Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Mandatory Power’s Full Cooperation for Palestine Peace and Reconstruction Work Demanded by Jewish Le

September 17, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

If you are pleased with the “Jewish Daily Bulletin” tell your friends to subscribe.

The full cooperation of Great Britain as the Mandatory Power for Palestine in the restoration of peace and the continuation of peaceful reconstruction work in Palestine was the keynote of addresses delivered by Zionists and non-Zionists at a meeting held Sunday at Town Hall, New York City, under the auspices of the Zionist Organization of America, on the occasion of the return of the Jewish Agency leaders to the United States. The memory of Louis Marshall was honored at the meeting, where much of the proceedings were devoted to tributes to the late leader.

Two thousand were present, and about three thousand were unable to gain admittance.

Unusual interest was aroused in the meeting due to the fact that this is the first time since the Arab outrages in Palestine took place that the leaders of Zionism in America have had an opportunity to give their views to the American Jewish public. All those who spoke at the meeting were in London during that time, participating in the political negotiations with the British Government. Mr. Lipsky, Dr. Wise and Mr. Warburg returned from Europe last week.

Among others who spoke at the meeting were Herman Bernstein, who presided, Morris Rothenberg, vice-president of the Zionist Organization, Judge William M. Lewis of Philadelphia, chairman of the United Palestine Appeal, and Judge Bernard A. Rosenblatt.

During the course of the meeting, a cablegram was read from Gershon Agronsky, representative of the Zionist Organization of American in Jerusalem, which gave high praise to Paul Knabenshue, United States Consul-General in Palestine, for his cooperation with American-Jewish citizens during the riots.

In his speech opening the meeting. Mr. Bernstein paid tribute to Louis Marshall, of whom he said that “all American Israel mourns this great leader, whose death is an irreparable loss to all world Jewry.” The audience then rose in memory of the departed leader.


“The tragedy that befell the Jewish people in Palestine,” Mr. Bernstein said, “is a challenge to civilization. It is particularly a challenge to Great Britain, who solemnly gave the Balfour Declaration to the Jewish people and upon that basis solemnly took the Mandate over Palestine from the League of Nations, with the approval of America and the sympathetic endorsements of the American Presidents-from the great idealist, Woodrow Wilson, to the great humanitarian, Herbert Hoover.”

Mr. Bernstein then introduced Morris Rothenberg, who returned on the S. S. Berengaria on Friday. In a speech which was greeted with frequent applause as he demanded the removal of a number of Palestine officials. Mr. Rothenberg said in part as follows:

“It seems unbelievable that the Jews who came into Palestine with the word Shalom (peace) on their lips, who carried out their work molesting no one, bringing health and healing into the land; who opened their hospitals, their clinics to Arab children, curing them of blinding diseases, whose doctors and nurses delivered Arab wives of their newly-born and taught Arab mothers hygienic standards in the caring of their youth; who rid the infected water supply of Palestine from fever, who caused new schools to be opened, and who enriched the Arabs through land purchases, that those Jews should have been foully murdered by those whom they aided.

“As to the Arabs, we have on every occasion both by word and deed made manifest our desire to live in peace with them. If they will not permit themselves to be led astray by selfish agitation, they will learn that, far from doing them any injury, our coming into the land will benefit them and their children.”

Devoting himself to the Palestine government officials, Mr. Rothenberg demanded the removal of some of them, saying:


“Those men in Palestine who have been known for years to be out of sympathy with our work no longer belong there, and ways should be found to remove them from Palestine. Keith-Roach (District Commissioner in Jerusalem) has no business in Palestine. The former Acting High Commissioner H. C. Luke has no place in the Palestine administration. At the present time they should step aside. If they are found guiltless by the Commission of Inquiry, the Jewish people will be glad to acknowledge the fact. But in the meantime they must not be allowed to taint the atmosphere of the investigation.

