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Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval--Editor.]

The contention that the figures given by Michael Kalenin, president of the Soviets, on the cost of Jewish colonization in Russia, contradict those given by Dr. Joseph Rosen, head of the Agro-Joint, and that Kalenin’s figures are a further justification of the Zionists’ claim for the priority of Palestine from the standpoint of Jewish mass colonization, is put forth by the “New Palestine,” organ of the Zionist Organization of America.

In its issue which will appear today, the “New Palestine” writes:

“A strong argument against the priority of Palestine has been put forward-the ‘cheapness’ of Crimean colonization. Truth to tell, we never considered the argument compelling. We did not believe that the destiny of the Jewish people could be determined by questions of expense. We were not intent on driving a bargain with history. Nevertheless here was a serious argument. even though we had reason to question the facts as they were presented. Every one acquainted with the Russian situation could not help wondering why Russia was an Eldorado where colonization was possible on terms cheaper than in any other civilized country. However, we were faced by facts and figures coming from an authoritative source which we were obliged to respect. Dr. Rosen, himself, a man whom we honor and admire, declared in a report issued by the United Jewish Campaign that it costs 1,200 gold rubles (a little over $600) to colonize a family in Crimea. The report further explains: ‘Reverting to the districts where our mass work is carried on and the possibilities for mass settlement the greatest, and allowing an additional amount of 300 gold rubles per family for unforeseen expenses, we may safely say that a family can be settled in the Ukraine or Crimea for 1,500 gold rubles, or $750.’

‘We are now faced by a curious puzzle. Mr. Kalenin, the Soviet president, has officially and unmistakably declared in his well known statement that for every desiatin of land given for Jewish colonization, two hundred rubles (a little over $100) are required for irrigation. According to the plans of the Agro-Joint. every Jewish family must receive no less than twenty desiatins. This means that every family requires $2,000 for irrigation, in addition to the $750 called for by Dr. Rosen’s schedule. Without exaggeration, according to the official figures, we may estimate the cost of a family’s colonization at not less than $3,000. This is the ‘cheap’ colonization of which we have heard so persistently.

“We are faced here by another question. We, the American Jews, have been assured that at the utmost the sum of $750 per family is required. At the same time, Kalenin is assuring the Russian peasants that the American Jews are prepared to donate an additional $2,000 for irrigation. We do not believe that the Soviet President would public make such a statement unless he has been definitely assured that the American Jews were actually prepared for such an expenditure. It is, therefore necessary to know the following: Have such assurances been given by Americans? If not, how was the myth ### cheap colonization-a myth adhered till the present moment-created?”

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