Monday, March 16, 2015




If one chooses to ignore the political potentials which make
it a house built on sand, Jewish colonization in Palestine is a
truly astonishing and inspiring spectacle . While most other
countries were suffering in the slough of seemingly endless depression,
little Palestine was growing like a well-watered weed .
At the twenty-seventh Session of the Mandates Commission
1935), it is described as "the most notable colonization undertaking
of modern times ." Major Cecil Quinlan, late Crown official
in the Holy Land, refers to it as an amazing record of
progress, "unparalleled in any part of the world ."
The Jewish community in the Holy Land is a dynamic, vital
organism. One feels the electric quality the Zionists have introduced
in the country almost before he sets foot on its soil .
An air of confidence, eagerness and expectancy suffuses everything.
Everyone seems to be in a rush to go somewhere or do
something. These people are at home - and irrespective of political
actuality, they consider the country theirs . They mean
to build it up at whatever cost, to be handed as a legacy to children
who will never have known ghettos . Their purpose is
passionate and indomitable. If they are balked one way, with
unshakable will they try another . This is the miracle of the
new Jew ; he has seen a vision, and with quiet fortitude he
means to follow it to the death . "Rarely in the history of the
world," says the British M .P. Mr. T. Williams, "have human beings
shown so much faith and devotion or thrown themselves
into a task so wholeheartedly as the Jews in Palestine ."
The Jew has in fact proven himself to be the best colonizing
material on earth . He has built literally out of nothing . Inexperienced,
dealing with a seemingly resourceless area, he has
raised himself practically by his own bootstraps. He has faced
a hostile soil, a hostile people, and a hostile government . It is in
this light that his small successes assume the proportions of greatness.
Visitors stop, pleasantly surprised in this region of dilapidated
mud huts, to see the modern brick or red-tiled stone houses of
the Jews. The lovely gardens around them are kept neat as a
pin. Shade trees surround the villages . Painstaking irrigation
ditches, lined with young trees, bespeak the unceasing energy of
the colonizers . In the fields hardy pioneers, men and women
alike, work from sunup to sundown . Their voices ring with
the familiar words of peasant song as they labor .
Lloyd George refers to these land settlements as "models of
intensive culture." Herbert Morrison unhesitatingly terms them
"one of the most wonderful moral demonstrations of the human
race in the whole of the civilised world," saying "it is work
typical of the finest of British colonisers in the history of our
Empire." No less explicit, the American Senator Hastings said
after his visit in 1936 that "although Jews own but one-twentieth
of all the land in Palestine, the transformation which they
wrought in its primitive agriculture . . . can be felt and seen
from one end of the country to the other ."
In all branches of farming, Jewish growers have been the
pioneers of advance and progress . The only agricultural literature
published in this entire section of the Near East is issued
under their auspices . They are the first and only ones to bother
about creating markets, advertising, grading and selecting, and
introducing new varieties . A few representative figures bring
the quality of Jewish agriculture into vivid relief . Their average
milk production per cow is 3695 quarts yearly compared
with the Arab average of 89.5 quarts . The production of
Jewish-owned hens is 150 eggs per annum; contrasted with 70 as
the Arab figure . In the most literal sense the settlers have made
two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, experimenting,
testing and adapting, until their areas bloom like one
vast garden .
The figures for Jewish industry are no less impressive. Just as
in 193o Hope-Simpson `proved' that not another rod of land
was available for new Jewish settlement, so he also declared the
industrial outlook hopeless. His report shows 2274 Jewish factories
and workshops, employing 936z workers, with an invested
capital of £1,635,462, an output of £2,ioo,ooo and a sum total
of wages of £476,452 . He solemnly warned that "it would be
very bad, and might prove a fatal policy, to attract large capital
in order to start doubtful industries in Palestine with the object
of justifying an increase in the number of immigrants ." Notwithstanding
Hope-Simpson's pessimism the figures for 1936,
just six years later, showed that the number of Jewish factories
and shops had increased to 4615, employing 32,830 hands, with
an invested capital of £ 8,654,000, a skyrocketing output of
£9, 10 9,330 and a sum total of wages of £2,925,780 ; all of this
occurring despite the worst set of laws ever devised by Authority
to harass production and trade .
The Holy Land now manufactures goods of the most varied
kind. Among the new firms established in 1935-36 alone, were
bakeries, milling companies, plate glass and paint works ; razor
blade and paraffin paper factories, iron works, kilns for producing
earthenware, pharmaceutical works, foundries and metal
manufactories ; cement works, spinning and weaving mills and
textile, shoe and furniture factories . A census by the Jewish
Agency shows the healthy nature of this industry. Preparation
of foodstuffs, stone and cement accounts for nearly thirtynine
percent of the production value ; metal and wood industries,
twenty-two percent and chemicals, nine percent . The remaining
thirty percent is divided among textiles, printing, paper
and electricity ; all forming a solid base for the country's economy.
In striking contrast to this wide ramification of Jewish
industry, Arab manufactures are few, the most important being
oil-pressing, making of laundry soap, quarrying, baking and various
home handicrafts .
The amount of Jewish capital invested in this tiny land is estimated
to total more than £ 12o,000,ooo . Prior to the recent
riots, Jews were bringing in money at the rate of two to five
million dollars a month . In 1934 alone they are estimated to
have invested approximately £ 1 o,ooo,ooo in Palestine . Today
the productive output of the Jewish community is placed at
JJ 20,000,000 annually.' Bank deposits amounted to C 16,ooo,-
ooo and currency in circulation increased in the single year of
1935, from 44,73 8,964 to £6,561,134 .
All of this is reflected throughout the country's economy,
shattering its medieval inertia in every conceivable direction .
Every figure in connection with this mushrooming process is remarkable
. Before the War the tonnage cleared at Haifa was
less than 8oo,ooo ; in 1935, it was close to 5,000,000 . The figures
for electrical consumption climbed from 2,343,764 kilowatt
hours in 1926, to the amazing total of 70,017,998 kilowatt hours
in 1936 . Almost 40,000,000 hours of this huge amount was accounted
for in the Tel Aviv area alone .
In a generation these returning exiles have erected a civilization
which the English writer Ernest Main tells us the Levantine
is not capable of duplicating "in five hundred years ." 2 Behind this
singular development with its wealth of flourishing settlements
and growing range of industries, lie the spiritual drive and moral
tone of the returning Hebrews . Money and skill alone could
not have contrived it .
The Government itself says in relation to its population estimates
that "the precision of these figures is not great ." 3 It is
almost impossible to carry out a reliable census . Looking back
with suspicious memory to the tax-collectors of Turkish times,
the enraged peasants either drive the census-takers out or give
them falsified figures, believing any head count to be an artful
prelude to new levies . The Government computation is 848,-
342 Moslems, 370,483 Jews, and 106,474 Christians . Reliable
Jewish sources, however, place the Jewish figure around 410,-
ooo. Most of these are concentrated around Tel Aviv, which
with its surrounding villages holds over a quarter of a million
people .
Tel Aviv, living symbol of Jewish hope, is like nothing that
anyone ever saw before. It is a mad, poetic crazy-quilt, fash18o
ioned out of Jewish determination to recreate life in terms of
Jewish self-sufficiency. The mayor is Jewish, the porters are
Jewish, the street-sweepers are Jewish, the police are Jewish .
Even the thieves are Jewish .
It was founded in 1910 on worthless sand dunes, some miles
out of Jaffa, by a group of queer looking European men with
firm jaws who mystically declared that they were going to erect
here the first great all-Jewish metropolis of modern times . They
gave it the idyllic name of Tel Aviv (Hill of Spring) .
Today a city of 16o,ooo rears its head to justify the extravagant
claims of these visionaries . In America that might be remarkable,
but not astounding . In the Near East, where it vies
with cities established before the memory of man, it is a miracle .
The city looks like a cross between some miniature Paris and
a mushrooming mining town. Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone
is eager. Everyone looks busy . The streets are jammed .
Some are lined with trees, a novelty in the Levant . All of them
are paved .
The architecture is the last word in modernism . To one
used to the orthodox conception of cities, it looks almost freakish.
The stores and amusement places are the most up-to-date
in the world. Along the boardwalk on the sparkling blue sea,
sit throngs of gay people, leisurely relaxing in the warm evening.
Mixed colorfully among the streaming crowds are Arabs,
decked in their finest raiment, who have come from all over the
Levant to gaze on this wonder of wonders . A profound sense
of experiment is everywhere, with a huge shopping district and
cinema palaces giving an impression of a town many times
larger .
Tel Aviv takes thirty-three percent of Palestine's total imports
and uses fifty percent of the electrical power consumed
by Palestine industry. The annual production of its 1512 industrial
plants amounts to around J 3,000,000 which is also the
approximate turnover of the town's 6ooo retail establishments .
Of the i 8,ooo industrial workers in the entire country, 11,000
are employed in the industry of Tel Aviv and its vicinity . Its
budget for 1934-35 was £ 275,000 - a staggering sum for this
section of the Orient.
The town places a high value on literacy, and is the center of
the printing industry of Palestine. Of the 500 books published
in the entire country in 1936, 382 were published in Tel Aviv .
Forty-seven of the fifty-seven Jewish newspapers and periodicals
were also printed here . Practically one hundred percent of
the children attend school . Apart from the municipal educational
system, there are 35 kindergartens, 20 private schools, io
secondary schools, 5 trade schools, 5 schools of music ; as well as
art and dancing studios, and evening classes of every description.
The cosmopolitan origin of this remarkable Hebrew community
is mirrored in the school-children . A survey in 1 935
showed 8178 to be Ashkenazic (of East-European derivation) ;
1338 Sephardic (descendants of Spanish exiles, coming mainly
from North Africa, Greece and Bulgaria) ; 1125 Yemenite (native
dark-skinned Jews from the southern end of the Arabian
Peninsula) ; 184 Caucasian, 177 Persian, 92 Bokharian, and 3 of
other communities . The 1616 children of immigrants who settled
in Tel Aviv during 1935 were of 2 2 different nationalities .
A canvass of their parents shows 39% to be ordinary laborers,
14% merchants, 13% artisans, 5 % members of liberal professions,
16% of miscellaneous callings-and the balance housewives
or of no occupation.
The high Western state of culture of this city, as contrasted
with the slough of the surrounding Near East, is not limited to
surface appearances . The per capita rate of water consumption,
always an indication of social and economic conditions, is
230 liters per day. This compares with 52 liters for Vienna,
141 liters for Berlin, and 144 liters for London .
There are over one hundred and sixty synagogues and Talmudical
houses of learning. The names of the shops and commercial
houses are derived from the Bible or the Talmud . At
the sound of the ram's horn on Friday afternoon all traffic
comes to a halt, stores close and commercial activity ceases .
