Melchett, Bentwich Hit Magnes Stand on Neutrality

The proposal recently advanced by Dr. Judah L. Magnes, president of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, that Palestine be permitted to retain a neutral status in the African war, was today the subject of criticism in two letters

published in the Manchester Guardian. The letters are signed by Lord Melchett, prominent British Jewish leader, and Prof. Norman Bentwich, lecturer in international relations at the Hebrew University.

Dr. Magnes’ proposal is condemned by Lord Melchett as “neither practicable nor honorable.” He points out that during a recent visit to Palestine he had been assured by numerous young Jews that in the event of hostilities breaking out thousands of them would march to Government House and insist on being enlisted if not afforded normal recruiting facilities.

Lord Melchett writes that Haifa is capable of becoming an excellent naval base and that Palestine itself is a natural air base for eastern and possibly southern air routes of the British Empire.

Prof. Bentwich in his letter contends that Dr. Magnes is mistaken in thinking that a neutral country under a mandate is not obliged to uphold the League of Nations decision on sanctions. He points out that the mandate entitles the Mandatory Power to use the ports, railways and roads of the country for movement of the military forces.

“As long as the mandate subsists,” Prof. Bentwich writes, “Palestine is inevitably involved in the policy of the Mandatory.”

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