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Mr. Fish. There could be no objection to hearing what they have to say. They are here, and I presume would like to be heard, and we would like to know the grounds of their objections.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to keep the proceedings regular. Of course, you are more interested, perhaps, than anyone else in that, because you are the author of the measure.
Mr. Fish. I do not think the matter is very important, and we are ready to proceed. I understand that Congressman Rossdale, of New York, would like to make a statement in favor of the bill. STATEMENT OF HON. ALBERT B. ROSSDALE, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK.
Mr. RossDALE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, Congressman Perlman, my colleague from New York City, requests that he be recorded in favor of the resolution, as representing the sentiment of the people of his district. If he were here this morning, and he would be here were it not for the fact that his committee is in session at this moment, he would express himself in favor of this resolution. He has asked me to say for him that he is very much in favor of this resolution. For myself, as representing 391,000 people in my congressional district, I desire to say that they are very much concerned and very much interested in this question. My constituency is probably 50 per cent Jewish, and my people in that district are very much concerned about this question, because all of the 2,000,000 Jewish people in the State of New York and the more than 3,500,000 Jewish people in the United States are deeply interested in this question, as are all the Jews of the world. I believe that the sentiment for Palestine as a Jewish homeland will solve the problem of the centuries.
This resolution expresses the traditional spirit of the American people, of kindly helpfulness to all of the oppressed peoples of the world. It will involve us in no entanglements with any other nations, and, in effect, will be an expression of the sentiment of the American people toward this project which has been promised by Great Britain to the Jewish people. Indeed, in the late World War there was a heavy enlistment of Jewish young men in the United States who were not of American birth, but who enlisted in the regiments that our allies formed in this country to fight in Mesopotamia ; about 4,000 men enlisted in this foreign legion, and there was given the express promise that in the event of an allied victory Palestine would be restored to the Jewish people as their ancient homeland. The British Government in the Balfour declaration has expressly promised that Palestine would be restored to the Jews, and I believe that it would be a splendid thing for the American people, for Christian America, to go on record as favoring this project of restoring Palestine and giving to the Jewish people a homeland.
Mr. CONNALLY. The gentleman refers to 3,000,000 Jews in New York.
Mr. CONNALLY. What percentage of those Jews does the gentleman estimate would probably migrate to Palestine in case it should be established as a Jewish home?
Mr. ROSSDALE. I can not answer that question. I can not say how many would migrate, but I do not believe that any American Jews will leave America to settle in Palestine.
Mr. COOPER. The great consideration was to make Palestine a home or asylum for those who wished to escape the butcheries that come about at intervals in in continental Europe.
Mr. ROSSDALE. The gentleman has exactly expressed the situation as it is. It would solve all of those troubles growing out of Jewish persecution in all the countries of the world. It would give them a place to go, and it is the only place to which they can go. It is a place that belongs to them, for it is their ancient home.
Mr. COOPER. The feeling among the Jews that they would like to have a country of their own is not different from the feeling among the Norwegians who a few years ago separated from Sweden and restored their old monarchy. It is because they would like to have a country of their own.
Mr. ROSSDALE. Yes, sir; that is it exactly.
Mr. SMITH. That is the sentiment among Christians of the world, also—that . is, they would like to have Palestine restored.
Mr. RossDALE. Yes.
Mr. CONNALLY. My question was not prompted by that thought. I understand that thought, but since the gentleman has expressed such an interest in the Jews of New York, I wondered whether any considerable element of them wanted to go back to Palestine, or whether their interest was merely in the interest of the Jewish race.
Mr. RosSDALE. Practicaliy none of the Jewish people here would emigrate to Palestine. Their roots are firmly embedded in America. I do not know of any Jewish people, among my wide circle of acquaintances among them, that would go over there. In all probability there might be a few idealists who would go there with the idea of assisting the cause in a philanthropic way, or in order to help others there. As for any emigration of American Jews to that country, I do not think there would be any.
Mr. SMITH. They would probably make pilgrimages to Palestine?
Mr. ROSSDALE. Yes, sir; they would do that, and they would contribute to the establishment of the various industries there in the same way that American Christians would do. The Christians in America feel deeply about this matter. The Jewish people gave Christianity to the world, and the Jewish people want to restore Palestine as a Jewish homeland. In doing that, they do not want to conflict with Christian ideas or Christian ideals. They do not want to make it a country exclusively for Jews, because those who know the Jewish people know that the Jews are a very broad and very liberal people and noted for their kindliness toward all other people.
