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Flag on the SS Emanuel 1934 (Zionist Flags, Israel)

Last modified: 2005-01-22 by santiago dotor
Keywords: zionism | star: 6 points (white-blue) | letter: h (red) | star: 6 points (yellow) |
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Picture in National Geographic

[Flag on the SS Emanuel 1934, National Geographic picture (Zionist Flags, Israel)]
by Željko Heimer

National Geographic 1934, p. 373 shows a b/w photo of a "Zionist" waving a flag horizontally divided light over dark (the caption indeed says it is white over blue) with the "Shield of David" in the center, counterchanged (that is, it is dark on the light half of the flag and light on the dark half.)

Nick Artimovich, 1 April 1996

There is a photo in the National Geographic 1934, p. 373 with the following caption:

The 'Emanuel', flying a Palestine flag, anchors at Southampton, England. This Jewish trading vessel was the first to fly her country's new banner. Palestine, under British mandate, has a badge (see No. 419), but its Jewish population has created this flag of their own — Solomon's seal on a field of blue and white.
The flag in the picture appears to be blue over white with a large Star of David set near the hoist and counterchanged in colors. In its center appears the letter 'H' in an unknown color but obviously not blue or white. The photo is black and white.

Dave Martucci, 3 November 1996

I recently bought in Frankfurt an atlas from 1932, inside which was a loose map, entitled Der Nahe Osten (The Near East). The map was from the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper and printed in 1941. (...) The flag for Palestine is a simple blue over white, which is similar to that on the Israel pages with the Star of David. Maybe the German paper used that flag and omitted the Jewish symbol?

Roger Moyer, 9 November 1996

The flag in National Geographic 1917 is blue over white, the seal shifted to the hoist, lower part of the seal blue, top of the seal looks golden or similar, not white. Proportions: not evident, c. 2:3. Here is a scan.

Jarig Bakker, 23 February 2002

Description in the Public Record Office

[Flag on the SS Emanuel 1934, PRO description (Zionist Flags, Israel)]
by Željko Heimer

In 1934 it was reported that the Steam Ship Emanuel flew a Zionist flag described as being Solomon's Seal counterchanged in the centre of a light blue over dark blue flag. Source: Public Record Office, Kew: CO 323/1333/1.

David Prothero, 22 February 2002

Does it says to which company this ship belonged? The Zionist flag was quite official in 1934, so my guess is that was a houseflag. My guess is that it was not light blue but white. This somehow reminds me of the Revisionists' variant of the Zionist flag. However, the split in the Zionist Organization was in 1935 so I guess that there is no connection after all.

Dov Gutterman, 23-24 February 2002

I hadn't noticed the photograph in the National Geographic 1934. The flag is not on an ensign staff but being held out from a pole lashed to the hand-rail. It must be a temporary arrangement as the pole is obstructing a fair-lead and also a boom. The description of the flag was "light blue over dark blue", while in the photograph it is a dark colour over a light colour. However this is easily explained. The photograph was taken in England. The crew are observing the local custom, and holding the flag upside down. The lighter colour could be a very light blue. It is certainly darker that the white life-buoys.

In 1932 the Colonial Office had received an enquiry about the use of a Zionist flag from a Greek Shipping Company registered in London, that owned a ship registered in Haifa. This might have been the Emmanuel, in which case the H could stand for Hellas [Greece].

The Admiralty asked whether the flag might be flown from a masthead as a house flag. The legal opinion was that it could not be a house flag, as it was the flag of a political party and not private. I take this to mean private, as opposed to national/political, rather than private as opposed to public.

In March 1934 the Marine Superintendent of the Union Castle Line had enquired about the Palestine flag and was told that the badge was not yet agreed, and that the Zionist flag was unofficial.

Sources: Public Record Office, Kew: CO 323/1182/11 and CO 323/1272/7.

David Prothero, 24 February 2002

However, the photo in National Geographic 1934 shows it flying from the staff at the stern. But also it is clearly a staged photograph. Possibly the ship sailed under a recognized ensign and only temporarily placed the Zionist flag in the ensign position as a political statement.

Ned Smith, 24 February 2002

Similar flag in Larousse Dictionary

[Proposal in Larousse]
by Jaume Ollé

The flag of the Palestine Jews pre-1939, according to the Larousse Dictionary.

Jaume Ollé, 11 January 1998