity of putting forward their views such as was enjoyed by the Jewish Agency for the other section of the population.”35 Unsurprisingly, the Zionists rejected the proposals, but more surprisingly, the Arab nationalists did as well. Both of these episodes represent the British desire to end the violence, as well as create a state on their terms, which were influenced by Christian Zionism and Orientalism. This attempt to balance the scales on their own terms was ultimately a failure, and, with the issuance of the White Paper of 1939, it created a greater instability than previously existed, by solidifying the push toward radicalism that became more endemic in the Zionist movement.

No Sacrifice Will Be Too Precious”

The Zionists' history with the Holy Land is lengthy, diverse, and beyond the scope of this paper. However, in order to understand how the Zionist identity became significantly formed by the immediate historical memory of the Arab Revolt, it is important to briefly explain some other, similar defining moments in Jewish history in the Palestinian Mandate. These were the riots that broke out in 1921 and again in 1929. The former, known colloquially as the Jaffa riots, resulted in the murder of 47 Jews, and the latter, far more shocking in its violence and brutality, saw the murder of 133 Jews. While “there is no evidence that the [1921] riots were premeditated,” they were the among the first events to set the tone of defensiveness among the Zionists.36 The 1929 riots were not just noteworthy for their viciousness, but for their more directed nature, thanks largely to a religious dispute that began between Orthodox Jews and Arab Muslims at the Western Wall that had been blown out of proportion by agitating by Arab nationalist and Zionist leaders.37 These two events, especially the latter, saw many Zionist leaders like David Ben-Gurion and Rehavem Ze'evi invoking past pogroms—including the 1903 Kishinev pogrom that was often used as a rallying cry for the cause of Zionism—in order to demonstrate that the need for a Jewish state was self-evident for the sake of Jewish safety.38

The Jews of Palestine had already begun to establish self-defense forces known as the Haganah, and they had their efficacy in defending Jews from being accosted at times, but they still were not enough, especially when demonstrations and riots increased in frequency and intensity. In addition, there was very little the British authorities could do to stop the violence due to a lack of manpower, so these events served as bitter pills to many Zionists who thought their initial alliance with the British via the Balfour Declaration would serve them and their mission of obtaining a Jewish national home well. As Chaim Weizmann recalled in his memoirs, “I realized at once that they would use this opportunity to curtail Jewish immigration into Palestine.”39 This demonstrates that the ultimate result of the policies put in place a decade later—that of curtailing Jewish immigration into Palestine—was already on the Zionist leadership's minds as a possibility.

The Haganah operating during the early months of the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939.

The bitter pill of what many Zionists saw as British inefficacy in protecting them from the violence brought upon them by the Arab nationalists in the Mandate never truly went away, and only intensified after the Arab Revolt actually broke out in 1936, which began with the murder of two Jews. While “at first Arab terrorism was directed principally at the British,” Jewish casualties “became more frequent,” resulting in greater calls for “retribution and revenge,” which began to define the Zionist experience from 1936-1939.40 This contributed not just a greater incentive for the coming cycle of violence between the two factions, but also to the growing hostile suspicion of British motives when it came to the question of a Jewish national home. The sense of an externally-driven moral imperative was also growing, thanks to the rise of Nazism in Germany, and the growing persecution of the Jews made most evident by events like Kristallnacht in 1938, which occurred during the Arab Revolt, and carried just as much meaning to the Mandate's Jews.

Nevertheless, there was not a consensus on how to respond to the Arab nationalist violence within the Zionist movement. This was thanks to the two most influential groups within the movement: the moderate Labor Zionists under David Ben-Gurion, and the militant Revisionist Zionists under Ze'ev Jabotinsky. While “Ben-Gurion denied feeling the desire for vengeance,” the Revisionists “argued that restraint would be interpreted as weakness,” because “if the Arabs believed the Jews to be weak, they would only increase their violence.”41 This split in priorities became increasingly heated, especially after the Irgun militant group associated with the Revisionists began to target and kill Arabs, “causing dozens of deaths,” leading to Ben-Gurion to call Jabotinsky “the 'Fascist Satan'” and to call the Revisionist faction “'a party of Nazis.'”42 This acrimonious split would always exist, but by May of 1939 and the issuance of the MacDonald White Paper, it would be largely put aside. A new, more unified identity had formed.

