Jews (Fighting Services).

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 6th August 1942.

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Photo of Mr Somerset De Chair Mr Somerset De Chair , Norfolk South Western

I quite see the hon. Member's point, and it was a point made at the time, but the difficulty, as I understand it, was that these people had sailed outside the quota, as illegal immigrants, and the question was whether they should be accepted as legal immigrants. These are difficulties which are continually cropping up, and it is impossible to maintain a balance without offending one party or the other over such vital matters. The defence of Palestine is a matter of great concern not only to the Jews but to the Arabs as well. There are many Arabs in Palestine who are pro-Mufti, and in some villages they will tell you that they are all members of the Husseini party, which is the Mufti's party. But the majority of the Arabs, who are admittedly at times liable to have their imagination stirred and to become excitable, would like to remain at peace under British administration and certainly not be overrun by the Germans. We always have to face up to the difficulty of their susceptibility to German propaganda, which has been extremely successful. How can we stimulate and canalise the local patriotism Which is there without creating a Jewish army which in my opinion would arouse the susceptibilities of the Arabs or, if you raised both an Arab and a Jewish Army, would inevitably lead to a clash between them.

My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chippenham (Colonel Cazalet) laid particular stress on the American point of view, and I think that is a matter to which attention should be given: He would perhaps be interested in a very remarkable leading article in the New York "Times" on 22nd January, because he would recognise that its opinion on the subject is extremely significant.