London (Jan. 29)
The Palestine resolution passed by both houses of the United States Congress, as well as the Palestine planks adopted at the national conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties, may be completely ignored by the American members of the Anglo-American inquiry committee, it was indicated here today as the hearings neared their close.
“If we followed that stuff, we would never have taken part in this committee,” Judge Joseph C. Hutcheson, American co-chairman of the committee declared at today’s session. “The committee has nothing to do with any views that our parties hold.”
Today’s hearings were given over to anti-Zionist spokesmen, including the violently pro-Arab Maj. Gen. Edward Spears, former British minister in Syria; Thomas Reid, Labor M.P., and Maude Royden, a journalist. (See Lord Samuel’s testimony on Page 4.)
GEN. SPEARS LINKS ZIONIST POLICY TO NAZISM; SAYS JEWS AREN’T ISRAELITES
Spears, whose testimony was most openly pro-Arab and anti-Zionist, charged that Britain had been forced to maintain troops in Palestine during the war to prevent trouble from the Jews. He also stated that “the Zionist policy was in many ways similar to Nazism,” that the entire Arab world would go up in flames, if a pro-Jewish solution of the Palestine problem were decided upon, and that “the Jews returning to Palestine are not the true Israelites.”
Questioned by Frank Buxton, American member, who said that he understood that more Jews than Arabs had enlisted in the British forces from Palestine. Spears drew laughter from the audience when he said that he regretted that he was not in a position to say. To a query by James MacDonald, he explained that he had not meant to imply that all Zionists followed a Nazi policy. Spears admitted that an anti-Jewish solution of the Palestine issue might also cause trouble, “perhaps civil war, perhaps an attempt at a coup d’etat.”
Spears also admitted, in reply to another question, that there were tendencies towards Nazism among the Arabs. The Arabs, he added, would drive the Jews out of Palestine if they do not abandon political Zionism. He alleged that the Zionists are attempting to provoke the Arabs to action prejudicial to the Arab cause.
Challenged on the last point by MacDonald, who asked if he really believed that that were so, Spears removed his spectacles, leaned forward in the witness chair, and stressed: “You travel in Palestine, sir, and you’ll see.”
Spears also engaged in a sharp exchange with Buxton, when the latter asked him to explain what he meant by his charge that the Jewish immigrants in Palestine were alien to the Arab way of life, “By the Arab way of life do you mean the way of life which kept Palestine undeveloped until large Jewish immigration?” Buxton asked. Spears replied that the Jews differed from the Arabs in every way and quoted from the reports of other commissions that have investigated the Palestine problem.
The Zionists argue that they wish to be loyal members of the British Empire, Spears continued, “but my own impression is quite the opposite. Why should they assassinate a British official?” he added, referring, apparently, to the murder of Lord Moyne in Cairo. “Who is ‘they’?” Buxton asked. “Well, sir, you’ll see in Palestine,” Spears replied.
Both British co-chairman Justice Sir John Singleton and British member Richard Crossman expressed surprise at Spears’ allegation that large forces of British troops had to be maintained in Palestine during the war to keep the Jews orderly.
LABORITE TESTIFIES AGAINST PRO-ZIONIST RESOLUTION OF LABOR PARTY
Reid told the committee that the pro-Zionist resolutions adopted by the Labor Party are not too binding. “I don’t think that this committee must pay attention to a vague resolution passed by the Labor Party conference,” he added.
Reid, who was a member of the Woodhead Commission, which conducted an investigation in Palestine in 1938, said that partition was economically, militarily and morally unsound. He called for establishment before 1949 of a Palestinian state with an Arab majority.
Questioned concerning the possibility of a massacre of the Jewish minority in such a state, Reid shrugged his shoulders and said: “You can’t prevent massacres. A small British or UNO garrison could be maintained to protect the Jews, but, in any case, Palestine should get its independence, and certain risks must be taken.”
Judge Hutcheson asked whether a movement, such as Zionism, which has gathered so much momentum in the past quarter-century, could suddenly be checked “without doing violence to the very history which created it.” Reid replied. “It’s not suddenly.”
Miss Royden said that she had been a Zionist when she first went to Palestine, but felt differently now.