The Global Zeitenwende
How to Avoid a New Cold War in a Multipolar Era
MOST persons interested in international affairs regard the present conflict in Palestine as one primarily between the Jews and the Arabs. The British, according to this thesis, are there as a disinterested and benevolent third party, performing the ungrateful task of keeping Arab and Jew from each other's throat. Britain is looked on as being apart from and above the struggle for power now gradually approaching a climax in the Holy Land.
However true this may have been several years ago, it is not a correct picture of the situation as it now exists. It is the British mandatory government which has become the principal object of Arab hostility. This bitter anti-British feeling is the first and most powerful impression that strikes the outsider visiting Palestine today. This means, not that animosity towards the Jews has lessened, but that the Arabs have concluded that only by the use of force can they prevent Britain from making the whole of Palestine into a Jewish State. Britain's denial of any such intention only proves to them the essential perfidy of British policy.
The Arabs fear that Palestine will be swamped by Jews. In recent years the Jewish proportion of the population has been rapidly increasing until today it constitutes thirty percent of the total. The abrupt rise in the number of immigrants, beginning in 1933, was what brought the Palestine situation to a head.[i] The Arabs demanded a cessation of Jewish immigration. Now, under the terms of the Mandate the number of immigrants given permission to enter Palestine is to be determined with regard to the economic capacity of the country to absorb them. The Arabs charged that the British were interpreting this provision much too liberally and that as a result the Jews would in a few years form a majority of the population. No one who has been in the country and talked with the Jewish leaders can doubt that these -- Zionist and non-Zionists alike -- look forward to the day when they control the Palestine government. As the Royal Commission quite clearly understood, the Arabs unalterably oppose any such eventuality, and to ward it off they demand their independence. When they have it, they will deal with the Jews in their own way.
In essence, then, the struggle is not (to quote the Royal Commission's Report) "an inter-racial conflict arising from an old instinctive antipathy of Arabs towards Jews." As the Report adds: "Quite obviously . . . the problem of Palestine is political. It is . . . the problem of insurgent nationalism." The Arabs are not interested in the argument that the National Home has greatly benefited them economically, even if they admit it to be true. They did not ask to be enriched; and they would much prefer, they say, that the Jews go away and leave them poor but masters in what they consider to be their own house. To prevent the Mandatory Power from letting the political control of Palestine pass to the Jews, they are prepared, if necessary, to fight.
This in a nutshell is the background for the revolt, or guerrilla war, which the Arabs began waging against the British authorities in the spring of 1936. When the Royal Commission went to Palestine in October of that year to investigate and take testimony, the Arabs boycotted it because the British Government refused to suspend Jewish immigration at once. The Arab leaders were dislodged from this position only through the intervention of King Ghazi of 'Iraq and King Ibn Sa'ud of Arabia.
From then until the publication of the Commission's Report in July 1937 was a period of comparative truce between the Arabs on one hand and the British and Jews on the other. (Jewish lives and property had of course borne the brunt of the Arab attack.) When the proposal for partition was made public a new wave of Arab protest quite naturally arose. Anti-British feeling, smouldering for several months, again flamed out. Some of the more belligerent and nationalistic Arabs were not to be restrained, and sporadic acts of terrorism were committed in spite of pleas by Arab leaders for moderation and patience. The renewed violence has been directed principally against officials in the British administration. But this time, however, the British have met arson, bombings and assassination with such stern measures as the curfew, wholesale arrests, the destruction of the houses of suspected incendiaries, the imposition of large fines and the quartering of military garrisons on towns where outbreaks occur. They have also dissolved Arab political organizations and sent prominent Arab leaders into exile.
The net result, at the time these lines are written, has been to widen the gulf between the Arabs and the British. The recent decision of the authorities to restrict Jewish immigration to the country's "political" capacity to absorb it, which if made a year ago might have led to a compromise or at least a detente, has come too late. More drastic measures will be required -- either the use of further force or frank conciliation. Though the former may temporarily restore order, it merely postpones settlement of the issue; while the latter can be achieved only by demanding further sacrifices from the Zionist ideal, already badly mutilated by the partition proposal.
