Friendship and Cooperation with Arabs Sought by Zionists Long Before Riots, Says Dr. Chaim Weizmann
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Friendship and Cooperation with Arabs Sought by Zionists Long Before Riots, Says Dr. Chaim Weizmann

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Long before the August riots the World Zionist Organization adopted a resolution declaring the determination of the Jews to live on terms of concord and mutual respect with the Arabs and together to make their common home into a flourishing commonwealth the upbuilding of which may assure each of its peoples undisturbed national development, said Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, in his first public statement since the recent disturbances, speaking at a dinner in his honor at the Anglo-Palestine Club Thursday night.

After pointing out that since the Inquiry Commission, which he had though would have ended its work by now, was still in Palestine, and anything that one might say should not be said because it might do incalculable harm and embarrass the Commission, Dr. Weizmann said that since the instructions of the Commission were limited only to an inquiry into the immediate causes of the Arab-Jewish problem without touching on the fundamentals of the movement, he would speak of these fundamentals.


“We have reached the stage when it is necessary to recapitulate these fundamentals and to present as simply as possible those reasons and causes which led up to the much-discussed Balfour Declaration. We must not hide from ourselves that whilst only the immediate causes are sub judice unfortunately the whole problem is a subject of discussion by public opinion in this and in other countries. We are told today that the Declaration was a war measure, that the government makes promises and breaks promises, but in our case the government fulfilled at least sixty percent of its promises and we haven’t any reason to complain.

“During the War when great ideas were discussed, when humanity tried to right great wrongs, the fundamental and underlying idea which led up to the Balfour Declaration was the desire to right the wrong to the Jew. The cabinet of that time was engrossed in a war where millions died and it was concerned with these eternal things. Out of the vortex of blood and sorrow came something of great moment and it cannot be lightly treated. It stands whether a government may try to whittle it down or not.”

Dealing further with the contention years there has been an unfortunate that allowance must be made for the Balfour Declaration because it was a war measure, Dr. Weizmann’ pointed out that five years after the Declaration was issued the Palestine Mandate was formulated, printed, discussed, drafted, redrafted and subjected to the severest scrutiny not only by the British government but by all of the governments of the world and it was “on this document that hundreds of thousands of Jews went to Palestine.

“Then came San Remo with Lloyd (Continued on Page 8)

George’s famous words, ‘we have given you your chance and it is for you to make good.’ We started our work on Lloyd George’s words. Chalutzim (pioneers) tramped, drained marshes, broke stones, built roads, created villages, schools and a university. Whatever mistakes we made, and we made many in Palestine, the performances have been creditable. It stands in the face of the whole world. Our opponents feared ‘lest they become too many, too strong, lest they create what they set out to create.’ We did it compelling the attention and respect of the whole world.

“It compelled the great Jewish communities of the world to bow before the work that was performed and in Zurich this respect has been converted into the partnership of the enlarged Jewish Agency. We rose from Zurich with the vision of more work, more land for cultivation, more progress and a blast from the desert came and with deadly force tried to burn away what we had created with so much trouble.

Jews of Palestine Not Discouraged “It did not succeed but it shook the very foundations on which our work has been built. I say, not in a spirit of arrogance that it was a fight of the desert against civilization which reminds one of the usual fight of stagnation against progress. This is our case today before the world and I think we can plead our case with dignity. We have never given up our rights, never forsaken them and we are now returning despite everything, despite difficulties, and the more difficult the task is the more encouraged we are. The late events have proved that not a single Jew in Palestine has been shaken. They are more frightened at the Arabs in London and in New York than they are in Jerusalem.


“I am not going to speak compliments about the Arabs but long before all this happened the highest Zionist institution passed a resolution which in my opinion embodies the relationship which I hope will exist between us and the Arabs. It is ‘our determination to live with the Arabs on terms of concord and mutual respect and together to make our common home into a flourishing commonwealth the upbuilding of which may assure each of its people undisturbed national development.’

“As one who has been privileged to conduct the affairs of the Zionists organization, particularly its political destiny. I say we have not swerved either to the left or the right from this determination. No amount of pogroms will frighten us, no amount of hot air let loose even by our own Zionists would deter us from this purpose. We shall live and work with them to build up Palestine in common as the country in which two nations or two peoples will live in respect and friendship.


“This is the idea. The policy of the organization of the Jewish Agency is conducted in accordance with this resolution and to convert it into a reality. It is essential to have two partners ready to do it. The Arabs, or at any rate some of their self-appointed leaders, think that the only answer to this resolution is to endeavor to drive us into the sea. They won’t succeed. We are there and we are going to stay there.

“The third partner is one who has had a difficult task in carrying out the Palestine Mandate. I think I may say with a clear conscience that those who worked with me during these difficult ten years desire not to embarrass the Mandatory and not to make its task too heavy. We know that in the first ten years one has to grope in the dark and to feel one’s way. We ourselves were not sure, for instance, that the miracle would happen, that generations of Jews to come would be capable of doing all of the work which has been done. We therefore had to go slowly.


“Standardized and new forms of administration had to be created. The whole mandatory system was new, was an experiment and I fear that what we considered an experiment for the first five or ten years has been converted into a system made not at Whitehall, not in Downing Street but in Jerusalem. And with many honored exceptions it has been made into a system of obstructing our work. This cannot be tolerated.

“It is perhaps a lack of an understanding and appreciation on the part of officialdom which cannot understand the motives which moved Great Britain to give us the Balfour Declaration. We are a voluntary movement and eerything is based on confidence. We are workers who give our lives voluntarily. If our confidence is shaken the rock on which we built it shaken. You touch things, eternal things, which are already in eternity and nobody, however powerful, may tamper with it.

“For the sake of the good and fair name of Great Britain we shall not allow petty officials to destroy Great Britain’s own work.”

James Rothschild, president of the Anglo-Palestine Club, in proposing a toast for Dr. Weizmann, warmly praised his achievement in creating the Jewish Agency and called for unity among the Jewish people who should stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of the present difficulties. He mentioned the numerous achievements in Palestine and said that the work there was going on strongly for the upbuilding of the land. Rothschild remarked that nevertheless he felt that “we were still in the desert period. Weizmann has not finished his forty years of wandering and neither have we but whoever will lead us into the promised land will not do it in the manner of Joshua but peacefully. Despite the treacherous and horribly revolting manner in which the Arabs have behaved there is a feeling among the Jews that they can live with them in peace.” Rothschild concluded his remarks by reading a message sent by Dr. Weizmann to Palestine which read, “we do not wish to dominate but we do not wish to submit to domination by others.”

Mrs. Philip Snowden, wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, seconded the call for a toast to Dr. Weizmann, paying tribute to his devotion to idealism and declaring that “his words carried conviction.”

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