A few weeks ago, I noted that Max Fisher wrote a piece claiming that Israelis in Hebron “will tell you this: Jews consider Hebron a holy city (so do Muslims) and began moving here during the Zionist movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1929, a mob of Hebron’s native Arabs attacked the newcomers.” I responded:
No, they would not tell you that Jews began moving to Hebron as part of the Zionist movement. Hebron had an ancient Jewish community that survived the Arab and Turkish conquests, a blood libel in 1775 and subsequent fine of the community, and poverty and conscription during World War I. There were approximately seven hundred Jews in Hebron in 1838, about the same number as in 1929 (there was, in other words, no sudden Zionist influx). The Jews living there in 1929 were overwhelmingly ultra-Orthodox, drawn there by the city’s holiness in Judaism and a yeshiva. In short, it wasn’t “Zionist newcomers” who were massacred by local (Fisher uses the word “native,” as if the ancient Jewish community wasn’t native) Arabs in 1929, but the same traditional, non-Zionist Jews, including some foreign yeshiva students, who had been living mostly in peace but also through periodic Arab and Muslim persecutions for centuries.
I tweeted Fisher pointing out the error, as did others. I also twice tweeted Vox’s founder and editor-in-chief, Ezra Klein. No correction has been made. Vox claims to offer short but definitive analysis, but not only has someone who doesn’t know the basic history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict writing about it–the Hebron massacre being a crucial event in the conflict–but neither the author nor his editor will correct blatant errors. Caveat emptor.