Magnes Merits Thanks of Zionists for Calling Attention to Larger Aspects of Good Relations, Say Writ
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Magnes Merits Thanks of Zionists for Calling Attention to Larger Aspects of Good Relations, Say Writ

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That Dr. Judah L. Magnes deserves the thanks of good Zionists and not their criticism for calling attention to the larger aspects of good relations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, is the gist of recent articles on Dr. Magnes appearing in “The Day” under the signatures of S. Dingol and B. Z. Goldberg.

“The key to the success of the Jews in Palestine lies in the peaceable relations which they will be able to maintain with their neighbors, the Arabs, with whom they must live side by side, even when the day dawns of a Jewish majority in Palestine,” writes S. Dingol.

“The recent disturbances are only an incident, albeit a tragic one. While the pogromists must be dealt with summarily, punishment for the guilty should not be confused with the larger issue of Arab-Jewish relations, which are as important in the scheme of the Zionist plan as colonization, industrialization, immigration, etc.

“Dr. Judah L. Magnes, in drawing attention away from an incident to the larger aspects of the problem, deserved much more serious consideration instead of the attacks he received from press and public alike,” Mr. Dingol contends.

“The protection of British bayonets is a dangerous thing,” he continues. “The Jewish self-defense would then develop which would have its counterpart in an Arab self-defense. The inevitable result of armed forces would be an enmity whose outcome is war.


“The critics of Dr. Magnes belong to two categories: those who believe the Magnes ideas in general are dangerous to the Jews and that an Arab Parliament will be disastrous to the Jews: and those who believe the moment is not ripe for the expression of these ideas, which will be regarded as defeatism,’ under the pressure of a knife.

“The arguments of the first group.” writes Mr. Dingol, “are that the Arabs are not entitled to a Parliament because they already have a Parliament in other countries, and to concede them one in Palestine would be harmful to Jewish interests. As an argument against the Arab desires, this is lame. A Parliament is not designed merely to give national prestige to a people, but also to formulate laws for the population. The Parliament in Iraq may soothe the pride of some Arab chauvinists. It cannot, however, make laws for the Arabs of Palestine. How can we Jews, who have always fought for the right of self-determination, for the freedom of peoples and democracy in every land, be opposed to the Arab right to determine his own fate and make his own laws in the country where he lives?

“The only right we have is to place demands for the limitation of the powers of the Parliament so that it will be unable to pass laws which will put obstacles in the way of the development of the Jewish settlement in Palestine. All that we can demand is a Commission composed of an equal number of Jews and Arabs to render a unanimous decision before its passage on a bill which may press the Jews. We can demand a dual Parliament in Palestine, Jewish and Arab, with a permanently functioning Commission composed of an equal number of Jews and Arabs, to smooth out certain laws, just as in the case of our own United States Congress when both houses cannot unite on a measure, the bill is referred to a Conference Committee of the House and the Senate.

“To be in utter opposition to a Parliament is narrow and detrimental to the best interests of the Jewish Yishub in Palestine which must live side by side with the Arab population.

“The question of the timeliness of Dr. Magnes’s address involves the question of tact which his critics have not always shown in large measure.

“Let him talk to the Arabs. We have never been against peace, assert the critics of Magnes. Had he followed their advice and addressed himself to both the Arabs and the Jews, he would have exposed himself to the same charge of weakness and surrender.


“The Jewish people in Palestine have always wanted peace with the Arabs, but the Zionist leadership which also desired peace, did nothing to translate that wish into reality. We can point to success in every phase of our endeavor in Palestine, except in the field of promoting peace with the Arabs. We have done nothing toward that end except dispense charity through the Hadassah institutions which gave as generously to the Arabs as they did to the Jews. But it is a truism that those who come for charity play the smaller: role in the life of the people they represent. The beggar has never sounded the keynote for his people. And if we sought through the beggar to create the bridge between the Arab and the Jewish peoples, we certainly did not use the best material’ at our disposal. Jewish workers who matrially bettered the position of the Arab workmen, used more practical methods. The two extremes in Palestine, no matter how small their numbers-the Communists and the Revisionists-have raised so much noise as to drown the good work of the Histadruth in creating better understanding between the Jews and the Arabs.

