Page:Zionism 9204 Peace Conference 1920.pdf/59

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

claimed for the Jewish population of Palestine liberty and political rights and reasonable facilities for emigration and colonization, and such municipal privileges as are shown to be necessary. And they ask. therefore, what need there has been for the acute differences of opinion which have, for the last year, divided the Anglo-Jewish community into two camps, Zionists on the one hand. and their opponents on the other. As a matter of fact, the expression of such doubts is no discouraging feature. It rather seems to show a tendency to rapprochement between the two schools. Extremists on both sides will have to give way.

Jewish opinion would prefer Palestine to be controlled for the present as a part, or at any rate a dependency, of the British Empire; but its administration should be largely entrusted to Jews of the colonist type. who have already made such notable improvements in the cultivation of the soil, notwithstanding the almost hopeless difficulties imposed upon them by their former corrupt Turkish rulers. Zionists of this way of thinking believe that. under such conditions, the Jewish population would rapidly increase until the Jew became the predominant partner in the combination.

The Hebrew language is already spoken in many parts of Palestine by thousands of inhabitants and by more people than any other language except its sister-tongue—the Arabic. For the adoption by non-Jews of a Jewish dialect Zionists can point to the instance of Salonika, where Spanish Jews form about half the population and their Ladino or Spanish Hebrew has been to some extent adopted as the language of commerce by Jew and non-Jew alike.

Outside Jewry, an overwhelming mass of public opinion would appear to favour Jewish administration in Palestine, not that it could ever provide a home for the millions of Jews in eastern Europe. but because it would satisfy their secular aspirations. raise their sense of dignity and self-respect. and relieve, to some extent at least, the pressure of the congested districts in which circumstances have forced them to congregate.