Indications that Roumanian government circles are well pleased with the action recently taken by the Turkish Jewish “Notables” in renouncing their minority rights guaranteed to them by the Treaty of Lausanne, are contained in a recent article in the Bucharest “Indreptarea,” a release of the American Jewish Committee states. The paper is the official organ of the Peoples Party, whose leader is the present Premier, General Averescu.
The article deals with the discussion which was aroused by the action of the Turkish Jews and especially with the protest against this action voiced by Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, who is referred to as “the well-known American financier.” The article is enthusiastic in approving of the step taken “without the advice and consent of persons who are ignorant of their interests and local conditions.” It is obvious that this is a hint to the Roumanian Jews. In fact the entire article is a transparent suggestion that the Roumanian Jews would do well to follow the example of their Turkish brethren, and it is entirely probable that it may be the beginning of an attempt to bring pressure to bear upon the former to do so. Apparently the writer of the article does not know that Mr. Marshall is himself a Jew as he naively says that Mr. Marshall “took a hostile attitude in complete ignorance of the Jewish law.”
After referring to the provisions regarding the rights of minorities as illusory guarantees, the Averescu organ says:
“Some time ago the Jews of Turkey, meeting in an important council, unanimously decided after much discussion, to present to the Turkish government a motion (decision ) by which they declared the wish formally to renounce all the rights which have been accorded to them by the Treaty of Lausanne in their capacity as a racial minority. On the following day a delegation comprising seventy notables were to present to the President of the Council this decision which was received with a lively satisfaction. Upon its return the delegation was acclaimed by the population which intended to demonstrate in this way that it was superfluous to accord them these rights, and at the same time that no one on the outside could have a profound knowledge of their interests and their aspirations.
“Upon learning of this decision taken by the Jews of Turkey, an important American personality issued to a newspaper of his country a declaration in which he expressed his disgust with the fact that the Jews of Turkey had renounced the satus of a racial minority, thus spurning the rights gained for the benefit of the minorities at Lausanne. Mr. Marshall, the well-known American financier who participated in the peace conference, said:
” ‘The conduct of the Jewish community of Turkey deserves to be condemned by all those who love liberty and humanity. We have obtained with great difficulty the rights for minorities and I find the conduct of the Jews of Turkey cowardly. They should not have renounced the rights which the state is obliged to accord to them by virtue of the treaties. Engagements of this kind should be reproved as disgraceful. Human rights should not be lightly renounced.’
“As the newspapers tell us, this insolent accusation was answered by Mr. Galante, who responded in the name of the seventy notables as follows:
“The Jewish religion commands its followers to be faithful to the country in which they live and to contribute to its prosperity. So profound a thinker as the prophet Jeremiah recommended this expressly to the Jews exiled in Babylonia and preached to them in the name of God: ‘Work for prosperity of the country in which you live, to which I have exiled you; pray for its welfare, for the advancement of the country and its prosperity will give you also prosperity and happiness.’ And also: ‘the laws of the country in which you live shall be for you sacred laws; submit to them and respect them.’
” ‘By renouncing the privileges accorded to the minority,’ Mr. Galante proceeds, ‘the Turkish Jews have done nothing more than to follow the religious precepts of great importance.’ Further on he says that the renunciation on their part of the minority rights does not constitute treason toward humanity and civilization. The rights of the minorities, the religious privileges, constitute rather ferments of discord susceptible of drawing the nation into conflicts. By their action the Jews make Turkey homogeneous, avoiding, as much as is in their power to do, everything that will delay the development of their country. In such terms is couched the statement of Mr. Galante, Professor at the University of Stamboul, speaking in the name of the seventy Turkish notables who in their turn represent the ideals and the interests of the entire Jewish population -which yesterday was still an ethnic minority.
“The value and the importance of this political action cannot escape anyone. The Jews of Turkey have shrewdly perceived their situation in relation to the interests of their country, but above all in relation to their religious precepts, and once all this was brought out into the open, they adopted the attitude called for by their interests and in accord with the national interests of their country.
“The fact that this attitude does not please the American financier is not surprising, but one cannot distinguish from far-off Fifth Avenue the local interests of the Turkish Jews. He has taken a hostile attitude in complete ignorance of the prescription of the Jewish law. That is why his accusations lack force.
“But this political act is important for still another reason. It signifies that the Turkish Jews have understood what their duty was, without seeking the advice and the consent of people who are ignorant of their interests and of the local situation. They have understood that their interests could not appreciated or defended by those who are on the other side of the ocean, or even by those who are nearer but who do not know Turkey. That is another reason why this political act has attracted our attention, confirming once more the new orientation of nations and the value of treaties which provide special rights for minorities, The new organization of Europe is made in a spirit of justice and humanity; the oppressed of yesterday cannot become tyrants. Even though they react, it is only a logical reaction on the part of those who do not wish to accept the new order. In Turkey this reaction has long ceased, thanks to the loyalty of the various minorities there.
Queen Marie of Roumania is sailing today from New York on the Berengaria.