100 Years Ago

What is Happening in Palestine

Danger of Zionists Acquiring Supreme Power.

By Lord Syndenham of Combe, June 1 1921


Do the British people understand whither Mr. Balfour’s Palestine policy is leading us? asks Lord Sydenham in an article in the Nineteenth Century, and he goes on to give a pessimistic view of the results which he fears will accrue from allowing the Zionists to gain too much control in the administration of the country.

“News from Palestine,” he continues, “is strangely meagre. The postal service is largely in Zionist hands. An unofficial spy system exists, and private letters are now couched in carefully guarded terms.

“After General Allenby’s brilliant campaign, Palestine fell into British hands, and we were welcomed as deliverers by Arabs, both Moslem and Christian, and by hereditary Palestinian Jews.

“The population, as we found it, embraced, roughly speaking, 515,000 Moslems, 62,500 Christians, 65,300 Jews, and 5,000 others; but, as I stated in the House of Lords:

“The percentage of each of the communities employed in agriculture was, Moslems, 69; Christians, 46; and Jews, 19. Thus the Jews in Palestine at the end of the war were playing an infinitesimal part in what is the only industry of that country.

“Under the rule of the Turks the three religions lived in harmony and mutual tolerance. The garrison was very small, and the administration was largely in the hands of Palestinians, with a few Turkish officials.

“On November 14, 1918, a declaration which had been agreed to by the French and British Governments was published in Palestine, informing the people that the aim of the two Powers in waging war in the East was to ensure the complete and final emancipation of all these people so long oppressed by the Turks, to establish national governments and administrations which shall derive their authority from the initiative and freewill of the people themselves, and to assure, by their support and practical aid, the normal workings of such governments and administrations as the peoples themselves have adopted.

“This announcement was well received by all classes of Palestinians, and the obvious first step to a settlement was to ascertain their views. As nothing was done, anti-British propaganda soon began, and the proceedings of the Zionists, who established a self-constituted Commission at Jerusalem, and were able to hamper the British administration, quickly gave rise to distrust and suspicion of British motives and policy. The difficulties with which Major-General Sir A. Wigram Money, the head of the administration, was confronted were many and embarrassing. Over Palestine hung darkly the Balfour declaration of November, 1917, with its dubious implications. True that it was to be ‘clearly understood that nothing should be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine;’ but how was this salutary provision to be reconciled with the creation of a Jewish ‘National Home’? General Money and his ablest colleagues had been trained in the school of India, where absolute impartiality towards all classes and creeds is an article of faith. To them the idea of conferring special privileges upon the Zionists—a little exotic minority, whose presence was resented by orthodox Palestinian Jews—and ignoring the manifest claims of the overwhelming Moslem-Christian majority was naturally abhorrent. They found themselves in an impossible position in view of the growing arrogance and power of the Zionist Commission, which eventually routed them.

“No clear statement of policy could be obtained from the Government, and the Zionists were permitted to intrigue with success behind the back of the British administrator.

“I can only give a few instances out of many indicating the successes of the Zionist Commission. The cultivators, many of whom had been ruined by the war, were in urgent need of loans. Turkish law, under which Palestine was still administered, provided for such a case. The administration made a most favorable arrangement with the Anglo-Egyptian Bank. Instantly the Zionist agents in London protested, and orders were sent to hold up the arrangement from which Palestinian Jews would have benefited. Dr. Weizmann, however, proceeded to Palestine, and, discovering that his friends had gone a little too far, he graciously withdrew the embargo.

‘The development of the port of Haifa was one of the projects of the British administration, and British firms offered to tender for this important work. Again the Zionists interfered, and raised objections. Similarly the proposal to utilize the labor of Maltese ex-Service men as a temporary expedient to relieve unemployment in Malta was vetoed on the ground that only Jewish labor ought to be employed.

“This was not all. The financial adviser of the Palestine Government, a most capable Indian Civil Servant, was suddenly dismissed, because it was alleged that he was not persona grata to the Zionist Junta in Jerusalem. An atmosphere hostile to the military administration was skillfully diffused, and General Money found it necessary to resign, his example being subsequently followed by the best of his colleagues who could not bow the knee to the new Baal. There is no place for the fearless and honorable British officer, who recognizes the rights of the Palestinians and is determined to be impartial, in the administration to-day. Subservience to the Zionists, who already appear to exercise powers of domination, is the road to advancement. A steamship company was recently asked not to allow its vessels to call at Palestinian ports on a Saturday because of inconvenience to Jewish officials.

