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New International, March 1947


W. Brooks


From The New International, Vol. XIII No. 3, March 1947, pp. 95–96.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.



I want to make a few remarks on your editorial in your November issue regarding the Jews and Palestine.

The editorial states that the realization of the Jewish national aims in Palestine does not necessarily conflict with the rights of the Arabs.

“The mere immigration of Jews to Palestine no more deprives Arabs of their rights than the continued residence of the Jews in Germany ... deprives Germans ... of their rights. The Arabs’ rights would be jeopardized only if a Jewish State in Palestine were the only possible result of Jewish immigration. An infringement of the Arabs’ rights is no more implicit in the fact of immigration itself than is abuse of a Jewish minority implicit in the fact of an independent Palestine under Arab majority ... To deny the right of the Jews today to immigrate to Palestine on the grounds of POSSIBLE consequences it will have on the Arabs is to deny them the right to go anywhere.”

I consider this statement incorrect for many reasons. Among them are the following ones.

1) We stand for the democratic right of free immigration of any people to any country. We stand also for the democratic right of self-determination of any nation. Unfortunately both of these democratic rights exclude each other in the given case. If we grant self-determination to the Arabs we will violate the right of free immigration, for an Arab Palestine will use the former right to resist any further attempt to be changed from a mono-national into a bi-national society, let alone to the possibility of Jewish “majorization.” On the other hand continued Jewish immigration without consent or against the will of the Arabs would violate their right of self-determination. Since we cannot grant both rights simultaneously, we must decide which we want to violate.

2) We do not support mechanically any democratic right at any time. It was, for instance, undoubtedly the democratic right of Danzig or Austria to join their German co-nationals. But we resisted, of course, the realization of this right when it meant a greater Nazi-Germany. For an analogous reason we must now resist the realization of the democratic right of the Jews to immigrate to Palestine. For the overwhelming majority of them want to immigrate there with a clear, chauvinist aim: to conquer it for their nation and, at any rate, to infringe upon the rights of the Arabs. This is regrettable, but a fact.

3) Since the Jews are economically superior to the Arabs and have a more advanced civilization, the former will necessarily dominate the Arabs who must necessarily be turned into a second class nation within Palestine.

4) The position of the Jews in Western and Central Europe in the past – we omit Eastern Europe for reasons of simplification – and that of the Jews in Palestine in the present and future is not the same. The Western European Jews were a part of the societies and nations within which they lived and they had adopted the languages and cultures of the latter. They differed from the people among whom they lived merely by their race. The latter term is by no means synonymous with nation. The main criterion of a nation is a language of its own. The American Negroes are a race, but they belong to the American nation. The Jews, however, come to Palestine by no means in order to become a part of the Arab nation but in order to constitute there a new nation. This aim of Jewish immigration has plenty to do with the rights of the Arabs! Even in the optimal case, this immigration brings about at least one change for the Arabs: they will live in the future in a bi-lingual (bi-cultural) instead of in a mono-lingual society. This means a lot of difference! I think, that for instance the inhabitants of, let us say, the department Isere in France should be asked for their consent before we support the right of Serbs, Spaniards, Arabs, Jews, etc., to immigrate into this mono-lingual French department with the expressed aim not to be assimilated but to constitute their own nation there. Maybe we would call the negative reaction of the French natives nationalistic. But, I think, we would have to support it.

5) The editorial explains perfectly the Jewish psychology and its underlying facts which are the causes of their aims to infringe upon the Arabs’ rights. But it does not consider the political facts of these aims of virtually all prospective Jewish immigrants.

W. Brooks

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