50,000 Storm Garden in N. Y. Jewry’s Protest Against Britain’s Nullification of Balfour Declaration;
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50,000 Storm Garden in N. Y. Jewry’s Protest Against Britain’s Nullification of Balfour Declaration;

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The exiled Jewish nation held congress Sunday night in every corner of its dispersion, and demanded the return of its home. The demand was made on the thirteenth anniversary of the Balfour declaration which was to have given Palestine to the Jews as a homeland. Fifty thousand Jews in New York, and proportionate numbers in other American cities and in cities all over the world attacked the recent Passfield White Paper which, by closing immigration into Palestine and forbidding sale of land to Jews would put an end to the promise of the Balfour declaration.

Mayor Walker of New York, attending the protest of the Jews in Madison Square Garden, said, “This is the largest hall in New York and I have never seen so many people inside and outside of this hall.”

In Philadelphia, South Bend, Detroit, New Orleans, New Haven, Cincinnati, Montreal, and scores of other American cities, all over Europe, and in Jerusalem, the popular congress of the Jews sat simultaneously. No such concerted, world-wide manifestation of public opinion had ever been made against Great Britain. High government officials, Jew and Gentile, joined in the action. Lt. Gov. Herbert H. Lehman of New York, Senator Rabert Wagner, Congressman Hamilton Fish, and Mayor Walker were on the platform. Governor Roosevelt sent his message.

The heads of practically all the great Jewish organizations in America, from the most conservative to the most liberal, were present on the platform of Madison Square Garden. When Julius Rosenwald, millionaire philanthropist who had hitherto been unresponsive to Zionism, appeared with Felix M. Warburg, the 25,000 Jews who crowded the auditorium rose with exultant cheers.


The mass meeting was not a mere storm of protest. A definite program for future activity was outlined by Mr. Warburg, whose resignation as head of the Jewish Agency last week was a gesture of non-confidence in the present British government. Mr. Warburg indicated that the Zionists will press a campaign to have Transjordania, a vast, fertile country and a part of Palestine now practically an unpopulated wasteland, opened for settlement either to Arabs or Jews. The Transjordania argument, he pointed out, takes from Great Britain any excuse that Palestine is over-crowded.

Besides the emphasis of this all-important program for new Zionist activity, the speakers devoted themselves to analysis of the Passfield White Paper, proving that legally, logically, and from every other point of view it was unsound.

The speakers, and the massed audience, demanded the absolute revocation of the White Paper. “This time the Jews will accept no compromise” was the vow taken by the 50,000 Jews assembled inside and outside Madison Square Garden, and by Jews in meetings all over the world.

The doors of Madison Square Garden were to have been thrown open at 7 o’clock. By 6 o’clock so great a crowd swarmed the block that the hall was opened. It was immediately filled to the topmost gallery. In the streets Jews continued to arrive. Police Commissioner Mulrooney, called from his home, brought emergency squads to the spot. A squad of 150 policemen formed a cordon around the building. The crowds were directed into 49th St., where speakers were sent out to them from the hall. Traffic in that neighborhood was rerouted.

When Mayor Walker came into the hall he said, “The police commissioner informed me as I entered that never before in his experience has he seen so great a crowd behave in so good-natured and orderly a fashion. Send that message to Downing Street.”


Robert Szold, president of the Zionist Organization of America, began the systematic attack on Lord Passfield’s arguments. “It is pointed out that some Arabs in Palestine are without work. This is blamed on the Jews. People all over the world are without work, and in much higher proportions than in Palestine.” He proved, with figures, that Jewish immigration had lifted Arab employment.

The strongest arraignment of Lord Passfield was made by Prof. Felix Frankfurter of Harvard Law School. “I declare, more sadly than legally, that in effect Lord Passfield’s statement of policy just issued is a denunciation of the Balfour declaration and an abrogation of the international obligations upon which Great Britain’s rights in Palestine rest.” He held up the document. “It is an attempt to nullify, destroy, and eliminate the creative duty of England to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.” He dropped his cool, professorial tone and cried, “And what is a homeland but people on land!” The audience rose.

“We are dealing here with the pathetic exposure of the misguided, fanatical, doctrinaire prejudice of a single man. His is a state of mind incurably unfitted to deal with these problems. He is so beset with hostility that he is willing to frustrate the sacred obligations of his country. No administration has power to do so.

“This is a case, a case at the bar of public justice. The deliberate opinion of British statesmen themselves is against Lord Passfield.” Professor Frankfurter cited Stanley Baldwin, Winston Churchill, Leopold Amery, Lloyd George, and General Smuts, all of whom have publicly assailed the White Paper. “There is no other impression to be gained by the reading of this paper but that the Jews despoiled the Arabs. We deny that. I say, if the homeland cannot be built except on injustice to the Arabs then it had better not be built. But every

Marvin Lowenthal, one of the editors of the Menorah Journal, recently arrived from a long stay in Europe with Paris as a center of his travels, started today on a lecture tour of the United States. He will speak at many Jewish centers on “The Trail of the Wandering Jew.”