In the aftermath of the publication of the MacDonald White Paper, there was an almost universal uproar in the Jewish community of Palestine. In his memoirs, Herbert Samuel recalled, “The Palestine White Paper of 1939 […] has aroused the most vehement opposition on the part of the Jews in Palestine and in all countries.”43 The reaction was one of spectacular violence against the colonial authorities, unmatched since the initial outbreak of the Arab Revolt itself. While there was no consensus on the appropriateness of the violence, the Zionists became much more unified in their opposition to the British Empire. This could be seen on May 18th, 1939, when “an oath was taken in synagogues and other public gathering places across Palestine,” in which gatherers pledged, “'No sacrifice will be too precious in order to set [the new policy of the White Paper] at naught.'”44 While Ben-Gurion remained at odds with Jabotinsky and the Revisionists, he endorsed “an intensification of efforts to bring Jewish immigrants to Palestine illegally and the Haganah's [Jewish self-defense force] transformation into a full-fledged underground army.”45 Things were complicated by the outbreak of World War II between Britain and Germany in September 1939, but “it did not diminish Zionist opposition to the White Paper.”46 This was thanks to the growing perception that the Zionists could only rely on themselves, even if they supported the British against the Nazis (which they did, including the most radical among them like Ze'ev Jabotinsky). This perception was driven by the immediate historical memory that had formed during the Arab Revolt, building upon the past memories of Jewish helplessness during the riots of 1921 and 1929. Thus, a new identity had formed: one of resolve to achieve the goal of a Jewish national home by any means necessary and without the help of anyone but themselves. Around this, the previously fractured Yishuv could unify.

This unification resulted in an increase in revolutionary, and thus violent, activity, both during the waning months of the Arab Revolt and many years afterward. The rise of the Stern Gang in 1940 represented the only meaningful split found within the Zionist camp, thanks to its “fateful step toward an alliance with Italy and Germany” during the Second World War.47 The Stern Gang was on the more extreme end of autonomous Zionist identity and actively fought against British colonial forces through acts of terrorism, but the rest of the Zionist organizations, while ostensibly allied with Britain during their war with the Nazis, remained dedicated to forging their own path toward a Jewish national home. This was made most plain in the less-extreme but no less radical Irgun under the command of Menachem Begin, who issued a proclamation in 1944 claiming “'There can be no longer an armistace between the Jewish Nation and its youth and a British administration,'” closing with a pledge that “'Our nation is at war with this regime and it is a fight to the finish.'”48 The Irgun then bombed the immigration offices of Haifa, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv, “striking at the organ of government responsible for implementing the [1939 White Paper]'s restrictive immigration policy.”49

The Stern Gang were among the most radical of the Zionist movement, going so far as to ally themselves with the Nazis in opposition to the British Empire, in response to the 1939 White Paper.

