WASHINGTON (Jan. 7)
An impassioned attack against persecution of Jews and the branding of the British White Paper as a failure marked the closing today of the two-day annual National Conference for Palestine, held here under the auspices of the United Palestine Appeal and attended by more than 1,500 delegates and guests from all over the United States.
Featured speakers at today’s sessions were Attorney General Frank Murphy, who has just been appointed to the Supreme Court; Alfred Duff Cooper, former First Lord of the Admiralty, and French Ambassador Count Rene de Saint Quentin. The conference closed with a banquet tonight at which Dr. Stephen S. Wise was the toastmaster and scheduled speakers included Col. Frank Knox, the publisher, and Henry Monsky, president of B’nai B’rith.
Six resolutions were adopted by the conference. While emphasizing the difficult position of the British Government in its fight for democratic ideals at the present time, one resolution appealed to England “to implement its solemn and historic pledge given to the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration, by opening the doors of Palestine to a free Jewish immigration consonant with its announced principle of the economic absorptive capacity of the country.”
Another resolution affirmed the action of the Jewish Agency in its rejection of the White Paper as inconsistent with the obligations entered into by the Mandatory Power in the Balfour Declaration, and expressed to the Agency Executive the conference’s “whole-hearted support for such measures as will insure the right of our people to continued and uninterrupted settlement in Palestine.”
Other resolutions recorded appreciation of Dr. Abba Hillel Silver’s leadership; expressed affection for Dr. Chaim Weizmann and pledged “to uphold and strengthen his hands by furnishing material resources”; praised the “notable services” of Dr. Solomon Goldman and other leaders; extended greetings to the Palestine Jewish community, and recorded satisfaction at the success of the Palestine Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.
Addressing this afternoon’s session, Mr. Murphy hailed the efforts to create in Palestine a “haven of refuge and a center of culture where your kith and kin, free from oppression and persecution, can find life and peace in the land of their forefathers.”
Turning to the subject of his address, “The Challenge of Intolerance,” Mr. Murphy declared the Jews were serving “not merely as a scapegoat but as a smokescreen to conceal more aggressive designs of power-mad men.” He warned that the “worship of force,” to which Jews had been sacrificed, was not only anti-Jewish but “anti-Christian… a revolt against reason and God.”
The warning was pointed not only at Europe, he said, but at this country as well, “for the virus of anti-Semitism has made itself felt here as well as abroad.”
“The purveyors of hatred, the provokers of division and strife, the swaggering apostles of force and violence,” he cautioned, “are methodically and with premeditation laboring to bring to the United States the same conditions of group hatred and civil war that have destroyed the peace of Europe. Treacherously, they camouflage their true nature by representing themselves to the unwary as defenders of God, America, and the Constitution. Unscrupulously, they stir up riots in the city streets, they intimidate peaceful citizens, they invade meetings, and they peddle as truth the malicious lies which people of their ilk have invented to blacken those whom they hate.”
Addressing a luncheon session of the conference this afternoon, Duff Cooper branded the White Paper a failure and called upon the British Government to reverse its policy and allow the Jews to become the dominant race in Palestine.
Declaring the White Paper difficult to defend, Duff Cooper said: “We tempted lured and encouraged thousands of Jews to return to Palestine and now the White Paper dooms them to remain for all time a minority. The immigration features of the White Paper are among its weakest points.
“The basis of Great Britain’s policy has been to show no favoritism either to Jew or Arab but to create a country where the two races can live in equality and harmony with one another. We know now that this policy has been a failure. It has been a failure not only because of the manner in which it was administered, but because the basis of the policy itself was unsound. One must be the dominant race. The only solution is to change the policy and either support the Arab resistance to the Zionist immigration or else to support the Zionists.”
Duff Cooper said that no race had so little ground to complain as the Arabs who, as the result of the World War, were freed from Turkish domination and who gained the lands of Transjordania and Syria. “They cannot complain of lack of Lebensraum,” he said. On the other hand, he asserted, “the unprecedented and ghastly persecution of the Jews is a disgrace and a branding shame–not only to the countries that are taking part in it, but to the whole of Europe and Christendom.
Ambassador de Saint Quentin, one of the staff officers who marched with Lord Allenby into Jerusalem, told the banquet session that Palestine “will remain the very symbol of voluntary immigration by energetic men guided by their faith.”
Speaking of the international refugee problem, the Ambassador praised the of the World ORT Federation and added: “Undoubtedly, among the war aims of the Allied Powers the suppression of the problem of political refugees is foremost and this is to be achieved through the defeat of the regime which created them. We are no longer willing that hundreds of thousands or millions of people should be branded as outlaws by the country in which they had lived often for several centuries and should be thrown without resources and indeed almost without the barest necessities on the highway of international charity. Nor do we approve those exchanges of populations which deal with men as if they were cattle. Peace and the new order that it will establish will make possible the voluntary repatriation of a certain number of refugees and the inevitable departure of those who have usurped their homes. It will not, however, eliminate the problem of immigration or the necessity of organizing it more satisfactorily.”
Addressing the opening session last night, Chairman Silver of the U.P.A. described the year just ended as one of the darkest in the history of Jewry but said there was some cause for approaching 1940 with a feeling of optimism. As heartening developments, Dr. Silver cited the following:
The response to the United Palestine Appeal’s campaign for funds to transport refugees to Palestine and rehabilitate them, by which $5,000,000 was raised in the United States; immigration of 35,000 refugees to Palestine in 1939, bringing the Jewish population of Palestine to half million; cessation of the Arab Jewish riots.
Dr. Silver said that Palestine was one of the few bright spots in a world of blackouts. He said it was still the only nation in the world accepting Jewish refugees on a large scale.
Also addressing the opening session, Dr. Georg Landauer, director of the Central Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews in Palestine, declared the greatest challenge to the capacity of Palestine for large scale absorption of refugees in the immediate future lay in the destruction of the Jewish community in Poland. He announced that 70,000 Jews from Germany have been settled in Palestine since 1933 at a co of $5,000,000. One third of them were settled on the land and have established 20 agricultural projects although almost all were formerly engaged in business and professions, he pointed out. Since the outbreak of the war, he said, 9,400 Jewish refugees arrived on the shores of Palestine.
Other speakers last night included Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Jewish National Fund of America, who contrasted the fate of the 3,500,000 Finns– “a symbol of an aroused world sympathy and world conscience–” with that of an equal number of Jews in Poland–who are being ground into dust, driven into the forests to exposure and starvation or imprisoned and tortured to death in Nazi concentration camps.” The Finns, he said, have a fighting chance, but the Jews are deprived not only of an opportunity of self-defense but even of heroic death.”
Addressing the banquet tonight, President Monsky of B’nai B’rith declared that Palestine provided “perhaps the most outstanding and realistic single opportunity for the resettlement of large numbers of our unfortunate co-religionists.
President Goldman of the Z.O.A. who was scheduled to address the morning session, had not arrived from Chicago at a late hour. Dr. Wise, in a nationally broadcast address, predicted ultimate Arab-Jewish cooperation in Palestine and said that the Balfour Declaration would outlive the White Paper. Dr. W.C. Lowdermilk, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told the conference that the Jewish colonists Palestine had “carried out to date one of the most remarkable works of the restoration and reclamation of wasted lands that have been seen on three continents.”