Emanuel Neumann was an American Zionist leader who had been active in Zionist affairs from the days of his youth. During the course of his life, he held a number of Zionist offices including President of the Jewish National Fund in the United States, member of the Jewish Agency and Vice-Chairman of the American Zionist Emergency Council.
Following the 1939 invitation to the Arab States to participate in the London Conference on the future of Palestine, Neumann published an article first in Hebrew in the Palestinian daily newspaper “Haboker”,(767) and two days later in English in the “Palestine Review”.(768)
In this article, Neumann said that the one advantage of including the Arab States in such a conference was to give an opportunity for Jewish and Arab nationalist aspirations to be seen in true proportion and perspective. He considered that with a bold and radical plan, the Palestine problem was “entirely and permanently soluble.”
After referring to the respective proposals of Zangwill and the Peel Commission for population exchange in Palestine, Neumann explained that the Arab States, especially Iraq, had large empty spaces crying out for population and development. He recommended that “the masses of Palestinian Arabs be transferred peaceably and in orderly fashion to Iraq and the Iraqian Jews to Palestine.” Such a transfer to Iraq would not only increase its military strength but also add to its agricultural, industrial and commercial development. He felt that there were two practical considerations. The first and most important was, “Will Palestine Arabs trek? What of their traditional devotion and attachment to the land?” To this he answered that the Arabs of Palestine were no more attached to Palestine than had been masses in various European countries who had left their countries and sought better conditions across the seas. Before the First World War, “Palestine and Syria were no exceptions and likewise sent contingents to the New World.” Neumann added that if the “tales about the miserable plight of the Arab masses in Palestine have any truth in them,” they should take the opportunity to establish themselves in an Arab State so that their transfer would not be “a mad flight, unorganised and undirected but an orderly transfer and resettlement under the guidance and with the assistance of Government agencies.”
The second consideration was finance, which would involve many millions of pounds. These sums, Neumann considered, should be provided by the Iraqi Government, the British Government and the Jewish people.
In conclusion, Neumann said, “What might have been regarded as fantastic a generation ago is the reality of to-day. Bold far-sighted statesmanship is wanted.”
At this period, Edward Norman was quietly working on his own plan to transfer Arabs from Palestine to Iraq. From a letter written by RLE (Rehabiah Lewin-Epstein ?) to Norman on 10 February (the day of publication of Neumann's article in the “Palestine Review”), we see that there was concern in American Zionist circles that these newspaper articles might harm Norman's negotiations.
In this letter, RLE told Norman that he had met Neumann the night before his article had appeared in “Haboker”. When Neumann told RLE that his article would appear in the newspapers the following day, RLE asked him to “recall it” since someone, without mentioning any names, was working on this behind the scenes, and “the less publicity appears on this subject, the better.” In view of the fact that the article was not recalled, RLE wrote that apparently Neumann “was more interested in publicity than in my suggestion.”(769)
Five years later, in February 1944, Neumann gave evidence before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, on the question of the “Jewish National Home in Palestine”.
In the course of his evidence, he stated that “at no time in the long history of the Zionist movement in its many conventions and congresses and public declarations and pronouncements by its official spokesmen, at no time in its long history has the Zionist movement ever demanded the removal of the Arabs from Palestine. The head of the Zionist Organization has opposed it...”(770) Was Neumann “unaware” of what had been said on transfer by the head of the Zionist Organization and its official spokesmen at (for example) the 20th Zionist Congress?!
Two years later, on 8 January 1948, Neumann again gave evidence before a public committee. This time it was the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine and he represented the American Zionist Emergency Council.
During cross-examination, the British Conservative M.P. Major Reginald Manningham-Buller asked Neumann: “I wasn't quite clear, when you were dealing with the population outside Palestine, whether you were or were not suggesting that in the course of time some of the Arab population within Palestine might move or be moved outside.”
To this Neumann answered: “No, sir. I made no such suggestion.... We have never, the Zionist movement has never, suggested the displacement of a single Arab from Palestine. There is no need for it. And we would under no circumstances base the creation of a Jewish policy upon the forced removal of people who have lived there for centuries.... I would only like to say to you, sir, that the suggestion regarding that idea was made by the British Labour Party, as you probably know.”(771)
At this last statement there was some laughter from the audience, and it also caused some embarrassment to the British Labour M.P. Richard Crossman who was a member of this committee(772) and whose party had completely gone back on its pro-Zionist policy after coming to power in the summer of 1945. Manningham-Buller immediately commented: “I am not fully acquainted, I am afraid, with all the [British Labour] party has said.”(773)
Neumann's statements before these two public committees are other examples of how Zionist leaders would blatantly deny the fact that leading Zionists had proposed transfer of Arabs from Palestine! As we have just seen, in 1939, Neumann had himself proposed the transfer of Arabs by writing articles which appeared in several Palestine newspapers! He was also fully aware that he was not the only Zionist leader to have made such a proposal!
