Was Mr. Norman Bentwich Retired Because He is a Jew?: Lord Passfield Found His Retention of Palestin

You are aware of the peculiar racial and political conditions in Palestine and the difficulties with which the Administration has in consequence to contend, Mr. J. H. Thomas, the Secretary of State for the Colonies and Dominions, began, replying in the House of Commons this afternoon to a question by Colonel Wedgwood, who wanted to know the circumstances connected with the departure of Mr. Norman Bentwich from the post of Attorney-General in Palestine.

The late Secretary of State (Lord Passfield), Mr. Thomas went on, decided after most careful consideration, for reasons that in no way affected the personal character of Mr. Bentwich, that these difficulties would not be diminished by his retention of the office of Attorney-General. In these circumstances he (Lord Passfield) was anxious that employment for Mr. Bentwich should be found, and offers to submit his name for promotion to a high judicial office in the Colonial Service were made to him on two occasions. Mr. Bentwich made it clear that he would not accept a post outside Palestine and there was no alternative but to retire him on pension. The pension, he added, would date from November 1st.

Was Mr. Bentwich retired because he was a Jew? Colonel Wedgwood demanded. The Speaker intervened, however, and the question was not allowed.

COLONEL HOWARD-BURY WANTS TO HAVE MR. BENTWICH DEPRIVED OF HIS PENSION: URGES NEED OF ECONOMY: COLONIAL SECRETARY REPLIES QUESTION CANNOT BE CONSIDERED

Colonel Howard-Bury, the chief advocate of the Palestine Arabs in the House of Commons, then rose to suggest that seeing that it was proposed to retire the Attorney-General of Palestine eight years before he had reached pensionable age, and that in order to do this special regulations had been made to entitle him to a pension, the Colonial Secretary should, in view of the need for world economy, reconsider this expenditure. Mr. Thomas returned a terse “No, sir”, to the suggestion.

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