SAMUEL IS REPLACED
Probably no man was so cordially detested by his own people
as this latter-day Herod called Herbert Samuel . In any other
community this deep-seated resentment would have flared up
in periodic attempts at violence . Jews, who have an instinctive
abhorrence of lawlessness as a method of settling their problems,
kept their peace but hardly hated him the less .
Among his public acts was the matter of the allotment of
the Crown lands, which under the Mandate were to have been
placed at the disposal of the Zionists . The story of their distribution
is amazing .
The cream of these Government lands were in the Beisan
area, in the fertile region known as the Ghor Valley. When
the British first took over they found this territory, according
to the subsequent report of Lewis French, inhabited by a degraded,
sickly population who lived in mud hovels, "and of too
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
low intelligence to be receptive to any suggestions for improvement
of their housing, water supply or education . . . There
were no trees, no vegetables . The fellaheen, if not themselves
cattle thieves, were always ready to harbour these and other
criminals. . . The Bedu, wild and lawless by nature, were constantly
at feud with their neighbors on both sides of the Jordan,
and raids and highway robberies formed their staple industry ."
His Excellency had visited Beisan, chief marketing town of this
section, and had been "received with hostility and contumely"
by the ruffian population, a Transjordan tribe of nomads who
had pitched camp there for the winter .
Nettled, Samuel returned to his earlier technique of placating
the tribesmen with gifts . He immediately announced that he
was giving the Beisan lands to the same truculent nomads who
had insulted him . All told, the Government gave these Arabs
almost four hundred thousand dunams (a dunam is about a quarter
of an acre) 41 of the best land in Palestine, while the Jews
received not so much as a square yard .42 At the most conservative
estimate the land was worth at least C 6 per dunam, even
at that time . It was disposed of to the Bedouins for C i per
dunam, to be paid in yearly installments of two shillings each .
Immediately these lands became the subject of the most cynical
speculation. Tribesmen were not interested in the hard
work cultivation requires and most of them were given far more
acreage than they could handle by themselves . The net result
was that the major part of the soil was immediately offered to
the Zionists at fancy prices . Even more sardonic, much of the
land given to these Bedouins was resold later to the Government
at a profit of some 5oo percent, to be used for the resettlement
of so-called displaced Arabs .43 Everywhere Arab speculators
entered, scenting a middleman's profit. Many of the
tribesmen sold at inflated prices and disappeared into
, rich beyond their fondest dreams of avarice . Iraq
The Government was now in fact compelled to tackle a new
problem : that of preventing the Beisan lands from subsequently
falling into the hands of land-hungry Jews, who were willing to
offer almost any price .
A MAN NAMED SAMUEL 119
It was during Sir Herbert's regime that Arab opposition to
the Jews took definite form and grooved itself . The entire
Administration was honey-combed with anti-Semitic officials
who made the Executive Offices a nest of pro-Arab activity.
Samuel, masking himself behind a screen of `liberalism,' made
not the slightest move to interfere .
When in 1925 Sir Herbert was relieved by Lord Plumer,
woke as from a nightmare and breathed free Palestine
again . He had done about as much damage as it was possible
for one man to do to the Jewish cause ; but the Zionist Organization
thought it politic to go through the mummery of
giving him a testimonial banquet.44
FIELD MARSHAL LORD PLUMER
When the hated Samuel finally packed his duffle and left for
that were so continually being prepared for them . Article
IV of the Mandate makes it clear that the Jewish Agency
has certain powers, that it should be consulted concerning the
appointment of any High Commissioner. The Bureaucrats destroyed
the vestigial remnant of this section of
's pledge England
when they made a test case of it and appointed Field Marshal
Lord Plumer out of the clear sky. The Zionists, living up to
precedent, simply looked startled and went about their business
of `non-political' activities .
Compared to Samuel, Plumer was a vision of fair delight .
By any other reasonable criterion he was a total loss . The
Field Marshal was a hard man, iron-willed, who ruled with a
clenched fist. He was the only High Commissioner who held
his Jew-baiting subordinates within reasonable check . The best
that can be said for him is that under his rule there were no pogroms.
When the Arabs, persisting naively in the same tactics
which were so successful under Samuel, approached him in delegation,
warning that if a planned procession of Jewish war
veterans were held, they "would not be responsible for the peace
," Plumer withered them by replying, "No one asked Jerusalem
THE RAPE OF
you to be responsible .. I am the High Commissioner and I will
be responsible." The Arabs never tried that trick again as long
as the Field Marshal remained in
However, the old policies continued unchanged . Typical of
his regime is the loan of f 20,000 to the
Bedouins in Beersheba
1928 to quiet their grumbling against the indirect Governmental
refusal to allow land sales to Jews .45 It was also under Plumer
that Jews were practically banned from participation in the defense
forces of the country . A whole succession of carefully
developed ordinances directed against Zionist penetration
marked his regime . Despite this, the Zionists, with good reason
fearful of his unknown successor, were sorry to see him go .
When he resigned, a sudden outburst of Jewish energy
brought General Smuts, Zionist friend and incorruptible executive,
under consideration for the post. Smuts declined, obviously
not caring to accept the burden of reconciling his conscience
with the policies of the Colonial Office .
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
THE THIRD HIGH COMMISSIONER
The soldier Plumer was succeeded in 1928 by Sir John Chancellor.
Chancellor was an unfortunate choice for the Jews.
He had the general appearance of the Shakespearean actor who,
with a certain forgivable pompousness, loves to play the great
man. His graying hair and regular features were imposing ; but
his countenance was too complacent and unwrinkled for a man
his age, giving an impression of appalling smugness . His contempt
for Jews was so deliberate as to appear ostentatious .
It was under this man that the bloody outbreak of 1929 took
place. When these excesses brought on an unlooked-for wave
of world indignation that threatened to swamp his regime, he issued
an hysterical statement condemning the Arabs in terms of
unbridled virulence . When he saw the Zionists disinclined to
press their advantage and yielding to British blandishments, he
maneuvered the placing of political responsibility onto Jewish
Chancellor was hardly equal to the standards of shrewd manipulation
set by the Colonial Office . When he retired in July
1931, he became an anti-Zionist spokesman in London . No
tears were shed when he left the country, to be succeeded by
Lieutenant-General Arthur Grenfell Wauchope .
THE POGROM OF 1929
There are few chapters in civilized history that can match for
sheer inhumanity and outrage the record of the British Government
in Palestine. Now was to be written in letters dripping
red with blood one of the crowning achievements of that record.
With characteristic blind-optimism the Zionist leaders were
running around like fussy ants, unconscious that a heavy heel was
about to crush down on their hill. With fine disregard for ac-
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
teal conditions, they were making ready to repair to Europe for
a Congress which was announced as "a turning point in the history
of Zionism - the close of an illustrious epoch and the beginning
of a new and still greater period ." Ignored were the
desperate appeals of Palestine Jewry, who knew better how to
evaluate the signs and portents written on sky and fencepost
than the mighty orators who held the fort in Europe .
For a period of six years the Zionist Executive had been negotiating
with powerful Jewish bodies with a view to forming
a vastly enlarged Jewish Agency. Such financial giants as Felix
Warburg of New York, and a galaxy of non-Zionist Jews, experienced,
shrewd and capable, were now lined up . In high exultation
Weitzman announced the forthcoming creation of an
enlarged Jewish Agency in fact, to include an equal proportion
of non-Zionists along with the Zionists .
Alarmed, the Palestine Administration watched developments
like a cat at a rat-hole . Article IV of the Mandate, long ignored,
gave the Jewish Agency considerable power . The Bureaucrats
in Jerusalem, over-estimating the financial assistance,
the fierce energy and political shrewdness which they feared
would now be supplemented for the easy-going incompetence of
conventional Zionist spellbinders, had been setting the stage for
a discouraging blow. With an unctuous play at unknowing innocence,
they built an imposing heap of the most inflammable
tinder to be found in the country, and waited patiently for just
the right moment before setting a match to it.
Carefully the story was built and circulated that the Jews
planned to tear down the Mosque of Omar, which Moslems believe
marks the exact center of the earth, and to rebuild the
Temple on its site.
Immediately adjoining the Mosque is located the most sacred
of all Jewish devotional objects, the Wailing Wall, last remnant
of Solomon's Temple. To the practical-minded Zionists
these few ancient stones did not assume any absolute significance
. But it was the sanctuary of the religious Jews ; and a
symbol of Jewish right in the land of their fathers. Thus any
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
attack on it became identified with an attack on the rights of all
Jewry. Four centuries of Turkish rule had protected Jewish
title to this holy place without disturbance . Neither the Wall
itself nor the immediate patch of Temple area at the top had any
particular interest to Islam. For as long as the memory of man,
no Moslem had been known to concern himself with the spectacle
of these few bearded Jews weeping over the ancient stones .
Now suddenly they discovered a deep interest in the vicinity of
the Wall and ended by claiming ownership for themselves. A
whole series of petty persecutions, abetted by the authorities in
Jerusalem, followed . Stones were thrown at the worshipers,
who were jeered at and insulted . The pavement in front was
systematically covered with offal from donkeys on the day of
the Sabbath services. A rest room was erected abutting the
Wall itself, and a hospice was established adjacent to it, with a
Home for the Aged in another adjoining house . Dervishes were
put in a nearby garden, who synchronized their dancing, drumming
and noisemaking with the Jewish worship . Finally a
Muezzin popped up on the roof of an abutting house, coming
out five times daily to scream out his incitement to the Faithful .
The Wall had been a cul de sac, and when the Government
allowed, or instigated, the Moslems to erect a mosque on the
right side of it, and to break through the Wall proper to open
a new avenue to the Mosque of Omar, all Jewish Palestine rose
in indignant protest. Donkeys and their Moslem masters now
passed in droves through the sacred precincts which had been
undisturbed for centuries except for the soft prayers of the
On the Day of Atonement, holiest day of the Jewish calendar,
Keith-Roach, Governor of Jerusalem, learned that the worshipers
had placed a portable screen at the Wall to protect themselves
from Arab abuse . The Neilab, or closing services, were
being recited when an English officer, under the Governor's instruction,
violently broke into the midst of the worship, with
no more regard than if he were invading a den of thieves, and
removed the screen .
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
Incident now followed incident, with the Arabs growing daily
more pugnacious and the Administration openly abetting them .
Matters had been allowed to develop to such a point of high
tension that it seemed as if taut nerves must burst if even a firecracker
popped . In the Arab press an intensive anti-Zionist and
anti-Jewish campaign was going full blast . The Protocols o f
the Elders o f Zion were being widely circulated . The Communists,
too, like great carrion birds sensing disaster from afar,
had joined in the campaign of incitement, urging "an Arab fight
to the finish against Zionism ."' Just before the actual bloodshed
started, they took advantage of the growing excitement to
issue a manifesto urging a general strike against the policy of the
Jewish National Home .
The Zionist hierarchy had treated this pernicious propaganda
with aloof disdain as small-time matters of a passing character,
and airily dismissed as `alarmists' those friends who warned them
that blue fury was about to blaze in the Land of Israel . Like
happy children they went traipsing off to their Congress in
Switzerland. The only Zionist official left in Palestine was an
accountant, who when warned that the outbreaks were impending,
"merely shrugged his shoulders indifferently ." 2 The
High Commissioner had arranged to be absent from his post for
the first time, and was on visit to London. In charge as Acting
High Commissioner was Harry Luke, polished, suave, and
known to be unfriendly to Jews.3 Ruling Jerusalem was Ronald
Storrs, a somewhat bald man with fine patrician features and a
definite flair for the arts.4 Storrs was a cousin of Archer Cust,
secretary to Chancellor and an outspoken anti-Zionist, and was
said to be a political protege of Brigadier General Blakeney, a
violent anti-Semite who suffered from the delusion that the Zionists
"were trying to poison him ."
On August 16 a fanatical Moslem demonstration was held in
Jerusalem . The mob yelling, "For Mohammed with the sword!"
roared on to the Wailing Wall where they tore up Jewish
prayerbooks and burned liturgical documents . This violence had
been permitted by the Government and no arrests were made.
Arab agitators began touring the country, bringing word from
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
the Mufti that Friday the twenty-third was to be der Tag, instructing
the villagers to await orders on that day .
In this atmosphere of threat and uncertainty the Government
once more deliberately disarmed the Jews, leaving the colonies
The riots were precipitated by the police themselves, who
with extraordinary savagery attacked a procession of mourners
who were carrying the casket of a seventeen-year-old Sephardic 6
boy who had been stabbed to death by Arabs. Old men, women
and children were beaten up indiscriminately .? The city was
swarming with fellaheen and Bedouins armed with clubs, knives
and guns and they needed no further invitation . Like a flood
of death they broke loose over the city with the old cry : "Al
daula Maana !" (The Government is with us.)
In Jerusalem the police watched the riots start with several
hundred screaming cutthroats brandishing their weapons and
shouting for Jewish blood, without making the slightest effort to
stop them. One mob proceeded from the Mosque to the Nablus
Gate for an attack on the Jewish Quarter of Meah Shearim .
