Jewish Colonisation

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Jewish Colonisation is an article published in The Daily Telegraph on 24 april 1906.

On 23 april 1906 evening, Arthur Conan Doyle spoke at the inaugural meeting of the Central London branch of the Jewish Territorial Organisation at Steinway Hall.

Jewish Colonisation

The Daily Telegraph (24 april 1906, p. 10)

One of the results of the recent deplorable events in Russia has been a marked revival of interest in all movements aiming at the solution of Jewish question. Any scheme having for its object the provision of a permanent refuge for the persecuted Jews has enlisted a great measure of support, and though the Jewish Territorial Organisation does not owe its origin to the Russian "pogroms," its progress has been materially aided by them.

Among those who assisted at the inaugural meeting of the Central London branch of this society at Steinway Hall last evening were Mr. Israel Zangwill (the President), Lord Kinnaird, Major-General Sir Alfred Turner, Sir A. Conan Doyle, Mr. Holman Hunt, Mr. Lucien Wolf, and Mr. Marion Spielmann.

Mr. Zangwill said that the fact that it should be necessary to hold that meeting was proof of the lethargy of humanity in general and the Jewish people in particular. The necessity for a Jewish land of refuge was so glaring, written, as it had been, in letters of blood across half a continent, that all Christendom should have combined with all Jewry to push forward their political negotiations. The Colonisation Association, founded by the late Baron de Hirsch, had proved the Jew's capacity for agriculture. A population of 10,000, scattered over the Argentine colonies, had proved that they nourished no delusive dream, for had these 10,000 souls been aggregated under the right political conditions they would have formed the nucleus of a Jewish land. Under the inspiration of Zionism and territorialism, the Jewish masses had awakened to the notion of self-regeneration. They had in Russia an organised group of 30,000 young men, who would lay down their lives for a Jewish land, as cheerfully as other thousands of young Jews were laying down their lives for the Russian revolution. The Jewish Territorial Organisation would utilise the law of gravitation. It would set up a centre of attraction. It would draw the Jews to this centre. If they would but establish 1,000 carefully-selected agricultural families on a virgin soil, with room for expansion, and leave no stone unturned to ensure their success, if it would add the magnet of Jewish self-government, they might leave the rest safely to the law of gravitation. Around the flag of a Jewish land there would rally not only Jews from the Pales of oppression, but Jews from the lands of freedom, who feel that their freedom is only a false freedom, an unworthy freedom, so long as it was not shared with the whole Jewish race.

Sir A. Conan Doyle said that if he were a Jew be could neither rest nor pursue his ordinary vocation unless he helped in some slight way to ameliorate the sad lot of his persecuted brethren. He felt that if the Jews were to be true to their splendid traditions, they, who had provided leaders in every sphere of activity, would provide men who would find a solution to this burning question, men who would make it impossible that the Jews should undergo butchery, torture, and shame, men who would see that their brethren were not driven from one land, refused admission to another, and hunted about from frontier to frontier.

Other speakers included Mr. Lucien Wolf, who acted as chairman, Lord Kinnaird, Sir Alfred Turner, and Mr. Holman Hunt.