Meanwhile, the moderates among the Zionist movement like Chaim Weizmann publicly condemned the terrorist actions and approved of the counter-terrorist efforts to arrest any found responsible, but the directives put in place by the Haganah authorities went out of their way to ensure the safety of the terrorists themselves, in an effort to remain independent of British authorities and, by extension, reprisals. As Bruce Hoffman explains, the Haganah authorities “sought assurances that the [British colonial] security forces would take no action against any terrorist or suspected terrorist without first consulting the Jewish Agency,” which would be essentially “a blank check” for the Zionist authorities to “deal with the terrorists entirely in their own way, completely outside the law, and without any vestige of due process.”50 The proposal for this was rejected and “a perceptible chill in the agency's relations with the government followed.”51 This demonstrates that even though there was a range of hostility toward the British authorities—ranging from wanton terrorism, to targeted symbolic attacks, to cooperation only on the Zionists' terms—there was nevertheless a unification in that hostility toward the British Empire, only made possible by the historical memory of the events of the Arab Revolt. This sense of unity, however disparate in its own way, became obvious; as Hoffman notes, the “same attitudes permeated the Yishuv,” with newspapers that formerly denounced the terrorist actions now went silent except to denounce British applications of the death penalty on Jewish prisoners.52 By the mid-1940s, the Zionists could reasonably say that for all of their differences, they stood together under one banner. Conversely, their Arab nationalist counterparts developed precisely the opposite problem.

A Struggle for Unity, A Lethal Fixation

While Arab nationalism had a checkered history until the early 20th century, it began to take a recognizable shape by the 1880s when most Arabic-speaking lands were under the dominance of the Ottoman Empire. As George Antonius observed, there was “a definite progression from the general towards the particular, from a rhetorical denunciation of Turkish misrule to the formulation of a specific program of national aspirations.”53 However, the rise of Arab nationalism was relatively diffuse. As Ilan Pappe explains, unlike many typical expressions of nationalism that “appropriate any useful historical event that precede [them]” as precursors, there were other precursors that included “the secret societies that promoted the teaching of Arabic and the study of Arabic history and culture.”54 It was also a growing trend within Islamic academia, particularly at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, where it had become a feature of the teachings of a Sheikh named Rashid Rida. Rida's lectures centered on three ideas: “that Muslim society everywhere ought to be very cautious in its encounters with Western culture,” that “it was necessary to return to a distilled form of Islamic precepts, sifting out all vestiges of the negative Western influence,” and, that “the religious undertaking must be tied to the political and national struggle.”55 This line of thinking would deeply influence Rashid Rida's most infamous student, who combined it with his own political and spiritual preoccupations as he took a more active role in the cause of Arab nationalism in the Palestinian mandate.

Hajj Amin al-Husseini was part of one of Palestine's most noble families, the Husseinis, who claimed lineage from the Prophet Muhammad.56 For well over a century by the time of his birth in 1894, his family had occupied the religious position of mufti in Jerusalem, placing them in charge of the community's donated wealth, or the waqf. Hajj Amin would rise to this position himself in 1920 at the recommendation of Herbert Samuel, and while he cooperated with the British in the years leading up to the Arab Revolt, as well as a number of Zionists, he never forgot the teachings he had absorbed during his time studying under Rashid Rida. While this helps explain Hajj Amin's willingness to work with the British, since “unusually among Islamic thinkers of the time, [Rashid Rida] favored the British Empire to the Ottoman and imparted that sensibility to his student,” it also helps explain why he ultimately made the choices that he did when the Arab Revolt kicked off in earnest in 1936.57

The Arab Revolt's beginning can be traced to the actions of one man, a Muslim preacher named 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam. A Syrian by birth, Al-Qassam, like Hajj Amin al-Husseini, was educated at Al-Azhar University, but took a more spiritual path than his contemporary. He frequently preached the need for a “return to God” and, as European imperial activity in the Middle East increased in the early 20th century, the necessity of jihad.58 This continued into the 1930s, when his activities became based in the Palestinian Mandate, and his jihadist rhetoric continued to escalate to include Jews as well as the British, which quickly turned into violent action. After al-Qassam and his men killed a Jewish police sergeant on November 6th, 1935, the sheikh retreated into the forests surrounding Haifa. After British authorities caught up to him, a gun battle commenced, resulting in al-Qassam's death, which “gave the Arabs 'moral power' they had hitherto lacked.”59 Comparing him to the Zionist icon Yosef Trumpeldor, who died defending the Tel Hai settlement in 1920, Tom Segev explains, “[both men] each gave their national movements a heroic myth.”60 This sparked the beginning of guerrilla operations in the Palestinian Mandate, leading to the general strike and other actions taken in the name of the nationalist cause.

