(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
Dr. Henry S. Pritchett commented on the stir caused by his remarks on Palestine in an interview yesterday with the representative of the “Jewish Daily Bulletin.”
“I am not willing to enter into any debate on the subject as what I wrote represented merely my impressions gained in Palestine during my visit there. These are my impressions and my views and I am sorry that they have hurt anybody. They represent my beliefs. It is absurd to accuse me of anti-Jewish blas or prejudice. I have many friends among the Jews,” Dr. Pritchett declared.
Asked whether he went to Palestine at the request of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Dr. Pritchett declared that his original purpose was to study conditions in Egypt, but while in Egypt, where one hears many echoes of the events in Syria and in Palestine, he went in a private capacity to Palestine, which he was interested to see for historic reasons. “My report was of an informal nature to the Board of Trustees of the Endowment and I was greatly surprised to see its publication in the general press. I suppose they saw in it a ‘good story’.”
Asked with whom he conferred in Palestine, Dr. Pritchett stated that he spent only a few weeks in the country and that he conferred with Arab leaders, mainly with Musa Kazim Pasha, the head of the anti-Zionist Palestine Arab Executive. He also conferred with Dr. J. L. Magnes and with Col. Frederick H. Kisch, political representative of the Zionist Executive, who, he stated, had to leave the country at the time and could not spare much time for him.
Reiterating in substance the remarks embodied in his report as published in the metropolitan press, Dr. Pritchett admitted that it is true that some solution has to be sought for the problem of many Jewish groups in East European countries who suffer from oppresdeclared, however, that it appeared to him that the “conclusion which Theodor Herzl reached at the end of his life concerning the creation of a Jewish homeland in some unoccupied land like Uganda has more merits and some merit in the present proposal for such a territory in the Crimea. Palestine, where there are so many vested interests and an existing Arab population, I am afraid will give the Jews another disappointment.”
Asked whether his charge that “the segregation of Jews in Palestine would strengthen Jewish national egotism and increase the illusion of the chosen people” was fair, he declared that he did not make this reference particularly to the Jews. This is true of every national and racial group and it is deplorable wherever it occurs. “The closing up of any country for any particular racial group would lead to such national egotism,” he states.
In reply to the question whether the talk of Nordic superiority, upon which the United States Immigration laws are based, does not come under this heading, Dr. Pritchett stated that the United States had until recently admitted all racial groups with the exception of Asiatics. The present law might contain some element of a racial policy. “I do not think, however, there is any anti-Semitic bias in America. I, myself, have many friends among the Jews. As a matter of fact, I do not know which are Jews and which are not, I do not ask.”
Leading social agencies in New York are expected to sent representatives to a conference of social workers to be held on Dec. 7, at the National Farm School near Doylestown, Pa. Among the institutions and agencies, which have been invited to participate are the Boy Scouts, the Y. M. C. A., Greenwich Settlement, Vocational Service for Juniors, Big Brothers Association, Jewish Big Brothers, Catholic Big Brothers, Boy’s Club, Brooklyn Boy’s club, Children’s Aid Society, Heckscher Foundation Hudson Guild, and the Boys’ Club Federation.
Two of these organizations, the Y. M. C. A. and the Boy Scouts, are cooperating with the Farm School in the distribution of agricultural scholarships which entitle the recipients to a three-year course in scientific and practical farming free of charge, even clothing being furnished. It was announced recently that the Brooklyn Y. M. C. A. branches would join with the New York branches in this work.