Monday, March 2, 2015



Many reasons are advanced by the English to the bewildered
Zionists to explain their conduct . "We are sorry," they say
confidentially. "We would really like to do it, y' know, but
we have to be careful of the ninety million Mohammedans in
our Empire."
Under examination this hackneyed contention seems pretty
thin. The British have only to refer to their own T . E. Lawrence,
who termed Pan-Islamism in politics "a fiction." The
men of Whitehall are, after all, capable administrators who are
not apt to forget recent experience in a hurry . They can still
remember the war with Turkey when the Mohammedans refused
to heed the Ottoman Sultan's call to Holy War against
England, and instead united with the Hindus to aid the Christian
conqueror . They are also aware of the successful French experience
in throwing Feisal, descendant of the Prophet, out of Syria
bodily, with the rifles of imported Moslem levies . They know
that the Agha Khan, head of the Indian Mohammedans, belongs
to the Ishmaelite sect, who are so thoroughly orthodox that they
regard the Palestine Moslems as shameless infidels .35 They also
could hardly be unaware that the Hindus, far in the majority in
India, are more than a counterweight to any possible Moslem
reaction ; and Hindu leaders have made their cordial sympathy
for Zionism clear .
There is, on the whole, more real difference between the various
Moslem sects than there is between the beliefs of a modern
Englishman and an orthodox Jew from Bessarabia . Islam itself
is more than a creed . It is a complete social system . Originally
it was a simple and understandable faith, full of the spirit of
generosity and brotherhood . To the essential democracy it
preached it added cannily a list of simple sugary delights, including
a Paradise containing beautiful and agreeable girls whose
virginity miraculously returned to them every morning. Today
knowledge of the Faith is everywhere confused with debased
moral standards, superstitions and bigoted ignorance .
The powerful Ibn Saud preaches the unity of orthodox Moslems
and the exclusion of all other Arabs . His Wahabis adhere
literally to the Koran, do not drink or smoke, and consider
every technical innovation of our time to be a tool of Satan .
They regard all the theological and philosophical speculations
which made Arab civilization famous during the Middle Ages,
as heresies, to be relentlessly purged . They are prepared for no
compromises and consider the North Arabs as Musbieks, unbelievers,
who are to be viewed with more intense dislike than
even Christians or Jews. The Wahabis consider the wearing of
a silk garment or gold ornament to be a sin . They regard the
Prophet Mohammed as just a man and repudiate bitterly the act
of other Moslem sects in turning him into a supernatural being .
The Wahabis look on any built place of worship as being
perilously close to idolatry . Only with difficulty were they restrained
from destroying in their zeal the beautiful architectural
shrines in Mecca and Medina when they drove Hussein out of
the Hejaz .
The Wahabis often have threatened an attack on Iraq . Part
of the ever-impending Holy War against "unfaithful Moslems"
in Transjordan, Iraq, Kowiet and Palestine almost eventuated in
March 1928, and was only stopped by a convincing mobilization
of British airplanes and armored cars . In Iraq, against the
fierce opposition of the predominant Shi'a community, Feisal,
who belongs to the Sunna sect, was bombed onto the throne by
the British . There has since been continuous trouble of a sort
only comparable to the religious hatreds which divided France
and Germany after the advent of the Reformation . Numerous
and bloody physical clashes occur. The Shi'as, who outnumber
the Sunni invaders three-to-one, are suppressed with an iron
hand, exiled, imprisoned and their newspapers outlawed . How
venomous the feeling is, is shown in the Shi'a protest to the
League, praying for remedy from the terrorization they are being
subjected to by the "savages brought from the desert" by
The bogey of a militant Arab racialism is another invention of
the ever-resourceful Bureaucratic mind . Lawrence once told
Liddell Hart that he had "always been a realist and opportunist
in tactics : and Arab unity is a madman's notion ." Sir Ronald
Storrs, too, remarks : "Arabism does not exist ." 37 And another
British authority, Loder, adds : "Arabia is a geographical expression
and corresponds to no political entity ." 38 The very
use of the words 'Mohammedanism' and `nationalism' in the
same breath is a contradiction in terms . Racial pride is unknown
to Islam . Everyone who confesses Allah is accepted as
a brother and equal, whether he be a Negro, Malay or European .
There, moreover, remains a strong identity between sectarianism
and dynastic government . Religion and law are so closely
identified in Islam that the difference between two sects asBUREAUCRACY
sumes an important difference between the civil and criminal
sanctions under which they respectively live .39 The only way
nationalism can be effective in the Near East is by the secularization
of religion, from which these people are a long way off .
Arabia is a mass of blood feuds and economic rivalries . There
are long drawn-out boundary disputes between the various countries,
and the traditional jealousies between the ruling houses extends
fan-shape down the line through the whole host of minor
sheikhs, sultans and imams.
Bedouins meeting in strange territory slaughter each other
without mercy . Tribesmen are constantly being killed in frontier
raids from which not even Palestine and Transjordan are
exempt. None of the established Arab governments have been
able to put down these constantly recurring conflicts between
the tribes . Even under the strong hand of the British, raiding
Wahabis slaughtered the whole Transjordan tribe of Atie in
December 1928 ; and a typical pitched battle was fought between
the tribes at Koba near Jerusalem as late as July 1932 .
The Syrian author, Ameen Rihani, gives a graphic picture of the
general state of affairs in one Arab country, Yemen . The ruling
Imam, in order to protect his position, is eternally warring
with rebellious clans and tribes . "The twenty-seven years of
his reign," says Rihani, "have been a continuous Jihad, actual
and political - a chain of wars and truces . Little wonder that
hostages are the foundation of the state ." Here, too, the Italian
observer, Salvatore Aponte, notes that the vast majority of the
population are the unwilling subjects of the ruling Zaidis from
the hills, "whom they look upon as abominable heretics ." 40
In all the Arab countries provincialism is a persistent factor .
Syrians employed in the Iraqi Government service, as an instance,
are the constant object of agitation aimed at ousting
The result of the recent controversy between Turkey and
Syria over the Sanjak of Alexandretta (a part of Syria which
holds a considerable minority Turkish population) is also illuminating.
The Turks declared openly to London, Paris and
Geneva : "We have confidence in France but not in Syria."
Negotiations between Paris and Ankara, under the auspices of
the League, finally ended in the Spring of 1938 in a settlement
whereby this richest of all Syrian provinces (called by the
Arabs "the pearl of the Arab Empire") is to be detached from
that country and ultimately handed back to Turkey . The result
was hardly what could be expected if pan-Arabism is to be
credited with the vitality London concedes to it . The outside
Arabs maintained a prudent silence . Not one Arab paper dared
to write a single article against Turkey . No Arab State raised
its voice in favor of Damascus, and not a single Arab statesman
protested directly or indirectly . At the very moment, in fact,
when the Syrians were imploring the aid of their Arab brethren,
Baghdad organized a triumphal reception in honor of the Turkish
Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had come to Iraq at the
head of a large official delegation .41
None of this prevents the Colonial Office mouthpiece Great
Britain and the East from headlining an explosive editorial during
the recent riots : "ARABIA AWAKE," asserting that the
Arabs, from Morocco to Persia, with a single patriotic voice "are
implacably resolved to look upon Palestine as a part of Arabia ."
The whole plan for a great Federated Arab State reaches back
to the tenacious support England gave the Turks before the
War. By 1915 the idea gradually emerged of elevating the
Arab into the place in English affections that the Turks had so
rudely left vacant . It had been the pet scheme of the military
clique who came in with Allenby . It was then dropped, suddenly
to be revived ten days after General de Bono marched his
Italians into Adowa. Slowly the Federation is taking shape as
British gold pours into the Near East .
The previous tactics were to keep the Arab rulers at each
other's throats . This was handled by a system of agents provocateur,
politely known as political officers, who represented the
Crown and dispensed its largesse in each place and principality .
This method revolves around a system of always having rivals,
or powerful opponents, ready to put forward if the existing
ruler becomes difficult to handle . The big question in every
Arab land is the agreement or treaty with the British, and the
amount of gold that can be secured. The amazing elasticity
and scope of this control system is outlined by Rihani in his
book, Around the Coasts o f Arabia.42 "They all have to be
satisfied," he comments, "the big chiefs, the little chiefs and all
the chiefs between ."
The Arab countries are hardly more than camouflaged English
colonies. Iraq, for example, is theoretically independent.
But the British maintain troops there and have absolute control
over the country's foreign affairs. Under the twenty-year
`treaty' signed October io, 1922, Iraq may appoint no foreign
official or adviser without British approval . It provides for a
separate agreement covering the employment of British officials
in the Iragian Government. Another separate agreement gives
England a measure of control over Iraq's judicial affairs . The
Treaty also stipulates that the British Air Force is to protect
Iraq's frontier, putting England in de facto military control. In
December 1925, Britain maneuvered the League of Nations into
position to hand over the Turkish Vilayet of Mosul to Iraq,
"provided that the British control over that kingdom were extended
for a period of about twenty-five years ." 43 Ibn Saud,
too, gets a large subsidy, granting adequate favors in return .
Among these is a juicy concession to the British-owned Iraq
Petroleum Company "extending over the whole Western littoral
of Saudi Arabia to a depth inland of one hundred kilometres ." 44
Today the official plan involves closing the door to threatened
expansion by Italy, making a more or less closely organized
unit desirable. Mussolini had been making overtures to the
Arabs and was utilizing funds from the Italian Treasury for this
purpose. He had set up a powerful broadcasting station at
Bari, agitating the Arabs in their own language to throw off the
British yoke ; forcing the frightened British to inaugurate competing
Arabic broadcasts from London .
Ibn Saud, in exchange for an increase in his subsidy and wider
autonomy from direct British rule, agreed to enter the system
of pacts, as did Iraq . Then the clique in Whitehall summoned
Abdullah of Transjordan to London and set the background for
the events which ended in the 1936 Palestine riots . King Ghazi
of Iraq is looked on as a weakling and thoroughly undependable
; and Abdullah was inserted into the pact system as a check
on the ulterior ambitions of Saud whom London distrusts . Abdullah,
who once expressed strong anti-British sentiment before
he learned what side his bread was buttered on, is now in high
favor with Downing Street as a man of "extraordinary good
sense ." When during the Ethiopian incident the Mufti decided
to balk, it was the ever-pliable Abdullah, rising like an elfin Don
Quixote from his little principality, who issued the call to the
Jihad against Italy in the name of Islam. As ruler of Transjordan
the Emir cuts rather a ludicrous figure, but as King of
a reunited Transjordanian-Palestine he becomes a respectable
monarch and an ideal counter-balance to the Hejaz Kingdom in
the Arabic Federation of the future .
In the formulation of this plan, Abdullah was not to be trusted
altogether with Palestine . Strategical sections, including Jerusalem
and Haifa, were to be handed over to Britain outright, as
was an enclave around Aqaba . The Jews were to be restricted
to a tiny coastal area . If they refused to agree, a cantonization
plan was favored, thus accomplishing the same result without
benefit of international sanction .
The authors of this scheme allowed their imaginations to roam
over the possibility of even disengaging North Africa from
France and Italy, and already have had their puppets speak in
grandiose terms of an allied free Moorish State in North Africa
which will fall within the magnetic influence of the free Arab
All this was fraught with considerable difficulty from the
Arab side alone . There had been bad blood between Feisal and
his brother Abdullah . The Emir felt that he should have gotten
the throne of Iraq after Feisal's death instead of the boy King
Ghazi. Iraq was now ambitious to get part of northern Palestine
for an outlet to the sea . The project was also viewed with
ill-concealed suspicion by Ibn Saud who wants no strengthening
of a rival house ejected by him from Mecca .
Working against time, British agents like Philby, Cox and
Peake Pasha again criss-crossed the desert handing out money
and promises right and left . Under pressure, boundary disputes
are being speedily settled as this great effort to de-Balkanize the
Near East goes forward . In complete liaison, British agents
were at work in Teheran and Istanbul to draw these two important
powers within the British orbit by inducing them to
sign a corollary pact . In response to this fast work, Afghanistan,
Iraq, Iran and Turkey came to a treaty of friendship early
in February 1936. One leg of the journey was now over . The
bringing of Egypt into this bloc was to follow, as was the Arab
Federation into which Palestine was to be absorbed. Such was
the plan. As early as June 11, 1936, Great Britain and the East
blatantly announces that "the Arab Federation is being develveloped
. . . under British patronage, on sound lines ." At a
crucial Cabinet meeting in September of 1936 the English were
on the point of declaring the Federation in existence ; and were
only deterred at the last moment by pointed protest in the
American Congress calling attention to the international obligations
inherent in the Palestine Mandate and to America's vested
interests there .
It is somewhat sardonic to note that during the same period
that official British publicists were ballyhooing the right of selfdetermination
as applied to Arabs in Palestine, Britain had
grabbed a huge chunk of territory from the Arabs in Southern
Arabia. By an Order in Council which became effective April
1, 1937 the British Government arbitrarily annexed to the Empire
111,025 square miles of territory, including some six hundred
thousand Arabs of different tribes and complexions. This
area is called the Hadramaut, and it was taken by exactly the
same methods Italy used in Ethiopia . Completely soured on the
tactics of his own Government, Philby writes : "The attempt
of Great Britain to curtail the independence of South Arabia
necessitates the employment of terrorism which we deplore
when it is used by others . That aerial bombing is freely used
. . . is not denied by the Government ." 45 The British also
own another slice of Arabia which they annexed shortly after
the World War. This is the colony of Aden which dominates
the southern end of the peninsula and looks straight across the
Red Sea at Mussolini's legions in East Africa . Obviously the
vast areas of the Hadramaut and Aden are not to be included in
the proposed Arab Confederacy .
Part of Whitehall's strategy lies in an attempt to frighten
fellow-Englishmen with the bogey that the Arab was prepared
to be Britain's best friend until the ultimate enormity of Zionism
was thrust upon him. Actually the British seem to have little
to fear here, since the Arabs require the power of English arms
if they are to maintain their independence . "Nothing," writes
Ernest Main, "could stop Turkey or Persia walking into Iraq
tomorrow except the presence of Britain ." 46 The Arab liaison
with England is in many ways a more than doubtful value .
Turkey, for instance, obstinately regards the Mosul area of Iraq
as Turkish irredenta territory. Therefore, states Herbert Sidebotham,
English friendship with the Arabs is more than likely to
bring Britain into collision with these countries : "In any case . . .
our friendship should be courted by the Arab kings, rather than
theirs by us." 47
Pro-Arab propagandists additionally ignore the dark hatred
with which the Arab regards all Christians. The Hejaz, country
of King Hussein, number one man in this controversy,
does not allow a single Christian within its sacred borders.
Lieutenant-Colonel Stafford writes that "at an official reception
to the present King of Iraq the usual cheers were followed by
cries of `Down with Britain."' Article II of Lawrence's Confidential
Guide to Newcomers from the British Army states
frankly that "the foreigner and Christian is not a popular person
in Araby. . . Wave a Sherif in front of you like a banner
and hide your own mind and person ." 48
Shrewd English observers, unimpressed by bureaucratic fetish,
are of the absolute opinion that in the event of a general war
the first purpose of the Arabs would be to get rid of Britain, and
that London is strengthening the very forces which will ultimately
be arrayed against her . The English writer Ernest
Main mentions, as an augury for the future, that the Arab press
solidly supported Italy during the Abyssinian War, making no
bones of their intention to blast the English into the sea at the
first opportunity .49
In Palestine itself there can be no doubt of the ferocious extent
of anti-Jewish sentiment, "but it is all but swallowed up in
the sweeping tide of feeling against England." 60 Rasps the
Arab newspaper Falastin in its issue of May 19, 1930 : "The
Jews lost an opportunity to arrive at an understanding with the
Arabs owing to the Jews' obstinacy and blind loyalty to Great
Britain." The articles of indictment are numerous : the country
is overridden with English officials who draw high salaries
and live in luxury, etc. Nor do Moslem doctrines require much
outside stimulation to foment a frenzied hatred for the Englishman
and all his works. What Moslems really think was plainly
stated by Mohammed Ali, supreme Moslem leader of India, addressing
the Moslem High Council in Palestine on November 23,
1928. "Not the Jews are our enemies," he shouted, "but British
Imperialism which aims to seize all Moslem lands ."
The British were in fact thoroughly cured of "all-Moslem
Congresses" by occurrences at the Congress of December 1931,
which the Palestine Government had organized as a weapon
against the Zionists . One of the first resolutions it adopted
claimed that the highly strategic Hejaz Railway was Wakf
(Moslem religious) property which had been stolen by the English,
and demanded its return within six months under threat of
an international Mohammedan boycott of British goods .
No matter what opinions British politicians might have once
expressed as private individuals, once in office they invariably
succumb to the demands of the anti-Zionist permanent officials .
When Malcolm MacDonald became Colonial Secretary he
ceased to function as "Weizmann's best friend," just as his
father forgot most of his Socialism and all of his Zionism when
he became Prime Minister . Winston Churchill made beautiful
speeches for the Zionists, but Churchill in office made common
cause with the clique in the Departments, and issued the crushing
document which bears his name . Thomas as a Labor leader,
protested unreservedly against the theft of Trans-Jordan, but
Thomas as Colonial Secretary lapsed into all the stereotypes of
his predecessors. Ormsby-Gore's deep hearty voice had assured
the Jaffa Jews that the Balfour Declaration meant the
"building up of a Jewish nation in all its various aspects in Palestine."
Becoming Colonial Secretary in turn, he discovered that
the Declaration embodied "a dual obligation toward Arabs and
Jews." What this meant is illuminated in answer to a query
from the Permanent Mandates Commission, asking what was being
done to implement Article VI of the Mandate regarding
close settlement on the land . Ormsby-Gore replied for the
King that immigrants were very anxious f or land but that
the Government had been prevented from granting them any by
reason o f the other duty which it owed to the Arab population .
In reply to another query he declared in extenuation that "the
Arabs objected to the Jews because the latter were much more
efficient ." Thus this responsible officer of the Crown makes it
clear that his Government regards its principal "obligation of
honor" under the Mandate to be the protection of the Arabs
against Jewish encroachment, a finesse which almost approaches
the proportions of genius .
Even the MacDonald Letter, supposedly edited in a tone of
good-will toward Zionism, carries the adroit observation that
"the Mandatory cannot ignore the existence of differing interests
and viewpoints," which it infers will be readily reconciled in
a pending understanding between Arabs and Jews ; but, quite
naturally, "until that is reached, considerations of balance must
inevitably enter into the definition of policy ." Stripped of concealing
verbiage, this simply means that no essential measure in
favor of the Jewish Homeland may be effected unless there is an
`understanding,' i.e., if the Arabs agree. If the Arabs object,
the measure cannot be carried out ."
This theory goes a long way beyond any reservation even
hinted at in the Mandate . The preamble to that document protects
the `civil and religious rights' of the non-Jewish communi ..
ties but it nowhere mentions their psychological attitude as a
factor entitled to annul the purpose for which the Home was
conceived. Article VI of the Mandate reads : "The Administration
of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position
of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate
Jewish immigration . . ." In a process of hair-splitting that
would do credit to fifty Philadelphia lawyers, the British concentrated
on the word `position' with a magnifying glass . When
the Mandate was issued, the `position' of the Arabs was that of
eighty-eight percent of the population. In 1936 it had shrunk
to sixty-six percent, and had therefore been `prejudiced.' The
same logic naturally follows in reference to the professed inability
of the Arab to compete in terms of modern civilization,
an argument not essentially different from that of European
Judeo-phobcs, wherever the Nazi racial theory has not supravened.
It is no new experience for Jews to be barred as immigrants
and be ring-fenced in a percentage norm, but it seems
far-fetched to believe that the sanction of the Peace Conference
was necessary to provide the British Government with the authority
so to act.
This whole sapping operation has been accomplished by a
series of graduated depredations . Entrusted with complete supervision
of the Jewish inheritance, the Bureaucrats were in position
to smash it effectively by degrees and still maintain a surface
attitude of benevolence . Year by year, under one pretext
or another, they managed systematically to curtail Jewish rights
under the Mandate and to give that document various reinterpretations,
most of which rested on a body of precedent established
by themselves. There is scarcely an evasion that was not
tried . With great shrewdness the Palestine Government attempted
to transform the Jews, in its official reports, from a national
entity to a religious body . They questioned the meaning
of the words `Jewish National Home' and pretended a vast ignorance
of the meaning of `Zionist aspirations .' Ormsby-Gore,
then Under-Secretary for the Colonies, was even smart enough to
retreat into the queer conception formulated by the Hebrew
mystic, Achad Ha'am, that Palestine was to be a spiritual center
for the Jewish people and that "the quality and not the quantity
of settlers matters." 52
Like a master magician turning up cards that shouldn't be
there, the British went about the business of proving that black
was white. An all-important case revolved around a decision
by the Magistrate of Tulkarm, who had acquitted one Sherif
Shanti of breaking the Fast of Ramadan on the grounds that the
old Turkish law under which the defendant was charged was in
opposition to Article XV of the Mandate . In a judgment rendered
December 16, 1935, the Court of Appeals at Nablus
quashed this decision, laying down inter alia "that the Mandate
. . . has no juridical value in the courts of the country except
so far as its provisions have been expressly incorporated into the
Laws of Palestine ." This ruling laid the way wide open for the
complete destruction of the Mandate itself .
With more than an astute eye to the future, the Jaffa District
Court ruled that "a British subject who voluntarily acquired
Palestinian citizenship does not thereby lose his British nationality"
(June 5, 1934) . Until then Britain had wriggled out of
acknowledging its alien position in the country by refusing to
allow any British Jew to become a citizen of Palestine .
Some of the Mandatory's decisions border on the ludicrous .
One solemnly handed down by the Jaffa District Court on May
25, 1928 reversed an ordinance passed by the City Council of
Tel Aviv declaring Saturday a legal holiday, as being found
contradictory to Article XV of the Mandate "since the Ordinance
establishes a sort of discrimination by prohibiting trading
on the Sabbath to Jews only."
Until recently, the Government has maintained with fine
rectitude that Jewish immigration, keystone to the whole Mandate,
must be based on the `absorptive capacity' of the country,
an argument which can hardly be gainsaid, except for the fact
that the Mandatory made it dependent on an acute shortage of
labor and on a perpetuation of the status quo in industry and
agriculture . In practice, this principle, so nice on paper, put the
Jews almost in a water-tight box .
Throughout the official reports a stubborn silence is kept on
the positive significance of Jewish immigration . Reading them
one would hardly believe that the dynamic and decisive force
in Palestine life emanates from the Jewish element - but rather
that the small minority Jewish community was an unending
source of embarrassment, friction and trouble .
During the entire period of English occupation, not the slightest
step was ever taken to popularize the Mandate among the
general body of Arabs . The High Commissioner was never
known to invite Jews and Arabs to sit at his table at the same
time, a move which might have done much to ameliorate bad
feeling. And in the numerous Government schools Zionism was
treated as an alien and highly unpleasant phenomenon.
Throughout the years the Administration's reply to questions
was "the Government's policy is unchanged ." But it was evident
that when Britain asserted she would stand by the Mandate,
she did not mean Zionism, but rather her right to remain in
Palestine indefinitely .
Stripped of all disguise, the fundamental English attitude toward
the ward entrusted to their care by the Nations was defined
by then Colonial Secretary, Cunliffe-Lister, when he assured
a Quaker Committee (June 28, 1 934) : "I will not permit
Palestine to be filled with Jews ."
In all this skillfully built design of plot and stratagem the
British have had to wind their way through a maze where in one
breath it was imperative to hold that the Jews held legal title to
Palestine, and in the next, to deny it . This made for a most
difficult situation in which anyone less experienced would have
bogged down hard ; but the Bureaucrats managed to detour the
hard places and obviate the rest by simple contrivances which,
while shabby in themselves, are admirable for their sheer artfulness
and long-range insight.
The Jews were the British excuse for being in Palestine. They
were the only protection against the French who were eager to
demand an international control if they could not have it for
themselves . How this worked out is shown in London's rejection
in 1921 of a demand by the United States Government that
concessions of Palestine's natural resources be granted "with230
out distinction of nationality" between the nationals of all States
Members of the League, as in the East Africa Mandate . Suavely,
London replied that "the suggestion appears to His Majesty's
Government to overlook the peculiar conditions existing in Palestine
and especially the great difference in the natures of the
tasks assumed in that country and undertaken by them in South
Africa. . . In order that the policy of establishing in Palestine
a National Home for the Jewish people should be successfully
carried out, it is impracticable to guarantee that equal facilities
for developing the natural resources of the country should be
granted to persons or bodies who may be actuated by other motives
." This in substance was also the reason given to the
French, who were boiling over because their title to the immensely
valuable Dead Sea deposits, carried over as an old Turkish
concession, had been voided by the Palestine authorities .
The Jews were equally useful as an instrument for rejecting
the demands of the Arabs themselves for self-rule, at a time
when Britain felt that it meant their consolidation with Syria
under French influence . With impeccable probity London then
found that "it was impossible to recognize the granting of unqualified
autonomy to the present population of Palestine, since
such an autonomy would imply the right to dispose of the country
by legislative and administrative measures even against the
obligations assumed by the Mandatory," which it asserted are
not to "the present population of Palestine" but to "the much
larger population whose connection with Palestine has been internationally
recognized ."
There was also the fact that in order to get its fingers on
Palestine at all, Britain had acknowledged itself as merely a
temporary agent for the League of Nations . In the earlier days
while the League still had some untested strength, it did not
hesitate to uphold its own authority, and here England was
compelled to use the Jews again as a catspaw . The absolute
control of the Permanent Mandates Commission over mandated
territories was upheld at Geneva on September 27, 1926, after
Sir Austen Chamberlain, British Foreign Secretary, had brought
the matter to issue as to whether the Commission had actual
jurisdiction or merely the right to criticize and lay down generalities
of policy.
The Mandates Commission did not hesitate at various times to
lock horns with the British Government in no uncertain terms .
Had Zionist leaders themselves played anything but an acquiescent
role, it is quite certain that the League would have supported
them and forced the English into a most difficult position .
"If the matter were looked at impartially from the point of view
of the Mandate as it stood," observed the Commission in 1930,
"the Government's method of encouraging immigration had
been to limit it . . . [and] that the result would be as negative
if an inquiry were made as to the State lands and waste lands on
which the settlement of Jews had been encouraged . . . The
special situation," it continued drily, "granted by the Mandate to
the Jewish element in Palestine appeared to have escaped the
notice of the Administration ." In extraordinary session in June
of that year the Commission bluntly advised "all the sections of
the population [in Palestine] which are rebelling against the Mandate,
whether they object to it on principle or wish to retain
only those of its provisions which favor their particular cause,
that the Mandatory Power must obviously turn a definite and
categorical refusal. As long as the leaders of a community persist
in repudiating what is at once the fundamental charter of the
country, and, as far as the Mandatory Power is concerned, an international
obligation, which it is not free to set aside, the negotiations
would only unduly enhance their prestige and raise
dangerous hopes among their partisans . . ." 53
On the face of it the proposition was a well-nigh impossible
one, making it necessary for London to attempt the miracle of
standing simultaneously on two sides of the one fence . The
Zionists had to be smashed at the same time that Britain was
posing as their guide and benefactor . They had, moreover,
to be kept placated and quiescent . Experience with the Irish
taught England's rulers the folly of an active struggle with a
determined, world-scattered people . If the Irish were now to
be joined by the Jews in a joint last-ditch fight against the Empire,
the Sinn Fein would assume grave proportions . Here was
an intricate set of problems, most of which impinged on what
attitude the Zionist hierarchy itself would take .
Jewish spokesmen, lost in this welter of intrigue, inexperienced,
inexpert and totally unable to distinguish between sincerity
and clever dissembling, did not prove too troublesome .
They appealed to the facts, which they marshaled systematically,
to fundamental law and to justice. Their arguments were presented
in the circumspect language of a barrister drawing up
a brief on some learned obscurity of law and were presented
without fanfare . Though the whole fundamental framework of
their enterprise was plainly crumbling before their eyes, they
continued to issue reassuring statements to their following . They
claimed with reverse pugnacity that "the Government wants to
be loyal to its duties" ; and were as outraged "over the speculation
that the Government is making an effort to encourage the
antagonism between Arabs and Jews" as if they were employed
in Downing Street. Dr. Weitzman retreated gracefully to
keep pace with the wishes of Whitehall in a series of amazing
shifts . At one moment he concedes that "everything that is
going on in Palestine today is on the pattern of that which is
going on in Egypt. . . The same formulae are being applied .
In Palestine, I admit we are . . . a convenient pretext." b' At
another moment he would warn his fellow-Zionists against submitting
sharp memoranda to the Government as "England also
has to deal with the Moslem world in India and Egypt." ss In
a lecture before the Royal Central Asian Society in May 1936
he discovers that "if the land were properly developed, there is
room in Palestine for another hundred thousand Arab families
and another sixty thousand Jewish families," a clear proposal for
a perpetual Jewish minority status . Soon after he is heard in
defense of the dismemberment plan proposed by Lord Peel, inveighing
against those Jews who opposed it by calling them
"enemies of the Jewish State ." The attitude of the Zionists was
in fact, the most unexpected windfall the Bureaucrats had experienced
in a generation. Only in Palestine itself, where doughty
old Mayor Dizengoff of Tel Aviv charged the British with "playBUREAUCRACY
ing a diabolical game" did the Jews make any effort to face political
realities .
Until 1936 Whitehall had held tenaciously to the principle of
`absorptive capacity.' It now realized that even this contention,
despite every topsy-turvy interpretation of normal economics,
would see them the loser in the long run . In a complete
about-face from all previously held theses, the Bureaucrats
now admitted that "if the matter be reduced to statistical or
economic terms . . . the Zionists have the better of the argument,
and when the Arabs choose to indulge in figures, they
use their weakest argument . . . The Palestine problem is not
one of statistics : something far more fundamental is involved ." 56
Just what that `something more fundamental' might be was soon
disclosed officially by Colonial Secretary Ormsby-Gore, addressing
Commons on July 7, 1936 . Leveling his shafts directly at
Jewish nationalists, he acknowledged darkly his awareness of the
"character of Zionist propaganda," booming that the British
Government accepted the Palestine Mandate without subscribing
to any declaration that the country belongs to either Jews
or Arabs, but that it is a British Mandated territory . The Government,
he warned, did not intend countenancing any action
"inconsistent with the Mandate" and this interpretation of it .
The British had been nineteen years working up to this denouement,
but at last the cat was out of the bag . The Zionism
of Herzl and Balfour was now an "action inconsistent with the
Mandate" for Palestine. All that was left in the Bureaucratic
mind of the Balf our Declaration was now "the Jewish problem
in Palestine," and that is the way they expressed it.
Page 248 pdf book page 234

Article VI of the Mandate makes it obligatory upon the Administration
of Palestine to "facilitate Jewish immigration ." The
British made a convincing start on this by making the Immigration
Department a part of the Department of Police and Prisons.
It has been shifted around like an unwelcome cat which refuses
to stay lost . Once it was hidden in the Department for Travel .
At another time it had been shunted over to the Permit Section
of the Secretariat .
The Immigration Department is more of a Secret Service
Department than anything else . Its principal function seems to
be that of preventing Jews from entering the country in any
numbers. The attitude toward the Hebrew migrants was pegged
by Duff, who wrote that "we had to be seemingly harsh and
unfriendly towards them ; it did not pay for one's seniors to
think that one had any undue sympathy for the returning
Jews. . ." 1 A decade later another Englishman, Josiah Wedgwood,
recounted the same story of ugly animus, to Commons.
"Why," he asked bitterly, "is this done by Englishmen . . .
against all the traditions of our race ? If the Jews trying to go
to Palestine were English, the situation could not endure for a
minute . Conceive the outcry ! But they are Jews, not English
- they are not in the family ; they are not entitled to be
treated as though they were Aryans or Christians ."
Under the regulations, only capitalists may enter Palestine
freely. Originally, a `capitalist' was a man with C 5oo in cash.
After 1930 the required amount was raised to C Iooo. Skilled
artisans possessing C500 or more may also enter, theoretically ;
but in practice this provision is a dead letter . All others require
specially issued immigration certificates, which are doled
out with much quibbling in paltry numbers . The truth was
that while huge sums were being dumped into the Jewish Homeland,
Jews were being kept out of it with all the customary
rigor of anti-Semitic formula . Some idea of the situation can
be gained from Senator Austin's estimate that "measured on a
per capita basis, each of the two hundred and fifty thousand
Jewish immigrants [man, woman and child] who entered Palestine
since the establishment of the Mandate, carried into the
country $ r 800." 2
The distorting political and economic minority life which had
stratified the Jews into a class of petty capitalists and traders,
found itself dishearteningly duplicated in Palestine . With feverish
energy and determination the newcomers applied their
money and experience, hoping to create opportunities for their
poverty-stricken brothers in Europe to join them in building
the new nation . Factories and enterprises of all kinds were
started. The result was a critical scarcity of labor in which the
entire economy of the country went lunatic . Workers were
drained out of the farms to take the more lucrative positions in
the cities . In the towns the same process repeated itself in favor
of the `boom trades' which could afford to pay wages far out of
line with those of normal occupations . Employer competed
desperately with employer for the available labor supply . Industries
had to curtail their activities, factories shut down altogether.
