Menu JTA Search

Weizmann Demands Palestine Investigation by Persons Whose Standing Will Command Respect of Entire Wo

Vigorous steps to restore order and to make clear its policy with regard to the Jewish National Home in Palestine, as well as a sweeping investigation into the entire matter were demanded by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization and of the Jewish Agency for Palestine in which prominent American non-Zionists are members, in his address Sunday night before a throng of 15,300 which gathered at Royal Albert Hall protest against the Palestine outrages and to mourn the losses sustained by the Jews of Palestine during the ten days or Arab onslaught. In the course of the address the international Zionist leader stated:

“No words can express the compassion, the pity and the indignation at the outrages which were inflicted upon ### brothers in Palestine. We thought, we worked, and we hoped that Palestine will be a secure fortress for the Jewish people. Now, for the third time since the Balfour Declaration, this hope and confidence have received a heavy blow. To our brothers in Palestine or whom the storm burst we send out deepest sympathy in our anguish. Those who struck on this occasion struck at the heart of the Jewish people and the calamity came about represents the administration under whose hand this Mandatory government which was solemnly charged not merely with securing life and property, but with taking the necessary steps to further the establishment of the Jewish National Home.

“Our work for the past ten years has been carried on in the faith that the Mandate for Palestine will be executed in accordance with its letter and spirit. In that faith and conviction, the Jews have poured many millions of money into Palestine, have settled many thousands in the country. This has been not simply the work of the Jews in the British Empire but of the Jews in all parts of the world. During the last weeks we have created in the extended Jewish Agency for Palestine an instrument through which Jews of all types and all shades of opinion throughout the world cooperate in the work of reconstruction of Palestine. No British government can fail to perceive that in the discharge of the elementary duty of protecting Jewish life and property in Palestine, the honor of Great Britain is at stake.

“To us here it is peculiarly painful that the bare possibility should exist of the British administration being charged with having failed in its duty in this respect. There may be disputes as to the origin or the progress of the recent events, but whatever share of responsibility may be found, when the facts are investigated, to lie with the authorities of Palestine, of one thing I feel confident, that the government is fully alive to its responsibilities and is determined to take whatever measures are necessary not only to insure the prompt restoration of order, but to provide effective guarantees against the repetition of such outrages.

“Beyond all dispute there has unhappily been something perilously approaching a breakdown in the government in Palestine. This is a matter which calls for investigation and such investigation cannot be limited in scope, nor can persons who are to conduct it be other than such as by their standing and quality give necessary assurance that every aspect of the problem will be probed and that their recommendations will command the respect not only of this country, out of the world at large. For, the world is vitally interested.

“Let us be clear as to the subjects that call for an inquiry. Not merely what has been done or what was left undone in the days, weeks and months immediately preceding the outbreak of violence, not merely an inquiry into the rights or wrongs at the Wailing Wall. It is the whole manner in which the Mandate for Palestine has been administered during recent years.

“The problem for the Mandatory government is admittedly a difficult one, but the duty of the Mandatory government cannot be questioned. In my capacity as president of the Zionist Organization and of the Jewish Agency For Palestine. I have always endeavored to cooperate with the government and to facilitate its task, but that task is not simply one of declining to obstruct the growth of the Jewish Natioanal Home, but of creating such political, social and economic conditions as are necessary to secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home as was expressly provided for in the Mandate. It is a positive not merely a negative duty and I have always made clear our view that the more plainly this policy is declared and translated into action, the easier will it be to reconcile the establishment of the Jewish National Home with the duty of the Mandatory government to the other sections of the population and with the peaceful development of Palestine as a whole along the lines contemplated by the Mandate.

“The Arab understands realities and facts and clear redirections. His thrice repeated effort to destroy by violence the policy of the Jewish National Home springs from the failure to make it plain to the Arab that behind the policy of the Mandate stands the undivided mind and will of the Mandatory government. After the outbreak of 1920 the government of Lloyd George was quick to demonstrate its refusal to be intimidated by the violence of a mob. Its reply to the violent action against the Mandate was to change the whole system of government from a military to a civil administration and to make it clear in a manner which could not be mistaken that the Balfour Declaration is to be carried out. Such was not the course adopted after 1921. On that occasion the tactics of violence and outrage adopted by the Arab policians, were rewarded by a temporary suspension of Jewish immigration and by the White Paper of 1922. The repetition today of the mistake of 1921 would be a profound error.

“Happily, it is not even thinkable that the British Government today would contemplate it. There is only one reply which the statesmanship in any country, and particularly in the East. can make to violence and anarchy and that is a clear assertion of authority and a definite demonstration that violence will be punished and cannot deflect the policy.

