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Between the Lines

October 24, 1934
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Anxious to find new territories for Jewish immigration, Jewish leaders in Europe have now started a new movement to revive the Jewish territorial organization known as ITO which closed its activities in 1925.

With immigration into Palestine restricted, and with practically no other country permitting the entrance of immigrants, the revival of the ITO will no doubt provoke great interest among Jews of many countries. There are three million Jews in Poland, all of whom are seeking to migrate. There are two million more Jews in other countries of Eastern Europe for whom migration is the only solution.


When the late Israel Zangwill formed the ITO in 1905 he made it clear that Palestine was not to be excluded from the ITO’s program. It was only after the seventh Zionist congress had rejected the Uganda scheme and had refused to consider Jewish colonization outside Palestine that Zangwill launched the Jewish Territorial Organization.

The revival of the ITO need not, therefore, be looked upon as competition to Palestine. Even the most ardent Zionists agree at present that Palestine alone is not in a position to solve the immediate needs of the suffering Jews in Eastern Europe. Palestine cannot at present absorb the millions of Jews from Poland, from Austria, from Germany, from the Balkan countries and the Baltic states who can be saved only if given a chance to work in a new land.


It is therefore natural that the Jewish Territorial Organization, when revived now, should be met with so much opposition on the part of Zionists, since it is not competitive in its activities to the upbuilding of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

An attempt to re-form the Jewish Territorial Organization has been made once before. Inspired by the desire to assist Jewish colonization in Russia, a small group of Jewish leaders tried their hand at reorganizing this old organization. This attempt failed however, due to the fact that no Jews from foreign countries were admitted to Soviet Russia to settle on land there.


Now the position has changed. The revived territorialist organization is not looking to help the Jews of one particular country but wishes to find a way of solving the Jewish problem in many countries. It speaks of settling Jews in Angola; it considers the possibility of Jewish immigration into Central American countries; it is laying out plans for working on a worldwide scale.

The revival of the ITO is therefore timely. Furthermore, it is needed. The promoting of a concentrated Jewish colonization would only be welcomed by Jews. It might even be assisted by the League of Nations through James G. McDonald, the High Commissioner for Refugees.

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