Monday, March 16, 2015




If the purposes and aims of the Zionist movement needed
clarification in anyone's mind, a circumstance at once occurred
supplying that deficiency . The intentions of the Government
were no sooner manifest than a loud and violent protest was set
up by certain classes of Jews in EnglandFrance and America .
Among them were the `new thinkers' who, enveloped in a cloud
of Marxist pharisaism, saw the projected return to Zion as a reactionary
movement which violated their `deep Socialist convictions.'
Others were the great capitalists, who were afraid that
any declaration in favor of a Jewish State might place their hard-won
social position in jeopardy . Included in this strange gathering
of the clans were the ultra orthodox fanatics who were
awaiting the divine Messiah ; and the Reform Rabbis whose
tissue-paper houses this new movement seemed destined to destroy.
The Conjoint Committee, the most influential of all Jewish
bodies in England, issued a public attack on the `political char-
acter' of the Zionist demands, asserting that the Jews were only
a religious community and not a nation . "The granting of a
charter for Palestine to the Jews," it declared heatedly, "would
be a disaster for all Jewry, since the equal status of the Jews with
the other citizens of different States would thereby be risked ."
Immediately the Zionists replied with vigor . The press of the
day was full of the argument, with' the Government and the entire
gentile world solidly on the pro-Zionist side .8
"Under the pressure of Allied needs," says the official British
historian at the subsequent Peace Conference, "the objections of
the anti-Zionists were either overruled or the causes of objection
removed. . ." s At that time the Zionists could have practically
written their own ticket, since there was no subject on which
everyone but the Jews themselves were so unanimously agreed
as the matter of a pro-Zionist declaration . The only powerful opponent
of this course in the Government was the India Office,
ultra-Islamic under a Jewish Secretary of State .
Although the members of the Conjoint Committee had been
hopelessly buried under an avalanche of public ridicule, certain
changes were made in the wording of the Declaration to placate
As early as October 19 16, the Zionist leaders in Britain had already
submitted to the Government a formal "program for a new
administration of Palestine and for, a Jewish resettlement in accordance
with the aspirations of the Zionist movement ."
On February 7, 1917, Sir Mark Sykes communicated with
Weitzman and Sokolov, together with M. Georges Picot, representing
the French Government ." This was the first of a series
of round-table conferences . Its full minutes, as well as those of
subsequent sessions, were transmitted to the American Zionist
Organization by officials of the British War Office .
Throughout the negotiations President Wilson who, as early
as 1911 had made known his profound interest in the Zionist idea,
was intimately consulted ; and all drafts of the proposed Declaration
were submitted to the White House for approval .
The formula accepted in July 1917 by the British Cabinet
read : "H. M. Government, after considering the aims of the
Zionist Organization, accepts the principle of recognizing Palestine
as the National Home of the Jewish people, and the right of
the Jewish people to build up its national life in Palestine under a
protection to be established at the conclusion of peace, following
upon the successful issue of the War .
"H. M. Government regards as essential for the realization of
this principle, the grant of internal autonomy to Palestine, freedom
of immigration for Jews, and the establishment of a Jewish
National Colonizing Corporation for the resettlement and economic
development of the country.
"The conditions and forms of the internal autonomy and a
charter for the Jewish National Colonizing Corporation should,
in the view of H. M. Government, be elaborated in detail and determined
with the representatives of the Zionist Organization ." 11
One of the changes introduced to mollify the anti-Zionist Jews
was the substitution of the phrase "the establishment of a Jewish
National Home in Palestine" for the previous wording, "the
establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine." 12
By November 2, 1917, after its wording had been sufficiently
emasculated to suit the `ideals' of Jews all around, Lord Balfour
placed it in the form of a letter to the pro-Zionist, Lord Rothschild,
reading as follows
"I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His
Majesty's Government the following declaration of sympathy
with the Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to
and approved by the Cabinet.
"His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment
in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and
will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this
object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done
which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-
Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status
enjoyed by Jews in any other country .
"I should be grateful if you would bring this Declaration to
the knowledge of the Zionist Federation ."
Ironically enough, the second part of the Declaration, which
was since construed by Britain to make it a self-annulling docu-
ment, was inserted on the insistence of the Zionists themselves,
partly to meet the objections of Sir Philip Magnus, Mr. . Claude
Montefiore and other powerful non-Zionist Jews ; and partly as
a symbol of that "nobility of social vision" with which the strangled
ghetto mind was obscured . 13
Written by Achad Ha'am, this proviso was not in any remote
sense considered as a modification of the Declaration but rather
as a polite sop to quiet the fears of the non-Zionist Jews, and an
equally considerate makeweight assurance to the various religious
communities scattered over the Holy Land .
All of these alterations and changes in the British Government's
commitment, says Herbert Sidebotham, then secretary to
Premier Lloyd George, "were inserted in deference to the opinion
of a minority, in the hope of securing complete unanimity
among Jews . . . It was certainly no British interest, either at this
stage or later, that weakened the scope of the promise and infected
it with ambiguity ." 14
The Zionist negotiators, naive and inexperienced, felt that the
introduction of these nice, virtuous phrases in their magna carat
was a fitting and seemly gesture with which to begin their great
adventure . Herzl, who had the gift of seeing beyond his nose,
would have known better .
In view of the cool disclaimers which were to come later, it is
interesting to note what interpretation was placed on the British
Government's Declaration to the Jews at the time . Whatever
bearing it might have had on the commendable questions of humaneness
and justice, it could hardly be regarded as a wholly
benevolent gesture. Balfour himself, handsome, clever and icy,
was no mere romantic. He who had pacified Ireland with guns
and was known as `Bloody Balfour' in consequence, could hardly
be accused of suddenly developing a philanthropic complex in
favor of Jews.
The benefits immediately accruing to the Allied cause need
hardly be argued . Certainly the tremendous number of Jewish
soldiers fighting in the Armies of the Western Powers were fired
by this warm earnest of good faith . Nor can one estimate the
weight of Jewish influence in neutral countries, which dropped
heavily on the Allied side of the scales. Nor the enthusiastic aid
given to the Allenby invasion of Palestine . Nor the stirring effect
of the Jewish Legion, fighting to right the oldest wrong in history,
on the imaginations of Jewry and the world . Nor the fillip
it gave the Allied claims when Palestine, the first conquered territory,
was trumpeted to all humanity as newly liberated .
Not only was the effect of this superb piece of propaganda felt
in all neutral countries but it was immediate in its reaction on the
morale of the Central Empires, with their stew of subject races,
accelerating the cleavage then taking place between the subject
nationalities and their overlords . Worthy of note, too, is the
boldness with which the German Zionist Conference in Berlin
adopted and cabled a Resolution "greeting with satisfaction the
fact that the British Government has recognized in an official
declaration the right of the Jewish people to a national existence
in Palestine." In fact, after the British announcement, the Central
Powers did all they could to win the Zionist movement over
to their side. They formulated a rival proposition, involving a
chartered company with a form of self-government and the right
of free immigration into Palestine ; and "by the end of 1917 it was
known that the Turks were willing to accept a scheme on those
lines ." 15
Wholeheartedly the great and important body of fundamentalist
Christian opinion, hating war for any proclaimed purpose, rose
to the bait. Jannaway expresses this profound conviction in his
book, Palestine and the World, asserting that Biblical Prophecy
was being fulfilled exactly as predicted, thus placing Jehovah
squarely on the side of the Western Powers.
"Indeed," says a semi-official British publication, "support of
the Zionist ambitions promised much for the Allies . . . That it
is in purpose a direct contract with Jewry is beyond question ." 18
This was acknowledged plainly by General Smuts, member of
the War Cabinet, who speaking retrospectively some years later,
asserted that "the Declaration was intended to rally the powerful
Jewish influence for the Allied cause at the darkest hour of the
War" ; a statement which David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill
and others, emphatically reiterated .
The Declaration was unreservedly endorsed by the other Powers.
On June 4, 1917 the French Government, through its
Minister, M . Cambon, formally committed itself to "the renaissance
of the Jewish nationality in that Land from which the
people of Israel were exiled so many centuries ago ." Even in
faraway China, Wang, Minister of Foreign Affairs, assured the
Zionists that "the Nationalist Government is in full sympathy
with the Jewish people in their desire to establish a country for
themselves." 17
In America, echoed by practically every official of public importance,
President Wilson wrote that "the Allied nations, with
the fullest concurrence of our own Government and people, are
agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish
Commonwealth." In gratitude the American Jewish Congress
cabled H. M. Government, on November 2, 1917, its desire that
Great Britain should be given the trusteeship, "acting on behalf
of such League of Nations, as may be formed, to assure the development
of Palestine into a Jewish Commonwealth . . ." In
the United States Congress, members expressed general accord
with "the British Declaration in favor of a Jewish State in the
Holy Land." The minutes of its sessions show that this understanding
had not altered by an iota five years later, when the
American Congress was induced to put its seal of approval, by
resolution, on the selection of Great Britain as the Mandatory
for Palestine .
The utterances of the Cabinet ministers who framed the
Declaration were no less emphatic . General Smuts asserted
that "in generations to come you will see a great Jewish State
rising there once more ." Declared Lloyd George grandly
". . . Great Britain extended its mighty hand in friendship to
the Jewish people to help it to regain its ancient national home
and to realize its age-long aspirations ." Said Lord Robert Cecil
"Our wish is that Arabian countries shall be for Arabs, Armenia
for the Armenians and Judea for the Jews ." And on another
occasion he lumped the whole matter in a nutshell, telling the
excited Zionists : "We have given you national existence . In
your hands lies your national future ." Lord Balfour was no less
clear . "The destruction of Judea i goo years ago," he asserted,
"was one of the greatest historical crimes, which the Allies now
endeavor to remedy."
British newspapers were as one in their mighty paean of approval.
Without exception they spoke of "the new Jewish State
which is to be formed under the suzerainty of a Christian Power ."
Across the water, the American newspapers echoed these remarks
in the same expansive detail. A representative editorial of the
time explains : "The Zionists are that group of Jews who wish to
found a Jewish Republic in Palestine with Jerusalem as the capital.
. . The British cabinet has pronounced in favor of Zionism."
Anti-Zionists invariably stress the part played by the Arabs
during the War, inferring that the sons of Ishmael earned their
patrimony, and that the Jews, who had done nothing, insolently
demanded a chunk of the Arab pie when the spoils were being
divided .
Actually the Jewish share in the victory was significant, well
justifying in value received the solemn bargain made with world
Jewry to reconstitute the Land of Israel as a living factor among
the nations .
In the neutral countries the Allied cause, associated everywhere
in the Jewish mind with justice and equity, was given invaluable
support. Jews fought in the armies of all the Western
Powers. Over a hundred thousand Jewish soldiers were killed
in action . In the British Empire itself, out of a total community
of 425,000 Jews, 50,000 were in uniform . In true Maccabean
spirit they earned more than their share of honors and decorations
on the battlefield. One of them was the heroic Sir John Monash,
leader of the Australians .
Behind the lines, the Zionist leader Chaim Weitzman was the
genius directing the Admiralty Chemical Laboratories . According
to Lloyd George, he "absolutely saved the British army at
a critical moment" by devising a substitute for exhausted English
supplies of acetone, used in making the basic material in gunpowder.
Among others, Sir Alfred Stern invented the tank,
which saved the Western Powers from annihilation during the
latter part of the fighting . Solomon J. Solomon created the idea
of camouflage, allowing harassed Allied shipping to run the Uboat
blockade . Everywhere Jewish brains, money, valor and
enthusiasm were placed wholeheartedly at the service of the
Allies .
In Palestine itself, as a result of their commitment to the Western
Powers, Jews were tortured, executed and deported. When
the final truce came, fully half of them were dead or had fled
In 1915 Palestinian refugees in Egypt had organized the Zion
Mule Corps under the leadership of dashing Captain Trumpledor,
a one-armed veteran of the Russo-Japanese War . Colonel Patterson,
the British officer who led these men in the ill-fated Gallipoli
campaign, declared : "I have been in the army a long time,
but I never saw anything like the way those Zionists picked up
the art of soldiery ." For the first time since Roman days, the
Zion Mule Corps fought under the proudly floating Jewish ensign,
the blue and white Mogen David (Shield of David) .
In the meanwhile a brilliant young Russian writer, Vladimir
Jabotinsky, had been scurrying around in an attempt to organize
a legion of Jewish volunteers from the Diaspora countries to fight
directly under the Jewish flag. With rare insight he pointed
out that words and promises were soon forgotten and that the
most enduring Jewish title to the Holy Land would come from
a direct investment of Jewish blood under a Jewish flag .
The influential capitalist Jews were aghast . They put pressure
on the British War Office to stop this little impassioned Zionist
with the under slung jaw who they believed was jeopardizing
their position in the gentile world with his lunatic nonsense .
But the British needed this Jewish regiment for publicity purposes
: they had made themselves the champion of the oldest betrayed
nationality in existence, impressive to the Poles, Czechs,
Armenians, etc ., who had been listening to the noble assurances
of the Western Powers with their tongues in their cheeks . The
War Office consequently overrode the objections of the anti-
Zionists and allowed Jabotinsky to form The Jewish Regiment.
As the protest of the scared English Jews became louder, the
regiment's name was changed to The Judeans, official sub-title for
the 38th Royal Fusiliers. Following hard on its heels came another
Jewish battalion, the 39th Fusiliers .
London was groggy with excitement . The official propagandists
did not miss this glamorous opportunity to exploit the
sheer romance of the historic occasion . At a giant mass meeting
seeing the Jewish warriors off, the Hon . G. N. Barnes, M.P.,
spoke fulsomely in the name of His Majesty the King . He eulogized
the Jewish soldiers as "fellow fighters for freedom," and
assured his listeners that "the British Government proclaimed its
policy of Zionism because it believes that Zionism is identified
with the policy and aims for which good men and women are
struggling everywhere ."
In Palestine The Judeans were joined by Colonel Patterson's
seasoned campaigners, the Zion Mule Corps . The Jewish national
anthem rang in their ears as they marched, and over their
heads waved the Jewish flag .
Wildly enthusiastic, the able-bodied Jews in the conquered territory
enlisted . With an appreciation almost reverential the
British Peace Handbook No . 6o announced that "the most important
event which has taken place . . . since our occupation,
has been the recruiting of the Palestine Jews, whatever their national
States, into the British Army . . . Practically the whole
available Jewish youth of the Colonies . . . came forward for
voluntary enlistment in the Jewish Battalions ."
The distinguished service rendered by these Jewish regiments
is indelibly written in the records . Said General Bartholomew
"For the Turks the end of the War was dependent upon maintenance
of the Jordan front against Allenby, and on this decisive
sector of the front not the Arab Army fought, but the Jewish
Legion ." 1 It was the Jews who took the fords of the Jordan,
thus opening the way for the passage of the British Army and
contributing in great measure to the brilliant victory at Damascus.
This was amply confirmed by General Chaytor, leader
of the Australian and New Zealand cavalry and Commander-in-
Chief of all troops in the Jordan Valley, who emphasized
publicly "the facts of the heroic struggle made by the 38th and
39th Fusilier Battalions," who had marched on to conquer Transjordan
and had thus contributed heavily to the victory over the
Fourth Turkish Army.2
Of fully as great importance was the voluntary intelligence
service rendered by the celebrated Nili Society all over the Holy
Land. Organized by the scientist Alexander Aronson, 3 its daring
exploits were largely instrumental in the success of Allenby's
campaign . Far from giving the invaders any help, the
Palestine Arabs were, as we shall see, either apathetic or directly
Spiritedly the Palestinian volunteers addressed themselves to
Colonel Patterson when he landed with his Jewish boys : "We
are convinced that Britain's victory is ours and our victory
Britain's. This war and Balfour's declaration have made us a
sister nation of England. We hope to convince by our fighting
that the soul of the Macabees has not dried up and that we
know how to countersign Balfour's declaration with our own
blood." 4
They had every reason to feel `convinced .' In April 1917
the British War Department had issued a statement on War
Aims in the Near East in which it was proclaimed that "Palestine
was to be recognized as the Jewish National Home . . . The
Jewish population present and future throughout Palestine is to
possess and enjoy full national, political and civic rights. . .
The Suzerain Government shall grant full and free rights of
immigration into Palestine to Jews of all countries . . . The
Suzerain Government shall grant a charter to a Jewish Company
for the colonization and development of Palestine, the Company
to have the power to acquire and take over any concessions for
works of a public character . . . and the rights of preemption
of Crown lands or other lands not held in private or religious
ownership, and such other powers and privileges as are usual in
charters or statutes of similar colonizing bodies ." These statements
were simultaneously reduced by the Allied war propagandists
to brief slogans and exploited to the fullest advantage
Addressing the first Conference of Jews in the liberated area,
Major W. Ormsby-Gore, later as Colonial Secretary to suffer
a serious case of amnesia, orated for His Majesty's Government
as follows
"Mr. Balfour has made a historic declaration with regard to
the Zionists : that he wishes to see created and built up in
Palestine a National Home for the Jewish People . What do we
understand by this ? We mean that those Jews who voluntarily
come to live in Palestine, should live in Palestine as Jewish nationalists
. . . You are bound together in Palestine by the need
of building up a Jewish nation in all its various aspects, a national
center for Jewry all over the world to look at ." a
The marching Jews listened . The great dream which had
inspired the Jewish mind for so many long centuries, seemed
about to be realized. They believed Britain's word implicitly .
Part of Lloyd George's technique during the War was connected
with the old art of inciting dissatisfaction within the
enemy camp. This practice had proven especially effective
with the moribund Austro-Hungarian Empire, and several capable
agents, including the famous Lawrence, were sent to
Arabia to foment an insurrection there if possible .
The English started with little in their favor . To speak of
Turkish oppression of the Arab was actually an absurdity, unless
one referred to the Levantine Christian on the coast . The
constitution of the Ottoman Empire was the Arab's Koran from
which the Turk derived his law, religion and culture . Even the
Turkish language became half Arabic ; and it was only with
the later revolution under Kemal Pasha that the decadent Arab
cultural pattern which ruled the life of the Ottoman nation
was eliminated .
Under Turkish suzerainty the Arab areas were virtually independent,
razed by local chiefs whose authority was recognized
by the Sultan . Arabs held high position all over the
Empire. The Sultan's Guards were almost completely Arab .
The schools and army were dominated by them . Even the
Prime Minister, Mahmoud Chawkat Pasha, was an Arab .
The whole system of Muslimism itself practically precluded
any idea of national sentiment, until it began to arise under
the stimulus of British agitators . In Baghdad some Arabs of
vaulting ambition had formed Nationalist Committees, but the
mass of townsmen and fellaheen were utterly apathetic to any
nationalist feeling. Regional sectarianism was everywhere the
rule. The Shiahs did not desire a Sunni government ; nor
would the Sunnis tolerate a Shiah rule, while the mass of tribesmen
did not desire any government at all.
As matters rested, the British were compelled to create a completely
synthetic situation if they were to have the great Arab
revolt come off. They decided to rely on private rivalries and
ambitions ; and here they made a shrewd guess : the desert was
a hotbed of rapacity, hatreds and feuds .
Sitting immobile in the Hejaz was the Sherif Hussein, descendant
of the Prophet and unbending hater of Christians and
all their works . Almost alone among the Arabian princes he
was the nominee of the Turks. His measure may be gained
from the fact that he even prohibited talking-machines in his
kingdom, believing them to be the invention of the devil .
On the other side of Hussein was his mortal enemy, the gigantic
Ibn Saud of Nejd. Saud, a good hater who believed in
the old Mohammedan tenets of conversion by disemboweling,
was also in conflict with the powerful Emir of Hail, who was
being supported by the Turks .
The British wanted Hussein for the moral effect they presumed
his name would have on the Faithful, and made overtures
to him early. Part of these `negotiations' lay in the bland threat
to feed him outright to the ferocious Saud, to whom they were
handing a subsidy of 4 5ooo a month to insure his neutrality .
To make the argument more pointed, Britain politely withheld
the annual donation from Egypt to the holy cities of Mecca and
Medina, threatening the Hejaz with bankruptcy, since this pilgrimage
provided the barren land with its chief source of revenue.
The Sherif had still other and more urgent considerations
to hasten his decision . One of these was the British naval
blockade of the Arabian coast, "inevitably aggravating the internal
distress caused by the lack of pilgrims ." 8
That Hussein's over-lordship of the Holy Places would make
him an acceptable leader to all the Arabs of the Peninsula turned
out to be an error. Even at that time, his mortal enemy, Saud,
was the principal power in South Central Arabia as was another
mutual opponent, Ibn Rashid of Hayil, in the North Central part .
Nor would the great sheikhs, such as those of the Huwallah,
the Shammar, or the Mutair accept Hussein's over lordship, or
even permit him to speak for them 7
The whole business degenerated into a confused medley of
intrigue, directed by a multitude of British agencies acting under
conflicting instructions and authority ; the powerful India Office,
for example, bucked the traces completely and gave encouragement
to Ibn Saud as the logical leader of the rebellion .,,
Just what kind of `Arab patriot' Hussein was, may be learned
from the fact that he allowed a contingent of volunteers to be
recruited in his territory for the abortive Turkish expedition to
the Suez Canal in February 1915, and used his influence to assist
the crew of the German cruiser Emden which had been harassing
British communications off the Red Sea Coast.9 Thus he
negotiated with Turks and British alike until he could make
sure he was backing the right horse. Actually all he wanted
or hoped to secure was complete independence in his own
corner of southwestern Arabia, military support against his rival,
Ibn Saud, and unfettered control of the lucrative pilgrim revenue.
Finally, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry
McMahon, tried his hand . He found Hussein a good horse trader,
non-committal and holding out for the highest bidder .
In order to force the `Arab patriot' to move, the British had
to submit to as fine a mulcting as they have ever experienced .
The Agreement entered into early in i q i 6, reads that "The
Government of Great Britain agrees to furnish this Arab Government
with all its needs of arms and ammunition and money
during the War ." What this transaction was like is more than
explained in the wireless received by McMahon's confidential
assistant, Sir Ronald Storrs, just before the `rebellion' broke out.
It read : "Foreign Office has approved payment of £ io,ooo to
Abdullah and C So,ooo to Sherif o f Mecca. But this latter payment
only in return for definite action and i f a reliable rising
takes place." 10 All told, the English handed over to the Sherif
a cool J i 1,ooo,ooo in materials and money, and stimulated his
patriotism with grandiose promises of personal power ." Nothing
else than this flood of gold, writes Lawrence cynically,
"would have performed the miracle of keeping a tribal army in
the field for five months on end ." And C. S. Jarvis, English
Governor of Sinai Peninsula, comments that Arab actions from
start to finish "proved that they were only interested in the
revolution for three objects in the following order of importance
- gold, loot, and the satisfactory clearing up of their own
daraks or areas." 12 Indeed, the only time a full muster of the
`patriots' could be counted on was payday.
The whole `campaign of the desert' was a strangely inept piece
of business, vastly enlarged on by British publicists for outside
consumption . A good account of it is given by the French
General, Edouard Bremond, in his book Le Hedjaz dans la
Guerre Mondiale . Hussein himself is described as "an obstinate,
narrow-minded, suspicious character," so insanely jealous
of his son Feisal that he was forever issuing from his throne
in Mecca, out of sheer pique, "orders that from time to time
jeopardized the cause ." 13
Observers, neutral and friendly, have described the character
of these purchased levies. They were not, by our standards,
good soldiers. Bloodless victories were the kind that they appreciated,
and Lawrence's understanding of this preference
dictated his whole strategy of irregular warfare . Colonel Wilson,
the English representative at Hussein's court, contemptuously
refers to them as "a cowardly and undisciplined rabble" ;
and Lawrence makes no bones about their cowardice under
Turkish fire . 14 "Lawrence knew," says Jarvis, "that if his
Arabs suffered heavy casualties in a direct attack they would
never recover from the effect and would disseminate into thin
air." 15
Lawrence states, moreover, that "it was impossible to mix or
combine tribes, since they disliked or distrusted one another .
Likewise, we could not use the men of one tribe in the territory
of another." 16 With sardonic resignation he observes : "My
men were blood enemies of thirty tribes, and only for my hand
over them would have murdered in the ranks every day . Their
feuds prevented them combining against me ; while their unlikeness
gave me sponsors and spies wherever I went or
sent. . ." 17
Often the Arabs refused to fight at all because they were not
satisfied with the amount of loot they were receiving . Lawrence
himself was once abandoned with two companions in the
middle of an engagement, his Arab allies having gone raving
mad with the lust of plunder. In their frenzy they fought
among themselves, and soon were all `missing,' "having dispersed
with their spoil ." Even in victory they did not hesitate to leave
their own wounded lying helpless on the ground while they
looted. Under these circumstances, says Lawrence, they lost
their wits completely and "were as ready to assault friend as
foe." 18 Without exception, every observer comments that they
invariably broke off in the middle of an engagement to disappear
into the desert with their captured gains . There is actually
no recorded instance of an Arab accomplishment in the way
of a spectacular battle or the capture of a large town with its
The British, in fact, had their hands full with their wild allies.