This dilemma clearly illustrates the impossible situation into which the British got themselves by making contradictory promises to the Jews and to the Arabs during the World War.[ii] As has been aptly remarked, Palestine is the "too-much promised land." The British, in order to escape from the resulting impasse, propose that each side surrender part of what it was promised. The Jews, after much private soul-searching and public debate, have decided to accept the principle of partition on the theory that half a loaf is better than no bread at all, and in the hope that the diminutive Jewish state can in the future, near or distant, be extended to the whole of Palestine.
Precisely because they fully realize the nature of this powerful if seldom expressed hope of the Jews, the Arabs are determined to prevent partition. Let the Jews come and settle in Palestine, they say, until they constitute 35 percent -- or even 40 percent -- of the total population. But let them live there as a minority in an Arab state, not as citizens of an independent Jewish homeland.
Now in case the British cared to impose partition by coercion, the armed opposition of the Arabs would not in itself present a serious military problem. The Arabs, especially some of the young stalwarts, indulge in very tall talk about their ability to cope with the British Army. Their inflamed imaginations do not consider what a different affair another conflict would be from the desultory guerrilla fighting of 1936. The present writer can testify that the British preparations in Palestine indicate that the Mandatory is not again going to stand for any nonsense.
Normally the military problem involved in suppressing an Arab uprising would not alarm the British authorities unduly. As one experienced observer remarked to me: "The Governor of an Indian province, accustomed to ruling 40,000,000 people with an iron hand, could settle a revolt in Palestine in an afternoon." In view of the fact that the Holy Land's million and a half inhabitants live in an area no larger than that of the state of Maryland this is not such a hyperbole as at first appears. Nevertheless, Sir Harold MacMichael (former Governor of Tanganyika Territory), who has recently been appointed to replace the conciliatory Sir Arthur Wauchope, is faced with a situation which cannot be resolved "in an afternoon," not because he may lack the armed power but because Palestine is not India.
In the first place, Palestine is, in theory at least, held by Britain as a mandate and not as a colonial possession. Her task supposedly is to prepare the people of Palestine for self-government. The manner in which she discharges it is subject to review by the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations. Various international contracts also limit her freedom of action.
Secondly, the Holy Land occupies such a central place in the religious affections and political interests of so many people throughout the world that events there are followed with a concern out of all proportion to their intrinsic importance. For nearly two centuries mediæval society was rent asunder by the efforts of the Christians to recover the Holy Sepulchre from the Infidel. Even as late as the nineteenth century the quarrels of monks in Jerusalem set armies to marching in Europe. But if Jerusalem is the Holy City of the Christians, so is it also the Zion of the Hebrews. Any happening in Palestine today may arouse the passions of Jews on six continents; and given the power wielded by individual Jews in the press, legislative assemblies and public life of many Great Powers, a shot fired in Tel Aviv may well be heard round the world.
It is a great handicap for the Arabs that they have few powerful compatriots dwelling in Christian countries who can be called upon to defend the Arab cause before the occidental world. They do, however, possess other weapons, and these they are learning to wield under the guidance of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, His Eminence Haj Mohammed Amin el Huseini. These weapons are Pan Arabism and Pan Islamism; for it must not be forgotten that Jerusalem, with its Haram-ash-Sherif, is one of the three sacred cities of the Moslems. These instruments are still blunt tools, and lie in the hands of inexperienced or indifferent nations. But in time the nations may become expert and the weapons sharp; and the British know how easily a cunning hand could turn them towards their jugular vein. Over forty million Arabic-speaking people straddle the short route to India; and there are, scattered through the world, more than two hundred million non-Arab Moslems, one-half of them inside the British Empire. The dominant political tactic of the Arabs in Palestine, led by the Grand Mufti, has been to arouse the sympathy and, if possible, obtain the active assistance of the Arabs and Moslems everywhere. In short, His Eminence has tried to lift the Palestine question from its local setting and make it a Pan Arab and Pan Islamic problem.
