Jca Expert Discusses Post-war Possibilities of Jewish Colonization

Post-war possibilities of Jewish colonization in various parts of the world were outlined by Joseph Mirkin of the Jewish Colonization Association, one of the leading authorities on the subject, addressing the Council of Continental Zionists here.

“We shall have to face a grave problem of Jewish emigration from various European countries after this war,” Mr. Mirkin said, “and we must have a clear and sober view about the prospects. First of all,” he continued, “we must consider whether there will be any possibility of settling Jews on the land in Europe. There are only two European countries where Jewish colonization on a large scale was tried before – Poland and Russia. Poland had a fairly large number of Jewish farmers, but in view of the hunger for land among the Polish peasantry, there is no prospect that Jews could be settled on the land in Poland. As regards Russia, very favorable conditions for Jewish land settlement existed during the period of 1927 and 1932. The Soviet Government was anxious to have Jews settled on the land. The climate and other conditions in the districts selected for Jewish settlement were very favorable, but after 15,000 families had been settled, the experiment came to an end. There was no more land available in Russia, and the Biro-Bidjan project was put forward as an alternative.”

Mr. Mirkin went on to review the possibilities for settling Jews on the land in overseas territories, such as British Guiana, Madagascar and others. He pointed out that all overseas countries offered for Jewish settlement have a tropical or sub-tropical climate. They are covered with dense forests which can be cleared only by native labor after many years of hard work; there are no communications and no hinterland to absorb those who must fall out – and their number among Jewish colonizers has never been larger than the number of such people among non-Jewish colonizers. There are also difficulties for using agricultural machinery in hilly areas, and there are no markets nearby where the products of the colonists could be disposed of.

The lecturer came to the conclusion that without regard to political questions, Palestine from a point of view of agricultural expediency was the only place in the world where Jewish mass colonization could be carried out successfully. There is a large and prosperous Jewish community in Palestine, he said, there are good communications, there are adequate markets, and any future colonization can be based on the experience gained in fifty years of successful work.

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