Magnes Lauds Commission’s Report but Denies Partition is Proper Solution

TERMING THE 404-PAGE REPORT OF THE PALESTINE ROYAL COMMISSION “A GREAT STATE PAPER” AND A “PITILESS DOCUMENT,” DR. JUDAH L. MAGNES, PRESIDENT OF THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY IN JERUSALEM, WAS ON RECORD TODAY AS STRONGLY DISAGREEING WITH ITS PROPOSAL OF PARTITION AS THE SOLUTION TO ARAB-JEWISH DIFFICULTIES.

DR. MAGNES” VIEWS ARE MADE PUBLIC IN THE FORM OF A LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, WRITTEN FROM PARIS JULY 12 AND PUBLISHED TODAY.

AGREEING WITH THE COMMISSION’S THESIS THAT THE PRESENT SYSTEM, WHICH HE DESCRIBES AS “GOVERNMENT BY SEE-SAW,” MUST GO, THE EDUCATOR ADVANCES THE THEORY THAT THE ONLY PRACTICAL ALTERNATIVE AT THE PRESENT TIME IS ONE WHICH WILL PERMIT ARABS AND JEWS TO ARRIVE AT “FREELY AND OPENLY NEGOTIATED AGREEMENTS.”

DR. MAGNES CONTENDS THAT THE PALESTINE ADMINISTRATION HAS NEVER MADE AN EFFORT TO CREATE CONDITIONS LEADING TO CONCLUSION OF SUCH AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE TWO PEOPLES.

“THUS FAR,” HE WRITES, “THERE HAS BEEN GOVERNMENT BY SEE-SAW. FIRST ONE PEOPLE, THEN THE OTHER, WOULD BE FAVORED OR PUNISHED. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN FORMULATED, MUCH LESS WORKED OUT OR PUT INTO EFFECT, A CONSCIOUS DAY-BY-DAY POLICY THAT WOULD HAVE ONE GREAT BASIC OBJECT IN VIEW: FREELY AND OPENLY NEGOTIATED AGREEMENTS BETWEEN JEWS AND ARABS.”

HIGH PRAISE FOR THE COMMISSION’S REPORT IS TEMPERED WITH CRITICISM FOR ITS NEGLECT IN EXPOSING WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS THE FAILURE OF “MANDATORY IMPERIALISM TO RISE TO ITS UNPARALLELED OPPORTUNITIES.”

DESCRIBING THE REPORT AS “INCOMPARABLY THE MOST THOROUGHGOING AND MOST PENETRATING ANALYSIS OF THE PALESTINE SITUATION THAT HAS EVER BEEN MADE,” DR. MAGNES CONTINUES: “IT IS A PITILESS DOCUMENT. THAT IS ONE OF ITS GREAT MERITS. IT EXHIBITS IN ALL ITS NAKEDNESS OUR MISERABLE FAILURE — THE FAILURE OF EACH ONE OF US, JEW, ARAB AND ENGLISH. AN EXTRAORDINARY WORK OF BUILDING UP WASTE LAND HAS BEEN ACHIEVED. BUT WE HAVE FAILED. WE HAVE NOT KNOWN HOW TO MAKE PEACE. IT IS THE WELL-DOCUMENTED STORY OF TWO FIERCE NATIONALISMS AT WAR WITH ONE ANOTHER, A DOCUMENT THAT WOULD HAVE COMMANDED MORE CONFIDENCE HAD IT EXPOSED EQUALLY TO THE LIGHT OF DAY THE FAILURE ALSO OF MANDATORY IMPERIALISM TO RISE TO ITS UNPARALLELED OPPORTUNITIES.”

DR. MAGNES DECLARES THAT THE “RIGHTS” CONFERRED ON THE JEWS BY THE STATES WHICH WON THE WAR ARE “A THOUSAND TIMES LESS IMPORTANT” THAN THE CONSENT OF THE ARABS “WHO WILL CONTINUE TO BE OUR NEIGHBORS EVEN AFTER BRITISH IMPERIALISM MAY HAVE PASSED.”

DR. MAGNES ADMITS THAT THE COMMISSION HAS MADE OUT A STRONG CASE FOR PARTITION, BUT COUNSELS AGAINST IT ON THE GROUND THAT IT WOULD CREATE “PASSIONATE DISSATISFACTION” AND THAT A SINCERE EFFORT OUGHT FIRST TO BE MADE TO CREATE CONDITIONS FAVORABLE TO ARAB-JEWISH RAPPROCHEMENT. DEVELOPING THIS THESIS, THE EDUCATOR ARGUES THAT ARAB-JEWISH AGREEMENTS FREELY AND OPENLY REACHED COULD BE “INCORPORATED PROGRESSIVELY INTO THE BASIC LAW OF THE LAND.” THE AGREEMENTS, DR. MAGNES EMPHASIZES SHOULD BE FOR “LIMITED PERIODS OF TIME.” HE SAYS THE PRESENT MANDATE OUGHT TO BE CHANGED TO INCLUDE TWO BASIC POINTS, ONE SETTING FORTH THAT “BOTH JEWS AND ARABS ARE IN PALESTINE AS OF RIGHT AND NOT ON SUFFERANCE,” AND THE OTHER THAT “THE CHIEF REASON FOR THE MANDATORY’S PRESENCE IN PALESTINE IS TO ENDEAVOR TO CREATE CONDITIONS FAVORABLE” TO CONCLUSION OF THE AFORE-MENTIONED AGREEMENTS.

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