Political Zionism

"Those who are familiar with life in Palestine, where the feeling between Moslem and Christian and Jew is perhaps more intense than in any other land, are fully cognizant that this scheme for a Jewish state not only accentuates and increases the animosities that have always existed, but invites another tragic chapter in the history of the Hebrews."

The report of the Commissioners has never been published. The Conference, apparently under the influence of Political Zionists, took no notice of it except in so far as to announce that no political privilege would be granted to the Jews, who were in the minority in the land; but that they would be given economic privileges in connection with its development. As a result, not a few natives who had returned from America and elsewhere with their gains, for this very purpose, were naturally disappointed. Some British firms were ready to invest capital in the development of the country, particularly for the improvement of the ports of Haifa and Jaffa; but they were turned down under instructions from the Foreign Office, so that the Zionist could have the first option in such undertakings.

Relying upon the decision they had given the Americans on the Commission, as well as upon the fact that they had made their views perfectly clear to the British authorities, the Moslems and Christians did not send a deputation to the Conference held at San Remo, which, as is well known, gave the mandate over Palestine to Great Britain. Through the efforts of the Zionist Commission, which had powerful representatives present, a clause was interpolated in the mandate, establishing a 'Jewish homeland’ in accordance with the Balfour declaration.

The Grand Mufti, who is the ecclesiastical head of the Moslems in Jerusalem, on hearing the news concerning the mandate, still refused to believe that the British, who had pledged themselves to protect small powers, and who had promised that their rights should not be violated, would allow the Christians and Moslems of Palestine to be ruled by Political Zionists. The Moslems, he said, looked upon Great Britain as their best friend; they had welcomed the arrival of the British armies; and in spite of all appearance to the contrary, he still believed that Great Britain would treat them fairly. The Grand Mufti was anxious that it should be understood that he and his followers were not anti-Jews, but that they objected to their country's being exploited by Jewish foreigners, and to their efforts to make both Christians and Moslems their vassals. While the Zionists during the past years had collected through propaganda immense sums from all parts of the world, he said, the Moslem and Christian natives of Palestine, by reason of the Turkish oppression and the war, were without funds. All that they asked for was a number of years in which to get on their feet economically. The Moslems, the Grand Mufti told the writer, had no objections to the same quiet development of Jewish colonies going on as in the past. What they did strenuously object to was the plan of the British government to turn over their land to the Political Zionists, for the purpose of establishing a Jewish state.

The highly respected Aref Pasha, President of the Moslem and Christian League, which had been formed to stem the tide of Jewish immigration, said that the Moslems, understanding Great Britain's love for justice, decided to fight their coreligionists and to throw in their lot with her. Not less than 130,000 Moslems, many of them deserters from the Turkish army, fought with the British. The Moslems of India also figured prominently in the same cause. Now, however, they find that the British victory means for them vassalage under the Jews; the people, he said, preferred the tyranny of the Turk to being ruled by the Jew.

The Christian inhabitants of the land hold the same view. Last spring no less than 20,000 people held a demonstration in Jerusalem in order to show the administration and the foreign consuls their bitter  opposition to this Jewish movement. Following this demonstration, many of the Christians  proceeded to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and took a solemn Oath that they would resist with their lives the Jews' efforts to rule them. So far as is known to me, not a single representative of any of the religious communities in Palestine favors the project. The views of the Christians are summed up in the following message, which a highly honored citizen of the country dictated to the writer as he was leaving the port of Jaffa, requesting that it should be made public. ‘The Moslems and Christians welcomed the British occupation because they did not know that their country had been sold to the Jews. The honor of England is in jeopardy. The Christians of the whole world do not know of this treachery, nor did the three hundred million of Moslems know of it. But some day it will be known, because it will surely mean another war. Had the people known what was to happen, they would have worn crape when the British entered.'

To show the consideration with which the Political Zionists are treated by the British government, the following is offered. The conflict between the British and the Turco-Germans left many cities and villages of Palestine in a condition not unlike that of those in Northern France and Belgium. Few people in Europe and America appreciate what the Syrian inhabitants of the land have suffered because of the conflict. The herds and farm-stock of the people hah been carried away by the Turks, and they were naturally sorely pressed in their efforts to secure plough animals and grain for the cultivation of their fields. The Anglo- Palestine Bank, a Zionist concern, lent money to these people at a very exorbitant rate. The Chief Administrator, appreciating the embarrassment of the natives, and in order to ensure that the economic restoration of the country should speedily be effected, revived the Turkish system of making loans to the farmers, and made arrangements with a British bank, the Anglo-Egyptian, to lend them the money at six and a half per cent, payable over a period which could be extended to five years. In the event of failure of payment, the land would become the property of the government, not of the Zionist bank.