Aviators had to fly at a considerable height to avoid being
shot at by the Bedouins, who had "an irresistible desire to
shoot anything that was moving fast ." 19 They found the Arab
chiefs volcanic and suspicious and ever ready to resent the
presence of infidels. "Many of them," writes Captain Hart,
"behaved as if the British officers were their servants, and set
an example of rudeness that was imitated by their followers, as
well as by their slaves." Lawrence cautioned his men frankly
before an excursion into the desert "that there was no need to
worry about the Turks, but every need to worry about our
allies, the Bedouins ." 20 Nor would he instruct his tribesmen
in the handling of the high explosives used to cripple the Turkish
transportation system, afraid that they "would keep on playfully
blowing up trains even after the termination of the war ." 21
The whole Lawrence legend in itself has been sadly exaggerated.
He was a brave and clever man, but the truth of the
matter is that he never penetrated into Arabia at all, and merely
went down the western coastal fringe from Mecca northward
along the Pilgrim railway .22 Most of the inhabitants of Arabia
could hardly have known of his existence, "while the suggestion
implied of Arabian unification under a foreigner and a non-
Moslem is, of course, a myth ." 23
His entire `army' of purchased irregulars did not amount to
a row of peanuts when compared with the Arabs fighting on
the Turkish side against the detested infidel . Simultaneous with
the Sherif's commitment to the Allies, his powerful neighbor
Hussein Mabeirig, chief of the Rabegh Harb, joined the Turks ;
and facing the invaders was at least one entire Ottoman division
made up entirely of Arab men and officers .
The number who participated in the `revolt' were an uncertain
and fluctuating quantity, "simply gathering," says Bertram
Thomas, "for some particular expedition in numbers that sometimes
reached a few thousand, but were more often only a few
hundred." Lloyd George estimated their total number to aggregate
"but a few thousand horsemen," remarking that "the
vast majority of their race in the Great War were fighting for
their Turkish conquerors." 24
There have been few peoples in history who have gotten so
much for giving so little . In Iraq the Arabs took almost no part
whatsoever in the fighting, and always were to be found on the
winning side. Now with the Turks, now with the British, loot
was their principal object . Blood-curdling eyewitness accounts
tell how Turks and Englishmen alike were murdered for their
small possessions . Unfortunate prisoners had their bellies
ripped open in search of the gold liras which the Arabs thought
the soldiers had swallowed. Graves containing Turkish and
English dead were despoiled for any articles which might have
been buried with them . Throughout the Turkish Empire the
phrase Khayin Arab (treacherous Arab) became an ugly
As shown by the records, as far as Palestine is concerned, the
Arab contribution to its conquest was indirect and trifling . Not
a single Arab was employed in the conquest of Cis-Jordan . In
Trans-Jordan it was the Jewish Legions who, having assisted the
English to take the passages of the Jordan River, marched on to
capture Es Salt, then considered its principal town. Lawrence's
Arabs were far away in the desert engaged in butchering and
looting fleeing men, fellow-Arabs of the Turkish army, who had
been routed by British guns and airplanes . The soldier, Duff,
his blood turned cold by these activities, describes their "strange,
twisted mentality. . ." 26
At this time the dazzling fiction of a Palestinian Arab struggle
against the Turks had not yet been invented . The British themselves,
roiled by the disinclination of Palestine Arabs to assist
in any way, described them as "sunk in almost animal brutishness,
moved by no spirit of personal liberty or freedom for their
native land ." A study of Lawrence's Seven Pillars o f Wisdom
reveals that his levies were all desert tribesmen except for ten
Syrians, of whom six `ratted' and four deserted . No Palestinian
Arab is mentioned by Lawrence . The British, who were later
to speak pompously of Arab nationalism in Palestine, were of
quite a different sentiment in 1918 . British Peace Handbook
No. 6o declares briskly that "they have little if any national
sentiment . . . The Moslem Effendi class . . . evince a feeling
somewhat akin to hostility towards the Arab movement . . .
This class, while regretting the opportunities for illegitimate
gain offered by Turkish rule, has no real political cohesion, and,
above all, no power of organization ." There was in fact not a
single Arab personality in Palestine with whom the British could
negotiate . With their experiences still fresh in English minds,
the Peace Handbook repeats Burton's jibe that these Levantines
"hide their weapons at the call of patriotism ."
Despite the ado subsequently made over the vaunted promises
to Hussein, all the evidence indicates that until British policy
shifted after the War, the idea that Palestine should become
Arabic had not even been contemplated . It is certain that during
Lawrence's campaign Feisal and his principal henchmen had
their eye upon Syria, not upon Palestine, and that the rank
and file were interested in money and loot and nothing else .
McMahon himself vigorously denied that any pledge had been
given to Hussein which could be construed to mean that Palestine
was to be included in the Arab area ; and in Commons on
July 11, 1922, Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for
the Colonies, declared : "No pledges were made to the Palestine
Arabs in 1915 . So far as I am aware, the first suggestion that
Palestine was included in the area within which His Majesty's
Government promised to recognize and support the independence
of the Arabs, was made . . . more than five years after
the conclusion of the correspondence on which the claim was
based." The promise to Hussein was in any case crazy ; for, as
Sidebotham points out, he was not in a position to pledge the
Arabs outside the Hejaz to anything.
When Hussein finally proclaimed himself Commander of the
Faithful, it proved a fatal step, hardening against him the Wahabis
and other fanatic Moslem groups in whose eyes the Sherif
was an infidel backslider . London, too, was tiring of his incessant
demands and arrogance ; and burned with rage when
the new King of the Hejaz refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles
and wriggled out of joining the League of Nations under
British tutelage. Quietly they withdrew their support from
the recalcitrant Hussein and let it be known that he was now on
his own.27 Saud, who had been waiting for this moment,
needed no further invitation . He promptly occupied Mecca,
chased Hussein off to exile in Cyprus, and henceforth styled
himself King of the Hejaz and Sultan of Nejd .
While the Sherif was engaged in this death struggle with his
ancient enemy, Britain stepped in and demanded that he place
Maan and the Red Sea port of Aqaba under British Mandate .
On May 27, 1925, the British Government regretfully informed
the Commander of the Faithful that if he would not accede
to this demand, it "would have to take Aqaba and Maan by
force." On June 18, both towns became part of Transjordan .
Here was created the need for a fresh departure in British Arabic
policy since their new protege, Saud, would not accept the fact
of British possession gracefully ; he continued to roar with aggrieved
self-righteousness that he had been robbed . This friction,
which persists until today, resulted in still another of
Whitehall's famous zigzags, this time back in the direction of
Abdullah of the House of Hussein .
During all the period that the Zionists had been without benefit
of Balfour Declaration or Mandatory `assistance,' the attitude
of the Arabs toward the Jewish National Movement had been
one of almost unanimous approval . In 19o6, Farid Kassab, famous
Syrian author, had expressed the view uniformly held by
Arabs : "The Jews of the Orient are at home . This land is their
only fatherland . They don't know any other ." 28 A year later
Dr. Gaster reported that he had "held conversations with some
of the leading sheikhs, and they all expressed themselves as very
pleased with the advent of the Jews, for they considered that
with them had come barakat, i .e., blessing, since the rain came in
due season ." 29
The Moslem religious leader, the Mufti, was openly friendly,
even taking a prominent part in the ceremony of laying the
foundation stone for the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus.
Throughout Arabia the chiefs were for the most part distinctly
pro-Zionist ; and in Palestine the peasantry were delighted at
every prospect of Jewish settlement near their villages . They
let few opportunities slip to proclaim in flowery oriental rhetoric
the benefits that Jewish colonization was bringing them .
Land acquisition was easy. Commercial intercourse between
Arab and Jew was constant and steady . In the face of the practical
regard with which the impoverished natives viewed these
queer Moskubs 30 who brought with them manna from heaven,
the anti-Zionist elements, if they existed, kept silent . Remarkably
enough, the incoming Zionists, vigorous, modern, and capable,
were treated with high respect, while the native Jew still remained
The Arab National Movement itself, puny, inexperienced,
and hated by the huge Levantine population who continued to
regard themselves simply as Ottoman subjects, looked to the
strong, influential Zionist Organization for sympathy and assistance
Hussein of the Hejaz who had been booted upstairs by the
British into a position of recognized authority in the Arab Nationalist
Movement after the War, distrusted European nations
and their statesmen to the very marrow of his bones . He looked
to the Zionists, as a kindred folk, for the financial and scientific
experience of which the projected Arab state would stand badly
in need. When the Balfour Declaration was communicated to
him in January 1918, he had replied "with an expression of good
will towards a kindred Semitic race ." 31
In May of the same year, at Aqaba where he held court and
made camp, Hussein was visited by Dr. Weitzman, head of the
Zionist Commission . At this desert conference the British Government
and the Arab Bureau in Cairo were well represented .
Feisal, dark, majestic son of the Sherif, spoke as the Arab representative
. Intimate mutual cooperation between the two Movements
was pledged . The Zionists were to provide political,
technical and financial advisers to the Arabs ; and it was agreed
that Palestine was to be the Jewish sphere of influence and development.
This alliance fitted perfectly with Hussein's ideas .
Basic hostility to all Christian powers characterized father and
son, who felt that the Jews were the indispensable allies, and
indeed the instruments, of a new Arab renaissance . They
regarded a dominantly Jewish Palestine as the necessary foundation
to a greater Arabia ; and were anxious for a rapid development
of the Peninsula if it were to become capable of resisting
the attacks which their weakness must sooner or later
When Feisal came to Europe in i 919 representing the Arab
cause, the Zionists submitted their plans to him . Both Feisal
and Lawrence approved of them, and early in i 9 i 9 these conversations
culminated in a Treaty of Friendship . Solemnly
signed, this convention provided for the "closest possible collaboration"
in the development of the Arab State and the coming
Jewish Commonwealth of Palestine . National boundaries were
considered ; 32 Mohammedan Holy Places were to be under Mohammedan
control ; the Zionist Organization undertook to provide
economic experts to the new Arab State ; and the Arabs
agreed to facilitate the carrying into effect of the Balfour Declaration
and to "encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews
into Palestine on a large scale ." 33
On March 3, I9I9, Feisal acting officially for the Arab movement,
wrote : "We Arabs look with the deepest sympathy on
the Zionist movement . Our deputation in Paris is fully acquainted
with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist
Organization to the Peace Conference and we regard them as
moderate and proper . We will do our best, insofar as we are
concerned, to help them through . We will wish the Jews a
most hearty welcome home ."
The Arab leaders placed themselves on record everywhere in
an obvious effort to attain Zionist support for their own aspirations,
then under the cloud of European Imperialist ambitions .
A representative example is Feisal's public communication to
Sir Herbert Samuel, pleading the need to "maintain between
us that harmony so necessary for the success of our common
On meticulous English records, carefully buried in the Government
vaults, the entire story is written in comprehensive detail.
At all discussions British representatives were present .
Lawrence was the official translator at almost all of them . Officially,
Major Ormsby-Gore was liaison officer on the ground .
It was he who pulled the strings between Arab and Jew, at a
time when Zionism was still persona grata to the gentlemen who
rule Whitehall .
Whatever the mighty deeds and feats of derring-do by English
arms elsewhere in the Great War, it is not a fact that they
alone conquered Palestine . It is only a fact that an English general
led the attacking forces, much as Marshal Foch commanded
the Allies on the Western Front .
When with pennants flying, Sir Edmund Allenby made his
historic entry into Jerusalem on December 9, 1917, the Hebrew
battalions were also there. Sir John Monash's Australians were
the bulk of his effectives . Under his command, among others,
was a contingent of French Colonials and a force of Italian
Bersaglieri from Libya . As he victoriously entered, Allenby
was flanked on one side by M. Francois Georges-Picot and on
the other by Major d'Augustino, the French and Italian representatives
respectively .
It was understood all around that the expressed Jewish wish
was to have the British in control during the early period when
the foundations of the Jewish National Home were to be laid .
The Zionists were at the time much afraid of the practical results
which might follow from the International control favored
by the French and Italians ; and they looked on the English as
their friends and sponsors . Under this Jewish insistence the
Latins generously allowed their interests to lapse, and the English
military was left in complete authority .
The surrender of Jerusalem coincided exactly with the Feast
of Chanukah, which commemorates the recapture of the Temple
from the heathen Seleucids by Judas Maccabeus in the year
165 B.C. Lending color to this coincidence, General Allenby
said on entering : "We have come not as conquerors but as deliverers
But hardly had the Turks been driven out when it became apparent
to Jew and Arab alike that the entire Administration was
uncompromisingly opposed both to the letter and the spirit of
the Declaration . In his solemn proclamation after taking the
Capital, Allenby spoke as if the Declaration had never been issued.
In fact no mention was made of the Jewish National Home
in any official announcement in Palestine until May 1, 1920.