Mr. COOPER. One of the provisions of the Balfour declaration, I believe, is that, in the event of the establishment of a Jewish homeland there, or a Jewish government, there shall be absolute freedom of religious worship guaranteed.
Mr. ROSSDALE. Yes, sir; freedom and equality for all races and all creeds, and, also, all civil rights and equality under the law. They are not going in there to take the land away by force or trickery from those who now possess it, but they are buying every farm and every acre of land that they are settling upon. They are clearing off the stony fields, draining the swamps and marshes and reforesting the desert land, which has lain waste for almost 2,000 years. It is in every way an admirable undertaking, and it is a project that I believe Christian America will look upon with a kindly feeling and kindly, helpful spirit. In fact, the whole Christian world approves of it, and, as it progresses, as I hope and believe, it will become the natural place for the merging of the streams of Old World Jewish migration, and in a great measure solve the Old World Jewish question.
Mr. LINTHICUM. I understood you to say there were about 2,000,000 people of the Jewish race in New York?
Mr. ROSSDALE. Yes, sir; but those are only approximate figures. I have not the exact figures, but I believe that my State has about 2,000,000 Jews in its population.
Mr. LINTHICUM. How many of them are in New York City ?
Mr. ROSSDALE. About 1,500,000 of them are in the city of Greater New York, and there are about half a million scattered throughout various other parts of the State. I believe there are about 1,500,000 Jews in other parts of the United States. However, those are approximate figures.
Mr. LINTHICUM. What is the population of Greater New York this morning?
Mr. RoSSDALE. The official figures are something like 6,000,000, or slightly over 6,000,000.
Mr. COOPER. I read in two papers last night that if you took a radius of 19 miles of New York, or the same that London has, there would be 7,600,000 people in New York. The statement was made that that is larger than the population of London by about half a million.
Mr. LINTHICUM. By 344,000.
Mr. RossnALE. Palestine has been in possession of the Arabs under Moslem rule for many centuries, and Moslems have not much regard for those ancient monuments that have to do with the establishment of the Christian religion. The preservation of those monuments is of as deep concern and interest to the Jewish people as to the Christian people. The settlement of the Holy Land by the Jewish people would mean that the Judea of the Bible would become the Judea of the present and of the future. It would be a splendidly interest.ing and beautiful place for Christians to visit. They would rejoice to have all traces of the centuries of blighting Moslem rule removed from that wonderful land of the Bible and see that place restored to what it was in ancient
times as a land of milk and honey. If the Jewish people are permitted to settle in that country, and if the mandate is accepted by Great Britain a feeling of security will be given to them, and if America will but give this expression of opinion, it will have much to do with influencing the final settlement of this question in England. If England accepts the mandate, which provides for security of settlement there, it will only a little while before Palestine, or ancient Judea, will become modern Judea, and be fully restored.
Mr. LINTHICUM. I saw the statement sometime ago that it was once proposed to allow the Mediterranean to flow into the Valley of the Jordan, thus making that a very fertile section, but that Christian sentiment would probably be against it.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you irrigate with salt water?
Mr. LINTHICUM. I was not speaking of irrigating land, but ưnis is an arid section, and if they were to turn the Mediterranean Sea into that valley, it would form an inland sea which would very much improve that whole country.
Mr. ROSSDALE. I read an article about that in a Sunday magazine, I think it was the New York American Sunday magazine. I know the writer very well for he lives in my congressional district, and while he is an able writer and a very able man, I do not think that he was ever in Judea or knows anything about engineering. I think it was simply a Sunday magazine story. Besides I think the article read that the River Jordan would flow into the Dead Sea through a tunnel and freshen the Dead Sea waters. I do not believe, however, that the Jewish people want to do anything that would either change, destroy, or wipe out any of the ancient monuments relating to the wonderful, and beautiful history of the people there. Jewish history is, of course, coincident with that of Christian history for Christianity came to birth in the land of the Jews and all that history is sacred to both Christian and Jew.
The land we now know as Palestine was peopled by the Jews from the dawn of history until the Roman era. Ancient Jewish history in this corner of old Asia gave to the world the highest and noblest inspiration for civilization. The Jewish people did not willingly leave their own country. They were driven out by the conquering Romans in the storm and stress of war and gradually dispersed throughout the world.
