Jews Must Be Permitted to Settle in Syria, Conference on Near East is Told
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Jews Must Be Permitted to Settle in Syria, Conference on Near East is Told

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The problem of Jewish settlement in the Near East could best be solved by settling Jews over the wider area of Syria rather than in Palestine alone, Count Carlos Sforza, former Italian Foreign Minister who was the first Italian statesman to break with Mussolini, declared here today in a lecture at the Harris Memorial Foundation Institute on the Near East of Chicago University. Fifty experts on the Near East are participating in a series of round-table discussions at the Institute.

“The Jewish world,” Count Sforza said, “wants a ‘national home’ to show the other peoples that the Jews are endowed with positive possibilities for becoming agriculturists, producers, artisans, if only the Europe which parked them for centuries away from the fields gives them a chance to prove that they are not in the least the parasitic types of the anti-Semitic legend.

“This cannot possibly ever come off in Palestine. Palestine is a sacred name for the Jews, and for the Christians and Moslems as well, but it has not enough good soil, not enough water, not enough natural resources to enable the Jews to try the experiment under fully normal conditions.”

Syria alone offers the opportunity to balance in a tolerable national life the return of the Jews with the maintenance of the Arabs and the presence of Christians and at the same time give the Jews regions in which they may become agriculturists, Count Sforza contended. The presence of a third element, racially homogeneous with the preponderant Moslems and the minority Christians might make Syria as peaceful as Switzerland.


“The Euphrates region, the Djezireh, is almost completely depopulated,” he said. “It might answer all the moral and economic requisites of a Jewish mass-immigration. Another fact, as now as it is strange, might promote Jewish immigration in Syria: the Bedouins are weary of their everlasting migrations. Their only hope and ideal is now to become settled cattle folk. If the Bedouins settle down, the extent of the territory they needed will be reduced, and the arrival of Jewish settlers will be made possible.

“Another favorable factor is that the Bedouins, unique among the Arabs, have no religious intolerance. Not the slightest anti-Christian or anti-Jewish movement is to be feared from them if they are satisfied with their lot.”

Europe must realize that the Near East no longer is a passive element for the schemes of the Great Powers, Count Sforza said. Though the revived Arab self-consciousness is mainly moral and sentimental, the Arabs have achieved successes in practical politics. Egyptian demonstration of capacity and efficiency in government, and a devotion to the common man, and the political progress made by Ibn Saud, illustrate Arab potentialities, Count Sforza said.

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