“The morning after” the shock occasioned by the publication of the “Passfield policy” on Zionism was characterized throughout the United States by a curbing of angry outbursts as the American press and a large section of the Jewish press in America advised the Jews to “swallow the insult,” give up forever any hopes of political authority in Palestine, and set themselves to use the world renowned “Jewish patience” in trying to realize, at a much slower pace, the hope of settling a few more Jews in the land of Israel and developing a Hebrew culture there. The American press was quick to take up and fling away the suggestion made “in a moment of haste” by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the resigning president of the Zionists, that the headquarters of the World Zionist Organization might be transferred from England to America. At this intimation that America might become involved in the Palestine situation, cries of “hands off” were raised.
EXPLAIN OVERLOOKED VIRTUES
The American press editorial were largely given to explaining the overlooked virtues of the Passfield statement, and advising the Jews to make the best of Zionism within the new limitations. Thus, the New York Times stated, “The claims of ‘political Zionism’ were always inadmissible . . . . It must have been evident from the first that the building of the Jewish homeland must take the form of colonization.
“Here, too, experience has shown that the work has moved forward too swiftly. An inrush of Jewish immigrants beginning soon after the armistice and reaching a peak of more than 30,000 arrivals in 1925 was followed by a severe economic crisis of which the effects have not yet disappeared. It is far from certain that British cooperation has been withdrawn from a Jewish homeland program based on sober realities.
“One feature of the White Paper is in danger of receiving insufficient attention. That is the government established for Palestine in the form of a legislative Council with virtually a safe appointive majority. That is certainly not a concession to Arabs, who have insisted on the creation of a Parliament. The real danger that such a Parliament would be employed against the legitimate Jewish activities has been met by the British government at the cost of inviting Arab resentment.”
The New York Herald-Tribune, after recalling the words of the Churchill Declaration of 1922, in which the British Government stated: ‘it is essential that (the Jewish People) should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance . . . it is necessary that the Jewish community in Palestine should be able to increase its numbers by immigration’ pointed out that while these words are “not explicitly disavowed” by the Passfield statement, “the emphasis is on Arab rights.
“Arab nationalism touches the British Empire at many sensitive points far from Jerusalem. Whatever the reasons, the British government has evidently decided that in the future it will not give much support to Zionism as it has done in the past. The Jews will protest. They have a right to protest, as the Arabs have in the past had a right to protest. But the suggestion made by Dr. Weizmann that Zionist headquarters might be transferred from London to the United States must have been a mere hasty impulse, not at all typical of the Jewish statesman. The Zionist quarrel is with the British government, not with America. Britain is and will continue to be the mandatory power for Palestine, and the Zionists will have to cooperate with Britain in any possible policy concerning the national home in Palestine. To transfer the headquarters to this country, which to be sure supplies most of the Zionist capital, is not a suggestion which would be welcomed by either the British or the American government; it might even increase the anti-Semitic currents in the world which thoughtful Jews and Gentiles so heartily deplore.”
The same fear of America’s being involved was expressed by The Star of Washington, D. C. “Dr. Weizmann, possibly in the comprehensible first blush of irritation over yesterday’s developments, suggests the eventual result of them may be the transfer of the World Zionist Organization’s headquarters to the United States. Now and then the notion has been put forth that Britain’s Mandate in Palestine might some day be transferred to the United States. It required little gift of prophecy to predict that there would be slender hope of inducing either the government or the people of the United States to take such a plunge into the bottomless pit of world turmoil.”
WASHINGTON POST AGREES WITH TIMES
The Washington Post took the views of the New York Times. “A strong admixture of prudence with the zeal of the Zionists will probably reconcile them to the slow pace of development that will be necessary under the new policy,” it stated editorially. “Every policy in Palestine must be a compromise. One purpose of the mandate is to establish a national home for the Jews, but this must be done in a way that does not prejudice the position of the Arabs. In attempting to establish a balance between the demands of the two nations, Britain is between the devil and the deep blue sea. The new policy, which has created such a furore in Zionist circles, seems to be an absolute necessity if Palestine is to be developed without further bloodshed.”
WORLD CONTINUES APOLOGIA
The New York World continued the aplogia for Great Britain. “In 1922 the British Government sought to clarify its understanding of the phrase ‘national home’. . . . . At that time the government declared that it did not intend to make Palestine ‘as Jewish as England is English,’ and that it did not contemplate ‘that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish national home, but that such a home should be established in Palestine.’
“With this statement of purposes the latest decisions of the government are not in conflict,” says the World.
Arthur Brisbane, in the New York American, said, “The British do not mention it, but they have more than 100,000,000 Mohammedans in the empire, and, at most, three of four million Jews. They do not want to annoy the Mohammedans by irritating Arabs, who are also Mohammedans.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, however, stood out for the Zionist side. “Impelled by the hostility of world wide criticism of the bungling of the mandate in Palestine, the British government in its White Paper proclaims a remedy much more bungling than the errors of former governments. It is a repudiation of the Balfour agreement and a heavy blow to Zionism. Acceptance of the Palestine Mandate and solemn promises extended to Jews of the world places responsibility on British shoulders. Harassed by many other physical problems, the Labor government shelves the Palestine problem without any settlement at all. It is a shifty move which will unquestionably weaken the popular support of Macdonald and his associates.”
The American Hebrew stood with the American press, refusing to despair. “Great Britain puts a final and irrevocable quietus on the political aspiration of those Zionists who still continue to agitate for a Jewish state. Insofar as the policy will affect the economic rehabilitation of Palestine, in the making of a homeland for those Jews who may wish for any reason to go there, all that is lost is a little timeâ€”and the Jews are a people inured to patience.”
The Jewish Tribune calling upon the English people to save the honor of their country and prevent the enactment of the Labor Party’s announced policy, said, “The new restrictive measures make it utterly impossible to carry out the program for the establishment of a Jewish homeland.”