(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000
photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian
utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers
returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of
Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to
Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the
building of Tel Aviv.
The great British leader Winston Churchill visited Palestine in 1921, relatively
early in his career while serving as Colonial Secretary. He was attending a
conference in Cairo, and, according to Churchill, he was invited to Jerusalem by
his friend the British Commissioner for Palestine, Herbert Samuel.
While in Jerusalem he attended a tree-planting ceremony at Hebrew University on
Mt. Scopus with Sir Herbert Samuel.
important meeting -- related to the division and leadership of the post-war
Middle East -- was a secret meeting with Emir Abdullah (later King Abdullah of
Transjordan) and T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). A photograph from the
meeting was preserved in the Library of Congress collection.
He also met
with the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leadership of Jerusalem. In an
incredible film clip, Churchill takes leave of the leading rabbis of the time,
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazic community; Rabbi Joseph
Chaim Zonnenfeld, Chief Rabbi of the ultra-Orthodox Eidah Charedis community;
and Rabbi Jacob Meir, chief Rabbi of the Sephardi community.
In January 1925, Rabbi Zonnenfeld traveled to Amman to meet
with Abdullah, his father King Hussein of the Hijaz and brother King Faisal of
Churchill also met with a former mayor of Jerusalem and Arab
leader, Musa Kazim el Husseini. Husseini was related to the Jew-hating Mufti Haj
Amil el-Husseini and father of the notorious Arab militia fighter, Abdul Khadar
el-Husseini. The Husseinis' hatred of Jews was only matched by their hatred for
King Abdullah, and Husseini clan members were involved in Abdullah's
assassination on the Temple Mount in 1951.
Musa Kazim el Husseini
petitioned Churchill to stop the immigration of Jews into Palestine and claimed
that life for the Arabs was better under the Ottomans. Churchill responded with
his famous rhetorical brilliance, defending the Balfour Declaration and the
reestablishment of the Jewish homeland.
More photos can be viewed at www.israeldailypicture.com