The rapidly-developing legend also forced Hajj Amin al-Husseini to pick a side. As Zvi Elpeleg explains, “More than any other individual at the time, it was al-Qassam who contributed to the process, which was to lead Haj Amin and the Palestinian leadership into confrontation with the British.”61 It is more likely than not that Hajj Amin resented al-Qassam for forcing his hand this way; he had been trying to balance his relationship with the British and his own image in the popular imagination of his fellow Arab nationalists and the Palestinian people in general, but once the legend of al-Qassam began to form, he “faced a dilemma.”62 Hajj Amin ultimately read the room, and, noting that the growing unrest was signaling a unifying force among anyone who considered themselves a Palestinian or Arab nationalist—or even merely an anti-imperialist or anti-Zionist—he formed an organization known as the Arab Higher Committee (AHC), placing the various Arab National Committees springing up all over the Mandate under one umbrella, and signaling the official beginning of the Arab Revolt.63 While a general strike served as the centerpiece of this united front, the violence that occurred across the country and eventually within the organization's purview gave a sign of things to come.

For all of the Arab unity that was being felt during the outbreak of the Arab Revolt, internal tensions began to make themselves apparent very quickly. There had already been an existing rivalry between the Husseini family and another notable Palestinian family known as the Nashashibis, which frequently, if impotently, manifested. But there were also more practical frustrations felt by figures in the AHC, like the mayor of Jerusalem, Hussein Fakhri al-Khalidi, who had been deported by British authorities to the Seychelles after the AHC had been banned along with all national political parties. In a diary entry from November of 1937, al-Khalidi expressed resentment that he had “not received one cable of encouragement; neither from Palestine or from outside,” and “Couldn’t […] Hajj Amin wire a word of sympathy, greeting, or encouragement?”64 One month later, he complained again that Hajj Amin was completely ambivalent toward his and the others' suffering at being exiled so far from home; at the time, Hajj Amin was in hiding in Syria, and, as al-Khalidi noted, “His family will join him, sooner or later and he has money enough to keep him and his children going on for years.”65 This frustration was by no means universal, but it was arguably representative, though many of the mufti's opponents had been cowed into silence.

The evidence is circumstantial, but internal violence that had been linked to supporters of Hajj Amin was plaguing the Arab Revolt. As Tom Segev explains, “In the name of patriotism, there were also threats, intimidations, blackmail, and other forms of hooliganism, and at times, the rebellion seemed more like a civil war than a national uprising. […] Indeed, the rebellion quickly deteriorated into internecine fighting.”66 This not only plagued the Revolt and whatever unified pan-Arab national identity it implied; it became a feature of the Revolt and of the Arab nationalist movement itself. As Issa Khalaf explains, “For throughout the time of the [Arab Higher Committee]'s belated attempts to encourage a semblance of unity in Palestine, infighting and personal conflict served to hamper effective national leadership.”67 This infighting would come to define the largest blunder made by not just the Arab nationalists, but arguably any side in the Revolt.

Despite this rapidly-deteriorating situation in the Arab nationalist faction, the continued violence was wearing on the British, who, after the failure of the Peel Commission's suggested two-state partition, caved and published the White Paper in 1939, which proposed to transfer all immigration authority over to the Palestinians during the next ten years. While everyone in the Arab Higher Committee, which met in Hajj Amin al-Husseini's Beirut apartment on the day the White Paper was released, was pleased with the results of the White Paper, it was Hajj Amin who remained steadfast in his rejection of the proposal; it quickly became clear that “It was not until the White Paper had been officially rejected by the [Arab Higher Committee] at the end of May, that the political differences between the moderates and the Mufti came to the fore.”68 According to the recollections of a doctor who was present, “the sole concern of the Committee was now concentrated on convincing Hajj Amin that his negative stand was extremely detrimental to the Arab cause and was serving, unintentionally, the Zionist cause.”69 Hajj Amin argued, and eventually some of the more radical among the group agreed, that the Paper did not contain enough guarantees to his liking, including a provision in the White Paper that still insisted, despite turning immigration policy completely over to the Arabs, that the new authorities would still guarantee a Jewish national home.

