DETROIT (Jul. 27)
“Nothing can stop Jewish effort in Palestine.” With these words Captain William J. Miller, assistant governor of Jerusalem, here on a vacation, summed up an interview he granted last night to a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, describing his experiences in Palestine and presenting his views on conditions there.
Captain Miller came to Palestine with the first troops who captured the land from the Turks in December of 1917. He was a member of the staff of General Allenby when the capture of Jerusalem ushered in the present era in Palestine, and has remained in Palestine since that time.
He first acquired prominence when he broke up a notorious band of robbers at Ramleh where he was stationed for a number of years as governor. To this day he is best known in Palestine as “Miller of Ramleh.” Later he was stationed at Jaffa. During the 1929 disturbances he was in charge of British affairs at Nablus, and as a result of a firm stand taken by him there was not a single death in his region, except for a few who were wounded when he ordered his soldiers to fire upon a disturbing and unruly mob.
For years assistant to Major Cambell, now governor of Jerusalem, Captain Miller became his assistant when Major Campbell was elevated to his present position.
“Miraculous” is the term he used to describe the growth and achievements since 1918, and in similarly enthusiastic terms he spoke of the settlers in Palestine and their ideals.
Describing Palestine’s problem as being three-fold-political, religious and economic-Jerusalem’s assistant governor at the outset emphasized that events of the type that took place in 1921 and 1929 will not again be repeated.
“Careerists,” or those in the British service to whom their positions meant their pay checks, were described by him as a group who did not care one way or another for either Jews or Arabs. Very few in Palestine are seriously concerned over the progress of Jewish endeavor, he stated. He did, however, emphasize that there is in Palestine a group of officials who are anxious to be fair and impartial.
Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, the present head of the Palestine government, he stated, like the late Lord Plumer, who followed Sir Herbert Samuel as second High Commissioner of Palestine, is a fair and impartial man who is sympathetic to Zionism.
“How about the charge that English officials in Palestine are definitely anti-Jewish?” was the interviewer’s next question.
Captain Miller admitted that the charge is based on truth. He explained the reason for it. When an Arab comes to a British official, his attitude is one of subservience. He bows down to every command-whether he follows it or not-with the words of “At your service.” The Jew, however, will not assume such a servile attitude. He comes to the British with head erect. If an illegal decision is made against him, he questions the authority of the officer. Naturally, Captain Miller said, the official resents the attitude of the man who questions his authority and would rather have the subservience of the other element of the population.
Captain Miller was particularly emphatic in declaring that there is no room in Palestine for extremists, whether Arab or Jewish.
His answer to the question: “What is the attitude of the Christian groups in Palestine to the Jews?” he summed up in one word: “Jealousy.” Jealousy of Jewish achievement and of Jewish determination to carry the Palestine ideal to reality.
Captain Miller expressed the view that the creation of a harmonious union between Jews and Arabs is possible and pointed in proof of his contention to the numerous examples of Arab-Jewish co-operation. But he advised that Jews ought to resort to a “silencer” when spreading the Zionist gospel and in their reconstruction efforts. He advised against the danger of exaggeration which causes Arabs to look with suspicion upon Jewish progress.
Comparing the positions of the Jews and the Arabs, Captain Miller stated that while the latter had the figures of population in their favor, the Jews have brains, energy, an ideal and demonstration of the remarkable achievements of the past decade. That is why, he said, Arabs look with fear upon Jewish effort. to “fear” he asribed most of the existing difficulties.
When told that the “Falastin,” anti-Zionist Arab daily, had subscribed to the service of the Palestine Telegraphic Agency, which is associated with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and is the sole distributor of Reuter news, Captain Miller expressed the view that this is a fine step in the direction of progress and better understanding. He said that to him it meant the beginning of a desire on the part of an Arab newspaper to publish news instead of filthy gossip.
Reminded of the difficulties that face Jewish endeavor, Captain Miller replied:
“Nothing can stop Jewish progress in Palestine. If the Jewish people deserves it-as I believe it does-it shall have Palestine. If it does not deserve it, your people naturally will not have it. But if you deserve it, nothing that the English or the Arabs may do can possible stop you.”