Joseph Weitz who was born in 1890, was in 1911 one of the founders of the Union of Agricultural Labourers in Palestine. From 1932, he was Director of the Jewish National Fund's Land Development Division and played an important role in the acquisition and development of land for the Jewish National Fund and the planning of agricultural settlement.
In his diary entry for 20 December 1940, written in Jerusalem, Weitz wrote of a meeting that he had had with the surveying engineer Zalman Lipschitz (Lif). During their conversation, Lipschitz spoke of the need to prepare material in connection with the future of Palestine. Such material would include details of every Arab village, property ownership and the possibility of developing intensive agriculture.
Weitz answered, “It should be clear to us that there is no room in Palestine for these two peoples. No 'development' will bring us to our goal of independent nationhood in this small country. Without the Arabs, the land will become wide and spacious for us; with the Arabs, the land will remain sparse and cramped... The only solution is Palestine, at least Western Palestine, without Arabs. There is no room here for compromises!... The way is to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, all of them, except perhaps those from Bethlehem, Nazareth and the Old City of Jerusalem.” Although the vast majority of Arabs in Palestine were Moslems, Weitz's only exceptions referred to places which were especially sacred to the Christian world and contained Christian inhabitants. Possibly the reason for these exceptions was to minimise opposition from the Western Christian world to his proposals.
Weitz continued, “Not one village, not one tribe should be left. And the form of the transfer needs to be the creation of a refuge for them in Iraq, in Syria and even in Transjordan.” He felt that for this objective, large sums of money could be found. Only with such a transfer would the land be able to absorb millions of Jews thus solving the Jewish problem. “There is no other way out,” concluded Weitz.
How did Lipschitz react to these proposals of Weitz's? The diary entry notes that Lipschitz agreed to these ideas regarding the transfer of the Arabs from Palestine but added that preparations should also be made for partial solutions. To this Weitz replied that investigations should be made in the neighbouring countries in order to determine their capacity to absorb the Arabs of Palestine. Weitz notes that he and Lipschitz agreed between them to apply to the appropriate department and suggest that they initiate work in this direction in preparation for a “detailed plan for the transfer of Palestinian Arabs to the neighbouring countries.”(774)
During the months which followed, Weitz's views on the inability of Jews and Arabs to live together in Palestine, and of the danger of an Arab majority, and hence of the critical need for transfer of Arabs so that Palestine would be solely for Jews, repeatedly found expression in his diary.(775) However, Weitz did not leave this question just to diary-jottings and conversations, but towards the middle of 1941 he actively began to develop a plan for the practical realisation of Arab transfer. On 22 June, he wrote, “From now on it is necessary to work on a secret but fundamental plan [on transfer of] the Arabs from here which would be implemented under the supervision of an American-Anglo committee.”(776)
A few days later, he again wrote in his diary about the need for Anglo and American involvement in such a plan. Weitz had travelled to the lands of an Arab village and to Tel-Aviv, and afterwards wrote that throughout the entire journey his mind had been occupied with a transfer plan. He realised that there were many difficulties to surmount to implement such a plan, and that one must not run away from them but overcome them. He thus continued, “[We must] find a receptive ear principally in America, afterwards in Britain and then in the neighbouring countries…We will set up an apparatus composed of experts from the Yishuv, and they will supervise the [Arab] transfer and the preparations for resettlement 'there' [outside Palestine].”(777)
Two weeks later, Weitz succeeded after much effort in obtaining a short meeting with Moshe Shertok and Eliezer Kaplan. In his diary, Weitz reported how at this meeting he had lectured to Shertok that “our redemption will come only if the land is vacated for us”. He pointed out that “the transfer of the Arab population is essential” in order to solve the Jewish question. Weitz suggested that the Jewish Agency set up a committee comprising between three to five people “to investigate the possibility of Arab settlement in Iraq, Syria and Transjordan”. Such a committee would have to make a thorough study of this subject which would be able to stand up to expert scrutiny and it would have to do its work quickly and without publicity. Both Shertok and Kaplan were prepared to participate in such a plan. Weitz also put forward ideas for financing such transfer.(778)
Towards the end of August 1941, Weitz spoke at length with Berl Katznelson. Commenting on this meeting, Weitz wrote in his diary, “On the question of 'population transfer', it appears that he has supported this idea for many years, and furthermore, like me, he sees in it the only solution to our problem in Palestine.” Katznelson believed that after the war, the world leaders would support the idea of population transfer and he encouraged Weitz to assemble material for a plan to settle the Arabs of Palestine in the neighbouring countries, and he promised to speak to Kaplan and Shertok about this matter.(779)
On 1 September, Weitz received a visa to travel to Syria and Lebanon, the purpose of his visit being to look into the practical possibilities of Arab transfer.(780)
Five days later, Weitz went to visit the kibbutz Migdal Haemek - a kibbutz founded on land from which Arabs had been transferred. He spoke to some of the kibbutz members in detail “on the plan for population transfer”. Ya'akov Hazan answered that he and his kibbutz movement would oppose it because it was useless, could not be implemented and would harm relations with the Arabs. Some members of the kibbutz bombarded him with questions whose essence was that they did not believe in its feasibility, although they liked the idea.(781)