The peace of the Sabbath settles like a soft blanket on the city
until the following night . But nowhere is the fundamental
Jewish character of this place better shown than on the festival
days. Tel Aviv is a city of holidays . All the ancient Jewish
festivals have been revitalized and made the occasion for public
rejoicing. Succoth, the Feast of Tabernacles, is welcomed not
only by farmers rejoicing in the abundant harvest . In Tel
Aviv, too, thanks is given for the kind bounty of Mother Earth,
with great crowds of citizens dancing the native Hora 4 in the
public squares of the city . During the feast of Chanuka great
fancy-dress balls are held and school-children by the thousands
parade in torchlight procession through the streets, carrying
candles and torches, and singing native songs until the air is
heavy with their shrill voices . There is almost an endless list
of holidays, memorial days and festival occasions, all enthusiastically
observed by this happy people who have found out
how to live. The greatest of these, for which Tel Aviv is famous,
is the Purim celebration, ushered in with street-dancing
and huge parades with gaily decorated floats . During this gay
period which lasts a whole week, the city becomes an enchanted
fairyland of colored lights and music, and masked, laughing figures.
Myriads of people from all over the country jam the
streets ; and annually thousands from neighboring Syria, Egypt
and the Arab villages of Palestine join the merrymakers, for a
moment forgetting their political animus against Jews .
Joseph F. Broadhurst, former Inspector General of Police for
the Palestine Government, remarks that "it is at Tel Aviv that
one realizes the inherent possibilities of the Jews as a nation ."
He found that during his whole term in office there was practically
no important crime despite a polyglot population newly
arrived from all quarters of the globe . "The police force," he
adds, "was entirely Jewish and I never knew a Jewish policeman
to let me down. The men were smart and conscientious and
very anxious to follow the best traditions of the British police ." s
One circumstance in particular labels the citizens of this Jewish
city as unrivaled for pure self-discipline and force of character.
When the 1936 riots were going full blast, for more
than twelve weeks the city of Tel Aviv was unpoliced . Every"
one was aware that the normal constabulary of two hundred
men had been commandeered to guard its borders against attack
. Yet amongst this population of one hundred and sixty
thousand there was not a single crime, though the town was already
harboring thousands of refugees . During all this troubled
period Tel Aviv was the only place in Palestine where anyone
could walk the streets with absolute security both day and
night . Arabs knew that they could come to Tel Aviv and pass
safely through its thoroughfares, though the life of no Jew was
secure when he crossed the border into Jaffa, one hundred yards
Jerusalem, the capital, is as different from Tel Aviv as day is
from night . It sprawls over seven hills, and its name means
`City of Peace,' derived from the Hebrew Yerushalayim. The
Arabs call it Al Kuds (the holy) . It has had a continuous recorded
habitation for more than six thousand years, and was
probably already old when that record began . Throughout the
ages it has held an almost mesmeric fascination for Jews . Its
population today is estimated at 125,000, of whom 76,000 are
Jews, 26,000 Moslems, and 23,000 Christians. Sure of their
destiny, Jerusalem's Jews are trying to make this famous city
one of the art, medical and cultural centers of the world . Some
of the greatest physicians, scholars and creative artists of Germany
and Russia, exiles from their native lands, are here .
The city is slow and sedate and wears its ancient dignity complacently
on its shoulder. Here is the seat of the British Administration,
and the sites of innumerable convents, monasteries,
and churches of all nationalities . One suddenly comes into the
Holy City out of the desolation of the surrounding granite hills .
From the winding mountain roads at night its lights twinkle like
distant fireflies, a familiar and warming sight to the commuters
taking the hour's drive to Jaffa and Tel Aviv . In the day it sits
like a queen surrounded by the blue haze of the Judean mountains,
flanked in the distance by the rugged, purple wall of the
Moab range.
There are really two Jerusalems . In the center is the older
walled city, as fantastic as a nightmare. Built about four hun184
dred years ago, it encloses an area of roughly one square kilometer.
Seven gates open at various points . The eighth, the
Gate of Mercy, facing east, is sealed up, to be opened according
to Jewish legend when Messiah ben David enters through it .
The Old City contains four principal quarters, holding settlements
of Armenians, Greeks and Latins, Moslems, and Jews .
Christian sentiment is centered around the Holy Sepulchre in
the northwest section.
The twisting, narrow streets of the Old City are forever
bathed in kaleidoscopic twilight, some of them mere tunnels,
the bordering structures forming a roof above. These lanes and
alleys, colorfully striped with alternate sunlight and shadow, are
lined with an unbelievable concentration of shops, stalls and
bazaars segregated according to occupation and wares . Above
these shops are a crazy patchwork of dwellings, courtways and
entrances, like a vision from one of the modernist French painters.
Through these coverings the sun passes in striped rays to
touch the gowns of a churning crowd of Arabs, Jews, Armenians
and races from everywhere, men who ply trades which
must have been inseparable from medieval life .
Beyond this strange and picturesque relic lies the modern
Jerusalem, crawling in irregular formation over the surrounding
hills. Its avenues are broad and sunlit, lined with solid-looking
houses of heavy white-chipped stone . Flanking the city are
beautiful garden suburbs, shining clean, where the newer Jewish
immigrants live . On the streets mixing with grimy workmen
from Poland and Greece and learned doctors from Germany,
are turbaned Arabs, Bedouins in flowing gowns, tattooed
women, black-frocked black-skinned Coptic clericals, orthodox
priests with their high, black, stove-pipe hats, dapper British
soldiers, and many others . Automobiles honk at camel and
sheep drivers to move their charges aside - altogether a medley
of singular scenes so indescribable as to seem at times merely the
vision of a sunstricken brain .
At the north of the country is Haifa, destined to become the
aerial as well as rail terminus of the great inter-continental routes
of the future . Some day it will undoubtedly be one of the great
cities of the world . Before the Zionists came it was a mere fishing
village. Today it is estimated to hold some 95,000 people,
of whom 65,000 are Jews . Cradled here is a rapidly expanding
industrial area . Railway workshops, electrical power houses,
cement works, factories and mills of all kinds are rising to swell
the growth of this hungry young metropolis .
There is little that may be termed oriental about the place .
Its model landscape seems copied, as it were, from a geography
textbook . Sea, mountains, plains and chalk cliffs meet the eye
all at once, gradually uniting with the Lebanon range in the
distance. High above the city is beautiful . Mount Carmel
where a Jewish suburb with wide streets, smart shops and modern
apartments gazes down on the calm bay and wide, green
plains of Sharon .
In the harbor are always to be seen the gray masses of British
men o' war. On the open beach, housed in an inauspicious
building, is the terminus of the oil line from Iraq . Like two
predatory monsters determined to have no other company in
their berth, they symbolize the British stake in Palestine .
The only other important town is Jaffa . Its name derives
from the Hebrew Japho, the `beautiful .' Pliny declares that even
before the deluge Jaffa was a city . On the porches of Karnak
the name of Ja-pu occurs as having been conquered by Thothmes
III about 16oo B.C. One hundred years ago it had a population
of four thousand. Today it holds seventy thousand, overwhelmingly
Arab, who are largely descendants of the Egyptians
and Ethiopians brought in by the conqueror Ibrahim Pasha .
The few thousand Jews who lived here fled during the 1936
riots, abandoning their shops and property .
Jaffa and Tel Aviv are really one town . Where the one begins
and the other ends is told only by the sudden descent from
the modernity of the Hebrew city into the stuffy squalor, ramshackle
architecture and typical dirt and hoarse cries of an Arab
town. The British were responsible for its artificial dissection
years ago, fearing Jewish domination of the port .
There is something awe-inspiring in the simple joy which
shines from the faces of the incoming Hebrews . Many of them
arrive in the ill-ventilated, reeking holds of small cargo steamers
after having survived almost incredible hardships . Some are of
the tradesman and professional type . Most are poor to the point
of desperation . Fellow-travelers are astounded to see these men
and women, grimy workmen and petty bourgeoisie hardly suspected
of sentiment or romanticism, standing silent with tears in
their eyes as the brown Judean hills take form on the distant
horizon. Eighty generations fade from their tired faces, years
of suffering, abasement and homelessness . As they survey these
shores their glance is illumined, speaking without words an almost
fanatic determination that the Land of Israel shall once
more stand glorious among the nations of the earth .
No one who has not seen these faces with his own eyes can
understand what a miracle it is for the Jew, to stand once more
on the soil that Simon Bar Giora trod, where Abraham, Isaac
and David walked, where Bar Kochba led his stem swordsmen.
Nothing can gloat over the sheer majesty of this scene like the
starved Jewish eye, now devouring its outlines with a hunger
sharpened by the nostalgia of two thousand years . As at a beautiful
vision, the newcomer stares at the rosy-cheeked children racing
in happy play . Their fresh, tumbling Hebrew speech gladdens
his ear like beautiful music as he harks back in shuddering
contrast to the sallow emaciation and frightened eyes of the only
Jewish children he has ever known . Thrilled and almost disbelieving,
he gazes at the straight-limbed boys who have left the
puny catechisms of Europe far behind, to work with pick and
shovel under the broiling sun of this new land . Their bronzed
faces are like the stark brown hills around them . Like Ernest in
Hawthorne's story, The Great Stone Face, they have subtly remade
themselves in a mold long forgotten .
It is "a wonderful youth," says M . J. Landa, one of the authorities
on modern Palestine, "brisk of mind, vigorous of sinew,
of athletic physique . . . mentally clean and keenly conscious
of its mission and its opportunity to create a new life and
spirit." 6 Nowhere else is sheer idealism so plain in every office
of life . Kindliness and the desire to create a cooperative civilization
worthy of the name of man, everywhere takes precedence
over individual ambition. The same determination for a
socially-intelligent existence which has distinguished post-war
Sweden is evident here . Consumer and industrial cooperatives
have a large hold on life. The number of these organizations
increased from 769 at the end of 1935, to 849 a year later .
These include 166 agricultural cooperatives, 58 irrigation and
water supply societies, and various building groups for the erection
of garden cities . One of the Nazi correspondents commented
that even when a car breaks down on the road, nine out
of ten passing motorists will stop in their journey and volunteer
to assist in mending it .
For the first time in modern Jewish life the distribution of
occupation approaches normality . Agriculture now absorbs
14% ; industry and crafts, 23 .4% ; transportation, 6 .1 % ; building
construction, 12 .7% ; commerce, 20% ;public and civil
service, 2 .4% ; liberal professions, 12 .4% ; persons living on income,
6% ; domestic and hotel employees, 3%.
Something in the way of flowers or greenery grows wherever
a Jew lives . The passion for growing things, for trees and blooms,
is so intense in this psychically starved people as to be insatiable .
They love to loiter in outdoor gardens, sipping their unbelievable
fruit soups or nibbling at sticky fruit compotes .
Hiking is a national pastime . They go in for athletic competition
with feverish zeal . There are innumerable small sports
clubs of every description and three major sports federations,
including the Football and Boxing Federation and the Amateur
Sports Clubs Federation . One of the great bi-annual events is
the Maccabiad (Jewish Olympics), held at the magnificent Tel
Aviv stadium. In the tournament of 1935, twenty-three countries
were represented with over five thousand participants.
Fifty thousand people paid admission as the whole city made a
delirious holiday.
