WASHINGTON (Feb. 7)
Mobilizing the support of American Jewry behind the Jewish homeland, the National Conference for Palestine today adopted a $4,500,000 quota for the 1937 campaign of the United Palestine Appeal and heard demands that Great Britain maintain an open door in Palestine and take no action prejudicial to Jewish rights.
The 2,000 delegates, said to represent about 2,000,000 American Jews, decided to send a delegation to the British Embassy tomorrow to emphasize American Jewry’s stake in Palestine and ask the Royal Commission’s “understanding and compassion” for the plight of the Jews in various countries.
A message from President Roosevelt to the concluding banquet tonight lauded the “vitality and vision of the Jewish pioneers in Palestine” and hailed the twentieth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, “It should be a source of pride to the Jewish citizens of the United State that they, too, have had a share in this great work” for restoration of the Jewish homeland, the message said.
The resolution setting the U.P.A. quota was introduced by Congressman Koppelman of Connecticut. Dr. Stephen S. Wise was re-named chairman of the appeal, and the following co-chairmen: Dr. Israel Goldstein, Maurice Levin, Louis Lipsky, Judge William M. Lewis and Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver.
The delegation to the British Embassy, to be headed by Judge Joseph Padway, of Milwaukee, will express the “deep concern which American Jewry feels with regard to the findings of the Royal Commission” and reiterate that the Jews regard Palestine “as the paramount solution to the problem of Jewish homelessness.”
ASK BRITAIN TO MAINTAIN JEWS’ RIGHTS
The statement asks that Great Britain “maintain the right of the Jews to enter Palestine up to the fullest economic absorptive capacity” and the right to acquire land by purchase. It points out the Jews’ historic connection with Palestine, that the mandate recognized the Jews of the world as a party to the upbuilding of the homeland and recalls America’s connection with Palestine through the Lodge resolution in Congress.
The conference “prays that the Royal Commission will view with understanding and compassion the plight of the Jews driven to wander from the lands to which they have given their lives and fortunes” and that the commission will “act in the spirit of noble generosity.”
Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture, declared in an address this afternoon:
“The ancient dream of the Jews and the more modern dream of Americans both have to do with peace, with farmers cultivating their land in peace, with under-privileged on land or in cities having a fair change worshiping God in their own way.
“In working on the problem of social justice for the downtrodden farmers in the United States, I believe we are definitely carrying out the dream of the prophet Micah, as you believe that you are carrying out this dream in working for oppressed Jews throughout the world.
“It is interesting to note that Justice Brandeis has long had a profound interest in the submerged farmer, as in the submerged Jew. His heart has bled especially for the cause of the sharecropper in the South. He believes that the ideal life is that of the man working his own land with his own hands, free from fear of war, and worshiping God in his own way.”
The hope that the Royal Commission “will succeed in formulating a workable policy that will enable both Jew and Arab to cooperate” in the upbuilding of Palestine was expressed by Morris Rothenberg, co-chairman of the Council of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
“The refusal of the British Government to make concessions to Arab violence by stopping Jewish immigration into Palestine pending the investigation of the commission encourages the belief that the Royal Commission, faithful to English tradition, will not be influenced to satisfy Arab demands by dishonoring the solemn and explicit pledges contained, and the obligations assumed, in the Balfour Declaration, and in the mandate issued Great Britain by the League of Nations,” he said.
Mr. Lipsky presided at the morning session. The speakers included Rabbi Felix A. Levy, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; Louis J. Moss, president of the United Synagogue of America; Rabbi William Margolis, representing the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations; Dr. Maurice J. Karpf, Eliezer Kaplan, who discussed economic and political problems of Palestine, and Dr. Ben Zion Mossinsohn.
Mr. Rothenberg presided in the afternoon, the speakers including Secretary Wallace, Senator George Norris, Charles Edward Russell, Judge Lewis and Dr. Wise.
Dr. Wise presided at the banquet session. The speakers included Senators William E. Borah, Henry Cabot Lodge and Warren Austin, Rep. Hamilton Fish and Rabbi Silver.
ROYAL COMMISSION OVERSHADOWS SPEECHES
The conference opened last night on the keynote of “the door of Palestine must remain open” and the thought of the Royal Commission’s impending report dominated the speeches of the Jewish leaders, who included Dr. Wise, Dr. Goldstein, Mr. Kaplan, Mrs. Edward Jacobs and Leon Gellman.
Dr. Wise termed the conference “a peace mobilization of those groups within our country which aim to cooperate with Jews in other lands in the rebuilding of the Jewish homeland in Palestine.” He stressed unity of Zionists and non-Zionists on an open-door for Palestine and to make such a policy “valuable to the Mandatory Power, a blessing to the refugees who have found a home and no less helpful and profitable to the Arab dwellers of Palestine.”
Mr. Kaplan, treasurer of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, said: “We do not wish to dominate the Arabs, nor do we wish to be dominated by the Arabs. We believe that there is ample room in the country for the successful development of both peoples living side by side, working in harmony for the building of a better, happier civilization.”
Rumors of the possibility of England’s “whittling down of the terms” of the Palestine mandate met with a warning from Dr. Goldstein, president of the Jewish National Fund, that this “will create deep disappointment among the American people.”
Dr. Mossinsohn urged American Jews to enlarge their support for the upbuilding of Palestine. Other speakers last night included Isidor Hershfield, David Wertheim, Joseph Baratz, Ittamar Ben Avi and Rabbi Wolf Gold.
A report issued in connection with the conference showed that total expenditures of the Palestine Foundation Fund, Jewish National Fund and Jewish Agency Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews since their existence is $52,753,335, of which amount $20,000,000 was provided by American Jewry, also that since 1933 165,000 Jews from all countries entered Palestine, including 37,000 from Germany. In that period 79 per cent of all Jewish migration from Europe has gone to Palestine.