Monday, March 2, 2015




In 1936 again, uncontrolled violence rolled like a sheet of
seething flame over Palestine . For the sixth time since British
occupation, armed revolt broke out, turning the country into a
roaring furnace. And as before, the lawlessness timed itself to
coincide exactly with events of major importance in Empire
politics .
If circumstances are to be believed at their face value, the
recent revolt in Palestine was a marvel of valor and military
genius. For more than two years a handful of petty ruffians,
sniping from ambush in the hills, have held the greatest empire
in the world at bay . "It may be doubted," states Sidebotham,
"whether there were ever more than one thousand men in the
field against us." 1 What London is asking us to believe at
the moment is that in a country half the size of Ohio, thirtytwo
thousand troops equipped with airplanes, tanks and all the
trappings of war are unable to subdue a small gang of desperadoes
who have succeeded in keeping it in a state of insecurity
and uproar for years. The utter helplessness and awful inefficiency
of the Mandatory in the face of this minor insurrection
is laid on too thick to be credible .
In scarcely more than a century London has managed to seize
for itself over a quarter of the land surface of the globe. Is
not the very existence of this vast Empire a gilt-edged guarantee
that England has never shown herself inept at the business of
handling rebellion ? It is not generally realized that the British
are constantly engaged in putting down insurrection in farseparated
places . In the Hadramaut they have been going
through a merciless mopping-up process . Along India's north-
west frontier they are cleaning out the revolting tribesmen of
Waziristan with a ruthless hand . The colonies without exception
are ruled by the axiom, `Spare the rod and spoil the child .'
In Kenya, another mandated territory, when a government
clerk named Thuku founded the "East Africa Native Association"
to protest the peonage system introduced by the Colonials,
he was grabbed on the charge of `sedition' and deported without
trial, after the police had slaughtered a score of his followers
for demonstrating in front of the jail where he was held . In
Iraq an emergency similar to the one in Palestine was handled
by Sir Percy Cox with scant ceremony . All the Arab leaders
concerned were immediately placed in custody, offending newspapers
suppressed and their editors arrested . Sir Percy's comments
were brief and to the point : ". . . the High Commissioner
will not hesitate to take drastic steps against any persons,
tribesmen or townsmen who do not take the present warning,
but continue to emulate the seditious vagaries of those now
placed under restraint ." This was language that Arabs could
understand, and the whole affair died aborning. Subsequent rebellions
were handled in short order by the Iraqi shadow government,
by simply detailing a few British airplanes to bomb
the tribesmen into submission .
In Palestine the close integration of officialdom itself with
the `patriotic' movement is hardly open to doubt . It is sufficient
to cite the Nationalist demonstration of October io, 1 934,
attended by prominent Government functionaries in their official
capacity, where "Arab civilization" was lauded and "the
coming independence and unification of the Arab countries"
(including Palestine) enthusiastically hailed . This hidden complot
reveals itself even more obviously in an incident of twelve
months earlier . An anti-Jewish demonstration had been announced.
The usual preparations had preceded it, the ferocious
bluster and screaming agitation, led by the familiar leaders of the
Arab Executive . Unfortunately for these plans, Nazi violence
in Germany, then unique and shocking, suddenly shook the soul
of civilization like an earthquake . All articulate reaction to
these startling events was overwhelmingly with the stricken
Jews. Sympathy for human suffering and despair was the prevailing
mood, and it was apparent at that moment that anti-
Jewish riots would be more than embarrassing to the British
Government. In an amazing about-face the scheduled disorders
were converted into a peaceful demonstration against the Government,
in which the word Jew was not even mentioned . A
strike had been called, but it was quietly recalled, without a
word of explanation . Part of the mob which had been so carefully
prepared could not, however, be headed off. Several
thousand hoodlums charged the police in Jaffa after having been
told by their own leaders to disperse . Taking his duties seriously,
Assistant Superintendent of Police Faraday ordered his
men to fire. In the melee he himself was badly wounded ; and
as a result an irate British judge sentenced some of the rioters to
imprisonment. Immediately the District Court quashed the
sentence and released the prisoners on "promise of good behavior
." The bewildered Faraday soon after had his post taken
away from him and was exiled to Beersheba .2
The British are reputed to possess the shrewdest Intelligence
and Secret Service in existence . Concentrated in one small
branch of the War Office, known as M.I.5, this superbly organized
spy and counter-spy system is respected wherever espionage
exists . Yet in strategic Palestine the Authorities never
seemed to know that seditious unrest of the most explosive type
was being openly organized right under their noses . Like the
previous uprisings, the rebellion of 1936 was scarcely a bolt
from the blue. It only became possible after prolonged elaboration
and shaping. Much of it was openly bought and paid for .
"Fifty well-armed, resolute Franks with a large sum o f money,"
observes an official United States Report, "could revolutionize
the whole country ." 3 "It is always easy in Arab countries,"
confirms Ernest Main, "to buy agitators and even murderers
for a pittance. It is easy, too, to work up political demonstrations,
even culminating in riots, if the fee paid is sufficient . All
you have to do is to summon a local labor contractor and tell
him you want a thousand men to demonstrate . His fee will be,
say, C50 or C 7o, and if you hand over this money you will
41 3
get a perfectly good demonstration in the streets, perhaps with
a few persons injured and some windows broken . . . It is important,
therefore, to realize that so-called `spontaneous' outbreaks
among the Arabs are less common than those that are
engineered ." 4
Before this kind of backdrop the riots were openly rehearsed
and agitated. For eighteen months the Government allowed
the Arab press to keep up a daily barrage, systematically branding
the Jews as "the human sexual disease," as "a gang of swindlers,"
and "a menace to all mankind ." Arab leaders publicly
threatened violence and bloodshed . Terrorist organizations
paraded themselves without the slightest attempt at secrecy .
Among others, there was the Red Shadow, the Black Hand, and
a formidable murder gang calling itself simply `G,' over whom,
says Farago, "the British made merry," referring to its members
as 'G-Men.' 5 All over Palestine groups of brown-clad storm
troops were marching, shouting 'Heil Hitler .' At Nablus,
boldly operating in the open, was a military training school for
the Arab Scouts, prime leaders in the disturbances .
Late in March a meeting of influential Arabs, practically all
of them Government employees, was held at Safed to plan the
uprising. A delegation consisting of members of the Iraqian
Parliament arrived to attend . It behaved itself in a flagrant
manner which would have led to strong diplomatic representations
in any other country, but here its stay was made pleasant
by every official courtesy. Fifteen days before the lid finally
blew off of this seething caldron, the Revisionist leader Jabotinsky
cabled the High Commissioner warning him that "specific
Arab manifestations on an unprecedented scale are being
exploited to revive the ominous battle cry, `Eddowleh Maana'
[the Government is with us]" and received a contemptuous
There was hardly one of the Arab ring-leaders who was not
on the Government's payroll . In any other country these men,
self-announced plotters of riot and rebellion, would have immediately
been tried for high treason . On the statute books
was the Seditious Offenses Ordinance, providing severe penalties
for any act which conspired "to raise discontent or disaffection
amongst the inhabitants of Palestine ; or to promote feelings of
ill-will and hostility between the different sections of the population
of Palestine." Yet on one of those rare occasions when
this ordinance was applied, the dangerous firebrand, Hassan
Sidki Dejani, was let off with the derisive fine of C 25 after he
had been found guilty of inciting Arab officials to revolt . "If
one thing stands out clear from the record of the Mandatory administration,"
concedes the Peel Report, "it is the leniency with
which Arab political agitation, even when carried to the point
of violence and murder, has been treated ."
Responsible Arabs who wanted peace were treated with all
the contumely of renegades who had joined the enemy camp .
In Britain itself, Colonial Office publications were blatantly advising
the Arabs to "unite on a common front ." An Arab delegation
was invited to present its grievances officially in London
- though no Jewish delegation was asked ." The tomtoms beat
in frenzied repetition as Whitehall circles called on the Arabs
not to let this opportunity to smash Zionism go by . The Bureaucracy
was now stalking its game brazenly in the clear .
While Arabs who made no secret of their revolutionary aims
were being pampered on the Government payroll, the steamroller
of official authority was ironing out the Jews. Among
other incidents, every Revisionist leader in Palestine was arrested
on suspicion of being connected with a "secret revolutionary organization,"
and held for considerable periods, without trial .
Even the innocuous little Jewish State Party was refused registration
as a legally existing organization. With withering
mockery the Government announced that unless it "eliminated
from its platform the demand for a Jewish majority . . . the
Jewish State Party could not be registered by the Palestine Administration."
Under this kind of patronage Arab megalomania developed
like a well-watered weed . A droll example is provided by the
indignant protest sent to a Jewish newspaper by a bandit named
Nabulsi during the height of the riots . Complaining that the
paper was not even concerned "with common politeness," he
says, making his point : "Never have the Official Communiques
designated us as inciters, terrorists and murderers !" 7 Of course
Mr. Nabulsi was quite right -the Official communiques had
never done so .
Unless the British are the victims of the worst accumulation
of circumstantial evidence that ever made white appear to be
black, the current disturbances, as well as the preceding situations
they have been required so busily to police, were created
with adroit cunning by themselves . The hope was plainly to
institute a struggle which would paralyze the Jews, after which
the Administration could come to terms with the Arabs . And
so we see the fantastic picture of a State surreptitiously engaged
in undermining its own authority and ruining its own commerce
and security by an act of civil rebellion to which it has lent its
own tacit permission . The three American Senators, Austin,
Copeland and Hastings, who visited Palestine in 1936, made
no bones about their impressions. Copeland, product of the
unbending morality of an upper-state New York village, bluntly
wrote that "there are really two strikes going on in Palestine .
One is conducted by Arab terrorists, who throw bombs and
snipe at passersby in the streets and highways . The other is
conducted silently by the Mandatory Government of Palestine
against the proper administration of justice . The prolongation
o f the terror in the Holy Land is due . . . to a manifest sympathy
for the vandals and assassins displayed by many officers
who are sworn to uphold the law . . . creating a condition
which could not but shock any American observer ." 8
For months, fifteen thousand soldiers had apparently been unable
to render safe a few miles of road between Jerusalem and
Tel Aviv . There had been innumerable hold-ups by armed
gangs, in which Jewish passengers had been hauled out of their
cars and wantonly butchered. Not a soul had been punished
for any of these brutal crimes . With unrestrained arrogance
the intransigeant Arab press hailed these killers as heroes and
boasted of further horrors to come . The nerves of the Jewish
community were worn to a frazzle. On April 17, 1936 the
funeral of a murdered Jew was made the occasion of a protest
demonstration . In an ugly mood, the police fired into the
crowd, wounding thirty persons . Immediately after, steelhelmeted
officers invaded Tel Aviv, dragging out householders
on suspicion of having been connected with the protest . Bearers
of black-bordered Zionist flags of mourning were beaten into
unconsciousness . Sullen, angry apprehension once more made
the air of the Holy Land a tinder box . It was in the midst of
this charged condition that the explosion was touched off .
The actual lighting of the fuse took place on the nineteenth of
April when a blood-curdling tale was circulated in Jaffa that
four Arab men and women had been beheaded by Jews in Tel
Aviv. Instead of counteracting these wild rumors, the Government
added fuel to the fire by dispatching enlarged police
units to Tel Aviv, obviously to protect Arabs from Jewish attack.
The outbreaks were swiftly and shrewdly plotted . On the
scheduled day not a single Arab was to be seen in Tel Aviv
though they generally offer their vegetables for sale as early as
five in the morning. Jews visiting Jaffa were irritably told by
the Chief Officer there that he "really did not understand why
they had come . . . since everybody had already known yesterday
that anti-Jewish attacks were to take place ." e Not a
finger was lifted by the Authorities . On the entire road from
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem only one policeman was posted though
the roads were almost bursting with armed and threatening men .
Jaffa burst into flames with the familiar cry "the Government is
with us" urging the demented horde on . By midday the streets
were running with Jewish blood . Many were slaughtered and
mutilated past identification, right under the eyes of the police
who made no effort to interfere .
The contagion spread to all parts of the country like wildfire .
Little boys of six carried automatics, shooting them off on the
streets of Jerusalem as if they were toy pistols . Unhindered,
the Arab press beat a loud tattoo for murder and revolt . GramJEHOVAH
4 1 7
ophone records made their appearance in the shops, calling on
the Arabs to annihilate the Jews . Nazi flags and pictures of
Hitler were prominently displayed in store windows . Booklets
explaining Nazi methods of forcing Jews from the Reich were
distributed freely . Only the Haifa district remained immune,
miraculously free of violence to the end, leading Jabotinsky to
ask coldly if it were true that this was "a revolt by leave" in one
part of Palestine, with no revolt where it was requested by the
Authorities that there should be no revolt .
On May 21, the Arab High Committee called a general strike,
stopping all work. Contrary to its own organic law, the Government
did not declare the strike illegal . Despite the fact that
it was an openly seditious body, the Arab High Committee was
not interfered with. The queer business by no means ended
here. At the end of June a mutinous memorandum was submitted
to the High Commissioner, signed by 137 senior Arab
officials, telling him bluntly to yield to the Arab High Committee.
This singular paper was duly forwarded through proper
channels to the Colonial Office, "who politely acknowledged it
and so far from rebuking the signatories, thanked them for their
loyalty!" 10 It was followed by even more impudent memoranda
from Arab officials in the second division, and the
Government-paid judges of the Moslem Courts .
With the exception of Government employees, virtually the
whole terror was led by Syrians, and Arabs from Mesopotamia
and Egypt. Violent men from all quarters slipped in and out
of the border as if it were non-existent, attracted by the lust
for action. The most important of these was Fawzy Bey el
Kaougji, self-styled commander of the Arab bands . A somewhat
handsome adventurer of neurotic impulses, Fawzy was a
Syrian who had been sentenced to death by the French for his
activities during the Druse revolt . Escaping to the Hejaz, he
had to fly for his life again, this time for being mixed up in a
tribal rebellion .
More lately he had been Commandant of the Military Training
College of Iraq . The Arab outbreak had already lasted three
months when Fawzy made his sensational appearance in a battle
in the Nablus area. Soon after, reports came through describing
how he had actually made his way in broad daylight across
the desert from Iraq, accompanied by many motor lorries laden
with full military equipment, and a considerable body of professional
desperadoes said to have come from the Iraqian Army .
To reach the Jordan River he had to pass through a veritable
network of military posts and patrols by which every waterhole
and lane is watched with a hawk's eye. The Jordan crossings
themselves are well known and well guarded . Fawzy
was no ectoplasm which could waft its way across these threedimensional
obstacles like Shaitan's spirit. The passage was that
of a regular expedition replete with weapons and military baggage
; but there he was on the wrong side of Jordan.
His appearance in Palestine was greeted with a well-organized
blast of publicity not less than that given the British expeditionary
force of General Dill." Within a few days his photographs,
describing him grandly as "Commander-in-Chief of the Arab
Armies in Southern Syria," were being sold and displayed in
bookstalls throughout the Holy Land . The entire Arab press
featured them with such provocative statements as "long live
the leader of battles, Fawzy, the messenger from Iraq," and "unsheath
your swords and daggers and press the enemy till he is
strangled." None of this met with the slightest interference
from the all-powerful censorship bureau . Aping the Government
itself, Fawzy even published his own war communiques,
making extravagant claims of `victories .' These were posted
prominently, sometimes on Government buildings themselves,
where they were allowed to remain for Arabs to see and believe .