The love for the theater and for music is intense and de188
monstrative ; song is often a substitute for supper . An opera
company holds a regular season in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel
Aviv, translating the classics into Hebrew . In 1936 the Palestine
First Symphony Orchestra, amid scenes of abandon such as
one expects to see only in motion pictures, was led by the great
conductor Toscanini to a triumph of popular support sufficient
to make New York or London blush .' Simple workingmen
fought for the precious tickets at each concert . Outside the
jammed halls thousands waited in the streets to give the loved
musicians a thundering ovation as they left. As in the days of
the Prophets, song and community music are a constant feature
of the new Hebrew life. In the meanest Jewish section of the
cities, in the poorest farmer's hut, when the lights gleam yellow
through the windows at night, there is always heard music and
laughter . The irrepressible Hora is danced tirelessly .
In addition to numerous cinema houses there are a number of
fine theaters . Habimah, the national Hebrew theater, is reputed
to be one of the finest stock companies in the world . Its stage
direction and sets are spoken of with admiration wherever acting
is professionally known . The workers too have their own
theater, said to be professionally superb, called the Ohel ; and
there is a famous children's theater, the Theation Layelodem,
where children are both the actors and audience .
Innumerable art exhibitions are continually showing, a thing
unheard of in the moribund life of the Near East before the
coming of the Zionists . Literature also flourishes . In Tel Aviv
alone are ten publishing houses, some of them prosperous . Palestine
Jewry was responsible for 94% of all the books published
on both sides of the Jordan River in 1935. This is the astounding
country where grimy-handed peasants read Hegel and
Strindberg .
All told there are some three hundred organizations, societies,
and associations of a cultural and social character . In science,
too, the Hebrew genius now shines directly on its own . The
Daniel Sieff Research Institute at Rehovoth is equipped with the
most delicate modern instruments ; its experiments are watched
by chemists all over the world . And of the Hebrew University
the Palestine Royal Commission of 1936 says : "It is remarkable
to find on the fringe of Asia a university which maintains the
highest standards of Western scholarship ."
The conventional neuroticism which marks so strongly the
beleaguered Jews of Europe is not seen here . These people
are almost provincial, and certainly without complexes . A comparison
of the incidence of insanity, said to be higher generally
among Jews than in the surrounding populations, is startling .
The average insanity for all the races of the world is 300-400
per hundred thousand ; while among Palestine's Jews it is only
19o per hundred thousand.
The speech of these people is a lyrical Old-Testament Hebrew.
Here in the old land of miracles, the language of the
Lord Jehovah and of the Seminarists, dead and inert so long,
felt the fire of Jewish rebirth breathed into it and is now the
everyday tongue of the people .8 Love for the ancient language
is so fierce that even shopkeepers will pretend ignorance of
other tongues and will allow a customer to walk out rather than
answer him in Yiddish.9 The only exception to this rule in
Palestine is a section of the Marxists, who persist in hanging on
to their Yiddish, regarding Hebrew as an ugly symbol of offensive
nationalism. An amusing sidelight on this issue is given by
the Hebrew writer, Uri Zvi Greenberg, former native of Poland
and noted Yiddish poet . During a return visit to Warsaw,
where he was entertained by the local literary group, he broke
up the reception by thus referring to Yiddish : "In Palestine we
no longer defile our mouths with the filthy Nalewki jargon ."
Going Hebrew is not a fad - it is an irresistible compulsion .
In Palestine when a Jew changes his name, which is frequent, he
selects the most Jewish one he can find . Rose translates, Shoshanna
; and Jacob, Yacob. The Aryan Siegbert becomes
Semitic Shalom ; the Teutonic Siegfried lapses into the Hebrew
Shmuel ; the Persian Mutaza Zamail is remodeled into Mardekjai
Menashi Efrayimi : and the Polish Measze Szmuszkowicz is
henceforward Menashe Benzion .
The Scriptures and Prophets have also inspired the newcomers
to apply a revised and picturesque nomenclature for the
places they have occupied . The first of the new garden suburbs
in Jerusalem was named Meah Shearim (the Hundred
Gates), after Genesis 26:12 . Another was called Yegia Kapayim
(the labor of thine hands), after Psalms 128 :2 : "For
thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands - happy shalt thou be,
and it shall be well with thee." Talpioth, southeast of Jerusalem,
was called after the description by Solomon of his beloved
in the Song o f Songs . Rishon-le-Zion, was named after
the 27th verse of Chapter 42 of Isaiah ; and Petach Tikvah (door
of hope), is derived from Hosea, Chapter 2, verse 15, which
reads : "And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the
valley of Achor for a door of hope ."
As in Tel Aviv, Jewish holidays and festivals of Old Testament
times have sprung into life wherever these people live .
In the settlements they are welcomed in a riot of flowers, flags,
ceremony, music and dancing . The dead hand of religious
formalism has departed from them and they have become stirring
national holidays, declaring in sentiment and form, the rewon
self-respect of the Jew.
With every year that passes, admits the 1936 Royal Commission,
"the contrast between this intensely democratic and highly
organized modern community and the old-fashioned Arab world
around it grows sharper," conceding that nowhere in the world
is the spirit of nationalism "more intense than among the Jews
in Palestine." The proud character of this civilization was
noted by the Irish writer St . John Ervine who found, in vivid
contrast to the surrounding Near East, that there were no soreeyed
children among the Jews, nor any young men and women
who were blind because of neglect . "Not once," he notes in
astonishment, "in the course of my brief stay in Palestine did
a Jew solicit alms from me ."
All this lively reborn life is reflected in the growth of the
Hebrew press, truly astonishing for such a small community .
Davar, the largest daily, has a circulation of some twenty-five
thousand ; followed by Haaretz, with some twenty thousand ;
and a number of other dailies, together with many weekly publications,
trade journals, and miscellaneous publications .
Jewish Palestine is organized into one community called Knesseth
Israel . This community elects on an autonomous basis a
body of seventy-one members, the Jewish National Assembly
(Asefath Ha-nichharim), representing the various Jewish parties
. This body in turn selects a permanent committee of
twenty-three (Vaad Leumi), recognized as the authorized
spokesmen of Palestine Jewry in its dealings with the Government.
This body has no actual legislative or executive powers
in the Administration . Actually the Government considers its
existence merely as one of those concessions commonly made to
the amenities, not consequent in practice . Hence the Jewish
National Assembly is restricted in its external dealings to wordy
memoranda of protest over decrees and legislation considered
contrary to Jewish interests . In internal Jewish affairs, however,
it is potent and invaluable . Representing the increasing
solidarity of Palestine's Jewry, it is the nucleus for the Jewish
self-government which is one day certain to come .

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The largest and most expertly conducted business in the history
of man is the British Empire . The nerve center and business
office of that Empire is the section called Whitehall, in
London, where sit the all-powerful permanent officials . Theirs
is the first, and usually the last, word in directing the line of
policy by which every part of that gigantic enterprise is controlled.
Virtually independent of the electorate, these impregnable
bureaucracies function magnificently, undisturbed by the hot
and cold breath of political change . They are ruled by men
who have been trained from boyhood into the tradition of the
Empire. To these men the slightest material advantage to Imperial
business comes first, irrespective of humanist philosophies
and social codes . They are smug, clever and loyal. They
avoid the limelight - but their power is immense .
Among the men who really rule England is Sir Robert Vansittart,
head of the Foreign Office and perhaps the most powerful
personage in the British Empire - a man whose taste for
whiskey and intrigue has won him the nickname of "Machiavelliand-
soda." He has under his immediate control the admirable
British Secret Service, and dispenses thousands of pounds of the
Foreign Office's "secret funds" - money on whose expenditure
the law expressly forbids any detailed account to Parliament .
He is also chairman of the `Co-ordinating Committee,' the
Government's own propaganda bureau, whose function is to influence
the news in foreign countries where friendly opinion is
important. One of the functions which the `Co-ordinating
Committee' has assumed is responsibility for the Arabic broadcasts
which go forth regularly from London .'
Another of these men is Sir Maurice Hankey, an unostenta-
tious functionary who combines in his person the post of Secretary
to the Cabinet, Secretary to the Privy Council and Secretary
to the Committee of Imperial Defense . Sir Maurice
knows probably more than any other man the closely held
secrets of military and political intrigue, the careful long-range
planning, by which the future of the Empire is safeguarded .
Around these two men are grouped the political agents in direct
contact with the omnipotent Intelligence Service, "who are employed
to test or to alter public opinion" - a small group which
numbers in its ranks some of the best and shrewdest brains in
Among other powerful figures are Sir Walter Runciman,
head of the British Board of Trade, and Sir Warren Fisher,
Chief of the Treasury . Behind these Vansittarts and Hankeys
are a host of others - shadows behind shadows - men whose direct
influence often colors or dictates the actions of their chiefs .
More are continually in the course of training, eventually to
take over their masters' jobs . The mechanism is selfperpetuat-
ing-The most important of these Bureaus is the Admiralty, recognized
as the `sacred white cow' of British political life. Following
closely after the Admiralty in prestige and power are the
War and Colonial Offices . A number of lesser Bureaus, immensely
powerful in their own right, complete an impregnable
web which has rarely failed to enmesh every British Cabinet of
modern times .
In the hands of these brilliant functionaries there is no confused
muddling of action, but an artfully planned and carefully
concealed continuity of objectives . The appearance of clumsy
incapacity is part of their technique ; but when all the presumed
bungling is over, the strategic spots in question are always
found to be miraculously occupied by the British, without
loss of moral tone . The greatest part of their strategy is dictated
by the fact that the Empire has settled down to the point
where it exists mostly as a market for English-manufactured
goods as well as a source of raw material . Tranquillity is the
essence of Empire needs under the circumstances - hence these
men will make many concessions for it where vital requirements
are not at stake . This, plus the private prejudices of the
Bureaucrats, is the major basis of British ethics in the business
of Empire rule .
Their tactics, developed over centuries of training, are ably
devised. They consist in the main of sudden surprise maneuvers
covered by a barrage of pious rhetoric . If the resistance
is too great and a graceful exit available, they take it . They
regard a doughty antagonist with respect . They will treat with
him when they discover that more is to be gained in that way .
If pushed so far that they cannot return without losing face,
their history indicates that they will fight like bulldogs ; but if
allowed a convenient retreat, as one prominent European statesman
once said to the writer, "They will give you not only what
you want, but fifty percent more ."
They have an immense contempt for elected politicians .
Parliament they consider a necessary evil . Their method of
parrying pointed questions from that body is a marvel in efficiency
and insolence .
Among these servants of the Crown there are often decisive
and sometimes fundamental differences of opinion . Taken by
and large, however, the human content in their computations
does not exist. The terms in which they think are well represented
in the Chinese opium trade, forced on China by British
gunboats. At the Opium Conference held at Geneva in November
1924, these men refused pointblank to yield to the humanitarian
demands of the American delegates for termination
of this debauching traffic, "on the ground that Britain needed
the money," so the Conference came to naught .3 It was this
same cabal and its reactionary allies in `The City' who were
largely responsible for the rise of Adolph Hitler on the Continent,
financing him and preparing his way behind the scenes .4
The vast bulk of these men believe the Balfour Declaration
to have been a grave error, and that by it Britain is building a
first class Frankenstein in her own backyard . That error they
have set out to rectify.
The background for this conviction was erected when EngBUREAUCRACY
lish agents returned from Russia after Kerensky's fall, with the
bug of a world Jewish conspiracy chasing itself around in their
bonnets. The Chinese Communist Revolution which followed,
threatening to eliminate them from their entire privileged position
in Asia, almost frightened them out of their skins .