Mr. Lowenthal deplores the lack of available information on the historic sites and monuments of the Jews. Of the thousands of tourists who annually visit Europe, he says, few are aware that in almost every corner of the continent Jews have left relics of their ancient culture. Synagogues dating from the 11th to the 18th century, rich in works of art and steeped in drama and legend, are to be found.

factual report proves that the underlying statements in this document are not true. Let me call as witness Dr. Elwood Meade, our own country’s agriculture settlement expert, now director of the United States Reclamations Service. Dr. Meade, a Gentile, went to Palestine, talked with Jewish and Arab farmers, saw their work, and of his own accord issued a statement.”

Professor Frankfurter read from Dr. Meade’s vivid document which said, “The Jewish settlements represented the 20th century. They had comfortable homes, good schools, they used modern tools. The Arabic farms, with their mud huts, with dirt floors and primitive methods of cultivation were a counterpart of the life of two thousand years ago. Instead of trying to drain the malarial swamps they abandoned the land and moved their homes on the hills. The Jew risked his life and health to reclaim the swamps. Now they are dotted with orange groves, market gardens, and alfalfa fields. The Arab has been an immense gainer. The electric lights in Arab homes have been provided by money and enterprise of the Jews. The modern flour mill at Haifa serves the Arab wheat growers on equal terms as the Jews. In a hundred ways the Jewish settlement has brought civilization to all parts of Palestine. Nothing could be more erroneous than to believe that shackling the Jew will stimulate the Arab. Within two years the Arabs would be asking for removal of restrictions against the Jews.”

Professor Frankfurter’s most telling point was when he read from the White Paper Lord Passfield’s statement that there was “widespread suspicion” that Jewish colonization had injured the Arabs. “He does not attempt to prove or disprove such suspicion but says, ‘It must be accepted because it may be plausibly represented to be well founded.’ When the British government bases its statements on the fact that a truth can be misrepresented,” said Professor Frankfurter, “we can only mourn that government.”


Felix Warburg, revealing in the weariness of his voice and gait the strain of the last few weeks, came forward nevertheless to forcefully present practical proposals. “Two points are stressed to our detriment in this Passfield report; the one, that the land is overcrowded and that Jewish immigration must be stopped at present; the second, that the supply of arable land will be exhausted by the present population.

“The former Palestine, before it was divided into Palestine and Transjordania, was a large area with a small population. Since then, largely so as to benefit from our efforts, the population seems to have a tendency to move to this side of the Jordan, and Transjordania is empty.

“Transjordania’s soil, for agricultural purposes is, if anything, better than Palestine’s; its water conditions are said to be better than Palestine’s. But, although the country is administered by the same High Commissioner, no Jewish population is permitted to settle in Transjordania.

“If the Mandate government feels that something should be done for the felaheen, it may be well to consider that for the same amount invested much larger quantities of better land could be acquired and that part of the Arab population which is now unemployed be urged to develop part of Transjordania. It is unjust to speak of such an offer of land in Transjordania as expatriation of the Arabs, as Transjordania is distinctly Arab territory and is separated from Palestine by the Jordan, a smallish river, in some places not broader than the Bronx river. To wilfully disregard the land on the easterly side of the Jordan and to make it appear as if conditions in Palestine are overcrowded must seem absurd to anybody who has visited Palestine.”

Emanual Neumann, president of the Jewish National Fund, pursued this argument. “The Arabs have Syria, Mesopotamia, the Hedjaz, Transjordania, in total an area half as large as Europe. There are ten million Arabs in territory that may support forty millions. When the false cry of elbow room in Palestine is raised, someone is beclouding the issue. In the valley of Jezreel we settled 1500 people where 39 Arabs had lived. Yet if there is no room in Palestine, open the doors of Transjordania to us. That territory is equally as sacred to us as the other part of Palestine. If the Arabs won’t go there, we will, and we will make those desert lands bloom, as we have done in the valley of Jezreel.


“There are already indications,” said Mr. Neumann, “that the White Paper will be modified. What shall our attitude be to the coming modification and compromises and explanation? For years we have compromised. We have seen the Balfour promise whittled down year by year, until it is practically nothing. There is no room for further compromise. We demand a complete and unconditional withdrawal of the White Paper.”

Lt. Gov. Lehman said, “I do not believe that the pages of history record any greater example of devotion, courage, industry, and vision that what the Jews are doing in Palestine. To me it is inconceivable that any government should be willing to nullify that splendid accomplishment. We have put our hands to the plow and we will carry on to the end of the furrow.”

“I am not a Jew but I am a convinced Zionist,” said Congressman Hamilton Fish, who introduced the resolution endorsing the Jewish National Home which was passed by both Houses of Congress in 1922. “This White Paper is a violation and a repudiation of both the letter and the spirit of the Balfour Declaration. And Great Britain took that Declaration seriously enough to encorporate it bodily into a Peace Treaty which she made with the Turk in 1920. This White Paper cannot stand.”