While Hajj Amin al-Husseini did not see his rejection as a misstep, this was not how many who took part in the Arab Revolt saw it. As Oren Kessler explains, “nine Arabs out of ten welcomed the White Paper, [the editor of the Palestinian nationalist newspaper Filastin] reckoned, and anyone rejecting it must be 'an Arab ass or an Arab traitor,'” while “rebel leaders in Damascus said the same [as other critics], castigating Hajj Amin for having 'desecrated the holy rebellion' for his own selfish aims.”70 For the mufti's part, he never wavered in his conviction that not only had he made the correct decision, but that even with the olive branches offered in the 1939 White Paper or the 1937 Peel Commission, Britain had “give[n] Palestine to the Jews,” something he wrote in an essay published in 1954, concluding that “[Palestine] fell into the hands of Britain the exploiter and greedy World Jewry.”71 Hajj Amin's own prejudices were not simply post-hoc bitterness or justification either; by 1939, he had made his feelings on Jews, as a people, very well-known. In October of 1937, he made a speech titled “Appeal to All Muslims of the World,” which was recorded in a pamphlet made for propaganda purposes by the Nazis a number of years later. In this speech, he claimed that “there must be good reason,” for why Jews had been oppressed over time, as well as repeating the conspiracy theory that “the Jews were the epicenter of [the Plague of Justinian]” and that this was “the reason that the Jews to this day are called microbes.”72 This was Hajj Amin's fixation, and it was clear that anything that even hinted at conciliation toward Jews was unacceptable to him.

This also explains why, in the midst of the Arab Revolt, Hajj Amin had been placing diplomatic feelers with the new Nazi regime in Germany.73 While his alliance with the Nazis was partly borne out of necessity thanks to his overt opposition to the British during the Arab Revolt, it was still willing, enthusiastic, and “not for want of an alternative that Haj Amin acted as he did.”74 This alliance, thanks to the outcome of the war more than for a distrust of the new German government in the 1930s, was one of the major reasons Hajj Amin became discredited; as Gilbert Achcar writes, “even before the 1948 Nakba utterly discredited him, [Hajj Amin]'s reputation had reached a low ebb in Arab and Palestinian political circles with the defeat of the Axis.”75 This forced the memories of his reckless decision-making during the last year of the Arab Revolt—particularly with the 1939 White Paper—to be relived by those who had them. One of Hajj Amin's early allies, the Arab nationalist Musa Alami, “eventually recognized the mufti's fundamental extremism […] but by then it was far too late. 'Hajj Amin was his tragedy,' said a close acquaintance.”76 Ultimately, while some of his fellow Arab nationalists had little issue with Hajj Amin's anti-Semitism as far as their own biases went, they hated him more for what he did to their movement, which had been done thanks to the anti-Semitic blind spot he carried.

By the time the consequences of Hajj Amin's blind spot became more apparent, the specific issues underlying British Mandatory authority and Jewish immigration had faded into a general state of fear. As George Antonius observed, “To the Arabs, the problem is now essentially one of self-preservation,” thanks to “Arab fears of eventual dispossession into a certainty,” leading in part to “an understanding between Arabs, British, and Jews increasingly difficult of attainment.”77 Hajj Amin and his influence had helped create this certainty. Therefore, the historical memory of the Arab Revolt—and namely how it came to be defined by the mufti and his failures due to his own bigotries—proved to be the unspoken force that fractured the Arab nationalist identity, with various factions, such as the secular PLO and the Islamist Hamas, vying for control of the movement until the early 21st century, when the latter finally seized control.

The Catalyst of Chaos

The Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 was an event with many diverse moving parts, and many different figures with their own particular agendas, that all produced a wide variety of results that ultimately paved the way for events that overshadowed the Arab Revolt in the historical record. However, by no means did the historical memory of the Arab Revolt diminish, especially when we examine how it's historical memory shaped the identities of the three major factions who took part in it. It is clear, based on the evidence available, that the respective identities of the Arab nationalists, the Zionists, and the British Empire were significantly shaped by the events of the Arab Revolt. The Arab nationalists' fractured identity came about thanks to the suffering and humiliation brought about by the counterinsurgency tactics used by British authorities during the Revolt itself, the intensifying retaliatory strikes from more radical Zionists that escalated during and after the Revolt, and the short-sighted, bigotry-motivated decision-making of the self-appointed leadership, all the more delegitimized by the leadership's alliance with the Nazis during World War II. The Zionists' more unified and radical identity came about thanks to the Arab Revolt reinforcing the belief that had been building for nearly two decades that they could not rely on external help from the likes of the British. The historical memory of the Revolt and the British authorities' proposals to end it that they saw as unacceptable also built upon the existential threat they saw coming from Nazi Germany, brought the different factions together in a more defensive formation that would come to define future conflicts and radicalism. Finally, the British Empire's historical memory would be one of imperial failure, which they both sought to avoid by striking a compromise and sought to justify after the fact as a peacekeeper and builder of nations. As Tom Segev explains, “The deterioration in Arab-Jewish relations was threatening the prestige of the entire empire.”78 This, combined with the lingering presence of Christian Zionism among many colonial officials and government representatives, helped define the British self-conceptualized identity as a peacekeeping, decolonizing force deeper into the 20th century.

The identities constructed by the events and outcomes of the Arab Revolt are also significant to the broader literature that already examines the formation of the state of Israel and the origins of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many reasons unique to each faction of the Revolt. For the Arab nationalists, it supersedes the narratives that Palestinian suffering is unique to the experiences of 1948 Nakba, which both contextualizes the situation that the Palestinians have faced for over eight decades and acknowledges the full spectrum of agency their leadership possessed before the foundation of Israel. For the Zionists, the identity formed by the historical memory of the Arab Revolt surfaces the reactive defensiveness that came to largely define the Zionist experience after the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 and reveals its origins as existing a decade earlier. Finally, for the British Empire's identity being forged by the historical memory of the Arab Revolt, it ultimately questions the imperialist narratives of state-building and magnanimous diplomatic overtures that dominated the discourse during the era of British decolonization in the 20th century.

Without the events of the Arab Revolt acting as a catalyst, the collective identities of the British Empire, the Zionists, and the Arab nationalists would not look the same after 1939, much less in the 21st century. While the Zionist project has been, in essence, completed, the British empire dismantled, and the Arab nationalists more atomized than ever, the importance of the decisions made by the major figures of each faction cannot be exaggerated. Nothing is preordained in history, much less one that involves the mass movements and displacements of millions of people, but it is difficult to envision the same outcome occurring if the three competing interests and identities had not come together to form the historical memory of the Arab Revolt.



Primary Sources

Antonius, George. The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement. London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 1938.

al-Husseini, Hajj Amin. Through the Eyes of the Mufti: The Essays of Hajj Amin. Edited by Zvi Elpeleg. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2009.

al-Khalidi, Hussein Fakhri. Exiled from Jerusalem: The Diaries of Fakhri al-Khalidi. Edited by Rafiq Husseini. London: I.B. Tauris, 2020.

Balfour, Arthur James. “Balfour Declaration.” Accessed via


The Colonies. Parliamentary Debates 113, cc81-145. House of Lords. May 23, 1939. Accessed via

MacNeil, Neil. “Palestine Under the Mandate: An Impartial Account of Troubles and Hopes in the Holy Land.” The New York Times (New York), July 5, 1931. Retrieved from newspapers/palestine-under-mandate/docview/99316609/se-2.

