To-day in Palestine We Can See Monuments of His Work Dr. Weizmann Says at Melchett Memorial Meeting:
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To-day in Palestine We Can See Monuments of His Work Dr. Weizmann Says at Melchett Memorial Meeting:

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We here in this assembly are concerned particularly with one phase of Lord Melchett’s activities, which he began about twelve or thirteen years ago, Dr. Weizmann said, when he presided last night at a memorial meeting arranged by the British Section of the Jewish Agency held at the Queen’s Hall in honour of the late Lord Melchett. Cantor Mordecai Hershman recited the Memorial Prayer. Mr. J.H. Thomas, the Minister for the Dominions, Lord Hailsham, ex-Lord Chancellor, Sir Herbert Samuel, former High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir Robert Waley-Cohen, Vice-President of the United Synagogue, Dr. Eder, Lord Melchett’s successor as President of the English Zionist Federation, and Mr. H. L. Nathan, M.P. addressed the meeting, and messages were received from Field Marshal Lord Allenby, the conqueror of Palestine, Field Marshal Lord Plumer, former High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir Austen Chamberlein, former For eign Secretary, Mr. Neville Chamberlain, former Minister of Health, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Mr. Felix M. Warburg, the Chief Rabbi Dr. J. H. Hertz, Sir Hugo Hirst, head of the General Electricity Company, Mr. Ben Tillett, M.P. and Mr. George Hicks, both ex-Chairmen of the Trades Union Council, Deputy Leon Blum, the French Socialist leader, Mrs. Philip Snowden, wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Norman Angell, M.P., Sir Martin Conway, Sir Archibald Sinclair, Senatore Marconi, the inventor of wireless, Mr. John Masefield, the Poet Laureate, Dr. Lion Feuchtwanger, the author of “Jew Suess”, and Herr Oscar Wassermann, the Chairman of the Finance Commission of the Jewish Agency.

As our work in Palestine grew, Dr. Weizmann went on, his activities grew, and to-day in Palestine we can see in various places those monuments of his work which have unfortunately been stopped too suddenly, and which will be continued by you, by us, and those who come after us. Whether it is in Migdal, in Tel Mond, or in Haifa, he participated in all the phases of the upbuilding of Palestine, and world Jewry and the Jewish community in this country have been deeply stirred by the tragedy of his death. He was taken from us at a time when our movement is passing through a severe ordeal. He was Joint President of the Council of the Jewish Agency and had been President of the English Zionist Federation, and the head of the Political Committee of the Jewish Agency. He was always at hand with his energy, his time, and his material wealth. He was always ready to help, and his passing is an irreparable loss.


I remember Lord Melchett in 1924 (when Mr. Thomas was Colonial Secretary) bringing a deputation to me to ask that the Government should reaffirm the Balfour Declaration, Mr. J. H. Thomas, the Minister for the Dominions, said. There you saw a man not meeting you as a business man, he proceeded, not in any materialist spirit, but pleading for the people he loved, asking for something for the race that he believed had been downtrodden and fighting for something that he sincerely believed was the ideal that Jewry throughout the world welcomed and intended to justify.

He did not ask or plead for something that was going to give a section of people power, for something that would make other sections subordinate; he asked that his own people and race should have the opportunity in Palestine of not only justifying the claim that had been made for them, but of showing by their work and their example to the whole world that their great ideal had been justified. That was the spirit in which he made his appeal. That was the guiding motive behind his great interest in Palestine. If I were asked to say to this audience how can you, the Jewish people, best perpetuate his memory; what is the real tribute to pay him – I would say without hesitation – go and justify in Palestine all he claimed and hoped for it.

It is equally true, Mr. Thomas went on, that in the sphere of industry he was a great man. He realised that we are living in an age far different from the past. He realised that whatever may have been the position before the war, a new spirit had grown up, and changed circumstances and changed times necessitated changed methods, and he was the first to realise, great as was his position, strong as was his place in the capitalist world, that capital had its obligations and that powerful as is labour, strong and powerful as is democracy power must carry with it responsibility. And so he tried to create an atmosphere where capital and labour should mutually benefit. If this country is to be saved and we are to emerge from our present difficulties, Mr. Thomas concluded, it will not be by conflict and strife, but by capital and labour realising their mutual obligation. Therefore I say we are not entitled to be sad. Let us rather be thankful in paying tribute to one whose life is an example to us. He was a great citizen, a Jew whose name will live in history.


There was no one, he thought, in this country who more perfectly combined an absolute loyalty to the Jewish people with an unswerving allegiance to the sovereign king, Lord Hailsham, who was Lord Chancellor in the last Conservative Government, began. Lord Melchett, he said, had burning pride in his Jewish ancestry, with all the glorious heritage of tradition which that ancestry involved, and at the same time no one was more fully alive to the great possession of belonging to the British Empire with all the obligations and opportunity that that afforded.

It is a curious reflection to-day, Lord Hailsham continued, that although Anglo-Jewish friendship has lasted for centuries, culminating in the placing in British hands of the Mandate for Palestine; although English literature and philosophy is steeped in Hebrew thought, it is only in the last century that we have afforded to the Jewish people the fullest opportunity of taking part in our political administration. No one can doubt the wisdom of this when they recall the long list of those men of Jewish birth who have given of their service to the political administration of this country, a list in which Lord Melchett’s name will take an honoured and prominent place.

