More on Palestinians of African Descent:

From reader Jon Lewis:

I noticed with great interest your Volokh post on the ethnic background of some of the Arabs in the Galilee. I have been writing on ethnicity and minority rights in the Middle East for the Wall Street Journal and the Middle East Quarterly for several years....

In response to your query : I would say that you touched on a very important, but neglected story in Middle Eastern history. In 1830, following the French colonial takeover of Algeria, the Algerian-Sufi rebel leader Abdel Qader who lost his battle with the French, made a deal with the Ottomans to move (along with his followers) to the Galilee of what was then called "Syria." There is good archival material in France showing how many of the Arabs of the Galilee are descendents of Abdel Qader's followers. Some of the Arabs with African features may be of Algerian Tuareg (southern Algerian) ancestry. There was also immigration in the early 20th-century of Chadian Muslims from Chad to Jerusalem who stopped in Jerusalem (or al-Quds as they would term it) after Hadj to Mecca. It is possible that some of these clans moved outward to the Galil.

Amazing what one can learn from blogging!

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More on Palestinians of African Descent:
  2. Observations and Notes from a Trip to Israel:
It was't 1830, it was 1847. Abd al-Qadir's regime fought the French from 1832-1847. Interestingly enough, he didn't fight from 1830-1832 because for those years the French only stuck to the coast, replacing the Turkish ruling class but not interfering with the interior. Only when the French invaded the interior, breaking the traditional pact between the coastal rulers and the inland rulers, did he take up arms.
5.18.2007 12:52pm
Tracy Johnson (www):
For some reason I can't remember, the Tuareg peoples really, really, really ... hate Israelis with a passion. I seem to recall some ancestral thing dating back to the Philistines. If so, this subgrouping has more than the surface reason to engage in conflict with Israel than the average Palestinian.
5.18.2007 2:19pm
Gideon Kanner (mail):
Tracy, I hate to break it to you, but geography being what it is, "the Tuareg peoples" (how come plural? How many Tuareg peoples are there?) have never seen an Israeli in their lives. But that's OK; anti-Semitism without Jews is an old, old hobby. So you don't need a reason to hate the Israelis. Or Jews. As for the Philistines, they were Eastern Mediterranean people who never set foot in Sharan Africa, and though I may be wrong -- I so often am -- they were long gone from the scene before the Prophet Muhammad did his thing.
5.18.2007 4:51pm
Tracy Johnson (www):
My bad on the plurality, just a typo. But for some reason I read somewhere they got a special burr for the Israelis, (above and beyond Islam, maybe predating it,) I can't remember why. I was thinking since they migrated west from Libya, they may have some Phoenecian/Philistine coastal ancestry, but I could be totally wrong on that.
5.18.2007 6:12pm
Michael B (mail):
An aside and well known perhaps, but of the latter day Algerian conflict beginning in '54, Alistair Horne's "A Savage War of Peace" is instructive in coming to terms with Iraq and the broader conflict. Great piece of research and history, presently a must read on military officers' reading lists.
5.18.2007 6:34pm