Palestine skyrocketed along on the most insane economy
modern industry has ever seen.
The condition is partially glimpsed in a semi-official report of
August 27, 1934, admitting that the entire Palestine export trade
was at a standstill due to a shortage of labor. Two-thirds of the
workers on Jewish land, says the Report, are now Arabs, "and
those Jews remaining will soon be displaced due to labor scarcity."
The problem became so acute that populations of whole
districts, including school children, had to be mobilized to keep
crops from rotting in the fields . While anxious Jews were being
turned away at the docks of Jaffa and Haifa, the Nesher Cement
Works, engaged in a £ 150,000 expansion in Haifa, announced
November 16, 1933 that it was unable to proceed due
to "acute scarcity of labor ." In Tel Aviv £ 1,000,000 worth of
building had to be held up for the same reason . The story repeated
itself everywhere .
At the identical time that it was beguiling world Jewry with
the fiction that all was well in the National Home, the Executive
of the Jewish Agency, irritated over the small grant of labor
certificates, formally accused the Mandatory in a private memorandum
of deliberately sabotaging the Home, finding it "impossible
to reconcile this restriction of immigration with the
declared policy of the Mandatory Power that immigration will be
regulated in accordance with the economic absorptive capacity
of Palestine ."
The British had their authority in London where Sir William
Beveridge 3 had found after careful study that the irreducible
minimum of unemployment was between six and eight percent .
In Palestine the incurable nomadism of the Arab population would
further increase this figure. But the Administration, nevertheless,
religiously adhered to the almost impossible formula that physical
proof had to be given of the permanent employment of every
person in the country, plus an established job for the new immigrant,
before he could be admitted.
The demand for labor was so urgent as to overpower even this
evasion, forcing additional subterfuge on the Authorities . An
instance is the demand of the Jewish Agency for 24,000 certificates
to cover the period from October to March 1933-34. In
their petition they appended the result of a painstaking survey,
showing, in detail, jobs awaiting each of the new arrivals . As
usual, without explanation, the Government agreed to allow only
5500 certificates, of which 2000 were summarily deducted as having
"been used in advance ." With other deductions following
on one plausible excuse or another, all that was left was the usual
face-saving handful . Far from manfully refusing this beggarly
schedule, on the date this announcement was made Weitzman
was capitalizing on the German excitement to raise funds for the
"Zionist-German relief drive" of which he was head, and issuing
a program full of high-sounding generalizations including "cooperation
with the Mandatory Power . . . and the establishing
of peace and understanding with the Arabs." 4
As the `absorptive capacity' of the country increased so tremendously
under the stimulus of Jewish investment that any effort
to deny it became ludicrous, the Government produced still
other cards out of its sleeve . It announced in 1936 that seventy
percent of the thirteen hundred immigration certificates available
for the following six months were ear-marked for bachelors, ten
percent for maidens, and twenty percent for men with families ;
thus cutting down immigration without appearing to do so . Another
able device was the refusal to allow the wives and families
of employed residents to enter without the precious labor visas,
though in many cases they were an actual charge on these same
residents, who sent money abroad to maintain them .5 Such an
obvious attempt was made to restrict the entry of women that the
Jewish Agency flatly accused the Government in November
1934 of a mischievous and willful attempt "directed against any
considerable development of the immigration of women into
Palestine ."
Many of the Administration's reasons for refusing entry permits
would do credit to Herr Hitler, as witness the refusal to
grant a visa to a refugee Russian rabbi on the excuse that "there
were enough rabbis already in Palestine." Some of the regulations
designed to restrict Jewish immigration are classic . One of
these edicts, promulgated November 14, 1933, allowed only 250
immigrants "to enter Palestine from any one vessel ." Its effectiveness
rested on the fact that few of the ships touching Palestine
ports could make a payload out of such a small number of travelers,
forcing the cancellation of sailings .
Perhaps the outstanding example of official artifice was the
schedule announced for the period between October 1, 1935
and March 31, 193 6 - 435 0 visas were granted, over which the
Jewish world press made the usual congratulatory ballyhoo .
What was not mentioned were the following deductions made
from this schedule in advance : loon certificates `advanced' during
the previous six-month period ; 250 reserved by the Government
(for non-Jews) ; 1200 taken off to cover `illegal' immigrants
who could not be apprehended ; s and 19oo for dependents
of employed residents (who in any other country would have
entered as a matter of course) . If these deductions are added
up they are found to equal exactly the number of certificates
granted ; so that the Administration was only perpetrating a
crude joke on the Zionists and in effect issuing no certificates at
In the face of this ruinous procedure the Zionist spokesmen
periodically issued reassuring statements to their followers, gloating
over the increasing numbers of Jews entering the Homeland .
They listed impressive figures to bolster their publicity.
Actually, something like 12,000 certificates was the greatest
number ever allowed for workingmen in one year ; and from this
pitiful number the most unconscionable deductions were made
on one excuse or another. An example of how the Zionist publicity
bureau treated the matter is given in its handling of the
entry figures for 1933, which according to official statements,
came to 64,110. Stimulated from this source the world Jewish
press headlined : "64,11 o Jews Entered Zion During 1933," giving
the impression that there had been that many immigrants.
An analysis shows that the balance of recorded arrivals over departures
during this period was 38,656 Jews, including 10,236
residents returning to the country after visits abroad and 27,862
actual immigrants . Of these, `persons living on income,' minors,
dependents, etc ., totaled 15,653 ; and working people constituted
a mere 2434 men and 568 women. Juggled around in the official
figures somewhere, were 26,002 tourists who came to enjoy the
sights, and non-permanents of other kinds. Of the 61,743 Jews
who came to remain in the peak year of 1935, only 14,653 belonged
to the working class group.
It is perfectly obvious that capitalist immigration will not
serve the purposes for which Zionism was originated. It cannot
relieve the centers of pressure in the pogrom areas of Europe
where Jews are now in a state of starvation and panic . It can
only serve to build Palestine ultimately into an Arab country .
What Zionist leaders avoided mentioning, Adolph Hitler sarcastically
called attention to, saying, "It is very kind of England
to declare that she is ready to receive the Jews with open arms -
but why should she make the admission of the Jews dependent
upon C iooo?" 7 Even neighboring Syria, seeing a fruitful
source of capital, announced that it too would welcome capitalist
Jews, without the necessity of any Balfour Declaration imprinted
by the Powers .,'
Everything in this business is made subject to cash . Even the
boasted Hadassah aliyahs, by which a few hundred Jewish children
were brought in from Germany, were made conditional on
a substantial money deposit, much as would be charged if the
children had entered a boarding school. The Department of
Immigration is a paying business, showing in a typical year a net
income of 1 3 3 3,200 against an expenditure of _f 209,100 .
Not nearly so docile as the Zionist hierarchy, Palestine Jews
have often made their resentment as plain as men living under a
knout are able to . Irked to fury, they went out on general strike
in May 1930, a matter which the Administration handled expeditiously,
as it invariably does when it has only Jews to deal
In 1937 the Palestine press reported that an amendment to the
immigration laws was in contemplation, jacking up capital requirements
of prospective immigrants to C 2000. This would
eliminate 56% of those who had previously entered under this
category. The time given a capitalist immigrant to liquidate
his affairs in the home country had previously been one year .
It is planned to reduce this to three months, obviously placing
him under such duress as to considerably reduce his enthusiasm
for emigrating .
The new stand taken by the Administration was indicated by
Immigration Director Eric Mills, who informed the Peel Commission
on November 18, 1936 that "immigration into the Holy
Land involves political as well as economic issues ." Just what
these `political issues' are may be learned from the astonished
comments of Farago. Ignoring his statement that he was a
Hungarian, port officials had demanded to know whether he
was a Mohammedan, Christian or Jew. Long before, Colonel
Wedgwood had also noted that "the first question an immigrant
is asked by the immigration inspectors in Palestine is, `Are you a
Jew ?' " This is much as if one were asked anywhere else, "Were
you ever convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude?"
The Holy Land is perhaps the most magnetic spot on earth
for sightseers, a circumstance which is probably its greatest
single asset . It seems natural to suppose that tourists would be
encouraged in every possible fashion and that every inducement
would be offered to cause them to remain as long as possible.
A large share of the national income of many states depends
on just this source ; and countries such as France and
Italy embark on extensive advertising campaigns in the foreign
press to attract this desirable army of visitors.
The tourist is at once bewildered to find that exactly the contrary
view is held in Palestine, where every possible obstacle
is placed in his path. He is required to make a large cash deposit
and it must be certified on his visa that he has purchased
in advance a first-class return ticket to his point of embarkation.
He is forced to pay $Io for the little consular stamp, as
compared with 350 in Egypt and 330 in France . Before he is
allowed to land he is subjected to a cross-examination almost
vicious in its import, and must file his living addresses with the
authorities as if he were a paroled convict .
On paper, every tourist visiting Palestine must put up an advance
deposit of C 6o, which is apparently his guarantee that
he will not try to outwear his welcome . Actually, these strictures
apply only to Jews . A consular officer who has just refused
a visa to John Doe because he took him for a Jew, will
grant the same request with profuse apologies as soon as Mr. .
Doe qualifies as a gentile . This was ineptly admitted by young
Malcolm MacDonald, then new Colonial Secretary, under questioning
in Commons on July 9, 1935.
Its actual workings are illustrated in the violent protest of
Warsaw Jewry on March 20, 1934 because the English Consul
issued visas to all Polish Christians bound for the Holy Land,
and at the same time refused permits to Jewish tourists even
though the required C 6o was deposited. Going beyond its
own written measures, the Government often refuses admission
to whole parties of tourists, even though their papers are strictly
in order and they have made the required deposit . Instances
are plentiful . On March 5, 1933, sixty such visitors were refused
admission without explanation and were not permitted to
leave their steamer . A few days earlier, a group of twentythree
sight-seers from Poland, all holding proper visas obtained
from the British Consulate in Istanbul, were unceremoniously
dumped into the Haifa lockup where they were badly treated .
The Government had invented a new theory in this particular
instance, alleging that they should have obtained their Palestine
visas in Warsaw and not in Istanbul . In another case an Egyptian
sea captain had his ship impounded and was sentenced together
with each member of his crew to five months at hard
labor for the crime of carrying a shipload of visitors to Palestine.
The Authorities with remarkable clairvoyance insisted that the
latter intended to overstay their leave, and unbelievable as it
may appear, rested their case entirely on this psychic assertion.
Not altogether satisfied with results, the Administration attempted
to put through a prohibitive tax on tourists in 1 933,
only frustrated by the indignant threat of Palestine Jewry to
carry the whole business to the attention of Christian churches
in every country . The Government now plans a drastic increase
in the required tourist deposit ; and has, since the middle
of October 1936, enforced a complete ban on the general run
of Jewish tourists, making exceptions only for those whose outraged
squawk might draw attention to what is going on .
Even visitors of unimpeachable standing are refused permission
to overstay their leave . A useful example is provided by
the case of Weitzman who, though President of the Jewish
Agency, was according to reports, picked up in Haifa for this
reason in 1936.
The natural result of this determined persecution is that even
Egyptian Jews who have always, since Turkish times, spent their
annual vacations in Palestine, now flock to the Syrian Lebanon
It is worth noting that before the arrival of the British `liberators,'
Turkish law allowed Jews to come as pilgrims without
restriction . When in 1887 Turkey, alarmed by the boasts of
the Russian Consul that he "had more `subjects' in Jerusalem
than those of all the other consuls combined," attempted to
limit the stay of foreign Jews in Palestine to a short period, the
British Government led the procession of States whose vigorous
denunciation of these regulations caused them to be abrogated
in short order.
A highly placed official once informed Horace Samuel, with
evident relish, that "Jew-baiting was the sport of kings ." To
more or less degree, this remark is representative of the tone of
His Majesty's Service in Palestine . Any hope that the pitiful
plight of the fleeing, friendless Jews of Europe would excite
compassion in the hearts of these men, evaporated rapidly . To
officialdom these unfortunates instead assumed a nuisance value,
and the old calloused attitude toward them hardened to icy hate .
It is true that these homeless creatures, hounded from border
to border and rigidly kept out of their National Home, did
attempt to enter in any way possible. Lacking the £ I ooo required
to buy their way in, they often sneaked their way through
without benefit of British sanction . Desperate men attempted
to swim ashore from far outlying ships under cover of night .
Some came nailed up in boxes of merchandise on the backs of
camels, enduring indescribable suffering. Delicately raised girls
braved the trip through the desert wastes, placing themselves at
the mercy of savage Bedouins in an effort to cross unnoticed
at some wild place . They came from everywhere, a horde of
stranded, terrified Jews who arrived by steamer, by canoe and
on foot. Most of them were young people in their teens or
early twenties, desperate, hopeless creatures who were taking
their last gamble in life . Many were drowned, died of starvation,
or were murdered on the way by the very Bedouins they
hired to transport them.
The most heart-rending events took place daily . One such
story is of five hundred Russian Jews who escaped from the
Soviets to go to Palestine on foot via Baghdad and Persia . Many
were arrested on the various borders . One hundred and fifty
died enroute of incalculable hardships . Altogether five finally
arrived in Palestine, where they were promptly thrown into jail
at Acre. Another typical case held the fate of 318 young German
and East European refugees, all under 25, who were
marooned on the British steamer Velos in x934. The Palestine
authorities refused to admit them ; as did every port at which
the vessel touched . Their meager funds exhausted, they were
locked below hatches like so much contraband, which could
neither be unloaded nor destroyed . Finally, after ceaseless
wandering from port to port, these luckless outcasts were given
temporary asylum by Poland .
Just how a Jew under the Mandate could be in Palestine `illegally'
has never been explained . If the beneficiaries of that
document are not the entire Jewish people, whose immigration
to the Holy Land is to be facilitated by every means possible,
then the Mandate has no reason for existence . Ormsby-Gore
admitted as much in 1925 when he informed the Permanent
Mandates Commission that they "should remember that it is
after all the Balfour Declaration which was the reason why the
British Government is now administering Palestine ." However,
the memory of the King's spokesmen was conveniently suited
to what their appetites seemed to demand . So the British gradually
developed the peculiar thesis that Jews, under a Mandate
directly formulated to facilitate their return to Palestine, could
be there illegally .
Coincident with the advent of Hitler the business assumed
the proportions of an out and out Jew-hunt. In a nice piece of
collusion between the Colonial Secretary, Sir Phillip Cunliffe-
Lister, and an M . P. named MacDonald, the Government `admitted'
that `illegal' Jewish immigration existed but stated in
assurance that "practical steps would be taken to deal with the
matter." The very next day Cunliffe-Lister announced stringent
measures to prevent `illegal' Jewish immigration into Palestine.
The system of tourist deposits was instituted . Holders
of Nansen passports, that pitiful army of staatenlos men, were
not in future to be granted even tourist visas . An air-tight
frontier control in collaboration with the agreeable French authorities
in Syria was to be put in effect. On the subject of
illegal Arab immigration the announcement was expressively
Showing the extent of its preorganization, the campaign at
once assumed the proportions of a large-scale pursuit of Jews
over the length and breadth of Palestine. Ironically paid for
out of Jewish tax moneys, a dragnet of airplane and motor boat
patrols were detailed along the borders ; while British and Arab
constables, assisted by organized groups of fellaheen, enjoyed
themselves in scouring the coast-wise territory . At Beirut and
other Syrian cities British and Arab police questioned motorbus
drivers, asking if Jews were among the passengers ; carefully examining
the passports of all suspected of being Jews, while others
were as scrupulously ignored .
The pursuit of `illegal' Jews was on in earnest, one of the
great witch-hunts of modern times. Jews were picked up like
dangerous animals everywhere and hauled to police stations .
Weeping Jewish women were thrown into cells together with
prostitutes, subjected to the obscene taunts of Arab jailers .