After paying a tribute to Lord Melchett’s combination of idealism and practical commonsense, which, he said, was one of the outstanding characteristics of the Jewish people and one of the secrets, he believed, of its continued success, Lord Hailsham went on to make a comparison between Lord Melchett and Lord Beaconsfield. While a man of Jewish birth, he said, was the first to awaken the British people in modern times to a sense of Imperial pride, it is no disparagement to say that Lord Beaconsfield, dying when the nation was at the height of a prosperity which he did so much to promote, died a disillusioned and disappointed man; and Lord Melchett, who died at one of the most difficult periods of our history, has left a message of hope and encouragement to the who le British people. The good he did lived after him. In the lesson he taught lies the most fitting memorial to one who was at once a great Jew and a great Englishman.


Eight years ago I was his host in Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel said. He felt instantly the mysterious charm of that fascinating land. He was profoundly touched by the work of the Haluzim and his imagination was fired by the work which was thus proceeding there. He is an example of the truth that a cool head need not imply a cold heart. He was a man of very warm sympathies. To the service of Palestine Lord Melchett devoted in his later years a great part of his indefatigable energies.

Lord Melchett, Sir Herbert said, was a great Jew. He was a man who touched life at many sides ?? industry, politics, relations of employers and employed. The relations of the mother country and the Empire at large, science, art, music, all these commanded his interest. He was a man of swift and confident judgment.

Sir Robert Waley Cohen said that whether in his work for Great Britain or for Palestine, Lord Melchett’s boundless idealism always saw a practical foundation and, he thought, it would bear a great fruit in the years to come. That great heart and tireless brain, he went on, are now at rest and we who mourn the loss which we have suffered as Englishmen and Jews can but do our best to ensure that his great ideals shall not be left derelict on the sea of time, but that in the fulfilment of our destiny there shall be built upon them structures worthy to fulfil the vision of this great man.

Dr. M. D. Eder, the President of the English Zionist Federation, said that Lord Melchett had found balm in Gilead and he had found a physician that would cure not only his own sufferings but the sufferings of his people. That balm in Gilead was our modern Palestine and that physician our modern Zionism.

Major H. L. Nathan, M.P. said that when Lord Melchett gave, he gave whols-heartedly. He attracted to himself a reciprocal friendship; his generosity was unbounded, princely and on a scale commensurate with the bigness of the man himself.


By the death of Lord Melchett, Lord Allenby wrote, not only has Zionism suffered; but in him Great Britain has lost one of her noblest sons; a citizen of inestimable worth; a man of rare intellect and wide vision; one whose activities were innumerable and unwearied; whose life’s work was ever directed to the uplifting of his fellow men, to the advancement of our country’s interests, and to further the unity of Empire.

His death is indeed a national loss, Lord Plumer said in his message to the meeting. I feel warm admiration for Lord Melchett as a statesman, and appreciation of the great services he has rendered to the Empire.

It is fitting that the Zionists in whose cause he took so passionate an interest should honour his memory, Sir Austen Chamberlain wrote, but his death affects a far wider circle and leaves a gap in our national life which there is no one to fill. Lord Melchett possessed a first-rate mind with a singular power of lucid expression. He was a man who thought out his problems for himself and had the courage to admit a change of opinion when altered circumstances called for different treatment. One who took so prominent a part in controversial subjects could not but have opponents, but he was so obviously hones in his opinions that he won respect from all and made no enemies.

His courage, energy, his clear and penetrating mind, his sincerity, and outstanding love of Eretz Israel will remain for ever in the memory of Jewry, Baron Edmond de Rothschild said in his message.

At this moment, Mr. d’Avigdor Goldsmid wrote, when England is deploring the loss of a distinguished leader in industry and politics, the Jewish people all over the world is mourning one of its greatest sons, Lord Melchett’s unrivalled experience and abilities were of incalculable value to the Jewish Cause which he so generously supported; the enthusiasm and kindness which he invariably showed made him loved as well as respected and turned admirers into followers. There is no Jew, as there is scarcely an Englishman, who has not cause to regret the untimely passing of this great man.

My personal sense of loss at the death of Lord Melchett with whom it was a privilege to work is overshadowed by the greater loss which the Cause of Palestine upbuilding has suffered, Mr. Felix M., Warburg wrote. Lord Melchett’s devotion to Palestine was eloquently attested by concrete and practical idealism. We share your grief and join with you in honouring a great and enduring personality.

For the Palestine work which in the last two years has had so much to suffer from extrensic difficulties the death of Lord Melchett is a new, heavy, even irreplaceable loss, Herr Oscar Wassermann wrote, The death of such a wise, energetic and influential man weighs twice as heavily in a time which is so poor in leaders. We cannot better honour his memory than by working with increased energy for the further development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Those of us who take a great and abiding interest in the Zionist movement and in the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine, Mrs. Philip Snowden wrote, know better than we can express in words the loss that cause has sustained. I feel that I have lost a wise and kind friend who never allowed difference in politics to blind him to the value of deeper, truer things. Lord Melchett made his name as a practical man of affairs, but I knew him best as a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions. Let our memorial to him be the work of making those dreams and those visions come true.

I regard Lord Melchett – and I am sure that in time the world will also come to regard him – as one of the greatest sons of Empire since Cecil Rhodes, Sir Hugo Hirst wrote. Rhodes had the good fortune to see his schemes take concrete form; Lord Melchett has been lost to us while so much that he hoped to achieve had not been carried beyond the embryonic stage. When his work has had time to mature, it will surely rank with that of Rhodes or any of the master builders of the past. He will take his place in the Valhalla of the truly great, certain of immortality because his labours will bear increasing fruit from generation to generation.

While not a collectivist, Mr. Ben Tillett wrote, he was the gehius of organic collectivist. Humanity has lost a great friend, Zionists a brave champion, and Britain has lost a noble citizen.

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