London (Jan. 9)
If the task given to Great Britain in Palestine is beyond her capacities, demanding more than she bargained for, it would be better for us all were that to be made clear, Dr. M. D. Eder, the retiring President of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, said in opening this evening the 32nd, annual Conference of the Federation.
I know that if Great Britain cannot carry out the terms of the Mandate, there is no other Government that can or will do so, Dr. Eder went on. I believe I understand the soul of the Jew as well as anyone, and I believe I interpret the soul of the Jew when I say that should Great Britain deem the task is beyond her, we Jews will bear no rancour; we are not a people to seek revenge for past wrongs or present injustices. We seek but to lead our own national life in our own way – at peace with all.
We shall be full of grief, Dr. Eder said, that the fair promise of 1917 – co-operation for the upbuilding of Palestine between the great British people and the Jews – is belied. There will be sorrow in our hearts, but I remind you that Zionism is not conterminous with the Balfour Declaration, nor conterminous with the British Mandate in Palestine. Zionism was there before those great and notable events, which I in no wise belittle. Zionism will go on, should the British Mandate be abrogated.
This phase, the Mandate phase, may pass, but Zionism can never pass – until the last Jew has passed from the earth. I will not venture a political prophecy. I will only hope that we have not yet reached the limits of patient and steady co-operation with Great Britain, for our hopes rise again when we reflect upon the personality of the new High Commissioner, General Wauchope.
We believe that here a fresh start is being made, that our just and legitimate claims to build up our National Home will not be allowed to be threatened by a perverse and narrow-minded bureaucracy, but that the larger spirit, the nobler vision that means England to so many of us will be allowed to prevail, and that we Jews and Arabs shall yet come together under the aegis of this country to work out our destinies in that ancient land Eretz Israel.
FOR SOME YEARS FINANCIAL POSITION HAS COMPELLED US TO MARK TIME IN PALESTINE AND WE CANNOT AFFORD TO MARK TIME: THAT WE HAVE IN PALESTINE IS GOOD BUT EXTENT IS MISERABLY INSUFFICIENT COMPARED WITH NEEDS AND POSSIBILITIES: LITTLE REASSURING IN POLITICAL HORIZON: UNABLE TO SAY HOPES OF PRIME MINISTER’S LETTER BEING FULFILLED: PAINFUL TO AND WE HAVE STILL TO PROTEST AGAINST ACTS OF PALESTINE GOVERNMENT: IF PALESTINE GOVERNMENT IS ENAMOURED OF GRAND MUFTI’S FREEDOM OF SPEECH WHY DOES IT EXCLUDE MR. JABOTINSKY FROM PALESTINE?
For some years our financial position has compelled us to mark time in Palestine, and we cannot afford to mark time, Dr. Eder continued. We have 175,000 of our people firmly rooted, economically and soundly in Palestine. That is good, but this is the tenth year of the Mandate, and by this time we had a right to expect more than double that population.
Immigration has practically ceased, no new settlements are being created, we have not yet consolidated all the existing ones. It is no set off for us to know that the economic position of Palestine is sound – there is little unemployment, the citrus plantations are ever enlarging. What we have is good, but the extent is miserably insufficient compared with our needs and our possibilities.
I cannot deny that there is little that is reassuring in the political horizon during the last year. Our Federation welcomed the Prime Minister’s letter of last February as an earnest of a change of attitude on the part of the British Government. But with every desire on my part to be patient with the Administration, with every desire to understand and to sympathise with the difficulties of the Mandatory Power and the economic difficulties that beset our country to-day, I cannot find, and I look through a telescope and not a microscope, any positive results that would enable us to say that the hopes brought us in that letter are being fulfilled.