Although various alien people succeeded them at different periods, the Jews left an indelible impress upon the land. Even unto the present it is yet a Jewish country. Every landmark, every monument, every name, and every trace of whatever civ lization is there is still Jewish.
Notwithstanding their dispersal and scattering throughout the world this remarkable people have never abandoned Judea. All through the centuries Jewish men and women have kept a vigil at the “Wall of Wailing in Jerusalem. Age after age they cont nued on in their devotion to this ideal, reverently kissing the moss-covered stones of the remaining wall of the crumbled ruin of their ancient temple there; mingling with their tears fervent prayers for the day of restoration of their people to this land. Through all the long years devout Jews, all over the world, in their daily prayers have piously turned to the East and prayed for the return to Judea. It is a tremendous urge of a great people, this intense age-long desire of the Jews for their ancient homeland. For nineteen hundred years it has been their fervent hope, their longing, and their aspiration. Through all the'r wanderings and migrations, through all their sufferings, they have never abandonded this resolve. Nor have they ever wavered in their steadfast resolution to again return home. It was their sustaining hope in the Dark Ages. It enabled them to survive persecution and oppression. It gave them the courage to defy the Spanish Inquisition, to withstand medieval tortures of the thumbscrew, the rack, and to struggle against the Russian pogroms. It was the dream vision of Jewish youths and maidens as they bravely went into the fire chanting songs as they were burned at the stake.
Oh, the Jewish people have paid for this devotion with the blood and tears of countless martyrs. Palestine, this ancient Judea, belongs to them, and I hope that generous, 1 beral-minded America will give this expression of favorable opinion by passing this resolution in favor of the British mandate to hold Palestine for Jewish settlement. The establishment of the Jewish colonists in Palest 'ne has been of great benefit not only to those Jews who have been there a long time and to those who have recently arrived, but also to the Arabs and other inhabitants there. Zionist oroiz:tions in America have contributed considerably to relief work n Paltine (lurin the troublesome period of
the late World War. I cite an instance, the sending of the steamship Vulcan, laden with foodstuffs and the establishing of relief stations for distributing food rations to Arab and Jew al.ke. This same organization during the past five years has maintained there its American medical unit at an annual expenditure of $400,000, giving medical aid to all in need of same without regard to race, creed, or color. The Arabs and the other inhabitants-comprising the bulk of the population there—have led a beggarly existence until the coining of the Jewish colonists commenced to change things for the better. The country has been under Turkish domination from about the time Mahomet first spread his religion of the sword, and there has been no civilization there that is worth the mention. Indeed the rule of the unspeakable Turk is seen in the general desolation, poverty, and ruin everywhere.
The reestablishment of a Jewish Palestine is not without its difficulties and recently there has been some opposition by Arabs against the Jewish colonists. This trouble between Arabs and Jews resulted in various local disturbances and in several cases even riots. This friction between the colonists and the other inhabitants who are mostly Moslem Arabs steeped in ignorance and extreme poverty, has been fomented by the small number of Arab intellectuals, the Effendis, chiefs of tribes and large landowners who ruled the country during the Turkish régime. These near-Turks naturally object to the newer Western civilization which the colonist Jew is bringing to Palestine.
The numerous Jewish agricultural colonies are changing the entire complexion of the country and naturally these conditions threaten the destruction of the old Turk absentee land-owning class for whom the beggarly peasant Arabs tilled the stony soil for a pittance wh'le their masters, these Effendis and chiefs, dwelt in Paris and London, Constantinople, Alexandria, Bagdad and Mecca. Opposition to the Jewish settler is engendered by this small minority who excite the ignorant Moslem Arab by appeals to religious prejudices against the Jewish colonist.
The resettling of Palestine has created a situation somewhat akin to that of the American colon st in his struggle with the American Indian. For like the early American settler on th's continent, the Jewish colonist frequently has to till the soil with a rifle in one hand and a hoe in the other. The Nomadic Arab raiders, on a smaller scale are fighting the civilization of the Jewish settler as the Indian fought the American settler on this continent in the early days.
I have not been to Palestine to witness the romance of the return of the Jewish people to their homeland but I have read much of the details of this movement. I have heard the recitals of the story from men who have been to Palestine recently and witnessed the remarkable work of these Jewish “Chalutzin" pioneers who labor under the torrid Judean sun, removing from the fields on the hills des and in the valleys, the numerous stones which the erosion of soils from centuries of rains have left bare. I have listened to the story of these splendid refugees from European oppression who drain marshes, build roads and houses, plant trees and vineyards, whose splendid elemental labors are making habitable, a land long neglected and lain waste by Turk and Arab and I hope it may be permitted to go on that Palestine may become the safe haven and refuge for the long-oppressed and presecuted Jewish people.