On the following morning whilst in Haifa, he spoke to Eliahu Epstein and informed him of the reason for his journey to Syria. “In his [Epstein's] opinion”, he wrote in his diary, “the plan for transfer of population is the only plan which will solve the Palestine problem.”(782)
On 11 September, Weitz was in Damascus, and he went to study literature dealing with the population of the Jezireh area.(783) A week later he arrived in the Jezireh area and he concluded that “there is no doubt that in the future the Jezireh could serve as an enormous absorbing home.” He felt that if the nations of the world “will want to solve the Jewish question, they will be able in large measure to accomplish these aims by transferring part of the Arab population of Palestine to the Syrian Jezireh, and without any doubt also to the Iraqi Jezireh.”(784)
On his return to Jerusalem, Weitz met with Kaplan on 4 October. Weitz asked him to convene a meeting of the Inner Council together with the Political Department of the Jewish Agency in order to decide if the idea of population transfer could become one of the permitted projects or whether it would be forbidden to deal with it. Kaplan answered that he could not give the answer of the Political Department, but his own opinion was positive; however he added that very great caution would be required. Weitz then suggested to Kaplan that together with Shertok, they should invite for consultations a number of people including Dr. Dov Joseph, Katznelson and Epstein to study the transfer question. Kaplan agreed to this proposal.(785)
Towards the end of October, Dov Joseph travelled to the Jezireh, and before he left, Weitz met with him and asked him to check whether the technical experts working in Syria for Solel Boneh, (the Histadrut's building corporation), could carry out research in the Jezireh region. Joseph promised that on his return he would immediately arrange a committee for this purpose in a “serious, thorough and consistent manner.(786) A month later a meeting took place in Joseph's house, where it was decided to make a study of the climate in the Jezireh and of the water in both the Jezireh and Transjordan.(787) Although Weitz does not state so specifically, it is probable that these studies were proposed for the purpose of assembling information for a transfer plan.
The next entry on transfer in Weitz's diary is in May of the following year. He reported on a talk with Eliezer Granot, which was mainly on the “population transfer” question. Granot spoke of a committee comprising himself, Kaplan, Shertok, and Joseph to study and prepare a plan of activities. He was very sympathetic towards a population transfer plan, adding that it would have to be done with great caution. They agreed that Granot would prepare the outline of a plan and bring it to a meeting to be held between the two of them two days later.(788)
On the following day a meeting took place to discuss the draining of the Huleh swamps. The question was raised whether to begin this work now. Weitz answered with an emphatic negative, adding however that one needs “to prepare a detailed and fundamental plan which would wait until the area would be vacated of its [Arab] inhabitants living there today.”(789)
Again in 1942, Weitz would bring up the question of Arab transfer. In September of that year during a journey to Nahalel he spoke with his travelling companions on this question.(790) A few weeks later, he asked Professor Bodenheimer, who was about to travel to Iraq, to utilise the opportunity to investigate the possibility of population transfer.(791)
Weitz was also interested in purchasing land in Transjordan on which to resettle the transferred Arabs. During 1943, an Arab sheikh called Mitkal Pachah suggested selling tens of thousands of dunams of his land in Transjordan to the J.N.F., and for this he received an advance payment. In April 1944, a delegation of four members of the J.N.F., which included Weitz, went to inspect this land and determine whether there would be sufficient water sources for agriculture (which presumably the transferees would be involved in). Their inspection showed that there was no water in the entire area and thus on returning to Jerusalem, they reported that their impressions were negative.(792)
After the establishment of the State of Israel, Weitz continued to take a great interest in the transfer of Arabs.
At the end of May 1948, in a meeting with Foreign Minister Shertok, Weitz brought up the question of, in his own words “post facto transfer”. He proposed the establishment of a committee of three members which included himself, whose function it would be to see that the Arab refugees would never return to Israel. Shertok praised Weitz's initiative on this question(793) and such a “Transfer Committee”, with the composition proposed by Weitz was indeed set up.
The historian Benny Morris made a detailed comparison of Weitz’ diary entries for 1948 and of the published version of his diary brought out in the 1960s and concluded: “while his notebook [diary] entries abound with references to [Arab] population transfer, such references are almost completely absent from the published diary!”(794)
In 1951, Weitz was actively involved in a plan to transfer Christian Arabs from the upper Galilee to South America. The plan was put before Foreign Minister Sharett (formemly Shertok) and then to the Prime Minister Ben-Gurion and they both gave it their blessing. Weitz then travelled to Argentina to advance this transfer plan.(795)
Yosef Weitz’ son Ra’anan (who in the 1950s became head of the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency), was also involved in proposing the transfer of Arabs. In 1943 he wrote a memorandum to Ben-Gurion and to other Zionist leaders in which he proposed the need to prepare for debates in a peace conference on the establishment of a Jewish State.
