Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters
Menu JTA Search

Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

Download PDF for this date

[The purpose of the Digest is informative. Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.–Editor.]

The Jewish community of Montreal is now confronted with an interesting situation arising out of the provincial election campaign now raging in Quebec province, we learn from the “Canadian Jewish Review” of Toronto. In its May 13 issue the paper describes the situation editorially thus:

“Two favorite sons, equally prominent in the community, are fighting each other for a seat in the legislature in the same electoral riding. Both are the official candidates of their respective parties.

“In addition to the general issues of the campaign which are supposed to determine the favor of the public for one or other of the parties, there has been introduced a specifically Jewish aspect. The problem of public school education for the Jewish children of Montreal has been dressed up in a political garb and it is now bidden to do service in this campaign. The Jewish voters are presumed to be so intelligent and competent that they can make their ballots perform the double service of deciding Jewish issues as well as selecting between the Liberal and the Conservative parties.

“The supporters of the candidate who favors Jewish separate schools have gone so far as to characterize this political campaign as a sort of holy crusade on behalf of Jewish nationalism. They have sent out propaganda to the Yiddish press in New York giving the impression that in Montreal we are witnessing the birth of a Jewish national ‘bloc’ in politics after the fashion of the Jewish ‘blocs’ in the Polish Sejm.”

The paper objects to the spreading of such impressions on the ground that they are not justified by the facts. Analyzing the issues involved in the election campaign, the following conclusion is arrived at by the “Review.”

“The question of Jewish schools is not a political question. The Jewish public is far from being unanimous on the subject. A great deal of propaganda and educational effort is required among the Jews themselves to make them understand the possibilities of Jewish education in Quebec. No one has a right to go before the non-Jewish public and pose as the representative of the Jewish point of view. we have no Jewish instrumentality for determining the Jewish attitude towards any question. If we had a Jewish congress, we might have a means for formulating a representative Jewish point of view. Any individual has a right to seek to win over the Jewish public to his way of thinking in any Jewish subject. No individual has a right to speak to the non-Jewish world as the spokesman of the Jews on a topic of a debatable character.”


The recent suggestion raised in Lord Rothermere’s organ, the London “Daily Mail,” that Great Britain’s mandate over Palestine be transferred to Italy is the subject of comment in a number of Anglo-Jewish weeklies. The papers all voice the conviction that such a change is not only impossible, since England would never consent to it, but that it is undesirable since it would spell disaster to the Jewish National Homeland work.

The “Canadian Jewish Chronicle” of Montreal (May 13 issue) observes:

“Though the Italian journals declare that if Italy were to assume a mandate over Palestine it would give the besiguarantees for the Jewish national home, the essentially different objectives which would direct its colonial policy would be disastrous to our national ends. Britain’s interests in both Palestine and Mesopotamia are commercial. She trades with them; she obtains certain commodities from Mesopotamia. They also serve to maintain her chain of communication for the trade routes to the rest of her empire. Britain has no interest in Palestine which clashes with the intense colonization of the land by Jews.

“But Italian policy seeks an outlet for its peasant population, and its desire for mandates is based on the acquisition of new territories to which it may direct this overflow. It is obvious that Palestine is too small and too poor to offer a haven for Italian immigration without jeapardizing Jewish settlement.”

The “Jewish Exponent” of Philadelphia sees danger to the Jewish cause from another quarter if such a scheme were carried out. In its May 13 issue the paper says:

“While Italy has always manifested a friendly attitude towards the Jews. it is well known that Rome–and by Rome we mean the Vatican–has never appeared too friendly toward the efforts of the Jewish people in the Holy Land. There were times in recent years when the attitude was decidedly hostile. Under a new regime, to what extent would Rome endeavor to rule Jerusalem? Certainly the desire to rule would be whetted.”

The proposal should not be taken seriously, in the opinion of the “American Jewish World” of Minneapolis (May 13).

“It must not be imagined,” the paper declares, “that England, official England, or the League of Nations, or the world’s public opinion would readily sanction such change of mandatory. England has shown herself successful in handling the intricate problem of holding the balance between the divergent groups in Palestine. Italy, on the other hand, has not proved itself so successful in administrating foreign colonies as to give assurance to the League of Nations that her handling of the mandate for Palestine would be more successful than England’s.

“As to domestic English attitudes, the arguments that had been advanced some years ago in favor of England’s withdrawal from the role of mandatory no longer apply. No longer can it be claimed that England is squandering her treasure, of which there is so scant a supply at home, in the expensive, thankless task of financing the governing of Palestine, for that territory has more than financed itself. The military force has been steadily reduced and the cost of administration just as steadily diminished, while Palestine has more than ‘balanced its budget.’

“The only disquieting feature is that there is still to be found in English public life an element as influential as Lord Rothermere, which is willing to sponsor England’s yielding of the mandate.”

“In the “American Israelite” of May 12, we read:

“Aside from the fact that Palestine is to Great Britain a matter of vital necessity in the way of military and political supremacy and prestige, it is something more than doubtful if the Latin temperament would permit of the establishment of anything like sane government of the conglomerate population of the Holy Land, not to mention the very pretty squabbles that would be sure to arise among the endless sects and racial divisions. And these would be the least of the troubles.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund