"Let me halt for a space to explain why it was essential to have such a guarantee. Without it when Palestine bacame a Jewish state all Jews might be conceived as belonging to it. This might occur even during the preliminary stage, during the illusory period when Jew and Arab running in harness were building up a new Palestine together (or whatever mixed metaphor best describes this atrocious mixed metaphor of policy). Antisemitism spreads easily, and an agitation might arise in any country to dispatch Jewish citizens to Palestine, or if not to expel them, to catalogue them as aliens, citizens of Palestine, and to deprive them of the vote.
"The insertion of the guarantee is further proof, besides, of the character of the regime intended under the Declaration in the Holy Land. If the 'National Home' was to be something innocuous, a mere 'national home from home' with a modicum of establishment receiving a stream of visitors, an institution without any political status, then there was no need to guarantee hosts or guests against losing their overseas or overland political status in their place of origin. If 'National Home' meant a State or quasi-State, there was every need for the guarantee.
"The 'guarantee' clause of the Declaration, then, with its deceptive text by which the Arabs were to be deprived of their citizenship, sprang undoubtedly from Zionist brains, though it was adopted of course by Balfour and the others and issued by him as though the British cabinet had thought it out. Considering the joint authorship of the Declaration, this perhaps might have been expected. Its British drafters were mostly guided by expediency: the Zionist drafters were doctrinaires. The British thought it necessary to shut their eyes to Arab rights; the Zionists were convinced or convinced themselves that the Arabs had no rights as men, save those the Turks might have conceded them.
"Mr de Haas, the American drafter, proclaims their attitude very clearly. 'We draw a distinction,' says he, 'between Jewish rights and Arab claims. Whether the Palestinian population in 1914 possessed any tangible political rights is for those versed in Turkish law to say. In practice we know that such rights did not exist, even though the Young Turks had created a paper Parliament. Djemaal Pasha ruled in Palestine with an iron hand, as every Turk had done before him, though he too may have indulged [sic] the people in paper rights. The term 'Political rights' [Mr de Haas's own capital and italics] does not appear in the Balfour Declaration. The phrase used is civil rights, and as we have made abundantly clear every word of that document was weighed by more than a score of authorities.'
"From one of the principal drafters of the Declaration, who scissored its terms, this statement clinches the matter. Under the Declaration the Arabs were to get no political rights, whether they had them in principle or not. According to the Zionists' thesis, of which Mr de Haas is such a notable exponent, they did not hold any in practice and it was very unlikely that they held any in theory.
"A couple of pages later in his work, Mr de Haas has the air of recoiling momentarily from this thesis, or else having forgotten in the heat of writing that he had just developed it. He says, in passing, of the Arab case, 'The Arab case, apart from the rights which inhere from living in a country...' But having mentioned this natural dower thus fugitively he does not allude to it again.
"Mr de Haas is not alone in this attitude, nor is it the attitude alone of the Zionists in the United States. The same point of view prevails amidst British Zionists: it must so prevail, since to recognize that the Arabs have political rights is to recognize that the 'National Home' cannot be imposed upon them. As an example of British Zionist opinion I may quote from Mr Herbert Sidebotham, amongst gentiles the most assiduous apologist of the cause. His role in Manchester has been mentioned already. He is an absolute apostle of Zionism, and I think he might be described not too maliciously as the inside-out Paul of the movement.
"It is very significant to see the effect which his gospel has upon him. He is a man, very properly admired by his colleagues in journalism, and to be read with respect when he comments on other topics. But when he turns to the defence of Zionism and starts to justify its behaviour, he propounds the most extravagant theories as though they were founded in reason and matured in experience. This is no unusual phenomenon. A blind spot of madness seems to form in the outlook of everyone who succumbs to the Zionist germ.
"Mr Sidebotham differs from Mr de Haas in that he concentrates on the status of Palestine rather than on the status of its inhabitants. But he reaches a similar result. He deprives the Arabs of any birthright. I quote from a memorandum of his, somewhat hurriedly entitled British Policy & the Palestine Mandate: Our Proud Privilege. This begins 'We are in Palestine by a conjunction, made by the accidents of war and not designed, between the oldest national idea in the world's history and certain political and moral interests peculiar to Great Britain.' (I cannot refrain from italicizing the final phrase. Could anyone?)
"At the close of his first chapter Mr Sidebotham writes: 'Palestine, in fact, had no separate national or geographic existence apart from that which the classic history of the Jews had given it, and this disappeared with Jewish independence. In assigning Palestine therefore as a national home, Mr Balfour was not giving away anything that belonged to someone else. It was a ghost of the past which two thousand years had not succeeded in laying and which could assume an actual physical existence only through the Jews...' Or again, 'Palestine as a country did not exist before the Balfour promise. To the Turk it was a part of the vilayet of Beirut, to the Arab it was the southern part of Syria.'
"I fancy that it is a just description of the line of argument in the above quotation to say that it is pleasantly extravagant. It has a side to it which is so fantastic that it is almost entertaining. Palestine, declares Mr Sidebotham, is not a country unless the Jews occupy it. Only their presence can make it one.
"There is no reason on earth why Palestine should be a country. It is too small, its boundaries are artificial in the main, there is nothing to distinguish it from the territory just to the north, its sacred character has not the slightest national quality. The little province is in fact nothing but a section of Syria. Its existence for centuries has been provincial. Mr Sidebotham recognizes this. In the eyes of the Arabs it is, he says, no more than 'a part of Arabia,' or is 'only the southern part of Syria.'
"It is now that he becomes odd. Because Palestine is only a part of Arab territory he would take it from the Arabs' ownership. No doubt he allows that the Arabs have a right to a country somewhere, but to the parts of this country their right vanishes. If the Jews come along and propose to turn part of an Arab country into a whole Jewish country, then the Arabs lose that part automatically. As an entity the part is untenable. But by argument on these lines we might get so far as to find our claim to the whole of England unsound, if we lay claim to it as part of the inheritance of the British race, as part of the British Commonwealth. For that is the way in which the Arabs lay claim to Palestine, on the ground that it is part of the inheritance of the Arab race, part of the Arab commonwealth or nexus of lands in Arab occupation.
"To return to the general issue, the situation laid down for the Arabs of Palestine by typical Zionist writers is that these Arabs are political slaves, persons not having the right of ownership of their place of birth, a place indeed which in their hands politically would not exist."
To be continued...