LORD SHEFFIELD

My Lords, I feel that a great deal of mischief was done by using ambiguous words at the start such as “National Home.” “National Home” might be interpreted in a harmless way, but it has also been interpreted as giving priority to a small minority of Jews over the mass of people in Palestine. It is idle to propose that preference should be given to one-tenth who have gone to the country only lately over the nine-tenths who have been there, from father to son, for generations.

The noble Earl is, perhaps, too busy to read a publication which I have been reading for two years and which throws a light on the view of Zionists. I refer to their official organ called Palestine. That publication is not written by Bolshevists; it is written in England for English people and, therefore, intended to be as moderate as possible. All I can say is that if some subordinate of the noble Earl in the Foreign Office makes it his business to see that organ he will perceive the very wide claims that have been systematically put forward for two years on behalf of the Zionists, claims which are entirely inconsistent with a mere “place in the sun”—claims for priority and preference. If Jews go back in reasonable numbers and show by their ability, industry and character that they can take the lead, they will take the lead and no one will object; but it is the duty of the Government to hold an absolutely fair balance and not to consider that there should be a balance of equality between one-tenth and nine-tenths. Claims have been put forward by the Jews that the Jewish language should be put on an equality with the national language of the country. I have seen claims put forward also by them that the Sabbath should be observed as a day of obligation, whereas it is only such a day for a small section of the people. I remember what happened when it was proposel to send a number of workmen from Malta to make a pier at Haifa. The claim put forward was that any immigration to Palestine must be pre-erupted and demanded for the Jews.

The Government are under suspicion by many people of trying to smooth the way so that when things ripen the Jews can step in and take possession of their “Promised Land.” That would be a thoroughly vicious principle. The Government should administer Palestine under the mandate for the benefit of all the people there. The Jews comprise only one-tenth of the inhabitants. They are not an important part of the people. They have raked up an ancient name with which the present-day Jews have nothing whatever to do. The noble Earl said they would not allow Palestine to be the dumping ground for all the rowdies of Europe. Respectable Jews should come in as other people, but there should be no attempt to prevent others from coming in. There ought to be perfectly fair play. No doubt Sir Herbert Samuel will try to be perfectly fair, but there is no doubt that the people of the country, when you select a man of the religion and race of only one-tenth of the inhabitants and send him to rule the whole country, must feel suspicious. I hope that Sir Herbert Samuel will disappoint the hopes of his co-nationalists and co-religionists. When the noble Earl talked of Jewish energy and enterprise coming, he seemed to thing, to develop this country, part passu, (sic) on equality with the Arabs and the other people there, I thought he, wanted to give too much of a push to the Zionist movement. I trust that the Government will take care that nothing will be done against the wishes of the mass of the people of that country to pamper the expectations of people spread all over the world who are being pushed forward to intrude themselves where they are not wanted.  (More Here )

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