|A Jewish demonstration against the White Paper, 1939|
On this 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Arabs are starting a major campaign to force Great Britain to apologize for issuing it.
This is absurd, of course, for a number of reasons. The The Balfour Declaration was incorporated into the San Remo Resolution and became international law that set aside the entire area of Palestine to become a Jewish national home. This law is still effective today. The campaign is really an effort to deny Jews their right to self-determination.
But there is one document that the British really should apologize for.
The 1939 White Paper severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine at the very moment that the Jews of Europe faced death.
The British who wrote it pretended that it was all fair and proper, of course:
If immigration has an adverse effect on the economic position in the country, it should clearly be restricted; and equally, if it has a seriously damaging effect on the political position in the country, that is a factor that should not be ignored. Although it is not difficult to contend that the large number of Jewish immigrants who have been admitted so far have been absorbed economically, the fear of the Arabs that this influx will continue indefinitely until the Jewish population is in a position to dominate them has produced consequences which are extremely grave for Jews and Arabs alike and for the peace and prosperity of Palestine. The lamentable disturbances of the past three years are only the latest and most sustained manifestation of this intense Arab apprehension. The methods employed by Arab terrorists against fellow Arabs and Jews alike must receive unqualified condemnation. But it cannot be denied that fear of indefinite Jewish immigration is widespread amongst the Arab population and that this fear has made possible disturbances which have given a serious setback to economic progress, depleted the Palestine exchequer, rendered life and property insecure, and produced a bitterness between the Arab and Jewish populations which is deplorable between citizens of the same country. If in these circumstances immigration is continued up to the economic absorptive capacity of the country, regardless of all other considerations, a fatal enmity between the two peoples will be perpetuated, and the situation in Palestine may become a permanent source of friction amongst all peoples in the Near and Middle East. His Majesty's Government cannot take the view that either their obligations under the Mandate, or considerations of common sense and justice, require that they should ignore these circumstances in framing immigration policy.In short, the British gave Arab terrorists veto power over allowing Jews to enter the country because of feat of more terror.
...The alternatives before His Majesty's Government are either (i) to seek to expand the Jewish National Home indefinitely by immigration, against the strongly expressed will of the Arab people of the country; or (ii) to permit further expansion of the Jewish National Home by immigration only if the Arabs are prepared to acquiesce in it. The former policy means rule by force....Moreover, the relations between the Arabs and the Jews in Palestine must be based sooner or later on mutual tolerance and goodwill; the peace, security and progress of the Jewish National Home itself requires this. Therefore His Majesty's Government, after earnest consideration, and taking into account the extent to which the growth of the Jewish National Home has been facilitated over the last twenty years, have decided that the time has come to adopt in principle the second of the alternatives referred to above.More Jews mean the Arabs get more upset, and more upset Arabs mean that the Jewish national home cannot survive. How's that for logic to justify the imminent deaths of millions of Jews?
Oh, but the authors pretended to care about the European Jews. Or at least a few of them.
...His Majesty's Government are conscious of the present unhappy plight of large numbers of Jews who seek refuge from certain European countries, and they believe that Palestine can and should make a further contribution to the solution of this pressing world problem. In all these circumstances, they believe that they will be acting consistently with their Mandatory obligations to both Arabs and Jews, and in the manner best calculated to serve the interests of the whole people of Palestine, by adopting the following proposals regarding immigration:The White Paper also stated, explicitly, that Jews cannot purchase land in much of Palestine from Arabs. making antisemitism official British government policy.
...[T]he admission, as from the beginning of April this year, of some 75,000 immigrants over the next five years. These immigrants would, subject to the criterion of economic absorptive capacity, be admitted as follows:
For each of the next five years a quota of 10,000 Jewish immigrants will be allowed on the understanding that a shortage one year may be added to the quotas for subsequent years, within the five year period, if economic absorptive capacity permits.
In addition, as a contribution towards the solution of the Jewish refugee problem, 25,000 refugees will be admitted as soon as the High Commissioner is satisfied that adequate provision for their maintenance is ensured, special consideration being given to refugee children and dependents.
The existing machinery for ascertaining economic absorptive capacity will be retained, and the High Commissioner will have the ultimate responsibility for deciding the limits of economic capacity. Before each periodic decision is taken, Jewish and Arab representatives will be consulted.
After the period of five years, no further Jewish immigration will be permitted unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it.
His Majesty's Government are determined to check illegal immigration, and further preventive measures are being adopted. The numbers of any Jewish illegal immigrants who, despite these measures, may succeed in coming into the country and cannot be deported will be deducted from the yearly quotas.
His Majesty's Government are satisfied that, when the immigration over five years which is now contemplated has taken place, they will not be justified in facilitating, nor will they be under any obligation to facilitate, the further development of the Jewish National Home by immigration regardless of the wishes of the Arab population.
The authors of the paper knew very well every Jew they barred from immigrating to Palestine was likely to be murdered. Liberal MP James Rothschild stated during the parliamentary debate that "for the majority of the Jews who go to Palestine it is a question of migration or of physical extinction".
Even the "League of Nations commission held that the White Paper was in conflict with the terms of the Mandate."
In the end, the British didn't even admit the full 75,000 Jews that the White Paper allowed.
Six million were murdered. Tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, would have been saved if it wasn't for the British White Paper. The disgusting policy of appeasement of what the paper paper literally called "Arab terrorists" - led to the deaths of untold numbers of Jews.
If anyone is going to ask for apologies from the British, it should be the Jewish people for the immoral policy that sentenced so many of our relatives to death.