NEW YORK (May. 10)
The future of Jewish aspirations in Palestine lies in the hands of the United States, England and Soviet Russia, Dr. Chaim Weizmann declared last night addressing the opening session of the three-day Extraordinary Zionist Conference being held at the Biltmore Hotel here, in lieu of the World Zionist Congress.
David Ben-Gurion, Dr. Nahum Goldmann and Mrs. Edward Jacobs, three members of the executive of the World Zionist Organization, addressing the Conference today similarly expressed the opinion, that America, Britain and Russia are the powers upon whom the fate of a Jewish Palestine will depend after the defeat of the Axis in the present war. They urged American Jews to become especially active in presenting their case to the major powers of the United Nations.
“America, England, and Russia,” Dr. Weizmann said in his address, “have a stake in the progressive and orderly development of the Near East. At the juncture of the three continents, as a bridge linking East and West, and standing guard, as it always stood, over the route from Europe to India, Palestine can play a peculiarly significant part in the reconstruction of the post-war world.”
Pointing out that the modernization and progressive development of the Near East cannot be carried out in an imperialistic way but can be done by Westernized and modern Jews who feel that their security and destiny are tied up with the security and destiny of the Arab people, Dr. Weizmann called upon the Jews to first come to an understanding among themselves.
URGES PRESENTATION OF PALESTINE PROBLEMS TO PEOPLE OF USA, BRITAIN, RUSSIA
“The question for us,” Dr. Weizmann said,” is. Can we, by a joint effort of the will and the intelligence, bring to the notice of the American, the British and the Russian people, the decisive elements in our problem and their interplay with the problems of world stabilization? Can we demonstrate a readiness to assume responsibility – with the benevolent sympathy of the world – for the solution of the Jewish post-war problem in a manner which will harmonize with the needs and hopes of the post-war world? Can we, in fact, show that in our desire to answer the cry of a homeless Jewish people, we are actuated by motives which transcend our own pain and fuse with the strivings of humanity? I believe that we can; for I believe that in this tormented and decimated Jewish people there resides that ancient and elemental will which has carried it across many crises in human history, and still demands a creative and not merely a curative outlet.”
Dr. Weizmann estimated that three million European Jews will remain uprooted as a result of the present war and will constitute a floating population. A calm and statistical estimate, he stated, foresees that twenty-five percent of central European Jewry will be physically destroyed by cold-blooded murder, starvation and systematic over-exploitation. “Of the seventy-five percent – if as much as that will emerge from the ghettos, the labor camps, the prisons, on the day of democratic victory – what picture can be drawn?” he asked.
The president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine then went on to predict that the total or even substantial re-integration of the uprooted Jews with the surrounding world “is not within the realm of possibility.” Large-scale immigration to the New World in the period following the war cannot reasonably be anticipated, he said. An expanding Jewish Palestine will remain the only place for the absorption of the larger part of the floating Jewish population, he declared. This, he added, is not simply a Jewish problem, but an integral part of the reconstruction problem of Europe and of the world.
BEN-GURION DEMANDS JEWISH AGENCY HAVE AUTHORITY OVER PALESTINE IMMIGRATION
David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the World Zionist Executive, addressing today’s session, demanded the immediate granting of authority to the Jewish Agency for Palestine to control Jewish immigration and the industrial and agricultural development of the country. Other proposals made by him “for a solution of the Jewish problem and the problem of Palestine,” were: “The unequivocal reaffirmation of the original intention of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate to re-establish Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth; complete civil, political and religious equality for all the inhabitants of Palestine; self-government in all municipal matters and the autonomous management by the Arab and Jewish communities of their respective educational and religious affairs.”
Demanding that “the Palestine mandate should be entrusted to the Jewish people themselves,” Ben Gurion said that America, England and Russia may help, but Palestine will be as Jewish as the Jews themselves make it. “Either Zionism will provide a complete and speedy solution of the burning need of large numbers of uprooted Jews and through mass immigration and colonization will lay the sure foundations of a free self-governing Jewish Palestine or it becomes meaningless,” he stated. He added that it must be made clear that there is no Arab problem in the sense that there is a Jewish problem. “There is no homeless Arab people, there is no problem of Arab migration, and the immigration and settlement of the Jews in Palestine is not being done at the expense of the Arabs,” he emphasized.
THOROUGH STUDY OF ARAB-JEWISH PROBLEM DEMANDED BY MRS. JACOBS
Mrs. Edward Jacobs, member of the Jewish Agency Executive, demanded that a thorough analysis of all aspects of the Arab-Jewish question be made in order “to formulate an approach for the future.” She revealed that the Hadassah organization in America has initiated such a study and called upon all other Zionist groups to support it. Bernard A. Rosenblatt, chairman of the Keren Hayesod in America, spoke in favor of a federated Palestine, taking in territories on both sides of the Jordan to consist of an autonomous Jewish Commonwealth and an Arab State.
Dr. Stephen S. Wise, chairman of the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs, in his opening address last night expressed the hope that “the Victory Peace Conference of the United Nations will recognize the fact of the Jewish National Home or Commonwealth of Palestine.” He emphasized that the Jews of Palestine insist rightfully that they be permitted to defend their country.
Judge Louis E. Levinthal, president of the Zionist Organization of America, who presided over today’s session, declared that all American Zionists will pool their energies to meet the issues confronting the Jewish people. “American Jewry, the freest, the most numerous, the most influential Jewish community in the world today,” Judge Levinthal said, “must show that it is worthy of the heroic role that destiny has assigned it.”