“Zionism is a dangerous scheme which seeks the restoration of the Kingdom of Judah,” declared Mohammed Ali Pahsa, Moslem advocate from Egypt, in speaking for the Arab side yesterday afternoon before the Wailing Wall Commission. “The Jews contend that our fears of their encroachment on our holy places are baseless but the near or distant future will show that our fears are founded on fact,” he continued. As a result of these and other similar inflammatory remarks Mohammed Ali was frequently interrupted by Dr. Mordecai Eliash, Jewish counsel.
The Commission, which had planned to finish its hearings today and leave for home Saturday was prevented from carrying out its program owing to the secret negotiations which were continued with the Moslem leaders in an endeavor to reach an accord regarding the Jewish Sabbath, which is observed Friday, also intervened so that the session which was supposed to begin at 2.30, did not start until an hour later, following Moslem services at the Mosque.
Mohammed Ali spoke before a room packed to capacity with practically the entire Arab Executive present as well as numerous Jewish leaders, Norman Bentwich, attorney general of Palestine, and Keith Roach, district commissioner.
SAYS ZIONISTS SEEK MOSQUE
The Moslem dignitary charged that “the Zionists persistently aim to seize the Mosque of Aksa and the Dome of the Rock. Such aims are bound to drive the Arabs from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, leading to greater violence toward the Jews than they suffered in Europe.”
Dr. Eliash vainly tried to interrupt the speaker as he began to cite the threadbare quotations which the Arabs have frequently mentioned to show that the Jews have designs on the Moslem holy places. Mohammed Ali insisted that “Lord Melchett in a speech said that the Jews’ deepest wish is to rebuild the ancient Temple of David.” He went on to quote the Encyclopedia Brittanica’s definition of Zionism as “a movement to reestablish a prince from the house of David.”
He also quoted the definition of Zionism from the Jewish Encyclopedia and cited a passage from the works of the late Israel Zangwill wherein he quoted Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “The Children’s Hour,” the last line reading, “and fold their tents like Arabs and silently steal away.” Mohammed Ali, however, neglected to mention that the poem was not Zangwill’s own.
PUTS IN MIZRACHS
Passages from a book on Zionism by Herbert Bentwich, father of the attorney-general of Palestine, were also quoted. He succeeded in placing in the record the mizrachs, small paper banners which Jewish children carry on Simchas Torah with an inset of the Scrolls of the Law in an Ark with swinging doors and a picture of the Wailing Wall in the background. This, Mohammed Ali charged, shows that the Jews mean to open a gate leading from the Wall to the Temple.
He also put into the record a cartoon from the “Yiddische Folk” of New York dated April 30, 1920. The cartoon, printed soon after the San Remo decision confirmed the Palestine Mandate to England, was entitled “A Dream Come True” and accompanied by a poem of Philip Raskin called “It Has Happened.” This, the Moslem advocate said, was an indication that the Jews were not concerned about the Wailing Wall but were merely simulating indignation in order to approach the Mosque and remove the Moslems from their most holy temple.
Citing a statement of General Louis Jean Bols, a British officer who fought in Palestine during the War, that Menachem Mendel Ussishkin, head of the Jewish National Fund, had proposed, with the approval of Chief Rabbi Kook, the acquisition by the Jews of the pavement in front of the Wall, Mohammed Ali attacked the memorandum on the Wailing Wall, prepared by Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and submitted to the Commission at its opening session.
He concluded by saying that he had never thought that under the present circumstances the Jews would hasten to make such unreasonable demands.
SESSION DELAYED BY PARLEY
The session was delayed by a last minute attempt to reach a mutually agreeable settlement between the Jews and the Moslems regarding the Wailing Wall dispute. The endeavor was a complete failure because the Moslems declined to yield a single inch from their position, especially as regards the right of the Jews to pray at the Wall, the Moslems merely conceding their right to visit it.
On the eve of the adjournment of the hearings of the Wailing Wall Commission. Eliol Loefgren, chairman of the Commission, called a secret parley of Jewish and Moslem representatives. Those present, in addition to Mr. Loefgren, were David Yellin, Dr. Mordecai Eliash, Rabbi Meyer Berlin and Isaac Ben Zvi for the Jews, and the Grand Mufti, Ameen Tamini, a member of the Moslem Supreme Council from Haifa ; Sheik Hassan Abusoeud, Sheik Darwizi and Ajaj Noweihad for the Moslems.
Mr. Loefgren’s eleventh hour move to obtain an accord was fruitless because the Moslems declined to recede from their position after a five hour parley. The chairman of the Commission is reported to have deeply deplored the Moslems’ unwillingness to compromise. Yesterday similar results came from a conference between Mr. Loefgren and friends of the Grand Mufti who remained adamant and declined to promise in advance that he and his associates would abide by the recommendations of the Wailing Wall Commission.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.