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News Brief

October 15, 1923
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Arraigning “the political mishandling of Zionism” Mr. Zangwill said that “too late the Carlbad conference has voted its protest that not even the State lands and waste lands mentioned in the mandate have been allotted to the Zionists. Indeed, a colonization without a territorial charter, in which the land has to be bought literally by the square yard and every purchase puts up the price of land against yourself”, he continued, “is a monstrosity unknown to history.

“National politics is the realm of might, and if, as Dr. Hertz warns us, the menace of massacre still lies over the whole Russian Jewry should the Soviet Government be overthrown, we must face the sad fact that Jewish might does not exist. We are like those children whose fate Thomas Hardy deplores in one of his novels, trailed helplessly hither and thither in the wake of drunken and improvident parents. Armed defence in the ghettos may do something to mitigate pogroms, but the only hope for the Jewish Diaspora, as for so many other racial minorities in the resurrected or parvenu countries created by the Treaty of Versailles, lies in the enforcement by the League of Nations of one of the few righteous sections of that treaty, namely, the clause providing for the protection of minorities.

“Sir Willoughby Dickinson, the President of the Minorities Commission of the League of Nations Union, says Great Britain regards the protection of the Jewish minorities as an especial aim. But this Union has only moral power: and of political power the League of Nations itself has only a spurious institution, which, as I have said, is less a League of Nations than a League of Damnations.

“But even if Russia and Germany were admitted to it, and America joined it, it would still be a defective institution so long as its members mutually pledged themselves to maintain the integrity of their existing territories without first inquiring whether the existing distribution of these territories was equitable, especially in relation to populations, port facilities, and free opting of nationality, and without providing for the expansion of contraction of territories in accordance with the growth or decline of populations. For, in the world of flux, the justice of day is the injustice of tomorrow. The readjustment to a changing reality has been the main factor in producing war, and any League that omitted to provide for the inevitable movement of life might produce peace, but it would not produce justice. There is only one way to world peace and that is the absolute abolition of passports, visas, frontiers, custom houses and all other devices that make of the population of our planet not a co-operating civilization, but a mutual irritation society. I present this idea to Mr. Bok, though I am sure he will not award me his peace prize. It is the overlooking, willful or foolish, of the raw realities of the case that turns so much peace idealism into hot air or spilt ink. The nations do not want peace because they are unwilling to pay the price the surrender of sovereign rights”.

“To cal a world congress for Zionism exclusively, declared Mr. Zangwill was to repeat the mistake that Herzl made. “A world Congress for our world affairs, Zionism included”, he added, “would leave no excuse to any Jew of remaining unrepresented in it unless his solution of the Jewish question was dissolution”. A Congress representing all Jewry need not be organized centrally, he went on to say, suggesting that every country have its own Jewish Congress. Each of these congresses acting as an electoral college would then create the world concoul, “the shanhedrin so long extinct”. By this Sanhedrin, he said, the spheres and finances of the various relief and other organizations could be adjusted so as not to overlap.

The Jewish problem lies between Palestine and the Diaspora, Mr. Zangwill asserted. Palestine, a little country, no larger than Wales, has already suffered diminution by “French imperialism which has lopped off a northern slice of its extensibility eastward” at the best it could shelter one-fourth of the 16,000,000 Jews of the Diaspora.

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