Magnes Calls on Jews to Renounce All Political Ambitions in Palestine; Says It Must Be International
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Magnes Calls on Jews to Renounce All Political Ambitions in Palestine; Says It Must Be International

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Palestine as an international Holy Land and as a home for Jew, Christian and Moslem alike, the renunciation of all ideas of Jewish political domination, the creation of a cultural center as the only goal of Zionism, the establishment of a Jewish Commission to determine the views of the Palestine Jewish community with regard to a permanent Arab-Jewish understanding, were advocated today by Dr. Judah L. Magnes, Chancellor of the Hebrew University, leader of the group of Jewish intellectuals in Palestine who are advocating the establishment of a parliament as a solution of the Jewish-Arab problem.

In a statement today to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dr. Magnes replied to the proposals of St. John Philby, the British journalist who is the author of the parliament plan, by saying that since the initiative in the matter has been taken out of Jewish hands, the Jews must prepare for the negotiations that are bound to come. He proposes that the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem and the Vaad Leumi, the Palestine Jewish National Council, appoint a commission to determine the views of the Palestine Jewish community on this matter, and the creation of a special commission in London to study the problem with the aid of statesmen and political scientists.

Dr. Magnes regards Philby’s proposals as a great advance over the usual Arab demands since Philby declares that the Balfour Declaration is not abrogateable and since he accepts the Mandate and grants to the High Commissioner wide powers, including the maintenance of law and order and the right of vetoing any legislative action or decision of the parliament. Dr. Magnes also expressed himself as gratified because Philby agrees to free Jewish immigration according to the capacity of the country to absorb it, and the right of the Jewish Agency to protect Jewish interests.

Dr. Magnes said that he had long felt that the Balfour Declaration was a handicap because it was not clear and because it over-emphasized the Jewish relation to Palestine instead of laying stress on Palestine’s position as an international Holy Land. He declared, however, that he accepted the Balfour Declaration only because he did not want the international good faith to which this Declaration gave expression to be discredited through nullification. The Balfour Declaration, Dr. Magnes stated, should be stripped of the extravagant meaning which the British Government allowed it to be (Continued on Page 2)

Dr. Magnes said that the White Paper ended the dream of ultimate domination but did give the Jews the right to be in Palestine and that this was enough of a basis for the creation of an Achad Ha’ amist intellectual center. (Palestine as a cultural center was the main doctrine of Achad Ha’ am, the nom de plume of the late Asher Ginsburg, famous Zionist writer and theoretician). He suggested that a committee of historians be delegated to clear up the obscurities of the Mac-Mahon promise to the Arabs in 1915. The High Commissioner should be appointed by the Mandatory power and be confirmed by the League of Nations. in order to emphasize Palestine’s position as a home for Jew, Christian and Moslem.

He wants a bi-national state established. Pointing out that large groups of Arabs are politically immature, he said that both sides must be generous. The Jews, said Dr. Magnes, must renounce all ideas of political domination and the Arabs must recognize Jewish rights in Palestine. Constitutional and legislative forms should be created that would establish Palestine as an international home for all religions and races. This, he said, would satisfy the Jew’s desire for a spiritual and cultural center.

Palestine belongs to all religions, not only to its inhabitants, said Dr. Magnes. He is opposed to the retention of Jewish rights by bayoners in a land where the majority of the inhabitants oppose it. It is better, he concluded that the Jews wait, than try to establish a National Home on any conditions except those based on mutual understanding.

When Dr. Magnes made his proposal of a parliament before a meeting of the Vaad Leumi last week, he was severely criticized. The representative of the Zionist Revisionists left the meeting. The Labor representatives also protested. After a speech delivered by Pincus Rutenberg. President of the Vaad Leumi, the Council adopted resolutions condemning Dr. Magnes’s propaganda for a parliament.

Today’s issue of the Jerusalem Hebrew daily. “Doar Hayom.” demands that Dr. Magnes resign from the Hebrew University and appeals to the students not to attend classes at the University as long as he is Chancellor.

The attitude of Dr. Magnes has created much excitement among Zionists in Palestine. It is frankly admitted in Zionist circles here that the Balfour Declaration has thus far secured no privileges or advantages for the Jews in Palestine, while it has invited Arab hostility. The majority of the Zionists in Palestine desire a peaceful understanding with the Arabs, but they feel that any efforts on their part in this direction now would be taken as a sign of weakness by the Arabs and that the present moment is not auspicious for such an effort.

Besides, even among those who are in favor of opening negotiations, opposition to Dr. Magnes is expressed because they believe that such political action should be left to the proper bodies and that Dr. Magnes’s initiative is disrupting Jewish unity at a moment when it is most essential.

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