In this memorandum, he put forward three possibilities for organising ways to statehood and he suggested the preparation of working material for each of these possibilities.
The first of these methods involved a maximum Arab transfer and was based on the assumption that it would be politically feasible to transfer a majority of the Arabs of Palestine to the neighbouring Arab countries. Ra’anan wrote that such a programme would require research in order to obtain information in a number of spheres. These included having a knowledge of the climatic and economic conditions, and of the tribal and communal composition of the area to which the Arabs would be transferred, and of the possibilities of mass absorption.
The second method involved a maximum development of Palestine and a partial Arab transfer. This possibility was based on the following principles: By means of land reclamation and the transporting of large quantities of water from one area of Palestine to another, two concentrated regions of Jewish settlement - namely in the Negev and in the mountain region - would be established. Arabs living in the area between these two regions and also in other areas essential for Jewish settlement would be transferred to the neighbouring countries.
The third method was a maximum development of Palestine coupled with a regional concentration of the Arabs. Ra’anan commented that this possibility was more modest in its requirements regarding the Arabs. The Arabs would only be transferred between different areas or within different areas of Palestine.(796)
Israel Sieff, who was a British industrialist and Zionist, was born in 1889 in Manchester, England. He collaborated with Weizmann in Zionist affairs and was associated with a number of Zionist and educational organisations in England. He, together with other members of his family, founded the Daniel Sieff Research Institute in Rehovot, from which the Weizmann Institute developed. Sieff was a vice-chairman and joint managing director of Marks and Spencer and in 1967 became its president. In 1966, he was made a life peer.
During the Second World War, Sieff was asked by the British Board of Trade to go to the United States in order to try to sell as many British goods as possible in order to help finance the war effort.(797)
Whilst in the United States, he was also to lecture on Zionism. In his memoirs, Sieff reports that he was in the middle of such a speech when the news of the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbour (7 December 1941) reached America.(798) A few weeks earlier, in another address, Sieff had proposed Arab transfer from Palestine and this even caused a Question to be asked in the British Parliament. This however is not even hinted at, let alone mentioned in his memoirs!
It was on the 16 or 17 November 1941 that Sieff addressed five hundred delegates at a meeting of the New York Region of the United Palestine Appeal in Albany, New York. In his speech, Sieff estimated that between one and three million European Jews would be homeless after the war, and he put forward three proposals to deal with this situation: 1) the settling of one million Jews in Palestine over the course of the next ten years, with inter-governmental assistance 2) “large sections of the Arab population of Palestine should be transplanted to Iraq and other Middle-Eastern Arab States, allowing, however, Arabs who were willing to live in an autonomous Jewish State to remain in Palestine” 3) the present boundaries of Palestine should be extended to include Transjordan.(799) [This speech of Sieff’s has not been found in his archives at “Marks & Spencer”.(800) However, it was reported in a number of newspapers.]
A few weeks later, a question was tabled to the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, in the House of Commons of the British Parliament. The questioner was Cyril Tom Culverwell, who had been the Conservative M.P. for Bristol West since 1928, and the subject of his question was the Exit Permit granted to Sieff. [During the war one required a permit to leave the British Isles.]
Culverwell asked the Home Secretary “upon what grounds permission was granted for Mr. Israel Sieff to travel to the United States of America, in view of the propaganda against, and attacks upon, the policy of His Majesty's Government in relation to Palestine in which this man has indulged?” The Home Secretary answered that he had been granted an exit permit on 16 September in order that he might promote export sales to the U.S.A.
In a supplementary question, Culverwell then asked whether the Home Secretary was aware that Sieff was “stirring up anti-British feeling among his co-religionists in America, and that he is antagonising the Arabs by urging that they should be sent to other Arab countries in order to make room for more Jews in Palestine?” He demanded that such propaganda be stopped. The Home Secretary replied that he had no evidence that Sieff desired or wanted to stir up anti-British feeling. “While there are various views on the question of Palestine, I think everybody is entitled to have his opinions.”
Culverwell then asked whether the Home Secretary had “seen the report of a speech which Mr. Sieff made in New York, to which I drew his attention, urging that the Arabs should be displaced in order to make room for Jews, and ought not British subjects who are given trade permits to go to America be told to keep their mouths shut?” The Home Secretary answered that anyone possessing an exit permit should be discreet and promised that if his department had received a report of this speech of Sieff's, he would look at it. However he did “not want to go so far as to seek to prevent a British subject travelling abroad from expressing reasonable views on matters on which there is not universal agreement.”(801)
Two important points that emerge from the Home Secretary's answers are that transfer of Arabs from Palestine came under the heading of “reasonable views” and that he had no intention of muzzling such views. What is more, this was during the period when the British Government was implementing the White Paper and preventing land sales to Jews, and was doing its best to gain Arab support for the Allies' war effort.
