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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2011


In response to the outbreak of the Arab Revolt of 1936, a coterie of five prominent entrepreneurs and intellectuals in the Mandatory Jewish community formulated a capitalist binationalist resolution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. This paper examines the genesis of and debate over the little-known Concord they proposed and compares it with better-known liberal and socialist binationalist plans. “The Five,” as they came to be known, were the only binationalists seeking to base political parity on economic integration. The occasion of their blueprint allows further exploration of the preconditions for an effective binationalist program, among them the structure of labor markets, political preferences of minorities and majorities in regard to sovereignty, and levels of mutual trust. Ultimately, binationalist resolutions of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict were precluded by the Labor Settlement Movement's separatist state-building strategy.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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Authors’ note: I thank Omri Metzer, Keren-Or Schlesinger, and Irina Zimakov for their help in locating source materials and Michael Shalev for his continuous and unfailing encouragement.

1 Hattis, Susan Lee, The Bi-National Idea in Palestine During Mandatory Times (Tel Aviv: Shikmona, 1970), 47Google Scholar.

2 Ibid., 40–41.

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7 Metzer, Divided Economy, 20, 170, 172.

8 Ibid., 130–31, 175.

9 Shafir, Gershon, Land, Labor, and the Origins of the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict, 1882–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 4590Google Scholar.

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13 Shafir, Land, Labor, 198.

14 Metzer, Divided Economy, 131–33.

15 Ibid., 106, 198–99.

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23 Hattis, Bi-National Idea, 51–55.

24 Memorandum by the “Brith Shalom” Society on an Arab Policy for the Jewish Agency (Jerusalem: Azriel, 1930), 4–5.

25 Memorandum by the “Brith Shalom” Society, 3; Hattis, Bi-National Idea, 52.

26 Hattis, Bi-National Idea, 52; see also “Tokhnit Brith Shalom.”

27 Memorandum by the “Brith Shalom” Society, 10.

28 “Tokhnit Brith Shalom,” 32.

29 Hattis, Bi-National Idea, 53.

30 Ibid., 41, 216.

31 Ibid., 222.

32 Ibid., 226.

33 Ibid., 232–34.

34 Ibid., 257.

35 Ibid., 58.

36 Nachum Nir (Rafalkes), “ha-Efshari ha-Heskem ha-Yehudi–ʿAravi?” (Is the Jewish–Arab Accord Possible?) in Darkenu (Our Way): A Collection on Zionist Political Problems and Jewish–Arab Cooperation (August 1939), 29.

37 Ibid., 30.

38 Ibid., 31.

39 Ibid.

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43 As can be seen from Frumkin's earlier document, “Platform for Negotiations on Agreement in the Economy, Prepared in 1933,” A199/26, Central Zionist Archive (hereafter CZA).

44 Shapira, ha-Maʾavak.

45 Michal Frenkel, “Industrialization Ideologies in Palestine between Industrialization and Nationalism: The Case of Palestine Potash Limited” (master's thesis, Tel Aviv University, 1992), 45.

46 Ibid., 56–58.

47 Ibid., 66.

48 Furlonge, Geoffrey, Palestine Is My Country: The Story of Musa Alami (London: John Murray, 1969), 104Google Scholar.

49 P3/2448, Central Archive for the History of the Jewish People (hereafter CAHJP) ZA; Cohen, Israel and the Arab World, 267–69.

50 A199/26 Central Zionist Archive (CZA); Cohen, Israel and the Arab world, 267–69.

51 For chronology, see P3/2448, CAHJP.

52 Ibid., 2.

53 “Concord” and “Memorandum,” P3/2448, CAHJP.

54 S25/3434 and A199/26, CZA; and attached to “Memorandum,” P3/2448, CAHJP; Frumkin, Gad, Derekh Shofet be-Yerushalayim (A Judge's Path in Jerusalem) (Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1954), 333–35Google Scholar; Smilansky, Moshe, Tkumah ve-Shoah (Resurrection and Holocaust) (Tel Aviv: Massada, 1953), 191Google Scholar; Ben-Gurion, My Talks, 107–108.

