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Lipsky Takes Strong Stand in London Against Palestine Government’s Administration Policy

May 9, 1927
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

A strong stand against the administrative policy of the Palestine Government was taken by Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America, in a controversy which developed between him and the “Near East,” a magazine published here, said to be in close touch with the British Colonial Office.

Upon his arrival in London Mr. Lipsky gave an interview to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in which he uttered criticism of the Palestine Government, declaring that the stand of the government reacts unafovrably on the attitude of American Jews and affects the United Palestine Appeal. The “Near East” then published an article in which it accused American Zionists of “evading responsibility” and shifting the blame for prevailing conditions to the mandatory power.

In a letter to the editor of the “Near East” published yesterday, Mr. Lipsky rebukes the magazine and reiterates his stand.

“My recent interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on American Zionist opinion of the policy of the Mandatory Power has elicited in your columns some editorial comment which is not an entirely fair contribution to the discussion. You seem to ascribe the American view to a desire to evade responsibility or to shift a possible blame for conditions prevailing in Palestine to the Mandatory Power. That, I submit, is begging the question.” Mr. Lipsky declares in his letter.

“During the past six years American Jews have contributed about 65 per cent of the total Jewish capital put into Palestine. Their interest is not on the wane, but grows from year to year. This year we shall exceed our last year’s collections by over 30 per cent. Recently a large and influential group hitherto not cooperating in Zionist work has entered into an agreement with the Zionist Organization to share in the responsibility of the Jewish Agency. More and more American Jews come to Palestine to invest their individual capital.

“The growth of this support depends, naturally, upon the creation of favorable conditions in Palestine; and an important factor is Government. It is not sufficient to say. The way is open; let the Jews build the Jewish National Home in Palestine if they can. They must be convinced that their effort enconnters the willing and active support of the Mandatory Power. Many American Jews now visit Palestine and see things for themselves. If the impression is made that the government is reluctant to aid in ways clearly prescribed by the terms of the Mandate, or meets suggestions for active cooperation with delays, the task of the Zionist Organization becomes almost impossible. In addition to its regular propaganda work, it is called upon to dissolve the growing distrust of the whole situation in Palestine, which begins to influence many Jews.

“It is needless to say that we American Zionists have faith in the British Government. That was indicated when an overwhelming majority of American Jews assembled in 1918 at the American Jewish Congress expressed their hope that the Mandate would be offered to, and accepted by Great Britain. That faith was again revealed when both House of the American Congress unanimously adopted a joint resolution, which was signed by President Harding, favoring the Balfour Declaration. The confidence of American Zionists in the British Government’s intentions has been expressed again and again in resolutions adopted by the American Zionist Organization. But all that good will is gradually being destroyed by methods of administration that seem to take undue advantage of the Jewish desire to make sacrifices for Palestine by resisting reasonable requests for effective cooperation, and leaving Jewish endeavor without the support of adequate Government action,” Mr. Lipsky writes.

“We are aiming to establish the Jewish National Home upon a basis of self-supporting Jewish agriculture. The land, we know, has to be purchased, but as Jewish immigration increases, the price of land goes up. I disregard the argument that in the circumstances — the reclamation and settlement of waste land–facilities should have been provided at least for the purchase of land under reasonable conditions, or that the Government should have enacted effective laws to protect us against speculative increases in land prices. But in view of the fact that every inch of land intended for Jewish agricultural settlement has to be purchased, every tenant equitably compensated, and every dunam of land irrigated and improved. American Jewish public opinion asks: Is it fair for the Government notwithstanding all these handicaps, in addition to impose a tax upon such agricultural land which comes into effect the day the settler takes possession of it?

“The Zionist Organization expends on education in Palestine £ 83,500 a year. Instruction is given to 18,59? children. The Budget of the Government provides £ 121,387 for education. Although the Jews number over 17 per cent of the population of Palestine, only after many memoranda had been submitted was an appropriation of £ 10,664 given this year to Jewish education–about 8 per cent of the total.

“During the last few years customs duties amounting to many millions of dollars have been collected on the importation of building materials, foodstuffs, clothing and other European necessities of life, in addition to the various other direct and indirect taxes collected on account of a multitude of Jewish agricultural, building, manufacturing and commercial enterprises. During the past few years the Jews have made numerous attempts to introduce various industries into Palestine. The experiments were costly. When it was found that the tax on raw materials made it difficult for promising industries to live, representations were made to the Government, and only after numerous protests had been lodged and the difficulties became quite apparent, did the Government agree, in detail, to remove the tax on such raw materials as those industries required.

“I give these few instances of the many that have combined to produce an unfavorable impression in American Jewish circles with regard to the Government’s policy in Palestine. We seriously regret that this impression should have been created, but it does not help to retort that the feeling is animated by unfriendliness, or that it is not based on facts.

“We American Zionists are staunch supporters of the policy of the Zionist Executive, which is directed by its President, Dr. Weizmann, and of its endeavors through the regular official channels to ameliorate conditions without friction or controversy, but the statement is clearly in order that the task of holding our constituents in support of the Jewish National Home is made unnecessarily hard by the administrative conditions that still prevail in Palestine,” Mr. Lipsky declares.

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