Thursday, September 01, 2016

That Old Economic Absortive Capacity Devil

The 1930 White Paper first introduced the concept that Palestine could not accept great numbers of Jewish immigrants, not because Arabs opposed it (as if), but because the absorption of so many should be dependent on economic factors:

Like the Hope-Simpson Report, the Passfield White Paper found this Zionist policy damaging to the economic development of the Arab population. It concluded that Jewish immigration to Palestine was taking land from the Arab fellahs; sales of land to Jewish settlers should in future be restricted, and Arab unemployment levels should be a factor in considering permitted levels of Jewish immigration to Palestine. Furthermore, a legislative council should be formed which would represent the (Arab) majority of its population. In support of the supposed shortage of land in Palestine, Passfield's wife Beatrice Webb claimed that there was "no room to swing a cat" there.

That report noted:

Future development of industry: Jewish.—The question of the future development of industry in Palestine is discussed at considerable length in the Memorandum of the Jewish Agency to which reference has been already made. The Memorandum considers that "from the point of view of Industry the whole talk of the absorptive capacity of the country is out of place and should be disposed of once and for all." 


...that such part of Jewish immigration as is meant to be absorbed by industry should not be limited by any imaginary absorptive power of the country.

But I discovered that in 1951, the United States was still using it:

With respect to immigration, it has been and should continue to be the Department’s policy to counsel Israel that the inflow of population should be coordinated with the economic capacity of the state.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.


1 comment:

Shtrudel said...

"No room to swing a cat" there but today the place is home to 10 times as many people... With room for growth!...

As for the US State Department, "Foggy Bottom" has always had a bug where the sun don't shine where Israel is concerned...

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose is right on the button!...