(By Our Berlin Correspondent)
Although the Jews of England have a bigger responsibility falling upon them in regard to cooperation in Palestine reconstruction, the Mandate is not a purely British affair but primarily a matter for the League of Nations. This was the assertion made by Sir Herbert Samuel, the former High Commissioner of Palestine, in the course of his address delivered in Munich on Sept. 16, at the reception arranged for him and Lady Samuel by the leading Jews of the city.
Dwelling on the political problems in Palestine, Sir Herbert said that when he had arrived in Palestine six years ago, the relations between the Jews and the Arabs had been strained. The Arabs feared that they had been prejudiced by the Balfour Declaration and that they were to become slaves under a Jewish State. That was the reason for the political unrest observed in Palestine during the first few years after the Balfour Declaration. The British Government felt it its duty to declare that this was not its aim. This explained the British White Paper in which the intention of the British Government was definitely laid down in relation to the Mandate.
“The White Paper,” Sir Herbert said, “had been necessary not only because of the Arabs, but also because of those Jews who were disturbed by a misinterpretation of the phrase ‘National Home’ which appeared in the Balfour Declaration. Many Jews had feared that the establishment of a Jewish National Home would prejudice their citizenship in their respective countries. The Balfour Declaration had already made it clear that the establishment of a Jewish National Home could not affect the citizenship of Jews in other countries. But the White Paper had once again put right this misconception which appeared the more necessary because the idea had gained ground that Palestine was to become as Jewish as England is English. The White Paper which had cleared up the position had to a certain extent calmed both sides. The Arabs of Palestine were being treated with absolute justice with the result that there was contentment in the country.
“Although the Jews of England naturally had a bigger duty falling upon them in regard to cooperation in the Palestine work.” Sir Herbert continued, “it was a mistake to think that the Mandate was a purely British affair. It was primarily a matter for the League of Nations. The League of Nations had set up a Mandates Commission which had to deal with all the questions affecting the Mandated countries. All the States of the world today were following with interest the development of Palestine under the direction of the Mandatory Power. Germany’s entry into the League of Nations would undoubtedly be followed soon by the inclusion of a German representative on the Mandates Commission. The United States, too, although it was not a member of the League of Nations had definitely given its agreement to the Palestine Mandate.”
For these reasons, Sir Herbert declared, it was incomprehensible to him that any Jew should not feel a sympathetic interest in the future of Palestine. He emphasized that an English, German or French Jew who took part in the Palestinian reconstruction work would not be considered because of such participation as any the worse Englishman, German or Frenchman.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.