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Palestine Parliament Pros and Cons Seen by Ludwig and Jabotinsky

February 23, 1930
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The pros and cons of a parliament in Palestine have been discussed recently by Vladimir Jabotinsky, world leader of the Zionist Revisionists, in a speech which he delivered before a large gathering in Tel Aviv, Palestine, and by Emil Ludwig, eminent German writer, in an article in the New York “Times.” Jabotinsky opposes a parliament in Palestine, while Ludwig sees it as inevitable.

Doubting that a parliament in Palestine will bring peace to the country, Jabotinsky declared in his speech:

“On the contrary, I believe that it will lead to war, to a new war that will be even worse than the present one. All who have given ear to the proposal for a parliament say that we must demand that it approve of the Balfour Declaration. But everyone understands today that one can even get from an anti-Semite a statement in favor of the Balfour Declaration. But the important thing is who does the interpreting. These are two possibilities inherent in a parliament. One of them is that it should consist of an Arab majority which can control our immigration and stop it when it wishes. Or, as the English propose, neither the Arabs nor the Jews should have a majority, but the Arabs together with the English should constitute a majority, and the Jews, together with the English, should constitute a majority.

“Perhaps this method is good, but will it bring peace to the country? If a proposal will be adopted in parliament against the votes of the Arabs, they will say: “The Jews are leaning on a third power and are forcing us to say that we are against it.’ Will that bring peace to the country? And if the Arabs and the English should accidentally pass a law barring immigration and we come out with speeches and protests, the government will say to us: ‘Go and listen to the speeches of the Arabs in parliament.’ Will that bring peace to the country? Such a parliament will become a platform of race-hatred, a means of making even sharper and stronger the differences between the two nationalities, and will not be a way leading to peace.

“It may be that when the Arabs will get a parliament, they will be very happy over it, and this happiness will last a couple of months. During the first month they will be so happy that they will forget all about us, and quiet and peace will reign. The leaders will come and say: ‘Here you have peace.’ But we have learned that one mustn’t look only at the first half-year, and looking ahead we can see that this way won’t lead us to peace.

“Only a minority among us believes that through compromises we can attain peace. The overwhelming majority has put the question to itself and has come to the conclusion that in that manner we will not attain peace. And even if the minority should agree to the compromises as a means of attaining peace, I cannot, however, forget that there is in the Yishub a part—and it is the majority—which thinks differently, which thinks that it is impossible to assure peace as long as we do not renounce our most fundamental demand—free immigration. The whole matter of a parliament is necessary for our neighbors, in order that they may be able to stop immigration altogether.”

A parliament will sooner or later be established in Palestine, believes Emil Ludwig, and the Palestine Jews, even though they may have only a third of the votes in that parliament, will be “neither lords nor vassals.” At the end of his article in the “New York Times,” Mr. Ludwig says:

“Only by mutual understanding can the Arabs and the Jews live together in this country, which both races posses by virtue of tradition and by virtue of promises given in recognition of their conduct during the World War. No prudent Zionist speaks any longer of the Jewish State of Palestine, but all speak of a home in Palestine. The first would be as senseless as the published assertion of the Arabs that Sir Alfred Mond and Einstein wanted to erect again the Temple of David. Deriving an advantage from their position here as executors of a great part of the conscience of the world, the British must also shoulder the difficulties.”

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