Know Your History: Jerusalem In 1830 (Travels in Palestine and Syria, George Robinson)

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series where I bring to you news from the newspaper archives and historical documents to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.

A man named George Robinson (of whom I have not been able to dig up much information) travelled in then Palestine and Syria in 1830, with his book Travels in Palestine and Syria being published in 1837.

It is a fascinating look at the Holy Land and its residents back then – 30 years before Theodor Herzl was even born – which certainly dispels myths and false narratives we are bombarded with in modern times.

Take for instance the part of the book dealing with Robinson’s description of Jerusalem.

On pages 116-117, Robinson describes Jerusalem as a practical ghost town and “expiring city.” Note how he also refers to the “Musselmen”, the term used for the Muslims (not “Palestinians,” a term invented much, much later)

On page 118 he describes the Jewish quarter, which is referred to by its Muslim name Harat-el-Yahoud, and refers to the site of the ancient temple.

On page 120, he speaks of the Jews’ devotion to their land.

While on page 122, he describes the scene of Jews praying at the Western Wall.

This book has more gems, which I will uncover in future posts.

Thanks to American Zionism on Twitter for drawing my attention to it.

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