“The fate of the Jewish settlement: however, does not lie in the hands of

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(Continued from Page 4) the workers. The Zionist Executive is not comprised of a majority of the workers’ representatives, and certainly the Jewish Agency is not.

“The responsibility for creating the foundation on which Jews and Arabs can live together rests in the hands of these two bodies.

“Dr. Magnes chose to concentrate on the fundamental problem of Palestine, perhaps its most important problem-of discovering a means for free Jewish development in conjunction with our Arab neighbors. He believes the solution of the problem is a bi-national state. One can agree or disagree with him, but his views are more worthy of welcome than condemnation, since those who maintain that first peace must be established before peace can be talked about are not united in their own paradox. At such a time talk about peace will be superfluous. The time to talk about peace is when a war is nearing its end and when both sides see that prolonging the war will gain them nothing.

“Such a time seems to be the present moment in Palestine.”

That good Zionists, instead of attacking Dr. Judah L. Magnes owe him a vote of thanks for opening the subject of peace with the Arabs, a Palestine Parliament, a practical interpretation of the Balfour Declaration and creation of the widest discussion on all these points, is the opinion expressed by B. Z. Goldberg.

That there is an appreciable group of Zionists who are less opposed to Dr. Magnes’s viewpoint than to the timeliness of his utterance, who seek refugee behind the screen of the “psychological moment,” is the assertion made by Mr. Goldberg.

This body of Zionists declares, Mr. Goldberg states: “It is true that peace with the Arabs is an absolute necessity, since a national home cannot be built at the point of bayonets. It is true that of practical advantages the Balfour Declaration has given the Jews nothing. In the words of one Zionist leader: ‘When Palestine belonged to the Turks, we were Europeans. Now that Palestine belongs to Great Britain, we are the Turks.’ True they further contend the Palestine Parliament will not be eaten as hot as it is concocted. India, too, has her Parliament. Nevertheless the Viceroy and not the Parliament is the vice-King. The Palestine Parliament can not give the Jews less than the English Parliament. But now is not the time to discuss the subject with the British Commission of Inquiry investigating the riots, with the Grand Mufti instigating opposition to the Balfour Declaration and the Arab National Executive demanding a Parliament immediately. To do this is to render aid and comfort to the enemy.

“The trouble with this reasoning is that it rests on two rusty hinges,” declares Mr. Goldberg. “The first of these rusty hinges is the conception that Arab Nationalism is an enemy, while Jewish Zionism is sacred and holy; that the Arab Nationalist is an ugly creature, anti-Semitic, a cheap ineriguant, and a jingoist, while the Zionist is an idealist and a martyr. Practical people, however, endeavor not only to conquer their enemies but to understand them.


“Let us try to understand the dreadful Arab Nationalist into whose hands Dr. Magnes has presumably played. Says such an Arab: ‘Jews have lived in Palestine for fifteen hundred years at the most. When the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile, they found the Arabs settled on a portion of their land. It is three thousand years since the Musselmen have settled in Palestine, so that they have a historic right to the country no less than the Jews. Indeed our rights are stronger since we now live in Palestine while Jews have lived in Palestine and want now again to live there.

“True our movement is led by a handful of people and the great mass of Arabs is not concerned with it. But look at your own Zionist movement. How large was it twenty years ago? Yet today the great masses of the Jewish people are enveloped in it. Your development was accomplished by a miracle-a world war and an English declaration. We need no miracles. It is easier to arouse a people to protect their own land against the incursion of the foreigner than to arouse a people to migrate from one land to another. It is easier to create a national movement by arousing fear of and hatred against the foreigner than through an abstract national theory and a call to self-sacrifice.’

“If the Arabs were better acquainted with Jewish affairs,” continues Mr. Goldberg, “they might well say: ‘The pogroms against the Jews helped to create Zionism. Pogroms against Jews are dying out, whereas for our Nationalism you the Zionists are working-and the ranks of the Zionists are growing. Every accomplishment of yours is grist for our mill, a weapon for stimulating the Arab Nationalist movement.’

