Page:Zionism 9204 Peace Conference 1920.pdf/26

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14
[No. 162
SHAFTESBURY

was whittled down to the official protection by England of Jews in the East. And yet this concession has proved by no means insignificant, for it is the logical precursor of Mr. Balfour’s Declaration of November 1917.

The American Mordecai Noah had been reluctantly obliged to abandon his scheme for the constitution of a Jewish colony in the State of New York, and had gravitated towards Palestine. He agreed with a 'continental Jew' who in 1844 wrote to the Voice of Jacob, 'We would willingly emigrate, we would go to America, to Texas, but most willingly to Palestine under English protection’.

Noah had become a warm advocate of the restoration of Israel to Palestine when in October 1844 he delivered an eloquent address in New York, in which he urged his countrymen that it was the duty of Christians to help the Jews to regain the land of their fathers. The Spectator in 1845 (quoted in the Voice of Jacob of August 1, 1845) supports the scheme in the following terms:

The enterprise which seems to be laying strong hold of the imaginations of a large portion of the European Jews appears at first sight feasible enough. The population of Syria has been reduced to a tithe of what the country could easily support; whole districts are uninhabited. With the permission of the Ottoman Government, the Jews wishing to colonize in Palestine could easily find lands. The old constitutional mode of government and taxation in Turkey favours the formation of a number of agricultural settlements. The Divan declares how much tribute each village or district has to pay, leaving the principal inhabitants to apportion the contribution of each individual and holding them responsible for the whole. The same parties exercise the internal police of their community, subject to the surveillance of the higher authorities. The institutions of the Ottoman Empire would afford the Jewish colonists large scope of local self-government. Were a number of Jewish agricultural settlements established at moderate distances from each other, the superior intelligence, industry, and wealth of their members would lend them importance and their numbers and union deter alien tribes from aggression. Secure themselves, they would as it were inoculate the population of Syria with steady industrious habits. The Ottoman Govern-