An apparently frantic search by the combined forces of the
Army and Police found him as elusive as the proverbial greased
pig. While the Authorities were supposedly turning the country
upside down to find him, fifteen thousand Arabs assembled
on the banks of the Jordan to give the `hero' a royal reception .
From the very start, the rebels showed that they possessed an
inexhaustible supply of weapons and ammunition and were being
guided by a skilled military hand . Most of the Arab arms
were "brand new British weapons and ammunition manufacJEHOVAH
tured in the celebrated Woolwich Arsenal ." 12 It is reliably declared
that practically all their bombing operations were conducted
with hand grenades of official army issue . 13 Searches
for arms in Arab towns were preceded by a great stir in advance
so as to apprise the villagers that the raid was imminent, giving
them plenty of time to put their houses in order. In many cases,
groups of rebels used police cars and possessed special police
passes .
With bandits and mutineers swarming over every road, soldiers
were under instruction to fire only in the air. British
Tommies informed Farago : "We are not allowed to use weapons
without the written permission o f the District Commissioner
!" 14 And Duff was told in disgust by a loyal Arab policeman
: "Life is almost impossible for us men of the police
nowadays. We dare not do our duty for fear of being reported
and punished ." 15 "Both men and officers," states the London
Morning Post sharply, "have been quite bewildered by the fact
that operations have frequently been canceled at the moment
when they were on the point of being successful ." 16 A cloak
of bleak mystery shrouded these strange instructions . Where
they came from, no one seemed to know .
The streets of all cities were made the daily stamping grounds
of gangs who threatened Arab shopkeepers and beat up peasants
who came into town with their vegetables . "For an Arab to be
suspected of a lukewarm adherence to the nationalist cause,"
says Lord Peel, "is to invite a visit from a body of gunmen ." 14
Gangs visited villages and threatened to burn them down unless
they supplied quotas of men, firearms and provisions . When
the Mayor of Beisan displayed a foolish unwillingness to swell
the terrorists' funds, his young son's throat was slit in reprisal .
In deadly fear of their own nationals, 1 zoo wealthy Arabs fled
the country.
Shootings, bombings and every conceivable form of violent
outrage now became the daily routine . Bombs were thrown at
homes, railway stations, hospitals and public buildings . Kindergartens
and playgrounds were dynamited, tearing little children
to shreds. Nurses were slain by snipers as they went on duty .
Trains were fired on and wrecked ; cinema houses blown up ;
crops burned ; trees whose planting represented a lifetime of
heartbreak and industry, maliciously uprooted . Nothing that
would yield to knife or flame was safe from the destructive hand
of the vandal .
The chivalrous stuff these pampered `patriots' were made of is
typified in the case of a gang who invaded the home of a Safed
rabbi at midnight . They found his three little children on the
veranda and butchered them in their sleep. Their mother,
startled by the commotion, ran out and flung herself down to
protect her brood . The Arabs shot her without mercy. Her
husband coming on this terrible scene had barely time to see his
family dying before his eyes when a bomb hurled by the retreating
intruders decapitated him .
The Yishub was caught in a trap, but it knew from what
source its agony came . Courageously the head of the Palestine
Jewish Community, Mr. Ben Zvi, asked : "Who can say that his
hands are clean in these outrages ? Can the High Commissioner
?" In refreshing contrast to the fawning rhetoric of
Zionist `statesmen' in London, forthright old Mayor Dizengoff
of Tel Aviv saddled the High Commissioner with direct responsibility,
bluntly accusing him of having introduced "demoralization,
anarchy and lawlessness into the country ." He declared
that "the Government railways have become the strongholds of
terrorists from which they set fire to Jewish cornfields and bombard
peaceful towns," and that "Palestine is now directed by the
Arab High Committee and hooligans." "You assure us solemnly,"
he exclaimed (addressing himself to the Government),
"that you are fulfilling your obligations to us, but in practice
you have outlawed the Jews and handed them over to a mob of
criminals." 18
As in previous riots, the Jews were rendered impotent by being
forcibly disarmed. Drivers of vehicles compelled to run the
gauntlet of frequent attacks could not carry so much as a club
to protect themselves with. The police regularly searched Jewish
busses and passenger-cars on the roads, while Arab vehicles
derisively passed them, neither examined nor stopped .19 DeJEHOVAH
spite the fact that vandals were systematically uprooting valuable
groves and applying the torch freely, Senator Copeland found
that owners were flatly refused permission to have armed guards
on their properties.20 Jewish watchmen found in possession of
pistols were sentenced to long prison terms, though it was shown
that their posts were dangerous and that other watchmen had
been killed in the very neighborhood. Even colonies which
were subjected to recurrent assaults were religiously ransacked
by police, and colonists found in possession of weapons were
punished by imprisonment. Jews were warned that under no
circumstances might they own a rifle or fire a gun . Colonists
exposed to Arab violence were advised to lode out until troops
came. Even the Jewish Ghaffirs and supernumerary constables
were usually armed with truncheons only, or at best, with decrepit
shotguns that had little military value . Moreover, they
were not permitted to pursue marauders beyond the confines of
their settlements. "Jaffa Jews may be done to death in the very
sight of Tel Aviv's Jewish policemen, but these police may not
go to the rescue !" cries the Palestine Post indignantly.21
In vain the Jews pleaded to be allowed to defend themselves.
Students and veterans of the battalions who had fought under
Allenby begged to be mobilized, urging that they "did not de
sire to see any British blood spilled . We are quite capable of
defending our own homeland ." The Revisionists offered fifty
thousand Jewish soldiers, some of them seasoned World War
veterans, for police duty . The mobilization of five thousand
Jewish youths at any time, would have made short work of the
killers, but the Authorities had other ideas .
Arabs arrested for carrying arms were either freed outright or
fined as ridiculous a sum as three shillings (about 75¢) . Those
convicted of murderous assaults or of arson were indulgently
released "on probation ." For months, though there had been
numerous murders of Jews, the Government did not take the
matter seriously enough to offer any reward at all . It was only
after a British constable named Bird had been assassinated that
they suddenly came out with a substantial reward . Despite the
wholesale murders which took place in 1936, there was not a
single execution, a more than startling circumstance, since the
normal crime calendar of Palestine accounts for twelve hangings
annually .
Officers who took their duties too seriously were rebuked in
open court or transferred to less desirable posts as a warning to
others . The following cases, selected at random, show the general
tone of the courts . In one case, three Arabs, arrested for
sending an infernal machine in a suitcase to a Jew in Tel Aviv
and found with a whole arsenal of bombs in their possession, were
released on bond of L25. In another, two Arabs positively
identified by seven eye-witnesses as having dynamited a cinema
in Tel Aviv, murdering three people and mangling many others,
were given seven days in jail for carrying guns . The murder
charges were not even brought up. In another, some two hundred
ruffians armed with knives and iron bars, fell on the Jewish
quarter of Tiberias . When the military and police finally arrived
they `escorted' the assailants out of the vicinity . The
journey was made a source of great merriment . Shop windows
were broken and passersby stoned . "The next day the police
returned and arrested fifteen Jews ." 22
When the Administration dealt with outrages it really regarded
as scandalous, it made short work of the miscreants .
Rebels who damaged the Iraq Petroleum Company's pipelines
were not only apprehended, but their houses and those of their
relatives demolished in reprisal . When the military railway
was scathed by unidentified vandals, the nearby city of Lydda
was fined J 5000. An Arab who set a relative's grain field on
fire was sentenced to four years' imprisonment .23 Insurgents
caught firing on British troops were speedily handed the death
penalty, these crimes apparently being classified as `premeditated,'
as opposed to the `unpremeditated,' hence forgivable,
murder and arson committed on the person and property of
While Arab papers were allowed to carry on the most unbridled
anti-Jewish incitement, it was a different matter when
El Jamia al Islamia engaged in what was alleged to be pro-Italian
propaganda . Its editor, Khalil Yousuff, was picked up with no
more ceremony than if he had been a sack of potatoes, and deported.
24 Similarly, when some swashbucklers with little imagination
took their immunity too literally and dropped some bombs
outside the residence of the High Commissioner, "the Palestine
Government ordered the suspension of all Arabic newspapers indefinitely,
beginning at once ." 25
What the attitude was is shown in the order to Jews to bury
their dead at five o'clock in the morning so that there would be
nothing ostentatious about it . At the same time the Arabs were
turning the funeral of an ordinary outlaw into the most spectacular
celebration ever seen around Haifa .
Though in every case Jews were the victims, the Authorities
felt justified in alluding to the marauding operations of the insurgents
as 'Arab-Jewish clashes' requiring the meting out of
equal punishment to both sides `impartially .' To justify this
piece of hypocrisy, Jews suspected of nationalist leanings were
arbitrarily picked up and jailed, without cause or trial . When
an old Arab woman was assassinated by thieves from Arab Tireh,
known as a den of cutthroats since time immemorial, 26 the peaceful
little Jewish hamlet, Achuzat Herbert Samuel, was stigmatized
with the onus of murder by the imposition of a huge collective
fine, without the slightest offer of evidence.
Perhaps the most revolting part of this ugly pantomime was
the treatment accorded the Jewish refugees who had escaped the
storm area with their lives . By June more than twelve thousand
homeless creatures had streamed into Tel Aviv for protection,
their possessions destroyed and occupations ruined . The Government
finally agreed, under pressure, to contribute the sum of
2o mils (1o¢) a day per head to their upkeep . After a few
weeks it abruptly notified the Municipality that it would terminate
even this meager contribution (June 17, 1936) ; and in an
astounding decree taking effect thirteen days later, it denied the
city of Tel Aviv permission to provide for or deal with these
unfortunates. In this amazing order the dictum was laid down
that though the refugees were not to be permitted to return to
their ruined homes, it was up to the voluntary contributions of
Jews abroad to maintain and house them . The Government
washed its hands of the proposition and refused to accept, or to
allow the Municipality to accept, the responsibility .
Since it is apparent that this whole mad fury of lawlessness has
been prompted from an outside source, the question naturally
arises -where did all the money come from to keep it alive?
There were men to feed, committees to keep going, agents to
support in foreign countries, and arms and ammunition which
had to be purchased. It is estimated that these activities were
costing in the neighborhood of f 3000 a day.27 This is a large
sum when it is applied to a struggle lasting many months on end .
Those acquainted with the country know that the rich Arab is
not prepared to donate "even a pound of his own free will for
communal purposes." 28 Nor did his nature show any change
in this case . The Arab landlords, effendis and merchants gave
very little support to the strike . Many, in fact, left the country
to protect themselves .
According to the continental press, the Jerusalem Police found
documents proving that the rioters had received C70,000 from
European sources actuated by anti-British as well as anti-Jewish
motives. In addition to this and other sums which came from
Fascist countries, the London Daily Mail reported that a police
raid in Jerusalem discovered receipts and documents indicating
that the Soviet Department for Near East Propaganda had sent
large sums to Palestine to support the insurrection .29 Another
considerable amount was reported to have been remitted to Arab
emissaries at Cairo, Egypt, via the American Express Company .3o
A great part of the revolt funds came from England itself . Allied
anti-Semites in America supplied another portion .31 Some
came directly from the Palestine Government in various disguises,
as the £ 30,000 loan "to needy farmers," actually used
to buy arms and ammunition . 32 The Government-controlled
Moslem Wak f contributed another sizable sum . Mohammedan
.countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq which fall in the British
sphere of influence, made a number of public collections for this
;purpose. The London Daily Mail of July 15, 1936 reports that
£ 11,000 was sent from India, apparently without the slightest
;interference by either the Indian or Palestine Authorities .
"One of the surest sources of strike funds," states the London
Times, "remains the contributions from Arab officials in the
Government service, most of whom regularly surrender a fraction
o f their salary." 33 For the right to continue working,
Government employees were assessed by gangster methods, up
to twenty percent of their monthly salary . By August 15, 1936,
according to a detailed statement published by an Arab paper,
around £ 5000 was collected in Jerusalem from this source .
According to an incomplete list appearing daily in Ad Difaa,
twice that amount was collected in Jaffa by the same date .
This tax, writes Horace Samuel, fell impartially on every Arab
official from the most junior teacher "to the most senior of Sir
Michael MacDonnell's Arab judges in the Court of Appeal, taking
in, presumably, in its stride, Ishak Effendi El Hashim, the
Arab private secretary of Sir Arthur Wauchope ." 34
By Fall the Levantine began to grow heartily tired of the revolt.
All this turmoil was the incomprehensible business of
Allah and the strange Angliz who for some reason wanted it that
way. The fellah and Bedouin, for their part, had had enough .35
The citrus season was coming on . The fruit hanging on the
tree was like ready money. There were not enough hands to
go around . Tradesmen and merchants found themselves almost
bankrupt and wishing the `patriots' all in hell in consequence.
The British had moreover accomplished all their objectives for
the moment. They had succeeded in concentrating a huge
military force in the delicately balanced Near East without protest
from any source . A Royal Commission was already on its
way to complete the work of demolishing the Mandate . After
dilly-dallying around for months with his huge imported military
machine, General Dill bluntly made it known that the curtain
was about to be rung down on the play .
The Arab ring-leaders were now in an all-but-impossible situation
. With nice consideration Whitehall conceded that their
prestige must be saved at all costs . "The Arab Higher Committee,"
states Great Britain and the East, "cannot of itself say that
the strike shall end without renouncing the whole position it has
taken up . A 'face-saving' development is however possible." 38
With extravagant mummery, as if they were dealing with a
powerful opponent, the Colonials made the proper motions .
Low-flying airplanes scattered tons of Arabic leaflets promising
that if the strike were dropped, a Royal Commission would immediately
come and "give the Arabs justice ." With ill-concealed
clarity they were told by manifesto and proclamation that all
their demands would be granted .
With brilliant forethought the Bureaucrats cushioned the collapse
for their friends in the Arab High Committee . They invited
the Arab kings into the situation . But here came a snag
the Arab kings smelled a rat and would not budge . Abdullah,
who believed he was to be the Emir of a reunited Palestine and
Transjordan, was mortally afraid of baiting Ibn Saud by a public
declaration, since the latter understood that it was his second
son who was to get the Holy Land throne . Each waited dead
in his tracks, desperately afraid of being double-crossed .37
Finally, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Nuri Pasha Said, was
dragooned to act as mediator . He assured the rebels that "the
Palestine Government would not only announce stoppage of
Jewish entry into Palestine but would also declare an amnesty
for individual Arabs participating in the outbreaks, as quid pro
quo concessions for Arab cessation of the strike ." 38 Almost
immediately afterwards, Nuri Pasha was overthrown in his own
country and chased out to exile in Egypt. The new Government
of Iraq turned its back on the pan-Arab world . Ibn Saud
and Abdullah continued to eye each other suspiciously . Only
after these gentlemen had been stiffly reminded that they owed
their eminence to British bayonets, did they cautiously allow
themselves to be drawn into the 'face-saving' process .
With this theatrical piece of staging the `strike' ended . It was
not a surrender, but in the nature of an honorable armistice.
