A distinctly unfavorable report of the prospects of establishing the Jewish national home in Palestine was rendered by Dr. Henry S. Pritchett to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace made public yesterday at Columbia University by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of the Endowment. Dr. Pritchett, who recently completed a survey of Palestine, Egypt and Greece for the Endowment, is president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The report which is to appear in the “International Conciliator,” the official publication of the Endowment, was released Monday morning to the metropolitan press by the Department of Public Information of Columbia University and was widely published.
Dr. Pritchett’s report, which terms Jewish colonization of Palestine as “unfortunate and visionary” is prefaced with a statement by Dr. Butler, who declares that “Dr. Pritchett studied the widespread unrest in the Mohammedan world, as well as the general political situation in the countries above mentioned and their educational problems and needs.
COMPARES PALESTINE AND EGYPT
“Dr. Pritchett brought with him an English translation of the Constitution of the New Kingdom of Egypt which, so far as can be learned, has never before appeared in this language. It was translated from Arabic into French and from French into English and is reproduced in this document.”
In Palestine Dr. Pritchett found the same politics and the same economic questions as in Egypt, every political change in Palestine having its repercussion in Egyptian politics. The nationalist ambition which creates unrest in Egypt, according to his report, has its exact counterpart in Palestine.
The Arabs of Palestine and of Egypt, he points out, share the same ambitions, both seeking to be free of foreign control and to have their own government. In this, he asserts, the Arabs of Palestine are insistent because they fought on the side of the Allies.
They object to being under the mandate of a foreign power while the Turk, who fought against the Allies, is master in his own house. “However clearly one may recognize the short-comings of a native Government,” Dr. Pritchett comments, “he can nevertheless understand the very natural human ambition expressed in this attitude.”
In Palestine today the burning question is the Zionist movement to make of Palestine the “National Home of the Jews,” Dr. Pritchett’s report says, continuing:
“The very expression is irritating to the Arabs who demand to know, and with some reason, what is to become of them if Palestine is to be made a national home for the Jews.
“The Zionist movement to colonize Palestine with Jews from other parts of the world and to make of it, in the language of the Mandate, a National Jewish Home appeared to me an unfortunate and visionary effort.
“One can readily understand the sentiment which animates a great number of the Jewish race in their desire to reoccupy a country that was for a thousand years the home of their people and the seat of their great influence upon the religious life of the world.
“As a practical effort, however, the plan seems to have almost nothing to commend it and to involve in its execution results that cannot fail to be unfortunate.
“From the standpoint of economics it is difficult to see how any great Jewish population is to live in Palestine. The Arabs who now cultivate the soil are a backward race, but they toil endlessly and with all their toil are able to obtain a meagre sustenance.
“A few German colonies, instituted many years ago, have proved successful in Palestine by reason of the character and ability of the colonists. These hardy Wurtemburg peasants with their flourishing colonies at Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem are the only European settlements that have found roots in the country.
SEES NO RESULTS
“The vision of Herzl and the picturesque visit of the German Emperor in 1898, while they gave a temporary stimulus to colonization did not lead to any permanent results.
“The Zionist movement as it exists today had its rise in a reaction against the anti-Semitic agitation of the concluding quarter of the Nineteenth Century. It received a new stimulus in the enormous development of self-determination on the part of all races which was so accentuated during the Great War.
“Today the effort as carried on in Palestine has the backing of a strong organization which has large funds at its disposal. It has the energetic support of the English Government which exercises the Mandate for Palestine.
“Notwithstanding all these forces which have been brought to its support the movement seems to the thoughtful observer a visionary effort and one that can scarcely attain success.
“The inherent poverty of the country, its lack of resources, the absence of an industrial life, operate to make futile the economic success of such an effort. The enterprise is an artificial one having its chief justification in the enthusiasm of well-meaning men who apparently do not appreciate the difficulties of their problem nor the interests of the existing native population.
“The movement to colonize Palestine with Jews seems to me regrettable not merly on the basis of its visionary character, but still more regrettable for another reason. Palestine is a part of a region where racial, religious and political hatreds exist to an extent scarcely equalled in any other part of the world.
“The aggressive movement for Jewish colonization forms one more cause of bitterness and adds one more to the existing quarrels which have for centuries divided the people of this region.
“It is impossible to settle a million people in Palestine without, to a great extent, displacing the present Arab population and this cannot be done without accentuating at each step the bitterness that already lies just below the surface.
