1922 | London

Land Grab

George Sydenham Clarke demurs on the question of a Jewish homeland.

I sympathize entirely with the wishes of the Jews to have a national home, but I say that this national home must not be given if it cannot be given without entailing gross injustice upon other people.

Palestine is not the original home of the Jews. It was acquired by them after a ruthless conquest, and they never occupied the whole of it, which they now openly demand. They have no more valid claim to Palestine than the descendants of the ancient Romans have to this country. The Romans occupied Britain as long, or nearly as long, as the Israelites occupied Palestine, and they left behind them in this country far more valuable and useful work.

If we are going to admit claims based on conquest thousands of years ago, the whole world will have to be turned upside down. We do not forget that some of the best blood of Christendom was shed in the Crusades for the Holy Land, and the claim of the whole Christian world to have a voice in the settlement of Palestine is a claim that cannot be denied. I note that the Vatican has apparently entered a strong protest against the terms of the present mandate. The only real claim to Palestine surely is that of its present inhabitants, some of whom descend from the pre-Jewish conquest population and others from Israelites converted to Islam.

From a speech in the House of Lords. Clarke made these remarks in support of modifying the Palestine Mandate for a “national home for the Jewish people,” as it had been stated in Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour’s declaration in 1917. The motion to modify the mandate was approved. Clarke was the head of the British Empire League from 1915 to 1921, and after World War I he sought to protect youth from the “Jewish” corruptions of jazz and modern art, while his wife ran the British Fascists’ children’s club.