SANTIAGO (Feb. 20)
The idea that only Palestine can solve the Jewish question has been dissipated and slowly the Jewish masses are beginning to realize that decentralized Jewish emigration is not harmful to Palestine but rather helps that country, for only an economically sound country can help the idea of Zionism.
In the light of the renewal of Jewish migration, Chile assumes special significance as a possible destination. It must be remembered that the country is twice the size of Germany, yet it has only four and a half million inhabitants. The climate is mild and almost European, the various tropical and other diseases are nonexistent and the population is exceptionally hospitable–all factors which aid the process of immigration.
As a matter of fact, the question of large scale Jewish immigration to Chile is not new. In 1931 the matter was widely discussed in the South American and European press, but the economic crisis of that year put an end to the discussion. Now that the crisis has lifted a bit the problem must be carefully considered and organizational work coordinated to handle the matter as efficiently as possible.
CAUTIONS ON INVESTING
So far, Jewish immigration to Chile has largely been recruited from elements financially unable to introduce anything new into the economic life of the country. Jewish immigrants followed in the footsteps of those who had come before them and went into peddling and junk-trading. Very few of them had the courage to tackle the higher phases of economic activity, such as import and export trading, manufacture or mining. Those who did left their stamp up-on the whole economic life of Chile despite the fact that before they began they were solemnly warned that they had better stick to peddling, as all other occupations would not provide them with a living. Naturally, the new Jewish immigration should seek to enter the newer fields.
Export possibilities are almost unlimited. There are a number of specifically Chilean products, such as boldo, quillay, Chilean apples (which compare favorably with those from California) and beans of several kinds, all of which would be welcome in European markets. Chile has a number of European and tropical fruits which could be sold in North America (when it is summer in Chile it is winter in the States) and there is Chilean wine. Some branches of importing, such as those in which Germany has had a monopoly, could be developed.
For laborers and artisans the prospects are not so good, as labor is very cheap here and will stand no competition from Europeans. The same is true of artisans.
There is, however, an excellent opportunity for agricultural settlement for immigrant Jews. Of late some of the Jewish population of Chile is also turning to this phase of agriculture, and if the proper Jewish organizations would take up the matter, much could be accomplished along those lines. Thousands of Jewish families from Europe could be settled on a cooperative basis with the help of the Jewish Colonization Association.
There can be no doubt whatever that thousands of harassed Jews could find a haven in Chile. Jewish organizations, and, in particular, the World Jewish Congress should consider the matter carefully and work out a scheme which will avoid the unfortunate consequences of chaotic migration activities such as occurred in Uruguay several years ago. Certainly the World Jewish Congress can be expected to solve the difficult immigration problem, upon which the fate of thousands of persons and of the normal development of the Jewish people depends.