The Zionist Commissioner, realizing that this defeated their plans to secure titles to lands, set their forces at work in London, with the result that orders were actually sent from the Foreign Office to suspend this arrangement, which had been such a boon to the war ridden inhabitants. It was not long afterward that General Money resigned, and Colonel Vivian Gabriel, his chief financial adviser, was relieved of his post, because it was stated that he had adopted 'an attitude inconsistent with the Zionist policy of the Government.’ The injustice of the interference, however, on the part of the Zionists, became so clear to everyone that, after several months, even Dr. Weizmann, the President of the Zionists, thought it necessary to withdraw the embargo; and the British government again permitted the loans to be made.

The departure of General Money, a thoroughly sound and upright governor of the best British type, was a great loss to the people, and it was the signal for a recrudescence of the Zionist claims. The Zionist Commission claimed the right to a previous scrutiny and veto of all the acts of the administration; they asked the British government for the lands and farms of the interned German colonists; they asked for the possession of the magnificent German Hospice on the Mount of Olives (then occupied by the Administration), for their projected Jewish University. They offended the Moslems by trying to acquire lands adjoining the Mosque of Omar, for which they offered £l50,000. There seemed to be no limit to their arrogance; moreover, the aggressiveness of individuals, on the street and everywhere, was marked.

The old resident Jews of Palestine certainly have other than religious grounds for their indifference toward the efforts of the Political Zionists. Last winter the Council of Jerusalem Jews appointed a commission of representative men holding leading positions, to visit parents who were sending their children to proscribed schools, in order to secure their withdrawal. Among these schools, which included those conducted by the convents and churches, some of which have existed in Jerusalem for a long time, are the British High School for Girls, the English College for Boys, and the Jewish School for Girls. In the latter, conducted by Miss Landau, an educated English Jewess, all the teachers are Jewish; most of the teaching is in the English language. This school, which is financed by enlightened Jews of England, was denounced more severely than the others, because, not being in sympathy with the programme of the Political Zionists, Miss Landau refused to teach the Zionist curriculum. She was even informed that her school would be closed.

In a series of articles that appeared in Doar Hayom, the Hebrew daily paper, last December, it was stated that the parents who refused to comply with the requests of the Commission were to be boycotted, cast out from all intercourse with Jews, denied all share in Zionist funds, and deprived of all custom for their shops and hotels. ‘Anyone who refused, let him know that it is forbidden for him to be called by the name of Jew; and there is to be for him no portion or inheritance with his brethren.' They were given notice that they would ‘be fought by all lawful means.’ Their names were to be put 'upon a monument of shame, as a reproach forever, and their deeds written unto the last generation.'  If they are supported, their support will cease; if they are merchants, the finger of scorn will be pointed at them; if they are rabbis, they will be moved far from their office; they shall be put under the ban and persecuted, and all the people of the world shall know that there is no mercy in justice.'

A month later the results of this 'warfare' were reviewed. We were informed that some Jews had been influenced, but others—and the greater number, and those of the Orthodox, — those who fear God — having read the letters [signed by the head of its delegates and the Zionist Commission] became angry at the "audacity" of the Council of Jerusalem Jews "which mix themselves up in private affairs," have Torn up the letter up, and that finished it.'

Then followed a long diatribe against these parents, boys, and girls, in which it was demanded that the blacklist of traitors to the people be sent to 'those who perform circumcision, who control the cemeteries and hospitals'; that an order go forth so that' doctors will not visit their sick, that assistance when in need, if they are on the list of the American Relief Fund, will not be given to them.' "Men will cry to them, "Out of the way, unclean, unclean." . . . They are in no sense Israelites.’

It is to be regretted that only these few paraphrases and quotations from the series of articles published can be presented here.

The work of the Councils Committee met with not a little success; pupils left schools, and teachers gave up their positions. Two instructors in the English College, whose fathers were rabbis, and a third, whose brother was a teacher in a Zionist school, resigned. Another refused to do so, and declared himself ready, in the interests of the Orthodox Jews, who were suffering under this tyranny, which they deplored, to give the fullest testimony to the authorities concerning this persecution. The administration, under Governor Bols, finally intervened, and at least no further public efforts to carry out their programme were made.

If, in this early stage of the development of Political Zionism, even the Palestinian Religious Jews already find themselves under such a tyranny, what will happen if these men are allowed to have full control of the government? And what kind of treatment can the Christian and the Moslem expect in their efforts to educate their children, if the Political Zionists are allowed to develop their Jewish state to such a point that they can dispense with their mandatory and tell the British to clear out? When such things happen under British administration, what will take place if the Jewish State is ever realized, and such men are in full control?

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