Jews Will Not Surrender Sacred Task of Upbuilding Zion, Samuel Untermyer Says
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Jews Will Not Surrender Sacred Task of Upbuilding Zion, Samuel Untermyer Says

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Samuel Untermyer in a statement issued to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on the race riots in Palestine declared:

“I hesitate to say anything on the basis of the present incomplete reports and especially in the absence of Dr. Weizmann and Messrs. Warburg and Marshall who are now on the Continent upon the business of Palestine. But as you seem to feel it is important that some one say something on this matter, I have yielded to your judgment.

“The news of the terrible anti-Jewish uprising as thus far reported almost reaches the gigantic proportions of an international disaster for which the British government must apparently bear a heavy share of responsibility. It is to be hoped that further reports will place the situation in a less unfavorable light. Apparently the government has long had warning that this fanatical religious war of a semi-savage race was imminent, but has provided only scant protection. If half the stories are true, the present government in Palestine has been not only supine and short-sighted but unfriendly in its deafness to all the signs of the coming of the present debacle.

“The Jews of the world and especially those of America who have year by year been pouring tens of millions of dollars into Palestine in the colonization and development of that country in reliance on the will and ability of the British to carry out the spirit of the Balfour Declaration have evidently been relying upon a broken reed. No amount of belated protection can now undo the shock to our confidence of the terrible events of the past week. The least we have the right to expect in return for what American Jews have been doing for Palestine and its Arab population was adequate protection and that has miserably failed us. We have generously carried out our part of the bargain involved in the Mandate but the British government has, I fear, fallen down in the performance of its obligations.

“But there should be no thought of our surrender of the sacred task we have undertaken and I am sure that will be the reaction of American Jewry to this staggering setback to our optimistic hopes and plans. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs have profited and are daily profiting by our great movement. This disaster goes only to confirm our worst fears that we are dealing with a race of fanatical barbarians who can be governed only by the sternest repressive measures. The outburst was apparently well-planned and adequately financed. We shall now see what the government will do toward inflicting such punishment on the leaders of this rebellion against British prestige as to give assurance against the possibility of recurrence. It is a terrible disappointment to those of us who are interested in Palestine and just at this time when the Jewish Agency has come into being and our hopes were running high. But we have no thought of surrender. I still have unbounded faith in the eventual loyalty of the British people to its pledges to world Jewry. However lax and lukewarm may be the temper of the present government, it does not reflect the feeling of the people.”


In a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Isidore D. Morrison, veteran Zionist leader and acting chairman of the United Palestine Appeal, declared: “The present uprising in Palestine must be laid at the door of the British Civil Administration in Palestine. For several years it has been rumored, and was openly charged in the House of Commons in London that this administration was distinctly anti-Jewish. As proof, it was pointed out that when the police force of Palestine was organized, the administration at first excluded Jews entirely from that force, and only after strong protests was a small percentage of Jews enrolled on that force. Events have shown how reliable the Arab police is. When on last September, on the day of Atonement, the British officials committed a most outrageous violation on the Jews’ right of worship at the Wailing Wall on the pretext that the wooden screen separating the men worshippers from the women, constituted a violation of the status quo and these officials chose to remove that screen by violence in the midst of religious exercises.

“The Colonial office at London expressed regret at the occurrence but did nothing to punish the officials When recently the Arabs began building on top of the Wailing Wall, and cut through a doorway immediately adjacent to the Wailing Wall, some British official rendered an opinion that these acts did not constitute a violation of the status quo while the setting up of a movable wooden screen by the Jews did. Is it a wonder then, that the Arab population had come to the conclusion that the British administration, far from being anxious to carry out the explicit provisions of the Mandate under which Palestine is held by Great Britain, far from being helpful in establishing in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people as provided for in the Mandate was hindering the development of the country by Jews with Jewish money. Everybody in Palestine, except the British officials, seems to have known that an attempt is being made by a few Arab agitators to prevent the Jews from developing the country. It is these pussy-footings by the British officials and their failure to live up to the letter (Continued on Page 8)

“The British Government cannot restore the lives of the Jewish pioneers who have sacrificed themselves for Palestine, but it can and should restore the homes and colonies that have been destroyed. These homes and settlements have been built in Palestine by money contributed mostly by American Jews who relied on the British good faith in carrying out the terms of the Mandate and Great Britain either from its own treasury or from the Palestine treasury should make good the loss.”


David A. Brown, National Chairman of the United Jewish Campaign, declared : “The outrages being perpetrated in Palestine during the past weeks are due entirely to the lack of aggressiveness on the part of the British Administration in Palestine.

“Anyone familiar with Palestine and the clashes between the Jews and the Arabs in the past must know that unless those in charge of the government, with the police and military power, take an aggressive position, that there will be trouble and that the Jews will suffer because of smallness of number and the fact that they are without arms of any nature.

“Those of us who are deeply interested in the development of Palestine have always had a fear within us that upon the slightest provocation the Arab would attack the Jew.

“But this fear has been allayed because of our absolute confidence in the British Government and of its understanding in handling situation similar to that which has developed lately in Palestine.

“The British Government has always been friendly to the Jew. The Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine are concrete evidences of this. Therefore, it would be unjust to charge the British Government with having changed its policy; yet we must hold the Government responsible because it is the mandatory power and has the possibilities within itself of maintaining peace in Palestine.

“The world is outraged by what has happened in Palestine during the past tragic days. The world, and particularly the Jews of the world, will look to the British Government to deal with the situation quickly, aggressively and in such a manner that it will establish a complete understanding in the minds of the Arab and the Moslem that the Jew is by right in Palestine, intends to remain by this same right in that country, and will develop and grow in accordance with the desires of the Jew throughout the world.

“Tears are being shed wherever there are Jews for the suffering of our people in Palestine, and whatever demands may be made upon American Jewry will be met speedily and generously.”

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