Even all references to the Jewish Legion, unstintingly praised in
the military dispatches f or its gallantry in action, were suppressed
by G.H.Q. from the dispatches as published in the Palestine and
Egyptian papers . The amazed Zionists suddenly discovered
that "the Military Administration . . . was anti-Zionist and
perhaps anti-Jewish ." 34
Weitzman and his cohorts had been used to dealing with
suave statesmen whose assurances were still ringing in their ears.
Balfour had just reiterated that "no one is now opposed to
Zionism. The success of Zionism is secure ." 35 Ormsby-Gore
had even gone so far as to urge the immediate creation of a Jewish
passport. In Jerusalem the consuls of almost every country
were, out of courtesy, newly appointed Jews . The official
British Peace Handbook on Zionism, giving on the highest possible
authority the Government's conception of what it had
agreed to, read : "Jewish opinion would prefer Palestine to be
controlled for the present as a part, or at least a dependency, of
the British Empire ; but its administration should be largely entrusted
to Jews of the Colonist type. . . Zionists of this way of
thinking believe that, under such conditions, the Jewish population
would rapidly increase until the Jew became the predominant
partner of the combination ."
The Zionists were under the impression that they had "gained
the adhesion of the Powers to practically the exact terminology
of the Basle program adopted in 1897" under the direction of
Herzl.3B They were totally unprepared for the unexpected attitude
of the Military, and stood around rubbing their hands in
The Generals, looking on the pro-Zionist commitment of the
Foreign Office as little less than criminal lunacy, virtually refused
to carry out London's orders. In this they were obviously
abetted by headquarters in Cairo which, in addition to
holding the direction of military operations, contained a staff of
political observers . For reasons which will be discussed later,
the Military considered the Jews to be dangerous Bolsheviks
who were conspiring to upset the Empire . Moreover, the
rivalry with the French was now going on full blast and the
Generals hoped to exclude them from Syria altogether . Sir
Arthur Money, who took over the administration for Allenby,
in high elation reported that he had interviewed a number of
`Syrians' and that "their idea of Government for Palestine was
that we should govern it ; the idea was pure bliss to them ." In
his mind's eye he already considered Palestine a British colony
from which Jews were to be excluded.
The Zionists were put in their place with a bang . Despite
the Jewish majority in Jerusalem, "the Army . . . appointed
two-thirds of the Jerusalem Corporation Arab and only one third
Jewish ." 37 General Money decided that all tax forms and
receipts should be printed in English and Arabic only ; and the
Military Governor of Jaffa declared insolently that he was going
to address Jewish delegations in Arabic .
The attitude of the Generals toward the Jews was contemptuous
and hostile ; and subordinates were swiftly responsive to the
cue supplied by their superior officers . General Money asserted
with cool complacency : "I have asked many people in
position - in England and elsewhere - why England has capitulated
to the Zionists, but none of them has been able to give me
a straight answer ." He came to the amusing conclusion that
the Holy Land had been handed over to Weitzman who had
demanded it as his pound of flesh for having invented "in the
nick of time . . . some ultra-Teutonic deadliness of gas and
bombs." 38
Not un-instructive of the whole tone of this administration is
the case given by Horace Samuel, late Judicial Officer in Palestine,
of a medical official "who quite frankly and with barely
concealed relish announced that Jew-baiting had been the sport
of kings for centuries and centuries ." 39 All told, the British officers,
quite apart from any question of higher politics, "regarded
the Balfour Declaration as damn nonsense, the Jews as a
damn nuisance, and natives into the bargain ; and the Arabs as
damn good fellows." 40
It was tragic for the hopes of Zion that the spirit of the Ghetto
still stared from the brooding eyes of Jewish leaders . With a
few notable exceptions, they carried with them into the new
movement the spirit of philosophic resignation, the unworldly
dreaming and weakness under attack which had characterized
life in the Russian Pale . Wise politicians would have known
that the Balfour Declaration was only the beginning of their
troubles ; that from this time onward, the Jewish estate would
have to be protected by every artifice that stubborn determination
and vigilance could invent . But the inexperienced Zionists
considered their provisional charter to be the solution to all
problems. Learnedly they mapped and blueprinted the perfect
society which was gradually to unfold its petals like a lovely
orchid in the new Land of Israel .
Shocked by these pedantic vagaries, the shrewd Nordau urged
that a half million Jews be thrown into Palestine at once . The
Bolshevik horror alone could have supplied such a number of
weary refugees who would have been eager to migrate to the
Holy Land under any conditions . The practical difficulties to
such a project were by no means insuperable, and, fully as important,
Arab resistance to the policy of the Jewish National
Home was at this time scarcely visible . Arab landowners, holders
of great vacant stretches, were under the impression that
radical land legislation was impending and were anxious to sell
at any price. It was a golden opportunity, never to come again .
But Zionist spokesmen at that time were opposed to what
they considered `premature' immigration, and wanted to build
on `sound' lines . With cautious logic they demanded to know
"How will these people live ? We have no houses for them -
they will starve ! " 41
"Let them live in tents - let them starve !" replied Nordau.
"But you had better bring them in at once while the opportunity
lasts. Gentlemen, you have the Balfour Declaration : but you
don't know England !"
The Hierarchy, condemning Nordau and his followers as
`impractical, un-idealistic and headstrong,' was content to wait .
Its initiative had been immobilized by the collapse of Russia
which had been the great center of Zionism . The Bolsheviks,
coming into power, had outlawed the movement on the grounds
that it was a tool of the Imperialists and a betrayal of the Jewish
masses. Quoting the master, Marx, to show that Jews were
only a social class and not a nation, they declared Jewish nationalism
a counter-revolutionary activity .
Completely upset by this volcanic withdrawal of their principal
source of support, the bewildered Zionists did nothing .
Their complete reliance on the good faith of British assurances
caused them to neglect the most logical and prudent step, that
of consolidating their position quickly, before opposition forces
had had time to collect themselves .
The British could hardly believe their eyes when the Jewish
leaders, obsessed with vague schemes for national ownership of
the land, actually welcomed the drastic legislation ordered by
Allenby prohibiting land sales as well as immigration . They
did not even protest when the Jewish Legion was ca'Talierly disbanded
and told to leave the Holy Land for their points of
origin, though the balance of Allenby's force remained under
In London a Jewish Commission had been arranged for, ostensibly
to take over the business of developing the country
under the protecting arm of the Military . Headed by Dr.
Weitzman, it arrived July 24, 1918, equipped, with the authority
of the British Government, to advise the Palestine Administration
on Jewish affairs . As head of this essentially political
body, Weizmann's first act was to warn his hearers to beware
of treacherous insinuations that Zionists were seeking political
The Generals, who had been treating the Jewish population
as if it were non-existent, did not even bother with blandishments
; they simply ignored the Commission altogether. Not
even a pretense of friendship with the Government could be
With a pointed demonstration of contempt, when the Jewish
National Anthem was played at a concert in a Jewish school,
General Money and his staff deliberately kept their seats . Putty-souled
Zionist leaders, who might have used the incident for a
complete show-down fight in a world where the advantage of
sympathy and legality was all theirs, remembered the knout of
the Czars, sweated and kept silent .
Incident multiplied itself on incident, and for twenty months
the status quo of the country remained unchanged . The only
time the Zionist leaders opened their mouths was when "the
notorious anti-Semite Colonel Scott (acting head of the judiciary)
publicly insulted the Jews and the Jewish religion in the
corridor of the Law Courts ."" The howl that went up,
forced by Orthodox institutions, compelled him to resign .
The Zionists were badly rattled . Wanting the hardihood
necessary to handle this admittedly difficult situation, they could
only sit helplessly by, hoping for the best . They watched
apathetically while a civil agent of the Government, an apostate
Jew named Gabriel, busied himself in promoting British commercial
interests while the Jews, treated as social, commercial
and political outcasts, were kept at a distance. With equal
meekness they stood by while the Government sabotaged Jewish
efforts to come to an understanding with the Arabs .
With conscious design the Administration fostered hostility
between Arab and Jew . It directly advised the amazed Arabs
of Palestine and Egypt to abstain from any concessions to the
Jews. It formed the Moslem-Christian Association and used it
as a weapon against the Zionists on the slightest pretext . It instructed
astonished Arab young-bloods in the technique and
tenets of modern nationalism, in order to resist Jewish `pretenses.'
And in London it contacted reliable anti-Jewish elements,
to form a liaison which has endured to this day .
The Arabs were not only instigated and advised, but supplied
with funds, and their arguments ghost-written by Englishmen
in high places . They proved a tolerably good investment .
Their ready compliance may be seen in the very convenient demands
put forward in the Third Arab Palestine Congress (timed
to coincide with the British plot to force the French out of the
Near East altogether) that the Holy Land be not separated from
During all this time the Military had been playing a high game
of politics on its own, maneuvering carefully to present the
forthcoming Peace Conference with a fait accompli which
would set the lily-livered civilian officials in London back on
their heels. Tension was strong between British and French as
to who should control the Eastern Mediterranean . The French,
traditional protectors of Syria, had a long-hooked finger in the
pie. On Bastille Day, during the sessions of the Peace Conference,
when the Tri-color flag was run up at Sidon, a chill went
down the spines of the military gentlemen in Jerusalem .
The Generals aimed at one big Arab state or federation of
states, to include the Hejaz, Iraq, Syria and Palestine, which was
to lie, as Egypt had lain, in the political and economic pocketbook
of Britain. For this consummation to be realized it was
essential that the population of Palestine should be so anti-
Zionist and the population of Syria so anti-French that with the
best will in the world, bier entendu, it would be impossible to
put into force a French control of the Levant or a Zionist policy
in Palestine .
Now began a technique of instigation and incitement from
which the Anglo-Saxon rulers of the Holy Land have never
varied wherever they had a point to be gained . Tension between
France and England over this continuous stream of intrigue
finally reached a point where a breath would have precipitated
it into armed conflict . The French statesman M . Barthou
sharply protested . With its tongue in its cheek, London blandly
forwarded the protest to Palestine, abjuring the Generals to behave
themselves .
Matters came to a head in I92o when Feisal staged a revolt
against the French in Damascus, with money and ammunition
supplied by the British General Headquarters .44 He had been
proclaimed King by a `Syrian Congress' which included Palestinians,
and which asserted the principle that Palestine was a
part of Syria and could not be cut off from it . Almost simultaneously,
in order to show how impossible it was to implement
the Balfour Declaration in the face of native hostility, the Generals
arranged a pogrom in Jerusalem. They hoped it would
mean the end of Zionism, that the League of Nations, which had
not yet officially named a mandatory, would be forced to `recognize
the rights' of the native population and cancel out the Zionist
adventure .
The Governor of Jerusalem was General Louis Bols . Chief
of Staff to Bols was Colonel Waters Taylor, whose ideal polity
was a military government in perpetuity, and who later became
an anti-Zionist organizer in London .
When Colonel Patterson, staunch Zionist friend, heard that
Bols had been appointed, he was shocked . He writes : "I knew
Bols well, having worked with him for two years . I knew him
as an out and out anti-Semite, who would leave no stone unturned
to destroy the Jewish National Home root and branch."
So moved was this honest English soldier that he boarded a train
for Cairo that very day in order to warn Weitzman of the danger,
urging him to oppose Bols' appointment with might and
main. In reply Weitzman informed Patterson that his fears
"were really exaggerated, as he had just had a two-hour conversation
with Bols and had found him a very nice man ." Despite
Weizmann's optimistic appraisal, the result of Bols' appointment
was soon to be written in Jewish blood.
Ominous incidents crowding fast on the heels of the intensive
propaganda which followed the crowning of Feisal in Syria, had
caused a number of saner Zionists to warn the Government . It
responded by ordering the disarming of the population, enforcing
the order only insofar as the Jews were concerned .
The riots of April 1920 broke on the heads of the astonished
Jews like a clap of thunder . Misled by the naivete of their responsible
leaders, they awoke from their dreams of a Jewish
Commonwealth to scenes no different than those from which
they had fled in Russia .
The action was perfectly timed . Moslem crowds had gathered
for the Nebi Moussa festival in Jerusalem . The usual
frenzy of chants and wild dances was driving them into a dangerous
emotional delirium . Propaganda of the wildest sort was
being circulated ; and whispers went through the crowd, which
was going rapidly berserk.
Now agitators were addressing this churning mass, urging
them forward against the Jews . Hesitant for a moment, the reassuring
cry arose : "The Government is with us!"
The stage had been ably set . All Jewish policemen had been
relieved from duty in the `Old City,' a walled section of Jerusalem
where the bulk of the Jews resided. Totally unopposed
and making a directed attack from three different parts of the
town at the same moment, the mob rushed into the Jewish
Quarter, brandishing knives and clubs .
Shrieking madness covered the Old City. The most horrible
and repugnant scenes took place . Amongst other manifestations
of patriotism, some elderly Jews were locked in a house
which was set on fire, while a number of women were subjected
to rape.
