Menu JTA Search

R. D. B. Speaks

Download PDF for this date

For 30 years Editor-in-chief of the London Daily Express, chairman of its Board of Directors

Those who are Zionists need not be discouraged in view of the occurrences in the past week in Palestine while anti-Zionists cannot have valid reason to regard them as vindication of their policy. It is no more a Zionist defeat than it is an anti-Zionist victory. The fact is so long as the Arabs and the Jews are to be pitted against each other as a battledore and shuttlecock by political intriguers, so long will there be sporadic outbursts of so-called fanaticism which has no depth and which dies down as suddenly as its outburst.

Actually, the Arabs and Jews, if left alone, manage to get along amicably. The Arab has the same worldly predilictions in favor of a steady income which characterizes other peoples and his experience with the Jews is that they not only are considerate employers but they pay higher wages than he was previously accustomed to—that is, provided he ever got any wages at all.

Palestine is the only country in the world which not only balanced its budget but actually has a surplus. What a joy for Mr. Woodin, for instance, if he could say the same for the United States, or Herr Nazi Schacht, for Germany, or M. Daladier. Think of the United States Treasury issuing a statement to the world that its books are balanced and that it will not be necessary to borrow money to keep going and that money is in the till to devote to other purposes. Mr. Chamberlain, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, almost reached these Utopian fields, but at what cost. We in England are still paying five shillings on the pound income tax which is one-quarter of one’s income, to say nothing of the additional tax on incomes over ten thousand dollars yearly.

Well, these interesting people in Palestine have done it with the brains, initiative and courage so characteristic of Jews fully extended. There is no reason why Palestine should not become like ancient Mesopotamia, a land of milk and honey, a sort of terrestrial paradise.

But these rosy prospects have nothing to do with the duty of Jews throughout the world which is to do what they can to rehabilitate a much harassed race. Closer union is essential. Quarrels between factions, so dear to the heart of Jewry, must disappear. The trouble with the Jews, as I have found since my short more intimate acquaintance, is that there is too much individual effort and not enough team-work.

I wonder if it is a curse on the race that they are all so quick-witted and resilent of mind that they cannot unresistingly accept leadership and follow uncomplainingly and without criticism. I admit that this criticism is frequently just and sound and wise but “pull Devil, pull Baker,” never gets us anywhere.

What we want in Jewry is a definite, uncompromising leadership and its definite, uncompromising obedience. Let us have a grand merger of ideas and organizations, one ideal and, if I may follow the precepts of Tammany, one boss. Do that and the sun will shine on Jewry not only in Palestine, but in Pittsbugh, Prague, Petrograd and Pawtucket.

I have just conversed with a rich Jew who thinks, perhaps rightly, that he has been euchred out of a few hundred pounds by another Jew with whom he was associated in a publication devoted to Jewry. I have been trying to explain to him that the publicity ensuing from the cheap little quarrel between men actuated by high motives in promoting the cause of their race will inevitably reflect on the Jews as a whole and all his work in the past would be nullified by the evil effects of the publicity ensuing from the case.

All he could reply was that he wanted his rights. I answered, Shylock said something like that, via Shakespeare, and his attitude never in all these generations helped the cause of the Jews. I think I finally convinced him and I merely relate this little incident as an object lesson of the necessity for pulling together and showing the world a solid, unbreakable front.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund