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February 17, 1989 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-17

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Continued from Page 2

relations in many parts of the
The remarkable political
and economic support of Israel
by the United States is largely
attributable to the decades-long
mobilization by "the Jewish
establishment" of American
public opinion.
With all the real problems
world Jewry faces, I shudder to
think of what might happen if
the maligned "Jewish
establishement" did not exist,
and all we had to depend on
were Tikkun's polemics.
This needs to be said and re-
emphasized. The least we can strive for
is unified action by a unified communi-
ty. We have good lessons in our own
midst. There is an endless array of
seminars and public assemblies in the
Detroit ranks at which the differing
Jewish views are expressed. There is an
effort to understand each other, to dif-
fer while retaining a loyalty to the
obligatory "will to live." While differing,
only a handful of dissidents announc-
ed separation from the community in
the current Allied Jewish Campaign.
The massive forces of Detroit Jewry
adhered to the right to individual opin-
ions, but for all of us the entire com-
munity, our unity in it is "the esblish-
• The most we need do in the critical
dispute is unite good judgement with a
welcome to our "establishment."


Continued from Page 2

ty involvements are told in the En-
cyclopedia of Zionism and Israel. It is
a very lengthy accounting of the facts,
yet it needs knowing and reading for an
understanding of events that demand
realistic approaches to the pleadings for
understanding with and sympathy for
our cause from the Arabs. Here is the
chronological account about Feisal in
this encyclopedia:

In January 1919, Feisal sign-
ed with Weizmann the so-called
Feisal-Weizmann Agreement.
The agreement opened by
stressing the racial relatedness
and the ancient ties between the
Arab and Jewish peoples, and
emphasized that the best way to
achieve their national goals was
through close cooperation in
developing the Arab State and
Palestine. Paragraph 2 stated
that, following the peace con-
ference, a commission authoriz-
ed by both sides would deter-
mine the final borders between
Palestine and the Arab State.
Paragraph 3 provided that "in
the establishment of the Con-
stitution and Administration of
Palestine all such measures
shall be adopted as will afford
the fullest guarantees for carry-
ing into effect" the Balfour
Paragraph 4 stated that "all
necessary measures shall be
taken to encourage and



stimulate the large-scale im-
migration of Jews into Palestine,
and as quickly as possible to set-
tle Jewish immigrants upon the
land through closer settlement
and intensive cultivation of the
soil. In taking such measures,
Arab peasants and tenant
farmers shall be protected in
their rights, and shall be
assisted in forwarding their
economic development."
Paragraph 5 provided that all
inhabitants of the country
would enjoy equal rights and
freedom of religion. Paragraph
6 stated that places holy to
Muslims would remain under
Muslim supervision. According
to paragraph 7, the economic
commission that the Zionist
Organization planned to send to
Palestine to study the country's
economic possibilities would be
placed at the disposal also of the
Arab State, and the World
Zionist Organization would help
the Arab State financially to
develop its natural resources
and economic possibilities.
Paragraph 8 stipulated that
both-sides were to act in full har-
mony at the peace conference
on matters contained in the
The final paragraph (9) pro-
vided that differences of opinion
between the two parties would
be submitted for adjudication to
the British government.
Feisal added a condition to
the effect that he would be
bound by the agreement only if
the Arabs were to obtain the in-
dependence he had requested in
a memorandum to the British
Foreign Secretary. If changes
occurred, he would not be
bound by the agreement.
In the fall of 1919 Feisal was
in London. On October 3, the
Jewish Chronicle published an
interview in which he was
quoted as considering Palestine
an integral part of Syria and
warning of the danger of
Jewish-Arab clashes in
Palestine because of Zionist ex-
tremist designs to establish a
Jewish State there. In a subse-
quent meeting with Sir Herbert
Samuel and Zionist leaders,
Feisal claimed that he had been
misunderstood by the inter-
viewer and reiterated his
readiness to cooperate with the
In March, 1920, the All-
Syrian Congress proclaimed
Feisal King of United Syria (i.e.,
Syria and Palestine). On July 25
of that year, however, Damascus
was occupied by the French and
Feisal took flight. Passing
through . Haifa, he met with Mon-
tague David Eder, the chairman
of the Zionist Commission.
Feisal requested the
diplomatic assistance of the
Zionist Organization, which
Eder could not promise him, for
the Organization could not af-
ford to become involved in a

David Ben Gurion


conflict with the French
because of Feisal. After a year of
exile in London, Feisal became
King of Iraq, occupying the
throne until his death. During
this period he no longer took an
active part in Palestine affairs.