Palestine Royal Commission. Summary of the Report of the Palestine Royal Commission. Series of League of Nations Publications VI. A. MANDATES. September, 1937. Accessed via

Post, Robert P. “Palestine Plan Irks Both Arabs and Jews: Strategic Considerations Uppermost in British Decision, But Political Problems Remain Unsolved.” The New York Times (New York), May 21, 1939. jews/docview/102941220/se-2?accountid=10351.

Sabry, Mohamed. Islam-Judentum-Bolschewismus. Berlin: Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1938.

Samuel, Herbert, The Rt Hon. Viscount. Grooves of Change: A Book of Memoirs. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1946.

Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament by Command of His Majesty. (1939). “Palestine Statement of Policy.” (Cmd. 6019). London. Retrieved via

Weizmann, Chaim. The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann: Volume II, Series B – December 1931-April 1952. Edited by Barnet Litvinoff. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 1984.

Weizmann, Chaim. Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1949.

Secondary Sources

Achcar, Gilbert. The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives. London: Picador, Pan Macmillan, 2010.

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso Books, 1983.

Cubitt, Geoffrey. History and Memory. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 2007.

Elpeleg, Zvi. The Grand Mufti: Hajj Amin al-Hussaini, Founder of the Palestinian National Movement. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 1993.

David Hacohen, Time to Tell: An Israeli Life, 1898-1984. New York: Cornwall Books, 1985.

Herf, Jeffrey. “Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Nazis and the Holocaust: The Origins, Nature and Aftereffects of Collaboration.” Jewish Political Studies Review 26, no. 3/4 (Fall 2014): 13-37,

Hoffman, Bruce. Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.

Hughes, Matthew. “The Banality of Brutality: British Armed Forces and the Repression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-39.” The English Historical Review 124, no. 507 (Apr., 2009): 313- 354,

Kabha, Mustafa. “The Courts of the Palestinian Arab Revolt, 1936-1939.” In Untold Histories of the Middle East: Recovering Voices from the 19th and 20th Centuries, ed. Amy Singer, Christoph K. Neumann, and Selçuk Akşin Somel, 197-213. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2010.

Khalaf, Issa. Politics in Palestine: Arab Factionalism and Social Disintegration 1939-1948. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991.

Kessler, Oren. Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2023.

Lockman, Zachary. Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Makovsky, Michael. Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

Pappe, Ilan. The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty: The Husaynis 1700-1948. London: SAQI Books, 2010.

Segev, Tom. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999.

Stockwell, A.J. “British Decolonization: The Record and the Records.” Contemporary European History 15, no. 4 (Nov., 2006): 573-583,



1. Weizmann, Chaim. The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann: Volume II, Series B – December 1931-April 1952, ed. Barnet Litvinoff (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 1984), 365.

2. Ibid., 369.

3. Ibid., 370.

4. Palestine Royal Commission, Summary of the Report of the Palestine Royal Commission. Series of League of Nations Publications VI. A. MANDATES (September, 1937).

5. A.J. Stockwell “British Decolonization: The Record and the Records,” Contemporary European History 15, no. 4 (Nov., 2006), 573.

6. David Hacohen, Time to Tell: An Israeli Life, 1898-1984 (New York: Cornwall Books, 1985), 54. Quoted in Oren Kessler, Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2023), 170.

7. Kessler, Palestine 1936, 3.

8. Gilbert Achcar, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (London: Picador, Pan Macmillan, 2010), 24.

9. Mustafa Kabha, “The Courts of the Palestinian Arab Revolt, 1936-1939,” in Untold Histories of the Middle East: Recovering Voices from the 19th and 20th Centuries, ed. Amy Singer, Christoph K. Neumann, and Selçuk Akşin Somel (London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2010), 197.

10. Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1949), 583, 582.

