Roger Layzell (The Mercury 22 September) omits to point out that Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Israel were established by the same provision by the League of Nations at the same time in 1922. None of them existed as independent countries for the 600 years that the Ottoman Empire ruled from Istanbul (Constantinople). The following are excerpts from the U.S. Congressional Record of 1922 that demonstrates the powerful sense of the members of Congress in favour of reestablishing of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
"Palestine of to-day , the land we now know as Palestine, was peopled by the Jews from the dawn of history until the Roman era. It is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. They were driven from it by force by the relentless Roman military machine and for centuries prevented from returning.
"At different periods various alien people succeeded them, but the Jewish race had left an indelible impress upon the land. To-day it is a Jewish country.
"Every name, every landmark, every monument, and every trace of whatever civilization remaining there is still Jewish and it has ever since remained a hope, a longing, as expressed in their prayers for these nearly 2,000 years.
"No other people have ever claimed Palestine as their national home. No other people have ever shown an aptitude or indicated a genuine desire to make it their homeland.
"The land has been ruled by foreigners. Only since the beginning of the modern Zionist effort may it be said that a creative, cultural, and economic force has entered Palestine. The Jewish Nation was forced from its natural home. It did not go because it wanted to. A perusal of Jewish history, a reading of Josephus, will convince the most skeptical that the grandest fight that was ever put up against an enemy was put up by the Jew. He never thought of leaving Palestine.
"But he was driven out. But did he, when driven out, give up his hope of getting back? Jewish history and Jewish literature give the answer to that question. The Jew even has a fast day devoted to the day of destruction of the Jewish homeland. Never throughout history did they give up hope of returning there. I am told that 90 per cent of the Jews to-day are praying for the return of the Jewish people to its own home. The best minds among them believe in the necessity of reestablishing the Jewish land. …During the ages no other nation has taken over Palestine and held it in the sense of a homeland; and there is something providential in the fact that for 1,800 years it has remained in desolation as if waiting for the return of its people."