In the path of the Bolshevik eruption came wild reports, and
the consuming fear that the established world was about to go
up in flames . Riding high on the tide of success, the Communists
blatantly announced their plans for ripping the world up by
its foundations. Dynamite was in the air throughout Europe
and Asia. Radicals had made good their Red promises in Hungary.
Italy and Germany were in a nip-and-tuck struggle with
disaster. The Far East was infected . Typical of the kind of
stuff that was rattling British brains was the Manifesto of the
Soviet Congress of Eastern Nations at Baku, September 1920,
announcing that "our main blow must be aimed at British Capitalism
; though at the same time we want to arouse the working
masses of the Near East to hatred . . ."
The English had just finished their sad adventure in Russia
where the counter-Revolution was little less than an English
war. Some idea of British commitments to the White Russian
cause can be gained from Winston Churchill's Memorandum of
September 15, 1919, just before the beginning of Denikin's
great retreat, when he observed that up to that date Britain had
expended nearly one hundred million pounds.5 The hatred
this contest engendered against Jews carried over into post-war
England as a fixed quotient in all the Government bureaus .
The idea soon gained currency that the Russian Revolution was
part of the ramifications of a gigantic Jewish plot against the
world - and that the Zionists themselves were an important part
of this conspiracy . When E. H. Wilcox, a newspaper correspondent
for the London Daily Telegraph, brought out his book
in 1 g 19, Russia's Ruin, pointing out in a seemingly impartial,
repertorial manner the great part played by the Jews in the
Revolution, the identification of Jews with this dangerous movement
became complete in the Bureaucratic mind . Over-night
the Protocols o f the Elders o f Zion, a crude forgery reputing
to be the intimate documentary evidence of the Jewish plot,
achieved a terrific circulation." Men, otherwise quite sane, believed
this fantastic rubbish completely .
A vast literature soon accumulated on the subject . Members
of Parliament were flooded with anti-Semitic leaflets and pamphlets
daily, in which the term "hidden hand" and other phrases
such as "international finance" are developed into an argot used
to signify the Jewish conspirators behind the scene. Represented
as the modern genius behind this diabolical scheme for
world disruption is, remarkably enough, none other than Achad
Ha'am ; and as Ha'am's "representative," in this strange literature,
poor Weitzman is translated into one of the most dangerous
men alive.
To suspicious Bureaucrats whose entire training in life lay in
quiet conspiracy to gain hidden ends, no part of this sounded
like an impossible hypothesis . Antipathy for the Jews assumed
such proportions in whole sections of English society and Government
as to become pathological. The basis, in fact, of their
fanatic support of Hitler was the belief that he was the only man
with the genius and courage to fight the vast unseen Jewish
octopus which was draining the Empire's life blood and which
was credited with instigating every misfortune and misadventure
which befell England anywhere .
Some idea of the influence of the Protocols alone, can be
gained from the critical study made by Benjamin W . Segel, who
found that "no recent book of world literature could even in a
slight degree compare with the circulation of the Protocols ."
The tremendous influence and ready acceptance of this fantasy
is hardly understood by Jews . The Zionist leaders, especially,
are capable of having this stuff swirling all around their heads
without being aware of it . When a few years ago the writer
showed it to one of them, he airily dismissed the whole business
as sounding "like Alice in Wonderland ."
Riddling the Bureaucratic mentality also was a strong, though
not properly recognized neo-Pagan movement, borrowed from
their liaison with the Germans . To these groups many of the
important officials of the various Bureaus belong . A particuBUREAUCRACY
larly influential group meets in offices in the Temple off Fleet
Street and is said to be headed by one of the most important
peers and barristers in England. It was this group which Alfred
Rosenberg visited with Count Herbert Bismarck in 1933 on the
all-important Nazi mission which was seeking desperatelyneeded
British support. Its meetings and peculiar occult practices
are semi-secret in view of the station occupied by a great
part of its followers . Loosely organized, it is called "The
Mistery" after the German "Mysterikon" of Lans von Lebenfels.
Part of its philosophy is the theory propagated throughout
official England that the secret meaning of the Book of Job
is that the Jewish race is the result of the mating of a Semitic
tribe and apes.
Official London became a hotbed of anti-Semitism, where the
feeling was no less venomous by reason of being covert . The
`world Jewish plot' remained the implement by which Zionists
were baited in club and salon, those important centers of English
political influence, as well as within the sacred precincts of
`The City' itself. Lord Lloyd, former High Commissioner
of Egypt, expressed the inward fear agitating the English minds
when he stated that Jewish immigration was turning Palestine
into "a springboard of Bolshevism in the Near East ." 7 Innumerable
meetings, semi-official in character, were told of the
extreme danger lying in wait for the Empire and assured that
"Communism was alien to the Arab ."
The embryo of English Arabophilia reached back all the way
to the period of peace negotiations . Englishmen were speaking
for all the varied Arab races to Englishmen in London .
In the agreements for the creation of Arab States, McMahon
had included this sentence throughout : "It is understood
that the Arabs have decided to seek the advice and guidance
of Great Britain only, and that such European advisers and officials
as may be required for the formation of a sound form of
administration will be British ." Englishmen thus found themselves
regimenting their own self-interest as an Imperialist
power, acting for groups of colorful tribesmen who rained all
the blessings of Allah on their heads with unctuous correctness .
It was a nice feeling and it had its physical rewards in the immense
resources of the Arabian Peninsula, seemingly wide open
to exclusive British exploitation. When the British eventually
came up against another group, the Jews, who had social theories,
spoke English and proposed to represent themselves in negotiations,
they were thoroughly annoyed.
In London, the Palestine Administration, supporting its subversive
efforts with Jewish tax money, lent its entire force to a
campaign making the Arabs out to be an honest, picturesque
folk whose patrimony was being stolen by an invading army of
Bolshevik Jews. Arab `commissions' with the tacit backing and
open advice of Palestine officials, pilgrimaged to London regularly,
walked the streets in their dignified flowing robes and
played their roles as they had been coached .
Judeo-phobes and anti-Bolsheviks began to discover that the
Arab cause was a great and noble one . They formed themselves
into formidable committees in and out of Parliament .
Powerful figures such as Sir Henry Page-Croft, Sir Arnold Wilson,
Lord Sydenham and Lord Lamington associated themselves
actively with the stage management of the Arab campaign for
public sympathy. Other still more powerful figures operated
from the shadows, telling the Arabs what to say, formulating
their demands and maneuvering their case . Lord Eustace Percy
stated the situation in Parliament, July 4, 1922, declaring that
"certain Englishmen - who do not like the Zionist policy . . .
have inspired them [the Arabs] with certain ideas that they
never dreamt of before, and have supplied this Arab delegation
with arguments." Arabs were made to say meaningfully that
"Communism is alien to our religion, our principles and our
conscience ." Early Arab memoranda point out in staged horror
to the Government that "the prevalent conditions of the Jewish
immigrants are a very fertile medium for the propagation of
Communistic principles not only among Jews, but also among
Arabs." s
Certainly, an anti-Zionist campaign of this power and scope
is far beyond the known strength of the Palestine Arabs . Meeting
with little counteraction from the Zionists, it has affected
many divergent sections of opinion . Ironically enough, the Independent
Labour Party announces through its chairman, Archibald
Fenner Brockway, that "the Balfour Declaration was issued
in order to win the support of Jewish Capitalism ; that in itself
is sufficient reason for our opposition to it ." 9 The Communists,
as expected, are categorically opposed to Zionism in any
form or shape. Their only member of Parliament, William
Gallacher, squarely asserted during the 1936 riots that "if ever
a people were justified in making a protest and in making a
demonstration in order to get justice, it is the Arab people in
Palestine. . . I view with growing disgust the hypocrisy of the
position when I hear high moral concern and great regard for
the Jews being expressed in some quarters." 10
The most active opponents of the Zionists are in the Admiralty,
which has its eye on the strategical importance of Palestine to the
Empire. For years it is said to have employed various propagandists
and organizing experts on anti-Zionist work . The Colonial
and Foreign offices also utilize agents for a similar purpose .
According to a detailed statement supplied the writer by an
American whose intimate knowledge of English anti-Semitic activity
is unquestionable, the business of these people is to organize
the known anti-Semites in and out of the Government for a concerted
assault on the Zionist position . Supported by their allies
in the Departments, these people circulate through the drawing
rooms and clubs, cultivate the secretaries of prominent men and
weave their web wherever influence counts .
Through the mediation of these Bureaus, anti-Zionist propaganda
has become an integral part of the efficient publicity
service with which the British Government advances its views
all over the world . The greatest part of this concentration of
effort is in America . Just as English anti-Semitism stems largely
from White Russian sources, so the present propaganda in
America is heavily influenced from London with the hope of
immobilizing the Jewish demand for Palestine . British officialdom
is making a thorough job of presenting the Arab case wherever
public opinion is important . They were even able to secure
an appointment to lecture in Columbia University for the
Mufti's assistant, George Antonious, a venomous Jew-baiter
whose very name sends a shiver down the back of the Palestine
Jews. In adroitly-managed liaison with American anti-Semitic
elements, the anti-Zionist campaign is persistently and expertly
implemented. Its literature, distributed in ton lots in the large
cities, is heavy with neo-Pagan coloring . A sample is its virtuous
announcement that "the Jewish claim to Palestine rests on a
religious-Biblical dogma which is not binding on those who cannot
accept it by reason of a different belief . . . These Jewish
claims have been reinforced by many Christians who have been
influenced by the Bible - a book necessarily favorable to the
Jewish people ."
Actuated by the permanent officials, the full force of the
British Government has been thrown in back of the anti-Zionist
campaign . Its effect is seen in Turkey and even in faraway
Japan, where Zionists are suddenly singled out for persecution
and their movement all but declared illegal . How enormous
and persistent this pressure is on the surrounding countries and
governments of the Near East we shall shortly discover . The
strength of this determined animosity is spot-lighted by London's
insistence that Palestine be excluded from the sphere of
operations of the Refugee Commission presided over by Mac-
Donald in 1936 - certainly as sardonic a commentary on England's
interpretation of her word as could be imagined .
There are of course other and more respectable reasons
which activate London's attitude . One is the repugnance with
which a certain section of British opinion views Palestine's transformation
into a prosperous, modern community. This group
would prefer to keep the Holy Land under a glass case - a
perpetual survivor of the tourist East . But whatever the reason,
the factual result is tersely given by Colonel Meinertzhagen .11
Speaking February 9, 1938, he coldly asserted that "Arab opposition
to Zionism is nursed and encouraged by anti-Zionist views
not only in Palestine, but in Whitehall and Westminster . . .
Anti-Zionist officials in Palestine and London never gave the
Jewish homeland experiment a chance to succeed ."
There is no lack of evidence of the dislike held by the Palestine
Administration for Jews. The essentially pro-British
propaganda of the World Zionist Organization is read by the
Yishub with its tongue in its cheek - understood for what it is, a
sagacious part of the Zionist money-raising machinery. The
Vaad Leumi, occasionally provoked enough to forget the conditioning
restraint placed on it by its financial patron, the Jewish
Agency, has sometimes spoken its mind with great clarity as in its
1929 Memorandum to the League charging that the whole continuity
of spoliation, riots and `Commissions,' was "the inevitable
consequence of a policy of opposition to the Jewish National
Home" which the Administration had "been pursuing for
There can be little question that the prevailing sentiment of
the Government of Palestine is a vigorous offshoot of that section
of London City opinion which is pro-Nazi . There is as little
doubt that the controlling factor in this sentiment is a deep-rooted
The monist ferocity of anti-Semites is too well known to require
added description . The structure of the British bureaus
lends itself admirably to maneuvering by a small cabal of determined
political adventurers, and the anti-Semitic group has
not been remiss in utilizing every possible avenue for placing
its own `reliable' creatures in the Holy Land service . They
tried desperately at one time to secure the appointment of General
Michael O'Dwyer as High Commissioner, and came close
enough to it to make the Jews shudder. O'Dwyer, said to believe
religiously in the existence of the great `international Jewish
conspiracy,' is the man reputed to have shot six hundred
Indians in

Indians in cold blood, and made the others at Amritsar crawl
half a mile on their bellies in the dust as a symbol of their submission.
These men want to conduct legally, under the protection of
the British flag in Palestine, a systematic hatred of Jews . They
are heavily hampered by the existence in Commons of individuals
who are far from agreeable to this point of view. Hence
they wear such a mask of Christian benefaction as they can under
the circumstances, and attempt to justify their acts constantly
by principle . Wedgwood contemptuously refers to this
type of Crown servant as "the ordinary narrow-minded, halfbred
Englishman who feels about Jews just as his counterpart
Herr Hitler does ."
The pagan mentality is also much in evidence in the Holy
Land Service if one may judge from the published remarks of
C. R. Ashbee, Civic Adviser to the City of Jerusalem . In his
volume, A Palestine Notebook, he writes that "the most fanatical
people in the Holy City are the Roman Catholics . . . The Jews
run them a near second . The Moslems being tolerant in religious
matters, are hand in glove with the free-thinking English ."
This official of the New Jerusalem continues : "One still sees the
Christ type in the streets here, and it is usually the Jew who has
it. . . Jesus Christ, if he ever existed at all, was a Syrian and
he's still here in Jerusalem ; he won't enlist, he is perverse, tiresome,
and a thorn in the side of any government . . ."
One of the early reasons contributing to this feeling against
Jews was the unscrupulous propaganda of the German-Turkish
agents, enraged by the deflection of the Zionists . Originally
intended to promote anti-British incitement, these canards found
the sympathetic ear of the English authorities on the spot, who
for quite other reasons were opposed to the Jews .
Among the grudges held against the Jew was the claim that
he was clannish and had behaved with abominable inhospitality
when the British first arrived . The newcomers were lonely and
without their wives, a condition often remedied by Arab
sheikhs who, considering that women do not possess a soul, had
long made it a practice to turn over a female of the household
to a favored overnight guest . War-weary English officers appreciated
the soft inertia, slumberous music and polished deference
shown them by their Arab hosts ; while the inexplicable
Jews had vulgarly continued to toil in their fields and pore over
their interminable blueprints. "Whatever their station in life,"
says Horace Samuel, "and whatever the angle of contact, the
Arabs exhibited invariably far better manners than did the
Jews." 12 They were picturesque and exotic, in striking contrast
to the Zionists whose rolled shirt-sleeves and incessant drive
made the colorful indolence of their neighbors seem almost an
enchanting relief .
On the whole the Jew proved quite the most desperately impossible
human being to govern that ever drove an annoyed
bureaucrat to distraction . He was worse than the Afridis who
took to the mountains and shot off their rusty rifles ; even worse
than that patience-trying creature, the Hindu, who calmly sat
down on his brown haunches and refused to recognize that the
English existed .
The Jews first looked on the all-but-sacred Crown Colony
Code, the provincial's Bible, with disrespect . Feeling that the
country was theirs by solemnly ratified international agreement,
they chafed impatiently at its interminable red tape and officiousness
and often expressed their annoyance in no uncertain terms .
Britishers used to the languor of Timbuctu and Belize, who suddenly
found their snobbish hauteur deflated by even common
Jewish workingmen who did not know the word `native' as applied
to themselves, sat back in their chairs unpleasantly puzzled.
The tempo of activity these Jews set was perpetually
ruffling to officials who wanted to enjoy their jobs in peace .
They did not warm to the determined intellectuals who presented
argumentative petitions when their plans were balked .
They were aghast at the grimy-knuckled men who did not hesitate
to invade the sacred sanctums of officialdom in their shirtsleeves
; men of high energy and courage, whose manners were
often bad and who sometimes developed antagonism by their
very presence . Here was an enigma defying previous experience,
a charade of new values which the Colonial official, recruited
from the aloofness of the British manor or the worse
officiousness of London tenement, could neither understand nor
relish . "They almost forgot the difference between themselves
and their employers," said Sir Ronald Storrs . "My first chauffeur
was a Jew . . . he was an excellent driver, but it never
occurred to him to brush me down after I got out of the car .
I stood it for three months and then I engaged an Arab chauff
eur in his stead ."
Even more galling, the Jewish spokesmen, product of an
ethnos incalculably different from anything that makes an English
Colonial, left the impression that they considered themselves
a higher order of humanity . They brought means, culture and
capacity with them, and a typically Jewish point of view that
was apt to forget that an Inspector was not necessarily an ass because
he had not read Turgenieff and had no taste for classical
A certain insight into this matter was given by Mr. . Spicer,
Chief of Palestine Police, in reply to the question, "Why are
you all against the Jews ?" Spicer, decent as Colonial officials
go, but stolid and unimaginative, replied obligingly : "Look 'ere
now, there's many reasons . The bloomin' h'Arabs are h'easier
to 'andle. Now you tyke the h'Arabs when they want something.
A crowd will gather in front of my 'ouse, looking fierce
and shaking their blasted clubs, and maybe bryke a window .
Now w'ot do h'I do ! H'I tykes me military 'at, puts it on me
'ead, and walks outside . I tyke out a cigarette, fix it slowly in
the holder, flick the ashes off with a little finger - so ! And
h'I finally sye in an even voice : `See 'ere you beggars, what's the
damn meaning of all this ! Go 'ome !' And they go 'ome .
"Now w'ot do the Jews do! When they want something,
they call h'up the day before for an appointment. Then three
distinguished lawyers come in on me with their arms full of
lawbooks to prove their bloomin' case . Hell, you know h'I
don't know anything about law ."
Certainly a major factor was the bristling hostility to Communism,
which had been built in the gentile mind into something
closely approximating a Jewish phenomenon. To Officialdom
the new Jews coming to the Holy Land were nothing
but the vanguard of Bolshevism, arch-enemy of everything British.
In Palestine was a labor movement headed by hardworking,
grimy-handed men who had read Karl Marx . These
men were vague pinks, of the kind found in the English Labour
Party, whose Socialism consisted mostly of words . Actually
there were only some five hundred known Communists in the
entire country, most of whom were Arabs, and all of them lockstock-
and-barrel against the Zionist experiment . But these were
fine points past the ken of uniformed officials who, constitutionally
unable to distinguish between the various brands of Marxism,
viewed anything remotely touched by it with dark suspicion
What disturbed them principally were a few small farm settlements
called Kvutzoth, organized, like the Christian Hutterites
in the United States, on a communal basis . The Kvutzoth members
pretended to be advanced thinkers, looked on religion as a
remnant of the Dark Ages, fought against religious registration
of marriage, and ploughed on the Sabbath . Beyond this they
were hard-working people who slaved under the hot sun from
daybreak to nightfall. The total number of adults in all these collectives
at no time numbered more than three thousand, but their
activities were looked on with a tolerant eye by the Jewish
Agency, bowing to the thumb pressure of the socialist General
Federation of Labor. Moreover, they were settled on land
owned by the Jewish National Fund, and their buildings financed
from the same source. This was deadly ammunition in
the hands of Zionism's enemies, handing over the Jewish National
Movement for crucifixion on a cross of Marxism. The
Arab High Commission of 1923 does not hesitate to describe the
Kvutzoth as "typical examples of Communistic villages in Red
Russia," adding that "had these conditions been restricted to
Jewish colonies this would have been quite a Jewish affair, but
we find that the infectious bolshevik disease is penetrating day
by day into the Arab peasantry ." This kind of propaganda
had an inestimable affect on the bureaucrats in London . It
made the rounds of British officialdom, even officers friendly to
Zionism surveying it with knitted brows. Up to today it runs
like a binding thread through the entire British attitude .
There can be little question that there has finally grown up
among His Majesty's officials in Palestine an ingrained aversion
to Jews, rendered almost ferocious by the struggle to hold these
`unsavory foreigners' in their place . Even as open-minded an
official as Broadhurst refers to "the notorious Balf our Declaration."
13 It would be difficult in fact to find anywhere a group
of men as incapable of assistance or understanding to such a
project as the Jewish National Home as are quartered under the
roof of the Palestine Administration . Without question they
regard themselves as under some sort of queer duty to lead a
stealthy filibuster against the very policy they were commissioned
to carry through. No one even on speaking terms with
the facts can doubt that the British and Jews in Palestine are
lined up, like medieval Norman and Saxon, on two sides of the
political, social and economic fence . "I could not help noticing,"
says Broadhurst pointedly, "that when British officials attend
any Jewish social function they beat a retreat at the first
opportune moment." 14
The American minister, John Haynes Holmes, visiting the
Holy Land in 1929, found an invincible prejudice against Jews
among the Crown officials . These men, he relates, "talked of
the Zionist movement with impatience, frequently with contempt,
and always with the suggestion that they would be ineffably
relieved, if not actually pleased, if the whole thing would
only blow up and disappear." 15 The English writer, Beverley
Nichols, paints an identical picture, saying, "I had not been in
Jerusalem for a week before I realized very clearly in which direction
lay the sympathies of the majority of the English community.
They were pro-Arab. Some from a vague sense of
`justice,' some from very clearly defined views of Imperial policy,
and some because they were frankly anti-Semitic ." 16 This
whole pattern of dislike is aptly shown in trifling provocations,
as the alteration in 1931 when Nathan Straus Street in Jerusalem
was given the hated name of Chancellor . Ashbee epitomizes
much of this feeling. He finds "these Jews of the Holy City
even worse than their brethren of Whitechapel." 17 The policy
of the Balfour Declaration, which he was appointed to implement,
he discovers "is an unjust policy . . . dangerous to civilization."
Farago, covering the 1936 riots, describes the wives of highly
placed British officials openly carrying on propaganda for the
Arab cause among the newspaper correspondents . Even the
Chief Secretary of the Government, Hawthorn Hall, an official
ranking next to the High Commissioner, is found advising French
journalists to read the anti-Semitic Arab press if they want to get
at the true facts of the Palestine situation .19 A wave of hatred
as devastating as this has many little eddies, nor have the enlisted
men escaped its clutch . This jingle, popular with the Palestine
army under General Dill, speaks volumes :
"Arab ! Don't shoot me
Shoot the man behind the tree .
He is a treacherous Jew
I am an Englishman true .
Arab ! Don't shoot me
Shoot the man behind the tree ."
A considerable proportion of His Majesty's servants in Palestine,
end up as accomplished anti-Zionist agitators in London .
To understand the ease with which the transition is made, one has
only to read the pages of the Arab propaganda sheet, Palestine
and Transjordan, and then the letters written by Sir John Chancellor
inviting various individuals in the Government to subscribe
money for the upkeep of this "weekly paper in English to express
the British point of view ." 20
There is not the slightest doubt that the Zionists are faced in
Palestine by a cynically hostile Guardian, who in the very nature
of events must sooner or later succeed in grinding their movement
to a pulp . It is in fact hard to conceive how, in a modern
world, any colonization enterprise can be conducted successfully
when it must contend with the active hatred of an overlord
who sets immigration conditions, tariff rates, taxes, and
regulates by fiat every economic and political condition under
which the new settlers must live.
Zionist publicity has proven itself adept at concealing this
ugly situation . Colonel Wedgwood visiting the country in
1927 was utterly astonished to hear at first hand the bitter feeling
of the Jewish settlers . He had been under the impression
that they were enraptured with the English Administration.
Only old Menachem Ussishkin among the Zionists, has dared to
speak his mind . With blunt candor he declared that "from the
start it was clear that the British officials in Palestine were against
us. The entire Arab opposition to the Jewish National Home
was `made at the Government House .' " 21
Dr. John Haynes Holmes puts the matter in a nutshell when
he says : "It may well be discovered, before the tale is done,
that the English conquest of Palestine, and the English Government
of Palestine under the Mandate, constitute together the
greatest tragedy that ever befell the Zionist movement ." 22
Weitzman had tartly informed the Twelfth Zionist Congress
: "If you think we made ourselves the agents of English
politics in the Near East, you have the wrong idea . . . If you
were to ask any British Imperialist today whether Palestine is
a necessity for them toward their Imperialistic ends, you will
hear as the answer a flat `no.' "
This, however, was far from the opinion of the gentlemen in
Westminster and Whitehall . They saw with hungry eyes that
this little territory had rapidly become the "key to great oil deposits,
to regions of vital value to Great Britain. Its loss by
the British Empire might be fatal to its interests in India, in
Egypt, and in the Suez Canal Zone ." 23 They saw also that between
Jewish and British interests in Palestine there lay basic,
and from their viewpoint, unbridgeable, contradictions .
With grim realism these men understood what Jewish politicians
were too naive to grasp, that there was no struggle between
Jews and Arabs, but actually an undeclared state of war
between the Zionists and His Britannic Majesty's Government
for possession of this vital area .
It was disconcertingly plain that if the Zionists put up a smart
fight for their patrimony the English would find themselves in
parentheses. Palestine was not a British colony but an area in
the process of becoming an independent state, handed over to
the transient guardianship of a Mandatory by consent of the
Jews. It was in this none too reassuring olio of facts that British
policy in Palestine had its raison d'etre . If need be they could
occupy Palestine on the same principle of 'J' y suis, j' y reste' 24
by which they had held on to Egypt.25 But a Great Britain
faced with a world of enemies, and which was loudly demanding
international sanctions against covenant-breaking nations like
Japan and Italy, had to keep face . It must achieve its ends by a
silently progressive destruction of the legal bases on which the
Zionist framework rested. Understanding this, one understands
the dissembling, the artificially created problems and the
covering cloak of platitudes which mark the British reign in
Palestine. Then, what must be otherwise merely an inexplicably
shabby series of mean-spirited acts against a defenseless people,
begins to make some pattern of sense .
In 1875 Disraeli got the Suez Canal for England with money
advanced by the Rothschilds, literally muscling his nation in
as the major shareholder . The canal made British control of
Egypt inevitable. Since that time, the King's subjects have
been taught that the lifeline of the Empire runs through Suez .
The Admiralty has always held doggedly to the dictum that
this artery must be dominated by Britain at all costs . Suez reverts
to the Egyptian Government when the Canal Company's
concession expires in 1969. Still more disturbing, the Egyptian
Nationalists forced London to sign a new treaty in 1936, under
which Britain troops will have to evacuate Alexandria and Cairo
in eight years.
These changing conditions leave the British Army, quartered
in the Canal Zone, without any hinterland as a base . Palestine
thus becomes an essential bulwark for an otherwise precariously
situated army. Accenting this condition is the presence of the
Italians on the newly acquired Island of Doumeirah in the Red
Sea, their guns mounted menacingly right athwart the Imperial
line of communications. On the land side Italy holds an impregnable
position in Ethiopia. Under her stimulation, Egypt
grows daily more restless . Germany has once more turned her
face toward the East, and is reviving Bismarck's Drang nach
Osten policy . Though at this moment she pays court to Eng210
land in the hope of winning its neutrality while Hitler is establishing
his domination in Europe, ultimate German colonial aims
at the expense of the British Empire are unconcealed . The old
objective of the Czars, dreaded by Englishmen for a hundred
years, has been finally gained by the Soviets. At the Montreux
Conference in 1936, despite anything His Majesty's representatives
could do about it, Turkey fortified the Straits and allowed
the Northern Muscovite Bear permission to send her fleets
through to the Mediterranean . Thus the danger of being outflanked
both by land and sea looms up more vividly real with
each passing month . In the Far East, Japan openly challenges
Britain not only for dominance in China but throughout the
East. Under Japanese stimulation the tide against the white
man rises inexorably in Asia . Siam and Persia are visibly anti-
British in sentiment, and the volcano of India smolders with
ominous portent.
Thoroughly alarmed, Great Britain is feverishly rearming .
She is straining every sinew and all her resources to meet the
savage attack which she knows must sooner or later be made on
The chain of great naval bases reaching from Gibraltar to
Singapore and Hongkong bears witness to the sharp attention
paid by British statesmen to control of the trade route to India.
If this were cut, Britain would be dead of starvation within six
weeks.26 Far from being self-supporting, England produces
only about three-fifths of the food she requires and about
twenty percent of the raw materials needed in her manufactures .
Roughly, forty percent of her commerce lies in export trade .
The Mediterranean is the principal trade route to all British
Dominions except Canada, and since her supremacy there has
been challenged it assumes greater significance in British eyes
than ever before. Its importance may be judged from Admiralty
figures, showing an annual value with India of C 8o,ooo,-
ooo; Australia, C 50,ooo,ooo ; and China, C 26,000,000 . The
center of gravity in international affairs, says Sidebotham, is
"no longer Stresa or Danzig, but Haifa ." -"
Haifa harbor has become the most important stronghold in
the Mediterranean. It is incomparably better than that of Alexandria,
which has now become difficult for large water vessels
due to the shifting of the channel . The quarrel with Mussolini
over Ethiopia demonstrated the untenability of the old naval
depot at Malta, which is now to be closed up and transferred to
Haifa, slated to be the permanent station for the Mediterranean
fleet. Haifa has hence become a weighty matter of empire,
comparable only in strategic significance with the new gigantic
Singapore base.
This port is moreover the terminus of the great oil line
through which the enormous stream of Mosul oil is transported
to the sea.28 This factor becomes overwhelmingly important
in light of the fact that less than six percent of all fuel oil and
gasoline consumed in the United Kingdom originates in the Empire.
With the British fleet modernized so that it depends on
fuel oil exclusively, has risen the Admiralty's demand that Zionism
be halted altogether and Palestine fenced off into a wholly
British preserve . The English blueprint envisages a parallel
pipeline to run from Haifa to the Mosul fields ; and another conduit
to carry the Anglo-Iranian oil from the Persian Gulf to
either Haifa or Aqaba.
Palestine today holds the key position for all air routes between
Britain and the East, and in view of the uncertainties in
Egypt, is a dominant factor in the development of air routes to
Africa. It has become a vital link in the whole British chain of
strategy. Desperately, as the open question arises as to the relative
efficiency of dreadnaughts and airships, Britain is seeking
transcontinental sovereignty of the air .
London also plans to supplement the water route to India by
a system of motor roads, of which Haifa will be the western
terminus ; and by a magnificent railway system, connecting all
the important British possessions in the old world like a girdle.
The defeat of Germany and Turkey during the Great War removed
the last physical obstacles to this grandiose scheme . The
railway is to go from Haifa to Baghdad, thence to the Persian
Gulf, connecting with British-controlled Port Fuad and the
India line . At Haifa again, it connects with the Cape to Cairo
Railway by way of Kantara, making Haifa the apex of a tremendous
triangle whose other extremes are at Capetown and
Calcutta . One arm is to go from Haifa to Damascus via Iraq,
thus maintaining an a priori grip on Syria in case the French are
forced out and the Italians attempt to take their place . Another
branch is to reach from Haifa to Aqaba, providing an alternative
land route between the two great seas .
If Haifa is rapidly becoming the key to the Orient, Aqaba,
on the Red Sea is potentially of like importance . Its sheltered
waters are ideal for a seaplane base, while the high mesa which
overlooks it provides the finest natural aerodrome in the world .
Fifty airplanes could take off simultaneously on this plateau .
Plans are already actively being formulated for the digging of a
new canal to supplement Suez, to stretch from Aqaba to Gaza .
This would relieve Britain of the fear of the water route reverting
to Egypt, and would give her a virtually impregnable
line of communications, making her master of the old world .
Bearing heavily on English attitudes is still another factor of
vast importance - the presence in the Dead Sea of unlimited
amounts of potash and other chemicals, valuable in peace and absolutely
essential in war. Palestine is England's only source of
this material . Until the Dead Sea development materialized, the
Germans held a practical monopoly on potash, placing the Allied
Powers in a serious predicament during the World War .
To the official mind, it became pressingly evident that some
pretext for permanent occupation of this indispensable area had
to be found. One thing was certain : England could never permit
Palestine to come under the rule of any other country.
Even more dubious in the Bureaucratic mind was the possibility
of an independent Jewish State, which, being free to contract
alliances with foreign powers, could conceivably make common
cause with the Empire's foes in the unpredictable future .
These officials look askance at the presence here of a large, intelligent,
modern population whose reaction in any crisis might
involve an obstinate consideration of its own needs and welfare
; and which might under able leaders extend its hegemony
of interests to cut through the indolent Arabic countries like a
knife through so much cheese, perhaps even challenging British
supremacy over Egypt itself. They believe that Palestine can
be held much more comfortably for Imperial purposes, without
a Jewish Homeland, with a native population completely dependent
on Britain for financial and political support .
The pioneering energy shown by the Zionists has also alarmed
London lest she should be nursing a new Japan in Western Asia,
who, sooner than was pleasant to contemplate, would go into active
competition for the all-important markets of Africa and the
Orient . They dread the possibility that an industrialized Jewish
Palestine would form the spearhead for an economic bloc of
Near Eastern countries, ruining British position completely by
an enlargement of already conflicting interests . They uncomfortably
remember that in 1914 India was importing seventyfive
percent of its cotton textiles from Great Britain. By 1 934
Indian capital had built enough domestic mills to supply seventyfive
percent of the textiles the country needed, Japan gobbling
up more than half of the remaining business . London is determined
to forestall industrialization in Asia wherever it can, and
is much more interested in maintaining the old conditions .29
The British know that the Jew, with his resources and indomitable
energy, if encouraged instead of hampered would
eventually bring the entire Near East into his sphere of influence
; and this possibility is sufficient to keep the gentlemen of
Downing Street from sleeping at night .
