London (Sep. 1)
Bitter criticism of the Palestine government and of certain officials in the London government, charges of negligence and maladministration, responsible for the anti-Jewish massacres in Palestine, were levelled by leading British Jews and non-Jews in addresses delivered before the protest mass meeting at Albert Hall Sunday night. An open air meeting for the thousands who were unable to gain admittance to the hall was held outside and was addressed by Sir Gilbert Clayton, former Civil Secretary of the Palestine government and leading British state man in the Near East, and Col Josiah Wedgwood, Labor M. P.
“Cries of “Shame!” and loud weeping interrupted the address of Dr. Joseph H. Hertz, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, when he stated that “What happened in Palestine conforms truely to the Russian anti-Jewish pogrom.”
“I will not be deceived that the Palestine administration did not know what was breaking in the country,’ Lord Melchett who preceded said. “The administration there has had long military service. Its officials have long been in touch with Arab movements. They have had evidence more than once of such outbreaks to take precautionary measures. Their failure to do so has shaken the faith of the whole civilized word in Great Britain’s rule Palestine is the key of the British Empire. Without Palestine there can be no talk of the Empire’s security. The weakness in Palestine is a signal for revolt against British rule in all of its possessions all over the world, particularly in the Near East, and particular since the recent events in the Near East and in Egypt,” he said.
“What the Jews built in ten years has been wantonly destroyed by looters and murderers. The British government seems to misunderstand the duties devolving upon it as a mandatory government. It is there not only to keep peace in the country but to actively participate in the establishment of the Jewish National Home. I never heard of a more farcical and absurd situation than to expect people who are not only unsympathetic towards the policy but are actively opposed to it to carry out the Balfour Declaration policy.’ Lord Melchett further said, making severe charges against the British officials in Palestine. He appealed to British public opinion in the name of fair play to the end that “its honored word may be kept.” Despite the undoubted setback of the massacres, the Jewish people are determined to build its National Home “with greater determination and with redoubled effort, based upon the security and faith that we will live there in peace and in happiness.”
The Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, Dr. Joseph H. Hertz, said that what happened in Palestine was unbelievable. “It compares with the carnage of the crusaders and even worse.” “Let us not beat the drum of patriotism this time, but speak the naked truth. The truth is that what happened in Palestine conforms truly to the Russian pogrom.” He accused the Palestine government of unfriendnness, of inefficiency, of maladministration and of vacillation. “It is unheard of that the British government should bow to threats as did the government of Palestine. The guilt lies not only with the Palestine government, but with many underlings at White Hall. The crime committed by the Jews in Palestine was that they had faith in Great Britain’s word,” he said.
Speaking of the Wailing Wall controversy, the Chief Rabbi said that the stones of the Wailing Wall were on the spot where they are now 1300 years before Mohammedanism was born. Eight hundred years ago Benjamin of Toledo. the famous Jewish traveller, prayed there. For centuries the Jews worshipped at the Wall without molestation. The trouble began only in 1912 when the Turkish government under a condition of martial law limited the Jewish rights at the Wall. It is the shame of Great Britain that martial law ha been made into the status quo at the Temple remnant, but neither might nor malice can prevent the glorious fruition of our endeavors in Palestine,” the Chief Rabbi said.
Dr. Moses Gaster, the aged Haham of the Sephardic community in Great Britain, who is blind now, was led to the platform. He made a deep impression on the audience when he said in a trembling voice: “Where are they to go, the Jews of Palestine? When Jews are massacred in the countries of the Diaspora they had frontiers to cross, in Palestine they have only the sea. We are the scapegoat for a deep laid plan against the British Eumipe, but we will not give up. For every one killed today, 100 Jews will come to Palestine tomorrow. For every one killed tomorrow. 1,000 Jews will come the next day. We are here to mourn not only our dead, but over the pledge of Great Britain which has not been kept.”
O. E. D’Avigdor Goldsmid, president of the Board of Jewish Deputies, speaking as a British representative on the Jewish Agency Council for Palestine, solemnly declared that the non-Zionist Jews who recently joined the Council will not be deterred by the recent events in Palestine. “We will carry out our pledge. It is tragic to think that within a week since the Agency Council was formed, when entire Jewry was united for the building of Palestine, this should have occurred, but we shall meet our additional responsibility regardless of the setbacks and make Palestine the National Home for our people.”
Col. Josiah Wedgwood, who was given a great ovation, the 15,000 persons in the hall rising like one man, said: “It is easier to be a Jew and to speak on this platform, but as a Christian and as a British subject, I want to say to Lord Melchett that the key to the British Empire is its honor, but when disarming of Jews is going on in Palestine at this moment, our honor is at stake. It is inconceivable to believe that this is true. No Englishman holding His Majesty’s government’s commission holds or confesses such cowardice. The struggle is now one between the Jew and the British administration of Palestine and not between Jew and Arab. The Palestine Jews do not desire to wail at the Wailing Wall, but arms in hands, to protect their lives and the lives of their children. This is not a religious but a political warfare The Arabs want Palestine free, free for what looting and murder there can be Can we leave Palestine in the hands of these so-called Arab gentlemen? I am encouraged by the backbone displayed by the British in The Hague to believe that the same courage and determination and fair play will be used in Palestine. Palestine costs the British taxpayer nothing. It is paying its way and with interest. The Jewish police in Palestine were the only ones who obeyed orders. We will get plenty of lip-service, but we want action,” Col Wedgwood said, demanding that the British government allow an armed Jewish police force in Palestine to keep peace in the country. He recalled the 1920 incidents and contrasted the government action then with the present. He added: “But the Jewish spirit today is better than then. Then they were not united, now 15,000,000 Jews speak in the name of Palestine. We want to see a united Jewish front from San Francisco to Shanghai, demanding in one powerful voice justice for the Jewish people and demanding that Breat Britain keeps its word.”
Louis Lipsky, who followed Col. Wedgwood, was given a great ovation.