Six mounted policemen went with them, watching the proceedings
with interest . In the Georgian Quarter of Jerusalem whole
families were slaughtered by these howling `patriots .' Violation,
murder and pillage took place while British officials stood on the
balcony of the nearby Government House - heard the screaming
and the shots - and did nothing.
For eight days the country was given over to an orgy of violence.
Far from declaring martial law the moment these outbreaks
occurred, no attempt was made to disarm the invaders .
Even after the massacres began the police did not use their firearms,
under "orders from headquarters ." 8 The Acting High
Commissioner, Luke, cynically informed an anxious Jewish delegation
begging for help, that he had "given orders not to
Jewish youths responded with hidden arms and clubs in the
desperate work of self-defense. A group of visiting Oxford
students did what they could to redeem the good name of England
by ranging themselves on the side of the defenders and
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
fighting with chivalric courage . On August 24, Luke decided
to disarm all Jewish special constables in response to a request of
the Mufti." The possession of arms by the Jews was everywhere
and at all times illegal . Jews were sentenced to long
prison terms for even owning a dagger, standard Bedouin equipment.
Those defending themselves were arrested and charged
with murder .
A typical incident took place in the village of Jabniel where
troops were finally dispatched in response to the frantic appeals
of the villagers for help . Their first act on arrival was to arrest
ten men in the village found in possession of arms . To what
lengths the Administration was willing to go in immobilizing the
Jewish self-defense is shown in the case of the Jewish police constable,
Hinkis, sentenced to death for `murdering' one of the
attacking hoodlums . No wonder the Hebrew newspaper Davar
asked in despair : "Is there a law which compels our men to deliver
their lives and the lives of their children to massacre, their
daughters to rape, their property to plunder ? What theory
and what kind of regime is it that demands such things from
Horrible days of nightmare followed for the Jewish colonies,
who found themselves beleaguered by veritable armies of
screaming savages . The colony at Ekron sent a delegation to
the British officer stationed at Naaneh . He received them brutally
and refused to offer any advice as to how the Jews were to
defend their lives and property . Asked what was to be done
with the cattle, he said, "put them in the synagogue ." And
when the Jewish physician of Ekron pressed him for a sensible
answer, he boxed his ears. Shaken by this ruffian attitude the
colonists decided to evacuate their homes, and went down to the
railroad station . At four in the afternoon, the same officer appeared
with a guard and demanded all the weapons in the
place .1 "
It was at Hebron and Safed that the worst slaughters took
place . At the former town the British officer in charge was a
man named Cafferata. To understand the type of men the
Mandatory placed in charge of the Jewish National Home, it is
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
merely necessary to know that Cafferata was an intimate of the
Princess Kerachi, one of the moving spirits in the anti-Semitic
Internationale then taking form in Europe . Openly warned,
the Jews at Hebron had appealed day by day to the Government
for protection, and had been `eased' away. During the
horrible massacre that finally took place, Cafferata stood calmly
by, eying the awful scene as if it were some kind of theatrical
tableau. Witnesses were unanimous in reporting that even a
warning, or a few shots in the air, would have dispersed the mob.
The attackers stormed the houses, and sliced their occupants to
ribbons. Everything worth stealing was carried off . The rest
was soaked in stolen gasoline and set on fire. If it had not been
for some friendly Arab families, not a single Jewish soul in
Hebron would have remained alive . After this bestial orgy had
gone on for some hours, the mob was commanded to scatter .
The police, says an eye-witness, then "shot into the air, and at
once the street was empty ." 11
Hebron was only a carbon copy of terrible events taking
place all over this stricken land . At Safed, after the same looting
and slaughter, the Jewish quarter was set on fire . A sickened
onlooker described its appearance as ghastly - as if guns
had shot it to pieces .12 It was not until the burning petroleum
was turning it into a crackling furnace, that the Chief of Police
finally gave orders to his men to shoot with blank cartridges .
This "stopped the massacre immediately, but not the pillage ." 13
Refugees from Hebron and other places filled the schools and
hospitals . The Government did not even deem it necessary to
furnish mattresses and foodstuffs, and the Jewish relief organizations
were not adequate to the misery ." At Hebron the
wounded were herded under horrible conditions at the police
stations, without medical aid or water . According to a survivor,
Zwi Greenberg, "the Governor only wanted us to wire
'Hebron all right ."'
Whatever interpretation one might place on the role of the
Government in this crazy melange of revenge, its actions following
the riots can hardly be described as anything less than
contemptible. Its press releases set a new high in official men128
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
dacity and ill-concealed dislike for the stricken victims themselves.
In its reports the attacker is classed with the attacked,
the criminal with the innocent, even though not a single case existed
of Jewish assault on an Arab quarter or of Jewish looting .
Following its usual technique, all Jewish newspapers were suppressed
; while Arab publications with open brazenness proclaimed
Arab guilt and aggression, as if victors in some medieval
holy war. Some picture of the utter depths this bias reached
can be gained from the notice issued by the Administration that
it "deprecated any mention of the Arabs having mutilated their
victims." To this Duff exclaims : "They had not mutilated
them - they had merely hacked them to pieces ." 15
Since the days of the Crusaders no such massacre of Jews in
Palestine had occurred . Six colonies had been totally destroyed .
The property loss was incalculable . In the blackened rooms of
what were once their homes lay the mangled bodies of hundreds
of innocent creatures who had come, eager-eyed, to this country
to build a new life for themselves . The wounded and maimed
were everywhere . Were it not for the miracle that the Arabs attacked
in broad daylight instead of night, giving the Jewish selfdefense
an opportunity to organize, the Jewish Yishub * would
have been wiped off the map of the Near East.
WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE ?
All witnesses agree that the uprising was neither spontaneous
nor unforeseen . As in the previous pogroms, evidence of careful
preparation was plainly written . Setting the general tone of
comment, the correspondent for Alif Beh, great Arab newspaper
of Damascus, wrote "that the uprising was the result of
British intrigue . . . The English were looking for an excuse to
reject the demands of the Jewish Agency to participate in the
administration of the country, and encouraged the Arabs to
teach the Jews a lesson ." Lawrence, supposed to know the
Arab better than any living Englishman, stated that "if you had
four hundred decent British policemen in Palestine there would
Hebrew name for the Jewish Community .
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
have been no trouble for the Jews there ." 16 The venerable
Hindu poet, Rabindranath Tagore, urging a united fight on England
by all the oppressed races, charged her with "seeking to
perpetuate a state of war between the Arabs and the Jews ." 17
The Frankfurter Zeitung accused London of seeking to "prove
through recurrent struggles between Jews and Arabs that England
must stay forever in Palestine ." 18 Adding its voice to the
uproar, the League's Mandates Commission lashed out at the
British Government, virtually accusing it of sabotaging the Jewish
Everywhere it was admitted that the mob, justified or not,
had acquired the belief that the Administration was on their
side. Among other incidents, when some Arabs were placed in
custody for their part in the Hebron massacre, they exclaimed
in righteous indignation : "How is this ? Weren't we told that
the English are with us against the Jews ; and now the soldiers
take us prisoners !" 20
In a paroxysm of revulsion Palestine Jewry spit out the gag
that had smothered its voice and directly fastened responsibility
on the Administration for the riots. In a grim Protest Memorandum
to the High Commissioner signed by the whole Jewish
community, no words were minced in calling blunt attention
to "officers of the Government whose responsibility for these
events is beyond doubt. . ." 21 The Memorial o f the Jews of
Hebron submitted to the High Commissioner "in the name of
sixty-five slaughtered, eighty-five wounded, and many orphans
and widows, and in the name of the remnants of the plundered
and the tortured," pathetically "accuses the Government, which
did not fulfill its duty . . . the Commander Cafferata, who deprived
us o f the means o f appealing for help and defense, betrayed
us with empty promises, and gave the murderers and robbers
their opportunity ; the Police, which . . . behaved with
contemptible baseness ; and the Emissaries of the Mufti and the
Moslem Council . . . who proclaimed the massacre ."
The drums of horrified protest now rolled with increasing
tempo all over the world . The Administration had overplayed
its hand again. Realizing its error it was doing its best to cover
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
up, and once again the Zionists were presented with a brilliant
opportunity for reversing the tables .
Chancellor himself, noting which way the wind blew, repudiated
the entire affair in these blasting words : "I have just learned
with horror of the atrocious acts committed by bodies of ruthless
and bloodthirsty evil-doers, savage murders perpetrated on
defenseless members of the Jewish population regardless of sex,
accompanied . . . by acts of unspeakable savagery, of the burning
of farms and houses in town and country and of the looting
and destruction of property . These crimes have brought upon
their authors the execration of all civilized people throughout
the world ." The Government was in full retreat all along the
line, casting anxious glances at the effect on America where vital
economic interests were involved, and at Egypt, Ireland and
India, where local patriots were utilizing the occasion to justify
their own hatred for the foreign usurper .
The Zionists, however, were hardly political-minded enough
to understand their opportunity . They considered that the Jews
had no strength and that their strategy must continue to be one
of wheedling for slight gains . Catching its breath, the Government
placated them with soft words, condemned its minions in
Palestine and promised redress . The Zionists sat down to wait
while various `Commissions' were sent down from London to investigate.
Having held the business-end of a live wire so long the Zionists
should have been prepared for shocks . But when the `Commissions'
after long delays brought in pro-Arab reports, they
stared in bewildered amazement. They looked on still more unbelievingly
when practically everyone accused of having a hand
in the riots was promoted . Cafferata, the evil genius of Hebron,
was decorated for `heroism.' Luke was rewarded for his efforts
by being made Governor of Malta, a caustic commentator remarking
that his appointment could do no harm since trouble
had already started there.
Chancellor's "bloodthirsty evil-doers" all got off with nominal
sentences. The highest term any of the Hebron murderers
received was eighteen months . At no time were more than the
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
1 3 1
most farcical efforts made at conviction . Characteristic of the
style in which this business was handled was the case of a fellah
who had killed the two young sons of a woman named Fruma
Charkel by dashing their brains out . He had known the family
for years, and had only laughed at the mother's plea for mercy
while the little boys were being battered to death . With her
surviving son she appeared against him, as did the invalid father
and several other eye-witnesses to the attack, including the revered
Rabbi Epstein . Despite this weight of testimony the
court finally freed the Arab, finding "insufficient evidence ." 22
Even more ribald were the `awards and amends' which the
Government had contritely promised the riot victims, and
which were finally doled out after an interminable wait. Here
are some of the `compensation awards,' selected at random
Rabbi Hassoun, whose house at Hebron had been destroyed and
plundered, with a claimed damage of £ 3000, received £ i i . i os.
The Jewish Community of Hebron, with a loss of £ 2000 including
the destruction of its synagogue, asylum and other communal
institutions, was paid k54. Asher Karlinsky, whose
house at Hebron was completely gutted, received i 4s . M.
Klenger of Safed, with a loss estimated at £ i i,ooo, came off
somewhat better with an award of 040 ; while a sister of
Rabbi Dvoretz of Hebron, who had her hand cut off and her
home reduced to a shambles, was given the sum of f2. I OS' . In
nice contrast, Hassan Albudeiri, an Arab lawyer of Jerusalem,
who had some "personal belongings" burned, was awarded
Beyond muttering at length on "the shameful attitude of the
Government," the Jews took it like a dose of castor oil, which
having once been poured down their throats, admitted of no
further argument . But a still more fantastic occurrence, which
even this patient people could not stomach, arose when the
Arabs at Hebron, claiming `prescription rights,' commenced to
plough and plant the land abandoned by the Hebron Jews in
their flight. They, moreover, declined to pay debts owing to
Jewish creditors, asserting them to be non-existent under the
Palestine law which provides that the lender must appear in per132
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
son to swear that the borrower received the money . The lenders
had, however, all been massacred by the borrowers . There
seemed to be nothing in the law which provided for such a situation,
leading the newspaper Doar Hayom to ask in outraged
fury whether it was the policy of the Government "to have the
Hebron murderers inherit the money of their victims ." 23
However, like all abominations, these things began to lose
their edge as time went on and were soon half-buried in the
past. In many of the villages eternal peace was declared between
Arab and Jew, to the accompaniment of colorful oriental
festivities and the usual slaughter of a sheep to wipe out the
But it was only a matter of a few months before the British-
Moslem combination was up to its old tricks of provocation . A
fair illustration is the case of technical school student Zilbaski,
who was arrested in April 1930 for chasing Arab hoodlums who
had been stoning worshipers at the Wailing Wall . Fined seven
shillings he was warned, in essence, not to interfere with the
pleasures of Arabs .
