BASLE (Jul. 2)
With a ringing “Ani Maamin”, expressing his faith in the destiny of the Jews, that electrified the delegates and visitors to the Zionist Congress and that brought them to their feet in a hurricane of uncontrollable applause, Vladimir Jabotinsky, leader of the Zionist Revisionists and one of the outstanding opponents of the Weizmann policies, brought to a close his thrilling two hour address this afternoon before the Zionist Congress.
“Let us make a last experiment with Great Britain” he cried out. “I believe in the honesty of the civilized world. If we would have truthfully described to the British public the situation as unbearable we might have obtained justice. What can we expect from Britain if by innumerable persuasive speeches we declared ourselves satisfied during the entire seven year period. If we are truly optimistic, let us seek the fault in our leadership, its defections and its weaknesses.
“I cannot believe the world wishes to close the doors of Palestine to the Jews. But if it were true, that our pro-British orientation which I helped bring about, was really a mistake, then I do not believe that the fate of the Jewish people depends on the decision of one nation. No religious Jew, no irreligious Jew would believe this. I believe the Jews are a powerful factor in this world. I believe in the power of truth. Ani Maamin”.
The unparalleled ovation that greeted Jabotinsky after this conclusion came as the climax of an address in which the Revisionist leader pleaded for a rejection of Premier MacDonald’s letter to Dr. Weizmann interpreting the Passfield White Paper. At the same time a stirring passage in the speech asked for one further attempt at cooperation with the British government.
PART OF GENERAL DEBATE
Jabotinsky’s address was not listed on the day’s program but came as part of the general debate. Nevertheless for nearly an hour before he appeared on the tribune, the word had passed around that he would speak and the auditorium, loges and galleries were filled to overflowing. At 4:30 in the afternoon he mounted the rostrum and was received with a tremendous ovation.
“Everyone desires cooperation,” he declared in answer to a passage in Dr. Weizmann’s address, “but the question is whether the situation created by England makes cooperation possible.” Then, after analyzing the Premier’s letter, Jabotinsky called on the Congress to adopt a resolution to the effect that the letter is not acceptable as a basis for cooperation because it confirms the White Paper which both the Prime Minister and the under-secretary for the Colonies have declared remains the dominating document.
“The letter deals only with certain points,” he explained, “while others, particularly the matter of a parliament for Palestine, are untouched. Does the Congress wish to accept a document that obligates us to a parliament?”
Protesting against the practice of calling the Revisionists extremists because they demand a Jewish state, Jabotinsky declared that since every normal people has a state this is the only possible meaning of Zionism. He ridiculed the fear of the term Jewish state, and declared that “only if we demand a Jewish state can we insist on large immigration.”
URGES JEWISH MAJORITY
Complaining against the exclusion of Jews from the possibilities of colonization in Transjordania, Jabotinsky urged the Congress to demand a Jewish majority and self-government. “A Jewish majority does not exclude full national equality for minorities,” and he cited the situation in Finland where the Swedes, though constituting 14 per cent of the population, have full and equal rights, although the country is Finnish.
Zionist aspirations, as understood by Theodor Herzl, Dr. Max Nordau and British statesmen, aimed at a Jewish state, Jabotinsky declared, adding that “it is ridiculous to assume that Herzl gave up the Jewish state for the love of Palestine.” He read documents to prove that before issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the British government had defined Zionist aspirations as participation in the administration with the Jews as the predominant factor in Palestine. He pointed to the preamble of the Mandate which speaks of the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home, and he said this implies the reestablishment of something which existed before.
Jabotinsky insisted that Dr. Weizmann’s political report be put to a vote immediately after the conclusion of the general debate, then with masterful oratory, he reserved his tremendously effective credo calling for one more effort at cooperation with England and expressing his faith in the fate of the Jewish people for the end of his address where it unloosed a storm of applause. From that moment the Congress seemed to be carried out of the dull atmosphere that marked it heretofore and brought it to a high level of enthusiasm.