The plain inference in this gentleman's arrangement was "that
pending the findings of the Commission, the terrorist organization
is not to be unduly harassed, so that it shall be in a position
to resume hostilities should it not be satisfied with the findings
of the Commission ." 311 With superb courtesy, Fawzy Bey and
his followers were allowed passage into Transjordan . "Though
the Army had successfully surrounded him and his foreign supporters,"
writes the Jerusalem correspondent of the London
Times, ". . . his capture would have been embarrassing," so he
was "allowed to escape across the Jordan as a more tactful solution,"
enabling him to "conclude his spectacular career here
with honor and without surrender." 40 Why, one wonders, was
it necessary to allow this invading desperado to depart "with
honor" ? By what providential device was he "surrounded"
immediately after the conclusion of the strike, though seemingly
so elusive before ? And why would his capture have been
"embarrassing" to the Government of Palestine ? Returning to
Baghdad with a large party of followers by motor convoy, Fawzy
was given a rousing official reception which included "a message
of welcome from the Prime Minister, who congratulated him on
his safe return." 41 Since Iraq is frankly a British dependency,
must not this circumstance also be included in the puzzle ?
One hundred and seventy-five days had elapsed . During this
time, Palestine had wallowed in a horrible blood bath which had
cost seven hundred lives and thousands of wounded . Trees by
the hundred thousand had been uprooted ; innumerable stock
animals slain ; forty-eight bridges were destroyed ; telephone
and telegraph wires damaged ; trains derailed, buildings burned
and looted. There had been, all told, 1996 attacks on Jewish
settlements and communities, and numerous other forays directed
at busses, police stations and public buildings . Business
was at a standstill . Property loss was estimated at L 3,000,000.
The extra expenditure for military and police ran to another
The Holy Land was tense and anxious as still another of the
obliquitous Commissions entrained from London to `investigate :
While London was thus engaged in victimizing the Jews, official
publicity agencies were losing no opportunity to squeeze
every ounce of advantage from the situation . A venomous and
apparently incurable quarrel had developed between England
and the ambitious Italian dictator Mussolini . Frankly worried,
London was straining every nerve to quarantine the Italian by
depicting him as an international criminal who must be ostracized
by all decent opinion . The efficient English propaganda
machine was now operating on the old war-time basis . From
London and Jerusalem came a roll of sensational stories fastening
responsibility for the riots on the scowling figure of Mussolini.
Veiled allusions were made to the Pope and to his liaison
with the Italian Dictator . Catholic nuns, nurses and teachers
were accused of carrying on secret propaganda against Zionists
and British alike .42 In beautifully chosen words which inferred
an anti-Jewish as well as anti-English plot the British Foreign
Secretary pinned the whole blame on the Italians .
The entire liberal press rose to the bait so dexterously flicked
upon the water . Like a pack of dogs hot after game, the Marxist
press aggressively took up the cry. The London Daily Herald
asserted that Italy had sent enormous sums to Arab leaders
through secret agents . It even went to the point of claiming
that Mussolini had offered the Bedouins of Transjordan three
dollars a day per man if they would cross over into Palestine and
loot Jewish stores and houses .43 Responsible publications went
so far as to feature as news a weird story, concocted by the press
officer of Palestine, alleging that posters printed in Italian had
been stuck up all over Jerusalem urging Arabs to slit the gullets
of the Jews .44 Even the Zionist spokesmen, anxious now for
some unreal explanation of distasteful reality, seized on this fragile
straw which the Mandatory for Palestine had thoughtfully
A scant two years later, Italy, under pressure from its Nazi ally,
was to join the anti-Semitic Internationale so sedulously promoted
from Berlin.45 Jews, who had occupied the most illustrious
positions in Italian life, were to find themselves, in a single
merciless stroke, ostracized, vilified and threatened with exile.
In 1936, however, before this chameleon-like development in Italian
policy had taken place, Fascist Italy could truly have been said
to be freer from anti-Semitic agitation than London itself .46 On
June 20, 1937 the Italian Dictator had told Generoso Pope, New
York publisher : "I authorize you to declare and to make known
immediately upon your return to New York, to the Jews of
America, that their preoccupation for their brothers living in
Italy is nothing but the fruit of evil informers . I authorize you
to specify that the Jews in Italy have received, now receive, and
will continue to receive, the same treatment accorded to every
other Italian citizen and that no form of racial or religious discrimination
is in my thought, which is devoted and faithful to
the policy of equality in law and freedom of worship ." Ten
years previously he had advised the Rumanians : "Anti-Semitism
is a product of barbarism to which our movement is diametrically
opposed. Fascism seeks unity ; anti-Semitism seeks destruction
and separation . If we are to exclude Jews, we will only
strengthen our enemies." 47 In 1935 he had again warned the
pogromists that "if Rumania goes along the road of anti-Semitism
it will have very severe consequences not only inside the country
but in its foreign relations ." 48
Before events forced him into the unhappy position of being
the tail to the German kite, Mussolini had been a persistent advocate
of State Zionism . On February zo, 1934 he urged in
Popolo D'Italia the creation of a "true Jewish State in Palestine,"
pointing out that a "National Home" could logically mean only
this and nothing else . As late as January 18, 1937, he had written
an editorial warmly lauding the Zionist cause, though soon
after he was found attempting to match cards with Britain by
posing as the friend and patron of the Arab .
There can be no doubt that Mussolini, a hard-fisted realist,
would have considered it good business if he could have disengaged
the Jews from the English orbit . A powerful independent
Zion with which he was on a friendly footing would have
suited him perfectly . The Jews themselves eliminated this prospect
by their persistent Anglophilism, and Mussolini has come to
regard Zionism as merely a mask for the creation of another zone
of English political and economic expansion in the Mediterranean.
It hence looms in the Italian mind as an anti-Italian force.
Nevertheless, not a shred of real evidence has ever been offered
to substantiate the charge that Italian intervention was a factor in
the recent Arab revolt in Palestine.
Far more potent than any interference by Italian or Papist has
been the German intervention, which the English studiously
ignore. It has been shown that agitators now active in the Near
East have been trained in a special school in the Brown House
in Munich ; that pamphlets in Arabic are printed in Berlin and
Hamburg for distribution in Palestine 4 9 On October 22, 1 933,
it was announced that Eissael Bendek, member of the Arab Executive's
Administrative Bureau, would direct a propaganda
campaign in the interests of the Nazi Party . On June 8, 1934
the Jerusalem Arab daily, Mukkattar, reported the formation of
an Arab Nazi Youth Organization . The French Weekly, Marianne,
reported in 1937 that a great part of the arms employed in
the rebellion were supplied by the Suhl and Erfurter Gewehrfabrik
of Germany, which sent, in particular, many rifles and
machine-guns. The Arab journals Falastin and Al Dijah published
regularly articles of a racial nature, together with large
portraits of the various leaders of the Third Reich . They did
not even attempt to conceal the fact that they had become tools
of the Ministry of Propaganda in Berlin . The shout of `Heil
Hitler' became a catchword which rang insolently over all Palestine.
Nevertheless, the British Foreign Secretary has persistently
informed Commons that Nazi propaganda in Palestine is not of
such a nature as to require representations to the German Government.
This is a subject which Sir Robert Vansittart's publicity
bureau has also continuously soft-pedaled .
The Mandatory's press releases, however, made much of Communist
agitation in the Holy Land, inferring by unmistakable
innuendo that this was a Jewish introduction and one of the unspoken
horrors against which patriotic Arabs were rebelling .
This was a deft trick which the Soviets returned even more
deftly. Identifying Zionism with British Imperialism, they
placed themselves in the vanguard of the pan-Arab movement .
Communist hatred of Zionism is fundamentally rooted . AcJEHOVAH
cording to Marx, the Jews are not a nation but merely a product
and relic of an outmoded economic system . Hence a Jewish
regeneration based on its own (i.e., capitalist) values is contradictory
to the first and initial postulates of Communist theory .
Despite this ideological overgrowth, however, one may suspect
that this rancorous hostility is actuated by a more realistic reason
: Palestine as a stronghold of British Imperial interests could
by virtue of its strategic position be turned into one of the keystones
in the arch of anti-Soviet attack . The Kremlin, therefore,
not daring to attack England openly, does so by sneaking
through the back door and lambasting the Jews.
As long ago as November 15, 1926, a letter to the Palestine
Arab Executive from the Executive Committee of the Communist
Party of Great Britain offers "the wholehearted help of the
British Communist Party in the great historic mission of establishing
a united workers and peasants republic in the Near East
from Morocco to Syria . . . Great Britain," it asserts, "has
treacherously betrayed the Arabs by establishing Palestine as a
National Home for the Jewish People under an imposed British
Mandate." In Russia the Moscow Pravda roars on August 13,
1935 that "the Communist Party is building a people's front of
the entire Arab Nationalist Movement against Imperialism and
against Zionism." In 1936 the Kremlin decreed "a united front
between the local Communist Party and the Arab nationalists ."
By order of the Comintern the Palestine Communist Party was
Sacrificing outright their social propaganda, which the Arabs
could not be expected to understand, the Palestine section of the
Communist Internationale issued the following manifesto just after
the riots erupted in 1936 : "Arabs, you have seen the open and
clear villainies of the Zionist despoilers . . . Through their despicable
methods they have managed to deprive your tribes of most of
their land and to cut you off absolutely from all means of livelihood.
But they [the Zionists] are not satisfied with establishing
their National Home on the bayonets of British Imperialism . . .
They are bringing in large quantities of arms with but one aim -
to shoot at the hearts of the Arabs, whom they seek to wipe off
the face of the earth. The Arab people have two ways open to
them. One is the road to annihilation . The other is the road
to life and honor. He who is ready to take the second road
must choose war, just as his fathers and grandfathers spilled their
blood for their fatherland . The present Strike is our opportunity.
The Communist Party joins this Strike, but demands that
it must assume revolutionary proportions, and not by sleeping at
home or sitting around coffee shops . The Strike must not end
until Jewish immigration and the sale of land to Jews will be
stopped, and until the Jews are disarmed and the Arab masses
armed!" 51
As a result of this agitation, organized Jewish labor in Palestine
almost alone in the labor world refuses to admit Communists
to its ranks, stating simply "that such people have cut themselves
off from the Jewish people." The Communist is nicknamed
Mups, a contemptuous label which even the most radical
worker resents. "In my candid opinion," wrote Senator Copeland,
"there is no more solid anti-Communist body in the world
than the four hundred thousand Jewish people in the Holy
Land." 52 Farago, on the other hand, noted that Arabs were being
strongly influenced by Communist propaganda .53 An official
of the Criminal Investigation Department asserted to Duff that
Communism is "becoming a terrible menace now . The Arab
peasants are being inoculated with the poison . . . The fellaheen
believe that a Bolshie revolution in Palestine will mean three
cows for each man, J4 a month in cash, and 2o dunams of land
apiece . On top of that the Communists will expel the Jews and
all the rich colonies will become the property of the Arab peasants."
However, these activities were more sinister vocally than important
in reality . The British are not kindly disposed toward
Communists, and only let them on the loose for short periods
when their inflammatory material is required to keep the pot
boiling. When the dangerous woman agitator, Regina Brodskis,
was arrested in September 1935, a storehouse of inflammatory
literature and a counterfeit seal of the High Commissioner
were found in her possession . Despite these damning facts, this
woman and her gang were released in the Spring of 1936 "for
lack of evidence ." The very unusual nature of this act in itself,
plus its exact timing with the outbreaks, hardly leaves this
trouble-breeding policy open to doubt .
In October 1936, six distinguished British gentlemen, all well
over on the elderly side, packed their duffle to entrain for the
Holy Land. Their names were Peel, Rumbold, Hammond,
Carter, Morris and Coupland . With one possible exception,
they had spent their lives immersed in the intrigues of Imperial
business. Only Lord Peel, their leader, a handsome man with
a thin pleasant smile and soldierly bearing, lent the slightest sense
of reassuring warmth to this new peregrination of elderly
These were the gentlemen whom officialdom had handpicked
from its own midst for the learned work of passing judgment
on the late lamented remnants of what had once been a
mandate to the Jewish people for the reconstitution of their National
Home in Palestine . What they were up to was amply
demonstrated by Ormsby-Gore's preemptory rejection of a
demand in Commons that a woman member be included, to investigate
the condition of women in Palestine . His reason was
that "such a move would be incompatible with Arab ideals" ;
so that now it could be assumed that the six elderly gentlemen
were to investigate only such matters as were "compatible with
Arab ideals."
Here we have a plot so far-fetched that it would be rejected
by most fiction editors as incredible. In the docket is a mandatory
which, under the most generous construction, must be impeached
as co-defendant with the Arabs in the case . At its
service it possessed an enormous military and espionage machine .
Yet it knew nothing of the impending outbreaks, did nothing to
forestall them, failed to apprehend the principal culprits, and has
since failed to bring the numerous murderers to justice . For
six long months, with this huge military establishment, by which
a country like Palestine could have been conquered in a week, it
was unable to put down less than two thousand lawless men .
Now we find this custodian, having turned the patrimony of its
ward into bankruptcy, and suspected of scheming to expropriate
the remnants for itself, setting itself up as an impartial court of
inquiry in order to determine who the culprit is .
In order to secure Parliament's consent to the appointment of
this new body, the Colonial Secretary assured Commons on May
z8, 1936 that the Commission would "investigate the causes of
unrest and alleged grievances, either of Arabs or of Jews, without
bringing into question the terms of the Mandate ." Later in
the House of Lords, he repeated this pledge that whatever the
Commission's operations "it will not be open to them to challenge
the Mandate itself ."
At its opening session the new Commission at once began the
usual quibble on words. "We are `to ascertain the underlying
causes of the disturbances which broke out in Palestine in the
middle of April,"' Lord Peel told his associates . "You will note
the words `underlying causes .' It does not appear to be necessary,
therefore, to inquire into the detailed course of events in
the last six or seven months. If there are claims and counterclaims
arising out of these events, they are matters for the courts
or for the Administration, but we have to deal, I believe, with
wider issues." Thus immediately the Commission tore up its
terms of reference and prepared to tear up the Balfour Declaration
and the Mandate .
One has only to read the transcript of evidence to judge this
body's temper, and its badgering and unfriendly attitude towards
Jews. Setting the whole tone of the `investigation,' Sir Horace
Rumbold unburdened himself of the irritable observation that
"the Jews were an alien race in Palestine ." ss When Leonard
Stein, legal adviser to the Jewish Agency, finished a carefully
prepared statement on the legal character of Jewish rights under
the Mandate, Lord Peel remarked sarcastically : "Thank you for
your very able exposition, which now makes the document [the
Mandate] more obscure to me than ever before!" 66 With
magisterial sharpness Peel demanded to know whether the Jews
were ready to work on the Sabbath as a condition to securing
public works positions - (which was much the same as if one
had asked a professing Catholic to bring a basket of ham sandwiches
to his church on Good Friday) . At another time the
Jewish Agency was given an unmerciful tongue-lashing for not
constituting itself as an unofficial police body to smoke out `illegal'
Jewish immigrants from the corners and crevices where they
lay shivering . But when the Agency brought up the question of
illegal Arab immigration, the Commission changed its attitude
completely. The fact that no measures were being taken against
this illegal procedure, and the moral encouragement given by the
Government, which employed hordes of these Arab illegals on
its own payroll, did not appear to cause them the least concern .57
In all, there were eleven witnesses called by the Commission to
expound the Arab political position . Seven of these were members
or agents of the insurgent Arab High Committee . The
other four, admits the Commission blandly, "appeared with the
full assent of the Arab High Committee" and "supported in toto
the Arab High Committee's case ." It was from this kind of
collusive ballot-box stuffing that the `Arab position' was determined.
