Steadfast faith in the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine is justified. This was the message sent by Lord Balfour to the mass meeting Sunday night at Mecca Temple, New York, in celebration of the twelfth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and to launch the National Zionist Roll Call with the purpose of enrolling 500,000 American Jews as a demonstration of faith in the Jewish rebuilding of Palestine.
In a cablegram to Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of American, Lord Balfour declared:
“Please convey my greetings to those who are celebrating this anniversary by demonstrating the unity and strength behind the Zionist movement and thus justifying our steadfast faith in the establishment of the National Home in Palestine.”
The keynote of the addresses was that Jews are undeterred in their determination to proceed with the re-building of Palestine. Louis Lipsky, in opening the meeting, said that the Jews would continue to use peaceful methods despite the violence indulged in by some Arabs. Dr. Shmarya Levin declared that the Arab demand for nullification of the Balfour Declaration was unjustified and based on a false premise, inasmuch as the Arab people already have three countries which they can call their homeland.
“The fine spirit, the courage and the splendid morale exhibited by the Jews of Palestine during this trying period should greatly encourage us,” Mr. Lipsky declared. “The brutal attacks made upon them have not provoked a spirit of retaliation, but on the contrary, now more than ever, the Jews living in Palestine are determined to pursue the ways of peace and understanding with all the inhabitants of the land. They will defend their homes, but they will not be provoked by Arab ring-leaders into an abandonment of their pacific intentions and methods. The recent attack upon Jewish life and property has welded together all classes and elements in Palestine, which will make possible a friendly and peaceful understanding with the moderate Arabs who understand that the work we are doing in Palestine is for the best interests of all its inhabitants.
“Whatever can be done through political negotiation and dealings, is being done in both London and Jerusalem by the Executive of the Jewish Agency, headed by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, to bring about such reforms in administration as will give a fair opportunity to the Jewish people to establish the National Home with a minimum of obstacle and restriction, at least so far as the Government is concerned. After we have given expression to our natural indignation and protest, we must trust in the fairness and honor of the British Government
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that it will administer Palestine in the letter and the spirit of the Mandate.”
The belief that England will do justice to the Jews in Palestine was expressed by Dr. Stephen S. Wise.
“I have the feeling that justice will be done. England cannot help doing justice,” Dr. Wise declared. “The case is going to be so obvious, so overwhelming against those who have wronged us, that no country worthy of self-respect and of the respect of the world, such as Great Britain is, could pass any judgment upon the question, save of utter condemnation of them that have attempted to wrong us.
“The question has been asked: Why does not Great Britain keep its promise to the Arabs as it has kept its promise to the Jews? My answer is – why does not Great Britain keep its promise to the Jews as it has kept its promise to the Arabs? Great Britain has honored its compact with the Arabs in the observance, not in the breach. We have an unfulfilled promise. Before the war, the Arabs were abject serfs, without status in the Turkish Empire. Today. Arabs have a kingdom of their own in the North, in Iraq. Arabs have a Mandatory government of their own in Syria, under France. Arabs have a kingdom in the Hedjaz. Arabs have another mandated territory in Transjordania. The Arabs today are free. England freed them politically, and we Jews freed them economically.”
Abraham Goldberg, who has just returned from Palestine, in his address said:
“The attacks directed against the Jews in Palestine were not, no matter what the ringleaders may try to say, motivated by political dissatisfaction nor predicated on discontent with Jewish immigration and Jewish endeavor in the economic and social fields. This bloodshed came about as a result of a ### de-flung agitation based on religious fanaticism, calumnies, outrageous falsehoods and on a promise that acts of plunder, murder and incendiarism will pass unpunished as the government is with the inciters.
“The Arabs on the whole are willing and ready to live in peace with the Jews. This was indicated even during the recent bloody occurrences in Palestine. Only a small fraction of Arabs were engaged in the fray. The great masses remained tranquil and attended to their peaceful pursuits side by side with their Jewish neighbors.
“Is is only a brief space of time since the Balfour Declaration was announced to their world. It is even less than that – a period of seven years since we have inaugurated our work in Palestine under the most unfavorable conditions, harassed by natural difficulties, by neglect of centuries, bleak desolation, impoverished resources, swamps and malaria and hampered by prejudice and an administration that was seldom favorable to our efforts. On this road, strewn with obstacles, we hewed our way and implanted the seeds of progress. Palestine was already made habitable-thanks to Jewish achievement. We came there to stay. We had the sympathy of the enlightened world in our hard task of creating a home which might serve as a beacon light to a great, historic people and to the world which enjoyed more than once the fruits of Jewish genius. We will not be deterred by intimidation and acts of violence. We believe that the grand man and great philosopher, when he issued his famous Declaration, gave through it expression to the conscience of the world which is ready to rectify an injustice perpetrated upon a people which carried the burden of its suffering cheerfully, without for one minute forsaking its hope for restoration and redemption. It is in this spirit that we celebrate the Balfour Declaration and we now not to slacken our effort until the work will be crowned with success, a monument to the glory of the lofty ideals of humanity.”