“The second rusty hinge is the belief on the part of some that the Arabs do not know that the Jews are not united in their viewpoint, and that there are some Jews who support the Arabs. To agree with the Arabs even when they are morally right is to aid the Arabs at the expense of the Jews. Every great victory of the Arab National movement is a victory against the Jewish national movement, they contend.”

“This point of view is naive,” says Mr. Goldberg. “There are today no political secrets, even though not all secrets are published in the newspapers. While it is perfectly true that the fellaheen are ignorant, the Arabs do have a group of intelligent leaders who are in possession of the information they need. It was long ago observed by Ahad Ha’Am that these leaders are aware not only of what is goingin on in Jewish circles in Palestine, but throughout the world.


“The conception of the reaction in England of Dr. Magnes’s address is equally naive,” continued Mr. Goldberg. “Jews imagine that the mandate is a sort of child’s play between two children, the Jews and the Arabs, and that Mother England must decide to whom the Mandate should belong. Palestine is a link in the imperialistic chain of politics which England is playing. She assumed the Mandate for Palestine not in the interests of the Jews but in her own interest. When it is worth England’s while, she will play Zionist politics, and when it will not be worth while she will play with the Arab nationalists. Neither Dr. Magnes’s words nor any one else’s will play any role in the matter.

“From a near-sighted political viewpoint, one should now remain quiet. Looking at the matter with foresight, now before the enemy has made too decided inroads, is the time to discuss an understanding.

“The Jabotinsky Zionists and even the more moderates will not agree to Dr. Magnes’s plan for a bi-national state in Palestine, because this plan destroys the illusion, the dream of a Jewish National state with its own government with its own puttees and its own epaulettes. Certainly the Magnes plan is a great come-down from that lofty moment when Jews danced in the street and wished each other mazel-tov on regaining their own land.

“Throughout the entire period of Zionist activity, the Jews have settled in Palestine one million dunams of land, about 250,000 acres, hardly four per cent of the total acreage in Palestine, and only 8% of the cultivated land. Not only have the Jews in Palestine not taken possession of the land, but they do not have enough land in proportion to population. While the Jews constitute 18% of the land.

“Let us consider the growth of the Jewish population in Palestine. In 1914 there were 85,000 Jews. Today the Jewish population is about 160,000. From 1914 to 1929, the proportion of the Jewish population increased from 13% to 17 or 18%. At the same time the Arab population has increased by 80,000. Although the Arabs boycotted the census, it was estimated that the Arab population figures were 887,000 and the Jews 18% of the whole.

“The growth of the Jewish population in Palestine has not been at such a pace as to lend credence to the belief that there will soon be a Jewish state in Palestine. Sitting here in New York, it is easy to say, provided there are funds, we can open a few factories and Jews will pour into the country in the thousands. It is not so easy to ac-

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(Continued from page 7) complish the fact in Palestine. Two years ago in the whole of Palestine there were barely six thousand industrial workers.

“The history of Jewish accomplishments in Palestine does not justify the serious belief in a purely Jewish state where the Arabs shall constitute a national minority. On the contrary indications are that the Jews will for a long time remain a minority and a small minority.


“It is therefore more practical to talk about a bi-national state than to dream of a purely Jewish state when the Jews will constitute a majority.

“The Balfour Declaration, in the interpretation which the great masses of Jews gave it, had a great psychological effect,” declares Mr. Goldberg. “It has been the means of commanding contributions which would never have been given had the Jews been asked to give for a ‘cultural center.’

“The illusion of a Jewish state has been a great stimulus to Zionism as well. The Jews already know the taste of autonomy. It was therefore easier to pull the Zionist wagon with the dream of a Jewish state and its demands. Those who reside in Palestine, cannot, however, live on the illusion. They must conduct practical politics. They must live not in the future but the present, not in a future Jewish state but with the present day Arab people. That Dr. Magnes is doing.

“A period of deflation is going on in the world. In Europe the deflation affected currency, in America stocks and industry. The deflation period in Zionism has arrived. The Balfour Declaration and the Zionist accomplishments must be viewed not in the exaggerated proportions of the publicity agents, but in their true values. If we do that, we will not fly so high perhaps, but we will stand more firmly on the ground.”

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