Shivering with the emotion of an unhappy, betrayed man,
Weitzman, supreme Jewish leader, wept bitterly. In another
part of the city, Jabotinsky, the little Russian writer with the
prognathous jaw, was raging. Cursing the wordy timidity of
his Zionist confreres he swiftly gathered together a group of ex-
Legionnaires. Heartened, other young Jews joined the "Self-
Defense." Where they appeared the rioters ran for their lives .
Meanwhile the Government surrounded the Old City with a
cordon of police and troops, preventing Jabotinsky's boys from
going to the assistance of the defenseless Jews, giving them over
for three days to murder, loot and rape before the authorities
raised a hand to interfere .45
Jabotinsky and his Legionnaires were arrested as fast as they
could be apprehended . It was symptomatic of the general tone
of the Administration that Howes, the Commandant of Police,
caused Jabotinsky to be held in the common lockup, while Arab
agitators who had also been arrested were accommodated in a
pleasant room in the Governate itself . Zionist stock slumped
still lower when Jewish notables were refused an audience,
while motor cars were placed at the disposal of Arab leaders for
the purpose of granting them an interview with the Chief Administrator
With ghoulish thoroughness the Government both during and
after the riots searched the Jews for arms, deliberately rendering
them defenseless, and causing numerous arrests of those
guilty of protecting their homes and loved ones. Cynically
Sir Louis Bols complained in a dispatch to Cairo : "They [the
Jews] are very difficult to deal with . . . They are not satisfied
with military protection, but demand to take the law in their
own hands."
So devilishly inhuman a course would hardly seem credible if
it were not supported by the word of many witnesses, some of
them distinguished Englishmen, revolted by this sickening parade
of events. The tone of the Administration was so hostile
that a celebrated American archaeologist, a non-Jew, told Horace
Samuel "quite specifically" that because of his sympathy for
the riot victims "he found himself deliberately cold-shouldered
by the British officials ." 47 A thoroughly upset British lady felt
compelled to write that "for the first time yesterday I felt
ashamed of being born an Englishwoman ." 48
Jerusalem had undergone an orgy of slaughter, rape, torture
and sack . Everywhere homes and stores were wrecked . Sixty
innocents lay dead, and innumerable victims were injured, the
memory of unspeakable horror engraved on their consciousness,
never to fade. Far away in the little Galilee village of Tel Hai
the knightly Captain Trumpledor was killed with nine of his
men, murmuring as he fell, "It is good to die for one's country ."
In a vermin-infested jail, awaiting trial, was Jabotinsky - Jewish
patriot and ex-officer of His Majesty's Army- now stripped
of his honors and treated like a dangerous felon. With scant
ceremony he was tried, and with his Legionnaires sentenced to
fifteen years at hard labor .
Shocked by this savage order, the Jews shut their shops in
protest. The Government replied with a ukase ordering the
shops reopened under penalty of a fine of £ 50 ; an action more
than interesting in view of the way subsequent Arab strikes
were handled .
Suddenly, like a typhoon which had gathered from nowhere,
a tremendous wave of protest swept the world . England with
her hands full in Ireland and India, smarting under the conBRASS
demnation she was receiving in all civilized quarters, was aghast .
The Generals' plan had become a boomerang .
The League had not yet granted an official mandate ; and the
French, irritated to the boiling point, took action to throw
Feisal out. Angling for Jewish support, they let it be known
that they would not refuse if the mandate for Palestine were offered
to them.
The English were in a tight spot . They stood morally condemned
before the world . The precious life line to India was
in danger.
Here was another shining opportunity laid right in the Zionists'
laps. The functionaries in Whitehall were in rapid retreat .
To show their good faith they severed the heads of the top administrator
of Palestine together with his Chief of Staff, and
served them up on a platter for the edification of the French
and the Zionists. The Jews at this moment could have named
their own price . They were now top-dog in a situation that
had reversed itself . But Zionist leaders continued to temporize
and placate . With no conception of the moment for swift, decisive
action, they settled down to ponder their old vaporous

At the Peace Conference, held at Versailles in February i q I g,
the historic opportunity for which Herzl had built and struggled
had suddenly come to a head. The Allies were tired and in a
generous mood. The hysteria founded on the claim that the
`War was fought for democracy' was still much in evidence.
Jewry was, moreover, reckoned as a world force whose good will
could count powerfully in the reconstruction period which was
following. At this psychological moment, had Zionist leaders
possessed the political shrewdness which induced the other nations
to scramble eagerly for the biggest hunk of spoil they
could get, the Jewish problem would have found its solution,
and would not today be a plague spot in the life of Europe .
Poland was being handed whole sections of Germany and the
Ukraine to satisfy its `economic needs' as well as the ideals of
democracy. Other nations similarly were fighting for and securing
their share . The Jews could have demanded and received
not only the present boundaries of Palestine, but a large
part of the rich Lebanon Valley, the fertile Hauran, and the
vast uninhabited territory to the east . This area was practically
vacant ; and the signs were already written on the heavens that
Israel must soon evacuate Europe or perish. The Arabs, undeterred
by the restraining `principles' of the Zionists, had demanded,
and received, more than they had ever envisioned in
their wildest dreams . At a moment when public opinion would
have completely approved of the Zionists taking immediate possession,
they demurred on `democratic' and `social' grounds .
An example of their attitude is contained in the assertion by Sir
Herbert Samuel that "the immediate establishment of a complete
and purely Jewish State in Palestine would mean placing a
majority under the rule of a minority ; it would therefore be
contrary to the first principles of democracy. . ."
Both at Versailles and later, the chief Jewish negotiator,
Weitzman, maintained the mild demeanor of humanist and philosopher
. Asked what the Zionists wanted, he contented himself
with the remark : "Ultimately, such conditions that Palestine
should be just as Jewish as England is English ." 1 Lloyd
George commented that "Weitzman was the only modest man
at the Peace Conference . . . who was decent in his demands" :
a bitterly questionable compliment to the oppressed Jews who
survey it in retrospect .
Throughout the Versailles Conference the view taken by the
British delegation, and supported by the Plenipotentiaries, "was
that if there was to be a Jewish nationality, it could only be by
giving the Jews a local habitation and enabling them to found in
Palestine a Jewish State ." 2
Powerful America, holding the economic future of Europe in
her pocket, was heart and soul for a Zionist solution . The official
American recommendation at the Peace Conference was
for the establishment of a Jewish State. A commission of prominent
Americans had been sent by President Wilson to investigate,
and their recommendations, adopted by the President and
other American delegates without dissent, were direct and forthright,
stating bluntly that "it is right that Palestine should become
a Jewish State." 3
The frank of America on this proposal was tantamount to its
acceptance by the Conference . With the exception of some
demurrage from the Catholic Church, which wanted to make
doubly sure that its own interests in the Holy Land were protected,
opposition virtually did not exist . The Arabs themselves
were more than friendly and in fact were looking to the obviously
influential Zionists for support of their own program .
Again, as in the case of the Balfour Declaration, the only oppositionists
were Jews - capitalists or Marxists - who considered
Zionism a move of gravely dangerous import . In England a
"League of British Jews" led by the important Claude G . Montefiore
was formed to lobby against the proposition . In America
three hundred representatives of Jewish moneybags, led by the
Reform Rabbis, forwarded a protest to the Peace Conference
"against the program of political Zionism ." But the only effect
of these hysterical renunciations was to cause the Plenipotentiaries
to scratch their heads in wonder and dismiss the authors
as a bunch of well-meaning crackpots .
Heavily in the Zionists' favor was the biting rivalry between
the British and French, each determined to shut the other out of
the Near East if it could . Sticking in the craw of the British
was the Sykes-Picot Treaty, which all but handed the Levant
over to France . The British realized that they had made a bad
bargain, and now this Treaty came back to haunt them . They
had allowed oil, trade, potential rail-heads, and with them a de
facto control of the route to India, to slip through their fingers .
Able tacticians, they pointed out that the Balfour Declaration to
which Paris had agreed, invalidated the Sykes-Picot Agreement .
The French, secure in the largest military establishment on
earth, already almost at war with England over Lloyd George's
support of the ill-fated Greek invasion of Asiatic Turkey, countered
by claiming Palestine as an integral part of Syria, over
which they held traditional rights of protection .
Though the Kaiser was chopping wood somewhere in Holland,
and Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff were now just
two harmless old boys out on probation, the old German dream
was still very much alive . The English had quietly taken it
over as part of their profit in the war they had just fought for
humanity . If it was to be put into operation they needed Palestine
The French stood pat . They wanted Palestine, but were
willing to accept a condominium . The British were aghast .
They relied on the Jews and on President Wilson to provide
the necessary brake to French ambitions .
As it became evident that the Zionists held the decision in
their hands they were courted by both sides. Sir Mark Sykes
and M. Georges-Picot, authors of the earlier agreement, both
declared themselves as favoring the Zionist solution .
What the French had not figured on was the almost pathological
pro-Anglicism of the Jews, enduring product of an earlier
generation of English friendship . It must be noted that
there was nothing either in the Balfour promise or in the negotiations
at Versailles which assured Great Britain of the Mandate.
It was still very much open to the Powers to appoint
anyone they pleased . The only positive commitment was that
Palestine was to be a National Home for the Jews .
The Zionists, prompted by London, now went into action .
In the name of the Jewish people the American Jewish Congress
solemnly pleaded with the Powers for the appointment of Great
Britain as Mandatory because of her "peculiar relationship to
the return of the Jews to Zion ." Similar action was taken at
congresses representing the millions of Jews in Poland and
the Austro-Hungarian Empire . Now at the Versailles Conference
the Zionist Organization formally asked that the Mandate
should be entrusted to Great Britain under the sovereignty of
the League of Nations . This request was made in an elaborate
statement on the future of Palestine, in which the word `Commonwealth'
reappears as a synonym for the Jewish `National
Home.' This determined demand for English stewardship left
nothing for France to do but gallantly withdraw her claim . She
had been checkmated by a master tactician, and she took her
licking gracefully.
Condensing a volume of duplicity and ingratitude in a few
words, De Haas remarks that "the British at once commenced a
process of whittling the phraseology before the Supreme Council
of the Peace Conference ." 4
So matters stood when in April of 1920 the League Council
met at San Remo to go through the motions of ratifying the
Mandate. World indignation over the pogrom inspired by the
Generals was blazing at white heat . The French, smiling delightedly,
were confident that the Zionists had had enough of
English patronage. Despite the recommendations of the Peace
Conference, technically the Sykes-Picot Agreement was the
document which governed the future status of Palestine . It was
still possible for Herzl's followers, enjoying the powerful French
and American support, to upset the British applecart by demanding
another mandatory . Weitzman, however, still believed
implicitly in English honesty and good faith . He again
reiterated the demand that England be confirmed as the trustee
for the Jewish estate .
The reaction of the Arabs to the San Remo decision was extremely
friendly . Representatives of the Arab territories welcomed
the idea of the Jewish State which was soon to rise up in
their midst . King Feisal of Iraq wrote a cordial letter congratulating
the Zionists on their triumph .
London's delight knew no bounds . At a public demonstration
to celebrate the grant and its inclusion in the peace treaty
with Turkey, Lord Balfour, reminding the Arabs that they had
been handed vast areas on a gold platter, hoped that "remembering
all that, they will not begrudge that small niche - for it
is no more than that geographically . . . being given to the
people who for all these hundreds of years have been separated
from it - and who surely have a title to develop on their own
lines in the land of their forefathers ."
A few months later the matter was clinched for England .
The Treaty of Sevres was signed between Turkey and the
Western Powers. It reiterated the decisions of the Nations,
ceding Palestine with the proviso that the "Mandatory will be
responsible for putting into effect the Declaration originally
made on November 2, 1917 by the British Government and
adopted by the other Allied Powers in favor of the establishment
in Palestine of the National Home of the Jewish People ."
Secure in the knowledge that the overlordship of this coveted
territory was now theirs, London sprang a series of new surprises
on the Zionists . It quibbled on words, seeking to reduce
the content of the Mandate by a wearing down process before
producing it in its final form .
The Zionists made plea after plea, realizing that they had put
their feet in quicksand . They appealed to the League as if the
procrastination lay there . On February 27, 1922, representatives
of the Zionist Organization went through the play-acting
of informing the League Council in Paris that the Jews of Palestine,
at a conference in Jaffa, appealed to the Allied and Associated
Powers "to nominate Great Britain as their trustee, and to
confer on her the government of Palestine with a view to aiding
the Jewish People in building up their Commonwealth ." s A
confirmed Zionist, President Harding made his interest known
unofficially ; and in April of 1922 the United States Congress
stated by resolution its profound satisfaction that "owing to the
outcome of the World War and their part therein, the Jewish
people, under definite and adequate international guarantee, are
to be enabled . . . to recreate and reorganize a National Home
in the land of their fathers," commending "this act of historic
justice about to be consummated" as "an undertaking which will
do honor to Christendom."
