Under Turkish Rule, Part II
Part I, Part III
By Andrew G. Bostom
Danish translation: Under tyrkisk styre, del 2
Source: FrontPageMagazine.com, July 27, 2007
Published on myIslam.dk: May 28, 2013

Originally this essay was published on FrontPageMagazine.com in two parts. Here it is presented in three parts in order to provide better access to the notes. The text is the same. (ed.)

Jews in Ottoman Palestine, Early 16th Century Until the End of World War I

Although episodes of violent anarchy diminished during the four centuries of Ottoman suzerainty the degrading conditions of the indigenous Jews (and Christians) living under the shari’a’s jurisdiction
remained unchanged. For example, Samuel b. Ishaq Uceda, a major Kabbalist from Safed at the end of the 16th century, refers in his commentary on The Lamentations of Jeremiah, to the situation of the Jews in the Land of Israel (Palestine): [59]

“The princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!” …Perhaps this is an allusion to the situation that prevails in our times, for there is no town in the [Ottoman] empire in which the Jews are subjected to such heavy taxes and dues as in the Land of Israel, and particularly in Jerusalem. Were it not for the funds sent by the communities in Exile, no Jew could survive here on account of the numerous taxes, as the prophet said in connection with the ‘princess of the provinces’: ‘They hunt our steps, that we cannot go into our own streets’…The nations humiliate us to such an extent that we are not allowed to walk in the streets. The Jew is obliged to step aside in order to let the Gentile [Muslim] pass first. And if the Jew does not turn aside of his own will, he is forced to do so. This law is particularly enforced in Jerusalem, more so than in other localities. For this reason the text specifies ‘…in our own streets,’ that is, those of Jerusalem.

A century later Canon Antoine Morison, [60] from Bar-le-Duc in France, while traveling in the Levant in 1698, observed that the Jews in Jerusalem are “there in misery and under the most cruel and shameful slavery”, and although a large community, they were subjected to extortion. Similar contemporary observations regarding the plight of both Palestinian Jews and Christians were made by the Polish Jew, Gedaliah of Siemiatyce (d. 1716), who, braving numerous perils, came to Jerusalem in 1700. These appalling conditions, recorded in his book, Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, forced him to return to Europe in order to raise funds for the Jews of Jerusalem: [61]

We [Jews] were obliged to give a large sum of money to the Muslim authorities in Jerusalem in order to be allowed to build a new synagogue. Although the old synagogue was small and we only wanted to enlarge it very slightly, it was forbidden under Islamic law to modify the least part. . . . In addition to the expenses in bribes destined to win the favor of the Muslims, each male was obliged to pay an annual poll tax of two pieces of gold to the sultan. The rich man was not obliged to give more, but the poor man could not give less. Every year, generally during the festival of the Passover, an official from Constantinople would arrive in Jerusalem. He who did not have the means to pay the tax was thrown into prison and the Jewish community was obliged to redeem him. The official remained in Jerusalem for about two months and consequently, during that period, the poor people would hide wherever they could, but if ever they were caught, they would be redeemed by community funds. The official sent his soldiers throughout the streets to control the papers of the passers-by, for a certificate was provided to those who had already paid the tax. If anyone was found without his certificate, he had to present himself before the official with the required sum, otherwise he was imprisoned until such time as he could be redeemed.
The Christians are also obliged to pay the poll-tax…during the week, the paupers dared not show themselves outside…in their wickedness, the [Muslim] soldiers would go to the synagogues, waiting by the doors, requesting the certificate of payment from the congregants who emerged...
No Jew or Christian is allowed to ride a horse, but a donkey is permitted, for [in the eyes of Muslims] Christians and Jews are inferior beings…The Muslims do not allow any member of another faith—unless he converts to their religion—entry to the Temple [Mount] area, for they claim that no other religion is sufficiently pure to enter this holy spot. They never weary of claiming that, although God had originally chosen the people of Israel, He had since abandoned them on account of their iniquity in order to choose the Muslims…
In the Land of Israel, no member of any other religion besides Islam may wear the color green, even if it is a thread [of cotton] like that with which we decorate our prayer shawls. If a Muslim perceives it, that could bring trouble. Similarly, it is not permitted to wear a green or white turban. On the Sabbath, however, we wear white turbans, on the crown of which we place a piece of cloth of another color as a distinguishing mark. The Christians are not allowed to wear a turban, but they wear a hat instead, as is customary in Poland. Moreover, the Muslim law requires that each religious denomination wear its specific garment so that each people may be distinguished from another. This distinction also applies to footwear. Indeed, the Jews wear shoes of a dark blue color, whereas Christians wear red shoes. No one can use green, for this color is worn solely by Muslims. The latter are very hostile toward Jews and inflict upon them vexations in the streets of the city…the common folk persecute the Jews, for we are forbidden to defend ourselves against the Turks or the Arabs. If an Arab strikes a Jew, he [the Jew] must appease him but dare not rebuke him, for fear that he may be struck even harder, which they [the Arabs] do without the slightest scruple. This is the way the Oriental Jews react, for they are accustomed to this treatment, whereas the European Jews, who are not yet accustomed to suffer being assaulted by the Arabs, insult them in return.
Even the Christians are subjected to these vexations. If a Jew offends a Muslim, the latter strikes him a brutal blow with his shoe in order to demean him, without anyone's being able to prevent him from doing it. The Christians fall victim to the same treatment and they suffer as much as the Jews, except that the former are very rich by reason of the subsidies that they receive from abroad, and they use this money to bribe the Arabs. As for the Jews, they do not possess much money with which to oil the palms of the Muslims, and consequently they are subject to much greater suffering.

Moshe Maoz maintains that this state of affairs persisted for Jews (and Christians) living under Ottoman rule within (Syro-) Palestine, through at least the 1830s: [62]

…the position of the Jews was in many ways precarious. Like their Christian fellow subjects, the Jews were inferior citizens in the Muslim-Ottoman state which was based on the principle of Muslim superiority. They were regarded as state protégés (dhimmis) and had to pay a special poll tax (jizya) for that protection and as a sign of their inferior status. Their testimony was not accepted in the courts of justice, and in cases of the murder of a Jew or Christian by a Muslim, the latter was usually not condemned to death. In addition, Jews as well as Christians were normally not acceptable for appointments to the highest administrative posts; they were forbidden to carry arms (thus, to serve in the army), to ride horses in towns or to wear Muslim dress. They were also not usually allowed to build or repair places of worship and were often subjected to oppression, extortion and violence by both the local authorities and the Muslim population. The Jews in Ottoman Palestine and Syria lived under such ambivalent and precarious conditions for a number of centuries…

Maoz describes the fate of the Jew Hayim Farhi, who became treasury manager and administrative advisor to Ahmad Pasha al-Jezzar, vali (governor) of the Pashalik (territory) of Sidon (1775-1804). Subsequently, during the reign of al-Jezzar’s successor, Sulyaman Pasha (1804-1818), Farhi was appointed supervisor of income and expenditure, coordinator of the province’s accounts with the central treasury, and overall director of administrative functions, accruing considerable power and influence. As Maoz, explains, however, [63]

Farhi’s prominent position in Acre was, however, unique at that time, due to the mild character of Sulayman Pasha “the Just” (al-Adil) who, in addition, owed Hayim his ascendancy to the pashalik. For during the previous reign of Jezzar Pasha, Farhi was no more than an ordinary senior official, and upon falling into disfavor—he was even discharged and arrested, one of his eyes was gouged out and his nose and ears cut.
That the position of Hayim Farhi was very precarious was even more evident under Sulayman’s successor, ‘Abdallah Pasha (1819-1831). At the beginning of his rule, Farhi’s influence was at its peak and the Pasha was allegedly “unable to do anything without Hayim’s consent.” But a short time later, in 1820, Farhi was executed and his property confiscated upon ‘Abdallah’s orders. It is evident that such a case was by no means uncommons regards Jews or Christians during the period of the Pashas’ rule. J. L. Burkhardt, the perceptive Swiss traveler, noted in 1811: “…there is scarcely an instance in the modern history of Syria of a Christian or Jew having long enjoyed the power or riches he may have acquired. These persons are always taken off in the last moment of their apparent glory”.