How has the Mufti sought to accomplish this and how successful has he been? He is a man of great personal charm and astuteness, as anyone who has talked with him can testify. He is still relatively young. After having been an officer in the old Turkish army, he changed his allegiance and served with the Emir Feisal in Damascus. In 1918 he was helping the British recruit Arab troops. However, he soon came into conflict with the authorities, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for an incendiary speech during the Jerusalem disorders of 1920, and fled to Trans Jordan. But he was amnestied after a short time, and in 1921 was named Mufti of Jerusalem to succeed his half brother. In the following year he was elected President of the Supreme Moslem Council for Palestine. In this position he enjoyed the control of (1) the Waqf funds, the income of which in 1936 was £67,000, and (2) the Sharia, or religious, courts. He also had supervision of orphans' funds valued at £50,000 annually. His prestige was further heightened when in 1931 he presided over a Moslem Congress in Jerusalem, at which were present 145 delegates from every corner of the Islamic world. With all this authority in his hands he had become the most powerful Arab in Palestine.
At the same time that he was consolidating his ecclesiastical position, he was also building up a political organization, called the Palestine Arab Party but generally referred to as the "Mufti's Party." The actual head of this group has been Jamal Bey el Huseini, the Mufti's cousin. It is the largest but not the only Arab party in Palestine. There are four others, the most important of them being the National Defense Party, usually called the Opposition or "Nashashibi" Party from its president, Ragheb Bey Nashashibi. Ragheb Bey was the mayor of Jerusalem from 1920 to 1934. He more than any other man is responsible for the new Jerusalem that surprises and delights the visitor today. The rivalry between the Huseini and Nashashibi families is of very long standing and in a country where tribal loyalties are still strong is of considerable political import.
All the Arab parties are at one, however, in their determination to oppose the creation of a Jewish national state. To cement their joint forces in a single body, in April 1936 they set up the Supreme Arab Committee (later renamed the Arab Higher Committee), of which the Mufti was elected President. Haj Amin's power thus became even greater, to the dismay of his opponents in the Opposition Party, some of whom refer to him as "the spider" or as "Rasputin." Nonetheless, they maintained a common front during the disturbances of 1936 and towards the Royal Commission. When the latter's Report was published in July 1937, the Opposition Party withdrew from the Arab Higher Committee because its leaders felt that the Report should at least be considered. During the disturbances of recent months a number of the victims of Arab terrorism have been members of the Opposition Party or Arabs who had sold land to the Jews. Many Arabs held the Mufti responsible for these acts despite the fact that he had issued public pleas for law and order. Nevertheless, the Nashashibi faction is no less adamant against partition than the Mufti himself; and there is scant evidence thus far that the British have succeeded in driving a wedge into the Arab ranks.
Over one-tenth of the Arab population consists of Christians of one sect or another; yet they have taken the same stand toward partition as their Moslem compatriots. Several of the leaders of the Arab Higher Committee, dissolved by the Mandatory authorities on October 1, 1937, were Christians, as is also the Secretary of the Opposition Party. The Christian Arabs sent a delegation of church dignitaries to intercede with the heads of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Balkans; the Rumanian Patriarch is reported to have received them with particular favor.
This solid support from all the Arab elements put the Mufti in a very favorable situation to make trouble for the British. His accumulation of offices gave him unrivalled power in the country -- his position was described by the Royal Commission as that of an imperium in imperio -- while his function as the religious custodian of Jerusalem gave him great prestige among Moslems everywhere. There are those who will tell you that the Mufti's ambitions, far transcending the narrow bounds of Palestine, aspire to the religious leadership of Islam, vacant since the Turkish Republic's abolition of the Caliphate in 1924. Be this as it may, he has not hesitated to make use of his high religious position in arousing Moslem sentiment against Britain.
