The original letter which Arab leader Emir Feisal wrote to Felix Frankfurter in 1919, declaring that “We Arabs look with deepest sympathy on the Zion movement.” has been found in the London files of the Jewish Agency, it was reported here today. Arab leaders have consistently denied Feisal ever wrote such a letter.
The letter was written in English by T. E. Lawrence, the famous “Lawrence of Arabia.” and signed in Arabic by Feisal. Lawrence was Feisal’s adviser and interpreter. Feisal, who led the Arab revolt against the Turks during World War I, and was designated King of Syria in reward, was at first sympathetic to Zionism, from which he hoped to get help in building his kingdom. After he was expelled from Syria by the French in 1920, his attitude toward Zionism became hostile.
Justice Frankfurter was legal adviser in 1919 to the Zionist delegation at the Versailles Peace Conference, and carried on a correspondence with Feisal in an effort to bring about peaceful relations between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Feisal’s pro-Zionist letter was part of that correspondence.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.