The case of the notable Hayim Farhi (and his family) illustrates the tenuous status of the Jewish community in Syro-Palestine. [64]

The unstable position of the Farhis in Acre and Damascus (in Damascus too the Farhis were occasionally subject to arbitrary treatment) may serve as an illustration of the shaky position of the Jewish communities in Ottoman Palestine and Syria for many years. In certain circumstance—under tolerant rulers such as Sulayman Pasha, and in certain places—such as Aleppo, Jews enjoyed a certain degree of personal safety and religious freedom, and a few of them also acquired economic prosperity as well as social status. These circumstances, however, were rare or limited. Sulayman al-Adil (“The Wise”) was unique; more typical rulers were Ahmad al-Jezzar (the Butcher) and ‘Abdallah Pasha. They conducted a tyrannical and oppressive regime which affected large sections of the local population, particularly the Jews and Christians.

Maoz makes these additional observations about Aleppo which was a thoroughfare for international commerce, and center of European activities (including consular and business communities), versus outlying areas, comparing the conditions for Jews under consular protection, relative to the local population under Ottoman rule: [65]

A number of Jewish families, mostly foreign protégés who belonged to those communities, were indeed relatively secure and prosperous. But many other local Jews, ordinary Ottoman subjects, were occasionally subject to violence and oppression from various quarters. If that was the case in tolerant Aleppo, in other towns which were imbued with religious intolerance and were distant from Istanbul, the Jewish population was perhaps the most oppressed element.
One of the major sources of their oppression was the local governors, public officials, soldiers and policemen, who maltreated Jews and extorted money from them in various ways. It is true that Muslim townsmen were occasionally oppressed and squeezed by tyrannical rulers and greedy soldiers. But many Muslims were nevertheless able to protect themselves against their oppressors with the help of the influential religious notables, or by placing themselves under the protection of local powerful leaders and military groups. It was also not very infrequent that Muslim masses would revolt against oppressive rulers and expel them from the town, or even kill them. The Jewish population obviously did not dare and was unable to oppose its oppressors; and in places where they managed to acquire protection of influential local notables they had to pay high sums for that protection. Otherwise—and this was another source of their misery—Jews were squeezed by local Muslim notables and molested by Muslim mobs. To quote a Jewish source: “When a Jew walked among them [the Muslims] in the market, one would throw a stone at him in order to kill him, another would pull his beard and a third his ear lock, yet another spit on his face and he became a symbol of abuse”

There were clear improvements in prevailing conditions for Christian dhimmis when Ibrahim Pasha occupied and ruled the Syro-Palestinian provinces from 1830-1841. The Jews, in contrast, experienced much less amelioration of their oppressed status according to Maoz. [66]

Their position was, no doubt, improved in some respects, in comparison with the past. They were occasionally permitted to repair old synagogues or to erect new ones; Jews were also represented in the new local majlises (legislative assemblies) and were officially given equal status before the new civil courts. Muslim notables were strictly ordered not to levy illegal dues and taxes on Jews, while a number of Muslim civilians, as well as some Egyptian soldiers, were severely punished for having maltreated Jews.
It should, however, be noted here that the measures taken to protect the Jews were only partly a result of the government’s initiative and good will; they were mainly the consequence of the intervention and pressure from the European consuls. As Jews themselves stated: “Had it not been the consuls’ supervision, we would have been destroyed and lost, since the Gentiles wish but to beat the Jews and to accuse them falsely.”
Nevertheless neither the consuls nor the authorities were able to prevent all the acts of aggression which were directed against Jews, particularly in small towns…in fact, there occurred during the short period of Egyptian rule some of the gravest anti-Jewish outbreaks in the recent history of Palestine and Syria. In Hebron, for example, Jews were massacred [including the rape-murder of five young girls [67]] in 1834 by Egyptian soldiers who came to put down a local Muslim rebellion. About the same time Jewish houses and shops in Jerusalem were broken into and looted by local Muslim insurgents, who dominated the town for a long time. Similarly, the Jews of Safed were brutally attacked by Muslim and Druze peasants from the vicinity in 1834 and again in 1837 (after the Safed earthquake).
As Mr. Young, the English Consul in Jerusalem, noted in 1839: “The spirit of toleration towards the Jews is not yet known here to the same extent it is in Europe…still a Jew in Jerusalem is not estimated much above a dog.”

The Safed pogrom, alluded to by Maoz, lasted 33 days in June/July 1834, and was particularly devastating—many Jews were killed, hundreds wounded, and the town nearly destroyed. Malachi has provided these details based upon eyewitness sources and accounts: [68]

The Arabs slaughtered the Jews who could not flee Safed. Many who hid in caves and graveyards were found out by the vandals and killed in their hiding places… They did not show compassion towards the elderly or the young, children or pregnant women. They burned Torah scrolls and tore holy books, ripped prayer shawls and phylacteries (tefillin)… The rioters tortured women and children in the synagogues and “defiled gentle women on parchment scrolls of the Torah” in front of their husbands and their children. Those who tried to protect their wives and courageously defend their honor were murdered by the bandits.

The prevailing conditions for Jews did not improve in a consistent or substantive manner even after the mid 19th century treaties imposed by the European powers on the weakened Ottoman Empire included provisions for the Tanzimat reforms. These reforms were designed to end the discriminatory laws of dhimmitude for both Jews and Christians, living under the Ottoman Shari’a. European consuls endeavored to maintain compliance with at least two cardinal principles central to any meaningful implementation of these reforms: respect for the life and property of non-Muslims; and the right for Christians and Jews to provide evidence in Islamic courts when a Muslim was a party. Unfortunately, these efforts to replace the concept of Muslim superiority over “infidels”, with the principle of equal rights, failed. [68a]

Although Maoz contends the the Tanzimat period was accompanied by “markedly better” conditions for Jews, at least “..in comparison with the past…”, he concedes, [69]

It should not be denied that Jews as well as Christians in Palestine and Syria were in that period still far from being equal members in the local political community. Despite the Tanzimat edicts, which promised equality between non-Muslims and Muslims, the dhimmis continued to be actually inferior before the law of the state and its institutions. They had still to pay the poll-tax (jizya)—or from 1855 the bedel (compulsory exemption tax from military service). Their testimony against Muslims was completely discounted in the mahkama (Muslim court), and in the various new Ottoman secular courts such testimony was occasionally rejected. Jews and Christians would similarly be discriminated against in cases brought before the majlises; even their deputies in these councils were usually disregarded and occasionally maltreated by their Muslim colleagues.

Eyewitness accounts from the time of the first iteration of the reforms (in 1839), almost a decade later (1847), and again two years after (i.e., in 1858) the second series of reforms in 1856 (issued at the conclusion of the Crimean War), paint a rather gloomy picture of continued anti-Jewish discrimination in Syro-Palestine. For example, the Scottish clerics A. A. Bonar and R. M. McCheyne, who visited Palestine in 1839 to inquire into the condition of the Jews there, published these observations in their A Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland in 1839 (Edinburgh, 1842): [70]

There is none of the sacred places over which the Moslem's keep so jealous a watch as the tomb of Abraham…travelers in general being forbidden to approach even the door of the Mosque [built by the conquering Muslims over the tomb of Abraham]…The Jews at present are permitted only to look through a hole near the entrance, and to pray with their face toward the grave of Abraham…the synagogues of Jerusalem…are six in number, all of them small and poorly furnished, and four of them under one roof…The reading desk is little else than an elevated part of the floor, enclosed with a wooden railing…We were much impressed with the melancholy aspect of the Jews in Jerusalem. The meanness of their dress, their pale faces, and timid expression, all seem to betoken great wretchedness…We found all the Jews here [in Safed] living in a state of great alarm…the Bedouins were every day threatening an attack to plunder the town…We observed how poorly clad most of the Jews seemed to be, and were told that they had buried under ground all their valuable clothes, their money, and other precious things. It was easy to read their deep anxiety in the very expression of their countenances…And all this in their own land!

