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August 15, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-08-15

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Purely Commentary

A substance called "international Jew-
ish money" has been so convenient a tool
for those who envison only mystery in the
existence of the Jew, that the mere com-
ment about Jewish finance and financiers
often creates panic among us. That was the
case when the Lawrence of Arabia sensa-
tional item was broadcast here via the
London Times.
An interpretation of the new assess-
ment of Lawrence by Phillip Knightley
and Colin Simpson, to be published in Eng-

land in September, as being "likely to come
as a shock to both Arab and Israeli histor-
ians" may have added to the puzzlement.
In reality, what was stated in the London
Times article was, to the knowledgeable, a
mere rehash of well-known facts regard-
ing T. E. Lawrence, his pro-Zionism, his
friendship for Dr. Chaim Weizmann.
The only item that could be called ques-
tionable was the reference to "Jewish
money." But here, too, an explanation is in
order. In truth, Dr. Theodor Herzl had
hoped for financial support from the
world's wealthiest Jews. He contacted Baron
Maurice de Hirsch and was turned down.
Baron Edmond de Rothschild preferred to
do his own pioneering in Palestine, and he
assisted in the establishment of Jewish
colonies, in the creation of the Rishon
leZion wine cellars and in other ways help-
ed Jews who wished to go to the Holy Land.
But there were no large funds from any of
the wealthy Jews. •
That's why the foundation of the Jewish
National Fund was on the basis of a penny

a day is the JNF way. The anatagonists
spoke of international Jewish finance while

Zionism depended on pennies: that was one
reason why rescue of Jews was limited,
world powers interfered, Arab animus stood
in the way of progress and Zionists were
not always properly understood.
Perhaps that is why the Lawrence myth
has become even more entangled when, as
a matter of fact, the Zionist attitudes of the
romantic adventurer are well known and
have been established. It is only in relation
to weavers of tales who often distort his-
tory that "Jewish money" becomes a sub-
ject of intrigue and serves to arouse preju-
dice among non-Jews and creates uncalled-
for trembling in Jewish ranks.
Lawrence's interest in Jewish pioneer-
ing efforts in Palestine dated back to 1909
when, in one of his earliest letters, incor-
porated in a volume of his correspondence
edited by David Garnett and published by
Jonathan Cape in London, he wrote:
"It is such a comfort to know that the

country was not a bit like this in the time
of Our Lord. The Renaissance painters were
right, who drew Him and his disciples feast-
ing in a pillared hail, or sunning them-
selves on the marble staircase; everywhere
one finds remains of splendid Roman roads
and houses and public buildings, and Gali-
lee was the most Romanized province in
Palestine. Also the country was well-peo-
pled, and well watered artificially. There
were not twenty miles of thistles behind
Capernaum and on the way round the lake
they did not .come upon dirty, dilapidated
Bedouin tents, with the people calling to
them to come in and talk, while miserable
curs came snapping at their heels; Pales-
tine was a decent country then, and could
so easily be made so again. The sooner
the Jews farm it all the better; their
colonies are bright spots in a desert."
(p. 74. )

cornered case. Especially as I suspect you
want my denials only to assure yourself
a triumph over Dr. 1Veizmann, a great man
whose boots neither you nor I, my dear
Bishop, are fit to black. I beg you not to
consider this leter in any way rude. When
we next have the pleasure to meet (it will
be here in England) I will have the pleas-
ure of showing you that its rudeness is only
relative." (pp. 342-3.)

The text of this Lawrence letter is, how-
ever, on the record.
Of major interest in the discussion about
Lawrence's role and his pro-Zionist attitude
is the share he had in the meetings between
Emir Feisal, Dr. Weizmann and Felix
Frankfurter and the historic letter of Feisal
to Frankfurter. Lawrence met with Frank-
furter in February of 1919. Frankfurter was
a member of the Zionist delegation in Paris
during the Versailles Peace Conference. As
an aftermath to the meeting of the Arab
and Zionist leaders, the Emir Feisal, on
March 3, 1919, wrote this letter:

