Sunday, June 09, 2013

Some Things Never Change

Doesn't this sound familiar?
The noble Lord said: My Lords, every one of us must thoroughly sympathise with those Jews who wish to make their home in Palestine. Although their rights are based upon a particularly ruthless conquest we respect, and wish to take into full account, their strong sentiment inherited from the five hundred years during which they were a ruling people. We cannot, however, go back three thousand years, and we must consider the equal rights of the present inhabitants of Palestine.

... The recent Jewish colonies are prospering in viticulture and in citrons fruits, but some are not yet on an economic basis because they are supported by outside capitalists. No one could object to the setting up of more of such colonies. The Jews, as a rule, do not cultivate cereals, and many of them are employers of Arab labour or the labour of a particularly depressed class of Jews who come from the Yemen. Then there are a large number of Jews in Palestine who do no useful work but live on mendicancy or on remittances from their wealthy co-religionists.

... Jerusalem ranks next after Mecca amongst the holy places of Islam, and the agitation which has been engineered in India over the Khalifate question gives one an idea of the greater agitation which could be raised if it could be represented that the holy places of Islam were to pass under Jewish control. I need say nothing of the many places in Palestine which the whole Christian world holds in devout reverence.

... I should particularly like to draw your Lordships' attention to the speech made by the Bishop at Jerusalem at a meeting at the Church House, and reported in the Guardian and Church Times. The Bishop said plainly that the present troubles were "largely due to the actions and behaviour of the Zionists" who settled in Palestine since the war. He then pointed out that— "The Zionist Commission had been a very strong body; but it was not strong enough to control all its members, many of whom were extremists … They had behaved and spoken as if the country had already been given to them and was theirs to dispose of as they would. in ordinary conversation among Zionists at Jerusalem it had been asked. 'What shall be done with the Church of time Holy Sepulchre? Shall it be burned or razed to the ground?' It did not occur to them that Christians and Mohammedans had as much right to Palestine as they had. … The idea seemed to be to equalise the population and then demand full control of the Government. The emigrants so far brought in did not include many respectable English Jews; but they did include a great number of Russians, Poles, and Rumaniana, many of them thoroughly Bolshevistic in their attitude to the Government." The Bishop added— "The attempt to intimidate the inhabitants had led to a deplorable state of things. … All this had been brought about by the injudicious attitude of Zionism, by the ill-advised behaviour of its members, by the definitely Bolshevist and in many cases anti-British attitude of some of them, and by the intolerance of many of its followers." This important speech throws a painful light upon the present position in Palestine, and gives us a serious warning. The Rev. G. Napier Wittingham, who has lately returned from Palestine, tells me that the Zionists demand rights of pre-emption on all sales of land in Palestine, and possession of all uncultivated lands, even if there are customary rights over those lands, which we always recognise in India....Lately the Government, at the instigation of the Commission, offered £150 for some land adjoining the Sacred Mosque of Omar. This is Wakf land, which anyone who has served in India understands. The proposal, of course, caused the bitterest resentment among the Moslems in the country, and Mr. Wittingham writes— "All the various sects of Christians, all the Moslems are at one. A Society has been formed called the Moslem and Christian League, and I had a long talk with its President, his Excellency Aref Pasha. Be did not mince matters but said quite plainly that he and his friends had been deceived. They fought on the side of the British against the Turk because they believed in British justice, bat they would never have fought, their co-religionists had they imagined for a moment that a British victory meant Jewish domination."

That was here, at the House of Lords debate on 29 June 1920 Hansard, vol 40 cc1005-38

And Lord Lamington said this then: of their leaders has said that all the present good land under cultivation, or land that could be cultivated without some extensive scheme of irrigation, is already held by owners, and, inasmuch as they are not making the best possible use of that land, three-fourths of it should be taken away from them and handed over to Jewish settlers...If you are to make Palestine a Jewish country it is right that the Jews should claim to go east of the Jordan, not merely on the heights behind the Jordan but to have the Hedjaz railway south of Damascus down to Maan.

Even the term "settlers" is old.

Some things never change.


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