September 04, 1929

Herbert Hoover Responds Coolly to “Interesting Observations” on the 1929 Anti-Jewish Hebron Riots in Palestine

Typed Letter Signed
1 page
SMC 330
On August 15, 1929, a flag-waving demonstration by Jerusalem schoolchildren at the Western Wall set off, seemingly inexplicably, two weeks of pogroms in which Arabs slaughtered Jews while the British did nothing. The Hebron Riots of 1929, as the violence came to be called, sent shock-waves around the world. Americans were particularly aghast: newspapers reported that of the 68 Jews massacred at Hebron, a dozen were yeshiva students from New York and Chicago. A deluge of letters flooded into Washington, urging the government to intervene on behalf of Jewish Americans, and their property, in Palestine.

One such missive came from Ona Haverkamp - the wife of a Presbyterian minister in Florida – who had recently visited the Holy Land. This is Hoover’s reply: “I wish to thank you,” he writes, “for sending your very interesting observations on the situation in Palestine.” It was, typically, non-committal – for Hoover, in the midst of cultivating an Anglo-American partnership as the cornerstone of his peace and disarmament policies, was not about to criticize the British for their behavior during the riots. Hoover did nothing: nothing about the Americans killed, nothing about the pogroms, and nothing, either, for a Jewish national home in Palestine.
Typed Letter Signed, as President, 1 page, quarto, The White House, Washington, September 4, 1929. To Mrs. F.W. Haverkamp in Tampa, Florida.
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