Merriman Starts Jewish Side of Case with Isaiah Braude, Member of Temporary Zionist Executive During
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Merriman Starts Jewish Side of Case with Isaiah Braude, Member of Temporary Zionist Executive During

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That Sigfried Hoofien, general manager of the Anglo-Palestine Company had sent a solemn warning to Vladimir Jabotinsky, chief of the Zionist Revisionists, at the Zurich Congress last July, that a catastrophe would result from the agitation of the “Doar Hayom,” Hebrew daily of Jerusalem, was made known yesterday when Sir Boyd Merriman began the formal presentation of the Jewish case at the Inquiry Commission hearings with Isaiah Braude, chief accountant in charge of the Zionist Executive office while the other members were attending the Zurich Congress, as the first witness.

Hoofien, together with Horowitz, a law partner of Harry Sacher, a member of the Zionist Executive, and Braude formed the temporary Zionist Executive, Braude told about Hoofien’s cable to Jabotinsky saying “the ‘Doar Hayom’ has ignored the decisions of the Zionist Congress regarding the Wailing Wall and is calling for revolt and violence. Although not many are likely to follow the lead of the paper, a catastrophe may result that will be of no benefit. I urge you to cable to the editors to change their attitude otherwise the responsibility will be on their heads and yours.” In response to this message Jabotinsky instructed the “Doar Hayom’s” editors to abate their agitation, declared Braude. This they did, he continued, in an article on August 8 in which they renounced violence but denounced the secret diplomacy of the Vaad Leumi, the National Council of Palestine Jews.

Braude’s evidence covered familiar ground since Merriman had already, brought out most of these facts during the cross-examination of the government witnesses, particularly H. C. Luke, Acting High Commissioner during the riots. Merriman, however, used Braude’s testimony to confirm parts of the Jewish case which had not entirely appeared owing to the reluctance of the government witnesses and also to trace from the Jewish viewpoint all of the developments leading up to the outbreaks. The only other Jewish witness that had hitherto appeared was Pinchas Rutenberg, president of the Vaad Leumi, who was interposed during Luke’s giving of testimony in order to refresh Luke’s memory and to permit Rutenberg to leave for Europe.

Until an accident put on him the responsibility during a critical period Braude said that he had had nothing to do with political matters. Within a week of the departure of the responsible members of the Zionist Executive to Zurich Braude said he found himself precipitated into the Wailing Wall crisis because the Moslem building activities had started again and because of the agitation over the building by the Jewish press.


Braude told of immediately pressing Luke to issue a communique, which the executive had presented, because the government’s letter notifying the Zionist Executive that the Moslem construction work was authorized was confidential. He also explained that Harry Sacher’s reply of July 7 re-

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(Continued from Page 1) gretting that the government’s decision on “one portion of the question before rendering a comprehensive decision covering the principal matter at issue” was also confidential. Braude revealed that while the Jewish public was under the impression that the Zionist Executive had been inactive while the Moslem construction was under way the Executive had strongly protested “that in the opinion of this Executive partial treatment of this problem is almost certain to lead to avoidable difficulties, misunderstandings and probably injustice.”

That Harry Sacher had also deplored the innovations at the Wailing Wall such as the calling of the Moslems to prayer by the Muezzin at the Wall and the shouting and beating of drums which annoyed and disturbed the Jews at prayer and that the temporary Executive had protested against making a thoroughfare of the Wall’s pavement and against a new Moslem place of worship near the Wall and against the limiting of the hours for Jewish prayers was made known by Braude. Here Merriman read cables that had been exchanged between Jerusalem and Zurich showing that the temporary Executive enjoyed the full cooperation of the Vaad Leumi and the Chief Rabbinate.

Braude testified concerning the cable from Zurich dated July 31 which mentioned the fact that there was no prospect of reversing the decision regarding the building of the Moslems at the Wailing Wall. He also told about the incidents at the Wailing Wall on August 3 when an Arab assailant was sentenced to seven days in prison for attacking a Jew and about two other Arabs whose case for injuring another Jew never came to trial.

A somewhat unfortunate impression was probably created by Braude’s straight-forward evidence on the Pro-Wailing Wall Committee, which was headed by Prof. Joseph Klausner of the Hebrew University, the Commissioners having before them the testimony about the Jewish Committee, which resembled somewhat the Mufti’s committee to protect the Moslem Holy Places.


During the first week in August Moslem opinion was inflamed, continued Braude, as shown by the Mufti’s cables to London. While the Zionist Executive was anxious with the approach of Tisha B’Ab nevertheless it passed off quietly, Professor Klausner himself delivering a calming speech on Tisha B’Ab eve. While Braude’s evidence about the Jewish procession on Tish B’Av and the Moslem counter-demonstration contained little that was not already known Merriman used the witness’s testimony to nail the Arab accusations that persons in the Jewish procession carried iron bars, and also to refute Vincent Sheean’s colored description of the scene at the Wailing Wall on the eve of Tish B’Av.

Chairman Shaw was interested to know why Braude, in his draft of a cable to Zurich which he had discussed with Acting High Commissioner Luke, had said “seriously anxious over outbreaks again by agitated crowds.” To Shaw’s question of “which crowds” Braude said the Jews because the tension, already very great, had been greatly heightened with the stabbing of Misrachi.