Certain circumstances have played in the Mufti's favor. Arab anxiety over the rapid expansion of Jewish immigration was mounting to its peak at the very time British prestige in the Mediterranean was being shattered by Mussolini's behavior in the Ethiopian affair. The Arabs quite naturally concluded that Britain was not so formidable as had been supposed -- a belief later strengthened by the dilatory manner in which she went about suppressing the 1936 revolt. In another if less direct way the Ethiopian War helped raise the pitch of Arab nationalist agitation in Palestine. It will be recalled that fear of Italian aggression had finally terminated the long negotiations for Egyptian independence by the signature of the Anglo-Egyptian Alliance on August 21, 1936. A few days later, on September 9, the French signed a treaty with Syria, promising the latter virtual independence within a few years. They entered into a similar arrangement with the Lebanon Republic on November 13. Since 'Iraq had already been independent for some years, Palestine and Trans Jordan were the chief Arab states still remaining under foreign tutelage. This, of course, only further embittered the Palestine Arabs.
Whether Italian propaganda, money and arms had anything to do with the revolt of 1936 is difficult to say. Certainly the Fascist Government would not hesitate to embarrass Britain by stirring up trouble among her Moslem subjects, as the broadcasts in Arabic from the Bari station and the invitation to the Mufti to seek refuge in Italy bear evidence. However, few Arabs have any desire to substitute Mussolini for George VI. They vividly recall the barbarities of Graziani's conquest of Cyrenaica. What it comes down to is largely this: Fascist and Arab for the time being have a common interest in making trouble for the British Empire.
Perhaps the reader has become somewhat confused by the seemingly indiscriminate use of the expressions "Pan Arab" and "Pan Islamic." The two manifestly cannot be the same thing: there are 250,000,000 Moslems in the world, and of these only a fifth speak Arabic. Is it not therefore quite incorrect to suggest that the names of the two movements can be casually interchanged? The answer is that of course it is quite incorrect to confuse the two but that this is precisely what the Arab Nationalists are constantly doing, intentionally or otherwise. The tendency was well exemplified in the speeches and resolutions of the Pan Arab Congress held at Bludan, a mountain resort in Syria, September 8-10, 1937. Among the some four hundred and fifty delegates to this picturesque gathering were Orthodox Archbishops who presumably were much more interested in Pan Arabia than in Pan Islam. Many of the lay delegates were likewise Christians. Yet resolutions drawn up at the concluding session of the conclave appealed -- as will be indicated shortly -- to both the Arab and Moslem worlds.
The Congress had been called for the specific purpose of demonstrating Arab solidarity against the partition of Palestine. It was conceived in some degree as a counterpart to the periodic congresses of world Zionism. Among those who attended there were no responsible statesmen in office. Pan Arabism is still too young and experimental a movement, Great Britain's power is still too dominant in the Near and Middle East, for a member of the 'Iraqi or Egyptian cabinets, for example, to participate in such an openly anti-British manifestation. Furthermore, some of the more distant Arabic-speaking countries did not, as far as I have been able to ascertain, send delegates. Since no non-Arabic-speaking country was represented it was in no sense a Pan Islamic gathering. My personal impression, gained on the spot, is that the delegations from Palestine, Syria and 'Iraq were the most active, being followed by those from Egypt, the Lebanon and Trans Jordan.
The sole raison d'être of the Congress was to protest partition. That fact is reflected in the resolutions adopted, which may be summarized as follows:
1. Palestine is Arab and its preservation as such is the duty of every Arab.
2. All offers of peace from the British are to be rejected if they contain a vindication of Jewish political and racial demands. The Jews are to be permitted to live in Palestine only as a minority, with the same rights which minorities possess elsewhere.