11. Geoffrey Cubitt, History and Memory (Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 2007), 200.

12. Ibid., 207.

13. Ibid.

14. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso Books, 1983), 6.

15. Ibid., 7.

16. Cubitt, History and Memory, 212-213.

17. Ibid., 200, 210.

18. Ibid., 200-219.

19. Neil MacNeill, “Palestine Under the Mandate: An Impartial Account of Troubles and Hopes in the Holy Land,” The New York Times (New York), July 5, 1931.

20. Arthur James Balfour, “Balfour Declaration.”

21. Michael Makovsky, Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 61.

22. Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999), 40.

23. Ibid., 41.

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid., 43.

26. Ibid., 89-90.

27. Ibid., 34.

28. Ibid.

29. Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 93-94.

30. George Antonius, The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement (London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 1938), 169.

31. Segev, One Palestine, Complete, 8, 6.

32. Matthew Hughes, “The Banality of Brutality: British Armed Forces and the Repression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-39,” The English Historical Review 124, no. 507 (Apr., 2009), 313.

33. Ibid., 321, 322.

34. Palestine Royal Commission. Summary of the Report of the Palestine Royal Commission. Series of League of Nations Publications VI. A. MANDATES (September, 1937).

35. The Colonies. Parliamentary Debates 113, cc81-145. House of Lords. May 23, 1939.

36. Ibid., 186.

37. Ibid, 303-304, 309-312.

38. Ibid., 324-325.

39. Weizmann, Trial and Error, 411.

40. Segev, One Palestine, Complete, 382.

41. Ibid., 383.

42. Ibid., 385-386.

43. Samuel, Herbert, The Rt Hon. Viscount. Grooves of Change: A Book of Memoirs. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1946.

44. Bruce Hoffman, Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), 92.

45. Ibid., 93.

46. Ibid., 98.

47. Hoffman, Anonymous Soldiers, 107.

48. Ibid., 126.

49. Ibid., 127.

50. Ibid., 138-139.

51. Ibid., 139.

52. Ibid., 139-140.

53. Antonius, The Arab Awakening, 84.

54. Ilan Pappe, The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty: The Husaynis 1700-1948 (London: SAQI Books, 2010), 129.

55. Ibid., 148.

56. Ibid., 13.

57. Kessler, Palestine 1936, 11.

58. Segev, One Palestine, Complete, 360.

59. Kessler, Palestine 1936, 46

60. Segev, One Palestine, Complete, 362.

61. Zvi Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti: Hajj Amin al-Hussaini, Founder of the Palestinian National Movement (London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 1993), 37.

62. Ibid., 39.

63. Kessler, Palestine 1936, 58.

64. Hussein Fakhri al-Khalidi, Exiled from Jerusalem: The Diaries of Fakhri al-Khalidi, ed. Rafiq Husseini (London: I.B. Tauris, 2020), 71.

65. Ibid., 95.

66. Segev, One Palestine, Complete, 369.

67. Issa Khalaf, Politics in Palestine: Arab Factionalism and Social Disintegration 1939-1948 (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991), 155.

68. Khalaf, Politics in Palestine, 75.

69. Kessler, Palestine 1936, 216.

70. Ibid., 218.

71. Hajj Amin al-Husseini, Through the Eyes of the Mufti: The Essays of Hajj Amin, ed. Zvi Elpeleg (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2009), 114.

72. Mohamed Sabry, Islam-Judentum-Bolschewismus (Berlin: Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1938), 22.

73. Jeffrey Herf, “Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Nazis and the Holocaust: The Origins, Nature and Aftereffects of Collaboration,” Jewish Political Studies Review 26, no. 3/4 (Fall 2014), 15.

74. Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 64.

75. Gilbert Achcar, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (London: Picador, Pan Macmillan, 2010), 158.

76. Kessler, Palestine 1936, 239.

77. Antonius, The Arab Awakening, 408, 409.

78. Segev, One Palestine, Complete, 400.



bottom of page