COMMISSIONS AND WHITE PAPERS
Headed by men whose `broad Socialist principles' had more
than once declared themselves flatly in favor of the Jewish
Homeland, the Labour Party sat firmly entrenched in power in
England. Lord Passfield, ne Sidney Webb, Marxist radical, was
Colonial Secretary. Arthur Henderson, who had drawn up a
handsome resolution in 1917 approving the Zionists' right "to
form a Free State under International Agreement, where the
Jewish people may return and work out their own salvation
without interference by those of alien race or religion," was the
power behind the throne . Perched directly in the saddle was
J. Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister and a self-announced
Zionist who had asserted after visiting the Near East in 1922
"The Arab population do not and cannot use or develop the resources
of Palestine . . . The country is undeveloped and underpopulated."
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
During pre-war days the Socialist Internationale had been
openly hostile to Zionism of any brand, recognizing in fine that
a Zionist proletariat was a contradiction in terms, a force devoted
incongruously both to separatist and merging principles .
Shifting its position after the War, Labor Zionism was adopted
as part of the international politics of the Socialist world . A Socialist
Pro-Palestine Committee was created to place the mighty
strength of the movement behind Zionism . Among the most
wordy in their enthusiasm for this fabulous commission were
the English members, MacDonald, Landsbury, and others, who
were later to disembowel their little Jewish brother with their
left hand while they embraced him with their right.24
These were the men, self-announced exponents of the coming
brotherhood, who held the destinies of the Jewish experiment in
their fingers . Confident of the outcome the Zionists settled
back complacently to await the result of London's 'investigations.'
First to report was the Shaw Commission, releasing its
findings in the Spring of 1930 . The Zionists were stunned . It
was evident that the `Comrades' in Downing Street had let them
down pretty sadly . The Shaw report was outspokenly anti-
Jewish . Charged only with investigating responsibility for the
riots, it had gone far afield, conducting a probe altogether outside
its sphere of reference ; creating a most clever confusion of
issues, and engagingly shunting off the main purpose of the investigation
to the background .
It included among the immediate causes of the outbreak,
the enlargement of the Jewish Agency, though it is doubtful
whether any of the murderers at Hebron and Safed, where half
of the Jewish victims were killed, ever heard of the Jewish
Agency or its enlargement . It touched deftly on the cupidity of
the Jews, and blamed the Zionists for bringing in too many
potential Bolsheviks into the country . It held the primary cause
of the riots to be, in essence, the crafty way in which the Zionists
had taken advantage of the innocent Arabs, who were being
deprived of soil and sustenance . Thus was created the 'landless
Arab' fiction which was to serve the Government of Palestine
as a convenient symbol for many years . In a statement, bizarre
1 34 THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
even in this land of extravaganza, it found an extenuating circumstance
for the outbreak in that it was "not premeditated ."
The Grand Mufti, a self-convicted perjurer whose guiltlessness
was best proven when he referred the Commission to The Protocols
o f the Elders o f Zion,* was given an adept whitewashing .
The Commission made no mention of the source or prevalence
of arms in Palestine, and failed to investigate the extent of the
looting by Arabs with which the riots were accompanied and
the importance of this looting as an incentive for the disturbances.
It endorsed Luke's action in disarming the Jews and refusing to
fire on the mobs. It omitted to report that all the special Jew
ish constables had been publicly paraded and disarmed at the demand
of the Arabs. While stating that all the special constables
were of British nationality, it is nowhere mentioned that a large
proportion of those disarmed because they were Jews were exservicemen
o f the British Army, many o f whom had held the
King's Commission .
Only two short years before, the Government of Palestine
had published the fact that "the country suffers from a lack of
population - it is under-cultivated and needs capital ." 25 But
the Commission now found that Palestine was overcrowded ;
there were too many people and not enough land to go around .
Recommended in solution was the curtailment of Jewish immigration
and land purchase, and a Government subsidy to buy
up acreage which was to be handed scot-free to the 'landless
Arabs' wherever these worthies could be found . Completely
challenging Jewish position in Palestine, the Arabs were to be
given `proportionate equality,' a phrase which Hopkin Morris,
one of the Commissioners, defined to mean that "not another
Jewish immigrant can be admitted to Palestine ." Just how uncorrupted
these recommendations might be can be easily estimated
from Hopkin Morris' acknowledgment in Commons, not
more than six months later, that "the Jews are perfectly right -
what was promised to them meant a Jewish State ." (November
1 7, 1 930.)
Another member of the Commission, Lord Snell, turned in a
* See note 6, page 542 .
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
minority report fairly bristling with contempt for the findings
of his colleagues. He accuses the Administration of encouraging
the Arabs "to believe that they have suffered a great wrong
and that the immigrant Jew constitutes a permanent menace to
their livelihood and future," despite the plain fact that "Jewish
activities have increased the prosperity of Palestine and raised
the standard of life of the Arab worker." Far from finding the
country overcrowded, he notes that "wide tracts are lying
waste" which should be made available to the Jews .
Time has shown conclusively that the findings of the Shaw
Commission, as well as those of the bodies which followed in
its train, were so wrong as to seem wilfully ridiculous. Each
one of these Commissions proved itself more hostile than its
predecessor, making recommendations so opposed to the selfevident
facts as to lead one to believe that the substance of their
findings must have been dictated in advance . This presumption
is at least indicated, since each of these bodies appeared to
operate on a preconceived plan aimed at erecting a structure of
precedent which was to serve as authority for future commissions,
thus creating a new body of apparent facts to substitute
for the actual facts .
The Zionists had been mercilessly jobbed . They choked and
spluttered in amazed exasperation. The incredible posing of
'landless Arabs' in a country suffering from a drastic shortage of
workers, was past understanding . So, too, was the Commission's
demand that Jewish capitalists be forced to put all Arab unemployed
to work before another Jew could come in, which meant
literally the employment of all the natives of Northeast Africa
and Arabia (since these outsiders were already flowing into the
country in a steady stream) .
Lloyd George, coming to the point where the Shaw Report
declared that there was "no more room" in Palestine, termed
the learned labors of Britain's Commissioners "mischievous nonsense."
He roared : "The report made for the Government,
of which I was the head in 1q i q, by competent and experienced
engineers, stated that by well-planned schemes of irrigation one
million acres could be added to the cultivable area of Palestine,
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
and that by this plan sixteen persons could be maintained for
every one there now." 26
THE REPORT OF HOPE-SIMPSON
Whitehall had made provision for the howl that went up
from distracted Jewry . They had another rabbit ready to be
pulled out of the hat, in the shape of a new Commission which
was to investigate the investigations of the previous Commission .
The trick was something like that of the catch-penny auctioneer,
who glibly makes good to his spluttering victim by selling him
another object more worthless than the first, accepting the parcel
complained of in part payment . This is the kind of business
that experienced British dealers in international legerdemain
were now practicing on the naive, frightened Zionists.
The new Commission, headed by Sir John Hope-Simpson '27
was replete with a staff of `experts.' Sir John had had a good
deal of experience in the mass movement of emigre populations .
He had gained his knowledge of the refugee problem as Vicepresident
of the Refugee Settlements Commission (which had
conducted the mass transplantation of 1,300,000 Asiatic Greeks)
in Athens from 1926 to 1930. He therefore seemed to be
an ideal man by both understanding and experience for this
On November zo, 193o, Hope-Simpson's report was published
by the Government simultaneously with a Cabinet decision
acting upon it . 28 With the lightning stroke of an expert
matador the Zionist development in Palestine had now been
handed the coup de grace . The great Jewish experiment was
now all but officially dead .
In releasing both the Cabinet's White Paper and Hope-
Simpson's report so precipitously, both precedent and practice
were coolly ignored. Under time-sanctioned Colonial usage,
the Zionists would normally, as party to the matter, have been
allowed to study the Report and make the usual observations
and criticisms before it was actually put into effect .
Hope-Simpson's Report consisted of a symposium of oblique
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
attacks against the Jews . It embodied all the anti-Semitic conceptions
of its day : the professed inability of native races to
compete with superior Jewish ability and cunning, the omnivorous
greed of the `rich' Jew for further gain . It carried a
de facto recommendation for numerus clausus in all directions,
as the only method of keeping these objectionable Jewish attributes
within reasonable bounds. As Sir John puts it, "it is the
Government's duty under the Mandate to see to it that the Arab
position is not prejudiced by Jewish immigration ." The Commissioner
decries the purchase of land by Jews and suggests that
they be prohibited by law from buying more . The unfortunate
Arab had to be protected against the Hebrew who was crawling
over his land like a plague . This, clothed in the niceties of diplomatic
language, was the substance of Hope-Simpson's findings .
To support them he brought up an array of figures and facts,
which had they been accurate, would have been imposing.
Hope-Simpson went so far as to compute (with a figure inferring
mathematical precision) that 29 .4% of the Arab rural
population was landless, leaving in the reader's mind a vague impression
that it was owing to Jewish settlement activities that
landlessness had reached such alarming proportions . With nice
precision, leading to the patent inference that it is the result of
an exact survey, he gives the area of cultivable land as 6,544,00c?
dunams. He makes no effort to explain the astounding difference
between this estimate and the figure of 11 ,ooo,ooo dunams
supplied by the Director of Lands of the Palestine Government
to the Shaw Commission ; or the figure of i z, z 3 3,000 dunams
given by the Johnson-Crosbie Report on the position of agriculturists
in Palestine, which had appeared shortly before . Later
it was discovered that the method investigator Hope-Simpson
used to arrive at this precise computation was to send up a man
in an airplane, who decided what land was or was not cultivable.
This original system, wholly unique in the history of
agronomy, was able to establish in a few weeks that the official
Government figures, accepted as correct for years, were ioo%
Operating on figures which events were also to show unsup138
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
ported by factual evidence, Hope-Simpson discovered that a
fellah family needs 130 dunams of land, 28a whereas the 61,4o8 fellah
families actually had only go dunams per family ; leading
ipso facto to the only possible conclusion, that the land was already
overcrowded and immediately faced with a pressing problem
of Arab landlessness .29 Everywhere he uses the words
'landless' and `tenant' indiscriminately and interchangeably, leading
one to wonder whether the great tenant-farmer class of
England itself should not, on the same score, also be considered
Bespeaking the common distaste and distrust for Jews, Hope-
Simpson states with ominous reserve : "The Federation of Jewish
Labour continues to carry out, at the expense of World
Jewry, a social and economic experiment of great interest but
of questionable value . The Jewish Agency either approves of
this experiment or is impotent to suppress it." (Even more explicit
in its left-handed charge that the Jews were introducing
Bolshevism into Palestine, was the White Paper based on Hope-
Simpson's Report, issued at the same time .) With a queer, newfound
type of ethics, Sir John proclaims in regard to the settlements
which were being subsidized by the Jewish National
Fund, that "it is undesirable from the point of view of ordinary
morality that colonists should be allowed to benefit by the large
expenditure which has been made for their settlement, and yet to
escape payment of the amount spent upon them . . ."
In addition to these generalities, several practical measures
are included in the Hope-Simpson Report . One was the demand
that irrigation work of any kind be virtually prohibited 30
(which would put an absolute stop to Jewish irrigation development)
; and another that the Government buy land out of the
public funds, i.e., with Jewish money, to hand over to all Arabs
who could prove they were landless . Jews were to be virtually
restricted to the cities. Not even in Czarist Russia had anyone
ever suggested a scheme as cruel and unfair as this .
Hope-Simpson, who had been sent to the Holy Land under
instructions to investigate the slaughter, looting and rapine perpetrated
on Jewish colonists, like his predecessors and successors,
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE 1 39
had left his field of reference far behind and nowhere now to be
seen. In the meanwhile, to leave a convenient retreat in case
anything went wrong, still another `Commission,' headed by
Lewis French, retired officer of the Indian Service, was puttering
away in Jerusalem .
THE PASSFIELD WHITE PAPER
Lord Passfield, smug dean of English social reform theoreticians,
was not long in assimilating the technique of the Colonial
Office when he took over the portfolio of Colonial Minister in
the Labour Cabinet. A radical whose expressed admiration of
Soviet method and theory remained constant, he also observed
the Bolshevik inconsistency toward the Jew : he did not concede
that they had the right to be Zionists . He frankly admitted
that he was opposed to the Histadruth (The Jewish
Federation of Labor) . He did not approve of the type the
Histadruth was bringing into the country, stating openly that
he preferred the old type of Palestinian immigrant of before the
War, the `pious' Jew who went there to die . He emphasized
that since he was a Socialist, he was not opposed to the new immigrants
because they were Socialists and trade unionists, "but
because they were Zionists ." 31
He was nasty to Jews wherever a convenient opportunity
arose, and pursued the Zionists with all the hatred a zealot holds
for infidels . Asked in I93o by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency
for a New Year's message to Jewry, he curtly refused . Before
he took the bull by the horns to issue his `White Paper,' he had
attempted to push through an ordinance ghettoizing Palestine
Jewry in the cities, frustrated only by an energetic fight on the
part of the Jewish Agency .