The Jewish traevelogue writer J. J. Binyamin II recorded the following account after his 1847 sojourn in Palestine: [71]

Deep misery and continual oppression are the right words to describe the condition of the Children of Israel in the land of their fathers… They are entirely destitute of every legal protection and every means of safety. Instead of security afforded by law, which is unknown in these countries, they are completely under the orders of the Sheiks and Pashas, men, whose character and feelings inspire but little confidence from the beginning. It is only the European Consuls who frequently take care of the oppressed, and afford them some protection.…With unheard of rapacity tax upon tax is levied on them, and with the exception of Jerusalem, the taxes demanded are arbitrary. Whole communities have been impoverished by the exorbitant claims of the Sheiks, who, under the most trifling pretences and without being subject to any control, oppress the Jews with fresh burdens… In the strict sense of the word the Jews are not even masters of their own property. They do not even venture to complain when they are robbed and plundered…Their lives are taken into as little consideration as their property; they are exposed to the caprice of any one; even the smallest pretext, even a harmless discussion, a word dropped in conversation, is enough to cause bloody reprisals. Violence of every kind is of daily occurrence. When, for instance in the contests of Mahomet Ali with the Sublime Porte, the City of Hebron was besieged by Egyptian troops and taken by storm, the Jews were murdered and plundered, and the survivors scarcely even allowed to retain a few rags to cover themselves. No pen can describe the despair of these unfortunates. The women were treated with brutal cruelty; and even to this day, many are found, who since that time are miserable cripples. With truth can the Lamentations of Jeremiah be employed here. Since that great misfortune up to the present day, the Jews of Hebron languish in the deepest misery, and the present Sheik is unwearied in his endeavors, not to allow their condition to be ameliorated, but on the contrary, he makes it worse…The chief evidence of their miserable condition is the universal poverty which we remarked in Palestine, and which is here truly astounding; for nowhere else in our long journeys, in Europe, Asia and Africa did we observe it among the Jews. It even causes leprosy among the Jews of Palestine, as in former times. Robbed of their means of subsistence from the cultivation of the soil and the pursuit of trade, they exist upon the charity of their brethren in the faith in foreign parts… In a word the state of the Jews in Palestine, physically and mentally, is an unbearable one.

British Jerusalem Consul James Finn, reported in (July and November) 1858 that both physical insecurity for Jews in Palestine, and their inequality before the law, persisted despite the second iteration of Ottoman reforms in 1856: [72]

[July 8, 1858]…in consequence of a series of disgusting insults offered to Jews and Jewesses in Hebron, I obtained such orders as I could from the Pasha’s agent in this city…Finding these not answer entirely as might be desired, I repaired to the neighborhood of Hebron myself—and found the whole government of that important and turbulent district being administered by a very old Bashi Bozuk officer as the ton governor; and a military Boluk Bashi with five starved and ragged Bashi Bozuk man as soldiers—The rural district is left entirely to peasant Sheikhs, with one responsible over the rest. The streets of the town were paraded by fanatic Dervishes—and during my stay there a Jewish house was forcibly entered by night, iron bars of the window broken, and heavy stones thrown by invisible hands at every person approaching the place to afford help. One of the Members of the Council affirmed that they were not obliged to obey orders from the Pasha’s deputy—and another declared his right derived from time immemorial in his family, to enter Jewish houses, and take toll or contributions any time without giving account. When others present in the Council exclaimed against this he said—“Well then I will forbear from taking it myself, but things will happen which will compel the Jews to come and kiss my feet to induce me to take their money.” On hearing of my arrival in the vicinity he went away to the villages, refusing to obey the summons to Jerusalem, and I believe the Pasha cannot really compel him to come here—he being a privileged member of the Council, and recognized in Constantinople.
[November 11, 1858] -And my Hebrew Dragoman [translator] having a case for judgment in the Makhameh [Muslim court] before the new Kadi [judge], although accompanied by my Kawass [constable], and announcing his office, was commanded to stand up humbly and take off his shoes before his case could be heard. He did not however comply—But during the process although the thief had previously confessed to the robbery in presence of Jews, the Kadi would not proceed without the testimony of two Moslems—when the Jewish witnesses were offered, he refused to accept their testimony—and the offensive term adopted towards Jews in former times (more offensive than Giaour for Christians) was used by the Kadi’s servants…such circumstances exhibit the working of the present Turkish government in Jerusalem.

Tudor Parfitt’s comprehensive 1987 study of the Jews of Palestine during the 19th century, oncluded with these summary observations covering entire the period of his analysis, through 1882: [73]

Inside the towns, Jews and other dhimmis were frequently attacked, wounded, and even killed by local Muslims and Turkish soldiers. Such attacks were frequently for trivial reasons: Wilson [in British Foreign Office correspondence] recalled having met a Jew who had been badly wounded by a Turkish soldier for not having instantly dismounted when ordered to give up his donkey to a soldier of the Sultan. Many Jews were killed for less. On occasion the authorities attempted to get some form of redress but this was by no means always the case: the Turkish authorities themselves were sometimes responsible for beating Jews to death for some unproven charge. After one such occasion [British Consul] Young remarked: “I must say I am sorry and surprised that the Governor could have acted so savage a part- for certainly what I have seen of him I should have thought him superior to such wanton inhumanity- but it was a Jew- without friends or protection- it serves to show well that it is not without reason that the poor Jew, even in the nineteenth century, lives from day to day in terror of his life”.
…In fact, it took some time [i.e., at least a decade after the 1839 reforms] before these courts did accept dhimmi testimony in Palestine. The fact that Jews were represented on the meclis [provincial legal council] did not contribute a great deal to the amelioration of the legal position of the Jews: the Jewish representatives were tolerated grudgingly and were humiliated and intimidated to the point that they were afraid to offer any opposition to the Muslim representatives. In addition the constitution of the meclis was in no sense fairly representative of the population. In Jerusalem in the 1870s the meclis consisted of four Muslims, three Christians and only one Jew- at a time when Jews constituted over half the population of the city…Perhaps even more to the point, the courts were biased against the Jews and even when a case was heard in a properly assembled court where dhimmi testimony was admissible the court would still almost invariably rule against the Jews. It should be noted that a non-dhimmi [e.g. foreign] Jew was still not permitted to appear and witness in either the mahkama [specific Muslim council] or the meclis.

During World War I in Palestine, between 1915 and 1917, the New York Times published a series of reports [74] on Ottoman-inspired and local Arab Muslim assisted antisemitic persecution which affected Jerusalem, and the other major Jewish population centers. For example, by the end of January, 1915, 7000 Palestinian Jewish refugees—men, women, and children—had fled to British-controlled Alexandria, Egypt. Three New York Times accounts from January/February, 1915 provide these details of the earlier period: [75]

On Jan. 8, Djemal Pasha [75a] ordered the destruction of all Jewish colonization documents within a fortnight under penalty of death…In many cases land settled by Jews was handed over to Arabs, and wheat collected by the relief committee in Galilee was confiscated in order to feed the army. The Moslem peasantry are being armed with any weapons discovered in Jewish hands…The United States cruiser Tennessee has been fitted up on the lines of a troop ship for the accommodation of about 1,500 refugees, and is plying regularly between Alexandria and Jaffa…A proclamation issued by the commander of the Fourth [Turkish] Army Corps describes Zionism as a revolutionary anti-Tukish movement which must be stamped out. Accordingly the local governing committees have been dissolved and the sternest measures have been taken to insure that all Jews who remain on their holdings shall be Ottoman subjects…Nearly all the [7000] Jewish refugees in Alexandria come from Jerusalem and other large towns, among them being over 1,000 young men of the artisan class who refused to become Ottomans.

