Mr. Nahum Sokolov Back from America: Considering Calamitous Times Amount Raised for Palestine Better

Mr. Nahum Sokolov, the President of the Zionist World Organisation and the Jewish Agency for Palestine arrived in London last night from his American tour on behalf of the Palestine funds, having broken his journey for a few days in Paris, where he saw the new President of the Republic, M. Lebrun, the new Minister of Health, M. Justin Godart, who is President of the France-Palestine Committee, and other statesmen and friends of the Palestine work.

Mr. Sokolov was received at the railway station by many Zionists, among them Professor Selig Brodetsky and Mr. Berl Locker, members of the Jewish Agency Executive, and Mr. Kaplansky, former member of the Jewish Agency Executive.

Mr. Sokolov afterwards addressed a special Conference of the English Zionist Federation, which was held last night.

Everybody coming back from America, Mr. Sokolov began, is asked – how much?

The question is not an easy one to answer, and, in truth, I am not able to give you the precise figure. The amount raised is a mixture of cash and pledges, and the pledges are a mixture of individual pledges and collective pledges. People with experience will know the difference between the two types of pledges. Individual pledges are not yet cash, but they are naturally a little more important than collective pledges. Then there is the accountancy difficulty that some of the pledges were made in the previous year, and they are coming in in this. I want to be particularly cautious and I am not in a position to state the precise amount, but considering the calamitous times in America, the amount raised is better than 20 million in normal times.

In the present circumstances, considering that this is the most terrible crisis America has ever experienced, Mr. Sokolov went on, it is a great success. It is true, unfortunately, that American Jewry has been impoverished beyond description. This unparalleled calamity, which has so cruelly disorganised and ruined the whole civilised world and which – let us hope – will subside through the international efforts devoted to the work of recovery, is bound to disappear sooner than anywhere else in the young, powerful, giant organism of the United States. With the whole of America the 4½ million of its Jewish population will undoubtedly regain their former position, and become once more a source of Jewish self-help in the great brotherhood of the Diaspora, and in the national solidarity for the reconstruction of Palestine.

WE HAVE NOT CONFINED OURSELVES TO FUND-RAISING

American Jewry, Mr. Sokolov said, has, in an overwhelming majority, grasped the fact that Palestine has become the laboratory of a Jewish national revival, which is a comprehensive term applied to every phase of an immense reconstruction, of which the well-known achievements in colonisation are only the elementary steps.

My colleagues and I have not confined ourselves on previous visits to America, any more than on the last visit, to the task of fund-raising, or to the usual business of propaganda. The work was – and ever should be – more of a teaching and instructive character. We tried to bring home to American Jewry a true conception of Zionism: that it embraces the study of the technique and psychology of building the Jewish National Home, the operation and application of historical laws, and the communication of knowledge and instruction by which every section of the Jewish Diaspora – and in the present case the greatest section – may be inspired to play its part in the majestic plan of rebuilding Palestine.

To a profoundly materialistic and in an economic sense deeply-depressed section of the population, Zionism has come to show that a great ideal can become a reality, that the law of history is immutable, that an inspired people, though oppressed, persecuted, and, in its great majority, exceedingly poor – can be restored by re-communion with nature and by its own hard work. American Jewry has understood that there is no more robust exposition and no clearer manifestation of the eternity of Justice and the moral law of nations than the Jewish National Home in Palestine.

In this respect, Christian America is in full agreement with Jewish America. From Washington to Massachusetts and from New Jersey to Chicago, I realised this truth at hundreds of great manifestations and public meetings.

Is it then to be wondered at, Mr. Sokolov concluded, that my work in the United States, so nobly and ably seconded by Sir Norman Angell, by Dr. Nahum Goldman – and on the spot by the most experienced and devoted local leaders and workers – has been crowned by a great success?

