Vladimir Jabotinsky: The Iron Wall – We and the Arabs (). It was inevitable that Jabotinsky would attract the attention of the leaders of the WZO. His journalism gave him tremendous mobility. In he. In Jabotinsky was elected to the Zionist Executive. . This, in a nutshell, was Jabotinsky’s policy regarding the Arab question: to erect an iron wall of Jewish.
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Contrary to the excellent rule of getting to the point immediately, I must begin this article with a personal introduction. The author of these lines is considered to be an enemy of the Arabs, a proponent of their expulsion, etc.
This is not true. My emotional relationship to the Arabs is the same as it is to all other peoples — polite indifference. My political relationship is characterized by two principles. There will always be two nations in Palestine — which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority. I am proud to have been a member of that group which formulated the Helsingfors Program.
We formulated it, not only for Jews, but for all peoples, and its basis is the equality of all nations. I am prepared to swear, for us and our descendants, that we will never destroy this equality and we will never attempt to expel or oppress the Arabs. Our credo, as the reader can see, is completely peaceful. But it is absolutely another matter if it will be possible to achieve our peaceful aims through peaceful means.
After this introduction I can now get to the point. That the Arabs of the Land of Israel should willingly come to an agreement with us is beyond all hopes and dreams at present, and in the foreseeable future.
This inner conviction of mine I express so categorically not because of any wish to dismay the moderate faction in the Zionist camp but, on the contrary, because I wish to save them from such dismay. Every reader has some idea of the early history of other countries which have been settled.
I suggest jaborinsky he jabotinsyk all known instances. If he should attempt to seek but one instance of a country settled with the consent of those born there he will not succeed. The inhabitants no matter whether they are civilized or savages have always put up a stubborn fight. Furthermore, how the settler acted had no effect whatsoever. The Spaniards who iiron Mexico and Jabotinskky, or our own ancestors in the days of Joshua ben Nun behaved, one might say, like plunderers.
But the native resisted both barbarian and civilized settler with the same degree of cruelty. Another point which had no effect at all was whether or not there existed a suspicion that the settler wished to remove the inhabitant from his land. The vast areas of the U. The inhabitants fought the white settlers not out of fear that they might be expropriated, but simply because there has never been an indigenous inhabitant anywhere or at any time who has ever accepted the settlement of others in his country.
Any native people — its all the same whether they are civilized or savage — views their country as their national home, of which they will always be the complete masters. They will not voluntarily allow, not only a new master, but even a new partner.
And so it is for the Arabs. Compromisers in our midst attempt to convince us that the Arabs are some kind of fools who can be tricked by a softened formulation of our goals, or a tribe of money grubbers who will abandon their birth right to Palestine for cultural and economic gains. I flatly reject this assessment of the Palestinian Arabs.
Culturally they are years behind us, spiritually they do not have our endurance or our strength of will, but this exhausts all of the internal janotinsky. We can talk as much as we want about our good intentions; but they understand as well as we what is not good for them. They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux irln upon his prairie.
To think that the Arabs will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the cultural and economic benefits we can bestow on them is infantile. This view is absolutely groundless. Individual Arabs may perhaps be bought off but this hardly means that all the Arabs in Eretz Israel are willing to sell a patriotism that not even Papuans will trade.
Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement.
Some of us imagined that a misunderstanding had occurred, that because the Arabs did not understand our intentions, they opposed us, but, if we were to make clear to them how modest and limited our aspirations are, they would then stretch out their arms in peace.
This too is a fallacy that has been proved so time and again. I need recall only one incident. This was definitely not so. Nor did we even want a Jewish state. All we wanted was a regime representative of the League of Nations. A reply to this speech was published in the Arab paper Al Carmel in an article whose content I give here from memory, but I am sure it is a faithful account. Our Zionist grandees are unnecessarily perturbed, its author wrote.
There is no misunderstanding.
What Sokolow claims on behalf of Zionism is true. But the Arabs already know this. Obviously, Zionists today cannot dream of expelling or suppressing the Arabs, or even of setting up a Jewish state. Clearly, in this period they are interested in only one thing — that the Arabs not interfere with Jewish immigration.
Further, the Zionists have pledged to control immigration in accordance with the country’s absorptive economic capacity. But the Arabs have no illusions, since no other conditions permit the possibility of immigration. The editor of the paper is even willing to believe that the absorptive capacity of Eretz Israel is very great, and that it is possible to settle many Jews without affecting one Arab. In this way the Jews will, little by little, become a majority and, ipso facto, a Jewish state will be formed and the fate of the Arab minority will depend on the goodwill of the Jews.
Zionists desire one thing — freedom of immigration — and it is Jewish immigration that we do not want. The logic employed by this editor is so simple and clear that it should be learned by heart and be an essential part of our notion of the Arab question. It is of no importance whether we quote Herzl or Herbert Samuel to justify our activities. Colonization itself has its own explanation, integral and inescapable, and understood by every Arab and every Jew with his wits about him.
Colonization can have only one goal. For the Palestinian Arabs this goal is inadmissible. This is in the nature of things. To change that nature is impossible. A plan that seems to attract many Zionists goes like this: Even if this were possible, it would not change the basic situation. It would not change the attitude of the Arabs in the Land of Israel towards us.
Seventy years ago, the unification of Italy was achieved, with the retention by Austria of Trent and Trieste. However, the inhabitants of those towns not only refused to accept the situation, but they struggled against Austria with redoubled vigor. If it were idon and I doubt this to discuss Palestine with the Arabs of Baghdad and Mecca as if it were some kind of small, immaterial borderland, then Qall would still remain for the Palestinians not a borderland, but their birthplace, the center and basis of their own national existence.
Lenni Brenner: The Iron Wall (3. Jabotinsky in Constantinople)
Therefore it would be necessary to carry on colonization against the will of the Palestinian Arabs, which is the same condition that exists now. But an agreement with Arabs outside the Land of Israel is also a delusion. We can offer only two things: But we can walk neither. Concerning money, it is ludicrous to think wqll could finance the development of Iraq or Saudi Arabia, when we do not have enough for the Land of Israel. Ten times more illusionary is political assistance for Arab political aspirations.
Arab nationalism sets itself the same aims as those set by Italian nationalism before and Polish nationalism before These aspirations mean the eradication of every trace of British influence in Egypt and Iraq, the expulsion of the Italians from Libya, the removal of French domination from Syria, Tunis, Algiers and Morocco.
For us to support such a movement would be suicide and treachery.
3. Jabotinsky in Constantinople
If we walll the fact that the Balfour Declaration was signed by Britain, we cannot forget that France and Italy also signed it. We cannot intrigue about removing Britain from the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf and the elimination of French and Italian colonial rule over Arab territory.
Such a double game cannot be considered on any account. Thus we conclude that wall cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question.
Zionist colonization, even the most jabptinsky, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population — an iron wall which the native population cannot break through.
This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy. Not only must this be so, it is so whether we admit it or not. What does the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate mean for us? It is the fact that a disinterested power committed itself to create such security conditions that the local population would be deterred from interfering with our efforts.
All of us, without exception, are constantly demanding that this power strictly fulfill its obligations. We would destroy our cause if we proclaimed the necessity of an agreement, and fill the minds of the Mandatory with the belief that we do not need an iron wall, but rather endless talks.
Such a proclamation can only harm us. Therefore it is our sacred duty to expose such talk and prove that it is a snare and a delusion. In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true; either Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.
Iron Wall (essay)
Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. All this does not mean that any kind of agreement is impossible, only a voluntary agreement is impossible.