The situation is made pitifully clear in the case of thirty-two
young girls, arrested while out on a hike near Tiberias because
an Arab boy denounced them. Thrown into the overcrowded
jail at Bethlehem, they were kept on bread and water and refused
bail . The Police candidly explained to indignant inquirers
that "if they were released on bail, they may marry Palestine
citizens and obtain the right to stay ." 9 On the same
date three other girls were arrested on the streets of Haifa,
jailed, and finally deported on an Italian steamer . Italian authorities
would not let them land so they were shipped back and
forth between Palestine and Italy until finally Jerusalem agreed.
as an act of international courtesy, to take them off the ship .
captain's hands . Says the announcement : "They are now imprisoned
in the Bethlehem jail ."
Jews were expelled for any trivial reason the anti-Semitic
mentality could improvise . Men were torn from their jobs and
businesses and thrown like common offenders into the prison
at Acre, a dank, forbidding structure ranking in terror with the
famous French Bastille, where they were regularly beaten by
Arab overseers . The attitude is shown in the case of one
Isschak Kupetz, a respectable working man who was sentenced
to the Central Prison in Jerusalem and escaped . Immediately
an intensive police search was begun, and rewards prominently
posted for "the escaped convict ." Since no nation wanted
them, a great number of these tragic sufferers were held long
after their sentences had expired ; the Government not hesitating
to vent its exasperation on their heads.
Hunting `illegal' Jews became a major game, with illegal
Arab newcomers enlisting gleefully in the chase . Savage Bedouins
joined in under promise of a reward for any Jewish man,
woman or child they could catch. Palestine was under a virtual
reign of terror. Anyone who could not immediately prove his
citizenship, or produce his or her certificate of entry, was
tracked down, jailed and brutally beaten . The lives of these
people became a daily horror. They became gravely endangered
by falling ill . They did not dare travel. For years they
have had to live without their wives and children and under
constant fear of being discovered . The utterly savage attitude
toward these people can hardly be grasped by a civilized mind.
A characteristic case is that of the family Israel Ezra, tourists
who overstayed their three months' leave. Ezra and his wife
were sentenced to prison and fine, and in addition it was ordered
that their twelve-year-old son be publicly flogged .10
Bad as existing regulations were, the inhuman meticulousness
with which they were interpreted made them infinitely worse .
A fair example is the case of a woman and six small children,
who had arrived legally with the proper passport and visa, from
Turkestan . On the way her husband had been killed at a rail246
way station. The whole family was arrested on the ground
that the passport provided not for a woman and six children,
but for a man, a woman and six children . On this pretext the
woman and her children were ordered to prison .
The heat had grown so scorching that it was beginning to
drive even the patient Jews mad . Nationalist groups rioted in
protest. Serious clashes took place when Arab gangs invaded
the Jewish colonies themselves in search of victims . After some
of these invaders had been beaten within an inch of their lives,
the use of civilian Arab bloodhounds was discontinued .
While all this was going on, the Jewish Agency, which had
been to such pains to create a world-wide impression that "new
Jewish arrivals were being eagerly welcomed," put out a timid
protest. It verbosely pointed out that all this was a clear departure
from the MacDonald Letter, which expressly guaranteed
that no immigrants "with prospects of employment" would be
excluded. The High Commissioner "took the matter under advisement"
and immediately buried the `protest' along with some
ash-barrels of others, in the Jerusalem files . At almost the identical
moment, he announced the appointment of a Commission
under Sir William Murison to investigate the police for alleged
severity in maintaining order during some Arab riots of a few
weeks previous .
Lured by stark evidence of labor scarcity and big pay, peoples
from all surrounding states began to drift into Palestine .
Though a huge corps of coast and frontier guards kept vigilant
watch to prevent the entry of `illegal' Jews, Arabs from anywhere
entered without even the gesture of passport investigation.
The Report of the Peel Commission admits frankly that
the inhabitants of Syria and Transjordan "are free to enter the
corresponding districts in Palestine without special formality ."
It is, in fact, by disguising themselves as Arabs that most `illegal'
Jewish immigration is accomplished . If they are lucky they
will succeed in walking in boldly without challenge . A news
item of July 4, 1934 gives the circumstance more lucidly than
pages of reference . It reads : "Five Jewish women coming
overland from Damascus, attired in the traditional costumes of
Moslem women, including the black veils, were apprehended
at the border when police saw through their disguises . They
could not answer questions put to them in Arabic ."
Not only is immigration from Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen and
other surrounding places unrestricted, but Jews from these same
countries are as determinedly barred as their brothers from
Poland or the Baltic. Casual examples of this condition are the
deportation of Jews who fled from the Mosul district of Iraq
because of religious persecution ; and the demand of the Palestine
Government on May 16, 1935 that Syrian Jews be given
a special distinguishing passport when proceeding to countries
on the Palestine border, a sort of Near Eastern `yellow ticket,'
reminiscent of Czarist Russia.
Though the Government solemnly estimates in 1937 a total
Moslem increase by immigration of only 22,535 since the time
of the British occupation, 11 evidence of a vast influx of desert
tribesmen is obvious everywhere . As early as 1926, Colonial
Secretary Amery cautiously conceded that despite the growth of
the Jewish element "the increase of the Arabs is actually greater
than that of the Jews." 12 Figures presented before the Peel
Commission in 1937 showed the Arab population to have more
than doubled itself in fourteen years . This admitted gain in half
a generation must either be attributed to outside immigration or
to the most astonishing philo-progenitiveness in medical history.
Forgotten in its archives, the Government itself acknowledged
in 1922 the immigration of whole tribes "from the Hejaz and
southern Transjordan into the Beersheba area," a fact which
in itself must make its estimates of Arab immigration farfetched.
13 Other approximate figures are available from scattered
but credible sources. One of these is the statement of the
French Governor of the Hauran in Syria, that from his district
alone, in the summer of 1933, thirty-five thousand people had
left for Palestine as a consequence of bad crops .14
Whole villages in the Hauran have been emptied of their
people, who are drifting into Palestine . Count De Martel,
French High Commissioner for Syria, asserted in the summer of
1934 that even Arab merchants were moving from Damascus
to Palestine because of the prosperity there ; and in 1936 the
head of the Moslem Youth Association at Beirut, Jamil Bek
Basham, wrote that "there is a penetration into Palestine of an
army of Syrian laborers." 15
It is of course difficult to attain any adequate idea of the extent
of this flood of non-Jewish immigration since officially it
does not exist. In the absence of accurate canvass its size must
be pieced together and surmised. Such calculations as are available
show an Arab immigration for the single year 1933 of at
least sixty-four thousand souls . Added to the acknowledged
Hauranese infiltration are some two thousand who arrived from
Damascus alone. Mokattam, leading Cairo daily, announced
that ten thousand Druses had gone to the Holy Land ; and according
to Al Jamia Al Islamia, Arab newspaper of Jaffa,
seventeen thousand Egyptians had come from Sinai Peninsula
alone .
To these must be added considerable groups of Numidians
and even Abyssinians, and a vast uncounted army from Transjordan
about whose movement into Palestine not the slightest
pretense of legality is maintained . The figures on this latter
group must be very high, since economic conditions west of
Jordan have been literally frightful, with scanty harvests over
several successive years . In view of the fact that many thousands
of these Transjordanian nomads may be met any place in
Palestine, the Government reports themselves are amusing . In
his statement to the League of Nations for 1936 the High Commissioner
estimates that the total of persons arriving as immigrants
from Transjordan during the entire year was three, of
whom only one was an Arab (the two others presumably being
Englishmen) . 16 Not eight months later we find the same Government
openly repatriating thousands of Transjordanians because
the slump which followed after the riots left them without
Farago, puzzled by these contradictions, calls attention to the
fact that "one always finds in Palestine, Arabs who have been in
the country only a few years or a few months . . . Since they
are themselves strangers in a strange land, they are the loudest
in the cry : `Out with the Jews.' " 17
Exasperated by the Government's lack of good faith, which
was illicitly converting the Holy Land into an Arab country,
groups of courageous Jewish youths volunteered in 1934 to point
out what apparently the Authorities were unable to see . Fourteen
hundred of these illegals were quickly shown to be working
at Petach Tikvah ; and 1 zoo in Haifa on road and house construction
alone. Their probable numbers could be gathered from
a test count of 357 Arab laborers in the buildings material industry,
which showed 273 to be Hauranis illegally in the country.