When after long delays the much heralded `Report' finally
made its appearance in July 1937, it was apparent that whatever
else this Commission had `investigated,' responsibility for the
riots (the only matter which came within its terms of reference)
was not among them . The `Report' consisted of a monumental
4.04-page compendium of closely packed, sanctimonious verbiage.
It breathed brotherly love in every phrase . As a compendium
of plausible nostrums it was nothing less than a literary
masterpiece ; but cleansed of all concealing rhetoric it boiled
down to several quite sordid propositions . One was an adroit
effort to absolve the Mandatory from any inference of misconduct
or dereliction in its stewardship of the Jewish National
Home. The other was an attempt to justify by principle a
planned embezzlement of its Jewish ward's inheritance .
For this purpose the Report boldly reverses every contention
by which the British Government had justified its strictures
against Zionists in the past. Directly confounding the findings
of previous `Commissions,' it acknowledges that Arabs are much
better off than they were in 1920, and that this increased prosperity
has been due to the influx of Jewish capital and the other
factors connected with the growth of the National Home .
It tenaciously remembers, however, that "the Government's
first duty was what Sir Herbert Samuel rightly called `the invidious
task' of preventing this tide [of Jewish immigration] from
swamping Palestine." It discovers that "the establishment of
the National Home involved at the outset a blank negation of
the rights implied in the principles of national self-government,"
and that "as the Home has grown, the fear has grown with it
that, if and when self-government is conceded, it may not be
national in the Arab sense, but government by a Jewish majority .
That is why it is difficult to be an Arab patriot and not to hate
the Jews. . . In their eyes," continues the Report, "the Jewish
National Home is already too big . Four hundred thousand is a
formidable fraction in a total population of i,3oo,000 ." Thus
the whole attempt to oust the Jews from Palestine is switched
from the basis of alleged economic injury to the Arabs, to that
of conflicting national loyalties .
With absurd disregard for all known facts, the document discloses
that "there was little or no friction . . . between Arab
and Jew in the rest of the Arab world until the strife in Palestine
engendered it ." By every implication, it attempts to give
the false impression that the young intelligentsia of Syria and
Palestine joined in the revolt of Hussein against the Turks, and
hence had an earned right to `their' country . Not a single mention
is made of the part played by the Jewish Legion .
Despite its admission that the Arab has benefited greatly from
Jewish immigration, it returns to the old thesis that the native
cannot possibly compete with the Jew. It finds that the Arab
has to be protected against his own cupidity ; and to bolster its
contention that the land must be allowed to stay undeveloped,
offers the ludicrous argument that any effort at intensive farming
would entail "a complete change in the [Arab] cultivator's habits,
chief among which stands the fact that he would have to
work all the year around ." It asks particularly for stringent
legislation barring the Jews from settlement "in certain areas,"
and that the Mandatory "reserve certain areas for Jewish settle .
ment." In less circumspect words, what it proposes is the establishment
of a new ghetto . For its authority it refers to the completely
discredited Hope-Simpson Report which it describes as
"an excellent and comprehensive appreciation of the agrarian
position" and "a thorough investigation of the land problem in
The Report counts it "highly undesirable" that there should
be a harbor in Tel Aviv since this would compete with Arab
Jaffa . In a transparent effort to organize the entire Arab world
against the Zionists, it suggests that an Arab Agency be formed
in London and Palestine, "including in addition to the Arabs of
Palestine, representatives of Transjordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia,
Syria and perhaps Egypt ."
The Commission completely disposes of the principle that
`economic absorptive capacity' shall be the yardstick by which
Jewish immigration is to be figured. It discovers that "political,
social and psychological factors should be taken into account ."
So it now asks His Majesty's Government to "lay down a political
high level of Jewish immigration ." On no account, it
states, must more than twelve thousand Jews be admitted to
Palestine annually, and that even this maximum shall be subject
to the discretion of the High Commissioner, who may admit
none at all if he feels so disposed . Following this bombshell, the
Commission arrives at the bizarre conclusion that "insofar as
immigration has been the major factor in bringing the Jewish
National Home to its present stage of development, the Mandatory
has fully implemented his obligation to facilitate the establishment
of a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine" !
With queer reverse logic, it condemns the Jewish National
Home as having "grown into something like a state within a
state ." "It would be difficult to find in history," it remarks, "a
precedent for the establishment of so distinct an imperium in
imperio." With similar waggish complaint it concludes that
"the social conscience of the National Home tends to concen438
trate on Jewish needs and to leave the Arabs to the care of the
Government." It asserts that the Jew is no patriot even of his
own homeland, saying that "allegiance to Palestine and its Government
are minor considerations to many of them," and goes
out of its way to call into question the loyalty of the Jewish police.
By analogy one gains the idea from its pages that the Jews
actually plan to demolish all the Christian churches and the
Moslem mosques, and re-erect the temple of Solomon. It makes
sly reference to the findings of the Haycraft Commission, which
found the `Bolshevik' Jews guilty of arousing patriotic Arabs by
their May Day celebrations after the pogrom of 1920. It disposes
of the charge that Jews receive virtually no share of the
tax moneys, with the observation that "it should be a matter of
pride to the Jews that their Home is one of their own building
and we believe it to be in accordance with the intention of the
Mandate that it should be so ." The claim that Jews should at
least receive their proportionate share of educational grants is invalidated
in the single remark that the Arab is not as well educated
as the Jew, and that hence "it is unjustifiable to increase the
grants to the latter ." (The Jew is apparently to be brought
forcibly down to the Arab's level .)
Though the Arab insurrectionists are obviously recognized as
`patriots,' the Jewish nationalists are referred to as "a determined
and troublesome group," who one gathers, are basically responsible
for all the trouble . The Commission does not hesitate to
saddle the murder of Dr. Arlosoroff on the Revisionists as "an
act of political terrorism," though time has proven conclusively
that this was a trumped-up charge in which the Government itself
was not guiltless . Jews, who were formerly militated against
by all administrations as being advance agents for Communism,
are now lambasted hip and thigh for being such thoroughgoing
nationalists . "So far, in fact, from facilitating a better understanding
between the races," laments the Report, "the Jewish educational
system is making it more and more difficult as, year by
year, its production of eager Jewish nationalists mounts up ."
Then comes a filibuster patently aimed at disengaging those
Christian Zionists who have given their sympathy and strength
to the Jewish cause . Says the Report piously : "The religious
stake of the Christians in the Holy Places is just as great as that
of the Jews or Moslems . . . The 500,000,000 Christians in the
world cannot be indifferent to the position and well-being of
their co-religionists in the Holy Land ." The Commission refers
sententiously to the "very strict observance of the Jewish
Sabbath and the fact that the Jewish Government official does
not work on Saturday" ; with the result that "the Christian official
has to work on Sunday," a state of affairs which the Commission
believes "impairs the spiritual influence of the Christian
All this is followed by even more brilliant grotesqueries.
Their recommendation, the Commission regretfully announces,
is only "a palliative ." It would not remove the "grievance" of
the Arabs in the matter or prevent its recurrence . We gather
that the whole Mandate and Balfour Declaration can only be
considered a practical and moral mistake, made by a humanitarian-
minded Empire, which through this act of sheer benevolence
has placed itself in an ethical if not physical dilemma .
Finally we come to the point all this literary effort was leading
up to. It seems, quotes the Commission, that all the previous
Governments' Commissions had been dead wrong. The Mandate
does not involve an obligation to two peoples who are to
live side by side with each other, nor does it preclude the establishment
of a Jewish State. That, God bless you, could have
been its only purpose, since anything else save a homogeneous,
self-governing territory is unreasonable. But again, God bless
you, "under stress of the World War the British Government
made promises to Arabs and Jews in order to obtain their support"
which seem to cancel each other out . (Not a particle of
evidence exists to show that any promises were ever made to
Arabs in regard to Palestine, except in the imagination of the
Commission. Sir Henry McMahon, acknowledged by all comers
to have been the only negotiator privy to these conversations,
has denied time and again that any such promises existed . The
denial is also implicit in the Conventions signed by Feisal with
the Zionists.)
In the interest of common decency, it now turns out that
something must be done to clear this imbroglio permanently and
justly. Skillfully presented in the role of a fatigued mediator
with a headstrong quarrel on its hands, the Mandatory has attempted
to conciliate both parties, but without success . Here
comes the master touch . It pleads with both Jews and Arabs
to accept a disinterested proposal for a settlement of these irreconcilable
differences through a division of territory. In suave
words it pleads its friendship for both parties and offers to cut
the Gordian knot in one heroic stroke . The Jews are startled
to find that they have been offered a Jewish State as their share
of the bargain . A Jewish `State' after two thousand years of
tragedy and homelessness ! Messiah's kingdom at last !
We put the proposed Jewish `State' under a spy glass and discover
that it is an area approximately seven times the size of New
York City, running along the coastal plain ; that though Haifa
and the towns of Galilee are ostensibly included, the British plan
to hold them `temporarily' under their own administration ; 58
that it consists of the only densely populated portion of Palestine,
holding 140 people to the square mile, a density twice as
great as that of France ; that it will contain 225,ooo Arabs (approximately
equal to the number of Jews) ; that its fiscal services
will be under British control ; that as an independent economic
unit it is undone from the beginning ; and that it undoubtedly
will be administered by the British under a new and separate
Mandate of the same character, temper and quality as the existing
The British retain for themselves, under `permanent Mandate,'
the city of Jerusalem and an area around it taking in Bethlehem
and a corridor to the port of Jaffa. In the Report the Negeb,
the vast underpopulated portion of Palestine south of Jaffa, is
described by allusion as desert . It fronts on the road to Aqaba,
and is the area through which the new canal which is to parallel
Suez is to be constructed . It seems to have no claimant . ApJEHOVAH
parently it is not to be divided or partitioned, but it is to be
left as a residue which the Mandatory Government will in due
time take possession of, just as it has the Hadramaut . The remainder
of what had been Palestine is to be given to the Arabs,
to be rejoined with Transjordan under the Emir Abdullah, and
to become Judenrein, an area from which Jews are to be permanently
barred. Thus in this third partition, the Jewish National
Home, originally a territory of some 45,000 or 50,000 square
miles, is shrunk to less than 2000 square miles .
Since "the Jews contribute more per capita to the revenue of
Palestine than the Arabs, and the Government has thereby been
enabled to maintain public services of the Arabs at a higher level
than would otherwise have been possible," continues the Report,
"partition would mean . . . that the Arab area would no
longer profit from the taxable capacity of the Jewish area ."
This unfortunate complication presents a self-evident problem,
but the Commission has a solution ! The Jewish State should
pay a permanent subvention to the Arab State out of its own
tax moneys ! 80 To justify this denouement, the Commission
establishes the fact that the Arabs are inept and incapable of supplying
sufficient revenue from their own resources to run their
State . Transjordan, it cites, has never been able to meet even
the costs of its skeleton administration . Since the Jews had
always met the deficit before, runs the reasoning, why should
they not continue to do so indefinitely ! 81 The Jewish `State' is
further to "provide for the free transit of goods in bond between
the Arab State and Haifa ." The Central Government, i .e., the
British, would control railways, roads and post office . The collection
of customs at all ports would also be taken over by the
British, including Haifa, Jaffa, Tel Aviv and such other ports
as may be found necessary .
The existing public debt of Palestine amounting to about
£4,500,000, is to be divided between the Arab and Jewish States
by a Financial Commission to be appointed later . Is it a mere
slip of the pen which causes the Report to omit any reference in
this connection to the permanently mandated British area ? Is
this area to be exempt from taking over any share of the debt ?
Nothing is said in the Report as to the apportionment of the
Government's surplus . Who, one wonders, is to take over that ?
The Report makes it clear that the permanently mandated territory
will be administered on a footing to which the Balfour
Declaration will not apply. There will be no recognition of
any official languages - except that of the Mandatory Administration,
i.e., English. It is clear that the public schools of Jerusalem,
for instance, will be managed on such lines as would be
prescribed by British Authorities. Within the Jewish area the
British would hold Haifa, Tiberias, Acre and Safed . Will not
the same condition also be true there ? If Arab and Jewish
nationalists are really as fanatic and refractory as the Mandatory
claims, is it not setting itself up for a new and more terrible
vendetta ? If this inflexible, blazing national feeling exists, how
could it become reconciled to the theft of its principal cities and
the subordination of its culture there ?
Further analysis reveals that the British would have a stranglehold
on the major portion of foreign trade and resulting customs
revenue. Customs duties and various types of urban taxation
constitute eighty percent of the total income of the Palestine
Government from taxation . For the year 1935-36 the Government's
income from these sources was £4,097,126 out of a
total revenue of C5,770,475 . The lion's share of tax revenue
would therefore be controlled, if not wholly appropriated, by
the British, leaving the proposed Jewish and Arab States without
resources at the outset . The Mandatory would also gain
practically all of the tourist business, by virtue of its ownership
of the Holy Places . Controlling the larger urban centers which
constitute the major markets of the rural areas, it would have
the power of life and death over the Jewish and Arab States .
The British would be entitled to, and doubtless would, impose
burdensome restrictions on the movement of men and goods
to these areas. They would be able to determine the utilization
of the Jordan waters through control of the Sea of Galilee, thus
putting them in a further coercive position in relation to the
two `States.'
In its proposed boundaries the Jewish `State' would be cut off
not only from its traditional Capital, but also from its sources of
hydro-electric power on the Jordan, its main mineral asset of the
Dead Sea, and from prospective mineral resources such as petroleum,
phosphates and copper, in the south . Since it would have
no access to the great desolate regions surrounding it, it will have
no outlet for future growth.
Moreover, there will be almost as many Arabs in the Jewish
`State' as Jews . Hence it is likely that the division will not solve
the problem of Arab-Jewish rancor, but intensify it, encouraging
two mutually clashing irredentas within a small territory . The
Government clearly encourages the proposed Arab State to join
a future Arab Federation, so that this little Naboth's vineyard is
to be surrounded by a more or less united mass of covetous appetites
about ten million strong. In what respect will the position
be better than it is now ? Would it not simply provide
pan-Arabic ambition with a definite objective ? Whereas formerly
the Jews in the country were, at any rate, bringing new
wealth to the Arabs, would not the new contrast between Jewish
progress and Arab poverty "invite attack by tempting
greed" ? 112
Strategically the Jewish `State' cannot be protected . It consists
of lowlands surrounded by Arab hills. At one point it is
seven and a half to nine miles wide . What would the life of
anyone on this plain be worth if the hills bordering it were fortified
by the Arabs ? A country like that could be overrun
within a few hours, whatever the valor of its defenders . Of
this the Royal Commission itself gives unintentional warning,
saying, "the Jews must realize that another world war is unhappily
not impossible [and] that in the changes and chances of
war it is easy to imagine circumstances under which the Jews
might have to rely mainly on their own resources for the defense
of the National Home." How could such a wealthy, crowded
and progressive State on the plains and coast, surrounded by hills
and uplands, protect itself from the hungry, warlike inhabitants
of these adjacent areas ?
To give the proposition some aspect of reason, the Commission
suggests a mass exchange of population between the two
`States,' citing in defense of this idea the Graeco-Turkish exchanges
of population in 1922 .63 The transfer of Arabs in Galilee
is to be voluntary, but the transfer of those from the Sharon
is to be compulsory. A Transfer Commission is to be set up
under British control with headquarters at Jerusalem . Is not
all this contrary to the whole argument raised against the Jewish
National Home in the first place ? What in the name of common
sense is the moral difference between transferring 300,000
Arabs and, say, 900,000 Arabs, the total of those now in Palestine
? If it was moral when the League undertook the repatriation
of Turks and Greeks, and if it is moral in order to justify a
British plan of partition, why is it not moral in the name of those
8,ooo,ooo Jews who are being slowly done to death in Poland,
Rumania and Germany? There are at least 100,000 Jews in
the Arab peninsula who could be exchanged for Moslems . Two
hundred and fifty thousand more live in Arab North Africa. All
told, in Arabic speaking countries, there are at least 700,000 . Iraq,
among others, has stated her willingness to take all the Arab immigrants
she can get and to offer them every possible attraction,
including free land .64 Would not this solution be not only humane
but an act of the highest statesmanship, far superior to the
dog-in-the-manger tactics at present adopted ?
Much to the amazement of the Mandates Commission, which
had more than a little difficulty swallowing this explanation,
Ormsby-Gore stated that this whole scheme of partition was an
afterthought which occurred to the Commission after its return
from Palestine.65 He hastened to report that it was all a happy
accident and that the British Government had had absolutely
nothing to do with suggesting it . Yet Britain's Colonial Secretary
must know that no part of this is new in British Colonial
policy. It is identical with the system of `native reserve' followed
in many parts of Africa . Was the appointment of Sir
Morris Carter to the Commission a mere coincidence ? Sir Morris
is an expert on just this kind of work . Not long ago he
served as chairman of a commission in Kenya which fixed the
boundaries of a native reserve from which European colonists
are barred. This same partition scheme, in fact, was published
in almost exact outline more than eighteen months before, by
Mrs. Steuart Erskine, speaking the mind of the London anti-
Zionist cabal .6°
The partition scheme parallels exactly British strategic requirements,
allowing Mount Carmel and Haifa to be converted into
an eastern Gibraltar, and developing the corridor between Jaffa
and Jerusalem into a strong military and air base under permanent
British control, unhampered by promises, covenants and
trusteeships . Is this also coincidence ? The Commission recommended
in the interests of the Jewish and Arab `States' that they
sign treaties "of military cooperation" with England "dealing
with the maintenance of naval, military and air forces, the upkeep
of ports, roads and railways," for British military purposes.
The Jews, in other words, would foot the bill for a permanent
British garrison in their own territory . Are we asked to believe
that this, too, came as a touching and unexpected surprise to Britain's
military and naval advisers ?
At least it can occasion no surprise to find the British Cabinet
tripping over its own feet to accept "the unanimous Report of
the Royal Commission on Palestine" on the day it was published,
before there was any opportunity for examination or discussion.
But even here they were careful not to bind themselves
too closely, so as to leave the way open for still a further
foray against the distracted and retreating Zionists. In the exact
language used, the gentlemen of the Cabinet found that they
were "in general agreement with the arguments and conclusions
of the Commission," thus committing themselves to exactly
nothing, while at the same time appearing to have taken a stand.67
There were still formidable obstacles to be overcome, whether
by guile or force, before this carefully laid intrigue could be
consummated. One was certainly the conscience of Britishers
outside the official cabal . Another was the League of Nations,
for whom Britain was acting as temporary trustee . Since the
mere fact of railing against the Mandate did not alter its exist
ence, the third was obviously the Zionists themselves, who alone
could turn the trick without unpleasant repercussions if they
could be cajoled or frightened into voluntarily relinquishing
their rights in favor of the new British promises .
In England itself matters did not go too well . The country
was still a democracy, and for all the bureaucratic contempt for
elected politicians, five hundred cabals of vested officialdom
could not bring this plot off without the consent of Commons .
And Commons was grimly asking questions .
The moment Earl Peel's report was published, Englishmen,
boring through its polished phrases to the deceptions which lay
below, began to make themselves heard. Lloyd George, whose
government had issued the original Declaration, blasted it as a
"crazy scheme" which would brand Britain as faithless in the
eyes of honest men .68 Winston Churchill denounced it and the
men who issued it, stating that the Balfour Declaration could not
be brushed aside "as though they were under no obligations ."
Lord Strabolgi bluntly placed the entire blame for Palestine
troubles squarely on the shoulders of British officials, and accused
the Royal Commission of neglecting Imperial interests .
"The British scheme," he asserted, "was playing straight into the
hands of Premier Benito Mussolini of Italy, who . . . had been
in touch with the representatives of the Zionist Organization
. . . promising them all sorts of things ." 89 Expressing the generally
voiced opposition, the London Morning Post commented
sarcastically : "They have put a Saar, a Polish Corridor and half
a dozen Danzigs and Memels into a country the size of Wales ." 70
Opposition leaders once more scented an opportunity to tumble
the Government from power .
In foreign countries it appeared that the official clique had
overestimated the extent and force of anti-Semitic influence .
Ominous rumblings began to boil to the surface like little bubbles,
presaging a more vigorous convulsion gathering underneath.
Christian leaders, Fundamentalists who took their Bible
Prophecy literally, gazed askance. Bishop Alma White advised
the British nation that "the world will not know peace
until a Jewish Zion is established ." 71 "If the Jews do not preJEHOVAH
sent united opposition," asserted the Reverend John Haynes
Holmes, "then the Christians must take up the fight . For the
partition of Palestine is as gross an outrage upon Christian tradition
as upon Jewish hope." 72 The Irish, who saw a situation
developing analogous to their own, came out in their newspapers
with such headlines as "Palestine Riots Due to British Guile ." 73
The Hindu leader, Basanta Koomar Roy, termed the whole affair
a characteristic piece of British diplomatic treachery, declaring
that "the British conspiracy is to exterminate the Jews and to
paralyze the Arabs in Palestine through a bitterly fought and
mechanically prolonged civil war ." 74 Irredentist groups of all
kinds, in chains to Britain the world over, were looking on now
with keen interest to see what the Jews were going to do about it .
The cabal was playing with fire . Hitler and Mussolini were
on the move, and an alarmed Britain saw herself as the ultimate
target for their fast-developing ambitions . With pecksniffian
horror she was declaiming on the subject of treaty breaking and
violation of sacred international covenants. Righteous indignation
was her stock in trade . "With all her customary secret
diplomacy," writes Wythe Williams, she was preparing "the
greatest campaign in history to insure the aid of the United
States in the conflict she now fears is inevitable ." 75 The belief
on the Continent that in case of war Britain could count on
American support, and at the least would have access to huge
American supplies of raw materials, was an important asset which
London did not dare forego . The ablest British diplomats were
detailed to Washington, where they concentrated all their wiles .
Downing Street grew increasingly nervous as the reports from
America became more and more disconcerting . Though officially
inspired news agencies were pounding out ecstatic descriptions
of the proposed new Jewish `State,' the reaction was
impressively antagonistic . The Jews themselves were quiet, under
the strictures of the ever-reliable Weitzman and his collaborators
; but there were signs that this too might only be the proverbial
lull before the storm . Consternation ruled Whitehall
when the American Christian Conference sent a cable to Geneva
signed by the most prominent and influential names in American
public life, calling attention to the "persecution of Jews that
now disgraces and degrades Germany, Poland and Rumania,"
and making the British Government a party to this villainy by
calling on it to "fulfill its covenanted pledges to the Jewish people
and to the world . . . and to cease obstructing Jewish settlement."
78 The Pro-Palestine Committee, headed by Senator
William H . King, issued a vigorous statement denouncing the
proposed plan as "a cruel act of persecution and a grave infringement
of international law ." Said the influential Hamilton Fish
"It is an amazing suggestion and a deliberate breach of trust ." 77
From the American Congress, forty-one members petitioned
Secretary of State Hull to advise London that partition was "totally
opposed to the spirit and acceptance of the Mandate by the
British Government ."
In the Senate the question of the treaties under which America
held rights in Palestine co-equal to those of Britain and other
League members, popped up as big as day. Senator Royal S .
Copeland, standing on the American-British Mandate Convention
on Palestine signed in 1924, drew attention to the fact that
under this treaty no modification can be made in the terms o f
the Mandate without the prior consent o f the United States .
Despite this Agreement, he pointed out, the United States had
not been consulted. Speaking in turn, Senator Warren R.
Austin, an eye-witness to the outrageous events which had taken
place in the Holy Land, solemnly urged that "under this treaty,
Americans are clearly entitled if not obligated to investigate the
lawlessness . . . and criminal conduct prevalent in Palestine ."
From Berlin, Adolph Hitler contemptuously dismissed the
whole plan as "English bluff ." Mexico announced that it would
oppose it in Geneva. The French, still wryly remembering the
intrigue which had handed Feisal to them in Syria, let it be
known with some heat that "no final decision could be taken
without their consent ." 78 In an impressive memorandum the
liberal groups of France and Belgium presented a major report
whose general premise was that far from being interested in the
establishment of a Jewish commonwealth, Britain would infinitely
prefer to see the work of construction collapse in order to have
a free hand to play the political game in the East. Accusing
London of direct complicity in the riots, the report proposed an
international committee to investigate .79
From yet another quarter came Poland, which as a powerful
buffer state between Germany and Russia, each a potential English
enemy, was being desperately wooed by Downing Street .
Poland wanted the largest Jewish State possible, in order to provide
a competent outlet for her unwanted Jews . Surveying the
British plan coldly, Poland announced herself solidly opposed . In
this tart disagreement she was joined by Rumania, and for much
the same reason.
It was apparent that all of this was just the beginning ; and
that if the Zionists started raising a commotion, the first nation
to have a serious tiff with Britain would make the Jewish quarrel
their own, with the legal advantage all on their side . None of
these things argued well for the Government's case when Parliament,
filled with grim and suspicious men, met late in July to
consider the measure .
Leading the Government's fight in person was the Colonial
Secretary, William George Arthur Ormsby-Gore . He was the
same Ormsby-Gore who had told a Zionist gathering in London
"I belong to the Anglican Church, and I see God's finger in the
return of the Jews to Palestine ." 80 He was the same man who
had thundered in 1921 : "Never in the history of the world has
a great empire taken up obligations of this kind and gone back
on them without being doomed. . . The little Englanders and
the narrow-minded politicians . . . what do they care about
Jerusalem or the British Empire ? They only care about . . .
getting an anti-Semitic cry."
It was he who had again told Commons in 1922 that the campaign
waged against a Jewish Palestine was the product of anti-
Semitic conspiracy ; that it was anti-British as well ; that it was
"only likely to result in the replacement of Britain in Palestine
by some other power" ; and that England "ought to pause before
it allows such a policy to be effected by its own nationals ." 81
Yet now we find this same gentleman hand-in-glove with the
cabal he had denounced, doing his best to convince Parliament
that the undertaking to which his nation was solemnly pledged
"involved an irreconcilable conflict between the aspirations of
Arabs and Jews" and therefore must be abandoned . To show
what kind of company he was keeping, one merely needs to
mention that in the House of Lords the Government's case was
being summed up by Lord Winterton, the identical worthy who
had once shouted down an unlucky Jewish M . P. from Whitechapel
with the words : "Silence in the ghetto!" 82 Now Winterton
was orating with crocodile tears in his eyes about the
miseries of Jews in this world, and stating his conviction that the
official clique were offering them "a fair deal" for the first time in
two thousand years .
In Commons it was apparent at once that none of this pharisaical
nonsense was going to be worth its salt . Despite the Government's
plea that the matter was so imperative that it had to
be adopted at once, Parliament was in no mood to accept this
proposition blindfolded . It was plain that while the Government
might win on the straight question of a vote of confidence,
it was a risky business, with a considerable section of its own
Party ready to vote with the opposition . Rather than chance
it, the official clique hastily backtracked, and introduced a resolution
referring the whole matter to the League, giving Commons
a chance to mull over it in its own good time . The result was
that Ormsby-Gore had to take his proposals before the Mandates
Commission without authority to say that Parliament approved
the scheme in principle or in detail . Here again the
British Colonial Secretary found himself with his hands full .
The Mandates Commission, considerably bucked up by international
reaction and Parliament's refusal to immediately approve,
was not impressed. It expressed astonishment that the
Mandatory had been unable to control the Arabs, and in effect
held the Commission's learned labors to be so much vague rubbish.
It was plain all around that for all its careful build-up the plan
wasn't worth the powder to blow it to hell with, unless the Jews
agreed. Once more Whitehall, with a cat-like smile, turned to
To discourage any attempts at bold action which might have
been latent in the Zionists' minds, London promptly arranged
to have its creature, the Arab High Committee, reject the proposed
partition scheme . In a statement breathing fire and brimstone,
this body, composed for the most part of senior officials
of the Palestine Government, vociferated that Palestine "did
not belong to the Palestine Arabs alone, but to the whole Moslem
world ." Therefore it was turning to the Arab kings for
advice. Producing their optical illusions in swift sequence, the
magicians in Downing Street straightway trotted out these desert
potentates, who obligingly played their roles . Ibn Saud's
son was made to roar like a lion that "Palestine is Arabian and
must remain so!" Seyvid Hikmat Suleiman, Prime Minister of
Iraq, issued a spate of violent pronouncements damning partition
as an outrage against Arabs ; and Abdullah of Transjordan,
heir presumptive to a good part of the swag, added a comical
note by stentoriously threatening Great Britain with the consequences.
Thus the Zionists were to be kept properly scared and made
to understand that crumbs were better than no loaf at all . This
was inadvertently shown when Yemen's rapprochement with
Mussolini caused the permanent officials to believe that they had
carried this game of make-believe too far, putting ideas into the
heads of Arab princes that shouldn't be there . A few weeks
later the Colonial Secretary is found assuring an anxious Commons
that far from getting out of hand, "the Governments of
Transjordan and Iraq are now backing Great Britain in its decision
to tri-partition Palestine ." 84 In Palestine, itself, violent
protest demonstrations continued to be held, led by the most
virulent of the Arab extremists and protected by the police. But
the outside Arabs, including Saud and even the Government of
Egypt, suddenly seeing the light, had changed their tune. They
saw now with proper benevolence that the fact of a Jewish State
was only right and proper.
While all this was developing, the Zionists were preparing to
45 1
hold a congress to consider the situation, the most ominous they
had faced since their movement began . Only a few months before,
the Zionist Executive had voted not to cooperate with the
Royal Commission since that Commission, a political body, constituted
in itself "a distinctly anti-Zionist action" ; and also not
to convey this fact to the public "for obvious reasons ." S 5
Now, suddenly, the Zionist press gushes that "the great dream
of hundreds of generations of Jews throughout the two thousand
years of our history soon will materialize ." 86 Screeching headlines
announced : "England gives the Jews a Jewish Kingdom!"
In fulsome editorials, which under the circumstances can only be
described as crack-brained, the general theme runs throughout
"God bless England - England our friend - England our benefactor
England our saviour !"
