James Bowen

A boycott by any other name


In the late 19th century, changes in Ottoman law created a new class of large landholders, including the Sursuq family from Beirut, which acquired large tracts in northern Palestine. A similar situation had long existed in Ireland, where most land was controlled by absentee landlords, many of whom lived in Britain. The 1880s, however, initiated dynamics that led the two lands in different directions. In 1882, the first Zionist immigrants arrived in Palestine, starting a process that subsequently led to the eviction of indigenous tenant farmers, when magnates like the Sursuqs pulled the land from under their feet, selling it to the Jewish National¬†Fund.