Mr. Fish. Congressman Ansorge is present, and I think would like to say a few words on the subject of the resolution. Before he is introduced, however, I would like to go back to the question of the procedure. The proponents of the measure are here, and they are in a vast majority. There is very little opposition to the resolution throughout the country, and I think the committee is entitled to know what the opposition is. We would like to hear the grounds of the opposition, so that we will be able to answer them. This is not like disputed question, where there are two sides, or where there are two evenly divided sides. We know there is some opposition somewhere, and we would like to know what the opposition is. We do not know what they base their objections upon, and I hope the committee will hear some statement from the opposition at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the wish of the committee in regard to that? I really thought that we should hear one side, and after they had concluded that we should hear the other side. We will make a rather awkward record otherwise, but if there is no objection to hearing somebody in opposition to the resolution, we will be glad to hear from them.
Mr. LINTHICUM. I would like to hear what they have to say in opposition, and their statements could be inserted in the record at the proper place.
Mr. MOORES. Is there anybody here among the proponents who has been to Palestine since the war? If there is, I want to hear from him. We have not heard from anybody who apparently knows anything about the conditions there during or since the war. Have you anybody here who has been over there during or since the war? If so, I would like to hear him.
Mr. FISH. Yes; we have a gentleman present who has been there. He is one of our main witnesses for to-day, but we want to reserve some of our statements until we can hear from the opposition. This gentleman wa to the opposition. These gentlemen who are in favor of the resolution do not know where the opposition comes from or what it is.
Mr. MOORES. The great argument has been that there are a great many Jewish voters in some of the congressional districts. So far, that has been about the only argument.
Mr. Fish. The Jewish people of America are in favor of this proposition, and I want all Congressmen who have large numbers of Jewish voters in their districts and who know their sentiment, to come here and make it known. It appears to me that, not only the Zionists, but the Jewish people generally in America favor this proposition. They do not favor it because they want to go there themselves, but they want to afford this opportunity to members of their race all over the world to go to Palestine as soon as they can establish a national home there.
Mr. LINTHICUM. I would like to say that I have a gentleman in my district who has just returned from Palestine, and if the committee would like to hear from him, I am sure he would appear.
Mr. MOORES. I certainly would like to hear from him. It is not such an important thing that certain individuals shall come to Congress, but it is very important that the country should act rightly on a question iike this.
Mr. LINTHICUM. This gentleman who has just returned from Palestine is Rabbi Lazaron, of Baltimore, and Doctor Birckhead, a rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church, would probably appear. They traveled through Palestine together.
Mr. MOORES. I move that those gentlemen be invited to appear before the committee and make statments on the subject of this resolution.
(The motion of Mr. Moores was unanimously carried.)
The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection on the part of the committee, we will now hear Mr. Reed.
STATEMENT OF MR. EDWARD BLISS REED, NEW HAVEN, CONN.
Mr. REED. Mr. Chairman, I hope to be able to present to you some facts pertaining to this matter, and I wish to say that I am here only for that purpose. Before I begin, may I have an understanding that, in closing, I shall have an opportunity to answer what may be said by the proponents of this measure?
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Chairman, on that proposition, as I understand it, in lawsuits the proponents have the opening and the closing of the argument, and on the floor of the House the friends of a measure have the opening and the closing of the debate. The opponents of a measure do not close the debate, and, therefore, I do not think it should be understood that this gentleman should have the closing of this debate.
The CHAIRMAN. He did not mean it in that sense, I am sure.
Mr. COOPER. Of course, we want to hear both sides, but that does not answer my objection at all, and it has no relevancy whatever to it. Here is a bill, and the proponents of it have appeared in its behalf. They do not know what the objections to the measure are, and Mr. Fish has asked that the opponents be heard so that the proponents may be able to reply to their objections. Now, this gentleman who makes the objection asks the opportunity to close the proceedings.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think he intended that.
The CHAIRMAN. He may have used the word close,” but I am sure he did not intend it in that way.
Mr. COOPER. The question is how we will close this discussion, or whether that is to be the understanding.
The CHAIRMAN. By introducing witnesses against the resolution at this time, before the other side has finished its case, the record will be more or less of a