HC Deb 26 July 1933 vol 280 cc2604-6

4.5 p.m.


I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to promote and extend opportunities of citizenship for Jews resident outside the British Empire. I am not personally a Jew. I do not happen to possess one drop, so far as I know, of Jewish blood in my veins, but I hope that I do not require to be a Jew to hate tyranny anywhere in the world. I hope I only require English birth and breeding to loathe the oppression of a minority anywhere. It, is un-English, it is caddish to bully a minority, and it is the duty of this House to consider the circumstances of people who are no longer citizens of a State which we recognise. I am not anti-German, and many of us in this House are almost pro-German. But I was one of the few people on this side of the House who, after the War, pleaded for fairplay for Germany. I felt that the Great German people had been misled by their leaders. I thought it was a terrible humiliation that the French should have sent black troops and quartered them in the house of Goethe, and I wanted a return to Germany of some of her territory. I also wanted an equalisation of armaments in the future for the German people.

And who altered me towards Germany? It was the German Jews who pleaded best for Germany, who day in and day out, tried to get England to be fair to Germany. And those citizens of Germany, the most eloquent and the most patriotic, are now being driven out. Germany is not driving out her cutthroats or her blackguards; she has selected the cream of her culture and suppressed it. She has admitted—and this is the point—that the Jews stand higher in the realms of art and of affairs, and for their superiority they must be punished. She has even turned upon her most glorious citizen—Einstein. It is impertinent for me to praise a man of that eminence. The most eminent men in the world admit that he is the most eminent. But there was something beyond mere eminence in the case of Professor Einstein. He was beyond any achievements in the realm of science. He stood out as the supreme example of the selfless intellectual. And to-day Einstein is without a home. He had to write his name in a visitors' book in England, and when he came to write his address, he put "Without any." The Huns have stolen his savings. The road-hog and racketeer of Europe have plundered his place. They have even taken away his violin. A man who more than any other approximated to a citizen of the world without a house ! How proud we must be that we have afforded him a shelter temporarily at Oxford to work, and long may the tides of tyranny beat in vain against these shores.

All I can say is, thank God the Germans did not win the last War. They might have treated England as they have treated the Jews to-day. They would, and it is the same spirit of frightfulness which overwhelmed small Belgium, and which is now turned upon a helpless handful for extermination. How easy it is to persecute minorities. What would happen to the Germans in our midst if we started persecuting them? I hope we never will; it would be like shooting pheasants sitting. And now how are we to help the Jews in Germany? They have been made outlaws and aliens of the German State. I wish the League of Nations could send a commission of inquiry to Germany or supply passports. Because if there ever were a time when League ought to relax the rigid interpretation or narrow laws, and adjust these to the true spirit of its purposes, it is to-day. But if that League does not act, there is another league of nations which should—the British Empire. We are a real league of nations, and we should stand by Jewry in its trouble. We have been granted the mandate of Palestine, and to help to fulfil the Messianic miracle there.

My Bill is designed to promote and extend citizenship in Palestine for Jews deprived of citizenship elsewhere. I cannot in the few moments to-day detail the Clauses of this Measure, but the Bill will prove to be a practical extension and confirmation of British duty. For we must stand by a persecuted minority. The Jews in the British Empire stood by England in the War in her fight for freedom. We must stand by their side in their fight for freedom, too. I think the only Member of this House who became, or was subsequently, a V.C. was a Jew. In the village where I live there is only one Jewish family, and in the entire district where I live there is only one mother who lost three sons fighting in the War. They were the sons of that Jewish mother. She lost three fighting in the battles of the British Empire, and when I was asked whether or not I would subscribe to a Cross in the district, I said, "Only if we put up a tribute to those Jewish fallen, too." I have seen English blood and Jewish blood spilt on many fronts, and I have noticed that the colour of the blood is the same whether it comes from the veins of the Jew or the Englishman, the Hebrew or the Briton. It was not long ago that Germany called a certain little Army "contemptible" and that contemptible Army lived to beat Germany with the support of the British Empire. I am going to prophesy that the new contemptibles—the Jew contemptibles—are going to win with the same support.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson, Rear-Admiral Sueter, Viscount Elmley, Sir Wilfrid Sugden, Mr. Janner, Mr. Holford Knight, Mr. Hannon, and Mr. W. J. Stewart.