De Haas Urges Reduced Faith in Mere Words
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De Haas Urges Reduced Faith in Mere Words

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Speaking here today before the Brookline Zionist Region, Jacob de Haas. Zionist historian and former secretary of the Zionist Organization of America, hailed November 2, 1917, the date of the Balfour Declaration, as an “historic moment” within Jewry.

“It remains a sign post,” he said, “on the road we must tread, but the letters on it are not as big as they seemed to be in 1917. Time forces a perspective on us, and circumstances force us to look down the years.”

Mr. de Haas stated that the Balfour Declaration was born of war-politics and was not solely a gesture of good-will to the Jews. He said it was an indication that “sober governments put a value on Jews” and he urged that Jews use this value to gain for themselves points desired in the practical solution of the Palestine problem.


Only the Jew, he said, has faith in the written word. When Jews learn, as other peoples know, that treaties are not definite but only the beginning of “new interpretations in the light of new circumstances” they will get further in the game of world diplomacy. That is why, he said, “Zionists are aghast at the inversion of the implication of the Balfour Declaration.”

Mr. de Haas stated that bluster and resolutions will not get the Jews anywhere. The Jews, he said, will not be saved by “a publicity stunt” but by action.

“If,” he said, “in this great crisis, which is now upon us throughout the world, we wish to be useful to ourselves, then we must establish this Jewish value, measure its exact strength, and offer it in exchange for what we crave.


“In the chancelleries of the world they preach no gospel of righteousness—they leave that for the platform—they make alliances and compacts to insure security, to enlarge empire, to strengthen frontiers.

“It is a cold, practical business with which we are unfamiliar; let us learn this business of statecraft and use it to protect ourselves and obtain what we have not—a place which we may enter and in which me may live ‘as of right and not in sufferance. ‘ “

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