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Unreliable Haaretz deceving headline about Arabs who fought on British side in WW2 (Abbasi theory)

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Submitted by Victor (United States), Oct 25, 2021 at 22:13

Unreliable Haaretz deceving headline about Arabs who fought on British side in WW2

On Haaretz "celebrating" a headline about Arab Palestinians fighting on British side based on shaky "research".

  • Many Arabs were not from Palestine but came over from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

  • Many did so with the intention to get arms, and many of them deserted.

  • Jews paid Arabs to be enlisted.

  • Abbasi chose selective sources, yet neither the quantitative nor the qualitative aspect of his theory is supported by the evidence.

  • Shukairy's own testimony in his book states that (1940) almost no one adhered Britain's call to join a Palestine force to help the Allies.


The patched up concocted Abbasi theory is so weak, with so many holes.

And it can never even poke a hole in the over 80% of Arab Palestinians pro Nazis - per February 1941 poll for example.


Kirshenbaum, S. L. ‫History of the people of Israel in our generation [Toldot Am Yisrael Bedorenu]‬‎, vol. 2. Israel: 1965. p. 301.


A total of 9,000 Arabs enlisted in the British Army here. Among them are many from across the Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, who came to the recruitment bureaus in Palestine. Many of them enlisted with the intention of acquiring weapons for themselves: indeed, by the end of the war only about half of the Arab soldiers remained, as the rest defected with their weapons from the army.

Arab leaders who moved to Germany, led by Haj Amin al-Husseini, a former Mufti of Jerusalem, incited on German radio the Arabs to defect from the British army.

Amin al-Husseini actively assisted in the establishment of Arab and Muslim battalions in the German army. It was only after the Allied victory over Al-Alamein that it became clear to the Arab statesmen that their orientation on the Axis victory in the war had disappointed, and then they changed their position and declared their full support for the Allies.

Following this turning point, many Arab prisoners were released, who were imprisoned by the British, including organizers of riots in Palestine, and given permission to return to their homeland. Here they once again stood at the head of the Arab parties, even though they signed a letter of commitment not to be active in life ...

Kirshenbaum, Shimshon Leib. ‫תולדות עם ישראל בדורנו‬‎. Israel: ‫אמנות‬‎, 1965. p.301

בסך הכל התגייסו כאן תשעת אלפים ערבים לצבא הבריטי. ובתוכם רבים מעבר- הירדן, סוריה והלבנון, שבאו ללשכות הגיוס בארץ-ישראל. רבים מהם התגייסו מתוך כוונה לרכוש להם נשק; ואמנם, עד סוף המלחמה נשארו רק כמחצית החיילים הערבים, שכן השאר ערקו עם נשקם מן הצבא. מנהיגים ערביים שעברו לגרמניה ובראשם חאג' אמין אל-חוסייני, מופתי ירושלים לשעבר, הסיתו בראדיו הגרמני את הערבים לערוק מן הצבא הבריטי. אמין אל-חוסייני סייע באופן פעיל בהקמת גדודים ערביים ומוסלמיים בצבא הגרמני. רק לאחר הנצחון המכריע של בעלות הברית באל-עלמיין נתברר להם למדינאים הערבים, שהאוריינטאציה שלהם על נצחון הציר במלחמה אכזבה, ואז שינו עמדתם והכריזו על תמיכתם המלאה בעניין בעלות הברית. בעקבות מפנה זה שוחררו אסירים ערביים רבים, שהיו אסורים אצל הבריטים, בתוכם מארגני הפרעות בארץ-ישראל, וניתנה להם רשות לחזור למולדתם. כאן התיצבו שוב בראש המפלגות הערביות, אף-על-פי שחתמו על כתב התחייבות שלא להיות פעילים בחיים ...


Elie Kedourie. Professor of Politics Emeritus. (1964) "Arabic Political Memoirs and Other Studies, Cass books on the Middle East." Psychology Press. p. 189


Elie Kedourie. (2012) "Arabic Political Memoirs and Other Studies, Cass books on the Middle East." Routledge. pp. 189-190 ;

Elie Kedourie. Arabic Political Memoirs and Other Studies," (Routledge, 2012), pp. 89-90 .