By April of 1917, conditions deteriorated further for Palestinian Jewry, which faced threats of annihilation from the Ottoman government. Many Jews were in fact deported, expropriated, and starved, in an ominous parallel to the genocidal deportations of the Armenian dhimmi communities throughout Anatolia. [76] Indeed, as related by Yair Auron, [77]

Fear of the Turkish actions was bound up with alarm that the Turks might do to the Jewish community in Palestine, or at least to the Zionist elements within it, what they had done to the Armenians. This concern was expressed in additional evidence from the early days of the war, from which we can conclude that the Armenian tragedy was known in the Yishuv [Jewish community in Palestine]

A mass expulsion of the Jews of Jerusalem, although ordered twice by Djemal Pasha, was averted only through the efforts of [the Ottoman Turks World War I allies] the German government which sought to avoid international condemnation. [78] The 8000 Jews of Jaffa, however, were expelled quite brutally, a cruel fate the Arab Muslims and the Christians of the city did not share. Moreover, these deportations took place months before the small pro-British Nili spy ring of Zionist Jews was discovered by the Turks in October, 1917, and its leading figures killed. [79] A report by United States Consul Garrels (in Alexandria, Egypt) describing the Jaffa deportation of early April 1917 (published in the June 3, 1917 New York Times), included these details of the Jews plight: [80]

The orders of evacuation were aimed chiefly at the Jewish population. Even German, Austro-Hungarian, and Bulgarian Jews were ordered to leave the town. Mohammedans and Christians were allowed to remain provided they were holders of individual permits. The Jews who sought the permits were refused. On April 1 the Jews were ordered to leave the country within 48 hours. Those who rode from Jaffa to Petach Tikvah had to pay from 100 to 200 francs instead of the normal fare of 15 to 25 francs. The Turkish drivers practically refused to receive anything but gold, the Turkish paper note being taken as the equivalent of 17.50 piastres for a note of 100 piastres.
Already about a week earlier 300 Jews had been deported in a most cruel manner from Jerusalem. Djemal Pasha openly declared that the joy of the Jews on the approach of the British forces would be short-lived, as he would make them share the fate of the Armenians.
In Jaffa Djemal Pasha cynically assured the Jews that it was for their own good and interests that he drove them out. Those who had not succeeded in leaving on April 1 were graciously accorded permission to remain at Jaffa over the Easter holiday. Thus 8000 were evicted from their houses and not allowed to carry off their belongings or provisions. Their houses were looted and pillaged even before the owners had left. A swarm of pillaging Bedouin women, Arabs with donkeys, camels, etc., came like birds of prey and proceeded to carry off valuables and furniture.
The Jewish suburbs have been totally sacked under the paternal eye of the authorities. By way of example two Jews from Yemen were hanged at the entrance of the Jewish suburb of Tel Aviv in order to clearly indicate the fate in store for any Jew who might be so foolish as to oppose the looters. The roads to the Jewish colonies north of Jaffa are lined with thousands of starving Jewish refugees. The most appalling scenes of cruelty and robbery are reported by absolutely reliable eyewitnesses. Dozens of cases are reported of wealthy Jews who were found dead in the sandhills around Tel Aviv. In order to drive off the bands of robbers preying on the refugees on the roads the young men of the Jewish villages organized a body of guards to watch in turn the roads. These guards have been arrested and maltreated by the authorities.
The Mohammedan population have also left the town recently, but they are allowed to live in the orchards and country houses surrounding Jaffa and are permitted to enter the town daily to look after their property, but not a single Jew has been allowed to return to Jaffa.
The same fate awaits all Jews in Palestine. Djemal Pasha is too cunning to order cold-blooded massacres. His method is to drive the population to starvation and to death by thirst, epidemics, etc, which according to himself, are merely calamities sent by God.

Auron cites a very tenable hypothesis put forth at that time in a journal of the British Zionist movement as to why the looming slaughter of the Jews of Palestine did not occur—the advance of the British army (from immediately adjacent Egypt) and its potential willingness “... to hold the military and Turkish authorities directly responsible for a policy of slaughter and destruction of the Jews”—may have averted this disaster. [80a]

The Jews of Bosnia and Turkey Under Ottoman Rule

Moritz Levy [81] and Ivo Andric [82] have documented the dress codes, transportation and arms prohibitions, and excessive taxation (or bribes, and outright extortion) imposed upon the Jewish community of Bosnia under Ottoman rule throughout the 17th century and 18th centuries. These observations recall the contemporary experiences of the Jews in Ottoman Palestine during this same period, as described previously. [83]

From at least 1579, as decreed by Sultan Murad III, through 1714, the Ottoman authorities applied “strict measures” to prevent Jews and Christians from dressing like Muslims. Particular attention was paid to headdress; distinctions in footwear, while less fastidious, were also required, and violations of the footwear prohibitions became a source of bribery extorted by the Muslim constabulary and religious authorities. [84] Jews and Christians were also forbidden to ride horses in towns and their precincts. Levy describes these prohibitions and cites an example of a bribe required to lift this restriction (transiently) during an early 19th century funeral for a Jew: [85]

When Christians or Jews set out on a journey, they had to wait until they were outside the town before mounting their horses. Even outside the town, non-Muslims must not be ostentatious or conspicuous. The harness must be cheap and simple. The saddle must not have fittings of silver or any other metal, or have fringes or any other decoration. The reins must be made exclusively of black leather (not red, white or yellow) and be without tassels or other appendages on the horse’s head, neck or mane, as was customary among the Turks of Bosnia. There is only one brief mention of these matters in the records, from 1804, which states: 22 groschen [coinage of silver or copper] to the Qadi and Mutessellim, for permission to ride horses at the funeral of (the Shasham David).

Predictably, Jews and Christians could not bear guns, sabers, and other “prestigious weapons.” [86] Levy further documents how bribes were required from the Sarajevo Jewish community to allow Jewish women to bathe after menstruation in accord with Mosaic purity laws: [87]

…the Qadi forbade Jewish women from visiting the baths after the second hour before sunset, i.e. at precisely the time when Jewish law prescribes the aforementioned ablutions. In this respect we find in the records: 1767 – 53 groschen to the Qadi for permission for women to visit the baths [at the appropriate time]…The same point appears in the records for 1769 and 1778.

Moreover, between 1748 and 1802, payments were extorted from Sarajevo’s Jews by the Muslim Buljukbaša (i.e., Pasha, who also acted as the public executioner) so that condemned Christians (almost exclusively) would not be hung at the Jewish ghetto gates, thereby averting another form of public humiliation of the Jewish community. [88] Ivo Andric provides two additional 18th century examples of Sarajevo’s Jews as “profitable targets of extortion” by the Muslim ruling elites. The payments Andric documents were required in order for the Jewish community to avoid unpaid, forced labor corveés, and be allowed to rebuild a synagogue destroyed by fire. [89]

The Pinakes…the account books of the Sarajevo Jews, offer a true picture in many ways of conditions as they were then. The year 1730 saw a disbursement of 720 puli [90 dinar] for the mutesilim, so as to be spared working Saturdays on the fortification [i.e., in corveés; Andric further indicates that Christians were deployed in such corveés on Sundays]. It was an outlay repeated in the years to come.
…In the year 1794 the Jews of Sarajevo won permission through an imperial firman to rebuild their synagogue, which had recently burned down. It hardly need be said that the usual stipulations applied. “No more than any of the confessions are they allowed to enlarge such a structure by so much as a jot or a tittle in the process of re-erecting it”. And to the imperial firman were attached the usual formalities - permission of the vizier, permission of the kadi, two separate commissions, and so on. All this took more than two years and cost a tidy sum.

The readiness with which the Jews acceded to such extortions was explained by Levy as follows: [90]

Acts of violence and extortion by the Pashas against the Jews plunged them into the depths of darkest night…There were many unpleasant run-ins with the authorities from time to time, which, however, were susceptible to settlement by means of money.

Lastly, regarding the brutal enforcement of dhimmi dress restrictions in the heart of Istanbul itself, British Ambassador James Porter (who served there between 1746-1762) recorded two tragic examples from 1758, involving the summary executions of a Jew and an Armenian: [91]

(February 3, 1758) The order against Christians and Jews dress, except in modest Cloaths [clothes], browns, blacks…as to caps and boots…is most rigorously executed in a Manner unknown before which alarms much all those who are not Mahometans, and makes them apprehend the most Rigour; it seems however but natural, when it is considered, that it comes from a self-denying religious Prince [Sultan Mustafa III].
(June 3, 1758) This time of Ramazan [Ramadan] is mostly taken up by day in sleep, by Night in eating, so that we have few occurrences of any importance, except what the Grand Seignor [Sultan Mustafa III] himself affords us he is determined to keep his laws, and to have them executed concerning dress has been often repeated, and with it uncommon solemnity, yet as in former Reigns, after some weeks it was seldom attended to, but gradually transgressed, these people whose ruling Passion is directed that way, thought it was forgot, and betook themselves to their old course, a Jew on his Sabbath was the first victim, the Grand Seignor going the rounds incognito, met him, and not having the Executioner with him, without sending him [the Jew] to the Vizir, had him executed, and his throat cut that moment, the day after an Armenian followed, he was sent to the Vizir, who attempted to save him, and condemned him to the Galleys, but the Capigilar Cheaia [head of the guards] came to the Porte at night, attended with the executioner, to know what was become of the delinquent, that first Minister had brought him directly from the Galleys and his head struck off, that he might inform his Master he had anticipated his Orders.

The messianic career of Shabbetai Zevi (1626-1678)—his rise and ignominious fall in the latter half of the 17th century—engendered discord, and ultimately, despondent apathy in the Ottoman Jewish community. [92] The son of a Jewish commercial agent from the port of Izmir (ancient Smyrna; SW Turkey today), Shabbetai was expelled from his community in 1651 (for pronouncing the name of God publicly), and by 1658 he and his acolytes had begun a campaign of proselytization designed to prepare the Jewish communities of the Ottoman Empire (and beyond) for the looming messianic age. By 1665, Shabbetai declared himself the messiah inspiring numbers of Jews to abandon their regular occupations in anticipation of the onset of his messianic reign. Alarmed at the ferment within these Jewish communities, and the theological-juridical challenge Shabbetai Zevi’s mission posed to Ottoman authority, Sultan Muhammad IV had him imprisoned. [93] Shabbetai was converted to Islam under threat of death (or via other coercive means). The contemporary travelogue of Edward Brown (1644-1708) maintains simply that a Kasim Pasha (a physician married to the Sultan’s sister, who served as Ottoman Governor of Budapest from April, 1666-May, 1667), [94]

…so handled him [Shabbetai], that he was glad to turn Turk.

A more detailed account is provided from another contemporary historical memoir published by Sir Paul Rycaut in 1680: [95]

That having given public scandal to the Professors of the Mahometan Religion, and done dishonor to his Sovereign Authority, by pretending to withdraw from him so considerable a portion as the land of Palestine, his Treason and Crime could not be expiated without becoming a Mahometan Convert; which if he refused to do, the State was ready at the Gate of the Seraglio to impale him. Shabbetai being now reduced to his last game and extremity, not being in the least doubtful what to do; for to die for what he was assured was false was against Nature, and the death of a mad man: replied with much cheerfulness, that he was contented to turn Turk, and that it was not of force, but of choice, having been a long time desirous of so glorious a profession, he esteemed himself much honored, that an opportunity to own it first in the presence of the Grand Signor [Sultan].

Shabbetai Zevi’s conversion to Islam—the Ottoman authorities were loath to execute him at any rate lest he become a martyr [96]—demoralized and divided the Jewish community. Zeitlin offers this bleak assessment in the aftermath of the messianic fervor aroused by Shabbetai and his followers: [97]

The messianic movement did not collapse entirely because of the conversion of Shabbetai Zevi to Islam. True, many Jews became despondent and lost their worldly possessions and were disillusioned in their ideals when they saw how they had been deceived. But the adventurer Nathan “the prophet” continued his propaganda tinctured with mysticism. Many of those who had been followers of Shabbetai Zevi accepted Islam and became known as Dönme, [98] a Judeo-Muslim sect.
Those Jews who opposed Shabbetai Zevi before his conversion either were passive or were afraid of being persecuted, but some like Rabbi Jacob Sasportas and Rabbi Jacob Cagiz who did not accept Shabbetai Zevi as the messiah and fought against the movement were persecuted. After the conversion those who were suspected of being adherents of the messianinc movement were condemned. Those who were persecuted previously for their disbelief in Shabbetai Zevi now became the persecutors. Some rabbis adopted the role of inquisitors; anyone who did not conform to their point of view was branded a heretic, a follower of the Shabbetai movement, and was persecuted. A reign of suspicion prevailed among the Jewish people who were divided into hostile groups, issuing anathemas against each other.
The rabbis had been greatly venerated during the Middle Ages and the Jews always considered them their spiritual leaders; now the rabbis of the seventeenth century failed them; they did not lead them during this “messianic” movement. They followed the masses. Either through fear or lack of courage they failed to fight this movement as being dangerous and deceptive. Thus the Jews lost their faith in the rabbis and spiritual leaders. The consequences of this movement…were tragic in every respect. The price the Jewish people paid for mysticism was tragic.

Perlmann summarized the legacy of the Dönme, the Judeo-Islamic converts, as follows: [99]

On the whole the Muslims were indifferent to the sect’s existence, but from time to time there was a spurt of inquiry, or persecution (e.g., in 1720, 1859, and 1875). Imputing Dönme origin to undesirables is not unknown.

Accounts from European travelers to Ottoman Turkey throughout the 18th and 19th centuries are quite uniform in their depiction of the prevailing negative Muslim attitudes towards Jews. The objects of hatred and debasement, Jews reacted with servile pusillanimity. Despite the financial success of a small elite (an observation which dates back to the Jews first integration into the Ottoman Empire), [100] the majority of Ottoman Jews lived in penury, and attendant squalor. [101] Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815), the German traveler who reached Constantinople (Istanbul) in (February) 1767, observed that Turkish Jews were routinely insulted by the local Muslims, who addressed them as, [102]

Tschefied ["dirty Jew", colloquially] which is still more opprobrious than Dsjaur [giaour; “infidel”]

Charles McFarlane who visited Istanbul in 1828 wrote that the Jews were “…the last and most degraded of the Turkish Rayahs [minorities].” [103] McFarlane contrasted the resulting obsequious attitudes of the Jews in Turkey with those of their European British co-religionists: [104]

Throughout the Ottoman domains, their pusillanimity is so excessive, that they will flee before the uplifted hand of a child. Yet in England the Jews become bold and expert pugilists, and are as ready to resent an insult as any other of His Majesty’s liege subjects. A striking proof of the effects of oppression in one country, and of liberty, and of the protection of equal laws, in the other.

A confirmatory description was provided by Julia Pardhoe in her 1836 eyewitness account of conditions for Istanbul’s Jews: [105]

I never saw the curse denounced against the children of Israel more fully brought to bear than in the East; where it may truly be said that “their hand is against every man, and every man’s hand against them.”—Where they are considered rather as a link between animals and human beings, than as men possessed of the same attributes, warmed by the same sun, chilled by the same breeze, subject to the same feelings, and impulses, and joys, and sorrows, as their fellow-mortals.
There is a subdued and spiritless expression about the Eastern Jew, of which the comparatively tolerant European can picture to himself no possible idea until he has looked upon it…It is impossible to express the contemptuous hatred in which the Osmanlis [Ottoman Turks] hold the Jewish people; and the veriest urchin who may encounter one of the fallen nation on his path, has his meed [recompense] of insult to add to the degradation of the outcast and wandering race of Israel. Nor dare the oppressed party revenge himself upon this puny enemy, whom his very name suffices to raise up against him.
I remember, on the occasion of the great festival at Kahaitchana (Kâthane), seeing a Turkish boy of perhaps ten years of age, approach a group of Jewesses, and deliberately fixing upon one whose delicate state of health should have been her protection from insult, gave her so violent a blow as to deprive her of consciousness, and level her to the earth. As I sprang forward to the assistance of this unfortunate, I was held back by a Turk of my acquaintance, a man of rank, and I had hitherto believed, divested of such painful prejudices; who bade me not agitate, or trouble myself on the occasion, as the woman was only a Jewess! And of the numbers of Turkish females who stood looking on, not one raised a hand to assist the wretched victim of gratuitous barbarity.

Two decades later (1856), the Turcophilic Italian traveler Ubicini, echoing the observation 70 years earlier of Niebuhr [106] that the Ottoman Muslims, “... despise the Jews, and freely apply to them the epithet tchîffut (çıfıt; mean, avaricious; colloquially, “dirty Jew”)…,” [107] also recorded these poignant characterizations of the Ottoman Jews plight, which emphasized their resigned degradation (tinged with patient faith in their deliverance), and extreme poverty: [108]

Patient, industrious, and resigned to their fate, they wore without apparent sense of humiliation the colored beneesh [jehoudane; a cloak with open sleeves] which the ancient sumptuary [denoting restrictions, in this case, regarding dress] laws of the empire enjoined as a mark to distinguish them from the Mussulman, and took as much pains to withdraw from notice as the Greeks to put themselves forward. United by an indissoluble bond of common faith and common interest, which gathers strength from their isolation and the contempt with which they are regarded, whilst they appear to be occupied only with their commerce and indifferent to all beyond, secretly cherish the hope of one day regaining possession of Jerusalem, and therefore with patient assiduity continue the uninterrupted series of their annals up to the day marked as the end of the great captivity. This indeed is the central point of their union; this is rather their faith than their hope; and for this reason Jews are seldom found engaged in the cultivation of soil, which for them is always the “land of the stranger, and house of bondage.” Here they may have been born—here perhaps they may die: but still they may be called upon to depart at a moment’s warning, and, holding themselves, therefore, in readiness for the long expected signal, they await its arrival with that patient and submissive faith from which oppressed races derive their strength and consolation.
Rarely do we see the Jews of Turkey in any elevated position, or following any of the liberal professions; and such of the nation as are distinguished by their wealth as merchants, or their skill as medical practitioners, [109] or whose science and talents shed luster on their community, will generally be found to belong to the colonies of European Jews already mentioned. Thus, as we perceive, the Jews are the poorest of all the subjects of the Porte. To form any idea of their poverty it is only necessary to ride, on any day of the week, through the quarter of Balata, where the Jews of the capital chiefly dwell. Few more filthy places can be found; the observer is afflicted by an appearance of misery, resulting not from design, as in the neighboring quarter of the Fanar, but from real poverty: whilst in the street his path is constantly crossed by men in ragged garments, with haggard countenances, wearing an anxious expression. The half-opened windows of the low, damp houses reveal glimpses of women of small stature, thin, wan-looking, and of a livid paleness, wearing no veil, but a coarse linen cloth round the head; and surrounded by a swarm of meager, dropsical, rickety children, the whole forming a sad and depressing spectacle…Poverty in turn engenders uncleanly habits…and the effect is a proportionate mortality. Thus, when the cholera was raging in Constantinople in 1848, the deaths from October to the end of December were 16 percent among the Jews; whilst among the Greeks the ratio was only 7 ½; among the Armenians 4 ½; and among the Mussulmans scarcely 4 [percent].

Reports from the Alliance Israélite Universelle [110] during the late 19th century and early 20th century reiterate the findings of Ubicini (above) from the mid-19th century. Descriptions of the Jewish communities make repeated references to their “poverty, misery, and distress.” [111] Although Istanbul—a city of nearly one million in 1900, including a Jewish community of some 50,000—included a small affluent elite of Jews inhabiting comfortable quarters, their living conditions were clearly exceptional. [112]

…the two most characteristic Jewish suburbs of the Ottoman capital, Haskoy and Balat, looked like a network of half-ruined hovels and there misery was more hideous than anywhere else. Balat, whose narrow alleys sheltered some ten thousand Jews, had even the dubious distinction of being one of the foulest smelling localities of the Golden Horn [an estuary which divides Istanbul].
…it sufficed to wander through a Jewish quarter to be aware of the extent of extreme destitution of its inhabitants. Dark and tortuous alleys, dilapidated houses, cramped and unsanitary living quarters, such was at the end of the nineteenth century the characteristic aspect of most of the [Jewish] ghettoes of Turkey. In certain Anatolian towns, in Izmir [Smyrna] and Aydin for instance, an important part of the Jewish population lived in cortijos, vast enclosed yards where dozens of families were herded together. Sometimes these families, each confined to a single small room, comprised ten to fifteen members…For example, one of the numerous rabbis of the city of Aydin lived with his wife, their children, and the family of his married son in a slum of three-by-four meters, with a single room, at once bedroom, kitchen and washroom…The situation was very similar in the cortijos of Izmir. And when each Friday the Muslim landlord came with his suitcase to collect the rent, numerous lodgers could but sob and implore for a delay in payment of the debt.
Jewish ghettoes meant misery, but also overpopulation. In the correspondence of the [Alliance] schoolmasters, poverty and proliferation of the species appear practically always together, closely related to each other. It would seem that families of eight, ten, or even fifteen people living under the same roof, were not exceptional, especially in smaller towns, such Silivri [in Thrace], Aydin, or Tire.

Such abject poverty, and concomitant malnutrition and overcrowding, made the Jewish communities especially vulnerable (as also described earlier by Ubicini) to the epidemics of the era: cholera, smallpox, diptheria, typhoid, and puerperal ("childbed") fever [a post-partum septicemia]. [113]

In large cities, such as Izmir or Istanbul, such epidemics were more frequent and more deadly than elsewhere. The "suspect illness" that broke out in Izmir in 1893—the word cholera was carefully avoided—was doomed to remain in the memory of local Jews, like the great plague of 1865, as one of the most terrible calamities that ever struck their community. Neither were small localities immune from danger. The cholera epidemic which broke out in Bursa in 1894 was, it would seem, just as deadly as that of Izmir. In this same city, in November 1900, four to five children died of smallpox every day in the Jewish community.

Not surprisingly, in order to escape these conditions, at the onset of the 20th century Turkish Jews began emigrating to North (and South) American, European, and African cities. [114] Thus according to the American Jewish Yearbook, [115] almost 8000 Jews emigrated from Turkey to the United States between 1899 and 1912.

