NEW YORK (Mar. 1)
An optimistic, fighting message on the new Palestine land ordinance, voicing the hope that purchases made since May 18, 1939, would be saved from the retroactive features of the measure, was received here today from M.M. Ussishkin, aged world president of the Jewish National Fund.
The cable urged American Jews not to despair, expressed determination to persist in opposition to the ordinance through “all means” and advised that there were still “large opportunities” available.
The veteran Zionist leader, who is 77, voiced confidence that American Jewry “the center of Jewish hope,” would “rise to the occasion and assist the Jewish Agency in its political struggle and the Keren Kayemeth (J.N.F.) in its practical work.”
Protests against the ordinance, meanwhile, continued to be voiced by various groups here. The Governing Council of the American Jewish Congress, at a special meeting yesterday afternoon, adopted a resolution expressing its regret that “at a time when all democratic groups throughout the world should be brought to the moral support of the democracies, Great Britain should take an action which is bound to alienate public opinion in America–non-Jewish as well as Jewish.”
The New Palestine, organ of the Zionist Organization of America, charged in an editorial that the ordinance constituted a “betrayal of the ideals of justice and fair play” and called for suspension of the measure and of the White Paper policy as a whole for the duration of the war.
Dorothy Thompson vigorously assailed the ordinance in her nationally syndicated column, published here by the New York Herald Tribune. She declared Britain, by issuing the ordinance after asserting that one of her war aims was to wipe out racial persecution, “established a policy which not only makes her noble words seem hollow but which will remain to plague her in peace.”
The Jewish Daily Forward declared editorially: “Jews cannot and will not accept the decree and such an attitude. Fortunately, they are not alone. The British Labor Party, the Liberals and a large part of the Government-controlled Conservative Party are no less aroused than the Jews.”
A special meeting of the executive committee of the Women’s League for Palestine denounced “this latest betrayal at a tragic time for world Jewry” and reaffirmed “determination to help build a Jewish homeland in Palestine,” sending messages to this effect to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion and Major Clement Attlee, leader of the British Labor Party.