Like a fierce old wolf driven to bay, the veteran Ussishkin
growled : "It is necessary to indict England openly. The outbreaks
would not have occurred if the English Administration
had not wanted them to happen ." But the clear-sighted old
man was hushed up by timid confreres who were more afraid
to let go of the lion's tail than they were to hold on . Lord Peel's
threat to introduce a "political high level of immigration" and to
further restrict Jews on the land, had frightened them almost
out of their wits. If Jews did not accept the partition proposal,
warned Dr. Bernard Joseph, legal adviser of the Jewish
Agency, there was danger of a "much worse alternative." 87
Impending at last was a dramatic end to the inflated ballyhoo,
the stories of "unbelievable progress," the carefully nurtured
fiction of English friendship, the fund-raising prospectuses, the
long retreat into solacing unreality, by which the Zionist politicians
had sustained themselves . To Jews throughout the
world, totally unprepared for this collapse of their last hope, it
would come as a stunning blow . Could their confidence in the
Zionist hierarchy survive this final crushing disappointment ?
Would not Jewry, enraged and disillusioned, withdraw its support
? This fear, says Dr. Maurice Karpf, American member
of the Jewish Agency, entered heavily into the calculations of
the Executive.$$
At this very moment, a half dozen good, solid protest meetings
in the liberal countries and the threat of a determined Sinn Fein
might have moved the English. The Zionists might have concentrated
on the determined demand that the actual disturbances
themselves be investigated, that the action of the Royal Commission,
as well as the conduct of the members of the Palestine Administration,
be subject to an international court of inquiry . But
timidity ruled . Christian friends of the movement looked on
aghast, completely taken aback by the want of reaction on the
part of the official Jewish body . That great gentile pro-Zionist,
Charles Edward Russell, wrote to a friend : "I may say to you
quite frankly that if the Jews submit tamely to this colossal
affront and deep injury, I am out of the game . It will be of no
use to try to do anything for a people resolutely in love with
kicks in the face ."
Early in August the Congress met in ZurichSwitzerland .
Leading the struggle against acceptance of the partition principle
was Menachem Mendel Ussishkin . Solemnly turning to
Weitzman, he charged that for the past twenty years that gentleman
and his colleagues "had suppressed criticism of the British
Government and had concealed its unbending animosity to
the Jewish work in Palestine ." Acceptance of the British proposal,
he warned, would be only the beginning "of a new disaster."
Heading the American section was Dr . Stephen S . Wise
of New York, who was moving heaven and earth to make his
unqualified opposition clear . Even the non-Zionist, Felix Warburg,
pleaded : "I beg you, do not let down your ideals for something
that only seems like a State ." Violent language, hardbitten
accusations, split the air of the meeting-hall into a shower
of fragments from day to day . In a barrage of charges, Weitzman
himself was stigmatized as a traitor who had committed
himself to the partition principle in advance of the session's deliberations
.$» It was obvious that the temper of the Congress


was unalterably opposed to the British plan, even many of the
Laborites displaying a willingness to vote with the opposition .
Leading the fight for his program, Weitzman addressed the
delegates again and again, turning on all his old mesmeric charm,
with the officeholders holding up the van . Reversing himself
completely once more, he spoke in the typical language he had
always denounced as Fascist and jingo . Now he was violently
attacking those Jews who disagreed with what he called "the nationalist
Zionist ideal ." "The Arabs refuse to share Palestine with
anyone," he orated with nice casuistry . "If the Americans also
share the Arab viewpoint, our roads must part." "The Jews must
not forget," he continued, "that England is the only country
trying to solve the Jewish question ."
Weitzman was followed by Mr. David Ben-Gurion, regarded
as the second most influential person in the Zionist high command.
Mr. Ben-Gurion had changed considerably since that
day scarcely three months back when he had valiantly blazed
"We declare to the representatives of the English people that we
shall take no part in any experiment with the object of reexamining
that which has been decided by the nations of the
world and that which has been entrusted to England to carry
out." 90 Now he, too, was for partition .
It was useless to argue with such men, or to remind them that
`he who is cheated twice by the same man becomes an accomplice
with the cheater .' England had struck her blow just before
the era of stabilization had set in, and just in time to prevent
a Jewish majority in the Holy Land . The Jewish people
were writhing in the coils of the bitterest persecution they have
endured since the Dark Ages . Was not this the time of all
tunes for a final showdown ? If omens spoke correctly, a frank
revelation of this whole situation to the English electorate itself,
might have given them justice . If the facts had courageously
been made known, the nations of the world would certainly
have looked unsympathetically at this sordid attempt at
pirating the last resource of a defenseless people . Whitehall and
Downing Street, always sensitive to outside opinion, could hardly
have ignored this prospect .
It seems reasonable that the Zionists could have stood safely
on several counts : that Palestine was mandated and not British
territory ; that Jews have a right to an impartial investigation of
any squandering of their resources by a malfeasant mandatory ;
that neither a Colonial Office nor a Royal Commission of any
kind has any authority in Palestine ; and that Jews have the
same right to human happiness and existence as any other people .
Since the Mandate was not created to serve the interests of English
Imperialism, but to solve the Jewish problem, it could hardly
have been claimed that the whittling down of the Jewish National
Home to a few hundred square miles under questionable
`self-rule,' was a just and reasonable interpretation of Great Britain's
obligations .
But warning and counsel were useless . A large group of stalwarts
fought to the end against anything but a flat rejection of
this proposition, which they regarded as infamous . The Congress
as a whole could be regarded as implacably set against
Weizmann's proposals . But it consisted for the most part of inexperienced,
unworldly men who often acted for all the world
as if they had stared at the moon too long . They were caught
in the spell of glamorous orators who urged them in the name of
`reason' not to slam the door tight, who prodded their fancies
into the belief that this was only the opening bid - that since
Britain was thinking in terms of `a Jewish State,' it was indecent
not to investigate at least and discuss .
Finally they were brought to the point of agreeing to authorize
negotiations with Great Britain to ascertain "the precise purpose
of the Government in the proposed establishment of the
Jewish State ." That seemed perfectly safe, since at the same
time the Congress hedged this permission by instructing the
Executive not to commit either itself or the Zionist Organization,
but to bring a definite scheme for creation of the State, if
such a scheme emerged from the negotiations, before a newly
elected congress for "consideration and decision ." To make
clear that this act in no sense altered their opposition to the existing
proposals, the same resolution declared the partition scheme
unacceptable, protested all restrictions placed on Jewish development,
rejected the contention that the Mandate was unworkable,
and emphasized that the Homeland was understood at the time
of the Balfour Declaration to be "the whole of historic Palestine,
including Trans-Jordan ." As a parting shot, it directed the
Executive to "resist any infringement of Jewish rights as guaranteed
by either Balfour Declaration or Mandate ."
Events immediately proved the irreconcilables right . The
Zionists thought they had committed themselves to nothing ; but,
though they did not realize it, they had crossed the Rubicon .
They had not rejected the proposition absolutely and unconditionally
as had Jabotinsky's right-wingers, or even Agudath Israel
in convention at Marienbad, Czechoslovakia. Moreover,
they had re-elected Mr. . Weitzman as president, and with him
all the old gang and all the old policies . The world press at once
flashed the story in their columns : "Zionists Accept Partition ."
The functionaries in the Bureaus, too, understood it that way,
Great Britain and the East commenting smugly that "the Zionists
at Zurich have made the best of what they regard as a
thoroughly bad position." 91 Lending force and color to this interpretation,
Weitzman appeared at Geneva . Dining with Professor
William Rappard, Vice-Chairman of the Mandates Commission,
he "was understood" to be pressing for acceptance by
that body of the Royal Commission's proposal .92
Serenely now, with the appraising smirk of one who knows
that the die is cast in his favor, the British waited on Geneva.
With no other recourse, in view of the apparent circumstances,
the Mandates Commission committed itself to approval of the
Palestine partition scheme "in principle," going no farther than
they conceived their wards, the Zionists, had gone . "The word
'scathing,"' reports the New York Evening Journal, "can properly
be used to describe the Commission's biting criticism of British
action in Palestine" accompanying this approval . It charged
London with responsibility for the extent and duration of the
riots, and declared that "the present Mandate, which Britain now
says is unworkable, did not become unworkable until Britain
said it was ." 93
The next move was now up to Commons, where the friends
of the Jews looked on in some mystification at what appeared to
be a voluntary relinquishment of the Jewish franchise without a
fight of any kind . Weitzman had succeeded in taking the wind
completely out of the sails of those staunch spirits who had been
ready to crusade for justice to the Jew in Palestine . One prominent
American who had been most vigorous in denouncing this
attempted larceny of Jewish rights, remarked to the writer after
reading the newspaper reports on the Zurich deliberations : "I
feel like a fool."
Whether they liked it or not, the Zionists had put their head
in the lion's mouth . The question that remained was - will the
beast bite? The Government answered provisionally by putting
into effect at once all the stringent "Partition-Interim"
recommendations of the Commission, though the Report had not
yet been approved, and before any discussion of its policy in
With the dexterity of long practice the cabal once more made
effective use of the Arab kings. Egypt, which a scarce two
months previously had declared a complete `hands off' policy in
regard to the Palestine troubles, 94 mysteriously awoke to its
obligations to Arabs in the Holy Land . She was joined the next
day by Iraq which after leaping nimbly on and off this hot plate,
decided that the Arabs could not possibly permit "the cancer of
Zionism" to ruin the body of the Arab world 9 5 Moslem India,
too, was hauled into the play when Sir Zafrullah Khan, a minion
closely connected with Whitehall, was made to solemnly warn
Great Britain that unless she solved the Palestine problem to
Moslem satisfaction she would be "setting up a sore which will
never heal ." 96 The trump card played for the benefit of jittery
Parliamentarians came with the insolent declaration by an Iraqian
statesman that Arabs "will look elsewhere" if Britain takes the
wrong turn at the crossroads between pro-Zionism and a profitable
amity with the Arab world .97 These were ferocious warnings,
but it is notable that without exception they came from territories
held under British control . No word was heard from
the great body of Arabs in North Africa living under French,
Spanish and Italian rule, who went about their business completely
indifferent to events in the Holy Land . Equally as
apathetic were the non-Arab Moslem territories whose orbits rotated
outside of British spheres of influence.
Despite these imposing demonstrations, it was inevitable that
when the British moved to consolidate their new position the
Arab High Committee would have to go. It had been an effective
instrument, but it was composed of insubordinate, refractory
men who had long taken literally the tradition of power and invulnerability
British policy had woven around them . The Mufti,
in particular, was regarded as too dangerous now to be useful .
He had made the fatal mistake of defying his masters at a critical
moment when they had asked him to issue a call to Holy War
against the Italians. Like a cat sitting immobile at a rat hole,
the British had waited patiently for a propitious moment to destroy
him . Had Haj Amin been wise, he could have read the
premonitory menace in the Peel Commission's statement, cautiously
taxing him with "his due share of responsibility" for the
riots, and ominously referring to him "as the head of yet a third
parallel Government ."
As it came about, der Tag was Sunday, September 27, 1 937,
when for the first time a high-ranking British official was assassinated.
His name was Lewis Yelland Andrews and he had been
District Commissioner for Galilee. The murder had been committed
by unidentified thugs who, as usual, made a quick disappearance
Until this time it was alleged by officialdom that no matter
how truculent they became, the Mufti and Arab High Committee
had to be handled with kid gloves. "Britain," they asserted,
"had to think of the Moslems in India, her delicate relationships
with the Arab world, etc ." Now giving the game
dead away, the Arab High Committee, always so bold and brassy
before, precipitously swung over, becoming apologetic and cringing.
It immediately met in urgent session and issued a frightened
manifesto "condemning the assassins and expressing condolences
for the victims' families ." Its bravado had disappeared as
completely as if it had yielded to black magic .
Ignoring these protestations, Jerusalem acted swiftly and ruthlessly
. A reward of 41 o,ooo, unprecedented in the history of
Palestine, was posted for the murderers, dead or alive . Within
twenty-four hours Haj Amin had been deposed from his Government-
paid position as president of the Supreme Moslem Council
; and two hundred previously immune gentlemen, in or around
the Arab High Committee, were rounded up . They included,
among others, the Mayor of Jerusalem and the forbidding personality
whom everyone was allegedly afraid to touch, the pan-
Arab firebrand Awny Bey Abdul Hadi. Now it appeared that
the Government had forgotten about the susceptibilities "of the
Moslems in India" and the delicate feelings of "our friends the
Arabs outside of Palestine," for it outlawed the Arab High Committee
in toto, explaining this action, as if it had just awakened to
the fact, by the existence of an organized terrorist and assassination
campaign, directed by the arrested gentlemen .
It was soon apparent that careful preparations had long been
made in advance by the Government for this coup . All police
and military leaves had been canceled and the order given to
stand by. Friday morning, at dawn, the homes of the Arab
High Committee members were surrounded . Telephone service
throughout the country was completely suspended . Lulled
to a sense of false security by past experience with English rule,
the Arab leadership was taken completely by surprise . Without
formality of trial, the erstwhile `patriots' now found themselves
roped like so many sheep on the British cruiser Sussex, and
headed for permanent exile on a barren island in the Indian
Ocean.98 Moving with the speed of lightning, this Government,
which had been so unbelievably supine before, went to
ferocious extremes. In a relentless purge, strikingly reminiscent
of what was taking place in Germany and Russia, suspected
persons were punished and their houses blown up with dynamite
without the slightest pretense at judicial inquiry.99
Despite twenty years of dire prophecy, the sensitive Moslems
of India and the fire-eating politicians of the Arab world remained
as docile as lambs . For weeks, until the cabal in Whitehall
thought to bestir itself again, Palestine, too, was as quiet as
a churchyard . In vain the Mufti sent out his official bulls demanding
intervention by the Arab kings . Not an Arab prince46o
ling let out a peep - not even when the Palestine Official Gazette
announced that henceforth the Moslem religious funds were going
to be administered by a triumvirate consisting of two Christian
officials and one Mohammedan sheikh for makeweight .
It was evident that Whitehall did not contemplate sharing Palestine
with anyone and that consequently the Jews were next on
the agenda for official attention. The cabal was playing its cards
with the shrewd, practiced hand of a gamester who knows how
every card is marked. Their moves came in rapid-fire order .
Within a week it was known that Jerusalem was starting preparations
for the establishment of an Arab Agency to offset the
Jewish body, an overt move which would in itself shatter every
obligation of the Mandate to bits.
Into operation were placed all the `palliatives' proposed by the
Peel Commission, as if they had already received the approval of
Parliament. On October 21 an ordinance was promulgated empowering
the High Commissioner to set political limits on immigration,
which in no case was to exceed one thousand a month
irrespective of absorptive capacity, -and to establish a Jewish proportion
o f this maximum. "In cases where a dispute arises," the
Government Director of Immigration was to decide whether or
not a person was a Jew . The new schedule announced several
weeks later to cover the ensuing eight-month period, consisted
of 9600 certificates . Of these, i 6oo were reserved for non-Jews,
thereby setting up a principle which could be extended in any
direction at officialdom's whim . For the first time capitalists
were lumped with all other immigrants, and a limit placed on
their entry within this same number of certificates .* It was also
announced that another ordinance was being drawn up which
would rigidly restrict Jews on the land in accordance with the
Royal Commission's recommendation .
Though all this went off with little or no trouble, Whitehall's
plan was still highly vulnerable . Neither Parliament nor the
League had yet agreed to it . The Zionists could conceivably
* On March 15, 1938, when the schedule for the ensuing six months came up,
the British Government announced a further reduction, limiting the Jewish
immigration quota to one thousand labor certificates and two thousand certificates
for capitalists for the six months beginning April 1 .
about-face, overturn Weitzman, and unhorse the whole program.