Hedjaz Delegation, Paris
Dear Mr. Frankfurter:
"I want to take this opportunity of my
first contact with American Zionists, to tell
you what I have often been able to say to
Dr. Weizmann in Arabia and Europe.
"We Arabs, especially the educated
among us, look with the deepest sympathy
on the Zionist movement. Our deputation
here in Paris is fully acquainted with the
proposals submitted by the Zionist Organ-
ization to the Peace Conference, and we
regard them as moderate and proper. We
will do our best, in so far as we are con-
cerned, to help them through; we will wish
the Jews a most hearty welcome home.
"With the chiefs of your movement,
especially with Dr. Weizmann, we have had,
and continue to have, the closest relations.
He has been a great helper of our cause,
and I hope the Arabs may be in a position
to make the Jews some return for their
kindness. We are working together for a
reformed and revived Near East, and our
two movements complete one another. The
Jewish movement is national and not im-
perialistic. Our movement is national and
not imperialistic, and there is room in
Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that
neither can be a real success without the
"People less informed and less respon-
sible than our leaders, ignoring the need
for cooperation of the Arabs and the Zion-
ists, have been trying to exploit the local
"I wish to give you my firm conviction
that these differences are not on questions
of principle, but on matters of detail, such
as must inevitably occur in every contact
with neighboring peoples, and are as easily
dissipated by mutual good will. Indeed,
nearly all of them will disappear with
fuller knowledge.
"I look forward, and my people with me
look forward, to a future in which we will
help you and you will help us, so that the
countries in which we are mutually inter-
ested may once again take their place in
the community of civilized peoples of the
Yours sincerely,
In his writings Lawrence had indicated

that there was nothing in the Balfour Decla-
ration to show a conflict with any of the
dealings by Great Britain with the Arabs.
But Arab antagonism to Lawrence's pro-
Jewish position was expressed early and on
numerous occasions. Thus, in the book,
"T. E. Lawrence: An Arab View," pub-
lished in 1966 by Oxford University Press,
Of more than passing interest is the Suleiman Mousa, who was a member of the
text of a letter Lawrence was to have writ- staff of the Jordanian government's infor-
ten to Dr. Weizmann. In the volume of his mation department, emphasized the "Zionist
letters edited by Garnett, there is reference tendencies" of Lawrence. Mousa showed his
to a reported annoyance by Bishop McInnes antagonism by expressing doubt whether a
to a statement allegedly made by Lawrence Feisal-Weizmann agreement existed and he
to Dr. Weizmann. The bishop protested to implied that it was a Lawrence invention.
Lawrence, who drafted this reply which he Mousa wrote that "Feisal could not possibly
reportedly was dissuaded from sending:
have put his signature to anything that
"My dear Bishop—I will now answer would have harmed the Arab cause, be-
your letter. You wish me to deny statements cause of his zealous nationalistic spirit,
which a third person declares I made to which was above suspicion."
Dr. Weizmann. I will do nothing of the

sort. I have never in my life denied any
published statement attributed to me, and
am not tempted to begin in your three-

While Feisal signed the historic letter,
the belief persisted that Lawrence au-
thored it. But in 1929, when Feisal be-

By Philip
Lawrence 'Myths': Legendary Aspects of Arabian
Intrigues Mingled With His Zionist Sympathies Siomovits

came king of Iraq, Awni Abdul Hadi
claimed to have approached him and
asked whether the letter was a forgery.
As the Arabs would have liked to estab-
lish that it was not genuine, Hadi claimed
he was told by the chief of protocol at
the Iraqi Court: "His Majesty does not
recall writing anything of the sort with
his knowledge . . . It is probable." Hadi
then spread the word that "Lawrence
sent that letter without Feisal's knowl-
edge." This is how a reality assumed fan-
tasy in Arab eyes—in spite of the known
facts about the Feisal-Weizmann-Frank-
furter meetings and cooperation.

