London (May. 6)
He agreed with Lord Cecil that ideas and ideals were the really important things of life; but Lord Cecil would truly agree that when they came to translate ideals into practical politics and administrative acts the atmosphere was apt to change. There is great difficulty in the practical application of ideals, and as the representative of the Mandatory Power I would ask you to realise the difficulties which are inevitably encountered in translating ideals into practice, Dr. Drummond Shiels, the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, said in replying to the toast of the Mandatory Power at the dinner given by the Anglo-Palestine Club last night to its Patcon, Viscount Cecil of Chelwood.
He was encouraged to believe, he said, that they had drunk the toast of the Mandatory Power without any mental reservations whatever. The Mandatory Power is, perhaps not unnaturally, Dr. Shiels went on, a target of criticism for both sections of the Palestine population and for their representatives here and else-where. We recognise that criticism is inevitable, but what we do ask, I hope not unreasonably, is that criticism should be constructive and helpful, and that it should be associated with an implicit belief in the sincere desire of His Majesty’s Government to act fairly and sympathetically to all concerned.
I have previously expressed my view, he continued, that our instrument of instructions makes difficult decisions inevitable, and provides opportunities for the existence of very divergent views upon what our duties really are. We have, however, kept in line with previous British government, by making it as clear as possible the way in which we regard our mandatory duties.
The Colonial Office has sometimes been accused of being unsympathetic to the progress of the Jewish National Home, Dr. Shiels said. This accusation I believe to be quite unjustified.
We realise that the mandate which we have accepted and which we desire to operate in all honour and fulness, gives a very definite place to the Jewish National Home in the working out of the future of Palestine, It is, however, also our duty to bear in mind our duties to the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine.
It is the surest guarantee that we shall keep our pledges to world Jewry, if we do not fail in our undoubted obligations to those for whom also we have international responsibilities.
In my opinion, the most urgent need of the situation is the establishment of better relations between the Arab and Jewish people in Palestine.
I welcome the declaration by Dr. Weizmann of his own sincere desire to see these relations improved, and if his attitude has a backing of other Jewish leaders both here and in Palestine, nothing but good can result.
The attitude of the Arab leaders to the Mandate is, so far as I know, unchanged. But I am sure that if they are certain that the Mandatory Power intends also to implement its obligations to them, they will realise that, in their own interest, a modus vivendi is eminently desirable.
The reverence which each of the two sections has for Palestine, added to the world-wide reverence for this sacred land, should surely make them regard it as unseemly for racial bitterness and strife to hinder its peaceful and happy progress. I am sure, Dr. Shiels concluded, that the members of this Club will help in the effort to make Palestine a smiling and happy land, with all sections of its people tolerant and conscious of fair treatment, and combining to add a new lustre to the ancient glories of Palestine.
MANTLE OF LORD BALFOUR HAS FALLEN ON LORD CECIL MR. JAMES DE ROTHSCHILD SAYS: WE ARE MORE THAN EVER IN NEED OF ADVICE LORD BALFOUR WAS ALWAYS READY TO PUT AT SERVICE OF OUR LEADERS: IN DECADE SINCE MANDATE JEWISH PEOPLE ACQUITTED ITSELF NOBLY OF ITS TASK: IN ONE CASE ALONE HAVE WE FAILED IN PALESTINE IN CONCILIATING SOME OF OUR ARAB NEIGHBOURS: THIS CANNOT GO ON AND SHALL NOT GO ON: MAY WE LOOK TO YOU TO BRING THIS ABOUT?
The last time I heard Lord Cecil on the subject of Palestine was on the sad and memorable occasion when we met in memory of Lord Balfour at the Albert Hall, Mr. James de Rothschild, M.P., who was in the chair, said. I was never more feelingly impressed by any speech. We realised that night that the mantle of Lord Balfour had fallen on his shoulders. We hope, Lord Cecil, Mr. de Rothschild went on, that you will carry his mantle in other spheres besides the Anglo-Palestine Club, and that you will be ready to give us the same help as he did. We are more than ever in need of the advice and the enlightened opinion that Lord Balfour was ever ready to put at the service of our leaders, and we hope that you will come forward and follow in his path. I am quite convinced that your advice will always be welcomed by the leaders of our movement, whoever they may be.
In the decade that has elapsed since the Mandate, Mr. de Rothschild proceeded, a great many things have happened in Palestine, and I think that since this charter of liberty was given to the Jewish people, the Jewish people has acquitted itself nobly of its task. They have given large sums of money, have worked hard, made sacrifices, have even made the supreme sacrifice. They were animated by a lofty ideal shared by every one here, and which you, Lord Cecil, have always commended so warmly. I feel that Palestine must appeal to you not only because of the idealism but also in the manner in which it is governed, and in which it should be governed in the future. The Government of Palestine is truly an international Government. It is under a Mandate of the League of Nations. It has not a Jewish Government, nor an Arab Government, nor yet a British Government, but it has an international Government which tries to conciliate national aspirations with the impartiality of internationalism, and I feel that this is a cause which must appeal to you very closely. We welcome you to-night as the embodiment of a new idea in the organisation of the world in which we are living, and we hope that you may give us who are interested in Palestine, the help that we require in order to carry out the great task which lies before us in spite of so many obstacles.
In one case alone, Mr. de Rothschild concluded, have we failed in Palestine – conciliating some of our Arab neighbours. I feel that this is a thing that cannot go on and shall not go on. We have put forward time and time again proposals for a Round Table Conference, and we have invoked the Government in this matter. The Government may not have been strong enough to put this matter through. May we look to you to bring this about, and help to bring about a union of the two nations?
TIME ONCE MORE TO UNDER LINE SPIRITUAL VALUES INVOLVED IN ZIONIST NOVEMENT DR. WEIZMANN SAYS: WORKING NOT ONLY TO CREATE REFUGE FOR FEW JEWS BUT BECAUSE WE ARE ANIMATED BY BELIEF FOR WHICH OUR ANCESTORS HAVE SUFFERED: I DO NOT BELIEVE JEWISH NATIONAL HOME WILL REACH ASTRONOMICAL SIZE OF WHICH SOME PEOPLE DREAM BUT WILL HAVE TO BE SOMETHING TANGIBLE: EIGHT MILLION JEWS ALMOST HOMELESS AND IF DOORS OF IMMIGRATION COUNTRIES WERE OPEN PRE-WAN EMIGRATION WOULD BE DWARFED INTO INSIGNIFICANCE: IF NATIONAL HOME IS TO MAKE ANY IMPRESSION ON THIS TENSION IT MUST NOT BE OF MICROSCOPIC SIZE
Lord Cecil has since the very inception of the movement in its modern form given his advice and guidance, and I am sure that he will continue to lend us his valuable support, Dr. Weizmann said.
I am happy, he went on, that a new note was struck tonight, somewhat different from the usual speeches which we hear at Zionist meetings. It was time once more to underline the spiritual values involved in the movement, and which, after all, make the movement worth while. We are working not only to create a refuge for a good few Jews, but because we are all animated by a belief, by a tradition which is time-honoured, and for which our ancestors have suffered and gone through all the vicissitudes of a complicated history. And we hope to see these hopes regenerated and rejuvenated in a new form. That is the essence of the movement and that is the mainspring which has moved people, inside and outside Palestine, to face almost untold difficulties and not to be discouraged by setbacks.
While I do not believe that the National Home will reach the astronomical size of which some people dream, Dr. Weizmann pursued, I equally do not believe that it can be reduced to the microscopic size of which some Jewish well-wishers dream. It will have to be something which is quite tangible; it will have to be some thing which will have sufficient strength to carry its principles and its hopes of which we all speak. Palestine or the National Home has got to be of something like considerable size for two reasons. It is not sufficiently known in the world how tremendous is the pressure on the doors of Palestine. Even in this festive assembly it should be mentioned that to-day there are eight million Jews who are rather homeless, and if to-day the doors of the countries of immigration would be open you would witness emigration to those countries which would dwarf pre-war emigration into insignificance. The world can be divided into countries where Jews cannot live and countries where they cannot enter. Palestine is the only country left, and therefore we think that if our National Home is to make any tangible impression on this tension it must be of macroscopic and not microscopic size.
