What the Zionist Executive has achieved in the two-year period in which it has guided the destiny of Palestine will be told by Emanuel Neumann, American member of the Executive, in the August issue of Opinion. We are enabled to quote from this article in advance of publication through the courtesy of the editor of Opinion.
Recalling the circumstances under which the present Executive took office in the summer of 1931 Mr. Neumann writes:
“Politically we were standing in the shadow of the riots of 1929, the Shaw Commission, the Hope-Simpson Report, the Passfield White Paper as modified by the MacDonald Letter, and the coming Development Plan under Mr. Frenchâ€”then an unknown quantity. Financially, the Jewish Agency, the Zionist Organization and its affiliated institutions were in a most difficult position. A huge burden of debt was the principal feature on an otherwise bleak and discouraging horizon. Economically, Palestine was in a state bordering on stagnation. The movement as a whole had been permeated with gloom, weakened by partisan strife and all but exhausted from the effects of a long-drawn-out battle of words over ideologies and political platforms.”
Mr. Neumann recounts how the Executive fought the restriction and limitation on the acquisition of land by Jews before Mr. French’s arrival in Palestine with his Development Plan and how they refused to associate themselves with the plan, and how they fought the creation of a legislative council which would have placed the National Home at the mercy of its mortal enemies.
These things, he points out, have been substantial contributions and he pays tribute to Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff, head of the Political Department of Palestine, for his great aid in achieving “satisfactory working relations with the Mandatory Government.”
Discussing the economic conditions of Palestine he writes:
“Economically, Palestine has passed through one of the most remarkable periods in Zionist history. In two years the Jewish population of the country will have increased by almost 50,000. There has been no unemployment among the Jews and little unemployment among the Arabsâ€”this at the peak of Jewish immigation. In one year, Jewish investments in the country amounted to Â£3,500,000. The purchasing power of the people has risen. Import and export trade show a sharply rising curve, as contrasted with neighboring countries whose foreign trade has suffered…. It is impossible in a brief space to recount in detail the enormous economic gains made in these two years.”
Taking up the problem of immigration in Palestine which will determine the future composition of the Jewish population there he states: “We went on the principle that this immigration, insofar as we controlled it, should be as variegated as is the Jewish population in the Diaspora and that no man should be kept out because of his social, economic or religious views. We applied only one testâ€”the acid test: is the applicant able and willing to contribute productively to the upbuilding of the National Home. In applying this test, we assigned a reasonable part of the certificates at our disposal to middle class immigrants and time will show whether we were justified in doing so.”
Discussing conflicts within the Zionist movement he states:
“There is roomâ€”and always will beâ€”in the Zionist movement for every shade of opinion and belief…. There is room for different philosophies and schools of thoughtâ€”but only as they are refracted through the medium of the Jewish soul and Jewish tradition. There have been too many attempts to introduce alien methods, alien forms and uniforms into our national life, which, uncorrected and uncontrolled, would menace our national existence….
“There have been too many attempts to improve on the White and Blue flag, to add to its colors red and black and brownâ€”every color of the spectrum. These colors do not derive from the fountain head of Jewish tradition. Is it not time that we put to the fore once more the national aspect? For we are engaged in buildingâ€”not a Fascist Palestine, nor a Marxian Palestine, nor a Leninist Palestineâ€”but a Jewish Palestine, in which the ideals of the Jewish prophets and Jewish ethics shall prevail.”
THE JEW ASTRIDE TWO WORLDS
How the Jew has managed to survive through the ages and the present status of the Jew in the modern world is discussed by Rabbi Milton Steinberg in the June and July issues of the Atlantic Monthly. Both articles are of tremendous interest to the Jew who is seeking to understand himself in relation to his community. Because of the scholarly and impartial way they are written they should undeniably interest the non-Jew.
Up until the French Revolution and since the Jews were dispersed from Palestine they retained their own culture which was not influenced in any marked degree by the alien lands in which they lived. It is this strongly unified culture plus the rules laid down limiting the activities of Jews in the various countries which determined the survival of the Jew.