The April Fool's libel that endangered the Jews

One year after 1929 riots Damascus paper reported Zionist assassination of Mufti; riots developed until it was revealed April Fool's 'prank'

Mordechai Sones,

Photo of Haaretz article
Photo of Haaretz article
American Colony, Library of Congress

April First libels have over the years become a source of much disinformation that led to rumors and baseless turmoil, but history shows that one hoax could have cost the lives of the Jews in the Land of Israel and perhaps even beyond.

Historian Dr. Dotan Goren reveals a photographed Ha'aretz article telling the story of the First of April libel of 1930 that said a Jew had murdered the Mufti and the rumor began to spread, causing upheaval in the Land of Israel just one year after the 1929 riots.

The article, found in the Jewish archives of the National Library and Tel Aviv University, quotes the Arab newspaper Al-Jum'a, reporting on reactions following publication in the Damascus-based newspaper Ha'alif Bei, according to which Zionists attacked the Arab delegation, and assassination attempt "that caused" the death of the Mufti and the maiming of another senior official, while wounding others in the delegation.

"There was great anger that could lead to terrible things," Haaretz reported. "One of the residents telephoned the office of the Arab Executive Committee in Jerusalem, where they replied that this was one of the April Fools' lies. The anger of the residents and their leaders began to rage, and everyone began to curse the April Fool's custom and the newspaper Ha'alif Bei, which carried such vexatious news.

Photo of Haaretz article
American Colony, Library of Congress



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