Senator William E. Borah, chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee delivered a powerful address last night at the huge Jewish mass protest meeting at Madison Square Garden before a throng of 25,000. Samuel Untermyer presided.
In the course of his address Senator Borah stated:
“It is very difficult to understand how all this could have happened, how and why these people were left without proper safeguard for life. The warning even at this distance has for months been clear and unmistakable. There has been restlessness and mutterings and threats all along. Why these things failed to mean anything to those in charge of affairs or why they failed to bring action upon their part, I am frank to say I cannot understand. If I knew where the blame rests, I would not hesitate to assess it. But, I do not know. Before assessing the blame, therefore, let us have all the facts, for the blame once fixed will be a heavy load for those who are responsible. The loss of innocent lives will weigh like lead upon their consciences for all time.
DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN LONDON AND LOCAL OFFICIALS
“But I think it is well for us to keep in mind in considering this matter, both at this time and in the future, that the local government and the local officers are one thing and the government in London another thing. Knowing the Premier of Great Britain as so many of us do, we know that it would be impossible for him to be indifferent or careless where human life was involved. We know too that it is the policy of the British government to afford protection to her citizens wherever and whenever assailed. This catastrophe was the result of carelessness or stupidity or both, whose carelessness and whose stupidity time alone will reveal. But, time should reveal it. The facts should be brought out and established and made known.
“When the word went forth that a national home was to be established in Palestine for the Jewish people, it aroused a profound interest not only among the Jews but among all people in all lands. It seems in accord with a beautiful and sacred tradition. It brought surging in upon our minds and enriching our thoughts the thrilling story of a marvelous race. It passed in review before us a history which for patient suffering, for triumph for adversity, has no parallel in all the annals of time. Even to those of us who doubted its success, and I was one of them, could not but feel the thrill of this dramatic movement. To contemplate a people repossessing the land of their forefathers is a moving thing. We all wished it success. We wanted these people to have what they wanted after all these years of sacrifice if it were possible for them to have it.
INTERNATIONAL HOME OR INTERNATIONAL SHAMBLE?
“But, my friends, in the presence of this fearful tragedy, because of our being here tonight, let us have an understanding. Is this to be a national home or an international shamble. A home is a place where a people are supposed to live in contentment and with a sense of security. It is not a place where fear haunts the inmates, where the hand of these assassins clutches at you in your dreams. It is not a place where the helpless and the unarmed are left to the merciless barbarities of the mob. The establishment or the sponsoring of a national home for the Jewish people carries with it the solemn obligation of making it a place of reasonable safety, or reasonable security for life and property.
“If I were offering you a suggestion in the way of advice tonight, I would say to you, do not dwell upon the past too long but fix your mind and purpose upon the future. Do not linger with the things which cannot now be remedied but make sure of the things which are to come. You are entitled to all that foresight and vigilance and a deep sense of humanity can give in the way of protection. You have a task difficult enough before you under the best of circumstances and conditions. The public opinion of mankind will support you in asking for a just and intelligent program and for a fair and reasonable protection.
ETERNAL VIGILANCE AND VAST SACRIFICES NEEDED
“We know now, and with a little reflection we could have known in the beginning, that the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine is a task calling not only for the highest of statesmanship but calling also for eternal vigilance and vast sacrifices. The Arabs are a virile people, resourceful in character, indefatigable in purpose and imbued with a national spirit which at times partakes of fanaticism. To deal with such a situation there must in the beginning be an understanding, there must be same definite arrangement, some definite program. You cannot simply ignore the fact that these people will have and that they have the views that they have. A policy of drift means misunderstanding and misunderstanding means, especially when linked with incapable local officials, massacres.
DRIFTING MUST CEASE, CLEAR CUT PURPOSE AND UNDERSTANDING NEEDED
“Now my friends, this drifting has gone on and we have before us the result. If there is to be no clear cut definite policy, no program which can be arranged agreeable to the situation, backed up by the most undoubted purpose to protect the situation we will have a recurrence of this catastrophe.
“You may recall, my friends, that I declared publicly when this plan was first announced that I did not believe the task had been properly measured by those assuming the obligations necessarily arising. For that, I was greatly criticized.
“I want to repeat tonight and as I do so I point to the dead in Palestine, that in my judgment this task, this undertaking, has not been properly measured. In the light of the burning home in Palestine it ought to be properly measured now. It is a stupendous task and in the name of the American citizens interested in the matter, let us know what the future has in store, let us see that there is no misunderstanding as to the nature and seriousness of the duties and obligations involved.”