A check of Arabs employed in Palestine ports on December
23, 1936 showed that only 50 of the 750 workers were
Palestinians. The remainder included Zoo Egyptians and 500
Hauranis.'S Whole hordes of these people were demonstrated
to be in the employ of the Government itself.
Without deigning to make a reply, the Administration pointedly
told the Jews to mind their own business . When Jews
picketed Jewish employers of this alien labor, the Government
bared its teeth and sentenced the demonstrators to six months
at hard labor for their pains . Undeterred, Jews again picketed
a Haifa theater being erected by a contractor named Borovsky
where illegal Hauranis were employed- 19 Immediately the Authorities
arrested fifty-three Jews and sentenced them to prison
terms. That pretty well discouraged any further attempt to
point out illegal Arab immigration .
Once in a while, for purposes of the High Commissioner's
report to the League, a few Arabs are apprehended for being
in the country without permission. Though bail, even in large
amounts, is refused Jews held for the identical offense, Arabs
are let go for C 1o. Considering this trifling sum a sort of premium
for high wages earned, they invariably skip bail.
On one excuse or another every effort has been made to
legalize non-Jewish immigration . The Administration had sent
up a number of trial balloons in this direction. Their first feeler
was made on December 18, 1934, when unexpectedly they
granted 150 labor immigration certificates to Arabs from Syria
and Egypt . Another was the admission in 1936 of 214 German
`Aryans' who wanted to settle permanently in Palestine in
order to "take advantage of the boom in that country ." Highlighting
this picture with all the potency of a floodlight was the
Administration's attempt to grant a huge tract of land under
homesteading rights to distressed Armenians, then in Syria .
This was at the same time that Hope-Simpson was showing
`conclusively' that Palestine was suffering from `overcrowding .'
London's animosity for Jews can be discerned in every part
of the Near East . Wherever Britain is influential she has drawn
a fibrous cordon of anti-Zionist arrangements, edicts and influences
. Where power lies in English hands the operation is direct,
as in Cyprus. Elsewhere, a discreet hint to friendly States
accomplishes the same result .
In Syria, one has only to gaze at the startling regulation issued
in Beirut, refusing Jews proceeding to Oriental countries the
right to make a stopover, a concession to the English allegation
that many tourists stopped over in Syria with a view to slipping
across the Palestine border at a subsequent date . On this
ground, in the first week of February 1933, fifty-one men and
nineteen women tourists were not even permitted to land in
Beirut and were tartly told to disembark at countries not adjacent
to Palestine . In the Spring of 1934, Syria, then in a desperate
financial and economic condition, was anxious for an influx
of Jews . This plan, backed by the Syrians themselves, was
frustrated by direct British protest to Paris . Following these
representations Syria obliged by announcing on May 3, 1 934
that Jews might be allowed to buy land anywhere except along
the Palestine border.
Pressure of the British legation at Athens, arguing that illegal
immigrants were being smuggled into the Holy Land by way
of Greece, produced the edict of November 30, 1934, forbidding
all foreign Jews henceforth to enter Greece except by special
permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Greek
Consulates were instructed to inquire by cable of the Foreign
Office in Athens Whenever a Jew applied for a Greek visa .
Foreign Jews passing through Greece, suspected of wishing to
visit Palestine, would not be permitted to pass the Greek frontier
except with the stamped permission of the Palestine Government.
The order established a virtual espionage system on Jewish
visitors, affecting Jews of all nations regardless of citizenship.
Iraq, British dependency and protege among the nations, was
also quick to respond . Zionist activity of any kind was made
a crime punishable by imprisonment, as in Soviet Russia . A
wholesale ban on all Jewish newspapers and books entering the
country was instituted . Following the lead of Palestine officials,
Iraq postal authorities ordered the exclusion of the pamphlet
Hitler Terror issued by the Board of Deputies of British Jews,
as well as other anti-Nazi material ; while such `literature' as
Hitler's Mein Kamp f was allowed a free sale.
Afghanistan, under British Foreign Office influence, moved
against the Jews viciously . The present ruler, Nadir Khan, was
financed and armed by Great Britain to overthrow the former
pro-Russian king. Like Egypt and Iraq, the country is now
ruled by British `advisers,' as a practical appendage to the Indian
Government. One of the first acts of the new Administration
was to move against the Jews, who had all passports withdrawn .
On a few moments' notice, in January of 1934, two thousand
Jews were expelled from the border towns of Mazar, Ankhoi
and Maimane, and thrown homeless in the desert . In May 1 935
these persecutions were heightened by regulations compelling
Jews to wear special clothes with red flags across their breasts
and a rope around their hips . They were forbidden to shave or
to ride in the streets . Jewish women must not appear in public
markets and, like common harlots, must not wear stockings . In
1938 Jews were forbidden to engage in any business activities,
the only occupation left open to them being that of bootblacks .
Persia, too, becoming practically a British protectorate, inexplicably
put its nose into extra-territorial affairs by prohibiting
the emigration of Jews to Palestine .20 Jews were forced to
wear a distinguishing badge . No Jew was allowed to walk in
the open street in front of a Moslem, or to talk aloud to him,
build a fine house or whitewash its rooms . He could not leave
town, grow a beard or ride on horseback. The law stipulated
that "Jews shall not be permitted to consume good fruit." It is
certainly at least coincidental that when the present ruler, Riza
Khan, denounced the treaty under which Persia was run by British
advisers and army officers under English tariff control and
financing, he abolished most of the more ridiculous anti-Semitic
Yemen, too, at the south end of the Arabian peninsula, prohibited
the emigration of Jews to Palestine at a time when London
could have broken its back by withdrawing its financial
support. Jews attempting to leave for Palestine are brought
back and executed . After an economic rapprochement with
Britain, the Turks also made Zionist organizations illegal, in
October 1934, going to the point of raiding Jewish homes all
over the country in their efforts to stamp the movement out .
The attitude may again be seen in Egypt where an Arab daily
paper appears called the Mokattam, known as the voice of the
British Embassy. No other publication in Egypt attacks Zionism
with such unrestrained violence . Though the country is completely
dependent upon Britain for both defense and finance, it
has lately become a center of anti-Zionist conspiracy and agitation,
and during 1938 played host to an international Arabic conference,
convened at Cairo, to fight Zionism . No one doubts that
had these activities been directed against any friendly nation, or
against such British dependencies as Iraq or Transjordan, they
would have been swiftly outlawed .
A confirming view is given in Aden, owned by England outright,
without bother of pretense. In June 1932, after mob attacks,
the British slapped a blanket censorship on the news, even
withholding cables of news services . Following the disturbances,
the Aden Jews sought to emigrate to Palestine en masse.
Many were arrested, and many more deported to Hodeida, an
Arab pogrom center then raging in a bath of Jewish blood.
When the fanatical Wahibis swept into Yemen in 1934, Jews
fled to Aden begging permission to be allowed to proceed to
the Jewish Homeland . The Authorities instead issued an order
prohibiting Jews from entering Aden altogether. Even those
lucky Israelites with visas to Palestine, compelled by the only
existing travel routes to pass through the Colony, are refused
transitory entrance and returned to the waiting Jew-baiters at
Lying off the coast of Palestine, so that its outline is faintly
visible on a clear day, is another English piece of property, the
Island of Cyprus . Cyprus had been taken by Disraeli for the
Empire because of its "propinquity to Palestine," a rare evidence
of the great statesman's sentimentality . A number of Jews,
unable to get into Palestine, settled here . The natives were delighted
at the prospect of having someone to whom they could
sell their almost valueless land at a good price. The average
amount paid was £ 8 per acre -about a thirtieth of the price
demanded in Palestine for similar land . Noting this, enterprising
Cypriots filled the Palestine press with advertisements offering
every kind of attractive acreage for sale cheap . Soon
Jews held almost seven thousand acres in Cyprus, planting it
mostly in citrus. The Island started to boom, and the stream
of Jewish immigration began to swell.
Soon after, the Colonial Office sent down General Storrs
(who had had some experience with similar problems in Palestine)
to rule the Island . Acting expeditiously, Storrs issued an
edict on December 13, 1934 announcing that in future no more
foreigners could buy land in Cyprus ; nor could they enter without
the express permission of the Governor himself . It hardly
needs mention that the only `foreigners' attempting to come in
or buy land were Jews, and that this ordinance put a summary
end to all such `attempts .'

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