The Jews of France are assimilated, conservative in politics and not very interested in Zionism, M. Andre Geraud, the “Pertinax” of the “Echo de Paris,” famous French political writer who came to this country to address the convention of American newspaper editors in Washington, told a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday during an interview at the Ritz-Tower Hotel, Manhattan.
“I have a Jewish friend in Bordeaux my home town, who is the representative in that city of the Royalist pretender to the French throne, the Count of Paris,” said M. Geraud. “Those Jews who have lived in France for several generationsâ€”most of them of Spanish – Portuguese originâ€”are as French as any of us and as a rule tend to conservatism, rather than radicalism, in politics. They feel themselves to be so much a part of France that the question of a Jewish homeland in Palestine is not of vital concern to them.”
French opinion in general, he declared, is sympathetic towards the Zionist ideal. Asked for his own opinion about the present impasse in Palestine, M. Geraud said:
“I believe it is up to Great Britain to show the will to preserve order there And I am quite certain that it will, in the future, preserve order and protect the Jewish population of Palestine.”
France, said M. Geraud, finds its mandate over Syria more a responsibility and a burden, assumed on behalf of the League of Nations, than a source of profit. He does not, however, believe either that France will leave Syria or that Britain will leave Palestine in the near future.
Told of a movement to settle East European Jews on land in Southern France, M. Geraud said:
“I doubt its feasibility. We have in France today practically no unemployment. In order to continue this favorable state of affairs, we must be very careful about limiting immigration. Besdes, we desire that nationalities which immigrate to France should not settle in groups, which settlement would hinder their assimilation into the body politic of France. Of late years large numbers of Italians have been settling on the land in Southern France, and there is a certain feeling against them in France because they have settled in groups and have not become assimilated into the French citizenry. I believe that the tolerant attitude of France towards the Jew and the almost total lack of anti-Semitism in my country today is due to the fact that the Jew has shown a desire to identify himself with French citizenship and French culture.”