Almost from the start, Palestinian Christians played a prominent role in combating Zionism, first and foremost through the Arab press. This was particularly evident in the Palestinian press; the vast majority of newspapers in Palestine were owned and run by Christians, and were stridently anti-Zionist. Typical was the position adopted by the newspaper ‘Filastin’, founded in Jaffa in 1911 by the brothers Isä and Yüsuf al-‘ Isä, both Orthodox Christian and strongly anti-Zionist. ‘Filastin’ was one of the most widely read newspapers during this period, and one of the few to survive the First World War intact.
Another important Christian-run paper was ‘al Dustür’, founded by Khalil al-Sakäkini, also Orthodox, in Jerusalem in 1910. As with the ‘ Isä brothers,Sakäkini was strongly anti-Zionist and a staunch Arab nationalist. During this period, Christians were, in many respects, more vehement than Muslims in their opposition to Zionism; early on in fact, many Zionists were convinced that early on in fact, many Zionists were convinced that opposition to Zionism was limited almost entirely to Christian Arabs [“Attitude to the Arabs” in Middle Eastern Studies, Volume IV, No. 3 (London, 1968), pp. 198,206,212-213].
One of the earliest organised efforts against Zionism was initiated by Christians in 1891-an official protest against Jewish immigration directed at the Ottoman Government. Christians would remain at the forefront in the struggle against Zionism well into the twentieth century. Thus, it was the Protestant Christian editor of the newspaper ‘al-Karmil’, Najib Nassär, who in 1910 organised the first association aimed at persuading the Government to prohibit the sale of land to Jews. He also was the first Arab to publish a book on Zionism.