Despite all this, the Jewish Socialists continued to vocalize
their undying `solidarity' with Comrade Webb, the fellow-
Marxist. Commenting on a perfectly venal statement Passfield
had just issued, the influential Socialist New York Jewish Forward
stated editorially on July 9, I93o that "the whole document
breathes a warm desire to convince the Jewish world of
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
the full friendship toward Jews and toward the Jewish work in
Palestine felt by the Labor-Government . . . Comrade Webb
seeks to throw a new light upon certain happenings and show
that these have been misinterpreted by the Jews ." The wiser
conservative daily Ha'aretz points out that the Labour Government
of England has lent itself whole hog "to the Colonial office's
conspiracy to liquidate Zionism." The `conspiracy' to
which Ha'aretz alludes had been in preparation so long that
nothing short of a miracle could head it off . On November
20, 1930, Officialdom deemed that the sapping operation had
been completed . Comrade Webb himself, with pious words of
explanation,_ touched off the fuse.
The Zionists abruptly awoke to the realization that they had
built on sand ; that it was the end of them and their dreams of
salvation, their fund collecting, their stereotyped statement that
"our relations with the Mandatory are satisfactory ."
All the distortions, the veiled anti-Jewish hostility of the
Hope-Simpson Report, were in the White Paper . Benignly it
asserts that since there are only 6,5oo,ooo dunams available, there
is not enough for the Arabs, who require 8,ooo,ooo ; therefore
land purchases in future would be permitted "only if they do not
interfere with the Government's plans for development," an
artful method of saying that Jews could no longer settle on the
soil. To make the matter air-tight it sets up the principle that
land with tenants on it cannot in future be sold - in effect freezing
the vast stretches held by great Levantine landlords, mostly
emigres living with their retinues in Cairo and Paris .
The, outcome of this reasoning was the recommendation for
complete stoppage of immigration "in view of the responsibility
under the Mandate" and of the "close relationship of immigration
and the land development policy ." In keeping with the
same argument it holds that the older type of Jewish immigration
benefited the Arabs, whereas "The Zionists' contentions regarding
the benefits which their colonization work has bestowed
upon the Arabs has been proven . . . fallacious ."
Massing a frontal attack on the stupefied Jewish Agency, Socialist
Passfield cries that a "modus vivendi" must "be established
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
between the Government and the Jewish Agency regarding
their respective functions, and full account must be taken of the
influence in policy exerted by the General Federation of Jewish
Labor over the Jewish Agency. . . It is necessary to take
into account the part played by the General Federation o f
Jewish Labor . . . [which has] adopted a policy implying the
introduction o f a new social order ." Here we have an astonishing
though not unusual spectacle : the pot calls the kettle black ;
the British Labour Party, speaking as the Government of Great
Britain, sanctimoniously expresses dissatisfaction with its Jewish
comrades for following a line of policy in Palestine identical to
that which the Labour Party itself is committed to in England .
Loading its guns for bear, the Government released at the
same time a statement of policy announcing the realization of
Samuel's pet scheme, the Legislative Council. This maneuver,
which would have handed the country over irrevocably to Arab
politicos, was issued with the remarkable explanation that it
"should be of special benefit to the Arab section of the population."
As a sop to the Jews the White Paper included the usual
verbiage in reference to the Government's good intentions, and
the droll "hope that the White Paper will restore the confidence
of the Jews in the British Government ." This gratuitous bit of
buffoonery was too much for even the compliant Zionist leadership.
With cries of stung anguish it bolted the traces and
started to run amuck .
THE MACDONALD LETTER
Once again the Bureaucrats were to find to their amazement
that they had fallen into a pit of their own digging . The Labourites,
newer to Imperial sleight-of-hand, had been too incautious
- far too obvious in their tactics .
For a few days it appeared to the Jews that this was the end -
that Zionism had been terminated . Jewish idealists who had
fought all their lives for this cause, walked down the streets of
the principal metropolises of Europe, openly weeping .
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
Then a sudden revulsion struck the body of Jewry . A cry of
`shameful betrayal' arose, and rapidly gathered volume . Vitriolically
the late Lord Melchett challenged the White Paper as
"an act of almost unparalleled ingratitude and treachery . . .
towards a credulous and harassed people who believed they had
found a haven under the broad aegis of the British flag and the
guaranteed word of British statesmen ." The venerable Menachem
Ussishkin, stolid and unimaginative but one of the few
men with common sense in the Zionist leadership, was allowed
to speak his mind. "For thirteen years," he declared, "there
had been falsification . Lord Passfield . . . has spoken the truth .
England does not want us to build up Palestine . All other
statements are diplomacy, or simply lies ." Cut to the quick,
the usually moribund Jewish Agency lambasted Passfield's document
as a crude piece of dishonest writing whose purpose was
"to discredit the Jewish Agency, disparage Jewish achievements
in Palestine, and encourage the ill-disposed elements of the Arab
In America, in France and in Germany, leaders of public opinion
were vying with each other in condemning the unprecedented
treachery of the Labour Government . In America, Congressman
Hamilton Fish Jr . threatened a Government inquiry
into occurrences in Palestine, pointing to the treaty which had
made the United States a legal party to the Mandate . From
South Africa, General Smuts thundered that the promise to the
Jews had "become world law" which "cannot now be varied
unilaterally by the British Government ." David Lloyd George
drily challenged the good faith of the Government by declaring
in Commons : "They dare not try to kill Zionism directly, but
they try to put it in a refrigerator ." The Jews themselves were
now aroused everywhere. In Warsaw fifty thousand paraded,
shouting imprecations against Britain . There was fierce talk of
treating the British to the same retaliation they had suffered at the
hands of the Sinn Fein movement . Far and wide the hue and cry
rose from indignant throats.
In England itself the government of the day was a minority
government and definitely unpopular. All the elder statesmen,
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
says Sidebotham, were on the Jews' side .32 The leaders of the
Conservative and Liberal parties gleefully seized on the affair as
a mighty club to beat the Labourites over the head with . Loudly
they voiced their incensed feelings and clamored for the repeal
of this disgraceful pronouncement . Mr. Baldwin, Sir Austen
Chamberlain, with Mr. . Amery, in a joint letter complained that
the White Paper "would create in America and elsewhere a feeling
of distrust in British good faith." Such world-famous luminaries
as Lord Hailsham and Sir John Simon announced that
the Passfield document was a flagrant breach of International
Conventions, fouling the honest name of England . Gathering
strength from all quarters, the storm on the Passfield White Paper
rose to whirlwind proportions .
At this point a shrewd, courageous Jewish leadership could
have made an expeditious end to Colonial Office plotting . Fate
had laid in their laps another rare gift of chance - a situation
they could not have improved on if they had artificed it themselves,
with the Bureaucrats caught flat-footed in a position they
could neither defend at home nor abroad .
Until this time in their relations with London the Zionists had
been suppliants . They occasionally remonstrated, complained
and criticized, but never demanded. Whatever they asked, it
was always in the tone of the poor relation asking alms of his
rich kinsman. Now for the first time in London's experience
the exasperated Zionists approached the point of open rebellion .
Weitzman himself, always so submissive to blandishment or
threat, was miraculously transmuted from rabbit to lion . In
unmistakable terms he swore that the Jewish people would
never swallow this outrage, that neither he nor his colleagues
would negotiate with the British Government so long as this
infamous document continued to adorn its archives . He demanded
its unconditional removal before the Zionists would
consent to resume any relations whatsoever with the Mandatory
Power. His words were dynamite . They meant a showdown
fight with quarter neither given nor asked . To top it all he resigned
as President of the World Zionist Organization and announced
that he was calling an immediate session of the Zionist
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
Congress, which alone could decide what steps were to be taken .
The air fairly crackled when two days later Felix Warburg,
head of the Jewish Agency, also resigned, charging that Passfield
had deliberately tricked him in the behind-the-scenes negotiations,
making him "the innocent vehicle of misstatements to
his colleagues of the Jewish Agency." In a rousing attack in
which the roiled banker stepped completely out of character, he
smote the British hip and thigh, making it plain that no reliance
whatsoever could be placed on the word of Passfield or the
Government he represented, and that further relations with
them were therefore hopeless .
Painfully alive to the situation, the Labour Government saw in
consternation that the affair was assuming the proportions of a
cause celebre ; and that its political opponents were hoping it
would prove the pole to tumble it from power . Prominent
Englishmen, convinced that Britain's good name had been tarnished,
were mercilessly criticizing the reports of the `Commissions'
as only meant to whitewash the criminal culpability of
Palestine officials . Lloyd George, still a powerful figure, had
stentoriously warned his nation : "We shall not reconcile the
Arabs, but we shall alienate an even more powerful race, and,
what is worse, British honour will be sullied ." The influential
London Times asserted flatly that the nation could not afford to
disregard the foul odor this matter had raised in all civilized
quarters, which could end in "a disagreeable political result and
financial consequences that might be even more unpleasant ."
The London Sunday Times, recapitulating in a fiery editorial,
wrote : "First the Jews are massacred in their National Home .
The Inquiry Commission instead of fixing the immediate responsibilities,
strays outside its terms of reference and blames the
Mandate, the Jews and everyone but the murderers . Then the
Government instead of throwing the slovenly and biased report
into the waste paper basket, proceeds to act on two of its recommendations
about immigration and land and finally proceeds to
hang up the Mandate altogether until someone else has reported."
And the Manchester Guardian solemnly declared
"No sooner have we cured the cancer o f Ireland in our internaTHE
WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
tional relations than the indecision o f MacDonald makes a worse
one of Jewry ."
Completely taken aback by the force of the storm that had
gathered, MacDonald offered to do the noble thing. As an
earnest of good intentions he held out the bait of fifteen hundred
immigration certificates .
A circumstance of grave importance now threw its shadow
over the entire proceedings . This was the emergence of the
Socialist labor organizations as a strong factor in Zionist politics.
Although definitely in the minority, they were an important
portion of the support which kept Weitzman in power .
Pressure now began quietly operating on Weitzman from the
Comrades in the Labor groups, who in turn were being highpressured
by the Second Internationale which had finally admitted
them to membership only a few months before . Leon
Blum of France and George Landsbury of England, among
others, members of the Internationale's Pro-Palestine Committee,
appealed to the Comrades in Palestine in the name of the common
solidarity . They asked them to prevent the attempt to
discredit the new Labour Government in Britain, by keeping the
White Paper from coming up for a test vote in Commons . Mac-
Donald promised, if allowed to save his face, that the situation
would be quietly righted. Completely softened up by these assurances,
the Jewish Comrades yielded . Weitzman, relieved of
the torturing conflict with his prior British patriotism, hastily
Friends of Zionism, and bitter opponents of the Labour regime,
waiting eagerly to crush the MacDonald Government by bringing
the affair to a test vote, gulped unbelievingly when they
were informed that Weitzman had given over his golden opportunity
in exchange for a few suave promises and fifteen hundred
immigration certificates. The Zionist Actions Committee
was informed that the scheduled congress, feared by Whitehall
because it was sure to be stormy and wildly anti-British, must be
postponed . Weitzman had reversed himself completely, and
now held out that it was necessary to `negotiate' with the English
Government . His major premise for this recommendation
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
was little less than astonishing : Zionist finances were not in
good shape-therefore it were better to eschew `politics' and
concentrate on `practical' matters.
On the Actions Committee sat the Revisionists (right-wing
Zionists) and the Mizrachi (religious Zionists) . The Revisionists
raged ; the Mizrachi resigned in protest ; but the Labourites
and Weizmann's personal followers were in the majority, and
they held fast.
In return MacDonald issued a letter to the Zionists, which
later turned out to be meaningless . Known as the MacDonald
Letter, this communication promised a redefinition of the term
'landless Arabs,' now explained to refer only to such Arabs as
could be shown to have been actually displaced from lands they
formerly occupied ; to investigate what State lands could be
made available for close settlement in accordance with Article
VI of the Mandate ; to reestablish the principle of immigration
"according to economic absorptive capacity" and to allow the
Jewish Agency the right to employ all-Jewish labor on works
or undertakings of its own. It also concedes the White Paper's
error in attempting to substitute the words "Jewish inhabitants
of Palestine" for "the Jewish People" as the beneficiaries of the
Mandate, declaring "that the undertaking of the Mandate is an
undertaking to the Jewish People, and not only to the Jewish
population of Palestine ." "In order to remove certain misconceptions
and misunderstandings" about the Passfield document,
MacDonald agrees that the Mandatory's "obligation to facilitate
Jewish immigration and to encourage close settlement by the
Jews on the land, remains a positive obligation of the Mandate."
On February 13, 1931, the MacDonald Letter, approved by
Weitzman for the Zionists, was laid before Parliament, thus becoming
a State paper . Weitzman greeted this Pyrrhic victory
in the manner of a man who was distributing largesse all around .
He said : ". . . Our work will benefit the whole of Palestine,
including the Arabs, who have suffered from the general economic
crisis, as well as the Palestine Administration which for
the first time in many years now suffers from a serious deficit in
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
The Government showed its bad faith immediately . The Letter
was released on Saturday, by tradition a hint to newspapers
not to editorialize . MacDonald had ably retreated out of an
ugly situation - and had conceded little. The London politicians
breathed free again . Among others, their old rivals the
French, planning to make capital out of the incident, now had
to drop it.34
But the fire had been fanned so violently that it still smoldered.
