JOHANNESBURG, So. Africa (Dec. 2)
A direct appeal to the people of America to support the Jews in their demand for the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish National Home was contained in the broadcast made here by General Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa, on the 24th anniversary of Balfour Day.
Pointing out that Christian Europe and America must not forget the people who gave them “the greatest book in the world,” Gen. Smuts urged that Palestine should be opened up as a National Home for the Jews instead of the terror of new ghettos in the twentieth century.
“The Balfour Declaration,” he said, “is not dead. It still stands on rock foundations, and the structure that will arise from it will be greater than the Declaration itself. The Balfour Declaration is not a mere accident, a mere eccentricity of the Great War, but in its large historic setting and solemn legal form is one of the great acts of history. To the oppressed Jews it opened up the fulfillment of visions which poets had embodied in immortal language. What has happened to that promise? What has become of that dream?
“Jews were brought from all the lands of Europe,” General Smuts continued, “waste places in Palestine were occupied, cleared, cleaned and put under cultivation. But since these promising beginnings there have been setbacks. Doubt and contention have once more arisen in high places in Palestine, though the hard and good work has gone on without pause.
“Beginning in Nazi Germany,” he said, “a new horror of persecution started, in which the lassitude and frustration which overtook post-war Europe seemed to have found a scapegoat once more in the Jews, who found immigration laws everywhere barring their escape to other countries. New ghettos were arising which, in their misery and despair, outrivalled the record of the Middle Ages. The calamities which have overtaken the post-war world generally have reached their climax in an anti-Semitic movement surpassing in dimensions and intensity anything known in history. The case for the Balfour Declaration has thus become overwhelmingly stronger. Instead of the terror of new ghettos in the 20th century, let us carry out the promise and open up a National Home. The case has become one not merely of promises and international law, but for the conscience of mankind.
“One of the by-products of the present world struggle was the emergence of the prospect of a large Arab Confederation in the Middle East,” the South African Premier continued. “Why should not the settlement of the Jewish question and the National Home for the Jews be incorporated in that larger scheme? That might be the best chance of its final settlement.
“Man once more is fighting to the death for the holy things of his advance against a great people that has gone into rebellion against those things,” said Gen. Smuts. “With those sacred things the human problem of the Jew is peculiarly linked up. Incidentally, it involves a definite promise on our part. Can Christian Europe and America forget the People of the Book, who gave them the greatest book in the world, the book in which the human soul has expressed itself as nowhere else in the world’s literature?” he asked.