Election by Sewage United
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Re "Democracy for Sale" [Nov. 1]: Looks like we’ve had one of those "fair and balanced" elections, with a stream of corporate cash (sewage) funding right-wing candidates and flooding the media with one message: gummint is bad. Of course, corporations want government off their backs, and now they can sink as much sewage as they want into elections, thanks to Citizens United. It was a brilliant plan by Rove & Co. The left, satisfied with an Obama win in 2008, rested on its laurels and wasn’t paying attention. It seems Rove & Co. gave up a real fight in 2008 and got to work on 2010, funneling all sorts of sewage into creating front groups for corporations, and that bogus grassroots movement, the Tea Party.
It saddens and surprises me that a Nation editor has failed to provide the proper context for an important story. In "Postcard From Palestine" [Nov. 1], Christopher Hayes states, "In 1929 Arab rioters killed sixty-seven of the small number of Jewish residents of the city (several hundred were saved by their Arab neighbors, who hid them in their homes), and the last Jewish resident left the city in 1948." Hayes, like most people, fails to recognize that the massacre in Hebron in 1929 was part of regionwide riots between Arabs and Jews that began several days earlier in Jerusalem. Hayes would have us assume that Palestinian Arabs killed Hebron Jews for… why? A fit of racist ethnic cleansing?
The bloody riots in Jerusalem started after Zionists there paraded nationalist banners at the Wailing Wall in a brazen provocation against Ottoman-era bans of such displays, in force for many years. These and other Zionist actions at the Wailing Wall (at the time owned and maintained by Arabs) were designed to provoke a violent reaction among Palestinians. Well, it worked. Once the killing in Jerusalem started, that news along with false rumors of Jewish attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque spread quickly to Hebron, where the Palestinians, in an unjustified fit of faux revenge, killed the non-Zionist religious Jews, whose small community had lived in Hebron in peace for hundreds of years.
In fact, the August 1929 riots in Jerusalem, Hebron and elsewhere resulted in "207 dead and 379 wounded among the population of Palestine, of which the dead included eighty-seven Arabs (Christian and Moslem) and 120 Jews, the wounded 181 Arabs and 198 Jews," according to official British casualty lists, as recounted by US journalist James Vincent Sheean, reporting from Palestine at the time.
Sheean’s landmark 1935 book, Personal History, devotes an entire chapter, "Holy Land," to the 1929 riots. On the Hebron and Jerusalem bloodshed, Sheean concluded, "I was bitterly indignant with the Zionists for having, I believed, brought on this disaster." Sheean’s credentials as a world-class journalist and author are above reproach. Personal History was named one of the 100 best works of twentieth-century American journalism by New York University’s journalism department. Hayes owes it to the dead on both sides to report the truth.
LAWRENCE J. MAUSHARD
Silver Spring, Md.
Christopher Hayes ignores for the most part the history of Hebron. Patriarchs of the Jewish religion are buried there—not only Abraham, as Hayes mentioned, but also Isaac and Jacob. There was a strong Jewish presence in that city until successive massacres starting in 1929 caused the Jews of the city to flee. From 1948 to 1967 Jews were not permitted in Hebron, where a mosque was built over that second-holiest shrine of Judaism.
We should be pleased rather than angry that Jews have returned to that city and are honoring their forefathers, who are sacred to Christians as well as Jews.