There were signs that such a contingency was by no
means remote.10° Already harried by these problems, officialdom
now found another, equally serious, obtruding on its view
the Arabs themselves had begun a definite movement for rapprochement
with the Jews. To London's consternation it
gained ground with surprising momentum . "For the first time
in the twenty years since the Balfour Declaration," writes the
New York Times' correspondent on August 5, 1937, "the Arabs
openly censure the Palestine Government for never having attempted
to bring the two peoples together ." Falastin, once the
pet of the Administration, commented caustically a day later
that despite British allegations of an unbreachable enmity between
Jews and Arabs, "we cannot recall a single instance since
the British occupation here when they have made the slightest
effort to bring the Arabs and Jews together . Pre-war Jewish
residents lived here peacefully with Arabs for hundreds of years.
To this day these Jews, in addition to the Arabs, maintain that
if it were not for British policy of divide and rule, the Arabs and
Jews would again live in Palestine in peace and harmony ."
On November 15, 1937 the Arab daily Ad-Difaa asserted
that the British Government had categorically rejected all proposals
for a round-table discussion between Jews, Arabs and
British, though the Jews and Arabs alike were anxious for such
a meeting. After talking to all sections of the Arab population,
the Near East Correspondent for the New York Times again
reported on November z 1, that their unanimous cry was "we've
suffered enough and we don't wish to have any more trouble .
May Allah curse them and cut off the lives of these intruders
from the outside who are disturbing our existence ." Pamphlets
were distributed in Arab villages, violently attacking Great Britain
as being the cause of their ruin . Publications which for years
had heralded the most extreme Arab nationalism, published conspicuously
on their front pages manifestoes of Arab and Jewish
leaders appealing to the public for peace . A similar appeal was
issued by the councilors of the Jerusalem Municipality, Jews and
Arabs, in the form of a joint resolution, followed by another
from a conference of Jewish and Arab merchants . Even the
extremist Jaffa daily Al Jamia Al Islamia gnashed its teeth,
threatening terrorists "with the wrath of judgment day and the
anger of posterity, for fanning the embers of hatred and animosity."
101 The planned Arab Congress which was to have aroused
world-wide sympathy for the nationalist cause, proved a fizzle,
with responsible Arabs both in and out of Palestine refusing to
have anything to do with it .
There was good reason for this change of face. The plot
had overreached itself so far that everyone faced bankruptcy .
Preceding events had "gradually but effectively ruined Arab
merchants and tradesmen ." 102 A financial crisis was rapidly
developing . As cash was withdrawn in increasingly heavier
amounts, the banks shut down on credits . Real estate values
tobogganed downward. In Tel Aviv alone, the Property Owners
Protective Association registered five thousand owners who
were faced with foreclosure due to inability to meet mortgage
interest . Arab towns, such as Jaffa, Acre, Tulkarm and Ramleh,
were gripped with a virtual paralysis ; their business centers practically
deserted . `To Let' signs hung over thousands of stores
and apartments . In the villages "tens of thousands of fellaheen
began to experience starvation . . . In very many cases the disturbances
ruined fellaheen for life, and perhaps their families
after them ." 102a The debts of the Arab peasantry had "at least
trebled." 102b An economic collapse threatened the entire country.
Budgets of all concerns, large and small, were cut to the
bone, with the inevitable result that unemployment was rampant.
Wages fell . Jewish enterprises which had always employed
Arabs set themselves resolutely against the practice . During
1936, Jewish investments had dropped by more than half
from the previous period. In 1937, reversing the accustomed
process, foreign capital was liquidating its investments and fleeing
from the country .
For the first time in years the Government announced a
deficit, £25,000 for the sixth-month period ending October 1,
1936. The High Commissioner warned that there would have
to be a drastic increase in the land tax, to cover . Arabs, who
suddenly remembered that they owned 97% of all the land, were
in a panic . Even Transjordan, feeling the repercussions, was
having serious trouble, bordering on open revolt. Awakening
as from a bad dream, responsible Arab opinion shied away from
the Royal Commission's solution, considering it a measure which
would only add further to their already crushing miseries . What
they wanted was a return to the golden age of prosperity which
had come in with the Jews .
Once more officialdom started pulling the strings necessary to
make its puppets move . Bloody insurrection broke out over the
Holy Land with renewed savagery . Arab notables who indicated
that they wanted amity were shot down or intimidated.
103 Moderates among the Arab Government employees
received warnings to resign or be killed . When the Mukhtar
of Siris, a town near Jenin, notified the District Commissioner
that he was resigning following receipt of such a threat, he was
arrested and sent to the Acre Concentration Camp . 104 Terror
settled over this stricken land as hand-picked Arab hoodlums
went on record with torches and bullets to the effect that the
Mandate must be abolished, to be superseded by a treaty between
Arab Palestine and England "along the lines of the Anglo-Iraq
Treaty." Their attitude was now, "We yield nothing ."
This time the insurgents consisted almost altogether of some fifteen
hundred ruffians imported from Syria and other nearby countries.
The disgusted villagers not only gave them no help, but in
many cases actually drove them out of their vicinity .105 George
Meyer, Cairo correspondent for the influential Paris daily Le
Temps, states that the leaders of the new disturbances are the identical
Syrian Arabs and Kurds who had participated in the Druse
uprising in 1925 against French rule in Syria . There are twenty
of them who "constitute an executive and contact committee,"
writes Meyer tersely. "These twenty usually meet in Damascus
in a house located in the Salhiye quarter, and from this headquarters
they control the terrorist bands in Palestine, organize
the recruiting and the transport of reenforcements, as well as of
arms and funds ." Most of the recruits he specifies to be villagers
from the Syrian Hauran, attracted by the opportunity for ad464
venture and loot. In addition there is a considerable group of
Moroccans and some Druses, Circassians and Armenians . "Crossing
the frontier," continues Meyer, "is a very easy matter for
the terrorists. . . Daily they enter and leave the country without
hindrance. So far [July 1938] there is no instance on record
of terrorists being arrested at the boundary ." * 106
The insurgents operated with bold effrontery, levying on villages
for both funds and supplies . In several cases mentioned
by the Palestine Review where bandits raided Arab villages whose
residents were suffering from temporary financial embarrassment,
they agreed to accept promissory notes from their victims
on condition that they bore the signatures, as guarantors,
of two of the leading men of the village. It may be presumed
that they proceeded to discount these bills in the usual way .107
The new outbreak shook the country with unmitigated savagery.
Daily, orchards and homes were wrecked, railroads bombed,
men, women and children assassinated and pitched battles fought .
Christians, too, were made the object of violence . Many were
slain, including the Reverend Pietro Rossini, an Italian principal
of a mission school near Jaffa . He was beaten almost to a pulp,
his school looted and practically demolished .
Perfectly timed for its publicity value, a great engagement
took place between Government forces and Arabs in Galilee
on Christmas Eve, in which fifty men were killed . It was the
bloodiest battle the Holy Land had witnessed since the World
War. The farcical maneuvers of the previous years were now
reenacted all over again . Prominent Arab residents `suspected'
of having a hand in the disorders had to remain helpless "while
their homes and goods were blown to smithereens" by charges
of dynamite set by British troops.108 When the airport at Lydda
was damaged, a succession of Moslem houses were officially
dynamited in reprisal . Collective fines running into huge amounts
were levied on entire villages without the slightest judicial inquiry
or proof of guilt .
With engaging hypocrisy, the British went about the business
* This is the same border which Jewish illegals find it almost impossible to
cross due to drastic supervision .
of changing generals as if they were facing a major crisis . Major-
General Archibald P . Wavell iosa who had replaced General Dill,
was in turn replaced by Major-General Robert H . Haining,
much as players are substituted in sporting contests. As if reluctantly
put into operation by liberal humanitarians who had
been pushed as far as they could go and who now meant to end
the terrorism at any cost, courts martial were decided on and
loudly announced on November 1 7, 1937. To advise the General
Staff on the correct points of law before such courts, it was
advertised that "the noted British jurist," Major William Henry
Stoker, had been appointed Deputy Judge Advocate General .
Stoker, as it happens, had been in Palestine news before as the
chief counsel for the Arab Executive when it appeared before
the "Commission of Inquiry" after the 1929 upheaval .
Determined to make this whole procedure look like the end
result of a serious imbroglio between warring Arabs and Jews,
the Administration seized a number of Jews and threw them into
concentration camps . Jewish leaders, in particular Jabotinsky's
Revisionists, were picked up en masse under `preventive arrest'
and sentenced to long terms, or simply thrown into concentration
camps without trial or charge . Jewish passersby were
seized indiscriminately in the streets and laborers in the colonies
were grabbed and sentenced without even being questioned .
For the first time in the history of the National Home, the Authorities
established punitive police posts in Jewish quarters .
With mock solemnity, Arab busses passing through Jewish areas
(where Arabs had lived in peace even during the worst of the
riots) carried elaborate police protection .
The brunt of the disorders as well as this farcical arrest of
Jews, came just before the League of Nations Council meeting
in Geneva, where the partition proposals were to be considered .
It is at least noteworthy, too, that during that week the Authorities
allowed posters to be put up in the Jerusalem mosques signed
by Fawzy Bey el Kaougji, the old public enemy number one of
the previous year, appealing for a renewal of terrorism .
This synthetic state of affairs had been impressively staged but
there were men high in the councils of Europe to whom similar
phenomena were not new . The Report of the Mandates Commission
to the League Council unexpectedly threw the lie in the
face of British reports by absolving the Jews completely from
any responsibility for the 1936 disorders. It viewed London's
explanations with unconcealed disbelief, and held the newest
restrictions on Jewish immigration to be a flagrant violation of
the Mandate. "It was inconceivable," said Commissioner M .
Orts, "that during the transition period between the present
regime and the institution of a new regime, Palestine should be
administered entirely at the pleasure of the former Mandatory."
At the League of Nations Assembly held a few weeks later,
the British plan was unmercifully criticized . In a searing analysis,
President De Valera of Ireland declared that "partition is
not the solution - it is the cruelest wrong that could be done any
people." 110 Dr. Christian Lange, the beloved and influential
delegate from Norway, demanded the inclusion in the Jewish
State of the strategic areas which Britain had reserved for itself .
Poland's delegate, Mr. . Komarnicki, made it plain that his Government
would agree only if the proposed Jewish State were to
get an area large enough to make it economically sound, and
capable of absorbing a compact Jewish immigration . On this
position he was solidly backed up by the representatives of the
Little Entente . Uruguay, Lithuania, Latvia and even Haiti
joined in demanding that if the Jews were to be given a State, it
should be a State in fact, and not the spurious makeshift proposed
by Great Britain . Guided by what seemed to be the abdication
of Weizmann's official Zionists, the League finally authorized
Britain to "study" a solution of the Palestine problem on partition
lines, but emphasized that it was in "the meantime entirely
reserving its opinion and decision ." 111 This meant that the
Mandate continued to remain in full force as heretofore .
For the time being at least, Whitehall's play had fallen far
short. This result was more than disappointing. The permanent
officials had counted on bringing their program to a quick
head, after which it could rest as a fait accompli. In this lengthening
interim it became a dangerous plaything . Had these men
been dealing with anyone but inexperienced Jewish theorists, the
results might have been extremely unhappy . In Britain's current
situation, the label of "perfidious Albion" reburnished and
flung in her face would have effected a disastrous loss of moral
position ; and there were Parliamentary leaders who suspected
that Whitehall was exposing the nation to this hazard .
During an angry debate on supplementary estimates for Palestine
defense, David Lloyd George asserted that the continued
disturbances in the Holy Land were "entirely due to matters of
policy." 112 Winston Churchill warned that partition "will not
lead away from violence but into its very heart ." 113 On the
floor of the House, Colonel Wedgwood charged the Government
with failing to give the military in Palestine authority or
power to pacify the country, impeaching it scornfully for not
using the forty thousand Jews capable of bearing arms . Sarcastically
he pointed out in a letter to the London Times (July
21, 1938) : "For two years murder and destruction of Jewish
property have gone unpunished under British rule. The Administration
continues to be strictly impartial between the murderers
and the murdered . I have not known of such a black
page of incompetence and hypocrisy in British history."
Even more disconcerting was a bill introduced without warning
by Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson for the purpose of
"giving the potentially persecuted Jew in Europe the chance, if
he wishes, of becoming a Palestine subject." 114 The measure
contemplated extending to all Jews who required it, an extraterritorial
Palestine nationality, placing them automatically under
the protection of Palestine law . The bill unexpectedly passed
Commons by a vote of 145 to 144. This was a matter the
startled Bureaucrats would sabotage effectively before it came
to the Lords ; but it offered proof positive that beneath the comparatively
smooth surface there were hidden snags, well capable
of capsizing the craft when the matter again arose for final disposition.
The news from America was still more disquieting . The influential
Foreign Policy Association dubbed the British plan "a
political absurdity . . . fraught with the greatest danger." 115
Such eminent statesmen as President Roosevelt and Secretary of
the Interior, Harold Ickes, expressed "their deep and continuing
sympathy for Jewish efforts to build a National Home ." "With
cruel pressures against Jews in Europe unrelaxed and access to
Palestine no easier," Secretary Ickes told a Zionist gathering robustly,
"the need for a viable Jewish homeland in Palestine is
greater than ever. . . The enemies against whom you are forced
to contend are not so much your enemies as the enemies of all
human progress . . . As the darkening shadows lift from a
troubled world, the sun will also rise over Palestine, and law shall
again go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
116 In the American Congress, Representative Hamilton
Fish introduced a concurrent resolution demanding that
Great Britain lift its unjust and inhumane restrictions on Jewish
immigration into Palestine . 117
It was evident enough that this whole ferment of intrigue was
teetering on the verge of self-defeat, and that nobody but Whitehall
was assuming even vaguely that this was a matter exclusively
for Britain to deal with. It was clear that Palestine was not yet
British property and was still playing its independent part in international
politics . Moreover, the Powers needed little encouragement
to resist any encroachment on their special position
in the Near East. London was profoundly shocked when it
was reported late in October 1937 that Germany had suggested
to Italy that a four-power commission, to include Britain, France,
Germany and Italy, be sought to rule Palestine in place of the
present Mandatory Government . Modeled along the lines of
the Saar Commission, it would be empowered to send an international
militia to Palestine to preserve order ."" Another piece
of annoying news reported that Ibn Saud, bitterly resentful of
this attempt to strengthen the hated house of Hussein, had mobilized
his horsemen on the Transjordanian border under orders
to be ready for action if Abdullah were given Palestine.119
The situation focused itself logically on the Jews themselves .
Would they accept partition? Was Weizmann's mesmeric influence
still strong enough to hold, with nerve-cracking tension
turning Israel over half the world, bitter and dangerously restive
? What to do ! Should the Jews be frightened further into
submissiveness by continued riots ? Should the pill be sugarcoated
with a heavy dose of the old promises ? Would the
leopard change its spots or would the Zionists take their licking
like decent fellows ? These were the questions running through
the mind of the London cabal .
Not quite knowing their proper course, they attempted to
make things look right by a violent shake-up of the gendarmerie
in Palestine in which the resignation of virtually every police
head was found acceptable . Included in this collection of scalps
was that of the High Commissioner himself . It was 1920 all
over again.
