Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Jeffries-Dugdale Exchange 3

Jeffries' final riposte in the July 24, 1936 issue of The Spectator:

"SIR,-There is an Arab delegation from Palestine in London at the present moment. It is, I think, the fifth which has come to this country. Certainly it is one of a series of Arab delegations which have been spread over the years since the War and have remained in London, waiting on the Colonial Office, for periods varying from a complete twelvemonth.

"The present delegation, though concentrating on the question of Jewish immigration, is making the same demands its predecessors made. A couple of members, who belonged to previous delegations, are renewing the demands they made as much younger men. Last week a delegate said drily to me that he supposed their sons would come along in due course and repeat the pleas of their fathers to the same deaf walls. That is what I mean when I say that the Arabs have been unheard, a phrase by which Mrs Dugdale is rhetorically puzzled.

"As for their being sidetracked, all that has been said or done, by the Arabs or on their behalf, in Palestine or out of it, during nearly two decades, has achieved what in reply? A succession of essays in verbiage from Whitehall. Public outcry and official enquiries have had the same answer. First one Colonial Secretary explains what the Balfour Declaration means, not to the Arabs, but to the Jews. Then another Colonial Secretary explains the explanation. This process has been continued till now the original Balfour Declaration is in a sort of mathematical situation, a surd surrounded by brackets upon brackets of explanation.

"The final bracket very suitably was put in place by the hands of Mr Ramsay MacDonald. He excelled himself in a letter, a species of White Paper, addressed to Dr Weizmann, who seems more and more to be winning the position of a sovereign State. That document, elicited by the most recent Commission of Enquiry into Palestine's affairs, touched upon all of these and deepened the obscurity surrounding each of them. Only one thing could be inferred with any likelihood, that the recommendations of the Commission would not be carried out. This proved to be true.

"One of the persistent requests of the Arabs is that the recommendations of Commissions and of Reports appointed or instigated by British Governments should be carried out by those same Governments. It is a singular request for them to have to make. But, as Mrs Dugdale would say no doubt, this request has never been sidetracked. The faithful observance, clause by clause, of the recommendations of the Shaw Commission, the Hope Simpson report, the French report, are equally familiar to her. I say nothing of old forgotten far-off things such as the Palin findings, given so widely to the world, and the rapid implementation of Lord Passfield's act of justice.

"I write with scorn, but what other attitude is possible to anyone reviewing the behaviour of British rulers in the Holy Land? There are reasons excusing Mrs Dugdale's advocacy, but into what pitiful artifices she is led. 'The gateway to peace,' she cries, 'is not through numerical calculations.' Does she believe that by calling the process which has placed the House of Commons at the head of the British people a 'numerical calculation' she will hide its true nature? Is a man's vote a right in England and a wrong in Palestine? Is this country to profess itself in Europe as the champion of democracy and in Asia as its enemy? Are we in England to set an example to despots of elective government, and out of England an example to elective governments of despotic control?

"Pro-Zionists prate of the Mandate and of our 'obligations' under it to the world. Is there a man in the world who believes in these 'obligations,' conferred by ourselves upon ourselves and for ourselves. As an honest and admirable writer has said, the San Remo Conference at which mandates were exchanged might have been termed by a cynic the 'Inter-Allied Prize Distribution.' The only obligation at San Remo to be heard of was in the spry tones of Mr Lloyd George and the other national delegates, saying 'Much obliged' as they passed the Mandates over the table one to another. 'The utmost cordiality reigned,' says a despatch of the period, describing the scene.

"For reasons which escape me, we could not say then, nor have said since, that the retention of the adjacencies of the Suez Canal was necessary for the communications of our Empire. We could not straightforwardly proclaim there - as would have been quite proper - a Monroe doctrine of ours akin to the Americans' doctrine at Panama. Instead, under cover of a benevolent Mandate, we instal the 'National Home' violently, believing that its denizens will hold the fort for us.* We refuse the population the freedom, under our guidance, which we had sworn to give them. We confer on Arabs noms-de-plume like 'Palestinian' and proffer them safeguards which we are careful not to define. The tribes which cheered Allenby are fined by his successors, and ten battalions of British troops are in arms against a few devoted wretches where eighteen years ago a single infantryman could have garrisoned a town.

"What is to be said of a policy which has brought us to this?-I am, Sir, yours faithfully, J.M.N. JEFFRIES. Easthayes, Cullompton, Devon."

[*Jeffries is perhaps recalling Sir Ronald Storr's famous line about "the [Zionist] enterprise... forming for England 'a little loyal Jewish Ulster' in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism."]

Jeffries' letter is nothing less than magnificent, such that only a Zionist deadender like 'Baffy' could possibly be immune to its powers of persuasion. Her response of July 31, in particular her second paragraph, with its pious folderol about Arab-Jewish "fellowship", is as fine an example of flying in the face of reality as you could possibly hope for. What a fool for Zion the woman was! Little wonder that Jeffries didn't bother dignify it with a reply:

"SIR,-I hate to confess myself beaten, but the effort to bring Mr Jeffries' version of British rule in Palestine into line with facts is becoming too great by comparison with the results attained.

"I do not understand what he means when he says that the British Government's successive White Papers have been 'addressed not to the Arabs but to the Jews.' These statements of policy are accessible to us all, and I would suggest that Mr Jeffries should study the first of them, issued in 1922, and compare it with the text of the Mandate for Palestine and Transjordan. He will find that the White Paper restricts the area of the Jewish National Home to Palestine itself, whereas no such limitation is implicit in the Mandate. The reason for this very severe curtailment of Jewish settlement was that Transjordan lies within the boundaries of the territories where certain promises about Arab independence were made by the British Government to King Hussein. (See Survey of International Affairs, 1925, Vol. I, p. 361, published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs.) Mr Jeffries dismisses all the White Papers as 'essays in verbiage.' It is a point on which he can claim to speak with authority, but it would be interesting to know whether this clause appears to him as redundant as the others. If it does not, then let him remember it next time he spills the vials of his wrath upon the British Government on the score of its alleged indifference to Arab rights.

"Some of the 'scorn' with which he views British policy has descended upon me, and the 'pitiful artifices' with which I express my conviction that peace in Palestine does not depend on the relative numbers of its Arab and Jewish inhabitants. It depends upon the will to live together as neighbours, as both races must do, unless British promises to one or the other are to be disgracefully broken. Even today, Arabs and Jews are working harmoniously side by side in many of the enterprises which are bringing prosperity to the country, and have refused to allow their fellowship to be disturbed by political agitation. Surely it is by acknowledging, and encouraging, that spirit as far as we can that British people can best help to bring to an end the wreckage of hopes which is going on in Palestine at the present moment.-Yours obediently,
1 Roland Gardens, S.W.7."

No comments: