Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Great Britain, Palestine and the Jewish People

Great Britain, Palestine and the Jewish People - Chanukah

My Lord Mayor, this candle has been lighted in Jewish homes for over 2,000 years, and it represents the undying flame of hope - the characteristic of the Jewish people in those long years when they never lost hope that one day the Divine promise might be fulfilled before their eyes.

Continuing, Sir Stuart Samuel said that, with regard to the Declaration of the British government, he thought it was far easier to return Palestine to the Jewish people than for the Jewish people to return to Palestine.

Jews to be successful in Palestine-Israel must be united; not only in this country, but throughout the world should they present a united front, for united they were strong.

He appealed to all to sink their own views for the common good.  The welfare of their brother Jewish people must be the idea that should permeate them all.  Small ideas must vanish for the welfare of the whole.  After centuries of waiting to return to their homeland, progress must be gradual; one could not gamble when the fate of the Jewish people was at stake.  No large influx of population must go forth to Palestine till it was prepared to receive them.  Jews must give religious freedom to others as they themselves expected.  They should hold out a helping hand to other nations who has suffered; firstly, to the Armenians, and to a less extent the Arabs as fellow partners in misfortune, and show them that the Jewish people desired to live in peace and amity with them.  Let the Jewish people always remember that it was due to the freedom enjoyed in this blessed country, England, that they could thus hold out hope of brotherhood.  Living in England, they could realize thoroughly the gift of freedom.  To sympathize deeply, one must suffer deeply.  The cities of Palestine would be as cities of refuge to the persecuted in G-d's own time and bring peace to Israel. He stated; The world owed a great debt to the Jewish people, who had held up that great idea and been true to it through torment and torture, the idea of again acquiring their land in Palestine and rebuilding their nation.  He earnestly hoped that the idea would be realized, and it was best realized by winning the war, and by destroying forever German militarism and by crushing it with ferocity.  When peace at length came than the vision of the prophet Isaiah would be realized.

Sir Mark Sykes said that since Mr. Balfour's letter to Lord Rothschild - that a Jewish homeland would be established in Palestine - testimony had come from millions of Jewish peoples all over the world that the mass of Jewry was profoundly moved.  Although within the two thousand years past Jewry had on occasion moved in unison it had always before been on some matter of grief and never a joy.

The war had been fruitful in negatives, but here was a great positive.  For centuries there had been something amiss with civilization.  Every nation and every continent had had its Jewish problem, oppressive laws, Ghettos, Pales; here Jews were proscribed and evicted, there tolerated and assimilated, and between the two one did not know better.  The realization of the Zionist ideal was the end of all that.  Zionism would give the Jewish people of the world a higher position than they had ever held before.  Although few might go to Palestine-Israel in proportion to those who remained without, the latter would not suffer.  No British Jewish person would be less British because he could look at the cradle of his race with pride and at the religious center of his faith with happiness and reverence.  when the spiritual citizenship was clearly and nobly defined the civic citizenship would be higher than ever before.

But there was practical considerations.  He regarded it a vital for the success of the Zionist plan that it should rest upon a Jewish, Armenian, and Arab entente.  The Armenian was one of an oppressed people, and until he could live his life and realize his national aspirations the Jewish people could have no guaranty that tyranny which fell upon him would not fall upon them.  We had been told that the Turk had tolerated the Jewish people.  It was because in Turkey the Jewish people had not been a political element, and had had no agrarian population.  The day that Zionism was realized they were land-holders, and became to the Turk the same as the Bulgar, the Serb, the Greek, the Armenian, the Arab.  Until they had liberated the Armenians they could not be secure; they must have between themselves and their possible aggressor a stable progressive Armenian state.

When he spoke of the Arabs he entered into no nice distinctions.  He referred to those in Asia who were one in language and in blood.  By environment they called Syrians, Mesopotamians, Mosulis, Aleppines; by religion they were called Christians, Mussulmans, Druzez, Mitawelis, Ansaries; in blood, there was on the male side a little infusion in Syria of the Crusader, and in Mesopotamia of Turanian and Iranian, but scientists would call these only traces.  Eighty-five per cent of the stock was Semitic.  For 800 years the Arabs had been under Turkish dynasties in the Middle East.  Their canals of Mesopotamia had been ruined, and when Vasco de Gama rounded the Cape he cut them off the European commerce.  They were bound, impoverished, divided by Turkish intrigue, and isolated by events.  Were they dead? Never.  "you know the Semite sleeps but never dies."  Wherever there were men of Arab stock, whether in Nigeria or Chicago, Java or Manchester, one would find progressive people who took interest in the art, in literature, in philosophy, and had a high place in commerce.  The Arabs of today had the same vitality and capacity as the Arabs under the Ommayads carried civilization from Damascus to Cordova in Spain, and from Basra to the wild steppes of Austral Asia; as the Abbassids who spread literature and art from Bagdad to the whole civilized world.

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