March 25, 1944, The Methodist (Sydney) page 12, The Black "White Paper" and Palestine, by the Rt. Rev. C. Vern Pilcher, Co-Auditor Bishop of Sydney. [1003 words]
... Great Britain should adhere to this policy in face of the four or five million Jews already murdered by...
The Black "White Paper" and Palestine,
By the Rt. Rev. C. Vern Pilcher, Co-Auditor Bishop of Sydney.
March 31, 1944, is a memorable date, because on that day the most tragic of the provisions of the White Paper of 1939 comes into operation.
What Is the White Paper?
In the year 1917 the famous Balfour Declaration was put forth under the authority of the British Government. It ran as follows:
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the
Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being
clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
Arthur James Balfour."
This declaration was later endorsed by the whole League of Nations, as well as by the United States of
America. Great Britain was given the Mandate over Palestine, in order that she might put into operation the Balfour Declaration.
Jewish immigrants immediately began to enter upon the homeland of their fathers with amazing and most excellent results. The desert places were made to blossom as the rose, and land which had been considered impossible for cultivation produced abundant crops. As a result, the living conditions of the Arabs were so improved that the Arab population showed an immense increase, while between ordinary Arabs and ordinary Jews there were ample signs of growing friendship. (See Report of the Royal Commission on Palestine, pp. 130, 131, 136.) One would have thought that such an admirable condition of things would have been encouraged and allowed to continue.
This however was not to be. Axis propaganda, Axis money and Axis arms were used to stir up the Arab oligarchy to oppose the Jewish colonisation with active violence. The Arab feudal barons were afraid of the effect upon their own privileges and vested interests of the developments brought about by the Jewish colonists. These Fascist Arabs frequently had to use coercion upon the Arab masses in order to compel them to act as agents for the Axis against Great Britain. The arch culprit in this miserable affair was the notorious Mufti of Jerusalem, who, with others of these same leaders, now
heads an Arab Nazi Government in Exile in Germany, and has declared from Berlin a Holy War against Britain.
At the time of these riots engineered by the Fascist Arabs, the appeasement government of Mr. Chamberlain was in power in England. It was this government which produced the White Paper
limiting Jewish immigration into Palestine, and in effect ending it completely on March 31, 1944.
Mr. Churchill fought against the introduction of this White Paper, calling it a "breach and repudiation" of Britain's word as given in the Balfour Declaration. The Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations also spoke of the White Paper as "not in keeping with the pledge made in the
The White Paper may indeed be called back when it involves a breach of Britain's pledged word, but it is even blacker through the tragedy which it brings upon the Jewish people. Just at the time when a place of refuge from Nazi massacre is supremely needed, the doors of the one natural place of refuge are to be closed. It seems unthinkable that Great Britain should adhere to this policy in face of the four
or five million Jews already murdered by the Nazis
Does Justice to the Arabs Make the White Paper Necessary?
We have already seen that the White Paper was adopted under the pressure from the Fascist Arabs. Supporters of the White Paper also adduce other arguments: (1) They say that promises were made to the Arabs, and that a revocation of the White Paper would be a breach of our promises to the Arabs.
Both Mr. Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia insist that all our promises to the Arabs have been kept.
Another objection which is raised is that the repeal of the White Paper would provoke an Arab rebellion. The British Labour Party gave full proof that it did not consider any such danger, if it did exist, to be great enough to prevent right action. This was shown by the party's resolution on Palestine of Whitsun 1943, asking for the opening of the doors of Palestine to Jewish immigration. Further, we
must remember that Great Britain's military position is such to-day as to minimize the danger of any Arab opposition, which is clearly illustrated by the fact that even in the hour of her greatest need, the Empire Forces were strong enough to suppress Arab rebellion in Iraq.
Jewish Claims Upon Our Gratitude.
It is seldom realised to what an extent the Jewish people are giving their services on the side of the Allies in this present war. Fifty thousand British Jews are serving with the forces, including seven thousand in the Air Force. In the American Army there are three hundred thousand Jews, whom to count among the ranks of their soldiers both General McArthur and Admiral Halsey are very proud.
No less than six hundred thousand Jews are serving in the ranks of the Red Army. From the outbreak of the Russian War until last November, five thousand Jews have been decorated for gallantry in action at the front.
In Palestine the Jewish Agency has recruited no less than forty-two thousand men and women for the British armed forces; besides these twenty-five thousand Jewish temporary policemen stand on guard for the safety of Palestine.
Mr. Churchill on July 21st, 1942, expressed his great appreciation of the Jewish war effort; he said "all over the world Jewish Communities have made their contribution to the United Nations' cause."