At the following sessions of the Permanent Mandates
Commission, the Mandatory was unmercifully cross-examined .
Hastily, Dr. Drummond Shiels, the English representative, replied
that though there had been a great deal of Jewish bad
feeling before, that had all been happily settled, and a love-feast
had subsequently taken place between the Zionists and the British
Government . The now discredited Hope-Simpson Report
would be ignored and a new set of facts and figures, "ascertained
by a development authority on the spot, will be the basis
of the recommendations regarding the C2,500,000 Palestine development
scheme which the British Government is now framing."
35 Eying his interlocutors with a bland smile, Dr . Shiels
asked the Commission whether, in view of the manner in which
the Premier's Letter was received by Weitzman, he (Shiels)
needed to make any further comments on the controversy which
The Zionists were not long in finding out that official Britain
had not lost one shade of its determination to crush their movement.
Whitehall had, however, been taught its lesson and had
learned not to be too obviously precipitate . Afterwards, Officialdom
was always outwardly correct in its sympathy for
Jewish aspirations ; but it continued relentless, in a determined
pyramiding of more or less cautious artifice, seeking to break the
back of an enterprise it now cordially detested .
THE KID GLOVE HIGH COMMISSIONER
In July 1931, Lieutenant-General Arthur Grenfell Wauchope
became His Majesty's legate in Palestine, succeeding Chancellor .
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
A slight man with a delicately chiseled face, Wauchope had
been the General Officer in command of North Ireland . With
him came the Black and Tans who had wreaked so much havoc
in the Emerald Isle. He was unique in not being a product of
the inflexible system of the Colonial Office .
He proved polite, shrewd, aesthetically inclined, even something
of an artist . He was the first High Commissioner whom
the Jews could even remotely understand . Sir Arthur visited
their colonies - and even expressed some interest in what was
going on. He has been known to give substantial personal gifts
to various Jewish institutions which caught his fancy .
The Jews tended to like him . The regulations passed under
his rule, clearly ear-marked as anti-Semitic measures, were usually
excused by them as proceeding from `Mohammedan pressure,'
or from the sheer inability of a gentile administrator to
get to the bottom of Jewish problems . Even when things grew
inexcusably vexatious, they still refused to credit Wauchope
with a deliberate anti-Jewish policy, and compromised by calling
him vacillating and irresolute . Yet from a practical viewpoint,
Wauchope was hardly an improvement over his predecessors.
During his regime the baleful French Report was
released. Under Sir Arthur the disastrous rebellion of 1936 -38
took place ; followed by the inevitable epilogue, a new investigating
`Commission .' This latest body finally recommended a
plan for further partitioning the country, which if it were placed
into effect, would have produced much of the same result intended
by the abortive White Paper of Lord Passfield .
It is undoubtedly true that Wauchope would infinitely have
preferred not to be a party to this epidemic of Jew-baiting had
circumstances allowed . He is, however, a loyal servant of a
system which has come to regard Zionism as dangerous to the
most precious possession of Englishmen, the Empire .
THE REPORT OF MR. FRENCH
The `expert' Dr . Shiels referred to before the Mandates Commission,
whose findings were to supersede the Hope-Simpson
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
Report, not only used that report for his precedent, but went it
one better in every acrimonious reference to Jews . A retired
official of the Indian Civil Service, Lewis French had been sent
ostensibly on a great Zionist development scheme, one of the
concessions agreed to by the Labour Government in its private
conversations with Dr. Weitzman .
With the astuteness of long practice, French stalled for time
until the agitation over the Passfield White Paper was well over .
After a year and a half of ostentatious preparation his report was
submitted to the Arab Executive, and to the Zionists, sitting in
camera. The Zionists hit the ceiling - they had been beautifully
jobbed once more .
The report of Mr. . French consisted in the main of a compendium
of generalities against the Jews . He recommended, in
brief, the adoption of a drastic Land Transfer Ordinance completely
prohibiting land purchase by Jews. As if to show French's
comparative reasonableness, his collaborator T . C. Kipching, more
draconian still, appended an auxiliary report asserting that it was
necessary for Jews to give up what land they had already acquired
and migrate from Palestine .
Poor Wauchope, desperately trying to remain something of a
gentleman in this whirlpool of Crown politics, found the crude
dissimulations of this `Report' even more than he could stomach .
He objected . French, fuming at this `traitorous' conduct, threatened
to resign .
, the Jewish leaders, realizing how completely they London
had been duped, were now hysterically raising the roof . Under
Downing Street the `expert,' French, grudgingly
agreed to modify his report, and finally resigned, his place
being taken by a subordinate, L . Y. Andrews." Baffling months
of parleying took place in which the worried Zionists were placated
with the usual assurances . These were inevitably passed
on to the rank and file of the movement in Weizmann's conventional
words : "The situation is satisfactory . The Government
desires faithfully to discharge its obligations in the spirit of the
July 16, 1933 the French Report was finally issued . It
THE RAPE OF
placed land transfers completely under Government control . It
stated bluntly that the hill Arabs required special protection
against Jews. It elaborated tiresomely on the 'landless Arab'
question. It found the Jews rich and predatory, and piously
referred to the `displaced' Arab as "a son of the soil to be replaced
on the land of his country."
The huge `development scheme' now turned out to be a plan
to purchase citrus land for Arab settlement . Arabs were not
only to be given the land without charge, but the cost of buildings,
livestock, etc., was to be supplied by a paternal Government.
No recognition whatever was made of the fact that
Zionism was and remained a poor and struggling movement,
largely the product of the distress of the Jewish masses, of the
economic pressure forcing their migration and resettlement . At
that very moment there were over seven thousand agricultural
workers in the
Holy Land employed on private plantations who
had waited from five to ten years for the chance to get a parcel
of land ; and abroad there were more than forty thousand young
men and women trained on the Zionist agricultural farms who
were waiting anxiously for the chance to locate on a bit of
brown earth. Landless Jews, if the Government generously
permitted, would have to buy their acres at prohibitive
prices and depend on Jewish philanthropy for the rest .
Frankly interested in perpetuating the country in its undeveloped
state, French considers as `cultivated land,' areas "on
which a few score of half-starved Bedu families are at present
grazing goats and cutting reed-grass," to use his own description.
The returns of the latter `industry' have been estimated
at three to five pence per dunam per year . In regard to the
marshy Huleh area, a malarial swamp which the Jews were seeking
official permission to drain, French agreed that "settled as
Government tenants, a leavening of Jewish colonists in this tract
would tend to an acceleration of the desired development after
the marshes have been drained ." The brazenness of this observation
is probably unparalleled : the Jews are to buy the swamp,
pay for draining it, and will then be permitted to supply `a leavening'
of Government tenants in its precincts. The Arabs are
THE WHITE PAPER BARRAGE
1 5 1
to get the balance without cost. Jewish settlement on the land no
longer appears as one of the primary purposes of the Mandate,
let alone a positive obligation of the Government . It is now
merely to serve as a device, to be applied in small doses only, for
the stimulation and enlightenment of Arab agriculturists .
The French Report proposed legislation of an advanced type
scarcely conceivable outside of
. It sought to create a Russia
body of peasants permanently attached to the soil and denied
freedom of movement, a scheme which the indignant Jewish
Agency describes as "an attempt to reestablish the medieval institution
of Glebae Adscriptae." 38 The directness of this subterfuge
is shown in French's recommendation that occupancy
rights be dated as of two years back, "notwithstanding that the
holding may have been since that date let to some other persons,
or may have been left unlet ." The new owner or lessee is left
without remedy or compensation, though he may have incurred
great expense in moving on the land and in improving it . This
provision, granting prescriptive rights to people who may have
left the soil, disregarding the rights of others who may have purchased
or obtained leases meanwhile, is only understandable in
light of the fact that the new holders were invariably Jews .
Another clause of this document practically fixes maximum
rentals in perpetuity, so that more attractive tenant offers to landlords
could not be made . Incensed, the Jewish Agency screwed
up its courage to declare that the purpose "of the proposed clause
is to perpetuate uneconomic use of the land and obstruct development."
In practice, acceptance of this Report would make the establishment
of new Jewish colonies a complete impossibility . The
Jews were to be put in a straight-jacket as they were in the
Russian Pale, forever condemned to be city dwellers and petty
Thus turned out the great `
Development Scheme' Palestine
with which Shiels had cajoled the League's Mandates Commission
almost two years before .
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION FOR
THE ZIONIST ORGANIZATION
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE by WILLIAM B. ZIFF - Book 2 of 4
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION FOR
THE ZIONIST ORGANIZATION
An important differentiation must be made between the Jewish
community in Palestine and the World Zionist Group which
officially has the business of repatriation in hand . The community
in Palestine is a nation in embryo, pulsating with new
life. In striking contrast, the Zionist Organization of the World
consists of a loosely knit group of autonomous federations, one
for each country . Any Jew may become a voting member
by the simple procedure of purchasing a shekel (at a cost of
about 50¢), which constitutes his token of membership . The
very circumstances which separate Zionism from the everyday
affairs of life in the various countries of the Diaspora, lend
an air of unreality and philanthropy to the movement . This
nebulousness is amply reflected in the deliberations of its various
branches, and in the vitiated case presented by its spokesmen
in Geneva and London .
Jews have a reputation for expert organizing ability and for
shrewd reasoning, but none of these qualities are evident in the
structure of the Zionist federations . Their business is handled
in the main by magnificent orators whose political conceptions
are limited to the viewpoint of platform lecturers ; and their sessions
are apt to result in mere acrimonious debates between men
who are more scholarly than practical. The fervent support of
many millions of Jews whose only hope lies in Zion has given
this organization infinite possibilities for potency and strength ;
but this latent power has been almost completely wasted by a
group of pedantic spokesmen who obstinately regard all creation
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
as if it could be cut to the pattern of a book . The principal concern
of the American Zionist Organization, for example, is to raise
money for the upkeep of its considerable staff of officeholders,
plus the question of whether a Rabbi Goldman is to be president
or a Rabbi Goldstein is to be president . At a four day convention
held in Providence, in July 1936, during the worst crisis
that Jewry has experienced in five hundred years, the sum total
of its labors was the announcement of a campaign to plant 100,000
trees in the Holy Land, and a resolution voicing confidence in
the Zionist President, Weitzman .
The Zionists maintain a London Executive and a Palestine
Executive who mainly specialize in sending learned memoranda
to the British Government and the League of Nations . With
these executive bodies is affiliated still another politically impotent
appendage, the Jewish Agency . Article IV of the Mandate
solemnly provides that the Jewish Agency "shall be recognized
as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating
with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social
and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish
National Home." On paper it has all the prerogatives of a
chartered colonizing body, instructed to "take steps in consultation
with His Britannic Majesty's Government to secure the cooperation
of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment
of the National Home ." The British have, however, reduced its
powers to a collective zero. Caught in the same web of strange
infatuation which has ruled Zionism's dominant leaders, the
Agency, too, relegates politics to the background as unimportant
child's-play . The present Jewish Agency is the result of long
negotiations conducted by Weitzman with certain wealthy non-
Zionists, in the hope of inducting the moneybags of the latter into
an enlarged circuit of operations .' The inclusion of non-Zionists
in this vitally important body was the outcome of the ruinous conception
that economic and cultural interests were the sole levers
capable of raising the Jewish edifice in Palestine . The moneybags,
like moneybags the world over, proved obstinate and hardheaded.
They were willing to offer plenty of sage advice but
kept their checkbooks under lock and key . Outside of their
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
accustomed spheres these men proved so inept as to practically
paralyze the Jewish Agency as a political instrument .
From a non-political viewpoint the Jewish Agency has been
extremely successful. It is conscientious, thorough and efficient,
maintains fine statistical and research units, and is usually better
informed regarding economic trends and possibilities than are the
corresponding agencies of the British Administration .
The identical differences of opinion and conflicts of ideology
which are shaking the foundations of society everywhere, are
also evident throughout Zionist ranks . The differences between
Zionist factions are sharp, accentuated by the unhealthy position
the Jew occupies in relation to his environment in Europe . The
same pressures which are creating social conflicts in all countries,
are seen by this doubly harassed people through a magnifying glass .
These irreconcilable groups fall into the usual two camps .
The first, interpreting history in terms of applied Marxian economics,
considers that the course of action lies solely in a Socialist
settlement scheme . What reason, its proponents argue, to
carve out a new unit on the earth's surface if not for the realization
of Socialism . This group, necessarily dualistic, regards all
nationalism with suspicion, and wants a bi-national cooperative
State to include the Arabs . Here are to be found the Zionist
Labor parties, of various degrees of red and pink, known as the
Poale Zion and the Left Poale Zion . They have surrounded
themselves with the same Marxist slogans which proved so hopelessly
inadequate in Germany and Austria . Their literature talks
provocatively of the struggling Palestine industrialists as "an aggressive
capitalist class which strives . . . to create profits out of
the sweat and blood of the `lower classes ."'
