Submission of a memorandum to the British Government through the Jewish Agency, setting forth the objections of American Jews to the report of the Inquiry Commission into the causes of the August Palestine disturbances, was approved by a conference of delegates of national Jewish organizations held Tuesday evening at the Hotel Asotor under the leadership of the American Jewish Congress. A resolution directing the appointment by Bernard S. Deutsch, chairman of the conference, of a committee to make an analysis of the report and to prepare an answer to statements embodied in the report inimical to the Jews, was unanimously adopted.
Declaring that the report, although being widely discussed in British political circles, will not be considered as a guide in the treatment of Palestine’s problems by the government, no more than a “report made by a group of tourists,” Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America, characterized it as “another document that must be combatted, not by resolutions, but by facts and figures,” and one that would be widely circulated as propaganda. “We must deal with it as a bit of propaganda,” he said, and recommended action to create favorable counter-propaganda.
That the Shaw report and recommendations will have no effect or influence on the policies of the British Government was also asserted by Professor Horace Kallen who declared it “useless to deal with the recommendations of the Shaw commission because the policies of the British Government will not be modified in any way by the commission’s report or recommendations.”
CHALLENGES STATEMENTS IN REPORT
The truth of many statements in the report was challenged by Professor Kallen who declared the commission’s assertion that one of the causes of the disturbances was the economic unrest among the Arabs because of their movement from the land, a falsehood, since but two thousand of the six hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs have been moved by land sales.
A motion to refer the memorandum back to a committee for inclusion of commendation of Harry Snell, Laborite M.P., who dissented in part from the findings of other members of the commission and submitted a minority report, was made by Dr. Kallen. The conference accepted his motion in part, and provided the amendment be made without referring the matter to a committee. Snell’s report, Professor Kallen declared, was not solely a courageous dissent from the majority view, but one made by the only member of the commission of the dominant political party, and one agreed in by a majority of the party.
WISE PRAISES ACTION OF SNELL
Dr. Stephen S. Wise added further praise of Snell’s action, and arraigned the Shaw commission for its failure to make an honest and penetrating study. Of the report, he declared, “The time will come when we will consider the Shaw report as the latest of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
Replying to criticism of the Zionist organization and the Jewish Agency by Professor Chernowitz, of the Jewish Institute of Religion, who declared the present situation to be worse than “before Herzi,” and attributed it to Weizmann’s policy, Dr. Wise defended the Zionist organization and the Jewish Agency, declaring, “The responsibility today rests, not on the Jewish Agency, but on the British Government. The failures or triumphs of Weizmann are not the cause of what happened in Palestine in August, 1929.”
MEMORANDUM TO BE SENT TO BRITAIN
His motion to submit the memorandum to the British Government, seconded by Nathan D. Perlman, was carried with only a few dissenting votes.
A suggestion that instead of the memorandum, the conference should make the Snell minority report the basis of a statement of actual conditions in Palestine, including a reply to the majority report’s attack on the Histaduth as a Communist organization was made by Meyer M. Brown, a delegate of the Poale Zion of America.
In reply, Abraham Tulin warned against too careless acceptance of the Snell report. Snell, he declared, signed the majority report with reservations declaring his objections to certain portions of the report, but signified his approval of the report’s conclusions. His minority report, Mr. Tulin declared, is far less satisfactory than is generally believed.
Before reading the memorandum to the conference, Dr. Mordecai Kaplan characterized the Shaw report as a “cynical and vicious onslaught on the Palestine Mandate, the Magna Charta of Jewish national rights, and, in essence, a nullification of the mandate.” For months prior to its publication, rumors that the report would be adverse to the Jewish people, had caused it “to hang like a Damocles’ sword over their heads,” he declared. “If we permit the report to go unchallenged, the present Jewish settlement in Palestine is exposed to the danger of annihilation.”
FAVOR’S KURNEL’S RESOLUTION
Dr. David de Sola Poole spoke briefly in favor of the resolution introduced by Louis Kurnel for the appointment of a committee to analyze the Shaw report and point out the discrepancies in facts and conclusions embodied in it.
The memorandum which will be sent to the Jewish Agency for ultimate submission to the British Government attacks the inquiry commission for exceeding its terms of reference in its questioning of the purpose in upholding the terms of the Mandate, for its exculpation of the British administrative officials, and the nature of its conclusions and recommendations. It reads as follows, in part:
“After the Arab outrages in Palestine, last August, the Jews of America, and, indeed, the Jews of the whole world were reassured by the statement of the Prime Minister to the Assembly of the League of Nations denying that there was a racial conflict in those out rages. . . .
“We were further heartened by the announcement that a commission would be appointed to ‘inquire into the immediate causes which led to the recent outbreak in Palestine and to make recommendations as to the steps necessary to avoid a recurrence.’
MANDATE POLICY NOT TO BE ALTERED
“When this commission was appointed, it was officially announced on behalf of His Majesty’s Government that no inquiry was contemplated ‘which might alter the position of this country regarding the Mandate or the policy laid down in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and embodied in the Mandate, of establishing a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine,’ and that the ‘inquiry initiated was therefore limited to the immediate emergency and did not extend to considerations of major policy.’
“Notwithstanding those explicit declarations of the British Government, we are now amazed to find that the Commission has seen fit so to report on its inquiry as to bring into question the very obligation of that Government under the Mandate. The report presents findings and recommendations on major policy which, if adopted and put into effect, would result in the nullification of the promise of the British Government to the Jewish people “to use their best endeavors to facilitate” the establishment in Palestine of the Jewish National Home, and in the breach of the internationally assumed obligation of His Britannic Majesty under the Mandate to place the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home.
FULL INQUIRY NOT MADE
“Concerning as they do the specific undertakings of the Mandatory under Article 6 of the Mandate to facilitate the Jewish immigration and the close settlement by Jews on the land, those findings and recommendations seem to have been made without full inquiry into the capacity of the country for development, without adequate notice or opportunity to the responsible agencies to present the relevant facts, and in the very tooth of considered findings repeatedly made during the last twelve years by qualified experts after thorough and painstaking investigations….
“Equally amazing is the report of the Commission as to the immediate responsibilities and causes for the horrible massacres of last August. By a process of reasoning which does violence to elementary maxims of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, the report strains to relieve the Mufti and his associates of the Arab Executive from the inevitable consequences of their incitements, and to exculpate the responsible officials of the Palestine Administration for their disregard of plain warnings of the impending danger, for their failure to take timely and effective steps to prevent the outbreaks, and for denying to the innocent and unprotected victims the means and right of self-defense. The report goes farther and lists as the primary cause of the massacres, the concededly peaceful, lawful and officially permitted meeting of Jewish youth at the Wailing Wall on the Fast of Ab; and as another cause, the meeting of the enlarged Jewish Agency at Zurich, which was brought into existence in response to the express command of the Mandate, under the friendly auspices of the British Government itself. . . .
VIOLATES TRADITIONS OF BRITISH JUSTICE
“We solemnly protest against the report as violative of the British tradition of justice and fair play, and of the sanctity of a British promise.
“We protest particularly against the Commission’s recommendations that Jewish immigration and settlement upon the land should be further restricted; that power over these and other vital matters of government should now be entrusted in a measure to representatives of non-Jewish interests in Palestine, which means, in effect, to those Arab leaders who are the avowed enemies of the Jewish National Home, and that the position of the Jewish Agency, the functions and powers of which are defined and conferred by Article 4 of the Mandate, should now be further weakened. We most earnestly urge that those recommendations should be rejected, and that the British Government should, instead, proceed to exercise the full powers of legislation and of administration in Palestine which are conferred on His Britannic Majesty by the Mandate, and fulfill the express obligation and undertaking to “facilitate Jewish immigration” and encourage close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency.
RIGHTS OF NON-JEWS NOT PREJUDICED
“We respectfully submit that a Jewish National Home, the doors of which are shut against the Jews, is not a Jewish National Home, and that further restrictions upon the Jewish right of immigration and settling upon the land in Palestine would belie the official declaration of the British Government that the Jewish people is now in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance.
“The civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine have not been and need not be prejudiced by the establishment of the Jewish National Home. The Jews have come and are coming into Palestine peacefully, to build for the benefit of all. They have brought and will bring enterprise and modern social ideals and practices into a land which has been derelict for hundreds of years under the oppression of its rulers. The masses of the Arab population have already shared and will continue to share equally with the Jews in the renaissance. With the active cooperation of the Mandatory Power, the Jews can and will reclaim the whole of Palestine for freedom, enlightment and civilization for all its inhabitants. Only the unrestrained incitements of the effendi class, struggling to preserve its medieval overlordship over the masses, can retard this redemption of the Holy Land.
“We affirm our faith that the British Government and people, true to their noble traditions, will carry out to the full the undertakings of the Mandate and will now actively facilitate the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine.”