20 NOVEMBER 1936, Page 38


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

Sin,—There are two points in Lord Melehett's article on the Polish Jews that call, I feel, for some comment :

(1) He implies a division between the Jews and others in Poland. It is true that the Jews in Poland are in a worse economic plight than the other Poles. That is due in a large measure to the evil legacy they inherited from the days of Czarist rule. But their problem is part of Poland's economic problem. And they are an integral part of the Polish population. They have been in Poland for more than a millennium. Their ancestors were settled there long before the Normans came to England. If emigration is the solution of Poland's economic problem, it must apply alik to Jew and non-Jew.

(2) The suggestion that " the- Jewish population "

Poland is likely , to be driven " to the left, which, because of the immediate proximity of Russia, is largely Communist," goes beyond the-facts. In the first place, the small traders among the-Polish Jews, of whom there is' still a considerable, though much diminished, number are not likely to become Communists in view of what Russian Communism did to the small Jewish traders in Russia; In the second place,- _the

largest section of Polish Jewry is attached to Orthodox Judaism Of. the strictest kind. •-The Agudat • Israel, the organisation. of these. Jews, holds a .dominating place in Jewish affairs in Poland. It is- not likely that Orthodox Jews, any more than Roman Catholics, would become CoMmunists. * - All Jews, and all humanitarians, will share with Lord Melchett the desire to find in Palestine a refuge for as many as possible of the Jews who are suffering in their present homelands. But in his eagerness to promote Zionist aims, he has, I fear, inadvertently given a false impression of Polish Jewry, and ignored the fact that they have a right, which they cherish, to live in Poland.—I am, yours faithfully,