3. The Palestine Report is rejected, in particular the proposal for partition.
4. The Palestine question can be solved only if the following steps are taken first: (a) the withdrawal of the Balfour Declaration; (b) the abolition of the Mandate; (c) the signing of a treaty creating an Arab state after the example of 'Iraq; (d) the immediate prohibition of the sale of land to Jews and of further Jewish immigration; (e) the suspension of arbitrary measures and all restraints on liberty; and (f) "The delegates pledge before God, before history, before the Arab nation and before the Islamic peoples to carry on their struggle and their efforts on behalf of the Arab cause in Palestine until it is saved and its sovereignty rests in itself."
5. There were also resolutions calling for more intensive propaganda and for a boycott on Jews as a patriotic duty. The Executive Committee was empowered to impose a boycott on British goods and to ask other Moslem countries to do the same unless Britain altered her policy towards the Arabs.
The Congress officially thanked the following for their help in forwarding the Arab cause: the Arab sovereigns, the President of Syria, and all the chiefs of Arab and Moslem states "who have shown solicitude for the cause of Palestine;" the Pope; Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, President of the All India Congress Committee; Fauzi Kaukji, the military adventurer who led the 1936 revolt; and the Arab press. The reference to Pandit Nehru -- who is not a Moslem -- was inspired by his public declarations of sympathy for the Arab cause. The Moslems of India likewise protested against partition at numerous meetings, by strikes and by petitions presented to legislative bodies.
However, in spite of these appeals to the Moslem world -- indeed, to all colonial peoples -- the only places from which substantial support can be expected in the near future are, with the possible exception of Italy, the Arab countries of the Near East and North Africa. How have these countries responded to the Mufti's campaign?
The 'Iraqi Government has on several occasions actively intervened in the Palestine question. Typical of its attitude was its note to the Mandates Commission shortly after the Palestine Report was published, in which it vigorously protested against partition as unjust, dangerous and ineffective. The 'Iraqi Minister of Justice went on record as saying that a Jewish state would be a menace to nearby countries. There were several mass demonstrations, one of them attended by more than 50,000 people, at which the Government's stand against partition was clamorously upheld.
Syria is one of the centers of the Pan Arab agitation. One European observer not long ago reported that talks with Syrian politicians, intellectuals and businessmen revealed that "the pan Arab ideal must be regarded as the strongest and most dynamic force in the life of modern Syria." The Lebanon, being preponderantly Christian, manifests less Pan Arab sentiment than its neighbors; and it is definitely suspicious of Pan Islam. The Lebanese Government was lukewarm to the Bludan Congress and to its program of interference in Palestine. The President of the Republic, Emile Eddé, is reported to have described Pan Arabism in his country as "a utopian dream of a few fanatics only." This statement is typical of the "Phœnician" policy advocated by certain Lebanese politicians, who look upon the creation of a Jewish state contiguous to the Lebanon as a reinforcement against the "Moslem peril." Still, some of the leading intellectuals of Pan Arabia are Lebanese Christians.
The Emir Abdullah of Trans Jordan, who owes his position to Britain, has been very loath to join in condemning the British policy in Palestine. He is a natural rival of the Mufti, for in the projected Arab state to be created out of Palestine and Trans Jordan there would not be room for them both. The Emir's administration is therefore friendly toward the Nashashibi Party. Some of the Trans Jordan delegates to Bludan were arrested on their return home, though I was informed on the highest authority in Amman that this was done for reasons quite unconnected with their participation in the Congress.
Sa'udi Arabia is said to have contributed -- unofficially -- both men and arms to the 1936 revolt in Palestine. A convention of ulemas that met at Ar-Riyadh last summer informed King Ibn Sa'ud that the creation of a Jewish state in a Moslem land could not be permitted and that he should help prevent it. Ibn Sa'ud has great respect for the religious doctors; but thus far he has been circumspect enough not to antagonize the British too openly. What he will do in the future no one knows, for he is a man of few words but of decisive actions.
The recent renewal of Italy's treaty with the Yemen indicates that the British have not strengthened their position in that quarter as much as they could have hoped. The Yemen is rather out of the current of Arab thought and events; yet it is difficult to believe that the Imam Yahia and his house would, or could, follow a line at variance with that of the rest of the Arab countries.