Although a report of Sieff's address in New York was limited to a few Jewish newspapers, and even there the accounts were fairly brief, the subsequent Parliamentary question and its aftermath received far wider coverage. As we shall see, newspapers in both Britain and Palestine reported in detail on this Parliamentary question and its answer. There were also a number of editorials arising from it, and Culverwell himself wrote letters of explanation to two British Jewish newspapers.
Both question and answer were reported verbatim in the bulletin of the “Palcor News Agency”(802) and in the newspaper “The New Judaea”(803) and in a summarised form in both “The Jewish Chronicle”(804) and “The Jewish Standard”.(805) The Palestine newspaper the “Palestine Post”,(806) quoting from the “Palcor News Agency” also went into some detail on this Parliamentary question, but completely omitted the phrases regarding Arab transfer! Similarly the Hebrew Palestinian newspapers “Haolam”(807) and “Hamashkif”(808) also omitted the phrase on Arab transfer! It is very possible that because of the draconic censorship in Palestine at that period(809) any mention of Arab transfer was cut out..
According to the index of the British Foreign Office,(810) there were two files on the subject of this Parliamentary question, but these files have unfortunately not been preserved(811) and so we do not know their content.
Sieff's reaction to Culverwell's question was a denial to the New York representative of the “Sunday Express” that “there is any truth in the allegations made against him in the House of Commons.”(812) It would seem from his statement that he did not deny having proposed transfer of Arabs from Palestine but denied the suggestion that he was engaging in anti-British propaganda in the United States.
Following the Home Secretary's answer to Culverwell's question, the M.P. Commander Locker-Lampson said (presumably to Culverwell): “Why be anti-Semitic? That is what Hitler wants.”(813)
The idea that anti-Semitism was behind Culverwell's question was brought up in the course of editorials in several British Jewish newspapers. “The Jewish Chronicle” pointed out that this was “not the first occasion on which Mr. Sieff has been the subject of Parliamentary questions, and that the same unsolicited attention has been bestowed on one of his business colleagues, Mr. Simon Marks.” This led the editorial writer to ask if there was any ulterior motive for this “somewhat strange vendetta? Is it a case of the persons who prompt those innocent Parliamentary instruments indulging in mere anti-Jewish skirmishing, with a well-known Jewish firm as the object of attack?” He regarded such behavior as “mean and intensely un-English in pursuing this campaign under cover of Parliamentary privilege in a place where the victims cannot be present to answer it - and especially so when the insinuations are so serious and unfounded.”(814)
The “New Judaea” also suggested that anti-Semitism was behind this question. “It would probably be doing Mr. Culverwell an injustice to imagine that he really wants any such embargo [i.e. preventing a British subject from travelling abroad] to be imposed - except, of course, on Mr. Sieff, or any one else who is not only a British subject, but also a Jew and a Zionist.”(815)
The question of anti-Semitism is also found in an editorial in “The Jewish Standard”, the organ of the British Revisionists, who wrote, “But we cannot help feeling disquieted by what appears to be some sort of campaign against Jews and their right to advocate what they consider to be the just claims of the Jewish people... That even M.P.'s were not free from certain noxious infections of a semi-fascist and anti-semitic character was proved by what leaked out regarding the roll of members of Captain Ramsay's notorious 'Right Club'.”(816)
Another point made in these editorials was the question of free speech. The Home Secretary had answered that he did not want to muzzle people. “The New Judaea” was in complete agreement with this view.(817) “The Jewish Standard” in even stronger language wrote: “Without going into the merits of the particular utterance at issue (such as asking what the Arabs have done for Britain in this war to deserve such tender solicitude on the part of British M.P.'s) we, in common with all men of good will, must emphatically reject any attempt to muzzle us, and that in the very centre of embattled democracy.”(818)
A further editorial on this subject appeared in the following week's edition of “The Jewish Standard”. Here the editorial specifically dealt with Sieff's transfer plan. Whilst defending Sieff's right to make such a proposal, the editorial writer strongly disagreed with this transfer proposal. He felt that “Mr. Sieff's utterances... reveal once more the old Zionist aptitude for saying the wrong thing at the least opportune moment” and that his proposal “is as puerile as the moment for this suggestion is ill-timed ... We must condemn Mr. Sieff's suggested solution not only as impracticable and ill-timed but also as undemocratic.”(819) The basis for the editorial writer's comments was, as he stated, Jabotinsky's publicised views on Arab transfer. However, from now available archival material, we can see that Jabotinsky's private views on transfer may well have been quite different!
