The Mandates Commission of the League of Nations at its session in Geneva this week, was told by the representative of the Palestine government in plain, non-diplomatic language, that the High Commissioner of Palestine has definitely made up his mind to establish a Legislative Council in the country.
The establishment of such a Council, against which the Jews have been fighting, will endanger the Jewish achievements in Palestine at a time when the Jews are still a minority in the country. Furthermore, it will make it possible for the Palestine government to hamper Jewish development in Palestine whenever it wishes. With the Arab members of the Legislative Council at its side, the British representatives in the Council, together with the Arabs, will be in a position to adopt anti-Jewish decisions whenever it may be in the interests of the Palestine administration to do so. The Jewish representatives in the Council will always remain in the minority, since the Council will be composed of Jews, Arabs and government officials.
STANDING OF AGENCY WILL BE AFFECTED
Establishment of a Legislative Council in Palestine will also diminish the protective value of the Jewish Agency. Now that no such Council exists, the Jewish Agency is looked upon as the body representing Jewish interests in Palestine before the Mandates Commission. With a mixed Council established, the danger exists that the Mandates Commission will recognize the Council as the parliamentary body representing all groups in Palestineâ€”the Jews as well as the Arabs.
It is no wonder therefore that the Jews, without distinction as to party affiliation, strongly oppose the proposed Council. The Mandatory Power, however, seems extremely keen on having the Council established. Once such a Council is established, the Palestine government feels that it will be in a position to wash its hands of many of its obligations towards the Jews under the Mandate. Through the Council the Palestine government can pass certain laws which, if issued by the government itself, would result in Jewish complaints to the Mandates Commission. Enacted by the new Parliament, however, the way to any complaints is blocked since that body will supposedly represent the will of the majority in Palestine.
COUNCIL PROJECT FIRST LAUNCHED IN 1921
The question of the Council, which has been of great concern to Zionist leaders, is not a new problem. It came up as far back as 1921. The Zionist Executive was told then that unless it agreed to the eventual establishment of a Legislative Council in Palestine there would be no Palestine Mandate. The British government openly warned that the League of Nations might not ratify the Mandate if the Jews did not agree to the creation of a legislative assembly. The Zionist Executive was told that this change would not interfere with the operation of the Mandate. The Zionist leaders therefore had no choice but to agree.
Fortunately for the Jews, the Arabs were at that time opposed to a legislative assembly and the plan fell through. Now this plan is in the process of crystallizing itself into a law. The Zionist leaders are thus placed in a difficult position. They are being forced into opposing something to which they had once agreed. They are also being forced to oppose a measure which is considered by many as a democratic step toward the establishment of a parliament in which Jews, Moslems and Christians in Palestine are to give expression to their respective views.
JEWS OF WORLD MUST JOIN FIGHT ON ASSEMBLY
It is for this reason that the Jewish fight against the establishment of a Legislative Council in Palestine requires the concentration of the Jewish people all over the world. Zionists as well as others interested in the Jewish welfare in Palestine will have to be mobilized to combat this pending danger, which will forever prevent Palestine from becoming not only a Jewish State, but even a Jewish National Home.
The Arab press in Palestine announced this week that whether the Jews wish it or not, the Legislative Council will be established as soon as the High Commissioner, Sir Arthur Wauchope, returns from London at the end of the Summer. Sir Arthur has made up his mind on this subject and has even threatened resignation if the Council is not established. What the resignation of Sir Arthur may mean to the Jews, it is needless to say, since he has proven to be the best High Commissioner from a Jewish viewpointâ€”in many respects even better than Sir Herbert Samuel.
AGENCY CITES GROWTH OF JEWISH DEVELOPMENT
In the annual memorandum which the Executive of the Jewish Agency submitted this week to the Mandates Commission, the problem of the projected Legislative Council is not dealt with. The memorandum is devoted chiefly to the growth of Jewish development during the past year, and points with pride to the fact that the Jews have brought into Palestine not less than $50,000,000 during 1934.
The memorandum of the Jewish Agency also emphasizes that the Jews spent, in 1934, $35,000,000 on the acquisition of 111,000 dunams of land. Of this area, only 62,000 dunams were acquired from Arabs. The rest was purchased from Jews who had bought the land and resold it for higher prices.
The extent of Jewish land speculation in Palestine is revealed in the report by the fact that for the 62,000 dunam bought from the Arabs, the sum of $8,240,000 was spent, whereas for the 49,000 dunams bought from Jews, a little less than $27,000,000 was paid. The land acquired from the Arabs was of course less cultivated than the land acquired from the Jews.
SOKOLOW COMPLAINS OF IMMIGRATION CURBS
The covering letter of Nahum Sokolow accompanying the memorandum submitted by the Jewish Agency complains that no justice is being done to the Jews by the existing immigration restrictions and that civil service in Palestine is not sufficiently open to Jews.
It is significant that Sydney Moody, Assistant Chief Secretary of the Palestine government, who represented the government at the Mandates Commission session in Geneva, referred in his report to the split between the Zionists and the Revisionists. There is no doubt that the Palestine government will utilize this split for its own interests, since it has already referred to it before the Mandates Commission.
REVISIONISTS VOTE FOR INDEPENDENT BODY
The Zionist Revisionists in the plebiscite which they conducted throughout the world last week, voted in overwhelming majority to establish an Independent Zionist Organization competitive to the present Zionist Organization. Vladimir Jabotinsky, the Revisionist leader, addressing a meeting in Vienna, indicated that the new Zionist Organization which he will establish will not hesitate to bring up matters before the Colonial Office and the Mandates Commission. He declared that the Zionist Organization has no monopoly to represent world Jewry and that Article IV of the Palestine Mandate definitely provides also for other groups interested in Palestine.
This open threat deserves consideration since not less than 100,000 persons participated in the Revisionist plebiscite. All were previously members of the Zionist Organization. In addition to them, there are thousands of Revisionist sympathizers who are not members of the Revisionist Party but who are nevertheless interested in the Zionist movement.
WORLD CONGRESS MUST HEAL BREACH IN ZIONISM
The next World Zionist Congress, in Lucerne, which opens August 27, will therefore be faced with the duty of finding a way to bring the Revisionists back to the Zionist Organization. With the danger of the legislative assembly imminent, unity in the Zionist ranks is necessary now more than ever before.
The report submitted by the Jewish Agency to the Mandates Commission states that a total of 42,359 Jewish immigrants entered Palestine during 1934. Of this number, 9,429 were from Germany.
The Jewish situation in Germany will no doubt drive many more thousands of Jews into Palestine in the immediate future. The Nazi Minister Frick, addressing a meeting last week, openly stated that the government considers that “there is no protection for Jews in Germany.” He appealed against using violence against Jews but made it clear that with a little patience the Reich will be rid of the Jewish question.
STERILIZATION DRIVE OPENED IN REICH
Simultaneously with Frick’s speech, a campaign was started in Germany last week for sterilization of Jews or those married to Jews. This campaign has long been advocated by Julius Strelcher and is now receiving support from Nazi leaders who hitherto opposed Strelcher’s extreme Jew-baiting attitude.
In a number of townships in Germany Jews were attacked last week and younger Jews were driven out of their homes. The Nazi government seems to feel that the old generation of Jews in Germany is bound to pass away anyway. The problem is only how to get rid of the young Jews. It is for this reason that the government is encouraging Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine and other countries. It is also for this reason that the German government does not oppose the Zionist movement in Germany.