When on September 18 the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Wassif Boutros Ghali Pasha, delivered a speech in the League Assembly in opposition to partition, many observers were surprised. The Wafd Government was supposed not to have any interest in Palestine, or at least not to have any desire to annoy the British unnecessarily. Yet the Minister said: "The Palestinian question is engaging the closest attention of the Egyptian Government and people, because of the neighbourly relations between Egypt and Palestine, and of the religious and historical relationship which unites Egypt and the Holy Places, the bonds of fraternity based upon a common language, religion and civilisation that connect us with the people of Palestine, and also because of the close relations of alliance and friendship existing between Egypt and the United Kingdom, the mandatory power." Having made this bow to impartiality, he went on to assert that "Right and justice require that Palestine should remain in the hands of the Palestinians. This is the natural law in its simplest and clearest form." In further remarks Wassif Ghali sought to placate Britain, but the fact remains that the British would have preferred that he had not made the speech.
From conversations which I had with other members of the Egyptian cabinet, including the Prime Minister, Nahas Pasha, the words used by the Foreign Minister echoed a sentiment prevailing generally. You may say if you wish (though I think it untrue) that Egyptian politicians do not really care what happens in Palestine, that they raise the question only for demagogic reasons in order to deflect popular attention from the crying need for internal reforms -- the same charge that is made against the governing clique in 'Iraq. But does not the very fact that the cabinet feels obliged to defend the Arab case indicate that there must be many Egyptians who do have a lively interest in Arab nationalism? There is no use dragging a red herring across the path unless the cat likes herrings. The politicians may be insincere and their appeal may savor of demagogy, but the fact that they make it shows the inclinations of the electorate.
In this Pan Arab madness there is for the Egyptian Government a certain amount of political method. Egypt considers herself the leading Arabic-speaking country and the center of Arabic culture today. With her large intellectual class, her enterprising and modern press, her El Azhar University and other important educational centers, it is hard to deny this claim. Her prestige therefore demands that she share in the credit for any success which the Pan Arab movement may achieve. This may be narrow self-interest -- as is 'Iraq's desire to keep her Mediterranean outlet at Haifa from falling into non-Arab hands -- but it all goes to swell the ever-widening stream of forces strengthening Arab nationalism.
An obviously patent case of demagoguery is that of the recent protest by the ulemas of Libya against partition. Does anyone suppose that this declaration would have been made without the permission, or even instigation, of the "Defender of Islam" in the Palazzo Venezia?
Recent reports of unrest in French North Africa have contained statements that the authorities have uncovered a Pan Arab plot to throw off European control and set up native governments. That the Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan nationalists are striving for independence is certainly news to no one. On the other hand, the statement that leaders of those movements have proclaimed Pan Arab objectives comes somewhat as a surprise. Has the leavening force of the Palestine question become so great as to cause ferment among the provincial-minded "Arabs" of French North Africa? (There is, of course, practically no Arab blood in North Africa, though most of the natives speak Arabic as their mother tongue.)
My impression -- based on recent talks with such leaders as the Sheik Thaalbi, venerable leader of the old Destur Party in Tunisia, and Si Allal el Fassi, head of the National Reform Party in Morocco, now exiled to French Equatorial Africa -- is that among the intellectuals there is considerable sympathy for the cause of Pan Arabism and a general desire to aid the campaign of the Mufti. Some of the intellectuals have studied in Cairo and elsewhere in the Near East. Many of them possess, or have invented, long genealogies to prove their descent from the Prophet. To be an Arab, or at least to be taken for one, is a mark of great social distinction in North Africa where authentic Arabs are so few and far between. Any movement labelled "Pan Arab" therefore carries a certain appeal.