In contrast to the editorial in “The Jewish Standand”, an editorial in “The Jewish Chronicle” cautiously endorsed transfer. “The proposal [to transfer Arabs from Palestine] is, of course, not a new one, and the principle underlying it was adopted in another country with salutary effect.”(820) The “New Judaea” took a middle course by neither endorsing nor condemning transfer. It only recalled the fact that Duff Cooper, the former First Lord of the British Admiralty, “when in the United States, after the outbreak of the war before he joined the Government, went much further in his utterances on Palestine than Mr. Sieff.”(821)
[The editorial writer did not identify Duff Cooper's speech, but he is very likely referring to the address delivered by him in January 1940 to the National Conference of the United Palestine Appeal in Washington. In this address, Cooper called upon Britain not only to honour the pledge contained in the Balfour Declaration, but also to strengthen it in word and spirit.(822)
In the course of the address, Cooper suggested transfer of Arabs as one of the ways to honour this pledge. He said that “those [Arabs] who wish to emigrate, we will assist to emigrate.” He promised that they would have a fresh start in Arab countries and would be moving into territories where Arabs had lived for generations and were still living. He felt that the Arabs would have nothing to fear from such a solution.(823)]
Following the strong criticism of Culverwell in the British Jewish press, he wrote letters to both “The Jewish Standard” and “The Jewish Chronicle”.
In his letter to “The Jewish Standard”, published in the edition dated 2 January 1942,. Culverwell said that “the best, if not the only, hope for the future of Jewry lies in an Allied victory” and thus one would expect that “Jews everywhere would abstain from any speech or action which might antagonize or hamper their potential saviours.” At a time when the Allies needed all the support they could obtain, a proposal to transfer Arabs from Palestine “must obviously antagonize the Arabs and might, if adopted by the Government, drive them into the Axis camp.”(824)
In the same edition of “The Jewish Standard”, an editorial answered Culverwell's letter. The editorial writer accepted the fact that because the Jews were Hitler's main target, they had no alternative and would support the Allies. However, even to this there was a limit and thus Culverwell should “not take it for granted that the Allies on their side are entitled to expect from us an abandonment of our claims and a turning aside from our own national destiny simply because it might interfere with the ornamental outline of this or that policy of one of the Allies.” In the view of the editorial writer, British policy in relation to Palestine had brought Britain no Arab support in the Middle East.(825)
Culverwell's letter to “The Jewish Chronicle”(826) was published the following week. It was shorter but of similar content to his letter to “The Jewish Standard”. The editor of the paper added his comments, which were of a rather defensive nature, at the end of the letter. He explained that the editorial “certainly did not suggest that he [Culverwell] was engaged in a sinister or malicious conspiracy against Jews in general and Mr. Sieff in particular. We suggested the possibility of Mr. Culverwell and others having been misled by persons of less highminded purpose”. He also felt that a suggestion by a Jew that “some sort of voluntary exchange of population should be considered is scarcely likely to have much effect one way or the other” on relations with the Arabs.(827)
The organ of the American Revisionists, “Zionews”, also had an editorial dealing with Sieff's speech and articles on the same subject. After summarising Sieff's speech and pointing out that the Revisionists had never demanded “a forced ejection of the Arabs” from Palestine, the writer reminded his readers of proposals for transfer of Arabs which he said had been made in the previous months. These included the proposal by Blanche Dugdale which had appeared in “The Congress Weekly”, which was the organ of the American Jewish Congress, and that of Akiva Ettinger which had been published in the organ of the American Poale Zion, “The Jewish Frontier”. He thus came to the conclusion that “these [sic] is certainly not only coincidence; such coincidence happens seldom, if ever at all. Something is cooking in the exited, confused minds of the Agency Zionists. It is sometimes interesting to stand at the sidelines and watch their feverish totterings.”(828)
Another person upset by Sieff’s speech was Edward Norman. As we have seen, Norman was at that time very discreetly pursuing his own plan to transfer Arabs from Palestine to Iraq and he was worried that any publicity given to such a scheme could topple his own plan.
In a letter that Norman had written to Weizmann in May 1942, Norman referred to a conversation that he had had with Sieff on this matter. In this letter, he commented that “to my mind in a most irresponsible manner, [Sieff] made a public address that was widely reported in the papers, advocating that the Jewish people should adopt the policy now of demanding that after the defeat of the Axis the United Nations should undertake to evacuate the Arabs of Palestine to Iraq.” Norman felt that the matter was made even worse since “Israel Sieff stated at my house” in the presence of a number of people “that his proposal had been based entirely upon my plans, which he knew about, through some channel that he did not disclose. There are several people through whom he might have learned of my scheme and work, such as Simon Marks....”(829)
Norman obviously immediately had some regrets in writing this about Sieff, since on the very next day he wrote a further letter to Weizmann which was solely on this matter. In it he pointed out that after he had spoken to Sieff, the latter “agreed that it had been unwise on his part to have made public reference to any scheme for resettlement of the Palestinian Arabs in Iraq or any other country, and he would not do so in the future.” In view of this, Norman considered the matter closed and thus he did not want Weizmann to even mention it to Sieff.(830)
Ernst Frankenstein was a German-Jewish jurist, and authority on international law. Before settling in London, he had been a member of the Berlin Bar and legal adviser to the Italian Embassy, and served as lecturer at the Academy of International Law at The Hague. In 1944, his book “Justice for My People” was published, in which he presented the legal claim of the Jews to Palestine.