The Alliance reports further indicate that Jews living in rural eastern Anatolia suffered severely throughout this period due (primarily) to Muslim Kurdish depredations. [116]

In Diyarbarkir, Urfa, Siverek, Mardin, and several other cities of this region, Kurds continuously attacked Jewish communities, forcing them to pay taxes and contributions in addition to those already exacted by the Turkish authorities. The slightest tendency to resist was immediately suppressed with blood. Jews were crushed with scorn and had to accept all sorts of humiliations. Thus, for instance, when rains were delayed in spring or late in autumn, Kurds went to Jewish graveyards, dug up newly buried corpses, cut off the heads and threw them in the river to appease Heaven's wrath and bring on rain. In spite of the complaints of Jews to Turkish authorities, the perpetrators of such misdeeds remained, as was to be expected, undiscovered.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the insecurity of the Kurd[ish] country was so great that Jewish peddlers could not longer venture outside the cities. The communities of the vilayet [province] of Diyarbarkir fell into misery and diminished year after year. Thus, whilst in 1874 the town of Siverek situated on the Urfa road counted about fifty Jewish families, three decades later Joseph Niego, entrusted with a mission in Asia Minor by the Jewish Colonization Association, found only twenty-six household, totaling about 100 persons. Similarly, the 500 Jews who, according to Vital Cuinet, constituted the community of Mardin toward the end of the nineteenth century, were all gone by 1906. At that time, there remained in this town only one Jew, who had the task of guarding the synagogue.


[59] Samuel b. Ishaq Uceda, Lehem dim’ah (The Bread of Tears) (Hebrew). Venice, 1606. [English translation in, Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam, p. 354.

[60] Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude, p. 318.

[61] Gedaliah of Siemiatyce, Sha’alu Shelom Yerushalayim (Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem), (Hebrew), Berlin, 1716. [English translation in, Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, pp. 377-80.]

[62] Moshe Maoz, “Changes in the Position of the Jewish Communities of Palestine and Syria in the Mid-Nineteenth Century”, in Moshe Maoz (Editor), Studies on Palestine During the Ottoman Period, Jerusalem, Israel, 1975, p. 142.

[63] Ibid., p. 144.

[64] Ibid., pp. 144-145.

[65] Ibid., pp. 145-146.

[66] Ibid., pp. 147-148.

[67] According to the Monk Neophytos’s contemporary account, the Jewish victims included, “…five [Jewish] girls, who were still minors, [and] died under the bestial licentiousness of the Egyptian solders”. From, S.N. Spyridon. “Annals of Palestine, 1821-1841”, Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society, 1938, Vol. 18, p. 114.

[68] A.[sic] E. R. Malachi. Studies in the History of the Old Yishuv. Tel Aviv, Israel, 1971, pp. 67 ff.

[68a] Edouard Engelhardt made these observations from his detailed analysis of the Tanzimat period, noting that a quarter century after the Crimean War (1853-56), and the second iteration of Tanzimat reforms, the same problems persisted:

Muslim society has not yet broken with the prejudices which make the conquered peoples ubordinate…the raya [dhimmis] remain inferior to the Osmanlis; in fact he is not rehabilitated; the fanaticism of the early days has not relented…[even liberal Muslims rejected]…civil and political equality, that is to say, the assimilation of the conquered with the conquerors. [Edouard Engelhardt, La Turquie et La Tanzimat, 2 Vols., 1882, Paris, Vol. p.111, Vol. 2 p. 171; English translation in, Bat Ye’or. Islam and Dhimmitude- Where Civilizations Collide, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001, pp. 431-342.]

A systematic examination of the condition of the Christian rayas was conducted in the 1860s by British consuls stationed throughout the Ottoman Empire, yielding extensive primary source documentary evidence. [Reports from Her Majesty’s Consuls Relating to the Condition of the Christians in Turkey, 1867 volume, pp. 5, 29. See also related other reports by various consuls and vice-consuls, in the 1860 vol., p.58; the 1867 vol, pp. 4,5,6,14,15; and the 1867 vol., part 2, p. 3 [All cited in, Vahakn Dadrian. Chapter 2, “The Clash Between Democratic Norms and Theocratic Dogmas”, Warrant for Genocide, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Transaction Publishers, pp. 26-27, n. 4]; See also, extensive excerpts from these reports in, Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity, pp. 409-433]. Britain was then Turkey's most powerful ally, and it was in her strategic interest to see that oppression of the Christians was eliminated, to prevent direct, aggressive Russian or Austrian intervention. On July 22, 1860, Consul James Zohrab sent a lengthy report from Sarajevo to his ambassador in Constantinople, Sir Henry Bulwer, analyzing the administration of the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, again, following the 1856 Tanzimat reforms. Referring to the reform efforts, Zohrab states:

The Hatti-humayoun, I can safely say, practically remains a dead letter…while [this] does not extend to permitting the Christians to be treated as they formerly were treated, is so far unbearable and unjust in that it permits the Mussulmans to despoil them with heavy exactions. False imprisonments (imprisonment under false accusation) are of daily occurence. A Christian has but a small chance of exculpating himself when his opponent is a Mussulman (...) Christian evidence, as a rule, is still refused (...) Christians are now permitted to possess real property, but the obstacles which they meet with when they attempt to acquire it are so many and vexatious that very few have as yet dared to brave them…Such being, generally speaking, the course pursued by the Government towards the Christians in the capital (Sarajevo) of the province where the Consular Agents of the different Powers reside and can exercise some degree of control, it may easily be guessed to what extend the Christians, in the remoter districts, suffer who are governed by Mudirs (governors) generally fanatical and unacquainted with the (new reforms of the) law. [Excerpts from Bulwer’s report reproduced in, Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity, pp. 423-426]

Finally the modern Ottomanist Roderick Davison (in “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century” American Historical Review, 1954, Vol. 59, pp. 848, 855, 859, 864) also concludes that the reforms failed, and he offers an explanation based on Islamic beliefs intrinsic to the system of dhimmitude:

No genuine equality was ever attained…there remained among the Turks an intense Muslim feeling which could sometimes burst into an open fanaticism…More important than the possibility of fanatic outbursts, however, was the innate attitude of superiority which the Muslim Turk possessed. Islam was for him the true religion. Christianity was only a partial revelation of the truth, which Muhammad finally revealed in full; therefore Christians were not equal to Muslims in possession of truth. Islam was not only a way of worship, it was a way of life as well. It prescribed man’s relations to man, as well as to God, and was the basis for society, for law, and for government. Christians were therefore inevitably considered second-class citizens in the light of religious revelation—as well as by reason of the plain fact that they had been conquered by the Ottomans. This whole Muslim outlook was often summed up in the common term gavur (or kafir), which means ‘unbeliever’ or ‘infidel’, with emotional and quite uncomplimentary overtones. To associate closely or on terms of equality with the gavur was dubious at best . ‘Familiar association with heathens and infidels is forbidden to the people of Islam,’ said Asim, an early nineteenth-century historian, ‘and friendly and intimate intercourse between two parties that are one to another as darkness and light is far from desirable’…The mere idea of equality, especially the antidefamation clause of 1856, offended the Turks’ inherent sense of the rightness of things. ‘Now we can’t call a gavur a gavur’, it was said, sometimes bitterly, sometimes in matter-of-fact explanation that under the new dispensation the plain truth could no longer be spoken openly. Could reforms be acceptable which forbade calling a spade a spade?...The Turkish mind, conditioned by centuries of Muslim and Ottoman dominance, was not yet ready to accept any absolute equality…Ottoman equality was not attained in the Tanzimat period [i.e., mid to late 19th century, 1839-1876], nor yet after the Young Turk revolution of 1908…

[69] Maoz, “Changes in the Position of the Jewish Communities of Palestine and Syria in the Mid-Nineteenth Century”, p. 156.

[70] A. A. Bonar and R. M. McCheyne, A Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews from the Church of Scotland in 1839, Edinburgh, 1842, pp. 180-81, 273.

[71] J. J. Binjamin II. Eight Years in Asia and Africa. From 1846 to 1855. Hanover, 1863, pp. 54-57.

[72] The British Consulate in Jerusalem (in relation to the Jews of Palestine, 1838-1914), Part I, 1838-1861. Edited by Albert M. Hyamson, London, 1939, pp. 260-261.

[73] Tudor Parfitt, The Jews of Palestine, Suffolk, UK, 1987, pp. 168, 172-73.