At this point a discussion ensued over the reference in Braude’s cable to girls forming a part of the procession. Silley, one of the Arab counsel, denied any evidence of this existed but Merriman offered to produce it. This may prove to be an important point that will show the entirely peaceful nature of the Jewish procession since girls would not have been permitted if trouble were expected.

Commissioner Shaw opened the day’s proceedings with a strong rebuke to the English edition of the “Felestin” for an “offensive attack” on Sir Boyd Merriman, insinuating that the counsel for the Jews, although allegedly out-pointed by the Mufti was not unhappy because he would get his fee just the same. “This must not occur again,” said the Chairman.

Emil Ludwig attended part of this morning’s sittings occupying a seat in the foreign press section.

Facing a vicious attack in the cross-examination by the Arab counsel which centered on the flag-raising at the Wailing Wall demonstration on August 15 Braude denied that the Zionist flag signifies that the Jews intend to take possession of Palestine. He declared that Jamal Husseini had admitted during the meeting in Luke’s house that the intoning of the Muezzin had been started in retaliation for the Jews “arrogance” at the Wailing Wall Braude said that Jemal had added that it was possible to reach an agreement with regard to the door but that he had objected to it first because Misrachi had not been buried in the dead of the night, thinking that the Jews had postponed the funeral until the daytime in order to engineer trouble, second because the speech made outside of the Zionist office was a trouble starter and in the third place because of the activities of the Zionist controlled group of Chalutze Hamizrach.


Braude said that he had explained to Jemal that the boy had died at 9.30 P. M. and that the Zionists who wanted a night funeral had made every effort with Saunders to arrange it but that the boy’s family had prevented it. Braude’s explanation of his

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(Continued from Page 3) speech before the Zionist office enlivened the hearing. “I ran at the head of the funeral trying to get Dr. Lurie to make a speech that would quiet the crowd but he was too overcome with grief. I rushed down and finding a crowd near the office of the Zionist Executive, I led groups away, quieting them. Then I noticed a big fellow lifted up on the shoulders of some of the people. He was very excited and wanted to make a speech. Not knowing what to say I got near him and told him to say that he believed that the Zionist Executive will do all that is necessary. He was so excited that he repeated what I told him verbatim, quieting the crowd. And that is what they called an inciting speech.”

Continuing the witness described his efforts at the Arab-Jewish meeting in Luke’s house to issue a calming statement. “I was so impressed with the friendliness of Husseini that I wrote a tentative statement for both Jews and Arabs to sign. That there should be quiet was the only thing on my mind, I used the words ‘friendly relations’ but when I read them out I saw an ironical smile on Auni’s face and I crossed out the phrase. Here is the original. See the crossed out words. Luke thought that a third draft might be possible but Auni objected that the time had not yet come for the Jews and Arabs to put their names down on paper. I suggested separate statements the same in substance to be issued to each of the peoples and Luke said he thought that sounded reasonable but Auni declared that we should settle everything or nothing. We agreed to meet again.”


Preedy, government counsel, again questioned Braude regarding the Zionist Executive communique and the telegrams sent to Zurich that declared that the British police had been too violent in dispersing the crowd at the Misrachi funeral. Braude insisted that while it was necessary for the police to charge the crowd, individual policemen were seen beating Jews after the crowd had dispersed. The Commission appeared to resent the sharp language in which this Zionist dispatch was couched.

Merriman declared “the suggestion has been plainly made that the Jews were trying to stir up trouble in order to get sympathy and money and hence all of the Zionist leaders went to Zurich, leaving Jerusalem to trouble.” Braude termed this charge “too ridiculous for intelligent attention.”

Hopkins, of the Commission, asked Braude, “how, in your opinion, was it possible to prevent the trouble?” Braude answered “firm action by the government was needed.” To back this up Braude cited the “Doar Hayom’s” story of the wounded Jew who was brought to the police station by a policeman who declared he “would rather see him dead,” and said that a firm government would have punished the police if the story was true or punished the newspaper if it was untrue. Braude charged that rumors that the Jews wanted the Mosque of Omar started the riots.

Commissioner Snell asked Braude whether “by firm action do you mean the suppression of rumors on both sides?” Braude replied that he was “equally afraid of Jews killing Arabs as he was of Arabs killing Jews.”


The Arab counsel tried repeatedly to get Braude to admit that the opening of a door in the Wall was no new danger but Braude said “so far as I am concerned you could fill the Wall with doors but the danger lies in the possibility of abusing the privilege, the door creating a thoroughfare in a closed area.” Auni then asked “what about the flag-raising at the Wall? Do you think that any Arab looks at the Zionist flag with love?” Braude replied “it does them no harm.” Auni continued and asked “do the Jews carry this flag with the thought in the back of their heads that it will some day be the flag of a Jewish state?” Braude said “whose thoughts must I be aware of?” Hammering away at this point Auni asked “is the Zionist flag as national as the French flag is French and what does this flag mean?” To this Braude replied “you are trying to make me say that this flag is like the flag in front of an army but such is not the case. Some boys and girls wanted to demonstrate and they thought to do it more decoratively with a flag. From my point of view the government should have stopped both demonstrations as a precautionary measure but since it allowed them I saw the Jewish demonstration come off peacefully.”

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