In the course of this book, Frankenstein put forward a proposal for the resettlement of the Arabs of Palestine in the under-populated Arab countries, especially Iraq. He considered that, “The Jewish State should comprise the mandated territory of Palestine west and east of the Jordan.”
With regard to the population of the Jewish State, Frankenstein said that any non-Jew “entitled to live in Palestine” would have not only protection but would enjoy the rights and privileges of every citizen. He immediately added that this would not be the case with non-Jews who immigrated to Palestine (including Transjordan) illegally. “Illegal immigrants will have to be gradually repatriated,” wrote Frankenstein, “while those who do not want to become citizens of the new state should be given the opportunity of settling in another country.”(831) One should mention here, that during the previous thirty years or so, there had been “a substantial illegal immigration of Arabs” into Palestine,(832) and therefore according to Frankenstein's plan, there would be a “substantial” number of Arabs “to be gradually repatriated” to the Arab countries. This was of course apart from those who would be given “the opportunity of settling in another country.”
Frankenstein noted that most of the Arab countries especially Iraq were under-populated and needed development of their resources. In a memorandum submitted to Mr. Krausz's Sub- Committee of the Political Committee of the British Zionist Federation in December of the following year (1945), Frankenstein wrote briefly of the potentials of Iraq adding that the “country could be restored to its former wealth if the great irrigation system on which the fertility depends would be restored.” In this memorandum, he referred to another memorandum (which has not been traced), which he had submitted seven years earlier to the Jewish Agency in which he had proposed “the outlines of an international scheme for the reconstruction of the Middle East, combined with the (voluntary) transfer of the Palestinian Arabs.” (The parenthesis is Frankenstein's.)
About a fortnight before the 1945 memorandum, ex-President Herbert Hoover of the United States had published his plan for the transfer of the Arabs of Palestine to Iraq. Frankenstein mentioned this, adding that the “American Zionist Emergency Council had welcomed the plan” and that in his opinion it was “the only realistic solution of the different problems.” He felt that it had the advantage of being an “economic and social plan” rather than a political one.(833)
In his book, Frankenstein offered the world an opportunity to contribute practically to solving the Jewish problem and at the same time assist the Arab States in their work of reconstruction. “All those Arabic-speaking people who have to be repatriated and those who decline nationality should be given the chance of starting a better and happier life than they had led before, thus encouraging others to follow their example voluntarily.”
Frankenstein felt that if every Arab craftsman and peasant in Palestine and Transjordan were to be given the opportunity of acquiring, without any expense on his part, his own house and land in an Arab country, many would gladly take such an opportunity. Similarly Jews living in Arab countries should be given every facility for settling in Palestine. “The ideal goal should be a kind of voluntary exchange of population as it has already been envisaged by clear-thinking non-Jews.” [Proposals brought forward by many non-Jews are discussed later in this work.] Frankenstein considered that this Jewish-Arab population exchange “should be carried out as an international scheme under international control.”(834)
Victor Gollancz, English publisher and author was born in 1893. Throughout his life he sought to combat poverty and suffering through socialism, and, later pacifism. During Israel's War of Independence, Gollancz headed an organisation for relief work for Arabs and later for Arab refugees in the Gaza Strip.
In a booklet written in 1945, Gollancz considered the question of the Arabs residing in Palestine. He did not agree that the “Arabs of Palestine would find it intolerable, spiritually intolerable, to remain there if it became a Jewish Commonwealth.” If however, this were to be the case, he would recommend a very simple solution based on population transfer.
Gollancz proposed that the United Nations say to the Arab statesmen, “We desire to establish, by the necessary stages, a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine, for we believe a settlement of the Jewish question on lines such as these to be an indispensable part of the world settlement. We give our guarantee that every Arab in Palestine shall have complete civil equality and religious freedom. But if, in spite of this guarantee, any Arab should wish to leave Palestine and settle elsewhere we will make it easy for him to do so; we will see to it that the change takes place in the best conditions, and we will provide ample funds, in each case, for the secure establishment of a new home.” He pointed out that even if hundreds of thousands of Arabs availed themselves of such an offer, the cost would be negligible in the budgets of Great Britain and the United Nations. “Would not the money be well spent?”, asked Gollancz, “Is the tiny sacrifice it represents - were it ever necessary, as it never would be - too much to ask?”
