American Jewish Conference Divided on Palestine Question
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American Jewish Conference Divided on Palestine Question

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The question of whether the American Jewish Conference should endorse the Zionist demand for the establishment of a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine, after the war or limit itself to voicing opposition to the White Paper and to demanding continued Jewish immigration to Palestine, formed the center of discussions at today’s session of the Conference.

A full-fledged debate took place in the evening (details will be reported in tomorrow’s issue), while leaders of the Zionist Laborite movement and of the Mizrachi orthodox organization, speaking at the afternoon session, strongly advocated the adoption by the Conference of a resolution supporting the demand for a Jewish Commonwealth. A cable from the executive of the Jewish Agency similarly appealed to the Conference to support the request for the establishment of “a Jewish Commonwealth in the ancient Jewish homeland.”

Delegates representing the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Labor Committee and other groups indicated that they stand by the policy outlined last night by Judge Joseph Proskauer who called for “unity of conduct” stating that all delegates present agree to fight for Jewish immigration to Palestine. These groups are determined not to support any declaration involving the establishment of a Jewish Commonwealth.

During the day various committees were organized, including a committee on Palestine, a committee on post-war problems, and a committee on relief problems. The Conference heard greetings in behalf of the Jews of Palestine delivered by Rabbi Mayer Berlin and Israel Merminsky. Speaking as authorized delegates of the Jewish National Council of Palestine, the two representatives emphasized that the Jews in Palestine expect that the Conference will not only adopt strongly-worded declarations but will also take affective action. A message of greetings from Dr. Chaim Weizmann was also read.


Dr. Nahum Goldmann, greeting the Conference in behalf of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and its president, Dr. Weizmann, said that “the Jewish Agency looks with great hopes and high expectations to the results of the deliberations of the Conference which, we hope, will unite American Jewry in the assumption of its grave responsibilities as the greatest free Jewish Community today and will bring about united action for laying the foundations of the Jewish future.”

Arguing in favour of a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine, Dr. Goldmann pointed out that “whatever else we demand of the world of tomorrow — equality of rights, protection of minorities, punishment of the criminals — is not specifically Jewish. It is the application of the elementary principles of democracy to the Jewish people. There is one specific demand we have to make today, and this is the demand to end the anomalous position of the Jewish people and to allow us to live our lives as a normal people. We hope and believe that when the day will come for building the world of tomorrow, we will not remain the one people forgotten and abandoned, but that we will be given what every other people in the world asks for and most of them have — the opportunity to live among the nations of the world as a free and equal people.”


Immediate rescue of those European Jews who can still be saved, by admission to Palestine and to other areas under United Nations control was the keynote of the concluding speeches delivered at the morning session. Gedalia H. Bublick, leader of Mizrachi, orthodox wing of the Zionist movement, called for the re-establishment of the Jewish Homeland and State. “The United Nations are fighting for equality of rights. The Jewish people, too demands equality together with all the peoples on God’s earth,” he said. Mrs. David DeSola Pool, president of Hadassah, stressed the rescue opportunities afforded by Palestine for saving Jewish children from Nazi Europe.

Speaking in the name of the Jewish Labor Committee, Joseph Weinberg, its vice-chairman, called upon the United Nations to re-emphasize their warning to the Nazis that further massacres of Jews would be met by the severest punishment. As immediate measures on behalf of Jews still alive in Nazi Europe be advocated the shipment of food to the ghettos and the opening of areas under United Nations Control to those refugees who might still be able to escape from Axis territory if a haven were available.

Dr. Israel Goldstein, vice-president of the Zionist Organization of America, speaking last night, called for other measures to help those Jews remaining in Europe. He advocated a stern warning to Nazi leaders that further Jewish massacres would receive full retribution. He also urged that a program of feeding the Jews in European ghettos be instituted, similar to that employed to aid people of Greece and that the neutral countries of Europe be encouraged to provide temporary asylum for those who can be rescued.

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