The conditions that make it possible for these nationalist movements to prosper are local. Take Morocco, for instance. The mimeographed report of the Moroccan Reform Party's congress held at Rabat on October 13, 1937 (twelve days before the party was dissolved and its leaders arrested), is full of complaints about suppression of the press, the forcible closing of Koranic schools and other indignities to the Moslem religion, the harrying of the countryside by irresponsible soldiers, and various other acts of violence and savagery on the part of both the French and native Moroccan officials. The only reference to extra-Moroccan affairs is found in the statement that the reactionary "Berber policy," introduced by the French in 1930, "has aroused the general dissatisfaction of Morocco and of the Arab-Mussulman world." The report asserts categorically "that the Party is not subject to any foreign influence."
This is hardly a Pan Arab manifesto. It is rather the statement of a group of intellectuals who use the increasing disaffection, especially among the fellaheen, as a means of securing popular support for their program of political independence. They are able to obtain that support because of the discontent created by several years of severe drought. Empty stomachs make for unrest in North Africa as well as anywhere else. As they say in Tunis: "Le meilleur Résident Général, c'est la pluie."
True, there have been manifestations of Pan Arab and Pan Moslem solidarity in French North Africa (the latter is probably the stronger). In Tunisia money was collected to aid the Arab cause in Palestine, while numerous letters, telegrams and delegations protested against partition. The Congress of Algerian ulemas at Oran asked the French Government's intervention to prevent the dismemberment of Palestine. In French Morocco the Higher Arab Committee's appeal for moral support was answered with prayers and addresses in the mosques, while in a letter to the Mufti the National Reform Party in Spanish Morocco announced itself ready for any sacrifice on behalf of the Arab cause.
These demonstrations do not signify that the Moors -- some of whom are in any case occupied at present in reconverting Spain to Christianity -- are about to betake themselves en masse to Palestine in order to save it from the Infidel. They do, however, signify that the Pan Arab and Pan Islamic banners have been raised in North Africa. Indications are, furthermore, that the French probably would be well advised to minimize the importance of these movements rather than magnify them, unless they are prepared to admit that that is the only way to deflect outside attention from the serious economic, social and political conditions demanding drastic remedy in their North African empire. Otherwise, they -- and for that matter, the British too -- will make Pan Arabism respectable among all their Arab-speaking subjects and protégés.
The foregoing pages obviously do not present the panorama of a harmonious and united movement. Probably many years will pass before this embryo Pan Arabia becomes politically mature. Some observers are dubious that it can ever be more than a dream and an aspiration, or a word in the mouths of self-seeking politicians. These critics are very doubtful that the innate tribalism of the Arabs can be sufficiently subdued to permit the Arab states to overcome mutual antagonisms and pool common interests under a single government.
But are these skeptics taking the long view? In our own day we have seen seeming miracles wrought in the name of nationalism. Are we justified in making an exception of Arab nationalism? Can we be sure that the obstacles facing Arab unity -- now apparently so tremendous -- will not eventually be overcome? Are not the British and French by their suppression of Arab nationalism creating precisely the milieu in which it can flourish? Will such an Arab nation be a centralized unitary state or a loose confederation? Will it be confined between the Nile and the Tigris, or will it include all Arabic-speaking peoples? A fantastic suggestion? Perhaps. At the Bludan Congress I asked a young delegate from Gaza, a graduate of Cambridge, whether the Arabs envisaged as a practical possibility the rebirth of an Arab empire extending from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. His reply was, "Why not?" And indeed, as we survey the world about us, we dare not utter a categorical negative.
[i] Official statistics for Jewish immigration are as follows: 1929 -- 5,249; 1931 -- 4,075; 1933 -- 9,553; 1934 -- 42,359; 1935 -- 61,854. In addition there were large numbers of clandestine immigrants.
[ii] See "Alternatives to Partition," by Viscount Samuel, and "The Arabs and the Future of Palestine," by H. St.J. B. Philby, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, October 1937. For other aspects of the Palestine problem see "Arabs and Jews in Palestine," by Henry W. Nevinson, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, January 1930; "The Palestine Situation Restated," by Felix Frankfurter, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, April 1931; and "Immigration and Labor in Palestine," by Sir Andrew McFadyean, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, July 1934.