NEED NOT EXPECT STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY TILL AUTUMN PROFESSOR BRODETSKY SAYS AND IF GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO HAVE A LOAN MATTER WILL NOT BE PRACTICAL POLITICS TILL OCTOBER OR NOVEMBER: NOT CERTAIN PARLIAMENT WILL SANCTION LOAN IN THESE DAYS OF FINANCIAL STRINGENCY OR GOVERNMENT WILL ASK FOR IT ATTITUDE OF JEWISH AGENCY UNDERGONE NO CHANGE SINCE CO-OPERATION WAS RE-ESTABLISHED WITH GOVERNMENT: WE LOOK ON PREMIER’S LETTER AS CONSTITUTING BASIS OF CO-OPERATION AND ANY DEPARTURE FROM THAT LETTER CANNOT TAKE PLACE WITHOUT OUR CONSENT

At the present moment the thoughts of all of us are directed to the very important problems of land in Palestine, and to the report of Mr. Lewis French, Director of Palestine Development, copies of which have been handed to the Jewish Agency and the Arab Executive, Professor Selig Brodetsky said.

The High Commissioner for Palestine made a statement last Monday, he went on, pointing out the procedure which will be followed in connection with the report, and also that at present it is a confidential document and not for publication.

This is the procedure: The report is one that is made to the High Commissioner, who invites the observations of the Jewish Agency and the Arab Executive. When these observations are submitted to him, he is to study the report together with the observations, and then he is to make his own comments. Finally, all the documents go to the Colonial Secretary, who will make his recommendations to the Government. It is not the intention of the Government to publish the French Report without its own recommendations. I am not therefore in a position to give any information about the contents of the Report.

It will be, and has been considered by the Jewish Agency and a special committee has been appointed in Jerusalem to draw up our observations.

ACTIONS COMMITTEE AND ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE WILL MEET IN LONDON NEXT MONTH: AND WHOLE MATTER WILL BE CONSIDERED AT THESE MEETINGS

Then the whole matter will be fully considered during the meetings of the Actions and Administrative Committees, which open their proceedings in London on July 25th., Dr. Brodetsky announced. The Executive were anxious to hold these meetings earlier, he said, but force majeure was exercised on us, especially from Palestine. The observations will therefore not be drawn up until those meetings.

The Government does not expect our observations until August, and that means that the High Commissioner will not be able to make his comments until then. In that month the Colonial Secretary will be in Ottawa for the Imperial Conference, and he will therefore not be able to investigate the whole question until he returns in September. We need not expect any statement of Government policy until the autumn, and if the Government is going to have a loan, the matter will not be practical politics until the autumn Parliamentary session in October or November.

The attitude of the Jewish Agency, Dr. Brodetsky declared, has undergone no change on the question of land from the time – a year and a half or so ago – when co-operation was re-established with the Government by the Jewish Agency after the negotiations with the Cabinet Committee.

Dr. Brodetsky traced the history of the land question from the white Paper, the Hope-Simpson Report, the Drummond Shiels announcement in Parliament of the proposed settlement of ten thousand families in connection with the 2½ million pound Development Loan, and the Prime Minister’s letter.

We have to face, he said, the possibility of a loan being an uncertain quantity. It is not in any sense certain that Parliament will sanction such a loan in these days of financial stringency, or that the Government will ask for it. The again, people have realised that to settle 10,000 families on the basis of a loan of 2½ million pounds, is, to say the least, a little remote from actuality.

Sir John Hope-Simpson gave 29.4 per cent. as the figure of those Arabs who had no land. The suggestion of 20,000 Arabs who have no land because Jews have bought it over their heads has been demonstnated to be an absurdity. While the investigations have not yet been completed, it is clear that the number will not be even 10 per cent., or even 5 per cent. Indeed, the figure will be a very modest one.

I wish to make it clear, Dr. Brodetsky said, that we look on the Prime Minister’s letter to Dr. Weizmann in February 1931 as constituting the basis of co-operation of the Jewish Agency with the Government which was re-established after the negotiations with the Cabinet Committee.

We further consider that any departure from that letter cannot take place without our consent.

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