BASLE (Jul. 7)
Dr. Weizmann’s statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week to the effect that he has no sympathy or understanding with the demand for a Jewish majority in Palestine because the world will construe this demand only in one sense, that the Jews want to acquire a majority in order to drive out the Arabs, led last night to a heated and excited discussion as a result of which Dr. Weizmann was obliged to explain his statement.
Dr. Weizmann’s statement had been called to the attention of the Congress in the afternoon by Robert Stricker and when the evening session opened Chaim Arlosoroff, Palestine Laborite, demanded that Dr. Weizmann declare the statement false and harmful while the opposition asked for a full debate on the subject.
The presidium then interrupted the Congress temporarily and after conferring on Arlosoroff’s interpellation decided that before acting in favor of a debate an immediate reply should be demanded of Dr. Weizmann. At the conclusion of Dr. Weizmann’s declaration a lengthy and heated debate followed. Arlosoroff, on behalf of the Laborites, proposed that the demand for an immediate debate on the declaration be tabled and the matter referred to the political commission. Isaac Gruenbaum insisted on an immediate debate. By a vote of 107 to 97 the Laborite motion was carried.
Meer Grossman, Revisionist, then moved that the Congress instruct the political commission to submit to the Congress as soon as possible a resolution regarding the ultimate aims of Zionism. Berl Locker, on behalf of the Laborites, proposed the tabling of this motion while Nahum Goldmann, German Radical, spoke in favor of it. Eventually it was carried by 115 to 10 with the Laborites not voting.
In explaining his statement, Dr. Weizmann declared that: “the statement which I made regarding a Jewish majority was unfortunately formulated and caused a misunderstanding.” Dr. Stricker interrupted to say “you confirmed this formulation.”
ZIONIST STAND MISINTERPRETED
Dr. Weizmann then went on, saying, “I never said or meant that any Zionist group intends to drive out the Arabs or that the demand regarding a Jewish majority is conceived in this way by any group. But over a period of ten years we have had the experience that this has been misinterpreted by our opponents as if we want to dominate the Arabs or even to drive them out. We Zionists know that this is not meant and we have time and again issued assurances to this effect.
“I did not express any opinion, but based myself upon these experiences when I pointed out that a proclamation demanding a Jewish majority is received by a hostile part of the political world in this way. Therefore I said that I don’t stand for this formulation of a demand for a Jewish majority as our political slogan.
“However, I repeat emphatically what I said on previous occasions that the demand of any limit to be placed on the percentage of the Jewish population is absolutely unacceptable. I believe that it is our task to bring into Palestine as many Jews as possible in an economically secured position and to create Jewish settlements which will be politically secured and autonomous and which can fulfil the functions of a Jewish National Home.
“With our entire work we are striving to create the kernel of the Jewish National Home in our days, a national home which will be as strong as we shall make it. I say a numerical majority alone is not yet sufficient security for the Jewish National Home. I am convinced that security will be created primarily by sufficient political guarantee and friendly relations with the surrounding non-Jewish world in Palestine.
REPEATS PARITY PRINCIPLE
“Relations between the Jewish National Home, which grows steadily and develops dynamically, and the Palestine Arabs, shall be settled according to the principle of complete parity of both peoples regardless of their numerical strength. I have repeatedly stated that we do not want to be dominated in Palestine but we also do not wish to dominate.
“Our wish is to create an atmosphere of calm and confidence by eliminating the element of fear and by avoiding anything which could cause that fear. Only such an atmosphere is the best basis for our work and for the steady growth of the Jewish National Home,” Dr. Weizmann concluded.
Just before the Weizmann incident Jacob Fishman of New York recommended that it was not essential that the Congress reject the MacDonald letter in full because this would only necessitate an immediate new Congress. He warned against such treatment of Dr. Weizmann and called for a slogan of an all-party coalition to collaborate in the upbuilding and protection of Palestine.