Copyright, 1934, J.T.A., Inc
It is not a joyful task for a responsible newspaperman to alarm the Jewish world by warning of new dangers. But this time it is a sacred duty. In London in recent weeks a cloudburst has been forming which threatens Palestine. Zionism is no longer just a party and Palestine is no longer a hobby of idealists and dreamers. Zionism and Palestine are today the last only hope of the Jewish people.
The Jews should know that at present in London a law is being drafted to choke Zionism and to close the doors of Palestine for the Jewish people.
The Jewish people must gather their strength and mobilize their friends among the Christian nations to organize widespread defensive action. The conscience of the whole world must be awakened if help is to come forth to avoid catastrophe for Palestine.
I shall give quotations from three official or semi-official declarations and comments.
OFFICIAL ZIONIST ORGAN
The English official organ of the Zionist World Organization in London deals in a paragraph of a leading article with the approaching disaster in establishment of a parliament in Palestine and writes with self-imposed diplomatic composure:
“The principle of self-government is certainly not likely to be advanced through the setting up of a body not acceptable to at least one section of the population. Since the Arabs reject the very basis on which the Palestine constitution and Palestine rest, they would obviously utilize the legislative body as an instrument to prevent the carrying out of the main object of the Palestine constitutionâ€”the establishment of the Jewish National Home. Unless the intention is to enable the Arabs to violate provisions of the Palestine Mandate, which is inconceivable, the result can only be a permanent deadlock, a continuous struggle with obstruction. Surely, no section of the population can possibly benefit from such an experiment in ‘self-government,’ accompanied, as it inevitably would be, by endless wrangling and sectional maneuvering. It is clear to us that under present conditions a legislative council in Palestine has no reasonable hope of success. The Jewish people and the issue concerns the whole of Jewry and not only the Jews in Palestine can hardly be expected to assist in the erection of an altar for the sacrifice of their national rights in the National Home. It may be set up without their cooperation, but it is difficult to see how this can be done without infringing the provisions of the Mandate.”
NEAR EAST AND INDIA
These bitter words, written almost in resignation, are printed in the September issue of The New Judaea. The magnitude of the disaster is much more clearly and less diplomatically shown up in the issue of Near East and India for the first week of September.
The periodical, which is generally considered the unofficial mouth-piece of the British Colonial Office, says:
“The Jewish press released some ‘ballons d’essai’ in connection with the proposals for a semi-self-governing institution in the country. They stated that the authorities had in mind a plan for a constitution of an advisory council, composed of civilians, which would act as a subordinate body to the present advisory council, which consists of heads of governments departments. The functions of this advisory council, it was stated, are to include the discussing of Palestine’s affairs, reserving such vital matters as affected Great Britain’s international obligations in respect of Palestine.”
Near East and India refutes these “Jewish ballons d’essai,” and continues:
“The authorities intend to proceed with their original plan of setting up a legislative council on the basis of elections and fixed more or less according to the numerical proportions of the different sections of the inhabitants. If, of course, the two main sections of the population cannot agree to the whole idea of such a body, and refuse to participate in the elections (as the newspapers of both sides have threatened time and again), the possibility must arise of the members of the council being appointed by the High Commissioner and of carrying on in office until such time as elections become feasible, with the growing realization of the Arabs and the Jews that a legislature is conceived in their best interest.”
To these comments must be added that of the well-informed London Times which declares:
“It is believed that arrangements in regard to the Palestine legislative council are on the point of settlement between the home government and Sir Arthur Wauchope, the Palestine High Commissioner, who is now on his way to London. The Jews dislike an arrangement which would displace the present Jewish representation vis-a-vis the government through the ‘Jewish Agency,’ which has a backing throughout Jewry, by half a dozen local Jews….”
Between the lines of these three statements and comments can be read the catastrophe which is in preparation for Zionism and the right of the Jewish people in Palestine. The leading article of the official English Zionist organ says that establishment of a legislative council aims to “enable the Arabs to violate provisions of the Palestine Mandate” which would be equal to an “altar for the sacrifice of the national rights in the National Home.”
Near East and India even speaks clearly of a parliament founded on the basis of elections according to the proportions of the different people, which would mean a parliament with an Arabic majority. At the same time the paper ridicules the Jewish press, because the latter tells the Jewish world that the functions of such a parliament would exclude those “vital matters which touch Great Britain’s international obligations regarding Palestine.” These terms mean Jewish immigration and purchase of land as a prerequisite to the erection of a Jewish National Home.
To this is to be added a last comment furnished by The Times, directly from Jerusalem, which maintains that the Jews are opposing a legislative council because it would mean abolition of the Jewish Agency. Its place would be taken by the few members of this Palestine Parliament, who would then act as the legal representatives of Palestine Jewry with the Palestine government.
This is a murderous attack upon the meaning and task of the Mandate which would signify a complete stoppage of further Jewish development in Palestine. It would in fact also mean the submission of Palestine to Arab domination, with the single restriction that England would supervise the Arabian government and administration of Palestine. And this edict declares: A parliament will be established, whether the Zionists agree to it or not.
UNITED FIGHT REQUIRED
One can believe with certainty that the Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency will use all their powers to save what can be saved. But as the attack can have a devastating effect upon all the hopes and possibilities of the Jewish people, it would amount to national self-destruction if the Zionist organization alone were to be left to fight a quiet, secret and even desperate battle behind the closed doors of diplomatic cabinets. Upon the result of this fight depends the life and death of the national aspirations of the Jewish people. The whole Jewish people must participate in this battle. All Jewish strength must be mobilized with friendly elements in England and other civilized countries to ward off the danger. Such a desperate battle of a desperate people must be understood in England and must help this country to repulse the strong pressure exercised by its mixed colonial body of officials and their high-placed protectors in some parts of the British Empire.
Copyright, 1934, J.T.A., Inc
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.