Still the British continued to hem and haw, utilizing every
trifling technicality to spar for time . It was not until the revised
convention with Turkey, the Treaty of Lausanne, was
signed in 1923, that the Mandate, adroitly mutilated, was accepted
in its final form .* The Jewish Agency, originally conceived
to be a chartered colonizing body like the Hudson Bay
Company, was given the right to act in an advisory capacity, its
powers limited by language ambiguous enough to be interpreted
in any direction the ruling power of Palestine wanted . Also
inserted in its phraseology at the last moment was an innocuous
little paragraph which the Zionists paid but scant attention to .
It provided that in the territory east of Jordan, the Mandatory
could postpone such provisions of the Mandate as might be inapplicable
to local conditions . It was understood that this related
only to the unsettled condition of this area and the possibilities
of policing it properly . What this innocent appearing
clause meant in far-sighted English minds the Jews were presently
to discover.
In view of later English contentions that under the Mandate
they were forced to consult the Arabs in implementing their actions,
it is interesting to note that the Arabs were not approached
when that responsibility was handed to Britain - only the Jews
were consulted . It is also remarkable that the word `Arab'
never once occurs in the whole document as apart from the recognition
of Arabic as one of the official languages of the country.
A most casual reading makes it plain that the League had
* See Appendix `A,' p . 571 .
engaged itself to a definite and positive policy of Jewish development,
not only permitted, but fostered and subsidized by the
Government of Palestine. The Balfour Declaration and its consequence,
the Mandate for Palestine, ushered in a new concept
of international law, widening the scope of the law itself . While
in all other cases it is the actual inhabitants of the countries in
question who are dealt with, as being too backward to govern
themselves, under the Palestine Mandate it is the Jewish people
as a whole who are the beneficiaries. The Mandate is clearly
for an absent people who are not yet there on the ground, with
the existing populations secondarily guaranteed full liberty and
civil rights.' This alteration of basic law came under discussion
at the twelfth meeting of the Twentieth Session of the Mandates
Commission (June 1931) in connection with a British observation
to the effect that "in international law there was no
such thing as a Jew from the standpoint of nationality ." To
this the Vice-Chairman of the Commission replied that the remark
would be correct except for the existence of the Balfour
Declaration and the Mandate, which had introduced a new element
into this law in favor of the Jewish People .
Included in the Preamble was the Balfour Declaration and its
ratification by the Powers at San Remo . The Preamble concludes
that "recognition has thereby been given to the historical
connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the
grounds for reconstituting their National Home in that country,"
certainly implying that the future Palestine should be as
Jewish as the Palestine of the Bible .
Of the direct commitments the most important was Article II
which stated that "the Mandatory shall be responsible for placing
the country under such political, administrative and economic
conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish
National Home as laid down in the Preamble . . ." While Article
VI ordered the Mandatory to "facilitate Jewish immigration"
and to "encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency
. . . the close settlement of Jews on the land including State
lands and wastelands not required for public purposes ."
On December 3, 1924, the United States became one of
the contracting parties to this international arrangement . This
treaty, known as the American-British Mandate Convention on
Palestine, recites verbatim all the terms of the Mandate worked
out by the League of Nations. In the correspondence relating
to the several draft treaties submitted, it is plainly evident
that the American Government considered England only as the
temporary custodian for what was soon to be a Jewish State and,
for this reason only, allowed herself to relinquish the special
capitulation rights she had enjoyed under the old Turkish regime.
The final draft of this agreement guarantees that "the
United States and its nationals shall have and enjoy all the rights
and benefits secured under the terms of the Mandate to members
of the League of Nations and their nationals, notwithstanding
the fact that the United States is not a member of the League of
The determination of America to safeguard this arrangement
from the conniving hand of European political vandalism is
stated in Article VII . It reads : "Nothing contained in the present
Convention shall be affected by any modification which may
be made in the terms of the Mandate, as recited above, unless
such modification shall have been assented to by the United
States ."
For once the Nations were attempting to solve their problems
in a consciously intelligent manner . They had tackled the question
of Jewish homelessness vigorously, and rested from their
labors sincerely believing that they had rid the world of one of
its oldest problems.
At the time of the Peace Conference there was no haggling
over the size of the Jewish territory . The American Commission
took it for granted that "the new State would control its
own source of water power and irrigation, from Mount Hermon
in the east to the Jordan ." 8 As conceived at the time by the
Plenipotentiaries, Palestine was to comprise a minimum of some
sixty thousand square miles, bounded on the north by Syria, on
the southwest by Egypt, on the east by Iraq and Saudi and on
the south by Saudi and the Hejaz . The English viewpoint, embodied
in British Peace Handbook No. 6o on Syria and Palestine,
even contended that Damascus itself could very well be included,
asserting that the whole "portion of the center of Syria
that lies to the east of Jebel esh-Sharki may easily be separated
from northern Syria and associated with Palestine ." To the
east it was understood that the Zionists could have any part of
the great desert they wanted ; and that the southern boundary
was to be established at the historic line, the "River of Egypt ." s
With the San Remo decision tucked comfortably away in
its waistcoat, Downing Street, suddenly showing a neighborly
spirit, began to make territorial concessions to the French at the
expense of the Jewish National Home . Satisfied with those elements
relating purely to the safety of their Empire, English
negotiators were completely indifferent to proper Palestinian
boundaries from any other point of view . The Zionists were
in consternation when London serenely yielded, without the
slightest objection, every area on which the future economy of
the country was to be based .
Since the coming Hebrew Commonwealth had no visible fuel
supplies of its own, it appeared to be vitally dependent upon
water power for industrial expansion . Of essential significance
to its future industrial growth was the River Litany in the north
and the watershed lying directly south of Mount Hermon . This
strategic sector, as well as the lands of Naphthali, Dan and
Manasseh, was lopped off and uselessly handed to Syria. Also
trimmed away was the Hauran, ancient granary of Israel, and
most of fertile, well-watered Galilee whence came the chief
Zealots and patriots of the Roman wars .
Mincing no words, Colonel Wedgwood wrote that this first
jettison of the patrimony of Israel had been actuated by a fit of
sheer pique to annoy the Jews.'°
Outraged by what he also considered an act of unpardonable
vandalism, President Wilson rose from his sick bed and cabled
the following protest to the British Cabinet : "The Zionist cause
depends upon rational northern and eastern boundaries for a
self-sustaining, economic development of the country. This
means on the north, Palestine must include the Litany River and
the watersheds of the Hermon, and on the east it must include
the plains of the Jaulon and the Hauran . Narrower than this is
a mutilation. . . I need not remind you that neither in this country
nor in Paris has there been any opposition to the Zionist
program, and to its realization the boundaries I have named are
This was in the Spring of 1920 . Procrastinating, sugaring the
Zionists with promises, London finally amended the Franco-
British Convention to recover a few square miles of the headwaters
of the Jordan and ignored further protest . The area of
the Jewish National Home had now been shrunk to some 44,000
square miles : approximately 1o,ooo square miles west of the Jordan
and 34,000 to the east .
The logic of this inexplicable indifference to British interests
became clear later when the Zionists began to get a glimpse of
what was in the back of the bureaucratic mind . Even at the
sacrifice of desired territory, they wanted to make certain that
Zionism could not succeed . A Zionist Palestine they regarded
as a new Ireland in embryo, a development even more fraught
with trouble for the Empire .
They proceeded cautiously . Time was in their favor.
Bols and the Generals had been dumped overboard . To show
good faith a hand-picked Jew, Sir Herbert Samuel, had been appointed
first High Commissioner under the coming Civil Administration
. Of this change, Colonel Patterson commented
grimly : "Bols went, but the system he implanted remained .
The anti-Semitic officials that he brought with him into the
country remained . . ." it
The Military Administration was over. Anxious, but still
unprotesting, the Zionists discovered that the Palestine Mandate
had been incomprehensibly shifted to the Colonial Office for
implementation . There were some among them who knew what
this move meant, but the Zionist leadership as a whole was far
too inexperienced and trusting to do anything about it .
The country was now being directly governed by the Crown
Colony Code and by a bureau which by the very nature of its
experiences and interests could not fail to be opposed to the
Mandate. This type of administration is maintained almost
solely for the control of uncivilized tropical or sub-tropical
races. The English themselves were later to admit that it "is not
a suitable form of government for a numerous, self-reliant, progressive
people, European for the most part in outlook and equipment,
if not in race ." 1 The evolution of self-rule even in backward
India left this stage behind in i9oq .
The worst of its features is the unwritten law of the Colonial
that the Colony exists chiefly to supply cheap raw material to,
and to buy manufactured goods from, the mother country. It
is his business to discourage industrial development, which might
eventually offer substantial competition to the factories at Glasgow
or the mills of Lancashire. The perfect example of desirable
condition was that offered by Indian and Egyptian cotton,
which after being hauled over half the globe to England,
was retransported to Egypt and India and sold at a handsome
profit in the shape of cotton goods.
The Colonial Office, caring nothing about developing a body
of officials acquainted with the needs of the country, actually
does the reverse. It wants no functionaries even remotely identified
with the territory they rule ; hence it rotates these officials
from one colony to the other . Typical of the men who were to
interpret the needs of Zionism were Police Chief R . B. G. Spicer,
late Police Chief in Kenya Colony ; Chief Secretary Mark Aitchison
Young, previously Colonial Secretary for Sierra Leone ; Michael
Francis Joseph McDonnell, Chief Justice of the Palestine
Supreme Court, formerly Assistant District Commissioner of the
Gold Coast ; and Sir John Chancellor, High Commissioner of unlamented
memory, who came from Southern Rhodesia where he
had kept the peace with rifles.
These were all career men, suffering invariably from an ingrown
sense of superiority ; some of them educated and clever,
others recruited from the backwash of the English slums . They
were taught an attitude of cold reserve, a system of playing native
factions off expertly against each other, a technique of incitement,
and a calloused disregard for everything not connected
with the spirit of the Crown Colony Code .
Under this set of regulations, created to serve settlements of
Englishmen marooned among easily subdued or barbarian natives,
the Zionists found that even the slightest trivialities had to
be referred to some bureaucrat in London for decision . The
plans for a hotel in Jerusalem not only had to be submitted to
the Department of Public Works but that department had to refer
the plans and specifications to London . De Haas and Wise
give some details on the bizarre workings of this Code in Palestine.
Native-born Jews and immigrants holding public office
could not cooperate financially or as a matter of formal association
in the development of the country. The Crown Colony
Code forbade it . A judge was denied the right to participate
in what was hoped to be an important financial institution for
issuing mortgages and bonds on Jewish property . The reason
given was the Crown Colony Code . Another official was refused
permission to aid in the development of so unprofitable a
venture as the Hebrew Opera Company. The reason ? The
Crown Colony Code .2 Even though there is only a scant handful
of English school-children in the area, under the Code, Palestine
must pay for special British School Inspectors.
Just what rights the Crown Agents had in a mandated area
was never made clear. But the Zionists were not to be bothered
by formalities . They had a colossal disrespect for politics .
They declared that what they wanted was to `build up the country'
and let politics take care of itself.
Sir Herbert Samuel arrived in due course, dressed for the occasion
in gold braid and a resplendent white uniform . Throughout
the Jewish world he had been trumpeted as the new Moses,
the man of destiny . When he at last arrived in Jerusalem, the
whole majestic symbolism of the event fairly staggered the imagination
of Jewry everywhere . Jews went hysterically wild
with joy.
Samuel was an impressive man, handsome and soldierly looking
as he clicked his heels before the welcoming cameras ;
though closer inspection was not so reassuring, revealing a
moody face whose whole expression was searching and suspicious
. He had been Home Secretary in the British Government
during the War and "had a reputation for treating Jews in
a way that would not redound to the credit of a liberal gentile
administrator." 3 The famous `Tay Pay' O'Connor had briefly
described him as having an "utter disregard for all the occupations
and prizes of life except those to be found in politics ." 4
His inability to understand even the most obvious conditions
under which the masses of Jewry lived is shown by an incident
occurring in the Fall of 1 q 1q when Samuel was functioning as
leader of a British Committee of Investigation in Poland . Failing
to reach an agreement after eight days of negotiations with
the Warsaw Zionists, he asked in order to obtain a result : "Do
you then accept the paragraphs of the Peace Treaty aiming at
the protection of minorities ?" When this had been affirmed
he inquired conclusively : "So you consequently do not want
to be a nationality but a religious group?" Whereupon the
Zionists broke up the negotiations as hopeless and stalked out of
the room .5
The heavens were almost covered with omens in reference to
the mettle of Mr. . Samuel ; but nevertheless the Zionists allowed
themselves to be hoaxed into accepting him . Acting on a polite
hint from high British quarters, they actually sponsored him ; and
officially his appointment was the result of their direct demand .