“At an early period the self-appointed Commission appears to have claimed the right to supervise immigration. In July, 1920, an order was issued to the Governors of ports directing them to admit Jews arriving by sea without passports, provided that they had Zionist sanction, and although I believe this amazing decision was rescinded, the Commission has been constituted the selecting body for all immigrants. Dr. Max Nordau has stated that the influx of Jews may reach eight or nine millions, and that half a million will be settled in Palestine in the next few years. Replying to me, Lord Curzon said on the 29th of June last:

“Our general policy is that no man or woman shall be admitted whom the country is incapable of supporting, and that indiscriminate mass immigration, whether of Jews or non-Jews, whether of Jews from Russia or from other parts of the world, will most certainly not be permitted.’

“I am informed that a stream of Jews, including Polish Bolsheviks, is arriving, some of them being impecunious and attracted by the golden prospects held out by the leaders of Zion. Before long there will be a strong affluent from Russia, and, unless immigration is sternly regulated in the interests of the Palestinian peoples, grave troubles are certain.

“Before the unjustly maligned military administration had been rendered impossible, there were many signs of grave unrest in Palestine. The menace of Zionism drew the non-Jewish elements of the population together, and a Moslem-Christian League was formed in the land which saw the Crusades, while the Christian churches at Jerusalem, whose quarrels ushered in the Crimean War, recognized that they were in the presence of a common danger. The League addressed a touching appeal ‘to the loyal members of the British Parliament, to the ardent members of the House of Lords, to the British Liberal-Labor Party, to the Anglo-Saxon Churches, to the Professors and students of British Universities and Colleges, to the noble and just British nation.’ It complained bitterly of the arrogant assumptions of the Zionists promoted by ‘the money pouring on them from outside and the privileges given to them.’

“The Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem. Dr. MacInniss, spoke out boldly, and was reported in the Guardian and Church Times. He said that there were extremists who ‘in ordinary conversation’ had asked: ‘What shall be done with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? Shall it be razed to the ground or burned?’ And he added that:

” ‘The emigrants so far brought in (under the auspices of the Commission) did not include many respectable English Jews; but they did include a great number of Russians, Poles, and Roumanians, many of them thoroughly Bolshevik in their attitude to the Government.’

“A veil has since fallen between the British people and the rightful owners of Palestine, for whose welfare they have become responsible. The Moslem-Christian League has been reduced to silence. Local disturbances still apparently occur; but we do not hear of them. A Jew has been made Chief of the Judicial Branch; another is Assistant-Governor of Jerusalem, and Zionists are evidently winning their way into the administration. They have already succeeded in imposing Hebrew as a third official language upon this little country, with objects that are evident. Neither Moslems nor Christians are likely to learn a dead language, and the result will be to create a number of posts which can be held only by Jews. Jewish children are being forced into schools where Hebrew is taught, and as textbooks of modern science cannot well be rendered in the language of the Talmud, education complications apart—will receive a setback. The resignations of experienced British officers is an even more serious matter.

“Turning to the economic question, it is clear that Palestine is not well suited to colonization. Some of the Jewish colonies established in recent years are able to pay their way. Others, together with a considerable mendicant Jewish population in Jerusalem, are dependent upon subsidies. If the Zionists were prepared to put down their money without return, to develop the country for the advantage of its proper inhabitants, and only to admit selected immigrants, Jewish and Gentile, as the development proceeded, I can imagine that a more prosperous future would dawn upon Palestine. This, however, is not their object, and if they succeed in converting the small Jewish minority at the date of the conquest into a majority which will proceed to set up a ‘Jewish Commonwealth’ under a successor to David and Solomon, with a Sanhedrim and a Soviet system, there will be a great disaster for which we shall be entirely responsible.

“If now a Zionist Commonwealth is permitted to be set up in Palestine, which occupies a most important geographical position, political and strategic, between the East and West, what must happen? The Government at Jerusalem, presumably an autocracy, will be manipulated by and co-operate with its powerful associates in all Gentile countries, and the foundations of world control foreshadowed by the Hebrew prophets and indicated in the Protocols will be securely laid.



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