2 September 1929Many thanks to my friend, Georgina, for typing this out. As Georgina said in her email, plus ça change.
Roused by the tragic happenings in Palestine there has buzzed around him (Sidney Webb who worked at the Colonial Office) Jews and the admirers of Jews, great and small in a state of violent grief and agitation demanding revenge and compensation. It is noteworthy that no representative of the Arabs – not even a casual admirer of the Arabs – has appeared on the scene. What one gathers from these excited persons is that the British officials on the spot, are held to be perniciously pro-Arab – not because they love the Arab but because, for one reason or another, they hate the Jew …- this may or may not be true-. Is there any principle relating to the rights of peoples to the territory in which they happen to live? I admire Jews and dislike Arabs. But the Zionist movement seems to me a gross violition of the right of the native to remain where he was born and his father and grandfather were born – if there is such a right. To talk about the return of the Jew to the land of his inheritance after an absence of 2000 years seems to me sheer nonsense and hypocritical nonsense. From whom were descended those Russian and Polish Jews? The principle which is really being asserted is the principle of selecting races for particular territories according to some peculiar needs or particular fitness. Or it may be some ideal of communal life to be realized by subsidised migration. But this process of artificially creating new communities of immigrants, brought from any parts of the world, is rather hard on the indigenous natives! The White Settlers in Kenya would seem to have as much right, on this assumption to be where they are, as the Russian Jews in Jerusalem! Yet exactly the same people – for instance Josiah Wedgwood – who denounce the White Settlers of Kenya as unwarranted intruders, are hotly in favour of the bran new Jewish colonies in Palestine…But the case for the Arab has not yet been heard; whilst the case for the Jew has been vehemently and powerfully pressed on the Government. The Zionist Movement and the mandate for a National Home for the Jews in Palestine seems to have originated in some such unequal pressure exercised by the wealthy and ubiquitous Jew on the one hand and the poor and absent Arab on the other.
February 24, 2012
Ugly language and issues over cause and effect from one of the founding Fabians but see this from the Diary of Beatrice Webb anyway: