Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Columbia University's Barnard College Dean Gildersleeve: Supported Palestinian Rights in 20th Century--Part 2

In her 1954 autobiography, Many A Good Crusade: Memoirs of Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve, the Dean of Barnard College of Columbia University between 1911 and 1947, Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve, wrote the following:

"..The Zionist movement...pushed forward with intense religious enthusiasm. Some Zionists said they did not want a political state in Palestine. Their concept of the `national home' was more humanitarian than political, but the ideal in the minds of the chief leaders seems to have been defined by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, later first President of the State of Israel, when as early as February, 1919, speaking before the Peace Conference, he explained the Jewish national home as the creation of an administration `with the hope that by Jewish immigration Palestine would ultimately become as Jewish as England is English.' At this time, 1919, the number of Jews in Palestine was some 65,000, constituting about a tenth of the population. The remaining nine-tenths, as they learned of this policy, naturally looked on it with apprehension. They consisted of some 515,000 Arab Moslems and 62,500 Christians, of whom many were Arabs.

"By 1936 the number of Jews in Palestine had increased to nearly 400,000, amounting to somewhat more than a quarter of the total population. The Palestinian Arabs inevitably increased their protests and efforts to stem this tide which they feared was going to overwhelm them,--as it soon did.

"The situation seemed to me to be drifting towards a disastrous explosion. Could not the free nations of the world somehow meet their humanitarian duty to the Jews without depriving the Palestinian Arabs of their native land, thereby setting the Middle East aflame and antagonizing the rest of the Moslem world? From my interest in the Middle East, my vision of it as a great whole, and from my concern for the Jews, whom I had come to know so well in my own city of New York, I felt this great problem keenly; all the more because the Zionists project was being financed by hundreds of millions of American dollars. Thus stood the situation and my own feeling when we were plunged into the chaos of World War II..."

(end of part 2)