He then suggested that the destination of such a transfer could be the Arab countries bordering on Palestine, especially Iraq, who were crying out for an increase in population.(835)
Eliahu Ben-Horin was an active worker in the Revisionist Party. He was also on the editorial board of the Palestine daily newspaper “Doar Hayom” and later Chief Editor of “Hayarden”. In the years following 1943, Ben-Horin worked with Hoover to try and implement a transfer plan.
Ben-Horin's book entitled “The Middle East - Crossroads of History”, contained a transfer proposal and was published in 1943. His suggestion was that “the bulk of the Arab population of Palestine and Transjordania be transferred to Iraq.” He held that in such a transfer, the Arabs would “not be removed to a foreign land but to an Arab land” and would therefore find in Iraq their accustomed environment, language, religion, mode of life and climatic conditions. A well planned colonisation project would thus give better conditions than they could expect to obtain in Palestine, to both the Arab peasant and the city dweller.(836)
After the publication of this book, it was reviewed in “The New York Times” by Philip E. Hitti.(837) Hitti was born in Syria, graduated from the American University of Beirut and at that time was professor of Semitic Literature at Princeton University. Hitti could not be described as a friend of Zionism and his review was very critical of Ben-Horin's book.
With regard to Ben-Horin's transfer proposal, Hitti wrote, “that those Arabs may not be particularly anxious to be transferred, that some of them claim descent from the Canaanites of pre-Hebraic times, that the Moslems among them consider the Islamic conquest of Palestine in the seventh Christian century a gift from Allah that cannot be relinquished without compromising their faith - all these and other questions either never occurred to Mr. Ben-Horin or, if they did, were not deemed by him worthy of consideration.”(838)
On seeing this book review, Ben-Horin contacted Benjamin Akzin and informed him of the agreement of Colonel John Henry Patterson (the man who had commanded the First Zionist Regiment) to answer Hitti's review, on condition that Patterson would be provided with a draft. Ben-Horin asked Akzin to prepare such a draft, which he accordingly did, and he sent it to Patterson.(839)
In fact when Patterson saw the Hitti book review “he got so mad that he sat down himself and wrote the letter.”(840) A shortcoming of this letter was that it was too long,(841) but the Editor of that paper's “Book Reviews” agreed that Norton, the publisher of Ben-Horin's book, could send them a condensed version.(842)
In answer to Hitti's criticism of Ben-Horin's transfer plan, Patterson wrote that on this subject “Hitti's antagonism to the book becomes overtly open ... I could not refrain from smiling at Mr. Hitti's 'strongest' argument against this plan - namely that the Arabs got Palestine as 'a gift from Allah that cannot be relinquished without compromising their faith'. Is Hitti ignorant of the fact that the same Allah gave Palestine to the Jews over 2,500 years before the Moslem faith was revealed to the Arabs?”(843)
There is also an undated letter by Ben-Horin to “The New York Times Book Review”, but it is not clear whether this letter was actually sent. In it, Ben-Horin wrote with regard to his transfer proposal, “Mr. Hitti does not condescend to an analysis of the .project. He does not even attempt to refute the arguments of my book in favor of such a settlement, apt to greatly benefit the Palestinian Arabs, the State of Iraq and the Jewish people - and also to contribute to the consolidation of order and peace in the Middle East.” Ben-Horin felt that he could not take seriously Hitti's comments that before writing his book he did not enquire what the reactions of the Arabs of Palestine would be to such a proposal. He felt that “if the United Nations are determined to have order and peace in the world, they will have to take many measures in disregard of the wishes of this or that uncooperative community. It is with the elimination of the causes for future friction and wars that we should be concerned, and with very little else.... Mr. Hitti has chosen the all too easy path of slighting ideas without analysing them.”(844)
Another book review was published in February 1944 in the American Revisionist paper “Zionews”. The reviewer mentioned Ben-Horin's transfer plan but without any editorial comment.(845)
Israel Ben-Shem was a leader of the Zionist Worker movement and also a Biblical scholar.
In April 1942, he addressed the Fifth Histadrut Convention and spoke in favour of transfer. During the course of his address, Ben-Shem said that one needs to think of the end result. The land will either go to the Jews or to the Arabs - a partnership was not possible. One had to bring to the attention of the world the sufferring of millions of Jews during the course of thousands of years, and insist that all of Palestine be given to the Jews. “Our previous generation knew how to solve tragic problems and positively. I am referring to population transfer. I will tell Hashomer Hazair things which I said to them at one of the Council meetings of the Histadrut and I never received an answer from them: What is this thing? There was an Arab village in a place where now stands a Hashomer Hazair kibbutz. There was a second village, and a third, etc. etc.” He then quoted an example of an Arab village whose inhabitants had been transferred and he suggested that such transfer could be carried out a thousandfold.(846)