“In all this there is nothing that need give cause of apprehension to the Arab population of Palestine. Through our labor in the past, it has profited greatly and they have as much to gain from it in the future, although in such a scheme of peaceful development the agitators who are chiefly responsible for the present outrages, may see no very pleasing prospect for themselves.

“It may be assumed that there will be no delay and no hesitation on the part of the authorities in punishing those guilty of the horrible crimes which are shocking the conscience of the world. The mentality of the East requires that justice to be effective should be swift and strong and in the present instance it would not be justice at all if its operation were limited merely to criminals caught red handed. The mob has an appeal made to its fanaticism and to its lust for loot, but behind the mob there are leaders who have exploited the ignorance and the passions of others for their own sinister ends. There is no serious difficulty in discovering who these persons are and if the government of Palestine is to recover its shaken confidence, it must deal with the real architects of the present disasters in Palestine. This is not merely necessary for the preservation of the peace, but will in itself be of advantage to the ignorant and credulous masses whom the interested agitators have used as their tools. Any wavering in this direction will be punished by renewed troubles for there could be no more dangerous lesson taught than that the preparation and incitement of murder and anarchy may go unpunished.

“The present orgy of violence is associated only casualty with the worship at the Wailing Wall. That question was used by political adventurers to stir up fanaticism and to sub serve their own interests. However, it is clearly the (Continued on Page 10)

“We have repeatedly made clear that we recognize fully the inviolability of the Moslem Holy Places. The religious susceptibilities of other creeds have the same respect as we demand for out own. All we have asked is that Jews he allowed to conduct worship before the Wall in a manner and under conditions in consonance with the dignity of their religion. The Western Wall is the holiest of the Jewish Holy Sites for the Jews throughout the world. It is the last surviving fragment of their Temple and the symbol of all they have suffered and all they have achieved in the realm of the spirit. The Mandate which gives to the government its legal authority imposes upon it a direct obligation to secure the right of Jews, as the right of any other religious body, in Palestine. 10 free access to their Holy Places and the free exercise of worship. In spite of all assertions to the contrary, the Moslems have no religious interest in the area before the Wall which has been since the time immemorial a scene for Jewish worship. Recently, the agitators attempted to give to it, in the eyes of the ignorant Moslems a fictitious religious significance, by associating it with the Wall itself Certain Arab leaders are now attempting to exploit this significance as a political weapon. The Mandatory power can have neither the right nor the desire to lend itself for such purpose.

“It is therefore imperative that final settlement of this unhappy dispute be reached and proclaimed without delay. The loss of life, the suffering, the destruction of property which marked and accompanied the present outbreaks, appealed to the Jewish people not only for sympathy and relief but also for statesmanship and self-sacrifice. It would be a disaster if we were to be content merely with patching up the wounds, if our faith and our determination to build the Jewish National Home were not increased and revitalized by the tragic experience.

“Out there in Palestine our brothers are bearing the brunt of the attack. They look to us to throw in ever new reserves and to make good what was lost, to extend and increase what has been saved. For us the lesson of these bitter days is that we must increase the pace at which we are travelling. Time is always precious where the work in Palestine is concerned. Now it is infinitely more precious than ever before. As our strength in Palestine grows there comes a corresponding immunity from the repetition of such assaults.

“Two things have encouraged the Arabs, first, the conviction that the Jewish National Home is even now only a beginning, and, second, the belief that we are still weak enough to make it possible for them to destroy us By our own efforts we must do everything in our power to render such a state of mind impossible. We must not only make it abundantly clear that the Jewish National Home is actually in existence, but by a solid, concrete achievement, by ever increasing acceleration of our efforts, we must render ourselves too strong to invite further attacks.

“In this connection, too, the duty is clear. If such an outbreak of murder and violence as we are now witnessing falls in the first instance on the Jewish population, its ultimate objective is the British authorities in Palestine and has for Great Britain implications which extend still further afield. The best security against a repetition of such calamities is a strong, soundly established Jewish National Home.

“In the presence of our dead, our hearts are bitter. What they would expect of us in this tragic hour is that we should dictate ourselves to complete that work for which they died. One worthy monument which we can erect to our dead is a living Jewish National Home. In that task, more than one factor must cooperate. We have a right to ask the Mandatory government to fulfill strictly, faithfully and positively every one of the obligations to us under the Mandate. But even more sacred is the duty which these events impose upon the Jewish people. It is for everyone of us to give the best that is in him, freely, without stint, for the sacred cause of Palestine. In that spirit are we met here today, not only to grieve for the fallen and sympathize with suffering, but to rebuild what has been cast down and to carry to completion what has begun.”

NEXT STORY