TERMS ZIONISM “VISIONARY ENTERPRISE”
“It seems unfortunate to add one more quarrel to those which already embitter the countries that lie at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The movement, so far as I was able to apprehend it, seems a visionary enterprise whose consequences in the long run will bring more bitterness and more unhappiness both for the Jew and for the Arab.
“There is a phase of the Jewish reoccupation of Palestine to which apparently no reference has yet been made, but which would seem also to constitute a serious objection to the proposal, even were it feasible.
“If Palestine could be cleared of the Arabs and populated with Jews exclusively and thus become a pure Jewish state, no thoughtful man could doubt that this would be an unfortunate situation for those Jews who lived in Palestine.
“The segregation of any national group by itself has seldom failed to develop a type of personality and national character that was aggressive, egotistic and without capacity for cooperation with the rest of the world.
“No one can doubt that these qualities would develop themselves in a Jewish state, as in any other isolated state, and one cannot forget that national egotism was perhaps the greatest weakness of the Jewish nation.
“No greater misfortune can come to a people or to a nation than to cherish the illusion that it is a chosen people and enjoys the favor of the Almighty beyond all other peoples. That this tendency would be accentuated by a Jewish occupation of Palestine seems unquestionable.
“The sharpness of feeling between Jew and Mohammedan is already making itself uncomfortably evident in Jerusalem. Small incidents illustrate this situation constantly.
“A disagreement recently brought considerable friction between Jews and Mohammedans with respect to what has been known for generations as the Wailing Wall of the Jews. The Hebrew Quarter adjoins the outer wall of the famous Mosque-el Aksa.
“A portion of that wall is regarded as having belonged to the ancient temple and to it at all periods of the year pious Jews repair to bewail the bygone glories of Judea, and in particular at the season of Atonement.
“The Mohammedans have in recent years been tolerant toward the worshippers of all religions in the Holy City, this tolerance being based largely upon international treaties. Amongst the courtesies that Mohammedans have extended was admission of the Jews to the Wailing Wall.
“Recently, however, according to the claim of the Mohammedans, Jewish wailers have outstepped the limits assigned to them by establishing on Mohammedan territory benches upon which to rest while they lamented the departed glories of their race.
“This dispute became so acute that eventually, to avoid rioting, the British police removed the benches of which the Mohammedans had complained. So large did the quarrel loom in the eyes of the Jews that the subject was carried to the League of Nations where after great difficulty a delicate compromise was affected.
“The ground of the Mohammedan complaint was that the Jews were gifted with acquisitive abilities superior to their own and that if they were granted the privilege of establishing benches they would soon put a roof over these, they would then build a wall sustain the roof, and in the end claim ownership of the land thus walled in and finally that they would maintain the Mosque itself to be a mere appanage of their Wailing Wall!”
Dr. Pritchett said that the unrest which arises from rival interests in the region about the eastern end of the Mediterranean is today more evident and more vocal than it was before the Great War.
The greatest source of unrest in Egypt, he reported, is the rising tide of nationalism. The peoples of the Near East, he declared, “are earnestly asking themselves whether a parliamentary form of government is suited to their state of educational attainment.”
Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, who is now in Baltimore in the interests of the United Palestine Appeal, when shown a despatch concerning the report refused to comment on it at present, declaring that he will make a reply in a few days after he has read the full text of the statement.
“But I will say this: Zionism is moving forward successfully in Palestine,” he said. “The situation has very considerably improved since 1920. There is absolutely no friction. Cooperation between Jews and Arabs in trade, agriculture and other economic business pursuits is increasing daily.”
Dr. Stephen S. Wise, shown excerpts of Dr. Pritchett’s article, described the adverse comment as “disheartening.” Lacking the complete text, Dr. Wise withheld extended expression on the statement until he has seen it. “It is difficult to believe,” Dr. Wise said, “that a person of scientific equipment should have made this report. It reads like an article in an incendiary Arab newspaper in 1920 or 1921.
“No intelligent Arab would discuss the Jewish settlement of Palestine in the unfriendly, even belligerent terms which Dr. Pritchett chooses to employ. I haven’t seen the full report. I shall not permit myself to make a full comment upon it until after careful study, but the excerpts brought to my attention are most disheartening.
“I had thought that the Carnegie Endowment was for international peace rather than to foment strife and deepen misunderstanding.”
The “Jewish Daily Bulletin” learns that Dr. Weizmann will make a full reply to Dr. Pritchett in his address which he is scheduled to deliver before the Free Synagogue in Carnegie Hall next Sunday morning at 10:30.