Leonard Jacques Stein OBE (12 December 1887-23 April 1973), was a British Liberal Party politician, writer, barrister and President of the Anglo-Jewish Association.
In 1912 Stein received a Call to Bar, at the Inner Temple. He served in the Army from 1914 to 1920 (Staff-Captain, Palestine Military Administration and subsequently on Political Staff, EEF, in Jerusalem and at General Headquarters in Cairo from 1918 to 1920). He was Political Secretary of the World Zionist Organisation from 1920 to 1929. He was Honorary Legal Adviser to the Jewish Agency for Palestine from 1929 to 1939. He was President of the Anglo-Jewish Association from 1939 to 1949. He was President of the Jewish Historical Society of England from 1964 to 1965.
Jew and Arab in Palestine
by Leonard Stein
How far is it possible for two peoples of widely different races and cultures to live side by side under the same Government without violence being done to the rights or interests of either? Pre-war Kurope was constantly confronted with this problem and paid heavily for mishandling it. In the world as remade by the peace treaties it continues to be a source of anxiety. But there is one important distinction. The problem is no longer left to solve itself or remain unsolved. It is tending to become the concern of an international tribunal, whose moral authority no interested party can disregard. The encouraged results of the experiment which is being made at Danzig (to take one example only) under immediate auspices of the League of Nations suggest that where equal rights and liberties are adequately guaranteed, it is not impossible for apparently discordant elements to be harmonized.
The same problem arises, in a special form, in Palestine. The majority of the present inhabitants are Arabs. On the other hand, not only does there already exist a substantial and vigorous Jewish minority, but recognition has been given, by international agreement, to the peculiar significance which Palestine has never ceased to possess for the Jewish people as a whole, and provision is made in the draft mandate for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.
How Zionists themselves envisage the future relations between Arabs and Jews can be seen from the resolution on this subject which was passed by the recent Zionist congress at Carlsbad. After protestingagainst anti-Jewish excesses which took place in May the congress declares that such deeds of violence ” can neither weaken the resolve of the Jewish people for the erection of the Jewish national home, nor their determination to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and, together with them, to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure each of its peoples an undisturbed national development. The two great Semitic peoples, united of yore by the bonds of common cultural activity, will understand in the hour of their national regeneration to combine their vital interests in united work.”
Given time for misunderstandings to be dissipated, a reasonable measure of good will and common sense on the part of both elements of the population, and ” what is equally important ” a capacity for imaginative statesmanship on the part of the local British authorities, there Is no reason why the lofty idealsembodied in the Carlsbad resolution should not be realized.
As has often been pointed out, before the war the Jews were, on the whole, on perfectly friendly terms with their Arab neighbors. Even now, though relations between the two races are less cordial than they would be if only mischief-makers would restrain themselves, there are still many districts, especially in the rural areas, in which those relations are perfectly normal. Concrete illustrations are, however, more instructive than generalities. Two or three typical instances of Arab-Jewish cooperation in the common interest may, therefore, be usefully cited.
In August last the Government of Palestine began to organize what may be described as a gendarmerie d’elite, 500 strong. Efforts were made to attract recruits of a superior class, and they were placed under the command of specially selected British officers. About one-third of the force consists of Jews. Most of the remaining two-thirds are Arabs. Asked recently by a representative of the Jerusalem Palestine Weekly whether the mixture of Christians, Jews, and Arabs w^as proving a success. Colonel Bramley, the director of public security, replied that “his experience in the gendarmerie, as also in the police, was that all three classes, when subject to salutary discipline and brought into close contact with each other under efficient, keen, and sympathetic officers can very rapidly establish mutual good feelings. It