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Oppenheimer, Agriculture Expert, Demanos Changes in Palestine Colonization

October 5, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

An indictment against the Kvutzoth, the Socialist cooperative form of farm settlement largely employed by the Zionist Organization in its colonization work in Palestine, was made by Dr. Franz Oppenheimer of the University of Frankfurt. Germany, in a lecture he delivered here at the Konzerthaus on his impressions of Palestine.

Dr. Oppenheimer, who recently returned from Palestine, where he studied the agricultural settlements, declared: “The fight of armed labor against capita in Palestine is senseless for the simple reason that there is no capitalism in Palestine. In the field of colonization in Palestine, the Moshav, that is the farm operated on a basis of in dividual ownership, is in the majority of cases sound and even capable of being taxed. There is also hope for the small Kvutzoth, on the condition that reforms are introduced in these settlements. However, so far as the large Kvutzoth are concerned, they spell wasted labor and money. The large Kvutzoth produce only thirty per cent of the normal achievement. They are a waste and represent a terrible mockery of farming. In them, lack of discipline is the rule, based on a misunderstood and false conception of freedom.

“It is the holy command of the hour to immediately disband the large Kvutzoth. Only the Moshav type of settlement and the cooperatives, if placed under the management of a strong hand and iron discipline, for a period of five years, will make possible further colonization work. The communes waste men and money,” he stated.

As to the general political outlook for Palestine. Prof. Oppenheimer stated his opinion that “in Palestine the Jewish people will never be the master people. There is only the alternative of a Jewish Arab Palestine or an Arab Palestine,” he stated.

Dr. Oppenheimer severely criticized Tel Aviv, declaring it to be “a Jewish shame.” He expressed himself sharply against the speculation in land in that city. He predicted, however, a bright future for Haifa.

Dr. Oppenheimer stated at the conclusion of his lecture that the London Zionist Executive asked him by telegram for permission to publish the full text of his survey, to which he consented.

A statement issued yesterday by the Zionist Organization of America declared:

“In a cable received by Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America and made public yesterday, Prof. Franz Oppenheimer of the University of Frankfort and an authority on colonization, states his conviction that there is a good outlook for Jewish agriculture in Palestine. Prof. Oppenheimer has just returned from a trip to Palestine, where he made a special study of agricultural methods. In his message to Mr. Lipsky he states that some of these methods should be changed in the interests of efficiency.

“Prof. Oppenheimer was associated in colonization experiments in Palestine and was the first to introduce the cooperative method at the request of the World Zionist Organization. The first cooperative settlement established under his supervision was the colony of Merchavia in the Valley of Jezreel. Prof. Oppenheimer’s message, as made public by Mr. Lipsky, is as follows:

“In the interests of efficiency, I believe changing some agricultural methods indispensable. I am still strongly convinced there is a good outlook for Jewish agricultural settlement in Palestine.”

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