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 mock trial against the “fourth aliyah,” or middle class emigration from Poland to Palestine, which took place recently in Warsaw on the “charge” that the emigrants of the “fourth aliyah” were actuated by materialistic motives and were unfit as pioneers, is severely criticized by the Jewish papers of New York.

The “Jewish Daily News” (October 17th) terms the incident “an absurdity and an injustice.” If this incident were merely foolish, the paper declares, “it would perhaps be unnecessary to discuss it. It is, however, more than foolish. It constitutes a grave injustice against Jews who desired to settle in Palestine and failed because the conditions were against them. Such a ‘trial’ is a crime against Zionism, because it may discourage people who are planning to settle in Palestine.

“At the time when the movement of the ‘fourth aliyah’ began,” the paper explains, “the Jewish business men believed that there was room in Palestine for a large immigration of industrialists and tradesmen and they went there, taking with them as much money as they could, and made an effort to earn their livelihood in those fields of business where they had experience. Unfortunately, Palestine was not prepared for this kind of immigration, on such a large scale, and a considerable number of those who came there, finding it impossible to make a living, after they had lost their money or invested it in Tel Aviv real estate, returned to Poland out of necessity. This is a thing to be regretted, something to be regarded with pain and commiseration, but who has a right to ‘indict’ these people because they went to Palestine in search of their bread and, unable to find it, went to seek it elsewhere.”

A similar attitude is taken by the “Jewish Morning Journal” of same date, which declares that “the farce of a mass meeting ‘trial’ against the ‘fourth aliyah’ which took place in Warsaw was foolish even from the point of view of the majority which supposedly won the case.”

“In a healthy state of affairs where society is economically well developed, speculation is a good sign,” the paper avers. “When there are many speculators it indicates hope for the future, when there is a boom in a certain district it shows that the section will grow, and even when there is a temporary breakdown and the economically weaker elements are wiped out their losses are merely the seeds of future success. The situation such as has developed in this instance is possible only where capital and business generally are regarded with contempt, where complaints are constantly made against the propery classes and where economic theories are given more attention than the rebuilding of the country. In such an unhealthy atmosphere, speculation comes to be regarded as a crime, and that is why the verdict was ‘guilty,’ whereas nothing should have been done but to utter a feeling of compassion for people whose success would certainly have been for Palestine’s good.”

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