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Mr. Jabotinsky Explains His Dynamite Speech: Letter to “times”: England Not Jews Whom I Accused of P

January 27, 1932
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Mr. Vladimir Jabotinsky has a long letter in to-day’s issue of the “Times” explaining what he meant by his speech to the Revisionist Conference in Warsaw, the report of which in the “Times” contained a passage attributing to him the statement that “Jews might become the dynamite which would blow up the British Empire.”

This is most inaccurate, Mr. Jabotinsky declares, for it was not to Jews but to another (and much more formidable) community that I referred as to a potential reservoir of human “dynamite”. (Mr. Jabotinsky, in his original letter indicated Islam as being the other community, but the “Times” made the change in printing the text).

But I especially resent the wording of your cable, Mr. Jabotinsky goes on, because it sounds as though I suggested that “Jews” wished or might wish harm to the British Empire. So far I have heard of no Jew who does. It is one of our racial weaknesses (too often taken advantage of) that with us resentment does not necessarily imply the desire for revenge; and “the Empire” really bears no responsibility for England’s action as Mandatory in Palestine.

On the other hand, he says, the object of my present mise au point is by no means apologetic. On the contrary, your cable’s epitome of my Warsaw speech was in some ways rather an under-statement. It was England, not the Jews, whom I accused of playing with “dynamite” – with a store of potential high explosive consisting of some 300,000,000 units; and what seems likely to be “blown up” as a result of such practice is, I said, something much bigger and more important even than the British Empirenamely, the world’s stability.

I beg leave to quote the essence of those two passages in my Warsaw speech to which your cable evidently referred, Mr. Jabotinsky continues, one dealing with “Jews” and the other with “dynamite”. The first: “Our experience with England as Mandatory for Palestine has resulted in making 15,000,000 people lose faith in a nation whose name, to every Jew, has always stood for straightforward moral earnestness. The Mandatory has become an unmitigated hindrance to any progress of Zionism. The realisation threatens to drive the Jewish masses, especially our youth, along a very dangerous road. The youth of a people faced with such plight as ours cannot live without some kind of faith; faith either in a great restoration or in a great destruction. England acts as though she wished to set ablaze 15,000,000 toches of despair scattered in every corner of the world.”

The second passage is: “But this is not the only game of world incendiarism in which some English agencies now seem to engage. There is an even bigger one going on just now: I mean the systematic galvanisation of pan9Islamic fanaticism in its most medieval and reactionary form. Jerusalem is being converted into a centre of incitement vying with the worst efforts of the Muscovite Comintern, a centre from which innumerable sticks of dynamite are to be showered all round, threatening not only our Jewish settlers in Palestine but also the whole of Europe’s colonial system. It is not to us Jews, it is to some of the mightiest nations of Europe that England may soon have to render accounts for this shortsighted and dangerous gamble with the world’s security conducted under her aegis”.


The “Times” stops here. Mr. Jabotinsky’s letter, however, contained the following additional two paragraphs:

This is what I actually said, and here I repeat and confirm it. Let me warn all concerned against attempts to shout down the feelings here expressed as those of one single faction or one single person. It would be blindness not to realise that the natural reaction to all this must inevitably be the rise of a strong anti-English feeling among all sections of Jewry not living under the British crown. In this term, anti-English feeling, I imply no hint of a futile threat: no Jew dreams of trying “reprisals”, nor would it save us if we tried. But the feeling itself is a fact; it grows and spreads and deepens day by day, and it can no longer be stemmed.

It is with the profoundest regret that I state this undeniable truth. There are even in England, some who know how stubbornly my friends and I have stuck to the last trench in trying to keep up our people’s waning faith in England. It was we who have for years, and even as late as the 1931 Zionist Congress, endeavoured to persuade our masses that the main defaulters were the Palestine bureaucracy and the Zionist leadership; but that there still remained England’s collective conscience as our Court of Appeal, and if we only could reach it it would redress all our wrongs. I wish we could still go on preaching the same doctrine for it can do our people no good, in its present unparalleled distress, to have to admit that a pledge meant to endorse a national hope of such universally revered sacredness can be turned into a mockery. But a moment comes when even the most desirable illusion can no longer be maintained in the face of cruel realities.

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