They make a considerable effort to instruct their `Arab comrades'
in the mechanics of class-struggle . It is they who have
taught the Arabs the catch-phrases and strike technique which
has been used so successfully against the Jewish National Home ;
and invariably it was these same favored Arabs who led in the
attacks against the Jews themselves .l8 The kind of irresponsible
demagoguery frightened British imperialists were greeted
with can be seen in the deliberations of the First Workers World
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
Congress. Here the radical leader, Joseph Sprinzak, stated that
participation of Jewish Labor in the Zionist Organization did not
mean a coalition with the bourgeoisie, but "only with the Jewish
workers," a declaration bettered by the Left Poale Zion who asserted
that any cooperation with the Zionist bourgeoisie was
All the leftist groups possess the traditional Marxist contempt
for religion in any form, and as a result suffer the ineradicable
animosity of the religious elements, who accuse them of trying
to "substitute the religion of Marx" for the fundamental principles
of Judaism .
The opposing camp of Zionist theoreticians suspects what
Herzl also suspected-that if Zionism did not early attain political
control under an assured Jewish majority, all economic
and cultural efforts would finally end in the same ruin which
overwhelmed the Jewish cultural centers in Spain and Lithuania.
They point out that the Laborites tend to be `separatists'
in everything, with their own schools, special theaters,
sports-organizations, and even their own hymn instead of the
Jewish national song, the Hatikvah, thus splitting the weak and
dispersed nation throughout the world as well as its minority in
the Holy Land.
The Nationalists insist on a monist course of action aimed
solely at recreating the Jewish State, emphasizing that in a
modern world the old distinctions between economics and politics
have largely disappeared . They fear that the system of
compromising politics followed by the Labor camp must end
in the doubtful ideal of a Jewish community in an Arab land,
satisfactory to the Marxist mind as long as that ideal is Socialistic.
They assert that during the period of national colonization,
class-struggle is a double misfortune-that it is logically
impossible to call the nation "to unite for the purpose of building
a Fatherland, and simultaneously split and crumble it into
hating and babbling classes. . ." They demand compulsory arbitration
in all labor disputes. In their ranks may be found all
shades of right-wing opinion . Their chief strength lies in
Eastern Europe where they represent the strongest and most
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
vital hope among the younger Jews. Giving these stifled
youngsters an outlet to their emotions and creative energies,
Jewish nationalism has unquestionably saved them from the
calamity of Communism .
Consisting mainly of Mr. . Jabotinsky's Revisionists, the rightwingers
demand an emphasis on state diplomacy which recognizes
the extent and pressure of the existing Jewish problem,
"perceiving the aim of Zionism to be a complete and final solution
of the Jewish world-problem in all its aspects ." It demands
an orderly mass migration to relieve the intense pressure
which is crushing the Jewish communities in the Diaspora.
This, it asserts vigorously, is a State function requiring the active
intervention of the State Power, as contrasted to the present
desultory efforts provided by private enterprise and charity .
Revisionism also holds uncompromisingly to a demand for
restoration of the stolen area of Trans-Jordan .
Jabotinsky's external policy is founded on the belief that
Zionism is providential for the solution of British problems in
the East, making the Jewish State London's natural ally . He
points out that all British strongholds from India to the Nile are
inhabited by a solid Mohammedan bloc, intrinsically unstable
and hostile to European penetration. Should Palestine remain
Arab the British must at some future date be thrown bodily
out of the Near East . A Jewish Palestine, on the other hand,
located as an island in this grinding Mohammedan sea, would,
notwithstanding the uncertainties of future politics, be forced
to rely on permanent alliance with Great Britain.
Suffering like the other Zionist leaders from an incurable
Anglophilia, Jabotinsky has offered Jewish Legions from Poland
and elsewhere to police Palestine, or the whole near East if required.
In return the Bureaucrats treat both him and his movement
with surly dislike . Jabotinsky himself is prohibited from
setting foot in Palestine .
The Revisionists, however, do not hesitate at times to damn
British policy with refreshing directness . Whitehall, now knowing
how to evaluate their future strength, unquestionably fears
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
Also moderately right-wing are the orthodox religious Zionists,
the Mizrachi . Its members may be identified by their long
black coats, curly side-locks, and general inoffensive demeanor.
Mizrachi is capable, when aroused, of common sense and unbending
courage, but it is not aroused often . Among the rightwingers
also is the Jewish State Party, a small group to all
intents and purposes identical with Jabotinsky's group in policy .
In the Center, between all these violently contending factions,
lies the General Zionist group, itself split into factions `A' and
`B,' dependent on whether they lean to the right or the left, respectively.
The General Zionists allege to be Liberals and pure
followers of Herzl . From their ranks are drawn Weitzman,
Wise, Ussishkin, Lipsky and most of the other recognized leaders
of the Zionist world movement . In actual practice they invariably
tend toward simple opportunism, leaning toward the policies
of the party holding the deciding vote at Zionist conventions .
Their political philosophy has been marked by continuous compromise,
retreat and hope .
Tied to the fortunes of these struggling factions in Palestine
are two labor organizations who manage to hate each other with
a bitter detestation not surpassed anywhere .
The required sums for running the somewhat complicated
Zionist machinery are raised by a unique method of self-taxation,
and a system of unctuous levying on the rich, called by the
Jews 'schnorring .' So dependent have the mechanics of Zionist
activity become on these necessary contributions that suspicion
may well be entertained that the major policy of the Zionist
Organization has degenerated into a promotion scheme for the
raising of these vital moneys ; that in short, the tail now wags
the dog . The most important of these organized endowments
are the Keren Kayemeth (Jewish National Fund) and the Keren
Hayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) . The Revisionists have
their own machinery, the Keren Tel Chai .
This imperative need for money to feed a gradually gathered
army of officeholders appears to dictate much that is otherwise
inexplicable in Zionist policy . The basis of such a precarious
system of revenue is a continuous and increasing tempo of bally158
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
hoo. Booklets must be issued replete with stories of amazing
achievement, leading to the inference that all is going swimmingly
and that these superb successes are only limited by a
regrettable inadequacy of private contributions . The poignant
realization that their revenue is dependent largely on an unceasing
relation of `triumphs' to hard-headed Jews who want
to see value for their money, is the nightmare of Zionist existence,
turning everything they undertake into an operation distinguished
mostly by its ballyhoo. As a net result, the Zionists'
political policy is for all practical purposes bankrupt, since they
may not dare risk puncturing the beautiful bubbles which they
themselves have blown over so many years .
Up to May 1935 the two biggest Zionist funds had collected
a total of jJ 9,400,ooo between them . Despite self-adulatory
publicity, up to that date the land settlement schemes of the two
Kerens had only succeeded in placing a total of 2800 families
on the soil . Effectually prevented by British-fashioned ordinances
from carrying out their ambitious colonization plans, the
Zionist Funds have gone in heavily for such luxuries as grants
to the Hebrew University and the establishment of national libraries.
They have also allowed themselves to be euchred into
subsidizing public health and educational institutions, while the
less obliging Arabs have these identical services paid for out of
the public tax moneys . This whole collapse of healthy function
is strongly intimated in the resignation of Isadore D . Morrison
from the Board of Directors of the Keren Hayesod and The
United Palestine Appeal Board in November 1937 . Charging
"mismanagement, waste, extravagance and misinformation to the
public" in the administration of these funds, he accused the official
Zionist Organizations of having degenerated into mere propaganda
bodies which had long outlived their usefulness .
Not included in the official Zionist bodies is the Agudath
Israel, an ultra-orthodox group who consider women's suffrage
an outrage against God, and Zionism itself a heretical movement.
They believe that when the Almighty is ready he will
send down a messiah who will miraculously lead the way to the
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
Promised Land without political intervention . The unworldly,
wraith-like fanaticism of Agudath Israel has to be seen to be
appreciated . A typical tidbit is the cherem (bull of excommunication)
pronounced on the all-Jewish city of Tel Aviv,
forbidding the Faithful from setting foot there during the gay
merry-making which marks the annual Purim festival . Agudath
Israel is completely persona grata with the Colonial Office, who
see in its zealous messianism the kind of Jew who will give them
no political difficulty.
THE PALESTINE DREYFUS CASE
It was not long before the war between the Zionist factions
degenerated into a wild fracas of words, slander and bricks .
Like the French revolutionist, Carrier, who said "we will make
a graveyard of France rather than fail to regenerate her in our
own way," the leftists were determined to brook no opposition
to their scheme for a cooperative commonwealth. The worst
epithet they could give mouth to was the word `Fascist,' which
they applied to the Hebrew nationalists as if the latter were
predatory wolves . Comically enough, when the `Left' Poale
Zion seceded from the parent body in 1931 it did not hesitate to
denounce its erstwhile Socialist comrades as `Fascist' in turn .
Bad feeling between these rival groups finally ended in wild
physical attacks, in which Revisionist meetings were stormed
with rocks and tear gas bombs . According to Professor Klausner
of Hebrew University, there was not a hospital in the Holy
Land that did not house a Revisionist wounded by leftists .
When thirty Revisionists were injured in Haifa in an assault on
one of their halls, it proved too much even for the Jewish
Agency which on October 23, 1934 declared itself "outraged
by the brutal attacks which were poisoning the atmosphere of
Delighted at this opportunity to smash Jewish nationalism
with the help of Jews, the Government took a hand in the persecutions.
Revisionists, treated as common criminals, were sentenced
to penal servitude, their homes raided and their papers
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
suspended. Its meetings suppressed as dangerous revolutionary
activity, the besmirched and harassed party was for a time practically
driven underground .
In the inner business of Zionist politics the Revisionists had
constituted themselves the opposition to the policy of retreat
initiated by Weitzman and the Zionist Executive . This brought
the Executive down on their heads like a swarm of hornets,
throwing it directly into the laps of the Laborites. A campaign
of slander and repressions followed . Feeling against the Revisionists
rose to a fever pitch, as may be seen from the assertion
by the American Zionist boss, Louis Lipsky, that "a party
which makes disloyalty and violation of discipline a political
principle, which educates its youth to imitation of Hitler organization
methods . . . cannot expect to find place or countenance
within a movement like Zionism ." 3
Here was a unique alliance : the Jewish leftists who hated
the capitalist system and British Imperialism alike ; the Jewish
Agency capitalists who automatically detested leftists and who
could not avoid recognizing British persecution of their cause ;
and the Whitehall bureaucrats who looked on Zionists in general
with distaste and on leftists in the Near East with dread .
All of these regarded as their main enemy in the Palestine sector,
the struggling Revisionist Party .
In this atmosphere of violence and incitement a prominent
left-wing leader, Chaim Arlosoroff, was murdered while walking
with his wife on the beach near Tel Aviv .
Arlosoroff stood for everything the Revisionists were against .
He was an ardent advocate of class war . As a member of the
World Zionist Executive in charge of political affairs, he established
a policy of truckling to British pressure, denied that Palestine
officials were anti-Zionist, and praised Wauchope in unbounded
terms as a genius who really understood the needs of
Palestine. A few weeks before, he had threatened in a letter to
The New Way, Yiddish Zionist organ in Czechoslovakia, that
if the Revisionists ever came into power, Labor Palestine would
carry the fight to the streets and would make a bloody civil war
of it (June io, 1933) .
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
The murder took place at night in an isolated spot. An appalling
number of European women had suffered rape at Arab
hands, and at first it was assumed that this was a companion
piece to that stream of outrages . Arlosoroff, dying in Hadassah
Hospital, stated that his assailants were unknown to him and
that he was quite certain they were not Jews .
None of this deterred the Labor press from immediately setting
up the charge that here was a political murder . Wildly
they demanded blood revenge . In charge of the investigation
was Captain Harry Rice (Deputy Inspector General of Police),
who got busy at once . He promptly arrested a young Revisionist
named Stavsky .
Stavsky was a stout blond youth of handsome appearance
who had been in the country some three months. His whereabouts
during the time of the murder was amply established by
a score of creditable witnesses, but Mrs . Arlosoroff promptly
identified him as the companion of the man who had fired the
shots. Immediately after, a Revisionist boy named Mintz was
taken into custody, as were two Arabs named Mejid and Lufti.
The state's case was completed with the apprehension of Zvi
Rosenblatt, a young nationalist who was also conveniently
identified by Mrs . Arlosoroff as the man who committed the
Determined to make a clean sweep of the Revisionists, the
Administration ordered a mass arrest of their leaders and held
them without bail, accused of `sedition.' In the formal charges
they were alleged to be part of an organization aiming "to raise
discontent among the inhabitants of Palestine" and "to promote
hostility between different sections of the population ." One
of the supposed "terroristic acts" was the removal of the swastika
flag from the German Consulate Building in Jerusalem by
three of the defendants . Another was an obscure reference in
a confiscated letter to "a certain Jew in Jerusalem whose ideology
rings true and lives within our conscience ." Defense attorney
Cohen protested unavailingly that there was nothing in
this mention of Jesus Christ that could in good sense be construed
as operating against the public peace.
