Jerusalem (Oct. 29)
The customary general strike organised by the Palestine Arab Executive each year on November 2nd. as a demonstration of protest against the Balfour Declaration, will not take place this year, Moussa Kazim Pasha, the President of the Palestine Arab Executive, announced to-day.
Reiterating the usual form of protest against the policy laid down in the Balfour Declaration, Moussa Kazim Pasha explains that there has been no relaxation of Arab hostility to the policy of the Balfour Declaration, but owing to the hard times in Palestine at present it has been found impossible to propose the closing down of Arab shops and businesses, particularly as the anniversary occurs on a Monday, which is a full working day. The anniversary will be utilised, however, he states, by adopting measures to intensify the economic, political and cultural boycott of the Arab population against the Jews.
LAST YEAR TOO THERE WAS NO ARAB STRIKE ON BALFOUR DECLARATION DAY: ANNIVERSARY OCCURRED SOON AFTER PUBLICATION OF PASSFIELD WHITE PAPER AND JEWS PROTESTED INSTEAD
Last year, too, there was no Arab general strike in Palestine on Balfour Declaration day, the first time since the British occupation of Palestine that the day had passed without a public demonstration of Arab protest. The Passfield White Paper had been issued only a few weeks previously, and the Palestine Arab Executive contented itself with forwarding to the High Commissioner a resolution in which it declared that the Palestine Arab Executive still maintained its protest against the Balfour Declaration, “even after the publication of the new British policy in regard to Palestine”.
The Prime Minister’s letter of authoritative interpretation was not published until the middle of February, whereupon the Palestine Arab Executive issued a new proclamation declaring that “the new Government letter defining British policy in Palestine destroys every vestige of respect which the Arabs had retained for the British Government. The White Paper of October was issued in order to win over the Indian Moslem delegation to the Indian Round Table Conference, and now that the Conference is over the promises made to the Arabs are repudiated in favour of the Jews”.
While the Arabs did ### observe their annual method of protest, the Jews of Palestine also refrained last year from their usual celebrations on Balfour Declaration Day. The “Paaretz”, which was the only Hebrew paper in Palestine to refer to the occasion, declared in an editorial, that in spite of the disillusion, it did not despair, because “the Balfour Declaration is not a scrap of paper, and November 2nd. will yet again be a day of Jewish rejoicing”.
In Tel Aviv black flags were hung out in several buildings, “in mourning for the passing of the Balfour Declaration”. A meeting of Jewish ex-soldiers who had fought in Palestine during the war, and have remained as settlers in the country, was held in Palestine and a resolution was adopted “protesting against the British Government’s restrictions contained in the latest White Paper, nullifying the pledge given to the Jewish people”.
In the Jewish communities outside Palestine Balfour Declaration Day last year was converted into a day of protest against the White Paper. In New York, a big demonstration was held at Madison Square Garden, attended by over 50,000 people, and similar meetings were held in every Jewish Community in America.
THE ANTI-JEWISH BOYCOTT MOVEMENT IN PALESTINE: HAS BEEN DECLARED ILLEGAL BY PALESTINE GOVERNMENT
The Palestine Arab Executive has a special Boycott Sub-Committee, which has been meeting several times in the last few weeks under the chairmanship of Moussa Kazim Pasha, the President of the Executive, who announced a few days ago that “agreement has been reached that it is necessary to proceed without delay to convince the people of the urgent need of carrying out a complete boycott against the Jews. Arabs are as far as possible to avoid buying imported goods and are under no circumstances to buy anything that is produced or sold by Zionists”.
In connection with the boycott campaign, it has also been announced that an exhibition of Arab goods is to be arranged in Palestine, in which neighbouring Arab countries will be invited to participate.
The boycott agitation against the Jews in Palestine was at its height in the months that followed the Palestine outbreak of August 1929. Proclamations were issued by the Palestine Arab Executive couched in violent language, calling on the Arabs to sever all business relations with the Jew. If you are concerned for the life of your country and your future, one of these proclamations ran, keep away from the Jews who killed your innocent Arab brethren with weapons purchased with money which you paid him when buying his goods, money which he intends to utilise to clear you out of the land which has still remained in your hands, and to drive you out of your fatherland. Whether you are a Moslem Arab or a Christian Arab, boycott the Jew. Buy nothing from him except land. Sell everything to him except land. Remember that the Jew is your greatest enemy and the enemy of your ancestors. It was he who crucified Christ and poisoned Mohamed. To save yourself and your fatherland from the clutches of this foreign intruder, the greedy Jew, boycott him and support the industry of your fellow countrymen, thus obtaining the approval of your fatherland and of God.
The boycott agitation finally reached such a pitch, and acts of violence on the part of boycott pickets became so frequent, that the Government was compelled to intervene. It was declared a punishable offence under the anti-sedition law to conduct boycott agitation. In October 1929, after a deputation of Jewish merchants, accompanied by Mr. Harry Sacher, had visited the High Commissioner, and placed before him its views on the question of the boycott, the “Official Gazette” published special regulations empowering the courts and also the District Commissioners to deal severely with boycott agitators. It was announced that boycott agitators would be dealt with severely under a special order which was added to the existing ordinance against intimidation. The magistrates were instructed to deal with such cases summarily and special British police officers were appointed to take active measures against them. The Sedition Act was specially prepared to meet cases under this emergency. The Ottoman Law dealing with sedition and incitement to mutiny and riots previously in force in Palestine was replaced by a Seditious Offences Ordinance, based on English Common Law, which was rushed through at the end of October, the High Commissioner having asked for special authority to enact the new code. Three or more persons assembled with intent to cause persons to fear a breach of the peace by conducting intimidation or terrorising the public was defined as constituting a riot and anyone participating was made liable to two years’ imprisonment. In one case, Judge de Freitas, in passing sentence of one week’s imprisonment on an Egyptian Arab for intimidating an Arab customer in a Jewish shop, recommended him for deportation, declaring that it was not desirable to have such people in Palestine.
Balfour Declaration Day occurred a few days later, the last on which the annual protest strike was held, and since it was on a Saturday, on which all Jewish shops were closed for the Sabbath, the closing of the Moslem and Christian shops for the strike made the entire commercial life of the country seem at a standstill. Several clashes also occurred between Arab demonstrators and police in various parts of the country.
Despite all the Government efforts, the boycott agitation continued for a time even after this, but finally it petered out, and in some Arab quarters it was complained that Arab shopkeepers and traders had taken advantage of the boycott to profiteer while others went even further, declaring that the boycott by retarding Palestine business generally had done a great deal of injury also to the Arab section of the population.
ANTI-ZIONIST BALFOUR DECLARATION DAY DEMONSTRATION IN LONDON POSTPONED
The anti-Zionist demonstration which was to have been held at the Albert Hall here on November 2nd., the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, under the auspices of the National and Political League, with Lord Brentford in the chair, and Shaukat Ali, the Indian Moslem leader, as the chief speaker, has been postponed, the J.T.A. learns. It is stated that the demonstration will be held instead on Friday, November 13th.