Contradictions without end defied
the many hopes for accord. An occa-
sional ray of hope seldom materialized.
Such are the experiences to date. They
are anguishing but need to be known;
The Shabtai Teveth Ben-Gurion
biography gives an account of the
meeting the Zionist leader planned
with Arabs to discuss a plan he had for
a federation with Arab states which
was to include Jewish Palestine. The
meeting that was finally arranged in
March 1934 included the prominent
Poale Zionist leader Marc Jarblum,
Ihsan al—Jabri and Musa Alami and
Druze Emir Shakid Arslan.
The meetings of Arabs and Jews are
very important in this long forgotten
negotiation. The details are vital. The
people involved are important. The
Arab intransigence and bitterness must
not be forgotten. As Thveth outlines the
negotiations at the Sept. 23, 1934,

Promptly at 9:30 on Sunday
evening, Sept. 23, 1934, Ben-
Gurion and Jarblum entered
the emir's luxurious apartment -
for the first historic meeting be-
tween the Syro-Palestinian
Delegation to the League of Na-
tions and the senior represen-
tative of the JAE's Political
They started off on the right
foot; Jabri heartily welcomed
Ben-Gurion as an old acquain-
tance. Ben-Gurion later describ-
ed Arslan in his diary as an old
and slow-moving lion, still spit-
ting fire as he spoke. After some
small talk they got to the issue
at hand. Ben-Gurion was asked
to fill in the details of his talks
with Alami, which Arslan and
Jabri had learned about only
sketchily from Alami's letters.
For the next three hours the con-
version deepened, without Ben-

Gurion sensing that both sides
were talking past one another.
When they parted, each side
understood what it wanted to
There were at least three
reasons for this. The first was
the language barrier. They
began in Turkish, but out of con-
sideration for Jarblum switched
to French. This was the first sus-
tained effort Ben-Gurion made
to converse in that language, his
knowledge of which was far
from perfect. To make himself
understood he needed not only
Jarblum's assistance, but also
that of his two hosts, who came
up with a missing word in Ger-
man here and there when his
French was lacking.
Second, Ben-Gurion spoke
from the assumption that im-
migration would grow from the
40,000 of 1934 to 60,000 in 1935
and thereafter. On this premise
he assumed that in five years
the Jews in Palestine would
number 600,000. No longer
would they compose 21 percent
of the population, as they had at
the end of 1933, but would reach
40 percent or more by 1938.
The self-confidence this con-
viction gave him was inter-
preted by his hosts as ar-
rogance. Finally, Ben-Gurion's
proposed federation of a Jewish
state in Palestine, including
Transjordan, certainly did not
endear him to his hosts, who
regarded Palestine as southern
Syria and supported their
unification. In addition, they
were strongly pro-Italy, and
Ben-Gurion's appointment of
Great Britian to the key role in
his plan may well have put them
According to. Arslan and
Jabri, they heard Ben-Gurion
out with a growing resentment
concealed by smiles . . . - 4
Ben-Gurion, blind to his
hosts' resentment, actually left
the meeting with soaring expec-
tations, even though he heard
Arslan say explicitly that the
agreement had a chance only if
the Jews undertook to remain a
minority forever and that if,
despite everything, the Jews
succeeded in establishing a
Jewish Palestine, "the Arabs
will never reconcile themselves
to this fact!'

That's the point never to be forgot-
ten: that the Arab decision was then
and continues to be that the Jewish
presence will be acknowledged only if
Jews always remain a minority. That's
what Jews accepted as a death sentence.

For a time Ben-Gurion believed the
Zionists treated the Arab position
hopefully. In 1937 B-G admitted he was
wrong in his judgement.
These are unforgettable facts. It is
clear that new approaches are needed.
Such is the difficult road to a solution
of the embittered problems.

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