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
Among those arrested was a prominent editor named Yevin,
and Aba Achimeir, who was accused of being the intellectual
author of the murder . Achimeir, idol of the extreme nationalists,
was of the new type of Hebrew patriot, rigid, incorruptible,
and single-minded to the point of rhapsody . Slim and
courtly, with black ringlets hanging over a high, pale forehead,
he looked like a figure from one of El Greco's canvases .
Palestine was in a turmoil . In an atmosphere inflamed with
libel and violence, the accused were placed on trial for their
lives . As the trial opened, Achimeir was cleared of complicity
in the murder . Collusion between police and Government witnesses
was clearly proven. Evidence was shown to have been
deliberately falsified . Its case against him having collapsed so
hopelessly, the Government ordered Achimeir's release . This
was on May 16, 1934. On May 17, he was promptly rearrested,
charged with leading a "terrorist Revisionist Organization," and
held incommunicado in Acre Prison .
The boy, Yehuda Mintz, who had been identified by Mrs.
Arlosoroff, was also suddenly freed, without explanation, leaving
Rosenblatt and Stavsky in the dock . At the trial, Mrs.
Arlosoroff, caught in a mass of self-contradictions, was accused
by innumerable witnesses of lying . The Government's own
witnesses, insufficiently drilled in their role, made it manifest
that the accused could not have killed Arlosoroff. It was shown
that at the time he was supposed to have committed the murder
Rosenblatt was one of the main speakers at a mass meeting in
another city . More grimly amusing still was the peculiar position
of Captain Rice in refuting the confession of the Arab,
Mejid, who had admitted to the murder with rape as the motive .
In an action unprecedented in modern jurisprudence, Rice took
the stand to swear to Mejid's innocence, and refused pointblank
to call witnesses in regard to the Arab's confession .
On June io, 1934, in one of the most amazing decisions ever
rendered, Stavsky, whom a flood of testimony had placed elsewhere
at the time of the murder, was sentenced to hang . In
the indictment, he had been accused of holding the flashlight
while Rosenblatt did the actual killing . Rosenblatt who had
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
been addressing a public meeting at the time of the murder, was
acquitted - yet the co-accused Stavsky was convicted . Said the
doomed man on hearing the sentence : "This is a conspiracy by
the Jewish Labor Party and the Palestine Government against
me. I am totally innocent ."
An immediate censorship was put on the Jewish press restraining
it under peril of confiscation from calling attention to
the patent absurdity of the verdict. Three Hebrew newspapers
were stopped and their owners heavily fined for commenting
on the case as a miscarriage of justice.
Vindictively the Poale-Zion-Zeire-Zion (United Jewish Socialist
Workers Party) issued a statement applauding the verdict,
saying that "nothing could serve so well to clear the atmosphere
in our political life." It asserted that "the foundations of British
judicial institutions . . . leave no ground for doubt as to the
impartiality and legal regularity of the trial ." Despite this vote
of confidence, Joseph F . Broadhurst, Assistant Inspector General
of Police, was later to admit that "there was practically no evidence"
against the accused .4
The Laborites were making all the capital they could out of
this tragic situation, the first time a Jew had been on trial for the
murder of a Jew in the modern history of Palestine . In their
publicity they referred to the Revisionists as a party of murderers.
The Eighteenth World Jewish Congress, instead of occupying
itself with problems connected with British perfidy,
ridiculously voted to send a commission to Palestine to investigate
the alleged use of violence and terroristic methods by the
Revisionist group . The Laborites, by an adroit campaign of
slander only comparable to the scheming by which the German
Nazis used the burning of the Reichstag to corral a huge sympathy
vote, controlled the convention with almost forty-five
percent of the ballots .
Weitzman, mild-mannered to Jewish enemies, had a fierce
side when he faced Jews . He refused to return to the leadership
or even to come to the Congress, reputedly because the
Revisionists had not been expelled .
In the meanwhile the pot, which had only been simmering,
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
began to boil. Of the four judges who sat on the case, only
one was Jewish, and he alone had voted for acquittal. Now
this Jewish judge, venerable Moshe Valero, braved the wrath of
the gods and issued a strongly couched statement showing the
virtual impossibility of Stavsky's guilt . Chief Rabbi HaCohen
Kook, beloved Palestine leader, wrote a personal appeal to world
Jewry asking for aid in this flagrant miscarriage of justice .
With ferocious ardor the Labor groups leaped to the defense
of their kill . All over Palestine on the walls of houses and
synagogues, slogans were daubed in red paint, reading, "Pity
the nation whose priests protect murderers ." Labor groups
met and condemned in violent language the attempts to clear
The question agitated the entire Jewish world, which soon
became convinced that an innocent man had been railroaded to
the death cell for the sake of political expediency . In London
the famous Scotland Yard Inspector Charles Leach took the classic
part that Zola had held in the Dreyfus case of a generation past.
His sharp and biting report was a masterpiece of its kind . The
pressure became so great that the British Government could not
ignore it - the trial was reopened .
Shrewd and capable Horace Samuel was now the defense attorney
. He pointed out, among other things, the renewed confession
of the Arab, Mejid, and demanded that the police records
be made public . Again Captain Rice mysteriously refused .
Evidence showing that the leftists had exploited the murder for
political purposes in the 1933 election and that they had, together
with the Jewish Agency, assisted the prosecution in securing
the conviction of Stavsky as a political measure, was excluded
. Even then the proof of collusion was so patent that the
Palestine Court of Appeals had no other recourse than to free
the condemned man . He had been in prison a year and walked
out with his hair snow white .
The Marxists showed their joy over the verdict by stoning
the synagogue in which Stavsky and Rosenblatt were worshiping.
Davar, Laborite mouthpiece, followed up an official leftist
manifesto by declaring that the two men remained murderers.
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
Things rapidly came to the point where Stavsky and Rosenblatt
were warned by the Tel Aviv police to leave the city as
their lives were in danger and the police could not be responsible
for their safety .
Cheated out of its sacrificial victim, the Government was determined
to have its revenge . It hounded all witnesses for
Stavsky . An example is the almost immediate deportation of
the widow Becherev and her two children, who had aided in establishing
the accused's alibi . Its displeasure against Jewish nationalists
in general showed no signs of diminishing . It found
Achimeir and the other Revisionist leaders guilty of sedition and
sentenced them to twenty-one months at hard labor . On December
30, 1934 this Government which knew how to punish
Jews while Arabs murdered and revolted with impunity, announced
that it had revoked the citizenship of Yevin and Achimier,
making them men without a country. This new formidable
threat in a world where no nation wanted Jews, was held as
a terrible club over the head of all those who believed that the
Palestine Mandate envisioned the formation of a Jewish State .
Until the time of the Arlosoroff murder, the Revisionists had
been gaining ground so rapidly as to make it appear that their
ultimate control of the Zionist Organization was inevitable.
Under cover of the delirious charges and counter-charges growing
out of the Stavsky affair, the Laborites, possessing by far the
best equipped publicity machine, had succeeded in discrediting
their enemies as a band of ruffians and murderers . By a series of
admirable maneuvers and coalitions, the technique of which they
had learned in the traditional Marxian schools of Europe, they
succeeded, though still a minority in the Convention, in excluding
the Revisionists entirely from participation in Zionist affairs .
Expertly organized, and using the General Zionists as a front so
as to keep the Mizrachi from bolting harness, they took control .
Anchored in the seat of power, with the Organization's established
income at their disposal, they became almost impossible
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
to dislodge . Ironically, Laborite activities were now directly
subsidized by donations from the same middle class Zionists all
over the world whom leftist party platforms had sworn to destroy.
The Revisionists found themselves virtually outlawed . Jews
who had always been the persecuted now learned the business of
persecution. For the mere matter of his `ideology,' a youth belonging
to the Jabotinsky faction was to find himself completely
shut off from the possibility of obtaining a visa to Palestine . In
the Diaspora all Zionist activities, except those directly connected
with his party, were closed to him . Hatred grew to
irremediable proportions . The Laborites, nicely in the saddle,
perpetuated the idea, with Zionist funds, that Jabotinsky's men
were a degraded lot of "un-Jewish bastards" who had found
their god in Hitler. The persecuted Revisionists were not backward
in referring to their opponents with heart-felt passion as
`vermin.' Denied participation in Zionist affairs, they went
ahead on their own, issuing their own memoranda to the British
and the League of Nations and collecting their own funds. Infuriated,
the Laborites set up a virtuous wail of `sabotage' and
`secession.' Jews who were letting British bureaucrats tread on
them as if they were worms, now fought Jews with an obduracy
that neither gave quarter nor asked it .
The Zionist rulers set an ironclad dictatorship in operation for
better purposes of the battle. Like the Confessional Churches
in Nazi Germany, the Revisionists found themselves in a box .
Any utterance contrary to the ruling fiction that "unbelievable
progress was being made in Palestine" was treated as rank heresy.
The American, Dr . Stephen S. Wise, resigned from the
Administrative and Executive Committees of the Zionist Organization,
assailing the "absolutist regime in Zionist affairs ."
Shouting all the slogans of democracy, the Zionist leadership
proceeded to place in effect a rigid censorship of all news and
utterances . When the only existing Jewish news service offended
them, they entered the news business with funds of
the Jewish Agency. Leading Yiddish newspapers were handed
simple subsidies with the gentleman's understanding that they
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
would publish no news unfavorable to their patrons . (The important
Yiddische Tageblatt of Poland accused the Zionist Executive
in June 1936, of trying to "imitate the tone of certain
great powers" in its attempt to censor news on the Palestine disorders.)
In January of 1933 the Revisionists had been formally tried
by a Congress Court for the alleged crime of having discussed
Zionist affairs with the Polish Foreign Minister Beck, with the
result that the entire Revisionist Union was ordered suspended
from membership in the Zionist Organization . On July 26,
1933 the recognized leftist Fuehrer, Ben Gurion, laid down
the dictum that "we shall under no circumstances collaborate
with a party of strike-breakers and anti-labor agitators ." On
March 9, 1 934 the Zionist Executive issued a communique announcing
that the Revisionist Party would henceforth be regarded
as dissolved and non-existent. It declares that no Zionist
group is to be regarded as the Revisionist Sonderverbund, or
to style itself so, and asserts that the World Revisionist Party is
outlawed from the Zionist Organization and has no legal status
within that organization or any of its affiliated bodies . On February
6, 1935, not satisfied by declaring the Revisionists nonexistent,
the Executive placed a cherem (ban) on the Revisionist
Fund, the Keren Tel Chai, ludicrously ordering Jews not
to donate any money to it . In 1935 they also incorporated a
provision in reference to the purchase of the shekel which by its
very nature automatically excluded Revisionists.
In the meanwhile, sensing that all this was beginning to make
a bad impression on Jews all around, the Zionist hierarchy had
made a sudden attempt to compromise the situation . Ben Gurion,
speaking for the Executive, agreed to act with Jabotinsky
to end the inter-party strife . Conventions were arrived at and
signed outlawing all acts of violence, libel or slander . Both
parties undertook to discipline their membership on pain of
permanent expulsion . The Revisionist Union promptly ratified
the act of their leader by a plebiscite . The Laborites, however,
wanted no `peace' with the hated bourgeoisie represented by the
Revisionists. After one of the most vituperative campaigns in
THE RAPE OF
Zionist history, they voted two to one to repudiate Ben Gurion's
A few months later the provoked Revisionists went through
the motions of resigning from a body which had already all but
thrown them out, and with some other dissident factions formed
the New Zionist Organization . At a great plebiscite which was
to determine the form and content of the new organization, some
750,000 votes were cast - the largest number of ballots ever
voted by Jews on a purely Jewish matter since the days of the
Dispersion . The foundation congress held in
the Fall of 1935 was a jubilant and hysterical affair . Jabotinsky's
strategy was to isolate the left-wingers and leave them
hopelessly stranded with their catechisms on the coming Utopia .
But the leftists were no fools : they swiftly compromised with
middle-of-the-road elements who, delighted with the concessions
made to them, decided to remain with the old organization.
Revisionist tactics were also, in part at least, based on the assumption
Whitehall's known antipathy for Socialists did
not cloak a stronger anti-Semitism underneath . They believed
that the Bureaucrats would welcome their action, as a sensible
piece of Empire strategy . This was from the start a grave misconception
. The Bureaucrats preferred Zionism in the hands
of the most radical Socialists in order to have the better excuse
to lobby against it at home . So the New Zionist Organization,
instead of being welcomed as a happy windfall for the Empire,
was quite competently ignored .
REIGNING ZIONIST PERSONALITIES
No Bill of Rights ever penned can remake overnight the mental
approach of a people whose mind has been ground down by
half a dozen centuries of abject horror . The memory of these
cruel generations left its stamp indelibly on the Jewish spokesmen
who took over the helm of the movement after Herzl's
.death . Invariably they were graduates of the Yeshiva atmosphere
of the Russian Pale .
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
The circumstances by which they literally fell into leadership
were simple . The great mass of Jewry was busy in the
practical affairs of day-to-day existence . The Socialists, Liberals
and Conservatives kept themselves coolly aloof . The pro-
Zionists, engrossed in their own occupations, were content to
show their sympathy by the donation of funds or by occasional
participation at rallies and meetings . It was a small group of
impassioned scholastics, who had made Zionism a profession all
their lives, who took over the actual machinery of operation.
When the collapse of humanism in post-war
the movement with immediate, critical importance as a political
reality, these men still further intrenched themselves . They
controlled the Zionist income and sources of propaganda . The
great bulk of stunned, ruined Jews were now little more than
fleeing outcasts, trying desperately to extricate their individual
lives from the horrible quagmire in which they found themselves
caught. Artfully the career-Zionists parried their opposition,
contending that any attempt to wash dirty linen publicly during
this precarious period was downright mischievous .
It is only in the light of these circumstances that one can
understand the retention of a group of leaders whose muddled
policies have brought the Zionist movement so close to disaster .
The procedure of these men was from first to last a tragic comedy
of errors . With few exceptions they were brilliant intellectually,
kindly and idealistic. Completely misunderstanding
human motivation, they regarded force of any kind as
barbarian . They were masters of hair-splitting disputation, unmatched
for pure decency of conception, but more useful in
legal briefs than in the serious business of repatriating a nation.
The most influential of them had adopted British nationality,
which under the circumstance of any conflict of interests
brought them up squarely against the question of their prior
patriotism to England .
More fatal still, they lacked the fierce aggressive spirit, the
shrewd realism, which the struggle for national existence demands.
In their minds was ever the idyllic vision of a unique
cultural community, taking precedence over questions of sov170
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
ereign political rule . This completely irrational conception,
springing from the brain of the obstinate scholastic, Achad
Ha'am, served to create an ecstatic polity in which reality could
at no time be dissevered from metaphor and rhetoric . At times
their learned dogmatism lapsed into sheer nonsense, as witness
Rabbi Freehof's declaration that Herzl's Jewish State was not a
State of armies, navies and political schemes, but the embodiment
of "a Jewish civilization in Palestine ." 5 Responsible Zionist
leaders even declared they did not care about politics - their
concern was "with a culture ." Like all intense men, infatuated
with the logic of their own pedantry, they could not understand
in what they were remiss. Co-workers who spoke realistically
were looked down upon as firebrands, radical, uninspired,
or simply reactionary .
Throughout they pursued a course of self-justification in
which their noble theories had an important part . It was they
who first enunciated the conception of duty owed the benighted
local population, later to be transformed into fundamentals of
British policy. With the complication of left wing intrusion
into the movement, shrewd efforts at national self-sufficiency
were left still further behind .
Certainly the Zionist leaders were no match for clever British
bureaucrats, trained in the business of extracting every ounce
of value from every possible situation. Time after time they
missed their chance ; when the Irish were fighting a successful
Sinn Fein, when Mussolini offered his hand in friendship, when
the French turned to them, and when the Arabs themselves
offered peace on an anti-British basis . Far from following a
strategy of resistance, they actually went to the opposite extreme.
Bulwarking their own weaknesses by an intensive propaganda
directed to their fellow Jews, they went to the point of
publicly praising the very British administrators who were conspiring
against them . The influential English Zionists especially,
denounced in grandiloquent sarcasm any attempt to question the
good faith of England, and sabotaged all efforts to bring the
Jewish case to the English public itself.
There were some among the Zionist leaders, such as JabotinJEWS
HAVE A REPUTATION
sky, Ussishkin, and Dr. Eder, who fought this policy bitterly in
the inner councils of the movement . Eder for example boldly
told the Court of Inquiry, following the Jaffa disturbances of
1921, that "there can be only one National Home in Palestine,
and that a Jewish one, and no equality in the partnership between
Jews and Arabs, but a Jewish preponderance as soon as
the numbers of the race are sufficiently increased ." But these
men were by one artifice or another squeezed out of any position
of real power .
The most influential of all the Zionist personages is the President
of the World Zionist Organization, Dr . Chaim Weitzman .
Weitzman was born in Motele, Russia, in 1874, and was reared
in an atmosphere of poverty, piety and learning . A devoted
follower of Achad Ha'am, he was one of the founders of the
`democratic faction,' a group which stressed the cultural aspects
of Zionism as contrasted to the political demands which were always
paramount with Herzl. During this early period he was
consequently ranged on the side of Herzl's bitterest critics .
Weitzman is bald, but not unhandsome . His bearing is mild
and thoughtful, but intense, brooding eyes lend fire to his personality.
He has made himself into a great chemist by his own
efforts and possesses a warm personal charm together with impeccable
He is a marvelous money-raiser, capable of button-holing a
prospect and turning on the full stream of his great charm, to
leave the interview with a check in his pocket . He has always
followed the path of least resistance, and early tied up his political
fortunes with those of the Laborites when it appeared that
their star was in the ascendant . He is a master of the technique
of demagoguery, capable of convincingly blotting out his own
failures with such statements as "we will show the world that
Jewish idealism can bring forth a civilization as noble and fructifying
as any which history has known."
Considering the unfettered criticism leveled at him by his
peers for "a leadership that has proven itself a failure and is
bankrupt in all fields of its activity," 6 he has managed to maintain
an almost mesmeric hold over the Zionist Organization .
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
Part of this technique of control is the assertion to uneasy Jews
that "England will deal only with Weitzman ."
He is almost pathologically amenable to British importuning .
At a World Congress in 1931, after Dr . Stephen S. Wise had
called attention to London's betrayal of Zionist interests, Weitzman
made this remarkable statement : "I disassociate myself
from and protest against both the form and contents of Wise's
speech . . . but I wish to remind the British reader of Dr .
Wise's speech that Dr . Wise is a champion of the British cause
in America, rendering great service to Great Britain." 7 After
having been rejected at that Congress in favor of a new leadership,
he declared to the Laborites who had followed him staunch
to the end, tears streaming down his beard : "The last hour before
my departure, I wish to spend with those who fought for
the pure and only Zionism, heroically opposing the dark forces
of the Congress [the nationalists] . . . I still believe that the
Balfour Declaration was only a war gain and by its gravity it
was bound to sink . . . I believe that you and I are two creative
forces in Zionism ."
At another Congress he answered Zionists who had charged
Britain with sabotaging their movement, by advising them that
"our task is to cause a minimum of embarrassment to the Mandatory
power. . . It is our delicate task to present the wishes of
the Zionist movement to the Mandatory power, not demanding
In this almost bizarre description of the head of a political
movement, Weizmann's henchman Louis Lipsky says : "He
staked his leadership upon his faith in Great Britain . Often, he
took upon himself the defense of its policies, with disastrous results
to his influence in the movement . With a certain perversity
derived from his dialectical experience in the Yeshiva, he
would take up the case for Great Britain at a time when it was
entitled to no such advocacy on his part ." 8 In an almost classic
statement coming from a political leader, Weitzman extenuated
British persecution of his own people in the following words
"On the British side it soon became apparent that the very factors
which had brought about the issuance of the Balfour DecJEWS
HAVE A REPUTATION
laration, were, in certain circumstances, liable to operate against
the execution of a policy based upon it . The British devotion
to fair play and instinctive support of the weaker side, was responsible
in some quarters for a feeling that the Arabs o f Palestine
needed to be protected against the richer, better organized
Jews. . ." 9
His utterances are unpredictable . On March 28, 1931 he
flatly accused the Jews "of contributing to the Arab's fears"
and of not making the proper concessions . On April 9, 1931,
he stated bluntly that cooperation between Jews and Arabs
would have been possible if England had not prevented it . A
few days later, speaking at Manchester, England, he stated his
unequivocable satisfaction "that the Mandate was in the hands of
England." At still another time he orated : "I have no sympathy
or understanding with the demand for a Jewish majority
in Palestine . . . A majority is not required for the development
of Jewish civilization and culture ." 10 A few years later he is
found trying to sell his fellow-Jews the idea of a greatly restricted
territory because a `Jewish State' is being offered as part
of the bargain .
The policies by which he guided the Zionist movement may
be judged from his continuous flow of statements of a religiosemystic
nature, inviting acceptance of the bi-national state idea.
At the Basle Congress of 1927 he described the Zionist movement
as "spiritual and cultural - not aggressive . . . it is only
the expression of an urge ." Arabs and Jews were somehow to
"come together . . . above politics and above programs." This
was the typical kind of millennium over which Weitzman could
work himself into a religious fervor .
The English bureaucrats think much of him. Gandhi too admires
him greatly . In these two facts many critical observers
think the epitaph of Zionism has been written.
The great opponent of Weitzman is the little ex-soldier,
Vladimir Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky is one of the few Jewish leaders
with any adequate idea of the kind of policies the present
Jewish crisis demands . Among Hebrew nationalists he is idolized .
In the ghettos of Eastern Europe he is already a tradition . He
THE RAPE OF PALESTINE
is hated without reservation by the Marxists who see him as their
ready-made enemy . Once he answered some leftist attacks by
throwing a handful of pennies contemptuously in their faces,
saying : "Here is your patriotism ."
As a spell-binder Jabotinsky is almost without rival . He can
hold an audience breathless, and often will talk for three or four
hours at a stretch . As an expert conniver in the business of inner
Zionist intrigue he is hopeless . He is handicapped by a
deficient understanding of the structural mechanics of modem
political warfare . Half a dozen times he has had thrown in his
lap the chance to seize control of shattered Zionist affairs, and
half a dozen times he has muffed it . He is impetuous and headstrong,
and a poor judge of men. Despite these inadequacies
he is the only existing leader capable of supplying the flashing
personality and keen insight into events required if anything is
to be salvaged from the impending collapse of the Zionist adventure.
Outside of Dr. Wise, whose influence is scanty, the other personalities
of the movement largely reflect all that Weitzman represents.
A fine example is the head of the all-important Political
Department of the Jewish Agency, in Palestine, Moshe
Shertok. Shertok is a commonplace fellow with wavy hair, a
left-wing product who, called into court as a witness on a case,
declined to take oath on the Torah, declaring that "to do so was
in contradition to his philosophy of life. . ." 11 Some idea of his
caliber is shown in the evidence before the Royal Commission
investigating the 1936 riots, where he announced in the name of
the Socialist Federation of Labor that a thousand of the rioting
Arabs, who had left their jobs at the Jewish settlements in order
to join the rebellion, should have their places kept in reserve for
them in case they wished to return .12
The chief political officer of the Zionist Executive, in London,
is a pudgy professor of mathematics named Selig Brodetsky .
Like most of Weizmann's cabinet, he considers wheedling to be
the measure of political sagacity . On October 24, 1934 he asserted
that "we are fighting discrimination against Jews in the
Jewish National Home." Yet less than four months later he
JEWS HAVE A REPUTATION
was heard declaiming in London : "Our partnership with Great
Britain was based on idealism on both sides, infused by the spirit
of the Bible . And if Great Britain saw something in Palestine
which might be useful to herself, we should welcome, not decry
this community of interest . Our watchword is cooperation
with Great Britain . . . The present High Commissioner, Sir Arthur
Wauchope, has shown an understanding of the meaning of
Palestine which is most gratifying ."
Among others whose influence is strong is David Ben Gurion,
a Laborite, now virtually Weizmann's Prime Minister. When
not handicapped by his associations, Ben Gurion is inclined to
show courage and general good sense . After the I929 pogroms
he split no hairs in declaring that "we must take care not to fall
into the trap prepared by hostile British officials who desire to
instigate here a bloody religious war ." Later, to save himself
from the fate which befell Jabotinsky and other irreconcilables,
he switched policy, and can be usually found hand-in-glove with
Among the other men on the inner Zionist councils with hard
common sense is Menachem Ussishkin, a stolid, bearded engineer
from Odessa . Unlike his associates he is unimaginative and no
intellectual. He never hesitates to speak his mind . He declared
in the squabble over acceptance of the MacDonald Letter
that given a choice between Weitzman and the Jewish people
he had no hesitancy in foregoing Weitzman . His associates
consider him a nuisance and a danger but don't know how to
get rid of him. He was long ago removed from the Executive
and booted upstairs to become President of the Jewish National
Fund. Ussishkin is a stranger to finesse and lacks a cultural
background. In charge of the Commission sent in i 9 i 9 to deal
with the Military in Palestine, he and his colleague Dr . Eder are
said to have served 'Eno's Fruit Salts' to General Storrs at a dinner,
under the impression that it was the English national drink .
Ussishkin's great attribute is a healthy pugnacity, sadly lacking
in Jewish leadership ; and the Zionists might have done
worse than to have had him at the helm in the stormy weather
they have been experiencing during all these years .