New York (Sep. 2)
The American Jewish Conference concluded late tonight after adopting a number of resolutions dealing with the political status of the Jews in the post-war world, with the outlawing of anti-Semitism, with relief and reconstruction and with problems concerning the rescue of Jews from Europe. A resolution on Palestine was adopted yesterday.
The Conference elected an interim committee of 55 members to continue its activities until the next session which is to be convened whenever necessary but no later than within twelve months. The function of this committee and its subcommittees are to carry out the resolutions adopted at the conference. The committee was authorized to cooperate with existing Jewish agencies whenever such cooperation is considered desirable. It will be headed by three co-chairmen.
The budget of the Conference and its committee should be financed by local and regional Jewish communities in proportion to the Jewish population of each, one resolution recommended. A motion that the Conference should be maintained by funds of the United Jewish Appeal was rejected.
A stirring statement addressed to the Jews in the ghettos and under Nazi occupation was adopted by the Conference. The statement asserted that the Jews in America are proud of the heroic resistance displayed by the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and assured the enslaved Jews that the day of liberation is near.
DISTINCTIVE NEEDS OF JEWISH RELIEF EMPHASIZED
The Conference, in its resolution on relief, called the attention of the United Nations to the distinctive needs for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Jewish population in the war-stricken areas. “These needs,” the resolution says, “result from systematic starvation, forced labor, continuous deportations, forced segregation, appalling housing conditions, withholding of medical care, and the closing of Jewish hospitals with the consequent spread of diseases and epidemics.
“We urge the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation agencies to give earnest attention to these special needs,” the resolution continues. “We are confident that in the feeding, clothing and sheltering of the stricken population, the checking and preventing the further spread of epidemics and disease, the caring for children orphaned or separated from their parents, the reuniting of scattered families, and the aiding of deportees in their repatriation or emigration, these agencies will deal with the Jewish populations in a spirit of equity and urgency.
“We are further confident that provision will be made for such specific Jewish needs as the liberation of Jews from ghettos, reservations, and concentration areas, as well as for the observance of their ritual requirements. Moreover, it is clear that in connection with those measures which will be taken with a view to the speedy restoration of normal conditions in every liberated country, the problems of the Jewish population must be treated in a spirit of equity.”
MEASURES IN TRANSITION FROM WAR TO PEACE OUTLINED
Pointing out that in addition to sharing all the disabilities suffered by their non-Jewish fellow citizens in Axis-controlled or occupied countries, the Jews have been singled out for ruthless extermination, the Conference, in a resolution on “transition from war to peace,” urges that the United Nations give special attention to the distinctive Jewish problems created by these circumstances. The resolution suggests that the following measures be taken by the United Nations:
“1. Immediate abrogation with retroactive effect of all measures discriminating on racial, religious, or political grounds against any section of the population, including all acts of denaturalization.
“2. Recognition of the right of all refugees, deportees, and other victims of Axis persecution, if they desire to do so, to return to their places of de facto residence and to the opportunities of which they have been deprived, and provision of financial and other measures enabling them to do so.
“3. Recognition of the right to indemnification for all those who have suffered the loss of property and/or livelihood as a result of discriminatory measures, including the loss of communal property by Jewish organizations, such indemnification to be a charge on public funds.
“4. Detention of persons charged with crimes against international law and humanity, such crimes to be understood to include all acts committed by the Nazis and their followers, designed to despoil, degrade and destroy civilian populations under their control, and the completion of arrangements for the trial of such persons immediately following the cessation of hostilities in accordance with procedures agreed upon by the governments of the United Nations.”
STATUS OF JEWS IN POST-WAR WORLD DEFINED
The Conference also adopted a resolution expressing the hope that a world order based on the Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter will also find expression in an international Bill of Rights embodying:
1. Full and complete protection of life and liberty for all inhabitants of all countries without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion.
2. Unequivocal equality of rights in law and in fact for all the citizens of every country.
3. The inalienable right of all religious, ethnic and cultural groups to maintain and faster their respective group identities on the basis of equality.
Another resolution demanded that anti-Semitism as an instrument of internal and international policy should be outlawed. “In order to be made effective, this outlawing should be implemented by international conventions and national legislation,” the resolution said. It urged that proper and adequate machinery be established to effect and safeguard these objectives.
Declaring that it is now possible to transfer from Axis countries to Palestine thousands of Jewish children and their escorts for whom certificates have been made available by the British Government, the Conference in a resolution called upon the U.S. Government and other governments of the United Nations as well as upon the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation “to assist in every way humanly possible in the evacuation, transfer, and care of these children whose lives are in great jeopardy.” (Additional resolutions will be published in tomorrow’s JTA Bulletin.)
PROSKAUER OUTLINES AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE’S ATTITUDE ON PALESTINE
Following adoption by the Conference last night of a resolution endorsing a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine with only four delegates voting against it, Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee, read from the platform a statement dissenting from the resolution. He announced, however, that the delegation of the American Jewish Committee will remain with the Conference to cooperate in the fight for the revocation of the White Paper as well as on other Conference resolutions. The statement by Judge Proskauer reads:
“It is with profound regret that, for the American Jewish Committee and my two fellow-delegates from that organization, I must register dissent from the resolutions which have been introduced and which I have no doubt will receive the vote of this Conference.
“These resolutions at this critical time call for vesting in Jewish authority the full power to regulate and direct immigration into Palestine and presently call for the creation of a Jewish Commonwealth. Quite apart from the validity or invalidity of these proposals were they to be considered in the interval between the cessation of hostilities and a Peace Conference, we believe that at this time, when the gravest and most delicate military and world-wide political questions are involved, the present issuance of these proposals contained in the resolutions is unwise because it may carry with it embarrassment to the governments of the United Nations, and is calculated to jeopardize the status of Jews and even prejudice the fullest development of the Jewish settlement in Palestine itself.
“At this time it is our duty to concentrate on victory for the United Nations. We are convinced that it is inadvisable to bring to the foreground of public attention at this time political matters that may divide the peoples of the United Nations and create added difficulties.
“And it is for that reason that we endeavored, without success, in the Palestine Committee, to secure the passage of a resolution deferring action on this matter until some subsequent session of this Conference to be called by the presidium. We yield to no one in our devotion to the cause of Judaism and to the protection of the rights of Jews throughout the world. We have demonstrated a deep and abiding concern for the welfare of Palestine and its full and proper development. We have asked for the abrogation at once of the White Paper, and have requested that the gates of Palestine be immediately opened for the freest entry of the victims of Nazi brutality. But because of the war considerations and the impossibility of foreseeing the quickly changing world scene, we deemed it wise to ask for the continuance of an international trusteeship to safeguard the Jewish settlement in Palestine and the fundamental rights of its inhabitants to prepare the country to become within a reasonable period of years a self-governing commonwealth under a constitution and a bill of rights that would protect the basic rights of all.
“In entering this Conference, the American Jewish Committee acted on the condition that the so-called “Assembly” should be called the “Conference” and that the right of any participating organization to dissent from and, so dissenting, not to be bound by the conclusions of the Conference was recognized. Pursuant to that provision, for myself and for my two fellow-delegates and the American Jewish Committee, and for the reasons I have mentioned, we regretfully dissent from concurrence with these resolutions.”