[https://books.google.com/books?id=JX8sBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA190] ;

Stephen Spender, Irving Kristol, Encounter Limited, Vol. 39, 1972, p. 76 .

Shuqayri began to be active in Palestinian Arab politics in the early 1930s ... whether or not they were politically wise—Shuqayri was expressing the attitudes and feelings of his countrymen... He describes the great excitement with which they used to listen to German and Italian broadcasts, how he would follow during the night the military communiqués, marking on a map the places being occupied by the victorious Germans and meet his friends the following morning to discuss triumphs exceeding those of the previous day:

Our sympathies were with the Axis powers being led by Hitler from victory to victory, and with our sympathies went our prayers for the victory of Germany and her allies, and defeat for Britain and her confederates. . . . When the British government announced the formation of a Palestine force to help the war effort, our young men received the durective: do not join the Palestine force, and the response was quasi-unanimous. . . . The activities of the Italian and Gernan airforce extended to Palestine, and in September 1940 their airplanes bombed certain targets in Tel-Aviv and Haifa. The joy and excitement produced in our circles was indescribable.


Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-chen, "Palestinian Arab Volunteers in the British Army in WWII: A Reality Check", Besa, December 9, 2019.

Notwithstanding Abbasi's claim to have based his research on a variety of primary and secondary sources, he seems to have chosen his sources selectively, presumably to service the theory of a significant degree of Palestinian Arab resistance to the Nazis. Neither the quantitative nor the qualitative aspect of this theory is supported by the evidence.

Gen. Archibald Wavell, commander of the British forces in the Middle East, opposed the formation of a Jewish regiment in the British army. According to historian Marcel Roubicek, the British High Commissioner for Palestine also feared that Jewish enlistment would inflame Arab anger. To solve that problem, he made it a condition that Jews wishing to join up find an equivalent number of Palestinian Arab volunteers to join up as well.

To accomplish this, the Jews of the Yishuv offered financial compensation to Palestinian Arabs to enlist. They ultimately succeeded in raising enough manpower from both communities to permit the formation of a Jewish regiment.

The opportunity for Palestinian Arabs to join the ranks of the British Army was thus a direct outcome of the Jewish desire to render its utmost assistance to Britain in every sphere of war activity, a point Abbasi ignores.

He is similarly fuzzy on Palestinian Arab motivation. He states, "Most of the [Palestinian Arab] volunteers were villagers and of the urban lower class, and...the economic motive played a central role in volunteering," noting that these "motives...differed from [that of] their Jewish friends, who enlisted in the army mainly because of opposition to Nazi Germany and its racial policy toward their people, besides other motives such as the revival of a Jewish army, and the serious employment situation in the country at the beginning of the war."

Compensation as the prevailing motivation for Palestinian Arab enlistment is supported by the evidence, but Abbasi claims their motives were in fact manifold and varied. Some Palestinian Arabs, he states, enlisted for ideological reasons, to express their opposition to Nazi ideology and loyalty to the British and their values. This motive was especially true of the urban elite and the intellectuals, he alleges, who were highly influenced by British education and culture. He does not substantiate this point sufficiently and ignores available evidence documenting contemporary Palestinian contempt for the British Army (see, for example, Prof. Kimberly Katz's A Young Palestinian's Diary 1941-1945, The Life of Sami Amr).

Abbasi laments that "there is hardly any reference to the thousands of Palestinian volunteers, some of whom fell in battle, while others are still listed as missing in action, and no commemoration of the fallen can be found anywhere." He suggests this "evil" is explained by "what the Palestinian people experienced during the Nakba and its aftermath, the destruction of archives and records in addition to the loss of personal documents, and the fact that no organization was established to commemorate the volunteers and their deeds." He thus accuses Israel of covering up the Palestinian Arab role in defeating the Nazis.

It should be noted that Abbasi persistently uses the term "Palestinians" rather than "Palestinian Arabs" in his article, starting with the title. This manipulation services the popular narrative denying any linkage between the Jewish People and Palestine. In her book World War II – The Story of a Jewish Soldier, Jewish Women of Mandatory Palestine Serving in the British Army, Esther Herlitz (later an Israeli diplomat and politician who served as a member of the Knesset) wrote, "As far as the British were concerned, we from the Jewish Yishuv, and some Arabs, were Palestinians."


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