On the other hand, Dr. Eder said, it is painful to have to add that we are still having to protest against the acts and views of the Palestine Government. I will touch, very briefly on one of the most serious instances of the Government’s failure to deal rightly with us under the Mandate. It is common knowledge that long before the Islamic Congress was opened, the Jewish Agency both here and in Jerusalem warned the Government against the danger that the Conference was likely to go far beyond its legitimate aims. The Government was repeatedly warned that, knowing the conveners of the Congress, advantage would be taken to stir up racial and religious animosity. On a framework of lies made by speakers who knew they were lies, religious and racial animosity was allowed to be stirred up. throughout Palestine a couple of years after the Mandatory Power had had experience of what it cost in life and treasure in 1929. The Government looked on and took no steps to protect us who are in Palestine of right, as the terms of the Mandate state, and who cams there as peaceful citizens only asking to work and live at peace.
The Government justifies itself, apparently, on the ground that it must not interfere with freedom of speech. I also believe in freedom of speech but not freedom to advocate murder and pillage and religious hatred. If the Government is so enamoured of freedom of speech where the Mufti is the spokesman, why, Dr. Eder asked, does it exclude from Palestine Dr. Jabotinsky, against whom no charge can be made of stirring up religious antagonism or of advocating murder?
ZIONIST EXECUTIVE MUST BALANCE BUDGET MR. SIMON MARKS SAYS IN REPORTING ON KEREN HAYESOD FUNDS COMING IN MORE SLOWLY: AFTER ALLOWANCE FOR DEBT REPAYMENTS ONLY Â£164,500 WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ORK IN PALESTINE: MOUNT WAS Â£400,000 TWO YEARS AGO AND JEWISH AGENCY CONTEMPLATED Â£500,000: MINIMUM SUM OF Â£250,000 NECESSARY IN MR. MARKS’ OPINION TO KEEP STRUCTURE TOGETHER: THIS SUM HE THINKS JEWS OF WORLD SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE
Mr. Simon Marks, in presenting to the Conference the report of the Keren Hayesod said that if there was one criticism above all others that he would make against the system of Finance, it was that when Congress determines the budget and the amounts allocated to each item, it does not leave the Executive sufficient liberty of action to cut down expenses in accordance, not with the estimated, but with the actual income as it comes to hand.
Soon- after each Congress, he said, steps are taken by whatever Executive comes into power, to obligate themselves to the full amount as decreed by Congress; The Executive have generally left themselves with no reserves whatever to deal with the actual position as it develops.
In regard to the immediate difficulties ahead, Mr. arks said that excluding the Hadassah, the budget agreed to at the Congress at Basle amounted to Â£316,500. This compares, he pointed out, with a budget of two years previously amounting to about Â£500,000.
Of this sum of Â£316,500, an amount of Â£111,000, he said, has been set aside for the repayment of debts and compensation to discharged officials, leaving Â£205,000 for actual work in Palestine.
Since the Congress, funds came in more and more slowly, so that the new Executives in considering the position in the light of their income, felt that still further cuts were rendered necessary, and I am informed, Mr. Marks stated, that already the Executive have agreed on reductions in the budget to the extent of Â£33,200 and that a further sum of Â£6,300 is being considered, so that the total budget now stands at Â£276,000. After the allowance for debt repayment, the sum of Â£164,500 only will be available for work in Palestine, as against Â£400,000 two years ago, and against a sum of Â£600,000 contemplated by the Jewish Agency in 1929.
In my view, Mr. Marks added, further radical retrenchments are necessary in order to achieve a sounder financial position. The Executive must balance the budget. Pending better times, it appears to me that a minimum sum of Â£250,000 is the amount necessary to keep the structure of our work together. It should be possible for the Jews of the world to contribute this sum.
Referring to the Keren Hayesod in Great Britain, Mr. Marks said that in the past year the contributions had been Â£28,000 out of a total of Â£260,000, nearly 11 per cent. of the total collection. Out of a total amount of Â£4,420,000 collected by the Keren Hayesod over ten years, this country had contributed Â£203,753, or less than 5 per cent. of the total amount.
DR. WEIZMANN ELECTED UNOPPOSED PRESIDENT OF ENGLISH ZIONIST FEDERATION: UNABLE TO ATTEND CONFERENCE OWING TO ATTACK OF FLU
Dr. Eder announced that Dr. Ch. Weizmann had been elected (unopposed) President of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.
Dr. Weizmann was to have addressed the Conference as the new President, but he was unable to attend owing to a slight attack of influenza.