Ruefully, Weitzman was later to admit : "Perhaps 1 am responsible
for this chapter `Samuel.'" r -
History will undoubtedly look on the man Samuel with wonder,
as a striking commentary on his times. His first official
act was to throw the brave Jews, jailed for their part in the selfdefense
during the riots, into the same class with Arab rapists by
magnanimously pardoning both, all in the same breath and the
same document?
Shortly after his arrival he held a reception for the members
of his staff . The reaction, blurted out of the mouth of one of
them was : "And there I was at Government House, and there
was the Union Jack flying as large as life, and a bloody Jew sitting
under it ." 8
Sir Herbert was surrounded from the first by anti-Zionist
subordinates, whom he was afraid to offend by appearing to favor
the Jews . Horace Samuel declares that throughout his
whole tenure of office Sir Herbert suffered acutely from the
consciousness of being a Jew, causing him to pivot right around
to an actual pro-Arab attitude .
The important Political Department of the Secretariat was assigned
to an officer who labored under an intensive and fanatical
hostility to the declared policy of His Majesty's Government in
Palestine, one E. T. Richmond. Richmond who had referred in
a signed article in the Nineteenth Century to "that iniquitous
document known as the Mandate for Palestine," 9 was fairly
representative of the body of officialdom . These men made no
secret of their antipathy to the policy of the Balfour Declaration,
which they had been appointed to carry out, contributing
the most violent anti-Jewish articles to such journals as the
Edinburgh Review, the Nineteenth Century and the Fortnightly
Review.10 There was only one officer in Samuel's entire
retinue who could even remotely be described as pro-
Zionist. That was the gentle-mannered Sir Wyndham Deeds
whose influence was reduced to little . In the subordinate jobs,
particularly on the Police Force and Intelligence Department,
nearly all the key non-British positions were filled by Arabs,
who were quick to respond to the cue given them by their superiors.
The situation became so obvious that a number of
Jewish officers of the Administration threw up their jobs "with
the statement that they were doing so because there did not seem
to be room for Jewish officials in the National Home .""
It is no exaggeration to say that every subterfuge used to obstruct
Zionist advance in future years, originated with Samuel.
Characteristic of the man was this statement attributed to him
"If the Jews really want Palestine they will pay more for it than
it is worth ." At the Fifth Session of the Permanent Mandates
Commission he stated that it was "the fundamental intention of
the Government" to deal with the Arabs "as if there had never
been a Balfour Declaration." 12 Samuel's interference almost
lost the important Dead Sea concession for the Jews . He had
deliberately held it up, not considering it seemly that Jews
should get such a valuable concession .13
Incongruously enough, Sir Herbert was so religious that he
believed it a sin for Jews and non-Jews to intermarry . He deliberately
snubbed a senior Christian official who had married
a Jewish girl, remaining stiffly rude to both man and wife, even
on those occasions when the duties of His Majesty's service
made it impossible to avoid him .
The result of Samuel's policies was a pogrom . Only a scant
year had passed since the previous massacre of Jews in Jerusalem.
Once again the lust for blood asserted itself in the narrow
streets. As usual, the riots were timed with a major change in
British policy, soon after to be announced.
It was the end of April . The Moslems were celebrating their
annual festival of the Prophet Moses . This fiesta at which
howling creatures with quivering eyes and distorted features
worked themselves into a lather, had been the starting point for
trouble the year before . Each year, as the Moslems carried on
their wild dances in the streets, anxiety spoke from the faces of
the Jews until the Nebi Moussa festival was over . Notwithstanding
this, the British Commandant of Police was conveniently
away. The few Jews on the police force had been mysteriously
taken off duty for the day.
"Bolsheviki ! Bolsheviki ! The Zionists are flooding the
country with Bolsheviki !" This ugly cry had reverberated
from many throats, Christian and Moslem alike, for a long period
of months. With tacit consent the Authorities had given
sullen approval to the accusation that "every Jew is a Bolshevik."
This malignant propaganda had been carried on openly
under the eye of the Administration until the saturated minds
of every section of Palestine's population literally dripped with
the poison .14
Suddenly during the Festival the mad shout arose that "the
Mosques were being attacked by the Bolsheviks" (Jews) . At
Jaffa, starting point of trouble, the Arabs went on an orgy of
murder and pillage "under the official protection and assistance
of a substantial number of Jaffa police ." 15 In many cases the
observance of a benevolent neutrality was insufficient, and the
police gave full vent to their patriotism by shooting at Jews, directing
the mob and plundering Jewish shops .
A howling horde led by uniformed policemen armed with
rifles, bombs and ammunition stormed the Zionist Immigration
Depot. Thirteen newly arrived immigrants were butchered
amid horrible scenes of rape and looting . The water-front
workmen, huge ruffians armed with long boat-hooks, ran
through the streets impaling Jews on their weapons . Respectable
looking Arabs with well-ironed fezzes, polished shoes, wellcreased
pants and starched collars, rushed into stores and helped
themselves to all kinds of merchandise .16
The conflagration immediately spread beyond the Jaffa district.
In Tel Aviv the disarmed Jews courageously formed a
self-defense, holding the `patriots' at bay with hastily mustered
sticks and stones . On May 5, the settlement of Petach Tikvah
was attacked by thousands of armed fellaheen from nearby viiio6
lages. The assault was delivered in military formation, "directed
by a gentleman with binoculars ." 17 Hopelessly outnumbered
the colonists fought with desperate courage for their
lives. The colony Kfar Saba was destroyed and Rehovoth and
Hedera badly damaged. Everywhere Arabs ruined beautiful
fruit orchards, the work of a lifetime, burned homes and carried
off movable property and cattle. Only the circumstance
that almost all Jewish workers were former soldiers prevented
the Jewish National Home from being consumed in one grand
conflagration ."'
The most revolting spectacles had taken place . Defenseless
old people and little children alike had been cut to ribbons and
mutilated beyond recognition. Women were dragged out into
the open street and outraged before being murdered. Bedlam
shrieked all over the land of Moses, Isaiah and Jesus . Forty
Jews had been killed and countless others injured on the first day
alone, before the iron hand of official censorship made all other
casualty figures a pure matter of conjecture. Horace Samuel
observes bitterly that the Government "refrained from publishing
the number of the Arabs who had been killed in the attack
on Petach Tikvah, for fear presumably of unduly depressing
and discouraging Arab susceptibilities." 19 The property damage
was incalculable .
All Palestine believed that British officials had prepared the
disturbances behind the scenes .20 Returning to England after
her visit to the Holy Land, the wife of the Labor leader Philip
Snowden fixed the responsibility on "the activity of certain
British subjects in Palestine and certain English politicians in
England." 21 Arab politicos openly boasted of their alliance
with the British `Black Hundreds.' The visiting American
clergyman, Dr . Dushaw, speaking to an English soldier in the
infested area, asked him what his orders were and received the
reply : "I must not shoot ." 22 The policy of the police can be
judged from the case of Shakeer Ali Kishek, one of the Bedouin
chieftains who had led the attack on Petach Tikvah . Subsequently
arrested, he "was immediately released on bail as a
graceful gesture ; while . . . the chief notable of the colony,
one of the most respected Jewish colonists in the whole of
Palestine, Abraham Shapiro, was arrested by order of the same
officers, not on any charge, but administratively, and carted off
to Jerusalem in a motor lorry." 23
As a token of its displeasure the Government plastered a punitive
fine on the villages that had attacked Hedera, which the
Arabs never bothered about paying . Warrants were issued
against some individuals living in the notorious Tulkarm district
who were identified as having been involved in the murderous
assaults, but "no efforts were made to execute the warrants."
The Authorities refused pointblank to make any investigation,
so the Zionist Commission together with Judge Horace
Samuel and Mr. . Sacher engaged the services of a British enquiry
agent, "who, immediately after he had gotten on the track, was
promptly ordered by the military authorities to leave the Jaffa
district ." 25
According to the principal Medical Officer the total number
of casualties in the pogrom were 95 killed and 290 wounded.26
Lending a ghoulish touch to the after-performance, while the
Jews were bowed in mourning for their dead, General Storrs,
Governor of Jerusalem, arranged gay parades and interesting literary
lectures as if celebrating some festival occasion.27
The insurrection of 1921 marked a variation of Administration
technique . It constituted a precedent for the principle -
observed by all ensuing Administrations with almost religious
scrupulousness - that every outbreak of armed Arab violence
was ipso facto to be rewarded with political concessions and to
be followed by a Commission of Inquiry whose importance was
to be in proportion to the scale of the revolt .
The Haycraft Commission was appointed to investigate and
fix responsibility for the terrible events which had just passed .
One of its three members was Harry Luke, the man whom
Palestine Jewry was to hold responsible for the terrible excesses
of 1929, when Jewish Palestine almost went up in smoke. This
body finally ended by finding guilty the `Bolshevik' Jews who
had been coming into the country and who had aroused the
patriotic Arabs by their May Day demonstrations .
Within forty-eight hours of the Jaffa massacre, Samuel, shivering
in his pants, phoned the Governor of Jaffa, instructing him
to announce to the Arabs that in accordance with their request,
immigration had been suspended .28 Though this prohibition
was a general one in its official terms, it was interpreted to apply
only to Jews. Immigrants who were non-Jews were not affected
by it . The most ludicrous stories are told of the way
this ordinance was applied, Arab officials often compelling incoming
immigrants to expose themselves physically in order to
prove that they were not Jews, before they would allow them
to land.29
Samuel went so far as to offer the Arabs complete control over
immigration, a tender they foolhardily refused . Reduced to
simple terms, what they demanded was the enforced return of
the Jews to their pre-war status as a tolerated minority without
political rights.
This was the same Samuel who had asserted in 1917 that Jewish
immigration must be regulated by the responsible Jewish
body in Palestine, and not by the Government ; and who had
declared on the second anniversary of the Balfour Declaration
that Palestine must become "a purely self-governing community
under the auspices of an established Jewish majority ." 30 Sir
Herbert was now thoroughly scared . Sir Wyndham Deeds,
the only pro-Zionist in his Cabinet, was shunted off, to be superseded
by one Sir Gilbert Clayton . Like a disturbed crustacean
Samuel retreated backward as far as he could go .
Implicated in the disturbances of 1920 was a political adventurer
named Haj Amin al Husseini .31 Haj Amin, a leering ruffian
with misshapen ears and close-cropped scanty beard, was
descended from an Egyptian family known for its turbulence
and penchant for intrigue . In a general housecleaning underA
taken to appease the Jews at the San Remo Conference, he had
been sentenced by a British court to fifteen years at hard labor,
as a dangerous gang leader and agitator. Conveniently allowed
to escape by the police, Haj Amin was hiding out in neighboring
Syria, a fugitive from justice . This was the gentleman whom
Samuel now recalled from exile and appointed to one of the
most important positions the Government had to offer . Just
as London controls the Eastern Moslems through the acquiescent
Agha Khan, so it was now planned to harness the Western
Moslems by setting up a counterpart to the defunct Western
Caliphate, in Jerusalem .
Haj Amin was not in the literal sense an Arab patriot . He
considered Western Nationalism a work of the devil . His ideal
was the old Moslem particularism functioning in an area without
boundaries, where none but the Faithful would be allowed
to remain with bowels . Beyond that, he was somewhat stupid,
honest in his way, ambitious, and a fanatical hater of Jews .
During the war he had been an officer in the Turkish Army .
With a pardon from Sir Herbert tucked up his flowing black
sleeve, this man who had fled Palestine as a common felon, now
returned to find himself one of the key figures in the Administration.
Despite the opposition of the then Moslem High
Council, which regarded him as a parvenu hoodlum of the most
unsavory stripe, Haj Amin was appointed by the High Commissioner
as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem for life . Meeting in
secret conclave the Moslem bigwigs rejected his nomination by
an overwhelming vote . Stiffly Sir Herbert acquainted the discomfited
Moslem notables with his displeasure and ordered them
to accept the reprieved convict as their religious leader.
This was only the beginning . Samuel was determined to go
whole hog in anchoring this son of the Husseini in the seat of
power. He created the `Supreme Moslem Council,' which was
presumably authorized to elect its own leadership by democratic
vote. In the balloting the Government candidate, Haj Amin
al Husseini, polled only nine electoral votes against nineteen,
eighteen and twelve for his three rivals . This fact, however,
weighed little with the High Commissioner, who forced the
chosen candidate, Sheikh Hussam ed Din Effendi Jarallah, to
step aside, and made Haj Amin President . Soon after, the Mufti
was created Reis al Ulema, president of the religious (Sharia)
courts, thus concentrating in his hands the highest posts of distinction
and power Palestine had to offer a Moslem .