“I say moreover that it is nothing short of criminal that the Grand Mufti is yet permitted to exercise power.”

The next speaker was Judge William M. Lewis, who returned on Friday on the S. S. George Washington, having spent some time in Palestine and then attended the Zurich Zionist Congress. He agreed with Mr. Rothenberg with respect to High Commissioner Luke, saying that “after the conversation J had with him, even if one drop of blood had not been shed in Palestine.

I would say that he was unfit to be Acting High Commissioner.”


Felix Warburg paid tribute to the late Louis Marshall for his work in uniting Zionists and non-Zionists into the Jewish Agency for the rebuilding of Palestine. In the course of his address. Mr. Warburg said:

“This meeting is of extraordinary importance and takes on an aspect quite different from what some of us had foreseen. The homecoming members of the new Agency were to report on the happily accomplished union of all shades of Jewry for the further upbuilding of Palestine. It was expected that the outstanding figure to receive the thanks of his admirers was to have been Louis Marshall, the untiring champion of the Jewish cause. The ship on which he had planned to return has reached the port, but our beloved friend has reached his haven of rest and did not return with us as we hoped.

“We who have seen his happy smile, his satisfaction at the accomplished united front of all kinds of Jews from all kinds of countries, and we who have seen the united confidence in the arrangement which he worked out with such patience during many months, we do not complain that he has found that glorious apotheosis of a wonderful, rich life.

“But can we spare him? No. Can we do without him? We must try! Not one man nor a few can take and fill his place, but in unity is strength, and if we want to be worthy of his leadership, his ideals, his confidence, his friendship, we can only do one thing: carry on the causes that were dear to him.

“It is too bad that coinciding with his sickness, so unexpected but unavoidable, that other blow should have struck us, the terrible, cruel blow of vicious violence in Palestine. Dear Marshall, death was unavoidable. What self-sacrifienig medical care could do, Dr. Libman and his colleagues and friends have done, and we thank them heartily.


“The other blow could have been avoided. That danger was foreseen by many, and the parties responsible were warned, and warned us themselves. In contrast to many others, I have no ill feeling for the Arab population; the best among them feel ashamed of their agitators and as in all nationalities the good and fine are held responsible for the evil doers among them. Surely we Jews know how it feels to be blamed continuously whenever a wrong is laid at the door of one among us

“We have not reached that point by a long way. The cruel deeds of the past weeks cannot be forgotten and must be prevented to that they will not happen again-people who live on agitation for trouble must be eliminated.

“Once all three parties agree to agree and help each other and understand, and not fear each other, they can live happily if they work toward that goal. It will not be reached by itself.

“In the last words of Marshall at the last meeting, which he hopefully and cheerfully attended for the cause of Palestine at the meeting of the administrative committee at Zurich, he stated that he had hopes that the suggestion that every member of the large council would be placed in charge of some activity in the administration of Palestine, be it for the health, the education, the civic work, etc. He moved that everybody be appointed to such activity, and it was carried.

“I have followed that mandate, and promptly worked out such committees in the major points, guided by him. I did not think then that this suggestion, which I followed as I have followed so many he made to me, would be his last will.

“Today I ask you to pledge your-selves to help carry out his will, that everybody consider himself bound to work for the practical ideals, not to dream, of cooperation with our neighbors in the many fields of activity where Christian, Jew and Mohammedan agree cheerfully. Let us join hands for better things in Palestine and elsewhere. Health, education, cooperation in transportation, markets, the fight against elements, malaria etc., are everybody’s problems. Let us continue our efforts jointly in as many directions as a joint committee until we take the same pride in the same things.

“The Mandate government in Palestine is investigating what weakness caused this immense suffering. Surely the people in charge of affairs, while too many were absent on all sides, erred when they permitted the Arab demonstrations at the place devoted since Roman times to Jewish worship. That was inexcusable. As some papers misunderstood my former statement, I repeat clearly:

“I have absolute trust in the fair investigation which will be made in Palestine, and we will do all in our power to see that fair information will be given.