A persistent minority of independent British opinion, however,
takes a contrary view . On the matter of trade it points
out that markets depend also on consuming capacity and that it
is to the mother country's advantage to develop the Near East .
It points to the increasingly large English export to Palestine following
hard on the heels of Jewish industrialization . It draws
attention to the compensating trade development following the
industrialization of Canada, Australia and the other Dominions,
and it finally rests on the contention that the hand of progress
cannot be stopped whether England wills or no .
Such leaders as Lords Snell, Lothian, Tweedsmuir and Cecil
hold that the success of Zionism is no less important to Britain
than to the Jews, and stress the need for developing a loyal
population there whose interests would be tied up with those of
the English. These men view with disquietude the political instability
of the Arab, as well as the growing antagonism to Britain
throughout the Moslem world . They believe that a powerful
Jewish National Home, holding the Judean fastnesses and the
key coastal positions, would be another Gibraltar on the eastern
end of the Mediterranean . The English pro-Zionists contend
that intelligent Imperial planning demands the driving of a stout
Jewish wedge between the Egyptian, Turkish and Arabian Moslems.
Mr. L. S. Amery, former Secretary of State for the
Colonies, in his book The Forward View states that the introduction
of a strong Western force, allied with Britain, into this
part of the world, is an absolute Imperial necessity . The great
British publicist Herbert Sidebotham writes that "so strong
is the argument for Zionism to our own security that if there
had been no Zionism readymade to our hand by thousands of
years of Jewish suffering, we should have had to invent it ." 30
And Lieutenant-Commander Kenworthy asserts that "it is the
duty of every British Imperialist to support the Zionist policy in
Palestine, which is the only insurance policy for the defense of
the Suez Canal ."
Among the plans that have been seriously advocated is the
scheme for making Palestine a Crown Colony as a prelude to recasting
it as a self-governing Dominion . The Seventh Dominion
League was formed under the lead of such men as Colonel
Josiah Wedgwood, Sir Martin Conway and Lord Hartington.
They maintain that it is absolutely essential for the interests of
the British Empire that the Jews realize their ideal of a national
home in Palestine, that the burden of military defense for this
whole sector would then be minimum "because no nation could
attack Palestine without shocking the whole world Jewry ." 31
While the 1936 riots were going on, the Bureaucrats also, with a
wary eye on possibilities in case the original scheme fell through,
conducted some inspiring propaganda among Jews towards
this end. Leading it in Palestine was Hawthorn Hall, Chief
Secretary of the Palestine Government . The Jewish Farmers
Union and certain industrialists agreed eagerly, feeling that this
plan would eliminate the heartbreaking disabilities from which the
country suffers. In sheer weariness, most of the Jewish leaders
would have welcomed this solution if any half decent guarantee
would have been given them in exchange for their voluntary relinquishment
of the Mandate .
However, a Dominion has certain privileges, as London has
found out in its dealings with Canada and South Africa .32
The bureaucrats did not want the Jews as partners in the Empire
if they could avoid it . Expressing this hostility, Joseph F .
Broadhurst, long Assistant Inspector General, C.I.D., to the
Palestine Government, remarks : "I cannot see that a heterogeneous
collection of Jews dumped into a land with no connection
with our own would make the best of compatriots . This
would never do, and few British people would tolerate such a
scheme." 33
While this difference in opinion exists, the vast preponderance
of power lies with the anti-Semitic group, which is irrevocably
opposed to the Jewish National Home. They are painfully
aware that the Mandate was given to fulfill Jewish, not English,
needs and that England has no title in Palestine except such
right as she can make . Hence they have had to base their politics
on Jewish-Arab tension, a policy splendidly successful from
their viewpoint, even when a few of the resulting details were
highly unpleasant for Britain.
One of the great difficulties they encountered was the increasing
pressure of millions of desperate Jews throughout the
world who banged on the doors of the country frantically .
Here the Bureaucrats were at once presented with the need for
much circumspect maneuvering so as to avoid bringing a storm
of condemnation down on their heads . Unwilling to drop its
pose of decent impartiality in view of the effect it might have
on other subject peoples in the Empire, the Government was
forced from one impotent artifice to another .
Officialdom is further faced with the fact that in England itself
an obvious policy of pledge-breaking would not be popular.
British public opinion must be handled with kid gloves . It
regards the moral tradition of the nation with reverence, and has
been known to buck like a wild steer when this was outraged .
Both in and out of Parliament there existed an enormous sympathy
for Zionism which could not be dispelled over night . As
late as October 1936 a poll on the Palestine situation taken by
the anti-Zionist Daily Express showed even here a more than
two-to-one majority in favor of the Jews as against the Arabs
Whitehall was espousing . In its own literature the Government
had acknowledged that outside of Jewry "an overwhelming
mass of public opinion would appear to favor Jewish
administration in Palestine ." 34 This "overwhelming mass of
outside opinion" had to be deferred to, and at the same time,
broken down .
These uncertainties are the only reasons why they do not
annex Sinai to Palestine as part of a final settlement with Egypt .
They are playing the safety factor ; not feeling sure that their
strategy in the Holy Land will be successful, and afraid that
they may yet, despite all their desperate juggling, be forced to
deal with the fact of an independent Jewish State .
The sum total of this situation is certainly rather awkward for
the men who sit at the mahogany desks in Whitehall, and calls
for smart operating . But they are capable of smart operating .
And they are determined to make Western Asia into a British
pasturage if they have to turn half of creation upside down in
the process .
Many reasons are advanced by the English to the bewildered
Zionists to explain their conduct . "We are sorry," they say
confidentially. "We would really like to do it, y' know, but
we have to be careful of the ninety million Mohammedans in
our Empire."
Under examination this hackneyed contention seems pretty
thin. The British have only to refer to their own T . E. Lawrence,
who termed Pan-Islamism in politics "a fiction." The
men of Whitehall are, after all, capable administrators who are
not apt to forget recent experience in a hurry . They can still
remember the war with Turkey when the Mohammedans refused
to heed the Ottoman Sultan's call to Holy War against
England, and instead united with the Hindus to aid the Christian
conqueror . They are also aware of the successful French experience
in throwing Feisal, descendant of the Prophet, out of Syria
bodily, with the rifles of imported Moslem levies . They know
that the Agha Khan, head of the Indian Mohammedans, belongs
to the Ishmaelite sect, who are so thoroughly orthodox that they
regard the Palestine Moslems as shameless infidels .35 They also
could hardly be unaware that the Hindus, far in the majority in
India, are more than a counterweight to any possible Moslem
reaction ; and Hindu leaders have made their cordial sympathy
for Zionism clear .
There is, on the whole, more real difference between the various
Moslem sects than there is between the beliefs of a modern
Englishman and an orthodox Jew from Bessarabia . Islam itself
is more than a creed . It is a complete social system . Originally
it was a simple and understandable faith, full of the spirit of
generosity and brotherhood . To the essential democracy it
preached it added cannily a list of simple sugary delights, including
a Paradise containing beautiful and agreeable girls whose
virginity miraculously returned to them every morning. Today
knowledge of the Faith is everywhere confused with debased
moral standards, superstitions and bigoted ignorance .
The powerful Ibn Saud preaches the unity of orthodox Moslems
and the exclusion of all other Arabs . His Wahabis adhere
literally to the Koran, do not drink or smoke, and consider
every technical innovation of our time to be a tool of Satan .
They regard all the theological and philosophical speculations
which made Arab civilization famous during the Middle Ages,
as heresies, to be relentlessly purged . They are prepared for no
compromises and consider the North Arabs as Musbieks, unbelievers,
who are to be viewed with more intense dislike than
even Christians or Jews. The Wahabis consider the wearing of
a silk garment or gold ornament to be a sin . They regard the
Prophet Mohammed as just a man and repudiate bitterly the act
of other Moslem sects in turning him into a supernatural being .
The Wahabis look on any built place of worship as being
perilously close to idolatry . Only with difficulty were they restrained
from destroying in their zeal the beautiful architectural
shrines in Mecca and Medina when they drove Hussein out of
the Hejaz .
The Wahabis often have threatened an attack on Iraq . Part
of the ever-impending Holy War against "unfaithful Moslems"
in Transjordan, Iraq, Kowiet and Palestine almost eventuated in
March 1928, and was only stopped by a convincing mobilization
of British airplanes and armored cars . In Iraq, against the
fierce opposition of the predominant Shi'a community, Feisal,
who belongs to the Sunna sect, was bombed onto the throne by
the British . There has since been continuous trouble of a sort
only comparable to the religious hatreds which divided France
and Germany after the advent of the Reformation . Numerous
and bloody physical clashes occur. The Shi'as, who outnumber
the Sunni invaders three-to-one, are suppressed with an iron
hand, exiled, imprisoned and their newspapers outlawed . How
venomous the feeling is, is shown in the Shi'a protest to the
League, praying for remedy from the terrorization they are being
subjected to by the "savages brought from the desert" by
The bogey of a militant Arab racialism is another invention of
the ever-resourceful Bureaucratic mind . Lawrence once told
Liddell Hart that he had "always been a realist and opportunist
in tactics : and Arab unity is a madman's notion ." Sir Ronald
Storrs, too, remarks : "Arabism does not exist ." 37 And another
British authority, Loder, adds : "Arabia is a geographical expression
and corresponds to no political entity ." 38 The very
use of the words 'Mohammedanism' and `nationalism' in the
same breath is a contradiction in terms . Racial pride is unknown
to Islam . Everyone who confesses Allah is accepted as
a brother and equal, whether he be a Negro, Malay or European .
There, moreover, remains a strong identity between sectarianism
and dynastic government . Religion and law are so closely
identified in Islam that the difference between two sects asBUREAUCRACY
sumes an important difference between the civil and criminal
sanctions under which they respectively live .39 The only way
nationalism can be effective in the Near East is by the secularization
of religion, from which these people are a long way off .
Arabia is a mass of blood feuds and economic rivalries . There
are long drawn-out boundary disputes between the various countries,
and the traditional jealousies between the ruling houses extends
fan-shape down the line through the whole host of minor
sheikhs, sultans and imams.
Bedouins meeting in strange territory slaughter each other
without mercy . Tribesmen are constantly being killed in frontier
raids from which not even Palestine and Transjordan are
exempt. None of the established Arab governments have been
able to put down these constantly recurring conflicts between
the tribes . Even under the strong hand of the British, raiding
Wahabis slaughtered the whole Transjordan tribe of Atie in
December 1928 ; and a typical pitched battle was fought between
the tribes at Koba near Jerusalem as late as July 1932 .
The Syrian author, Ameen Rihani, gives a graphic picture of the
general state of affairs in one Arab country, Yemen . The ruling
Imam, in order to protect his position, is eternally warring
with rebellious clans and tribes . "The twenty-seven years of
his reign," says Rihani, "have been a continuous Jihad, actual
and political - a chain of wars and truces . Little wonder that
hostages are the foundation of the state ." Here, too, the Italian
observer, Salvatore Aponte, notes that the vast majority of the
population are the unwilling subjects of the ruling Zaidis from
the hills, "whom they look upon as abominable heretics ." 40
In all the Arab countries provincialism is a persistent factor .
