Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer- Wednesday 16 November 1921 Zionism

Zionism and Palestine 1921

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer- Wednesday 16 November 1921

Given that it will be the 100th anniversary of the the Balfour declaration this year it’s worth taking a look at old newspaper articles concerning the subject and seeing if there’s any resonance with today.

I wonder what Lord Sydenham was alluding to when he said  “Nor had the British people any idea of the “underground proceedings” which had led up to the declaration.”





London, Tuesday.

 Lord Sydenham presided at a luncheon given the Hotel Cecil today by the members Palestine Arab delegation, who ore now this country to represent their views against the Zionist activities in Palestine. Mousa Kazim Pasha and his colleagues were amongst distinguished company. which also included Lord Askwith. Sir Michael O’Dwyer, Lord Newton, and Sir William Bull. M.P. Although Lord Sydenham declared that Mr. Balfour’s declaration respect of Palestine in was “loaded with dynamite” he acquitted that statesman of ill intentions. Mr. Balfour, he added, did not realise what lay behind the Zionist, movement for a “true national home.” It had already cost many lives, and threatened the peace of the Near East. Nor had the British people any idea of the “underground proceedings” which had led up to the declaration. To be quite just with Zionists, if it was believed that they had divine right the chosen people to occupy Palestine, then proceedings might be justified. But the Jews were a ruthless people. We do not live Old Testament days. A higher law of right and life had been given us, and according to that law the Jews had no more right to Palestine than the descendants of the ancient Romans had this country. The Jews never conquered or ruled the whole Palestine. They only ruled part over a not much longer than Roman rule over Britain.

Lord Sydenham referred General Allenby’s proclamation in 1918. which the British and French stated their purpose of setting throughout the liberated areas national governments and administrations that should derive their authority from the initiative and free will of the people themselves. We had fulfilled that pledge regard Iraq, he observed, but not respect of Palestine. He declared that the Zionists drafted the Balfour declaration, but the proclamation of General Allenby was not referred to them for approval. That, was explanation of the evils that had arisen. The military administration scrupulously observed the status of Palestine as an occupied enemy country, and he submitted that that status should obtain at present. .Sir Herbert .Samuel, High Commissioner of Palestine. was blameless trying his best in difficult circumstances.

The Zionist grip was rapidly closing on the unhappy people of Palestine. That country was about the size of Wales, and he wondered what Welshmen, including the Prime Minister, would say if tens of thousands Jews were poured into that country. Life and property were less secure in Palestine than under Turkish rule. Though there was increased police force, crime had increased. Boys and girls were being forced into Hebrew schools cruel methods of which he had ample evidence. Taxation was heavy, and the expenses of the Government wore greater than the present resources the country could afford. The Arabs, who welcomed us as deliverers were being alienated from our side. He declared that if British people knew what was being done in their name they would insist on justice being done to Palestinians and Moslems there. If peace were not given to Palestine there was not the slightest doubt that should light a fire in Near East which would strain all our resources to extinguish.

Mousa Pasha, who spoke in Arabic, made picturesque response. He described the injustice” under which they suffered, declared that. Arabs and Palestinians had never been the enemies of the English, and asserted that his countrymen had fought side by side with British troops. “We went to lay wreath at. Cenotaph,” his Excellency added through an interpreter. ” There greeted the spirit of the glorious dead. We asked whether had gone forth in Palestine to enslave or liberate it. I heard a voice come to me  saying “I have fought for Palestine that it might be free.” A voice came from Palestine, ‘ Sleep on, warrior. We are lighting for the same cause.'”



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