Jabotinsky, Opposition Leader, Lashes Rule of Great Britain in Palestine
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Jabotinsky, Opposition Leader, Lashes Rule of Great Britain in Palestine

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The British administration of Palestine was severely criticized for not complying with the provisions of the Mandate which impose upon it the duty of facilitating the settlement of Jews on the land and the furtherance of Jewish immigration, in the address of Vladimir Jabotinsky, Zionist opposition leader, before the session of the Zionist Congress here. The Zionist Executive, under the leadership of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, was charged by Mr. Jabotinsky with failure to insist on the rights of the Zionist Organization under the terms of the Mandate. Dr. Weizman’s statement that the situation in Palestine was satisfactory was scoffed at by Mr. Jabotinsky, who declared that the Zionist Executive prefers to be silent than to criticize the Palestine administration. The address of the opposition leader made a profound impression upon the delegates.

The Balfour Declaration, pledging the British government to use its best endeavors in facilitating the establishment of the Jewish National Home was not "a gift" to the Jewish people, but the payment of a debt of honor of the civilized world, which has made a solemn promise to establish in Palestine a colonization government which would prepare the country for the immigration of large Jewish masses. The establishment of the Jewish National Home is not a question of raising a large sum of money, nor is it a question of charity funds, private or communal, since capital goes wherever there are favorable political conditions, a point emphasized by the American experts who recently surveyed economic and political conditions in Palestine for the Zionist Organization, he said.

He began by criticizing the constitution draft of the Jewish Agency and stated that the present Zionist leaders must assume responsibility for the forgotten meaning of the old Zionist slogans. He offered a definition of the term "Jewish National Home," stating that it has only one meaning, as it is understood by all Jews, that is, a Jewish state with the Jewish population in the majority. "No interpretation, not even compulsion, can deprive the Jewish people of this ideal. Even the Marranos had to go to synagogue once a year to recite Kol Nidre. Jews in general have definite conceptions concerning Palestine. They know that the Jordan is not its frontier, that Transjordania is a part of Palestine. They also know that Zionism is not a charity fund, but a solution to the political and economic tragedy of the Jewish nation. Nor is Zionism a thing to play with. It is the salvation of a nation," he thundered.

The speaker offered a definition of his own for the difference between Zionists and non-Zionists. It is equal to the difference between a patriot and an expert, he said. An expert recommends, a patriot conquers, he said. "The non-Zionists understand and declare their readiness to cooperate, while we Zionists stand and fall with the fulness of our ideal despite its setbacks," he said.

Turning to the situation in Palestine, he said he wishes to examine it in the light of the decisions of the last Zionist Congress. Three illustrations are sufficient to prove the character of the present policy. "The British authorities have offended deeply the most sacred feeling of the Jews when the police interfered with the worshippers on Yom Kippur because they refused to wait three and a half hours until the end of the service. This can only be described with the Russian term ‘Chamstvo’ (rowdyism), an attitude unimaginable, even in Czarist Russia. Nonetheless, Mr. Keith-Roach still occupies his post in Jerusalem. Something happens daily at the Wailing Wall. Another Day of Atonement is approaching and nothing good can be expected," he said.


Discussing the land policy of the Palestine government the opposition leader said that it manifests an unwilling attitude on the part of the government. "We are told that state lands cannot be given to Jewish settlers before the survey is completed, but the survey will take the Palestine authorities seventeen years to complete, while even Macedonia completed its land survey within three years. The Beisan state lands were given to the Arabs who are permitted even to speculate with the land, selling it to Jews at exorbitant prices. The case at Infiath and the question of the Chedera colony land are other illustrations. The Jewish settlers obtained their deeds on this land from the Turkish authorities. The British approved these deeds. Nonetheless, the well-known events followed. In addition Captain Laws addressed a letter to the Jewish settlers asking them to produce documents to show that the land belongs to them, otherwise the government will institute proceedings to take from them the sand dunes. This is procedure which is outside the border of culture and civilization," he said.

When interrupted by Harry Sacher with the question as to whether he had seen the land deeds, Jabotinsky replied, "Yes."

"The administration of justice in Palestine develops a feeling which is general that there is no justice in the country," Mr. Jabotinsky stated.

"Through my mouth speaks every Jew, except those who meekly accept everything," he declared.

The speaker related conversations he recently had with leading British statesmen whom he asked why the British government does not take into consideration the resolutions of the Zionist Congress. "Paper resolutions are meaningless," was the reply he received, as the matter depends on those who execute the resolutions.


Speaking on the subject of the Jewish Agency, Jabotinsky asserted that the Zionist Executive in the constitution draft ignored the decisions of the Zionist Congress. He claimed that under the provisions of the constitution, it would be impossible to dissolve the extended Jewish Agency, since the Zionist fifty per cent cannot leave that body unless they have the consent of a part of the non-Zionists in the body. Secondly, there is a dangerous clause in the statement of the British government concerning the renewed recognition of the Zionist Organization as the Jewish Agency in the event of the dissolution of the larger body. The communication states that the British government will then again determine as to whether the Zionist Organization is "appropriate." Further, the principle of democracy is given up in the Agency. This principle was the greatest asset of the Zionist movement. Herzl’s shekel gave to the Jews of the ghetto a consciousness of citizenship from which the present Zionist generation grew.

"Decide for yourselves whether the Jewish Agency gives you democracy. The Zionist Executive knows that it is offering the Congress not such good goods. That is why it was anxious to place the Congress before a fait accompli, convoking the Jewish Agency constitution meeting for August 11, before the Congress made the decision. Apparently, it wanted to create a situation from which there is no way out. This is the way the people’s cause is handled, without protection and without guarantee! No father, no head of a family, would act so inconsiderately!" Jabotinsky exclaimed.

The speaker referred with irony to Dr. Weizmann’s political report." ‘The situation is satisfactory,’ we are told but we know that something is stricken out, another thing is ignored. It is useless to hope for better from an executive of the Sacher type. The main thnig is to protect the holy Palestine administration. Let us not criticize, but rather be silent," the speaker said, warned by the chairman, Dr. Leo Motzkin, not to indulge in personal attacks.

"The British government gives us new possibilities, but without demanding, we will receive nothing. In case the old leadership is re-elected, we will lose even the new possibilities.

"Tomorrow, when the vote will be taken, we will be compelled to declare, in the name of Zionist conscience and standing before God and the Jewish nation: ‘Non possumus’ (We cannot)."

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