On Nov. 28, 1919, the now 'defunct Lon-
don Jewish Guardian published an interview
with Colonel Lawrence. The mystic who be-
came known as the leader in the Arab re-
volt had many interesting things to say, and
it's worth quoting him in full. He was asked
whether and how Arabs and Jews can live
together in harmony, and his reply is of
such vital interest and importance that—
because of the new sensational "disclo-
sures"—it merits total quotation. He stated:
"Speaking entirely as a non-Jew, I am

decidedly in favor of Zionism; indeed, I
look on the Jews as the natural importers
of that Western leaven which is so neces-
sary to the countries of the Near East.
"While there is an intellectual affinity
between the Jewish race and the inhabitants
of the Near East, there is a certain techni-
cal intellectual equipment which is sadly
lacking in the Arabs, for instance, and this
is a quality in which the Jew is particularly
"It is by no means impossible, there-
fore, that he might join hands with the
Arab in the moral and political develop-
nzent of the modern Semitic race which
extends from the Persian Gulf to the Medi-
terranean; while the question of religious
dispute, never particularly troublesome be-
tween Jew and Moslem in the past, would
hardly arise at all at the present time,
when the strongest factor in Middle East
politics is not religion, but nationality.
"Everywhere, in Persia, in Turkey, in
Arabia, in Egypt, the cry is 'Nationality.'
Religion has lost its political influence and
exercises itself only in the spiritual sphere;
and those three communities of the Semitic
race which differ so vastly from the reli-
gious point of view—I refer to the Syrian
Christians, the Syrian Moslems and the
Palestine Jews—will be able to work to-
gether harmoniously and with good feel-
ing, so far as their politics are concerned.

• •

Jews Must Become "Easterners":

"But there is one condition which must
be satisfied before the Arab or any other
of the Near East and Middle East States
will in good faith accept the Jew as an
integral part of Palestine. The Jew must
be a Palestinian.
The first generation of Jews which
comes to reside in Palestine preserves, and
will preserve, its original national charac-
ter, be it Polish, Romanian, German, or
what not. But the children of this genera-
tion begin to feel themselves to be Pales-
tinians, and the wave of Zionism now
passing through the civilized world will
accentuate and accelerate this feeling and
make them Easterners, and no longer West-
erners, and this is what the non-Jewish
states desire.
"The purely Western Jew will be forced
to take up his economic and political rights
and duties in Palestine before he can be
allowed to establish his position as a part
of the Near East.
"The opposition to Zionism and the
great weaknesses with which it is at pres-
ent beset, will continue so long as the
Zionist headquarters are in London, New
York, Berlin or Paris—and not in Jeru-
"The establishment of a Jewish Uni-
versity is a splendid step in the right
direction, but by itself is not sufficient,
since there is an almost unlimited field
far organization and imagination every-
where in Western Asia.

Western Jews Must Emigrate:

"The trouble of course is that the richer
Jew, the Jew who has already established
himself in a strange country, who has his
profession, his family, his friends all around
him, will naturally not be overjoyed at the

prospect of departing for a land where,'
for years at least, he must be little more
than a stranger.
"Let us look at the question dispas-
sionately; it is a fact, argue how we will,
that the Jew who leaves the country of his
birth or adoption to live in Palestine must
for a considerable time remain a foreigner
in the land of his forefathers. But, never-
theless, if Zionism is to have any future
this sacrifice must be faced.
"The Sultan of Egypt once remarked
that a Zionist is a Jew who pays another
Jew to live in Palestine. Until this idea
can be driven out of the heads of Jew and
non-Jew alike, there can be no real hope

for Zionism.

"The working future of Zionism, then
—and let me say that I regard Zionism as
the only practical means of setting the new
Semitic Near East in order in our own
days—lies in the realization by the intel-
lectual and financial heads of the move-
ment that they must sacrifice their West-
ern interests and devote themselves per-
sonally, as well as by financial means, to
the rebuilding of Palestine, and that as
soon as is humanly possible. .