“Then if the danger in spots is removed and watched, let us proceed to carry on in this manner: No politics, but freedom in cultural, social and economical development, and live and let live for all-as they say, for the good of all, for the detriment of none.

“In that spirit, I feel, Louis Marshall would want us to carry on; no wailing, no weeping, but energetic, steady loyal progress. Let us pledge ourselves to that by a silent rising vote.”


That Great Britain has been evasive in carrying out the Mandate entrusted to it by the League of Nations was the charge made by Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America. During the course of his address, Mr. Lipsky said:

“There is none of the primitive lamentation usual in Jewish habits in our own attitude toward the outrageous attacks made upon Jewish life in Palestine. They are incidents of the return to Zion. They are part of the struggle for self-emancipation. Through such happenings the national spirit is purified, invigorated, developed. We mourn those who have fallen, and comfort those whose grief is personal. In the mourning there is a note of determination, of consecration to the great purposes in the movement.”

The Grand Mufti in Jerusalem, and Supreme Head of the Moslem Council, was accused by Mr. Lipsky of having been responsible for most of the outrages.

“The Grand Mufti held secret meetings with his silent cohorts, whispered words of advice, gave form and authority to incendiary calumnies and sat back in his chair of ecclesiastic state awaiting results.

“When the outbreaks actually began in Palestine, the country found itself with a few lukewarm Arab policemen, a few whirring aeroplanes and a growing feeling of impotence and confusion. The aggressive acts of the Arabs were called Moslem religious fury outraged by the magnified happenings at the Wailing Wall.


“The attitude of the Acting High Commissioner was an outrageous independcy. His malevolent adhesion to his stupid interpretation of what was happening stamp him not only as a criminally negligent administrator; he proved himself unfit to hold any office representative of the dignity and honor of Great Britain.

“We are still a people of peace, no matter what injustice may be done to us. It is through peace and under (Continued on Page 8)

“But that does not mean that a policy of peace should be built upon the giving away of rights, upon excessive acquiescence in unfair demands, or in not being prepared to take up arms vigorously in self-defense.

“Great Britain has at no time vigorously defended the justice and right contained in the purposes of the Mandate. It never attempted to justify the Jewish National Home in a public manner. It expected to muddle through with compromise, concession and evasion with the hope that in the process of time the distorted picture of intention would assume equitable form.

“It is against this policy that we protest. The lesson of the ‘disorders’ is plain. The Mandatory Government must begin over again frankly and honestly. It is called upon to make the Mandate a force for the reality of the Jewish National Home. Words will not comfort or encourage us. It is a change of heart and of courage that is demanded of that great Power which, under the leadership of that distinguished statesman. Lord Balfour, achieved a new lustre in history when it issued the declaration in favor of the Jewish National Home.

“The time has come for us to say to Great Britain, if the Mandate means a National Home, tell it to the Arabs not to the Jews.

“The Mandate given under the aegis of Balfour has become a Mandate to be given to Mr. Luke, to be crumpled up and thrown aside.

“The Jewish people register their protest not only in Downing Street but in Washington and Geneva against turning the mandate into a scrap of paper. I am sure when we show the facts, the justice of our acts, of our intentions, the good we are building, there is no civilized nation which will fail to say to Great Britain: ‘Come to the bar and defend yourself against this just indictment of your actions.’


A cablegram was then read by the chairman which had just arrived from Jerusalem, which evoked tremendous applause when high praise was given to Paul Knabenshue, United States Consul-General in Palestine, for his cooperation with American Jewish citizens in the Holy Land.

The cablegram was sent by Gershon Agronsky, representative of the Zionist Organization of America, who denied that Mr. Knabenshue had not been entirely helpful during the crisis in Palestine and said that the Consul-General deserved a vote of gratitude from the Jewish people.

The cable reads in part as follows:

“The United States Consul General was extremely helpful during the crisis in Palestine and showed an acute awareness of the gravity of the situation which he repeatedly reported to Washington. He did everything in his power to protect American nationals, to which end he initiated a joint action with the consular corps which resulted in the restoration of telephones to the consulates, which the authorities had first allowed to be cut off.

“Mr. Knabenshue’s own position is best shown by the fact that the Consulate was unguarded until the third or fourth day of the riots. In one instance when the Consul brought back from Haifa thirty boys attending the Biram School, which included fourteen Americans on an excursion to Metullah, the Consul displayed energy, resourcefulness and knowledge of the threatened danger. He did all in his power to protect and assist two thousand American citizens throughout the country.”

Judge Bernard A. Rosenblatt was the next speaker who described the Balfour Declaration as “a holy contract” between the Jewish people and Great Britain. which the justice-loving British people would never dishonor. He declared that the Jewish Legion which had fought under General Allenby had helped give the Arabs seven-eighths of the land of Palestine and all that the Jewish people were asking for their share in the recapture of the land from the Turks was the opportunity to develop the land to the mutual advantage of Jews and Arabs.


The final speaker on the program was Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Rabbi of the Free Synagogue, who was given a huge ovation when he went to the rostrum. During the course of his speech, in which Dr. Wise said that there must not be an investigation of the recent Palestine riots by the Palestine Government but an investigation of the Palestine Government officials them-selves, Dr. Wise declared:

“If they have not lost faith in Palestine, shall we lose heart in the Diaspora? That is the question we are asked to ask ourselves at this moment.

“Certain things must be made clear. I am tempted to believe that they have been made clear this afternoon. There have been no ‘disorders’ in Palestine, unless ‘disorders’ is used in a new sense. There has been no ‘race war’ in Palestine. There have been attacks and assaults; there have been mutilations; there has been violence and there has been destruction. It is possible for us to say that all this has been made possible by a negative, neutral, non-cooperative attitude of the British Government which has been twisted and tortured by the Palestine Government into sanction and acquiescence in anything that the wrongful leaders-and only some leaders-of the Arabs have chosen to do.

“There was no offending on the part of the Jews. The offense came from some Arabs. The offending came from a gentleman whom I refer to as his unholiness, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and finally from the Palestine Government which was charged with responsibility for life and property of the Jewish people.


“There has been decimation of Jews by Arabs. The answer to Arab decimation is Jewish immigration. There must be no investigation by the Palestine Government. There must be an investigation of the Palestine Government. I do not quite see why the British Government should make the mistake-and I don’t believe that it will-of identifying itself with the Palestine Government, seeing that the Palestine Government has carefully refrained from identifying itself with the British Government for ten years.

“The ‘Daily Mail’ tells Great Britain to give up the Mandate. The Mandate for Palestine has not cost Great Britain one shilling. On the contrary we Jews are paying year by year, instalments of the pre-war Turkish debt. We have an answer to make to the ‘Daily Mail’ and to the ‘Daily Express.’ You say to England: Give up the Mandate. We answer: You, England, dare not give up the Mandate. England made a covenant with the Jewish people; England made a covenant with the League of Nations; England made a covenant with honor itself when she took upon herself the Mandatory for Great Britain. To abandon the Mandate now would be fatal to the prestige of Great Britain.’

“An Arab Palestine is a threat to Great Britain and the world. A Jewish Palestine is an asset to Great Britain and the world.”

In concluding, Dr. Wise paid tribute to the late Louis Marshall, of whom he said:

“No more devoted, passionately loyal, greater Jew has lived in generations than Louis Marshall. Now I turn to you and say as I conclude: Let the valiant, the unwithstandable spirit of Marshall guide us that we may be just, that we may be wise, and deal self-respectingly with our problem and remember whatever else happens; Israel lives and Zion will become the Jewish National Home.”

Recommended from JTA