American Zionist Conference Demands Palestine As Jewish Commonwealth
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American Zionist Conference Demands Palestine As Jewish Commonwealth

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A declaration demanding the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth and free Jewish immigration into the country under the sole control of the Jewish Agency was adopted here today at the closing session of the three-day Extraordinary Zionist Conference which was held in the Biltmore Hotel here in lieu of the World Zionist Congress. Dr Stephen S. Wise and Dr. Chaim Weizmann delivered the closing addresses.

Pointing out that a post-war democratic world order cannot be established on foundations of peace, justice and equality unless the problem of Jewish homelessness is solved, the declaration calls for the “fulfillment of the original purposes of the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate which, recognizing the connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, was to afford them the opportunity as stated by President Wilson to found there a Jewish Commonwealth.”

The declaration expresses the desire of the Jewish people to work in full cooperation with their Arab neighbors. It reaffirms the Jewish rejection of the White Paper issued by the British Government in May 1939 “which seeks to limit and in fact nullifies Jewish rights to immigration and settlement in Palestine and, as stated by Mr. Winston Churchill in the House of Commons in 1939, constitutes a breach and a repudiation of the Balfour Declaration.”

“This Conference,” the declaration reads, “urges that the gates of Palestine be opened, that the Jewish Agency be vested with control of immigration into Palestine and with the necessary authority for upbuilding the country, including the development of its unoccupied lands, that Palestine be established as a Jewish Commonwealth integrated in the structure of the new democratic world.”

The Declaration conveyed the greetings of the Conference to the Jews of Palestine and expressed admiration for the steadfastness of the Yishuv in the face of its peril and great difficulties. “The Jewish men and woman in field and factory and the thousands of Jewish soldiers of Palestine in the Near East have acquitted themselves with honor and distinction in Greece, Ethiopia, Syria, Libya and other battlefields.”


The need of educating the American public regarding Palestine and the Jewish problem was emphasized by Dr. Abba Hillel Silver in a speech at the concluding session of the Conference. “It is of utmost importance,” said Dr Silver, “to intensify the education of American Jews as well as our non-Jewish friends, if we are to avert a colossal Jewish tragedy after an Allied victory.” Pointing out that “Jews today are fighting on every front of the United Nations,” Dr. Silver stated. “Our casualties have mounted in the millions. An Allied victory promises all nations freedom and restitution. The Jewish people alone is in danger of coming out of this

The need for a campaign of education for all America on the Jewish question and Palestine was also the major theme of the address of Emanuel Neumann, Executive Director of the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs. Mr. Neumann expressed the view that “Christian America is instinctively pro-Zionist” but requires education. He predicted that it was not unlikely that there would be a Gallup poll of the American public on the question of the Jews and Palestine and the education of the public was therefore of paramount importance.


A lively discussion was precipitated on the proposal by the Zionist laborite representation that an overall Zionist federation be formed in America, including all the various Zionist groups. Prof. Hayim Fineman and Isaac Hamlin were chief spokesmen for the proposal. Gedalyah Bublick representing the orthodox Mizrachi wing, spoke in opposition, declaring that while it was possible to work together in such matters as the collection of Zionist funds, the different parties had diverse ideologies which could not be united in this country. Mrs. David de Sola Pool, speaking for Hadassah, declared that her organization had not fully gone into the matter as yet, but one objection to such a union was the danger that in such a Federation, the Hadassah wing, by the larger number of its shekel paying members, would reduce the men’s Zionist organization to a comparatively inferior position.

Judge Levinthal, President of the Zionist Organization of America, stated he was in favor of the plan. The Conference decided to refer the question to the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs in which all Zionist groups are represented.

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