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J. D. B. News Letter

December 21, 1928
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Zionism as an Answer to the Jewish Question By Our Brussels Correspondent

Lecturing at Brussels University today on “The Establishment of the Jewish National Home,” Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, directed attention in a practical way to the value of the Palestine work by saying that now he had been given the honor of speaking at Brussels University, the existence of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem gave him the opportunity of returning the compliment by inviting the Rector of Brussels University, Professor Maurice Ansiaux, to lecture at the Hebrew University.

Professor Ansiaux, in introducing Dr. Weizmann, paid a tribute to his services as a chemist to the cause of the Allies during the War. Belgium and the Belgian people, the Professor said, sympathize with and are ready to assist in the upbuilding of the Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Dr. Weizmann, after tracing the history of Zionism, said that present-day Palestine, although much smaller than the Palestine of Biblical days, still has room for about three-quarter of a million Jews. But that could not solve the economic position of the Jews in Eastern Europe, which had become very difficult after the war, not because of the anti-Semitic tendencies of any particular Governments, but because of the new economic structure which has grown up in all the European countries in which there is a Jewish mass population. He quoted the instance of Soviet Russia, where the Jews as a middle class element have been crushed in the struggle between the capitalists and the proletariat. Russia had a Jewish question today, although the Government was in no way anti-Semitic. Similar conditions applied in Czechoslovakia, which had a Government that was friendly to the Jews, but all the same many Jews had lost their means of livelihood because of the effects of the agrarian law, and were being compelled to emigrate. The situation was even worse in Poland and Roumania. The number of Jews who were compelled to emigrate was therefore much larger than the number for whom there was room in Palestine. But there was a chance that in time, the Jewish settlement in Palestine would extend into the neighboring countries of the Middle East. This could be so only if the Jewish work in Palestine was peaceful and beneficial also to the Arabs. Political Palestine would not become larger, but in the economic sense the Jewish home would extend, and would include large masses of the Jewish people who are now being pushed out of European economic life.

Apart from the economic question, Dr. Weizmann proceeded, Palestine would answer the moral side of the Jewish question. The Jews were being reproached that they could live only in alien economic structures. They came into the various countries when everything had already been prepared. In Palestine, however, the Jews were building up their own economic life. The Jews had shown in the past ten years what they could do as pioneers in building up a country.

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