The new High Commissioner was a man with a high-domed
head and a shrewd face creased with tired lines, named Sir Harold
MacMichael . MacMichael had been former Governor of
Tanganyika Territory, and later a high official in the Sudan Government.
He was reputed to be a renowned Arabic scholar.
"If anything could reassure the Arab world particularly, and the
Islamic world in general," says Great Britain and the East succinctly,
"that the problems of Palestine will be handled sympathetically,
they need but refer to the Bedouin and the fellaheen
of the Sudan for their opinion of Sir Harold MacMichael."
Before leaving for Palestine, MacMichael pledged himself in
a leonine oration to eradicate the terror, root and branch . His
arrival on March 3, 1938 was marked by violent samples of the,
very lawlessness he had promised to eliminate . One of his first
acts was arbitrarily to return control of the city government of
Jerusalem to the Arabs, giving the acting-Mayor, Mr. Auster,
his walking papers and appointing an Arab majority in the Municipal
Council . In the official announcement it was made perfectly
clear that had Mr. . Auster been a Moslem he could have
continued as Mayor . 120 Along the full length of the northern
frontier, allegedly to keep out terrorists, was built an elaborate
barbed-wire entanglement of the most substantial and
permanent wartime type, six feet high and six feet deep, strung
on stakes set in concrete .121 Despite this `precaution,' terrorists
seemed to have little difficulty in continuing to go and come as
they pleased .
Meanwhile tension was considerably eased by the new accord
signed with Italy, in which Mussolini agreed not to oppose British
policy in Palestine. Long grueling months of riot and uncertainty
had all but destroyed Palestine's economic life. With
their principal enemy out of the way for the moment, the Bureaucrats
decided that now was the time to strike in a decisive
effort to force a conclusion . A new partition Commission was
announced. Swiftly organized, it sailed from London on April
21, 1938 to begin its task. Coincident with its arrival, terrorism
of the most frightful kind again stalked the country, with the
police and military seeemingly powerless to halt it . Peaceful
Arabs as well as Jews were slaughtered daily, colonies attacked,
and houses, schools and other buildings blown to bits . Arson,
stoning and sniping became part of the regular routine .
In a determined attempt to justify its interpretation of these
events as "Arab-Jewish clashes," the Administration concentrated
its efforts on the unfortunate Revisionists . Once more
there were mass arrests of Jewish workmen and students, who
were promptly referred to in dispatches sent abroad in the same
terms as were the Arab desperadoes . Among them was a young
boy named Shlomo Ben Josef who was sentenced to hang for
being allegedly in possession of arms.122 The Government did
not assert that he had killed or injured anyone .
A general strike shut all Jewish shops in Jerusalem as the case
became a cause celebre for all Jewish Palestine . Over the entire
country widespread demonstrations took place and a spontaneous
walkout emptied all schools in Tel Aviv . Sickened and outraged,
the struggling Yishub endeavored desperately to make itself
heard .
These manifestations were contemptuously ignored, and Ben
Josef was officially put to death, the first Jew to be hanged in the
history of modern Palestine . The Jewish Yishub, to a man, considered
him an innocent victim of the Government's determination
to prove that Jews, too, were terrorists . In the British ParliaJEHOVAH
47 1
ment itself, John McGovern M. P. did not hesitate to refer to the
execution of this boy as "perfectly outrageous ." 123 Making the
event as offensive as possible, the day selected for the hanging
was a Jewish holiday so that no rabbi could be present to administer
last rites . An appeal by Chief Rabbi Herzog to postpone
the execution till the next day was refused, as had been
the unanimous demand of Palestine Jewry for a retrial .
For once the Jews sunk their ideological differences . Defiantly
the Jewish Council and the Chief Rabbinate issued a
manifesto saying : "The entire Yishub mourns the loss of a son
of Israel. Let us bear the pain quietly and with restraint suitable
to the dignity of a people struggling for life ." Jewish Palestine
seethed with dangerous tension. General strikes were called in
the principal cities. Jews carrying black flags of mourning were
beaten down by the police in the Jerusalem streets . But Jewish
leaders, who had been urging self-restraint in the face of all provocations,
managed to make their influence felt again.123a The
Yishub settled back to its old dogged policy of patient waiting .
Haifa, which had been so miraculously free of disturbance
during the earlier period of the revolt, now became the very
center of terrorist activity . By the usual coincidence, this synchronized
itself exactly with Whitehall's latest agitation to detach
Haifa from the Jewish State, and to include it in the Arab
area. It is also worthy of remark that the worst outrages took
place at the very time President Roosevelt was calling his Evian
Conference to arrange for an orderly resettlement of Jewish
refugees from Germany and Austria . The deadliest bomb explosion
in Palestine's current history shattered the crowded Haifa
market place, killing thirty-five Arabs, including women and
children, and touching off a day of terror which left forty-five
dead and seventy-five wounded. Aghast at this atrocity (which
was promptly attributed to them) the Jews made no bones of
the fact that they considered the explosion to be the work of
agents provocateur, 1231 and that its purpose was to impress upon
the Evian Congress the supposed perils of settling large numbers
of Jews in the Holy Land .124
These provocations had their effect. Deep unreasoning hatred
paralyzed the Holy Land. It was the Arab turn now to be outraged.
The terror expanded into unprecedented proportions,
with stricken Haifa the chief battleground. A whole series of
disastrous bomb explosions followed, blowing Arabs and Jews
to pieces indiscriminately . The list of dead mounted into the
hundreds. Property of untold value was destroyed . The normal
economic life of the country continued to deteriorate rapidly.
Despite the presence of innumerable British soldiers, Haifa,
particularly, became a death trap for the Jews, who could not
go to work or return home without running the risk of ambuscade.
"One entire section of the city," writes Roman Slobodin,
correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, "is overrun
by the Shabab - the organized Arab mob - whose leaders boast
that they rule supreme in the Arab quarters, and who, by this
correspondent's personal observation, make good that boast ." 125
Four large bands operated apparently with impunity in the
vicinity of this great seaport city . One consisted of two hundred
Palestine Arabs headed by Yussef Abu Dura ; another of
a hundred and twenty Palestine Arabs led by a relative of the
exiled Awny Bey, one Fakhri Abdul Hadi ; a third group comprised
four hundred Syrian Arabs and was led by Abdullah el
Asmat of Damascus ; and a fourth band consisted of several hundred
Iraqians headed by a lieutenant of Fawzy Bey, Sheikh
Salach Issa Laoh .
Meanwhile the country was rife with reports that these and
other bands were not only controlling entire sectors without interference,
but were imposing collective fines and preparing
mobilization lists . From Beirut came reliable information that
a general uprising was in preparation, to be coincident with the
presentation of the Commission's plan to Parliament . Armed men
were reported pouring unchecked across all Palestine frontiers .
Agents were said to be openly recruiting villagers throughout
Palestine, fixing an orderly levy of men and cash in proportion
to village populations .126 In Iraq and the desert, the old reliable
threat of a jihad in the name of all Islam, suddenly became a
threatened reality. The fanatical Shi'as (who had been petiJEHOVAH
tioning the League, voicing passionate indignation at the outrages
committed against them by the hated Sunnis) now incomprehensibly
issued a solemn fatwa demanding that Iraqis engage
in a holy war to aid their Arab (Sunni) brothers in Palestine .127
In this turbulent setting the latest `Commission' sent down from
London to `investigate,' completed its labors . What it had in
mind was more than hinted at by the columns of Great Britain
and the East, which referred to the "false premise which caused
the Commission [Peel body] to propose including Arab Galilee
in the suggested State ." The Zionists were thus put on warning
that the tiny area suggested by Lord Peel was itself about to be
drastically slashed . The Jews, in short, were to be pushed out
of Palestine by being compressed into an uneconomic mud-hole
on the coast, which could not possibly continue its existence as
an independent unit. Great Britain and the East did not mince
the matter. It `predicted' that the Arab State would, eventually,
either join an Arab Federation or become part of that larger entity
provided by Transjordan and Palestine. The future of the Jewish
`State' it found no difficulty in forecasting, remarking : "It
may find a way of accommodation, and even help to fructify those
States [Arab] . It may ultimately end as a dream." 128
The plan was thus to reduce the Jewish `State' to a mere "token
home," and to confine it to some 40o square miles in the Sharon
Valley. Galilee, Acre and Haifa were to be added to the permanently
mandated British area . Under this scheme the British
would also take over southern Palestine to protect Suez .129 The
remainder of the country was to be united with Transjordan as
an Arab `State' under Abdullah.130
Convinced that the Jewish stag had finally been run to earth,
the exultant Bureaucrats now dallied with the idea of abrogating
even the Jewish "token home," repudiating the Balfour Declaration
and setting up an Arab government "permanently allied with
Great Britain." For this purpose, under the sponsorship of the
British Foreign Office, Tewfik es-Suwaidi, foreign minister of
Iraq, was introduced to official London ; and it was he who went
through the motions of demanding this solution in the name of an
aroused Arab world . At this psychological moment an imposing
Arab Congress, consisting of delegates from various countries of
the Peninsula, had been gathered in Cairo, where, under the approving
eye of both Egyptian and British authorities it stentoriously
threatened the British nation with the eternal enmity of all
Arabia unless these minimum demands were promptly met .
Timed to absolute precision the revolt in the Holy Land, itself,
assumed major proportions . Calling themselves the "provisional
Arab Government" the rebels announced that they had taken
over responsibility for "law and order, life and limb" in their
territory .
With unparalleled audacity they swiftly assumed authority
over practically the whole of Palestine with the exception of a
few isolated military outposts held by the British . Persons in
the vicinity of Jerusalem's American colony stated that they were
halted in broad daylight on the charge of violating this `provisional
Arab Government's' laws, and taken into custody by the insurgents
after being marched right past the Mandatory's policemen
who looked on passively. The insurgents not only set up
their own courts but issued laws and decrees like a bona fide
government and began to collect taxes. According to the Chicago
Daily News of October i9, 1938, an old Englishwoman,
resident of Jericho for forty years, was given twenty-four hours'
notice by the `Provisional Government' to pay taxes on her orange
grove. When she repaired to Jerusalem for advice she was
told by British officials there "to pay and look pleasant ." Returning
to Jericho, she not only paid the tax but was "fined additionally
for not paying on time ."
Over the whole length and breadth of the Holy Land sanguinary
violence flared wickedly . The most shocking acts were
committed, as when twenty-one Jews were butchered in cold
blood on October z 2 in Tiberias, including ten little children who
were roasted alive.
For all its perfect timing, it now became apparent that the
Bureaucrats had once more over-reached themselves . News from
Europe of a new succession of barbarities against the Jews was
profoundly stirring international Christian opinion . As a result
of the Munich settlement, 30,000 Siideten Jews suddenly found
themselves penniless refugees, fleeing in mortal terror from the
invading Nazi legions . Czechoslovakia, which the Munich pact
had reduced to complete vassalage, now, under Nazi pressure,
turned to anti-Semitism, threatening its 340,000 Jews with expulsion
or pauperization . The news from Poland and other European
countries grew worse daily .
As it became apparent that London was about to repudiate its
obligations under the Balfour Declaration, voices of protest, of
indignation and anger began to make themselves heard, particularly
in the United States . American Jewry, too, aroused itself
from its apathy and became articulate . Hundreds of mass meetings
were planned to denounce this final outrage . This swelling
tide of opinion quickly enlisted the sympathetic support of noted
political leaders, of organized labor, church dignitaries, and the
majority of influential newspapers . The National Council of
Catholic Men appealed to President Roosevelt to take immediate
action in regard to Palestine "to the end that misfortune and
misery be not further heaped upon the afflicted peoples of the
world." More than one hundred thousand telegrams and memorial
resolutions poured in from all sources, urging the American
Government to intercede . It was once more pointed out that the
American-British Mandate Convention on Palestine prohibited
any change in the Mandate without the prior consent of the
United States Government . Both the Senate and House of the
Pennsylvania legislature adopted a unanimous resolution asking
President Roosevelt to inform London "that this country looks
to Great Britain to adhere to her commitments and to hold fast
to the terms of the Palestine Mandate and to the spirit of the Balfour
Declaration ." Another petition signed by 5i Senators, 31
Governors of States, and 194 members of the Lower House,
voiced an almost identical sentiment . Additional protests emanated
from still other legislative bodies as well as religious and
social groups throughout the nation .
In view of the dangerous situation both in the Far East and on
the Continent, London had been feverishly courting American
public opinion . If America refused cooperation in the event of
a new world war, the great vulnerable British Empire was sure
to find itself in a desperate position . The very thought of such
a possibility was sufficient to throw Whitehall's masters into a
In England itself there were signs that the Munich pact was not
popular and that a growing section of British opinion viewed it
as a direct betrayal of Britain's future . The Government's own
party was split wide open with dissension . Opposition leaders
were searching frantically for some issue which would throw the
hated Tories out of power.
In its very dying moments the League, speaking for the nations
which still believed in the fundamental principles of international
law, taxed Great Britain with a flagrant breach of the
Mandate, calling attention to her "virtual suspension" of Jewish
immigration .
To the Bureaucrats the situation had, unexpectedly, again
become tense and fraught with ominous possibilities . It was apparent
that the attempt to wreck the Jewish Homeland now,
might bring on a reaction of enormously unpleasant proportions .
This was the situation when the British Cabinet hurriedly met
on October ig and announced that no drastic action was about
to be taken against the Jews . All the carefully built plans for a
reorganized Arab Palestine were immediately shunted out of
sight ; and it was authoritatively stated that military action would
be taken at once to put down the few thousand Arab `rebels' who
had so unaccountably checkmated a major British army in Palestine.
The Woodhead Commission's report, which was to have
been issued late in October, was with-held apparently to undergo
a drastic revision .
The Bureaucrats themselves are now eager to allay the grave
suspicions visibly growing in the world conscience . The much
heralded partition plan has, from all appearances, been quietly
jettisoned . Judging from the inspired propaganda arising from
London sources, the latest strategy is to perform the operation by
degrees. It seems fairly certain that the Jews are to be placated
for the time being by a gift of several thousand additional immigration
visas. At the same time a cantonization scheme is to be
presented, to be elaborated in a round-table conference at which
will be seated hand-picked Arabs and Jews . Coincident with
this maneuver a great campaign to the Christian world is to be
pressed, placing the Mandatory in the role of a champion of
Christianity. The Jews and Arabs, both, will be reminded forcibly
that Palestine is not of interest to them alone, but that there
is also a third party - the Christian churches. Under this pretext,
Haifa and the whole of Galilee is to be taken over by Britain
under permanent Mandatory rule, and closed to Jewish settlement.
The new cantonized Palestine would thus consist of a
large permanently mandated area which would include all the
Holy Places as well as the strategic points ; a small and circumscribed
Jewish sector (where Jews would be given certain illusory
rights) ; and a remaining Arab section, to be set up under
some other form of British control .
When all of this has been settled, the Arabs can be expected to
mysteriously quiet down like decent fellows, and the rebellion
in Palestine will suddenly evaporate into thin air . The intransigeant
politicians of the rest of the Arab world, too, will undoubtedly
then find their attention distracted elsewhere .
Thus, with the exception of a few hundred square miles of virtual
ghetto on the maritime plain, Western Palestine eventually
would become, like Transjordan, Judenrein .


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