55 A199/26, CZA; Cohen, Israel and the Arab World, 267–69; Smilansky, Tkumah ve-Shoah, 188–90. Flapan mistakenly presents Rutenberg's plan as the Five's own in Zionism, 227–28.

56 A199/26, CZA.

57 S25/3434, CZA.

58 A199/26, CZA.

59 “Concord” and “Memorandum,” P3/2448, CAHJP.

60 Mapai Central Committee (hereafter CC) minutes, 9 June 1936, 18, A245/168, CZA.

61 Mapai CC minutes, 23 June 1936, 5, A245/168, CZA.

62 Mapai CC minutes, 6 June 1936, 17, A245/168, CZA.

63 Mapai CC minutes, 4 June 1936, 19, A245/168, CZA

64 Mapai CC minutes, 6 June 1936, 12, A245/168, CZA.

65 Mapai CC minutes, 9 June 1936, 14, A245/168, CZA.

66 Mapai CC minutes, 3 June 1936, 6, 12–13, A245/168, CZA.

67 Mapai CC minutes, 29 June 1936, 26, A245/168, CZA.

68 Mapai CC minutes, 3 June 1936, 14–15, A245/168, CZA.

69 Mapai CC Minutes, 3 June 1936, 9, 7, and 9 June 1936, 17, A245/168, CZA.

70 Sheffer, Gabriel, Moshe Sharett: Biography of a Political Moderate (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996), 60, 78CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sharett, Moshe, Yoman Medini: 1936 (Political Diary: 1936) (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1968), 6Google Scholar.

71 Sheffer, Moshe Sharett, 79–80, 85.

72 Ibid., 79.

73 Haim, Yehoyada, Abandonment of Illusions: Zionist Political Attitudes toward Palestinian Arab Nationalism, 1936–1939 (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1983), 18Google Scholar.

74 S100/19b, CZA.

75 Jewish Agency Executive (hereafter JAE) minutes, 2 June 1936, 3, S100/19b, CZA.

76 JAE minutes, 2 June 1936, 9, S100/19b, CZA.

77 See ibid. and “Memorandum.”

78 Memorandum of conversation between Sharett and ʿAlami (24 June 1936); and letter from M. Shertok to Musa ʿAlami (July 8, 1938), S25/3434, CZA.

79 Memorandum of conversation between Sharett, Joseph, and ʿAlami (19 August 1936), S25/2960a, CZA; Sharett, Yoman Medini, 146–47, 176–79.

80 “Memorandum.”

81 Hattis, Bi-National Idea, 294.

82 Adam, Heribert and Moodley, Kogila, The Opening of the Apartheid Mind: Options for the New South Africa (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1993)Google Scholar; Neville, Alexander, “Approaches to the National Question in South Africa,” Transformation 1 (1983): 6395Google Scholar.

83 Gelber, Yoav, “Hitgabshut ha-Yishuv ha-Yehudi be-Eretz Yisrael, 1936–1947” (The Consolidation of the Jewish Community in Eretz-Israel, 1936–1947), in Toldot ha-Yishuv ha-Yehudi be-Eretz-Yisrael meʾaz ha-ʿAliyah ha-Rishonah, Helek Sheni: Tkufat ha-Mandat ha-Briti (The History of the Jewish Community in Eretz-Israel Since 1882, Part Two: The Period of the British Mandate), ed. Lissak, Moshe et al. (Jerusalem: Israel Academy for Sciences and Humanities, 1994), 377–80Google Scholar.

84 Ibid., 374–76.

85 Hattis, Bi-National Idea, 292.

86 Mapai CC minutes, 9 June 1936, 14, A245/168, CZA.

87 JAE minutes, 2 June 1936, 3–4, S100/19b, CZA.

88 Mapai CC minutes, 22 June 1936, 5, A245/168, CZA.

89 Ibid., 57.

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