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Rabbi Lazaron Outlines Attitude Towards Zionism and Palestine Jewish Immigration

Dr. Morris S. Lazaron, one of the leading participants in the recent conference of Reform Rabbis in Atlantic City, today outlined to the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here his position with regard to the Zionist problems discussed at the conference.

“From the reports in certain sections of the Jewish press,” Dr. Lazaron said, “one would gather that the conference in Atlantic City was anti-Palestine. This is not true. I appreciate the opportunity to re-state what I said there.

“We must not permit ourselves to be jockeyed into the position of being against Palestine. We are not. We should endorse a constructive program for the economic and cultural development of the Holy Land, but our work for Palestine must be from the viewpoint of the American Jewish community. Jewish ties with Palestine and the presence there of thousands of Jews will render easier the task of Jewish settlement in that land.

“There will be Jews in Central and Eastern Europe who will wish to emigrate, whilst in other countries – such as France and England and even here – there are many who came as transmigrants and for whom a permanent home may have to be found. Palestine is an obvious home for many of these. We recognize with pride and admiration the great pioneer work which has been done in that country and which makes further settlement on a substantial scale possible. We agree that if large-scale emigration is necessary immediately after the war, Palestine would be able to receive considerable numbers.

“For such settlement to be possible, it is not necessary to urge the creation of a Jewish State. To found a State based on race or creed is fundamentally wrong and indeed is the antithesis of one of the principles for which this war is being fought. We cannot imagine any basis for a Jewish State which is not wholly inconsistent with the principles of the Atlantic Charter. Apart from our fundamental objection on principle to this proposal, it clearly raises many practical obstacles. It must accentuate the difficulties in the way of arriving at friendship and cooperation with the Arabs, without which nothing can be achieved. Why mortgage the future? Build the land and people it. All other things can take care of themselves.

“The British Government should be asked to take such steps as will make possible the fullest immigration into Palestine on satisfactory terms. It is obvious that such a policy can only be successfully carried through if the British Government make the necessary arrangements with the Arabs. The British Government should be asked to ensure that necessary changes be made in the constitution and administration of Palestine, and that wide powers, financial and others, are given to the local authorities, to enable them to provide whole-heartedly for the carrying out of the policy of facilitating Jewish immigration into Palestine and the highest development of which the country is capable. Nor is it necessary at this stage to set out in detail what changes or powers may be required. The difference, therefore, between our policy for Palestine and that of the Zionists is the difference between a policy fundamentally economic and cultural and one fundamentally political.

“We take our stand on the Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter and all that derive from them. The people who speak for freedom and democracy will speak for the Jews. With the acceptance of the Atlantic Charter it will follow that those of the Jewish faith will be accepted as full citizens of the countries where they lived before the Nazi persecution started. It is an essential foundation stone for a peaceful world that the policy of every civilized state shall be rigidly to exclude all differentiation between its citizens on the ground of race or religion and above all that no state shall have the right to drive its nationals from its territories because of racial or religious prejudices.”

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