Few men have had such benefactors as Haj Amin discovered
in Sir Herbert Samuel . In his person he now combined the
headship of the Church and the Law, so closely connected in
the Islamic religion . Under the Turks the Wak f, or religious
bequests, were under rigid State supervision from Istanbul .
These were now handed over to the Mufti free of all control
by the State . He was given complete authority over all Wak f
or other charitable endowments, as well as the Mohammedan
courts and educational institutions, including even the Industrial
School in Jerusalem . In addition he was provided with a handsome
salary out of the public funds ; and a staff of two hundred
and fifty paid assistants was allowed the Supreme Moslem Council
to superintend the six hundred men employed in the various
Wak f departments.
As if to make the anti-Jewish lineup airtight, Sir Herbert took
the pet scheme of the Generals, the Moslem-Christian Union,
under his wing. Although a large number of Arabs objected,
he gave it semi-official standing . Under his generous patronage
it soon developed strong roots .
In June 1922, Samuel drew up a long document, deadly in its
import to the Jews, which when signed by Winston Churchill
became known as the Churchill White Paper . The Papal Secretary,
Cardinal Gaspari, annoyed by the procrastination in
formulating Article XIV of the Mandate, regulating the Holy
Places, had put up an outright demand that this Article be clarified
and acted upon . Whitehall chose this occasion for another
of its flank attacks on the Zionist position in Palestine .
London's principal objective now was covertly to cut off the
Zionist Organization from any share in the Administration . The
document it issued to accomplish this purpose constituted a bold
reinterpretation of the Balfour Declaration . With carefully
chosen words it smashes at the legal base for Zionist repatriation,
arriving at the remarkable conclusion that the terms of
Balfour's Declaration "do not contemplate that Palestine as a
whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but
that such a Home should be founded in Palestine ."
In phrases unctuous with sophistry the White Paper attempts
to explain away Britain's pledged word and the commitments
on which the Jewish National Home was based . The purpose
of the Declaration, it now discovers, "is not the imposition of a
Jewish nationality . . . but the further development of the existing
Jewish community, with the assistance of Jews in other
parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which
the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion
and race, an interest and a pride . But in order that this community
should have the best prospect of free development and
provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its
capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine
as of right and not on sufferance . That is the reason why it
is necessary that the existence of a Jewish national home in
Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should
be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection."
Thus in two short years Samuel had changed from an impassioned
advocate of the reborn Jewish State, to a pleader for
"a national Jewish home in Palestine ." As a trial balloon for
the Colonial Office he had already reinterpreted the Declaration
to mean that "these words [National Home] mean that the
Jews . . . should be enabled to found here their home, and that
some amongst them, within the limits fixed by numbers and
the interests of the present population, should come to Palestine
in order to help by their resources and efforts to develop the
country to the advantage of all its inhabitants ." Thus, in a
sentence, the 2ooo-year old Jewish dream, the unbroken hope
for which countless generations of martyrs fought and prayed,
is reduced to a philanthropic scheme for improving the eco112
nomic position of the Palestine Arabs by bringing in a leavening
of able, enterprising Jews .
Buried in the Churchill-Samuel White Paper was a neat little
paragraph holding that while Jews had every right to return to
their homeland freely, this immigration must not be so great in
volume "as to exceed whatever may be the economic capacity
of the country at the time to absorb new arrivals ." This
sounded very nice and sensible ; but it was to prove the formula
which future anti-Semitic administrations utilized to justify their
depredations by principle .
Included also was a scheme for an elective Legislative Assembly
to be composed of a trinity of Arabs, Jews and British officials,
who would presumably spend their time in the subtleties
of reciprocal intrigue. Samuel had originated this as bait for the
Arabs, who were mortifying His Excellency by referring to
the Administration as `that Jewish Government .'
Ably the White Paper juggled words, hemmed and hawed,
to make it clear that Palestine was in future to be considered
like any other non-Jewish country, under certain conditions
willing to accept a given number of Jews and even to grant
them a certain specious autonomy-but no more. Herzl's
dream had been permanently laid in moth balls .
The Zionists were in an uproar. The White Paper had been
sprung on them out of the clear sky, a few days before the
terms of the Mandate were to be published in their final form .
Fuming with indignation, the Zionist Executive balked . At
this, Churchill called in the ever reliable Weitzman and pointed
out to him that the tenor of the Memorandum was a reflection
of British needs in the Near East. Britain had to go slow . Her
situation in Egypt and India was critical in the extreme .
Churchill, the friend of Zionism, pleaded with Weitzman and
his colleagues, the friends of Great Britain, to accept the
Memorandum and to trust that Britain, realizing why they had
accepted it, would make ample amends at some future date .32
Having reminded Weitzman of the obligations of British patriots,
the clever English statesman drove his arguments home by
11 3
threatening to cancel the entire Mandate if the Executive did
not agree in twenty-four hours .33
Weitzman hurriedly called a meeting of his colleagues, most
of whom wanted desperately to call Churchill's bluff . The
fact was that the only method by which the projected revision
of Jewish status in Palestine could be accomplished legally, was
with the consent of the Jewish leaders. But Weitzman wheedled
and cajoled, and his associates finally agreed, signing the
death warrant of their own movement in one of the most astonishing
capitulations to high pressure salesmanship on record .
There can be no doubt that the largest share of the Zionist
acquiescence to this move rested on an exaggerated loyalty to the
interests of their friend and patron, Britain . They were told
that this was merely a temporary makeshift to pull British administrators
through a bad spot in the Levant. Had they stood
their ground, any coercive tactics used against them would have
reacted infallibly against the schemers in London and Jerusalem .
The French still wanted Palestine, and the only title Britain had
there was vested in her Jewish wards .
Acceptance of the White Paper at the same time placed the
Zionist stamp of approval on another outrage even more deadly
to their hopes.
On the second anniversary of the Balfour Declaration Samuel
had quite rationally declaimed that "you cannot have numbers
without area and territory. Every expert knows that for a
prosperous Palestine an adequate territory beyond the Jordan is
indispensable ." Yet it was Samuel who cut off Trans-Jordan
from the Jewish National Home and handed it to some foreign
Arabs for a private pasturage .
Palestine east of the Jordan comprised some two-thirds of the
entire mandated area - by far the best part of it, well-watered,
fertile, and as empty as the American West when Daniel Boone
crossed over from Carolina . The history of Israel is written
indelibly over every part of its hills and plains. It was the
permanent home of two of the Twelve Tribes, as well as the half
tribe of Manasseh . The five cities of the plain were Trans-
Jordanic . Two of them, Nebo and Pisgah, are like household
Between 1918 and 1921, when the creation of a Jewish National
Home was being negotiated with the Zionists by the
British Government, there was no question of a Palestine West
of the Jordan River or East of the Jordan River. The Balfour
Declaration embraced both sides of the Jordan. When one of
the Zionist spokesmen mentioned the eastern boundary of Palestine
he was informed that there was no eastern boundary because
in the east Palestine bordered on the desert .34 It is important
also to recall that in the Zionist proposals presented to
the Peace Conference in February I9I9 (the text of which, like
that of all Zionist political documents of the time, had first been
seen and approved by the British Government) Trans-Jordan
was as a matter of course included in the boundaries of Palestine.
This whole area was embraced in the British Mandate largely
because of London's insistence on "a good eastern frontier for
the Jewish Government in Palestine ." Argument had arisen as
to whether Syria or Palestine should get the territory . Unanimously
the British papers pounded the drums for its inclusion
lest Palestine be unforgivably mutilated by letting the French
have it. The London Times insisted that Palestine without
Trans-Jordan was a travesty on good sense ; 35 the Manchester
Guardian alleged that both from a historical and economic
viewpoint Trans-Jordan was an organic part of the Holy Land.
Downing Street had demanded Trans-Jordan in the name of
"the forthcoming Zionist Government," 36 and the French finally
conceded the issue . Under the Leygues-Harding Agreement,
signed December 23, 1920, in Paris, this territory was relinquished
by the French in favor of the Palestine Mandate
Agreement . Britain now had a solid land bridge to Iraq and
the East, but the military clique was not satisfied as long as there
was a Gallic foot on that part of the globe .
Feisal, puppet of the British generals, had just been driven
out of Syria by French rifles. His brother, Abdullah, a plump,
bearded little man, strikingly like a dark edition of Lenin in appearance,
was approached by the Military, who were still looking
for a tool with which to pull their chestnuts out of the fire .
In March of 1921 the so-called Churchill Conference took place
in Cairo, where it was decided that Feisal, rejected by the
French, would get the throne of Iraq and that his brother Abdullah
who had been crowned King of Iraq during Feisal's
`reign' in Damascus, should be quietly supported in one last
attempt at ousting the French .37
Abdullah, gathering an army of his wild nomads, marched out
of the Hejaz and headed north for Syria . He got as far as
Amman in Trans-Jordan, when the French quietly let it be
known that they had had just about their belly full of English
Samuel again grew jittery . He had to curb the Military or
face the possibility of the French attacking Abdullah in Trans-
Jordan and remaining there . But Abdullah refused to budge .
It seemed necessary to placate him in some fashion-and Sir
Herbert had a brilliant idea : he invited the little Arab to a
conference to `talk things over,' and suggested that he park a
while in the territory of the Jewish National Home . Abdullah,
gaping at this unexpected chance for power, thought that this
would be very nice. He took over the administration of Eastern
Palestine "for a period of six months," ostensibly to restore
order 38 - a rather comic provision since the only disorder in the
territory was that created by Abdullah and his Sherifian Army
Stroking his chin quizzically at Samuel's droll move, Churchill
waited for the Zionists to blow the roof off . For once Winston
Churchill, master of bluff and stratagem, was nonplussed . The
Zionists had been gagged by Samuel's threat of still further restrictions,
and their silence was token of acquiescence .
Secure in the knowledge that Jewish spokesmen would not
prove troublesome, London began searching for a basis to
further separate Eastern Palestine from the rest of the country .
The earlier drafts of the Mandate all contained twenty-seven
paragraphs, none of which mentioned a separate Transjordan .
The final text, sprung with the quickness of legerdemain, consisted
of twenty-eight paragraphs . The new one, number twentyfive,
empowered the Mandatory with the consent of the Council
of the League of Nations, "to withhold or set aside, in the territories
between the Jordan River and the eastern boundaries of Palestine,
the employment of such mandate agreements which are
found to be inapplicable because of local conditions," certainly
an innocent enough appearing proviso. It was explained on the
basis of Britain's anxiety lest Jewish life be sacrificed if colonization
were attempted before this turbulent, lawless area was
pacified and made suitable for European settlement . It must be
pointed out that this article, though it stipulates for the first
time a difference between East and West Palestine, nevertheless
considers the former an integral part of the Jewish National
Home and in no sense even infers its right to separation ; its
carefully chosen words merely `entitling' the Mandatory to meet
temporary emergency conditions, as they might arise, in a special
manner - that is by "postponing and withholding" the application
of the Mandatory provisions for the Jewish National
Great Britain had no rights in this territory which enabled
her to dispose of it . Article V of the Mandate stipulates that
"the Mandatory shall be responsible that no Palestine territory
shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the
control of the Government of any foreign power." Certainly
the act of handing it over to these invaders from the Hejaz was
a clear violation of both the spirit and letter of this provision .
Right after the Zionists, cringing under Churchill's empty
threat, ratified the White Paper, Abdullah and his invaders were
installed as masters of Eastern Palestine . In July the terms of
the Mandate for Palestine were approved by the League of Nations,
and in the same month Abdullah was formally instated as
Emir of Transjordan . Adding insult to injury, the Palestine
exchequer handed him f i 8o,ooo to cover his initial expenses -
the beginning of a long list of generous subsidies paid out of the
11 7
treasury of the Jewish National Home. Sonorously Sir Herbert
declared "in the name of the British Government . . . that
Great Britain is willing to recognize the independence of Transjordan
under Emir Abdullah ." This was a polite euphemism
since Transjordan was ruled directly through a British Resident
acting on behalf of the High Commissioner.
The second brutal rape of the territory of the Jewish National
Home was now all but accomplished. Transjordan henceforward
became the only territory in the world to all intents and
purposes JUDENREIN (free of Jews) . It was the first country to
prohibit Jews from even practicing a profession or owning land .
Its ban on them was complete .
Beyond whimpering a little, the Zionist Executive kept its
peace, and actually covered up this gigantic theft of the Jewish
patrimony by a new festival campaign "for the Jewish National
Fund." As late as October 1934, Dr. Weitzman was with gentle
self-abnegation declaring that "we do not wish to change
the status of Trans-Jordan by applying the Balfour Declaration
there. . ." 40

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