Mayor Walker told of his interview once with Mayor Bloch of Palestine’s 100% Jewish city, Tel Aviv. “And the smile on his face made me wish that I, too, had presided at some time over the making of a 100% Jewish city,” said Mayor Walker. Pointing out that there were more Jews in New York than in any other city in the world, Mayor Walker said, “And my message to Downing Street is that I wish we had twice that many.”

William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, sent a message saying, in part, “The American Federation of Labor, along with other groups of people, calls upon the British government to redeem its pledge, to keep the faith and to make good its promise to foster and promote the establishment of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine.”

Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt’s message said, “It is my clear recollection that at the close of the war there was a general whole-hearted understanding, a moral agreement, from which no one dissented, that Palestine was to be set aside as a territory for the Jewish National Home. “I think moral obligations rest upon those who participated in the Peace Conference in 1918 to carry through to conclusion the high purposes then decided on.”

Senator Wagner, in a legalistic discussion, pointed out that “Great Britain is the agent of the League, then it is the purpose of the League and not necessarily the purposes of Great Britain that must be accomplished in Palestine.”

Rabbi Wolf Gold, Rabbi Hirsh Masliansky, and David Pinski, famous playwright, spoke in Yiddish. “Our Zionist aspirations were built not on the declarations of men but on the words of our Holy Torah,” said Rabbi Gold. “Man may break his own declarations, but those of the Torah cannot be broken.”

Bernard S. Deutsch, president of the American Jewish Congress, said, “The British government has been swayed by short-sighted politicians whose attitude on Palestine is an insult to traditional British statesmanship.”


Among the scores of messages were those of Charles H. Tuttle, and Stephen Wise. Rabbi Wise wrote from his sickbed, “We will not accept a Fabian retreat of compromise. We demand complete revocation of the document.”

The meeting, by a rising, roaring vote, unanimously adopted a resolution of protest against the new Palestine policy, citing the approval of Jewish effort by all world leaders, including the last three American presidents, citing the $200,000,000 the Jews have poured into Palestine, and calling on the British people to “undo this wrong.”


In South Bend, a meeting called by Jacob Goldman, chairman of that Zionist district, filled the high school hall. Rome Stephenson, president of the American Bankers’ Association, Rabbi Greenstein of South Bend and Rabbi Goldberg of Elkhart were among the speakers.

Hundreds of people were turned away from a crowded Detroit auditorium where Mayor Frank Murphy and Congressman Robert Clancy pledged their aid to the Jews. The Hindu Committee of Friends of Freedom for India was present. Governor Green and Congressman Clarence MacLeod sent messages. Philip Slovomitz presided at the meeting. In New Orleans, Mrs. Harry Winner of Chattanooga, Tenn., past regional Junior Hadassah president, turned a Hadassah convention into a protest meeting.


Four thousand Jews filled the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House on Sunday afternoon, to protest. Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the American Jewish Committee, and now virtual head of the Jewish Agency, led the meeting. The mayor of the city, and Judge William M. Lewis spoke as did Abraham Goldberg of New York.

The executive committee of the Zionist #egion of Connecticut met in New Haven and passed a strong resolution against the White Paper. In Cincinnati, Rabbi James G. Heller, speaking before a crowded Grand Opera House, said, “Great Britain is using Jewry as a pawn on the international chessboard.” Alfred M. Cohen, international president of the B’nai B’rith, addressed the meeting, which was presided over by Rabbi Samuel Wohl. Mayor Russell Wilson declared the audience was appealing beyond the British government to the British people. Resolutions were sent to Great Britain and to the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations.

Berl Locker, Palestine labor leader, spoke to a crowded meeting in the National Theatre in Montreal. He demanded the inclusion of Transjordania in the Jewish colonization territory.


In Vienna, Oscar Gruenbaum, leader of Austrian Jewry, presided over a meeting in which all Jewish factions participated. It was pointed out that the Labor government acted against the decision of its own party. A call was made to workers the world over to support Palestine Jewish workers in upbuilding their national home.

At a meeting called by the Zionist Revisionists in an open-air cinema in Jerusalem, thousands of Jews expressed their protest against Great Britain, but their gratification that the Jews of the world were standing with them.

The Hebrew paper, Haaretz, said, “The Balfour Declaration cannot be cancelled, just as the Jewish people can not be cancelled. Jewish efforts here are as real as the hills of Judea. The Balfour Declaration is not a scrap of paper. Balfour day will yet be a day of celebration for the Jews.”

The Jewish Legionaires, veterans of the Palestine campaign, met in Jerusalem and appealed to the British veterans against “a government that has betrayed us.”

The National Labor Committee in New York, for Organized Jewish Workers in Palestine, issued a statement calling upon the workers of Great Britain to stand by their fellow-workers in Palestine.

And this was not all. Scores of similar meetings were held, and similar protests, every one of which will tell in the battle to rouse public opinion against Great Britain’s act, were directed from every group of Jews toward England.

The meetings did not end with Balfour day. There is already an announcement that on November 9, the Jews of St. Louis will fill the Moolah Temple of that city. The protest, all Jewry pledged, will go on until the White Paper is unconditionally withdrawn, and work in Palestine started forward.

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