Jerusalem (May. 19)
The Executive of the Jewish Agency has lodged a protest against the suspension of the immigration schedule with the High Commissioner of Palestine. The protest is based on the grounds that the suspension is political in its origin, the schedule having been approved by the Palestine government as economically justified. The announcement of the protest was made known after a meeting of the Executive had been held following the announcement of High Commissioner Chancellor that he had received instructions from the Colonial Office to suspend all immigration pending the inquiry by Sir John Simpson, who has been appointed to investigate land and immigration problems in Palestine.
At the close of its meeting the Executive of the Jewish Agency issued the following statement:
“The Executive of the Jewish Agency desires to acquaint the public with the facts regarding the current immigration schedule. On February 17 after representations had been made by this Executive, the Palestine government authorized the issuance of 950 immigration certificates as an advance on the schedule for the six months from April to September. On March 17 the Executive submitted in regular form its application for certificates for the half year schedule amounting to 3,143. On April 5 the chief immigration officer officially informed the Executive that following consideration of their schedule by the High Commissioner and Executive Council, he had authorized the issuance of 3,300 certificates including the 950 already referred to.
“On May 14 Col. Frederick Kisch, a member of our Executive, was invited to call on the chief secretary of the Palestine government and at that time was informed the High Commissioner had directed that the certificates of immigration which he had approved on May 12, be suspended pending the results of Sir John Simpson’s inquiry.
“Col. Kisch thereupon requested an interview with High Commissioner Chancellor and in the name of the Jewish Agency lodged an emphatic protest against the suspension on political grounds of an immigration schedule approved by the Palestine government as economically justified. Notice of the suspension of the immigration schedule has since been formally communicated to the Jewish Agency Executive by a letter which also confirmed the issuance of the 950 certificates previously authorized and transmitted 485 certificates of that group the same day. The immigration of categories other than labor is unaffected.”
INDIGNATION IN JEWISH QUARTERS
Considerable indignation is voiced in all responsible Jewish quarters here for what is considered the most unjust blow ever struck at the movement for a Jewish national home by the British government since the stoppage of immigration in 1921 following the Jaffa riots, and the subsequent White paper. This latest blow from London is also considered to be a repudiation of those responsible for the Palestine administration, who have previously considered the schedule economically justified.
A prominent Jewish leader here today pointed out that however mildly the London order is interpreted, namely as a temporary suspension and not as a stoppage, and fully allowing for the continued immigration during the next few months on account of the previous quota, the embargo points to the “dangerous policy that the government is likely to pursue in the future in making political gestures to the Jews regarding the maintenance of the Mandate while granting substantial economic concessions to the Arabs at the expense of the Jews in deference to fanciful Arab disabilities.”
ARABS INFORMED FIRST
Jewish circles here see an additional indignity in that the suspension order was communicated by High Commissioner Chancellor to the Arabs before the Zionist Executive was officially notified. It is believed that the Palestine administration, and perhaps London as well, is anxious that the Zionist should not regard the order as an active stoppage of immigration but a mere acknowledgement of the fact that the question of the country’s economic capacity is sub judice pending Sir John Simpson’s inquiry, a course which the previous quota held in abeyance.
As another well-known Jewish leader here pointed out the order is “doubtless a concession to the Arabs for whatever Sir John’s findings may be there is no question of the country’s ability to absorb 3,300 Jewish immigrants within the next six months when there is an actual shortage of hands.”
ONLY LABOR SCHEDULE STOPPED
The government also appears to be anxious that it be understood that there is to be no suspension of immigrants of independent means but only of laborers coming under Zionist auspices on certificates distributed through the Zionist offices. Despite this, and the continued immigration under the quota previously approved, political considerations are seen as clearly dominating the British Government’s action. Against this policy it is understood that Zionist leadership will struggle with every resource at its command.