Syrians employed in the Iraqi Government service, as an instance,
are the constant object of agitation aimed at ousting
The result of the recent controversy between Turkey and
Syria over the Sanjak of Alexandretta (a part of Syria which
holds a considerable minority Turkish population) is also illuminating.
The Turks declared openly to London, Paris and
Geneva : "We have confidence in France but not in Syria."
Negotiations between Paris and Ankara, under the auspices of
the League, finally ended in the Spring of 1938 in a settlement
whereby this richest of all Syrian provinces (called by the
Arabs "the pearl of the Arab Empire") is to be detached from
that country and ultimately handed back to Turkey . The result
was hardly what could be expected if pan-Arabism is to be
credited with the vitality London concedes to it . The outside
Arabs maintained a prudent silence . Not one Arab paper dared
to write a single article against Turkey . No Arab State raised
its voice in favor of Damascus, and not a single Arab statesman
protested directly or indirectly . At the very moment, in fact,
when the Syrians were imploring the aid of their Arab brethren,
Baghdad organized a triumphal reception in honor of the Turkish
Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had come to Iraq at the
head of a large official delegation .41
None of this prevents the Colonial Office mouthpiece Great
Britain and the East from headlining an explosive editorial during
the recent riots : "ARABIA AWAKE," asserting that the
Arabs, from Morocco to Persia, with a single patriotic voice "are
implacably resolved to look upon Palestine as a part of Arabia ."
The whole plan for a great Federated Arab State reaches back
to the tenacious support England gave the Turks before the
War. By 1915 the idea gradually emerged of elevating the
Arab into the place in English affections that the Turks had so
rudely left vacant . It had been the pet scheme of the military
clique who came in with Allenby . It was then dropped, suddenly
to be revived ten days after General de Bono marched his
Italians into Adowa. Slowly the Federation is taking shape as
British gold pours into the Near East .
The previous tactics were to keep the Arab rulers at each
other's throats . This was handled by a system of agents provocateur,
politely known as political officers, who represented the
Crown and dispensed its largesse in each place and principality .
This method revolves around a system of always having rivals,
or powerful opponents, ready to put forward if the existing
ruler becomes difficult to handle . The big question in every
Arab land is the agreement or treaty with the British, and the
amount of gold that can be secured. The amazing elasticity
and scope of this control system is outlined by Rihani in his
book, Around the Coasts o f Arabia.42 "They all have to be
satisfied," he comments, "the big chiefs, the little chiefs and all
the chiefs between ."
The Arab countries are hardly more than camouflaged English
colonies. Iraq, for example, is theoretically independent.
But the British maintain troops there and have absolute control
over the country's foreign affairs. Under the twenty-year
`treaty' signed October io, 1922, Iraq may appoint no foreign
official or adviser without British approval . It provides for a
separate agreement covering the employment of British officials
in the Iragian Government. Another separate agreement gives
England a measure of control over Iraq's judicial affairs . The
Treaty also stipulates that the British Air Force is to protect
Iraq's frontier, putting England in de facto military control. In
December 1925, Britain maneuvered the League of Nations into
position to hand over the Turkish Vilayet of Mosul to Iraq,
"provided that the British control over that kingdom were extended
for a period of about twenty-five years ." 43 Ibn Saud,
too, gets a large subsidy, granting adequate favors in return .
Among these is a juicy concession to the British-owned Iraq
Petroleum Company "extending over the whole Western littoral
of Saudi Arabia to a depth inland of one hundred kilometres ." 44
Today the official plan involves closing the door to threatened
expansion by Italy, making a more or less closely organized
unit desirable. Mussolini had been making overtures to the
Arabs and was utilizing funds from the Italian Treasury for this
purpose. He had set up a powerful broadcasting station at
Bari, agitating the Arabs in their own language to throw off the
British yoke ; forcing the frightened British to inaugurate competing
Arabic broadcasts from London .
Ibn Saud, in exchange for an increase in his subsidy and wider
autonomy from direct British rule, agreed to enter the system
of pacts, as did Iraq . Then the clique in Whitehall summoned
Abdullah of Transjordan to London and set the background for
the events which ended in the 1936 Palestine riots . King Ghazi
of Iraq is looked on as a weakling and thoroughly undependable
; and Abdullah was inserted into the pact system as a check
on the ulterior ambitions of Saud whom London distrusts . Abdullah,
who once expressed strong anti-British sentiment before
he learned what side his bread was buttered on, is now in high
favor with Downing Street as a man of "extraordinary good
sense ." When during the Ethiopian incident the Mufti decided
to balk, it was the ever-pliable Abdullah, rising like an elfin Don
Quixote from his little principality, who issued the call to the
Jihad against Italy in the name of Islam. As ruler of Transjordan
the Emir cuts rather a ludicrous figure, but as King of
a reunited Transjordanian-Palestine he becomes a respectable
monarch and an ideal counter-balance to the Hejaz Kingdom in
the Arabic Federation of the future .
In the formulation of this plan, Abdullah was not to be trusted
altogether with Palestine . Strategical sections, including Jerusalem
and Haifa, were to be handed over to Britain outright, as
was an enclave around Aqaba . The Jews were to be restricted
to a tiny coastal area . If they refused to agree, a cantonization
plan was favored, thus accomplishing the same result without
benefit of international sanction .
The authors of this scheme allowed their imaginations to roam
over the possibility of even disengaging North Africa from
France and Italy, and already have had their puppets speak in
grandiose terms of an allied free Moorish State in North Africa
which will fall within the magnetic influence of the free Arab
All this was fraught with considerable difficulty from the
Arab side alone . There had been bad blood between Feisal and
his brother Abdullah . The Emir felt that he should have gotten
the throne of Iraq after Feisal's death instead of the boy King
Ghazi. Iraq was now ambitious to get part of northern Palestine
for an outlet to the sea . The project was also viewed with
ill-concealed suspicion by Ibn Saud who wants no strengthening
of a rival house ejected by him from Mecca .
Working against time, British agents like Philby, Cox and
Peake Pasha again criss-crossed the desert handing out money
and promises right and left . Under pressure, boundary disputes
are being speedily settled as this great effort to de-Balkanize the
Near East goes forward . In complete liaison, British agents
were at work in Teheran and Istanbul to draw these two important
powers within the British orbit by inducing them to
sign a corollary pact . In response to this fast work, Afghanistan,
Iraq, Iran and Turkey came to a treaty of friendship early
in February 1936. One leg of the journey was now over . The
bringing of Egypt into this bloc was to follow, as was the Arab
Federation into which Palestine was to be absorbed. Such was
the plan. As early as June 11, 1936, Great Britain and the East
blatantly announces that "the Arab Federation is being develveloped
. . . under British patronage, on sound lines ." At a
crucial Cabinet meeting in September of 1936 the English were
on the point of declaring the Federation in existence ; and were
only deterred at the last moment by pointed protest in the
American Congress calling attention to the international obligations
inherent in the Palestine Mandate and to America's vested
interests there .
It is somewhat sardonic to note that during the same period
that official British publicists were ballyhooing the right of selfdetermination
as applied to Arabs in Palestine, Britain had
grabbed a huge chunk of territory from the Arabs in Southern
Arabia. By an Order in Council which became effective April
1, 1937 the British Government arbitrarily annexed to the Empire
111,025 square miles of territory, including some six hundred
thousand Arabs of different tribes and complexions. This
area is called the Hadramaut, and it was taken by exactly the
same methods Italy used in Ethiopia . Completely soured on the
tactics of his own Government, Philby writes : "The attempt
of Great Britain to curtail the independence of South Arabia
necessitates the employment of terrorism which we deplore
when it is used by others . That aerial bombing is freely used
. . . is not denied by the Government ." 45 The British also
own another slice of Arabia which they annexed shortly after
the World War. This is the colony of Aden which dominates
the southern end of the peninsula and looks straight across the
Red Sea at Mussolini's legions in East Africa . Obviously the
vast areas of the Hadramaut and Aden are not to be included in
the proposed Arab Confederacy .
Part of Whitehall's strategy lies in an attempt to frighten
fellow-Englishmen with the bogey that the Arab was prepared
to be Britain's best friend until the ultimate enormity of Zionism
was thrust upon him. Actually the British seem to have little
to fear here, since the Arabs require the power of English arms
if they are to maintain their independence . "Nothing," writes
Ernest Main, "could stop Turkey or Persia walking into Iraq
tomorrow except the presence of Britain ." 46 The Arab liaison
with England is in many ways a more than doubtful value .
Turkey, for instance, obstinately regards the Mosul area of Iraq
as Turkish irredenta territory. Therefore, states Herbert Sidebotham,
English friendship with the Arabs is more than likely to
bring Britain into collision with these countries : "In any case . . .
our friendship should be courted by the Arab kings, rather than
theirs by us." 47
Pro-Arab propagandists additionally ignore the dark hatred
with which the Arab regards all Christians. The Hejaz, country
of King Hussein, number one man in this controversy,
does not allow a single Christian within its sacred borders.
Lieutenant-Colonel Stafford writes that "at an official reception
to the present King of Iraq the usual cheers were followed by
cries of `Down with Britain."' Article II of Lawrence's Confidential
Guide to Newcomers from the British Army states
frankly that "the foreigner and Christian is not a popular person
in Araby. . . Wave a Sherif in front of you like a banner
and hide your own mind and person ." 48
Shrewd English observers, unimpressed by bureaucratic fetish,
are of the absolute opinion that in the event of a general war
the first purpose of the Arabs would be to get rid of Britain, and
that London is strengthening the very forces which will ultimately
be arrayed against her . The English writer Ernest
Main mentions, as an augury for the future, that the Arab press
solidly supported Italy during the Abyssinian War, making no
bones of their intention to blast the English into the sea at the
first opportunity .49
In Palestine itself there can be no doubt of the ferocious extent
of anti-Jewish sentiment, "but it is all but swallowed up in
the sweeping tide of feeling against England." 60 Rasps the
Arab newspaper Falastin in its issue of May 19, 1930 : "The
Jews lost an opportunity to arrive at an understanding with the
Arabs owing to the Jews' obstinacy and blind loyalty to Great
Britain." The articles of indictment are numerous : the country
is overridden with English officials who draw high salaries
and live in luxury, etc. Nor do Moslem doctrines require much
outside stimulation to foment a frenzied hatred for the Englishman
and all his works. What Moslems really think was plainly
stated by Mohammed Ali, supreme Moslem leader of India, addressing
the Moslem High Council in Palestine on November 23,
1928. "Not the Jews are our enemies," he shouted, "but British
Imperialism which aims to seize all Moslem lands ."
The British were in fact thoroughly cured of "all-Moslem
Congresses" by occurrences at the Congress of December 1931,
which the Palestine Government had organized as a weapon
against the Zionists . One of the first resolutions it adopted
claimed that the highly strategic Hejaz Railway was Wakf
(Moslem religious) property which had been stolen by the English,
and demanded its return within six months under threat of
an international Mohammedan boycott of British goods .

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