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Yusuf Diya-uddin Pasha al-Khalidi


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ca. 1899
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Yusuf Diya-uddin Pasha al-Khalidi, elected from Jerusalem to the first Ottoman Parliament of 1877, where he was an active member of the opposition; mayor of Jerusalem in 1899. Elections to the Parliament were held immediately after the promulgation of the Constitution in 1876, but this first Ottoman Parliament was dissolved within a year of its election because the authorities feared the liberal attitudes of deputies like al-Khalidi. Also a scholar, al-Khalidi lectured at the University of Vienna and (while governor of a Kurdish province) wrote the first Arabic-Kurdish dictionary. In a letter to Zadok Kahn, the chief rabbi of France, he suggested that, since Palestine was already inhabited, the Zionists should find another place for the implementation of their political goals. " ... in the name of God," he wrote, "let Palestine be left alone." Kahn showed the letter to Theodore Herzl, the founder of political Zionism. On 19 March 1899 Herzl replied to al-Khalidi in French (3a and 3b show the first and last pages of the letter) assuring him that, if the Zionists were not wanted in Palestine, "We will search and, believe me, we will find elsewhere what we need.