Says Absence of Forceful Jewish Leader in India Bars Moslem-jewish Accord on Palestine
Menu JTA Search

Says Absence of Forceful Jewish Leader in India Bars Moslem-jewish Accord on Palestine

Download PDF for this date

If there were even one forceful, first-class leader among the Jews of India and IndoChina, it would not have been a difficult thing to reach an understanding between the Indian Moslems and Jews with regard to the Palestine question, writes a correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from India.

“Such a leader could greatly offset the strong anti-Jewish propaganda which is being conducted by Arab nationalists among the Moslems of India with regard to the situation in Palestine,” he says. “Unfortunately the Jews of India and Indo-China have not developed from their ranks a person capable of taking upon himself such an important world-Jewish task.”

There are now several large Jewish communities in India and Indo-China, writes the correspondent, mentioning particularly the communities of Bombay and Calcutta, India; Singapore, Straits Settlements; Salgon, Indo-China; Bangkok, Siam; Batavia, Java; Sumarang and Surubaya, East Indies. Since the World War the Jewish communities of these places, which formerly consisted almost exclusively of Arabic and West European Jews, have been considerably increased by the immigration of large numbers of Jews from Eastern Europe.

The older Jewish settlers in these countries are mostly all well-to-do and some of them are very wealthy. Jews play an enormous role in the internal and foreign trade of the colonies in the Far East; Jews are also wealthy plantation owners, owners of big mines and real estate.

Recently, Sir Manasseh Meyer, one of the most influential and greatest Jews of the Far East, who contributed large sums of money for the support of Yeshivahs and other Jewish institutions throughout the Orient, died in Singapore.

He had lived in Singapore for 65 years, was one of the greatest owners of real estate in the Straits Settlements and saw Singapore become one of the greatest ports in the world.

Sir Manasseh built a magnificent synagogue, a home for the aged and a Talmud Torah in Singapore-all at his own expense. In other Jewish communities of India and Indo-China Jewish multi-millionaires, such as the Sassoons, Ezras, the late Haridoon and others, have also erected splendid Jewish institutions at their own expense.

Nevertheless the Jewish education of the young in these Far Eastern communities is sadly neglected, according to the correspondent, and many mixed marriages ensue. Card-playing, especially mah-jong, and horse-racing are very popular among the Jewish middle classes of British India and Indo-China, he says. During the past few years, however, especially since the Palestine riots, there has been an awakening of Jewish national consciousness and an endeavor has been made to preserve Jewish cultural values; this is due mainly to the increased immigration from Eastern Europe, declares the correspondent.

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