2 Friday, August 15, 1969

Arthur Hertzberg, professor of
history, Columbia University,
"Israel: Religion, Nation and
Also, Dr. Max Arzt, vice chan-
cellor and professor of practical
theology, Jewish Theological Sem-
inary of America, "Jewish Liturgy
and Christian Worship," Jan. 14;
Prof. Abraham Joshua Heschel,
professor of Jewish ethics and
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS mysticism, Jewish Theological

history at Hebrew Union Col-
lege-Jewish Institute of Religion,
"The Pharisees and Early Chris-
tianity," Oct. 8; Dr. Jacob Agus,
rabbi of Cong. Beth El, Balti-
more, "The Rabbinic Tradition
and New Testament," Oct. 22;
Dr. Irving Greenberg, professor
of history, Yeshiva University,
"Scripture, Law and Authority
in Judaism," Nov. 5; and Dr.

form only 10 per cent of the population.
This of course was a misconception; Dr.
Wei.-rnann himself, in Paris, appeared ready
to accept the proposition that Jews shall
have only their proportionate degree of
control in. Palestinian affairs, and in re-
turn asked for the granting of those eco-
nomic opportunities that are necessary for
the proper application of Jewish capital
to the resources of Palestine.
"The Arab is far from making objec-
tions to the entrance into the country of
Jewish capital, Jewish brains and Jewish
energy; he will be very grateful indeed
if the Jews will help him to develop the
water supply, build the railways and ports,
increase the area of-arable land, and found
new industries and interests.
"Further, my own private ,.opinfors is
that the Jewish agriculturalists: will not
cultivate wheat or barley to any great
extent, their capacity for unskilled labor
is not strong enough to compete with the
unskilled Arab population in Syria, Meso-
potamia and with the fellahin in Egypt.
They will probably concentrate on the
cultivation of fancy crops such as grapes,
olives and fruit, and upon special indus-

• • •

Second or Third Generation Friindship:
"Thus there will be no danger of ritlalry
or clashing of interests, and the Jew will

start on friendly terms with the local peas-

antry, will help to increase its prosperity,
and, in the second or third generation, may
be expected to work hand in hand with it.
"Friction at one point is, I am afraid,
inevitable; and that is between the new

Jew in Palestine and the original settlers."

Whatever may be published in the
Knightley-Simpson volume in September
can hardly add anything more to what we
have just quoted.
The London story that reached our COMP
munity via the London Times lent itself to
sensationalism. The facts are on hand, we
know Lawrence was a Zionist, we are aware
that the myth of Lawrence can be easily
complicated by accusations and denials. But
the record as it has been made available
in the words of Lawrence himself, can no
be distorted by additional rumors nod myth

There is an interesting postscript to tit
Lawrence story. Rudyard Kipling was no
so friendly to Jews. On July 20, 1922, he
wrote to Lawrence:
"I may as well warn you that, if you
are a pro-Yid, and think that the present
cheap Hell in Palestine is 'Statesmanship'
I shall most likely turn the whole thing
back on your hands and refuse to touch
How interesting humans are, and how
fantastic the trends in history!

AJCommittee to Bring 8 Jewish Scholars for Pope Pius Center Lecture Series

Eight renowned Jewish scholars
will deliver a series of lectures on
Je1vish history, theology and topics
of j current concern at the Pope
Pius XII Religious Education Cen-
ter here, starting Oct. 8.
by the.American Jew-
j ponsored
Committee's Institute of Hu-
men Relations, the series will in-
clude the following:
Dr. Ellis Rivkin, professor of

Arab Objection "Political":
"It must always be borne in mind that
the Arabs' objection to Zionism Was polit-
ical and not economic. They were given to
understand that the aim of the Zionists was
to induce the peace conference to transfer
the government of Palestine immediately
to the Jews, in spite of the fact that these

Seminary, "Jewish Ethics and My-
sticism," Jan. 28; Dr. Eugene
Horowitz, professor of Jewish
religious thought, Hebrew Union
College, New York, "New Trends
in Jewish Theology," Feb. 11; and
Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, na-
tional director, interreligious af-
fairs department, American Jew-
ish Committee, "A Historical Sur-
vey of Jewish-Christian Rela-
tions," Feb. 25.

12,000 Arab Students
Visit Parents on W. Bank

authorities reported Tuesday tha
about 12,000 students from Aral
countries have entered the West
Bank so far this summer to visi
parents or other relatives under
special program permitting su
A total of 20,000 permits we
issued on request, but so far 8,000
remain unused. Last summer,
16,000 Arabs visited the West
Bank under the same program.

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