WHAT JEWS DO OUTSIDE PALESTINE IS TO ADAPT THEMSELVES TO LIFE OTHERS HAVE BUILT: IN PALESTINE JEWS ARE BUILDING THEIR OWN CIVILISATION: IF ZIONIST ORGANISATION AND JEWISH AGENCY DISAPPEAR PALESTINE WILL GO ON: NATIONAL HOME IS NOT BEING BUILT ON BACKS OF ANYONE BUT WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BUILD IT: WE MAY SUFFER SETBACK DR. WEIZMANN SAYS BUT WE COUNT OUR HISTORY IN THOUSANDS OF YEARS: IT WILL GO ON AS LONG AS JEW LIVES IN WORLD
Why does the National Home in Palestine arouse much more interest both in Jewish and the non-Jewish world, than say, the National Home which the Jews of New York have already get, Dr. Weizmann asked. What is the difference in principle between the performance of the two million Jews in New York and the performance of 160,000 to 170,000 Jews in Palestine? What Jews do in New York, Warsaw and London, he replied, is to adapt themselves to a life which other people have built. The position outside Palestine for them is that they insinuate themselves into organisations built up by somebody else. All the 120 millions Americans came to America with the Mayflower – except the Jews. They missed the boat. It is that which makes our position different. We have to explain ourselves in New York, in Warsaw, and elsewhere. The Jew is not simply a human being, he is a human being with a footnote. He has a question-mark attached to him. He is suspect. The difference between those Jews and the Jew in Palestine is this, that to the boy who goes over the Mediterranean to Palestine, the ship in which he sails is his Mayflower. In Palestine Jews are developing their own civilisation. They are not insinuating themselves into the life of other people. They are not learning English with a Jewish accent and that is why Palestine arouses so much interest.
In Palestine, Dr. Weizmann went on, Jews have fallen into their natural position. They are part and parcel of the normal organism, and that is why this organism will grow and must grow because the Jewish people is tired of the life which they are forced to live outside Palestine. They want the expression of something which they have carried with them for thousands of years. They seized upon the opportunity which the Balfour Declaration gave to them, and I think under difficult circumstances they have made good, and that is why they are so jealous if one tampers with that opportunity. My impression is that although Palestine is going through a very difficult time, yet if we all disappeared, if the Zionist Organisation and the Jewish Agency would go, the thing would go on. Palestine would go on, slower perhaps, but it would go on.
This is the conviction born of bitter experience, knowing all the difficulties we have to overcome. Sometimes our very success turns into a difficulty. Have we not been told that because we have done so well we have aroused the envy and jealousy of the Arabs? We did not mean to arouse the envy of anyone. The National Home is not being built up on the backs of anyone, but we have the right to this National Home, and we have the right to build it with the maximum effort and expression of the Jewish genius. We may suffer a setback to-day or tomorrow, but we count our history in thousands of years. We do not expect a National Home to be finished to-morrow or in the next generation, but it will go on as long as the Jew lives in the world.
AS JEWISH AS ENGLAND IS ENGLISH MR. ORMSBY-GORE SAYS: WE BUILD TO-DAY MERELY FOUNDATION: EVERY GENERATION OF JEWS BELIEVED IF ONCE THEY GET BACK TO LAND WHICH IS THEIRS BY PROMISE THEY ARE AT FONT AND SOURCE OF POWER WHICH GAVE WORLD VISION: JEWISH NATIONAL HOME NOT ONLY FOCUS POINT OF 15 MILLION JEWS THROUGHOUT WORLD – IT IS FOR WORLD AS A WHOLE
Zionism must have its political side, Mr. Ormsby-Gore, former Under-Secretary for the Colonies, said, but as I see it, Zionism is essentially something that transcends politics and cannot be interpreted in purely political terms. It must have the body in Palestine, but the essence is the belief that the Jewish people as a people still has it in them as a race to contribute to the idealism and culture and knowledge of the world as Jews. Not as English Jews, or German or Polish or Sephardim, or Ashkenazim, but as Jews. Just as the Jews gave to the world the Old Testament and the New Testament, just as they gave to the world the greatest religious literature and some of its great poetry, every generation of Jews has believed that if they can once get back to the land which is their by promise, they are at the font and source of that power which gave the world vision. It is because the National Home embodies that hope in the future and is associated with the idea that the whole world wants once again the assistance of Jewish idealism, not merely in social and political spheres, that it is the hope and justification of this difficult and uphill experiment.
On the material side alone, Mr. Ormsby-Gore said, the task is not going to be an easy one. The present colonists in Palestine will pass away, the second generation will pass away, but it is in the third and fourth generation of the Jewish people born in Palestine and in a Jewish environment, as Jewish as England is English and as Scotland is Scottish, living their home life with other races in the same country who do not interfere or are antagonistic to a real Jewish culture – that is the hope of the future. We build to-day merely the foundation. You are bound to have ups and downs, but the Jewish people have at the core of their faith one essential thing, that the law of material creation and the law of spiritual and ideal creation are one.
The Jewish National Home, Mr. Ormsby-Gore concluded, is not for purposes purely Palestinian. It is not only the focus point of the 15 million Jews scattered throughout the world. It is for the world as a whole. It is the opportunity for Jews as Jews to contribute once again the message of the Psalms.
BUT FOR INVENTION OF MANDATES SYSTEM PROBLEM OF PALESTINE WOULD HAVE BEEN INSOLUBLE LORD CECIL BELIEVES: BINDING INTERESTS OF COUNTRY AND OF JEWISH IMMIGRANTS WITH INTERESTS OF WORLD AT LARGE THAT SYSTEM MADE PALESTINE GOVERNMENT GREAT SUCCESS HE FEELS IT IS: VERY DOUBTFUL WHETHER HE CAN DO ANY THING TO PROMOTE UNION OF JEWS AND ARABS IN PALESTINE BUT IT WILL BE NOT FROM WANT OF WILL BUT OF POWER: IDEALS ALWAYS WIN HE CONCLUDES
Viscount Cecil thanked the members of the Club for the honour of asking him to be their Patron. The honour was made greater, he said, and very much more acceptable by the fact that he was succeeding his cousin, Lord Balfour. Your chairman, he went on, asked me to continue Lord Balfour’s work. I am afraid that is beyond my power, but what I can do I will do, and if there is any assistance that I can be of to you or to your leaders, I am always at your disposal.
Your chairman, he continued, mentioned certain reasons why he thought the cause of Zionism would appeal to me. He spoke of the international character of the present government of Palestine. No doubt it is a most interesting experiment in international development. I would go further and I would say that but for the invention of the system of Mandates I think the problem of Palestine would have been insoluble. It is the power that has been given by that system to bind the interests of the country itself and the interests of the Jewish immigrants with the interests of the world at large, which has made the Government of Palestine the great success that I feel it has been.
He asked me further to do what I could to promote the union of Jews and Arabs in Palestine. He did not go into details, and I don’t quite know what it is that he expects me to do, but certainly I was delighted to hear from him the great importance that he attaches to that cause. Whether I can do anything seems to me extremely doubtful but I am quite certain that it will not be from want of will but simply from want of power.
A police official had once told him, Lord Cecil said, that in every revolution you would find a Jew. No doubt that is not true, he added, but I have no doubt that there is a certain element of truth in it, because the thing that makes revolution and revolutionists is despair, and in those countries where the lot of the Jew is such as to lead to despair the natural and inevitable outcome is revolution. It is therefore on grounds idealistic, if you will, but also very practical, that all who desire the peace and good order and prosperity of Europe must look to the prosperity of Zionism as one of the greatest elements of safety for the world.
Ideals, he concluded, are the only things which really count. Ideals always win. They are always triumphant. That is strictly and literally true. The idea of peace is going on because it is an ideal, and because the idealism of war is dead. It, like Zionism, is certain to win; it is bound to triumph. All we have to do is to see that success is not too long deferred, not deferred so long that the world has to suffer for want of it.
Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, M. P., the Prime Minister’s son, said that anyone who read some of the easy phrases of the Mandate might imagine that the Mandatory Power had taken on a very simple task, but it bristled with difficulties, and the problem would not be solved so long as the three peoples were in watertight compartment.
Mr. Philip Guedalla said that there was certainly no cause for hollowness in the tribute of British Jews to Britain, which had given them fair play. We pay a tribute to Great Britain, he said, for its disinterested acceptance and its honest operation of the Mandate. There is a good deal in the mere fact of acceptance, an operation in which there is no suspicion of exploitation for selfish ends. There is a true trusteeship. We sometimes take it that we owe our loyalty to the League of Nations, he went on, but the graves along the road to Jerusalem, they are British graves, and that is something that the Jew has always at the back of his mind and will always remember.
Mrs. Dugdale, the late Lord Balfour’s niece, also spoke, and among those who were present at the dinner were Lord Lytton, Lord and Lady Erleigh, Dr. Lee K. Frankel, Dr. Maurice B. Hexter, and Mr. Norman Bentwich.