Say Passfield Offered Arabs Jewish Agency Equivalent or Restricted Legislative Body
Menu JTA Search

Say Passfield Offered Arabs Jewish Agency Equivalent or Restricted Legislative Body

Download PDF for this date

While rejecting the demand of the Arab delegation for a parliament, Lord Passfield, British colonial secretary, did offer the Arabs the equivalent of the Jewish Agency or a restricted legislative body, Auni Abdul Bey, reported to the last meeting of the Palestine Arab Executive, according to a full report of the proceedings of the meeting contained in the Syrian paper, “Alif Ba,” supplementing the fragmentary items in the local Arabic press. The editor of the “Alif Ba” is a brother of the editor of the Arabic Nationalist paper, the “Falastin.”

The British government refused the request for a democratic government in Palestine, Auni Bey told the Executive, according to the report in the “Alif Ba,” because it feared it would cause conflicts. “We did not petition but vigorously demanded until Lord Passfield assured us of a fresh offer not to disappoint our hopes,” Auni Bey declared.

Alfred Roch, the Christian member of the delegation that went to London, gave a different version of Lord Pass-field’s statement, namely that the institution that the British government was prepared to grant did not fall short of the Arab demands, the government believing that the Arabs did not really ask for much.

In the course of his report at the meeting, according to the “Alif Ba,” Auni Bey, quoting Georges Clemenceau as saying, “Woe unto the nation electing silence,” declared that the “hesitation of the British was due to a fear of Zionist propaganda. Even France is unwilling to court the anger of the Zionists.”

The “Alif Ba” also reports that Azat Darvizah urged the immediate convening of the eighth Palestine Arab Congress, since the seventh Congress elected the present executive which failed to secure a parliament. Darvizah is also reported to have proposed a policy of non-cooperation and civil disobedience similar to that in India.

The full report of the Arab Executive’s meeting indicated that the officers of the Executive endeavored to pacify some of the extremists with the statement that when High Commissioner Chancellor returns he will bring with him a satisfactory solution to the Palestine problem. Boulous Shehada opposed the suggested Arab political bureau in London and insisted on a political bureau for the Eastern countries instead, because he said Great Britain is more sensitive to dissatisfaction in the East than to complaints from European powers.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund