Arabic poster calling for a general strike, Haifa, 1929
This poster was published by the Association of Islamic and Christian Union and called for the Arab nation (Umma in the poster) to strike on Saturday, November 2, 1929 in protest against the Balfour Declaration, which had been published twelve years earlier.
The poster refers to the Balfour Declaration in derogatory language, calling it the “discriminatory promise” and calls on the public to visit the graves of the “martyrs,” referring to the people killed during the suppression of riots by the British earlier that year.
The poster was published by an organisation, representing both Christians and Muslims, which suggests that the opposition to the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate crossed religious lines. This is also suggested in the title of the poster which appeals to the “Arab Nation.” The organisations clearly believed that British policy in Palestine discriminated against the Arab population in favour of the Jewish minority.
This poster was printed in 1929, a year that saw months of tension which had reached a climax a couple of months before this poster was printed. There had been violent riots in Jerusalem, Safed, and Hebron, and over 200 Jews had been killed. In the aftermath of the riots, the Shaw Commission of Enquiry had concluded that the main cause was “the Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews.”
This poster could be used by Jewish History teachers to discuss the impact of the Balfour Declaration on the Arab population of Palestine, the Arab riots, and the difficult relations at the time between the Arabs, the British, and the Jews.
Sociology or Civics teachers could use this resource to discuss the rights of citizens to protest and whether such protests should be restricted.
When was this poster published?
Who published this poster?
What language was this poster written in and why?
What was the purpose of the poster?
What specific event does this poster relate to?
What does the poster ask people to do?
Reading Between the Lines
What results do you imagine the authors of this poster were hoping for from the strike?
Did all of the Arabs object to the Balfour Declaration? Take a look at the “Translation of Arab Article about the Balfour Declaration” and to the following video about Zionism and the Balfour Declaration (see from 06:03)
What are the different reactions to the 100th year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Search the internet for different opinions.
What demonstration have you seen on the news or in the newspapers? What are the people protesting?
Write an editorial for an Israeli newspaper reaching out to the non-Jewish population on the 100th year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
You should refer to the part of the Declaration which says that: “nothing shall be done which may prejudicing the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”
The Anniversary of the Bad Announcement — A Message to the Arab Nation
A big meeting was held last Sunday morning, and it was decided to arrange a general strike within all sectors of the Arab nation, on both land and sea, which will start on Saturday morning, November 2, to protest the discriminatory promise by Balfour that was published on that date …a policy that has insulted our land and has made it face many challenges…
On this day visits to the graves of the Shahids (martyrs) will be organised.