British Opinion is Greatly Interested in Zionist Criticism
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British Opinion is Greatly Interested in Zionist Criticism

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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Slowly but quite surely the main lines of the British policy in Palestine emerge in their significance, writes the “Near East,” magazine said to be in close touch with the British Colonial Office, in its current issue.

“The mills are working exceedingly small, but their grinding is certain. Other events than British policy, such as Zionist distress or Arab demand, may seem for the time the most important feature of the life of Palestine, but the one indisputable and chronic fact of the situation in the Holy Land is the unswerving pursuance of the Mandatory’s policy. That policy no longer constitutes a problem; and the problems of Palestine henceforth will be mainly whatever Arabs and Zionists choose to make them.

“At the meeting of the Permanent Mandates Commission last June and July, the Mandatory Power was awarded high marks. The only points of even lenient criticism concerned the Commission’s desire for more detailed information regarding the development of the ‘self-governing institutions’ provided for in Article 2 of the Mandate, and for information concerning the conditions of labor and labor legislation in Palestine. As far, therefore, as the international status of Palestine is concerned, that is, the esteem in which the Mandatory Power is held by the League of Nations, all is well.

“But things,” the paper proceeds, “are different in regard to the internal affairs of Palestine, particularly in respect of Jewish activities and feeling therein. There all is not so well. For instance, the promulgation last July of the Jewish Communities Ordinance, a part of the General Communities of Palestine Ordinance, seems to have pleased but one Eection of the Jews in Palestine: the Agudath Israel. Criticism of this measure has been most outspoken. Many Zionists in Palestine appear to resent the implication of being a religious minority; they emphasize their intention to establish in Palestine not a ‘religious home’ but a ‘national home.’

“Now with the internal affairs of Jews in Palestine we have nothing to do: this can be a matter for Jews alone to resolve. But to see how this Jewish Communities Ordinance has been received as a shock, we need but quote the comment of the ‘Palestine Weekly’ upon the resolution passed at Jerusalem by the Agudath Israel.

” ‘As for our hopes of a Jewish national body in Palestine–in time, indeed, of a Jewish nation–they must be scrapped at present, along with other hopes, promises, assurances, and affirmations.’

“A problem, however, of even greater importance than that which concerns the relation of Jew to Jew in Palestine centers round the relation of the Jew outside Palestine to the Jew inside Palestine,” the paper writes. “This is virtually one of the main questions to be answered at the Zionist Congress at Basle. As we foreshadowed at the time of its accomplishment, the Weizmann-Marshall agreement has come in for very considerable criticism. It is difficult to believe, however, that Jewry as a whole will reject the man who has brought the Zionist movement thus far-since the War. No part of our duty lies in defending Dr. Weizmann, of course, against the attacks of his fellow Zionists, but it is difficult not to be impressed by the logic and reasonableness of his position.

“The difference of opinion among Zionists is a thing in which the people of Great Britain are deeply interested, for upon its solution very largely depends the attitude of the Jewish community in Palestine towards the British Government. For the most part the Jews in Palestine have behaved most creditably, both individually and as citizens, and some part of the praise for this fact should at least be given to Dr. Weizmann and his followers, who have followed a policy which at no time has caused the Mandatory Power serious embarrassment. It is true that such fiery spirits as Mr. Jabotinsky, the Revisionist leader, may stir some Jews in Palestine to look with more reproachful eyes at the Government of Palestine, but surprise will be caused if the Jews already in the Holy Land renounce the conciliatory policy adumbrated by the Weizmann group as the only possible policy, and turn to an aggressive or intensive attitude. But that, as we say, is the Jews’ own affair. They must decide this matter for themselves at Basle.

“For Zionists the present is a time alike of emergency and of urgency.The pendulum in Palestine has but barely recommenced to swing in their favor; it is for them themselves to keep it swinging. But it must be a natmral process; a violent jerk or change of policy might disturb the mechanism of the Jewish National Home altogether. For the sake of the world in general, and of the British Government in particular, it is to be hoped that sane counsels will dominate the Basle Congress.

“As for the main, though less advertised section of Palestine’s inhabitants the Arabs it is gratifying to record that the distress of the Zionists has largely left them unaffected. Slowly, very slowly it is true, the Arabs of Palestine are beginning to realize that the policy of the British Government is not to harm their interests. Arab good-will is not politically unattainable. But we would again emphasize the fact that nothing would more surely retard its approach than the- adoption at the present critical time, by the Zionists of a policy of dropping the pilots whom the British Government and the Arabs know and of their substitution by men of shorter and probably more domineering views,” the “Near East” writes.

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