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J.D.B. News Letter

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(By our Montreal Correspondent)

Emphasizing the fact that the upbuilding of Palestine as a Jewish National Homeland must be based on prosperity and that Jews cannot go on forever pouring in money collected as charity or as a gift, but must make the community there self-supporting and self-reliant, Lord Melchett addressed a large gathering of leading Canadian Zionists and non-Zionists at a reception given in his honor this afternoon by S. W. Jacobs, member of the Canadian House of Commons, and Mrs. Jacobs. Lord Melchett, who had refused to be interviewed by the English and Jewish press during his visit in Montreal, gave the guests to meet him a vivid outline of achievement in Palestine. Lord Melchett’s complete address follows:

“I crossed a great ocean, came to this large Dominion, to this big city of Montreal, to speak to such a vast gathering about a small country on the shores of the Mediterranean sea. Yet this little country unites all of us, heart and soul and mind. I know what Canadian Jews did for Palestine, what they are still doing now. I know what world Jewry is doing, But great as these efforts are, it is not enough. Much as we have accomplished, great. as are our achievements, it is only the beginning of all that is going to be achieved and done in Palestine for the Jewish people and for civilization.

“When one wants to discuss Palestine, there are so many aspects of the question that he must be bewildered and one can go on for days and weeks on the subject. Today I will discuss only the economic side of the question. As a business man speaking to business men, the economic aspect is what interests us for the moment more than anything else. You are well aware that if you want to erect a building the first concern must be to have a sound foundation, otherwise all your efforts will be nil. The foundation of the National Home must be prosperity. You cannot go on forever pouring in money collected as charity or as a gift. You must make the community there self-supporting and self-reliant.

“This can be achieved if we will introduce industries suitable to the country. I studied all the aspects of the economic life in Palestine and I am interested personally in many undertakings there, but I must say here that none of the Palestinian industries can compare to the orange industry. During the small number of years Jews have worked in Palestine, they have succeded in producing an orange the like of which the world has not seen. The Palestine orange is not only sunkist but also heaven-blest.

“The population of the whole of Palestine is not as great as the population of the city of Montreal alone and therefore you cannot expect that the small community there, through their own efforts, should do all there is to be done to revive the country. All Jews the world over who are interested in the Jewish cause must see what they can do for the erection of the Jewish National Home. And I was happy that one of your business men, Mr. Asher Pierce, came to me and put before me a plan for organizing the plantation industry of oranges in Palestine. I sent the best experts, people who know conditions and know the soil and the climate, and I can assure you that this is the finest experiment, even from a business point of view.

“Thirty years ago Lord Rothschild started single-handed his great work in Palestine. Now you have a great chain of Jewish colonies by him, from Dan to Beersheba. He invested millions but these colonies are now certainly worth millions upon millions more than was originally invested.

‘When I speak of Palestine, I do not speak from hearsay,” Lord Melchett said “I speak from personal experience. During the last few years I visited Palestine on several ocasions. I do not call a year complete unless I spend at least a few weeks in Palestine, I built there, on the shores of the Lake of Galilee, a little cottage for myself and I planted on the grounds bananas, grapes and other tropical and sub-tropical plants and shrubs, and I have only one ambition, that before I end my days, I may retire from all the business of the world and go and spend the rest of my days in this little cottage on the Lake of Galilee, as a true Jewish philosopher.


“Very often people ask us how many Jews can settle in Palestine. According to Josephus millions lived and prospered two thousand years ago only in Galilee. Now if in those days, without any of our modern machinery and modern methods and all the inventions and acquisitions of the last century, such a big population could thrive there, how much can be done at the present day! I have no misgivings for a moment that Palestine can be built up and maintain a great and prosperous population. But is it going to be a Jewish national homeland or a ‘Goyish’ national home? The Jewish capitalist is hesitating while the non-Jewish findng out that Palestine is the place for good and healthy investments. We always came to another people’s country and made money there: now I am afraid they are going to come to our country and make money there.

“For instance, the hydro-electric undertaking. For five years we went around among the Jewish capitalists and we could not get the money necessary. We had to go to a great English firm and we put our plans before them and it took us exactly one hour to get one million dollars. This fact is ominous. Remember that soon it may be too late. Twenty years ago Tel Aviv was a stretch of sand. Show me the place in Canada where during seven years the price of land soared so high as there? People tell you that there is a crisis in Tel Aviv, but try to buy property there for the price of seven years ago,–for this is the only criterion by which to know whether there has been progress or not.


“I have nowhere met Jews living so happy as I have met in the small Jewish community in Palestine. It puzzled me at the beginning, but now it is clear to me. No matter where we live, under what conditions, we feel always the pressure of environment foreing us to mould ourselves and our mind on the model of others. But there the Jew feels a relief. There is no pressure. It is the Jew who creates the model. Besides, nobody has to worry there what others think of the bad Jews. We cannot estimate all this in money–even though the financial investments are much higher than what can be expected. We will come to the University in a few years and the buildings will be worth millions, he declared.


“When I visited the University last year, a little incident there will illustrate how people feel and what spirit prevails. I saw a Jewish carpenter at work. He had a little accident, cut his finger so that blood ran I pitied the man. But he replied: ‘Never mind: I am building a home for our people!’ Where have you ever met a man who is building a shed to be inspired with the idea that he is thus building a national home for a people? This is the glorious spirit which permentes the country.

“Our host in introducing me said that the Zionist idea must be something really worthwhile if a man of my understanding takes such an ardent interest in it. Ladies and gentlemen, believe that there is One higher than all of us who takes an interest in this great movement. If I would have come twenty years ago to you and told you that all this was going to happen, you would have looked upon me, and rightly so, as upon a lunatic. Now if one will come and tell me that all which has happened during the last few years was only an accident, that it was an accident, that as the outcome of such a great world war should result the establishment of the Jewish National home, that it is only an accident that just at the proper moment there was a World Zionist Organization, that it was only an accident that tens of thousands of Chalutzim were ready to come and sacrifice themselves for this movement, that it was only an accident that Jews he world over were ready for this great dea,–then I must say that such a man is a lunatic.

“It is just the same accident as when Moses came to Pharoah and taking our people from Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, traveled with them for forty years across the desert, bringing them into and making them the masters of Canaan. It is the same accident now as that accident which happened in the days of Moses. But in the days of Moses people had to suffer and to fight. Now they have neither to suffer nor to fight. All we need is money and to concentrate our minds on the rebuilding of Palestine.

“We were despised among the nations: we were calumniated among the nations. Much said against us was from envy, much from malice and prejudice. But there was a little bt of truth, because we were accused that we cannot be productive, that we come to places where others are productive and manage to make a living on the others. Now again can the Jews be productive. He can build up a home from the foundation stone to the roof. In that little country two great religions which dominate the whole civilized world were given to mankind. Now the whole world is anxious for new ideals, for a new reviving spirit. And we the small people living in a small land will be able to give to the world the spiritual value it is looking for. Those who will come after us will know that we did not toil in vain. We worked not for our own glorification, but in our humble way we engaged in a great monumental work. And everyone who can add a brick to this great temple will know that he added to the glory of Israel and to the uplifting of mankind,” Lord Melchett concluded.

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