Indignation and protest mingled with grief and sorrow in a 35,000 crowd of New York Jews, composed of all classes and shades of opinion which marched Monday afternoon along the streets of lower Manhattan via Broadway to 44 Whitehall Street, the headquarters of the British Consulate General in New York City. James Walker, Mayor of New York, welcomed the demonstration in front of City Hall, and expressed his sympathy for the cause the demonstration championed. No disturbances occurred, the demonstration being one of the most peaceful marches of large masses New York has ever witnessed.
Orthodox rabbis marched shoulder to shoulder with World War veterans who saw service on the Sinai Peninsula and in Palestine, Yeminite Jews and Jewesses from Central Arabia mingled with United States Jewish war veterans, laborer and middle man, Yeshiva student and freethinker, joined in a silent march which gave expression to New York Jewry’s feeling of disappointment and resentment.
The support of New York Jewry for the demonstration came spontaneously as the meager details of the gravity of the Palestine situation trickled through the Palestine censorship via the channels of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and were presented to the New York reading public on the columns of every metropolitan daily.
The Union of Orthodox Rabbis in the United Stats and Canada, upon receipt of the news of the massacre of the Hebron Yeshiva students, including 12 American Jewish boys, broke with its tradition of non-participation in street demonstrations and issued a grief fraught, heart-rending statement and appeal for participation.
AMERICAN BANNERS CARRIED, ZIONIST FLAG DRAPED IN BLACK
The demonstration which occupied twelve city blocks, proceeded peacefully under the leadership of Commander Julius S. Berg of the United States Jewish War Veterans, Elias Ginsberg, Revisionist leader and former member of the Jewish Legion in Palestine, and Samuel Friedlander of the Palestine Legionaires’ committee.
American banners were carried and the Zionist blue and white flag was draped in black.
“GIVE MANDATE TO U.S.” PLACARD URGES; OTHER SIGNS EXPRESS INDIGNATION, DISAPPOINTMENT IN BRITISH
The sentiment pervading the marchers were given expression in the following placards carried: “Have we fought in vain with Allenby”; “We fought together with the English Army, now they are going against us”; “We demand dismissal of the guilty officials, we demand the return of the Kotel Maaravi to the Jewish people”; “If England can’t fulfill the Mandate, let her give it to us”; “We send our people to Palestine, but their henchmen send them to their graves”; “What is the Labor Government doing?” Many placards contained anti-British expressions of indignation and grief.
Before two o’clock, Tenth Street and Second Avenue was chocked with people. Impromptu speeches were made and voices were raised expressing the feelings of the crowd over the massacre of Jews in Palestine. Promptly at two the crowd which was orderly formed in line and lead by Commander Julius Berg of the United States Jewish War Veterans and Elias Ginsburg of the Jewish Legionnaire, started to march. The procession passed over to Broadway, down that street to City Hall Park where it was reviewed by Mayor Walker of New York and from there on down Broadway to the office of the British Consul at Whitehall Street.
Every phase of New York Jewry took part in the procession; youths, war scarred Jewish veterans, two of whom tapped their way over the pavement with the aid of crutches, because they had lost a leg fighting under General Allenby in Palestine, middle aged shop keepers who closed their little shops so that they, too, could protest, talmudic scholars in their quaint costumes, rabbis, women of all ages, many of them in tears, the Yemenites with their dark features and lively eyes, all marched under a broiling sun through the heated streets of New York to voice their horror at what had happened. Peaceful as the marchers were, the banners they carried expressed what they thought-“We send our people to Palestine but your henchmen send them to their graves,” said one. “We demand the dismissal of guilty officials” was another of the anti-British posters that were sprinkled through the procession. The tone of the march was distinctly one of sorrow and grief mingled with horror. It was a singularly silent procession. As the line went down Broadway the only audible sounds were the shuffling of weary feet and the broken sobs of the women, some of whom carried babies in their arms. The marchers were escorted by the police whose bright uniforms were in contrast with the drab garb of most of the marchers.
MAYOR GREETS THRONG AT CITY HALL
When the parade reached City Hall, the choir of the Cantors Association of America recited the El Mole Rachmim (memorial prayer for the dead). While they recited, their rich, mournful strains were caught in the microphone of the talking picture machines which cranked through all the proceedings. The Mayor then came from his office and greeted the marchers. Commander Berg appealed to the Mayor, and the Mayor answered, expressing his sympathy with the spirit behind the demonstration and stating his regret over what had happened in Palestine. He offered his help to stop the bloodshed. Elias Ginsburg, in the uniform of a Jewish Legionaire, then read aloud the following resolution that was being brought to the British Consul, Sir Harry Armstrong:
TEXT OF RESOLUTION
“We, the Jews of New York, including the Legionaires who fought under the British flag for the liberation of Palestine, and the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, this day in mass meeting assembled, record our unbounded grief and horror at the tragedy which has befallen our fellow-Jews in Palestine. We declare to mankind, before God, that responsibility for this frightful tragedy rests directly upon England, Arabs and the Palestinian administration. England, which solemnly assumed and accepted from the League of Nations the duties and obligations of the Mandate for Palestine, the chief of which was and is ‘to place the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establish-of the Jewish National Home,’ has flagrantly ignored and violated these duties and obligations from the very beginning and has, instead, maintained in Palestine an administration which has shown persstent hostility to the Jews and neglected even to accord them the elementary protection of a civilized government. The present massacre of the innocent Jews of Palestine is and was the inevitable consequence.
“In this hour of our grief and mourning, we solemnly resolve and demand: That the Government of England take all possible steps immediately not only to restore order and safeguard life and property in Palestine, but also to wipe out the blot upon England’s honor and good name, which the violation of the Mandate has imposed, by immediately and drastically reorganizing the Palestine administration so that it will henceforth take note of and fulfill the solemn duties of the Mandate, and so that the world may know that England means to keep the pledge of the Balfour Declaration.”
The Mayor then offered to review the procession, and for nearly an hour he stood as the marchers, four abreast, walked by him.
The procession then moved down lower Broadway, through the financial section. Again crowds lined the curbs, and windows opened in the towering office buildings added thousands more of spectators to the scene. Shouts, cheers, and here and there a few jeers, greeted the marchers; ticker tape was soon snowing on the streets, but the marchers ignored it all.
When the British Consulate General office at Whitehall Street was reached, a small delegation entered the building and presented the resolution, which was accepted. The marchers then disbanded, with a vow that they would continue to protest the murder of innocent Jews in Palestine with their last breath.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.