[74] “Jews in Flight From Palestine” The New York Times, January 19, 1915; “Turks and Germans Expelling Zionists”, The New York Times, January 2, 1915; “Zionists in Peril of Turkish Attack”, The New York Times, February 2, 1915; “Threatens Massacre of Jews in Palestine” The New York Times, May 4, 1917; “Cruel to Palestine Jews”, The New York Times, May 8, 1917; “Turks Killing Jews Who Resist Pillage”, The New York Times, May 19, 1917; “Twice Avert Eviction of Jerusalem Jews”, The New York Times, May 30, 1917; “Cruelties to Jews Deported in Jaffa”, The New York Times, June 3, 1917

[75] “Jews in Flight From Palestine”; “Turks and Germans Expelling Zionists”; “Zionists in Peril of Turkish Attack”.

[75a] Ahmed Djemal Pasha (May 6, 1872—July 21, 1922). Between 1908-1918, Djemal was one of the most important administrators of the Ottoman government. When Europe was divided in two camps before World War I, he supported an alliance with France. Djemal traveled to France to negotiate an alliance with the French but failed and sided with Enver and Talat Pashas favoring the German side. Djemal, along with Enver and Talat took control of the Ottoman government in 1913. The Three Pashas effectively ruled the Ottoman Empire for the duration of World War I. Djemal was one of the designers of the government’s disastrous internal and foreign policies, including the genocidal policy against the Armenians (Vahakn Dadrian. The History of the Armenian Genocide, Providence, Rhode Island, 1995, p. 208). After the Ottoman Empire declared war on the Allies in World War I, Enver Pasha nominated Djemal Pasha to lead the Ottoman army against English forces in Egypt, and Djemal accepted the position. Like Enver, he proved unsuccessful as a military leader.

[76] For the Armenian deportations, see Dadrian. The History of the Armenian Genocide, pp. 199-200, 220-222, 235-243, 255-264, 383-384.; For the April 1917 deportations of Jews from Jaffa—Tel-Aviv, Palestine, see “Cruelties to Jews Deported in Jaffa” .

[77] Yair Auron, The Banality of Indifference, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2000, p. 75.

[78] “Twice Avert Eviction of Jerusalem Jews”.

[79] Auron, The Banality of Indifference, p. 83.

[80] “Cruelties to Jews Deported in Jaffa”.

[80a] Auron, The Banality of Indifference, p. 82.

[81] Moritz Levy. The Sephardim in Bosnia: a Contribution to the History of the Jews in the Balkans, [German], Sarajevo, 1911, pp. 52-61. (English translation by Colin Meade)

[82] Ivo Andric. The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule, 1924, English translation by Zelimir B. Juricic and John F. Loud, Durham, North Carolina, 1990, pp. 23-38, 78-87.

[83] See note 61, above.

[84] Levy. The Sephardim in Bosnia, pp. 52 ff.

[85] Ibid

[86] Ibid

[87] Ibid

[88] Ibid

[89] Andric. The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule, pp. 37, 86 note 72, 29

[90] Levy. The Sephardim in Bosnia, pp. 28, 35 (English translation in Andric, The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule, p. 86, note 71).

[91] British Ambassador to Constantinople, James Porter. Correspondence to William Pitt, the Elder, London, dated February 3, 1758 (SP 97-40), and June 3, 1758 (SP 97-40), reproduced in Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, pp. 384-386.

[92] S. Zeitlin. “Review: The Sabbatians and the Plague of Mysticism”, The Jewish Quarterly Review, 1958, Vol. 49, pp. 145-155.

[93] Paul Rycaut. The History of the Turkish Empire from the Year 1623 to the Year 1677, London, 1680, [electronic version], pp. 200-219; William G. Schauffler. “Shabbaetai Zevi and His Followers”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1851, Vol. 2, pp. 1-26; Gershom G. Scholem. Sabbatai Zevi: The Mystical Messiah. Princeton, New Jersey, 1973, pp. 140-267, 327-460, 603-686; Geoffrey L. Lewis, Cecil Roth. “New Light on the Apostasy of Sabbatai Zevi”, The Jewish Quarterly Review, 1963, Vol. 53, pp. 219-225; Jane Hathaway. “The Grand Vizier and the False Messiah: The Sabbatai Sevi Controversy and the Ottoman Reform in Egypt”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1997, Vol. 117, pp. 665-671.

[94] Lewis and Roth, “New Light on the Apostasy of Sabbatai Zevi”, pp. 220-221.

[95] Rycaut. The History of the Turkish Empire from the Year 1623 to the Year 1677, p. 214.

[96] Lewis and Roth, “New Light on the Apostasy of Sabbatai Zevi”, p. 223; Hathaway. “The Grand Vizier and the False Messiah”, p. 665.

[97] S. Zeitlin. “Review: The Sabbatians and the Plague of Mysticism”, p. 154.

[98] Moshe Perlmann. “Dönme” Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C. E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2006/2007.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Hacker, “Ottoman Policy Toward the Jews and Jewish Attitudes Toward the Ottomans during the Fifteenth Century”, p. 123. Describing the financial status of the sürgün Jews who re-populated Constantinople after its juhad conquest (during the relatively halcyon days) under Mehmed II in the latter half of the 15th century, Hacker writes,

We must note that the majority of the Jews of Constantinople were not wealthy and that the gap between the few who were, and the many who were not, was large.

[101] M.A. Ubicini. Letters on Turkey. Part II. The Raiahs. Translated from the French by Lady Easthope. London, 1856, pp. 365-366.

[102] Carsten Niebuhr. Travels Through Arabia and Other Countries in the East. English Translation by Robert Hebron, Edinburgh, 1792, p. 245.

[102a] Tschefied: “contemptuous Jew; mean, stingy; malicious.”. However in common, colloquial usagae, “dirty Jew”.

[103] Charles McFarlane. Constantinople in 1828. London, 1829, pp. 115-116. Cited in Bernard Lewis. The Jews of Islam, Princeton, New Jersey, 1984, p. 164.

[104] Ibid.

[105] Julia Pardoe. The City of the Sultan and Domestic Manners of the Turks in 1836. London, 1837, pp. 361-363. Cited in Bernard Lewis. The Jews of Islam, Princeton, New Jersey, 1984, p. 167-168.

[106] See note 102 above.

[107] Ubicini. Letters on Turkey. Part II. The Raiahs, p. 371; tchîffut: “the quality of a Jew.” Like Tschefied, above, in note 608, i.e., commonly, “dirty Jew”

[108] Ibid. pp. 346-347, 365-366.

[109] Ibid., p. 365, note 1, Ubicini names one prominent Jewish physician in Turkey, a “Doctor Castro, chief surgeon of the military hospital”

[110] Paul Dumont. “Jewish Communities in Turkey During the Last Decades of the Nineteenth Century in Light of the Archives of the Alliance Israélite Universelle”, in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: the functioning of a plural society. Edited by Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis, New York, 1982, Vol. I, pp. 209-242.

[111] Ibid., p. 210.

[112] Ibid., pp. 211, 210

[113] Ibid., pp. 213-214

[114] Ibid., p. 214.

[115] Rev. de Sola Pool. "The Levantine Jews in the United States", American Jewish Yearbook, 1913/1914, Vol. 15, p. 208.

[116] Dumont. “Jewish Communities in Turkey During the Last Decades of the Nineteenth Century in Light of the Archives of the Alliance Israélite Universelle”, p.p. 224-225.

Part I, Part III

Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University Medical School.
He is the author of:
The Legacy of Jihad, Prometheus Books (2005),
The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, Prometheus Books (2008),
Sharia Versus Freedom. The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism, Prometheus Books (2012),
The Mufti's Islamic Jew Hatred. What the Nazis Learned From the 'Muslim Pope', Bravura Books (2013), and
Iran's Final Solution for Israel. The Legacy of Jihad and Shi'ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran, Bravura Books (2014).