Congressman Urged to Seek Views of War Department on House Resolution on Palestine
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Congressman Urged to Seek Views of War Department on House Resolution on Palestine

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The suggestion that the War and State Departments be asked by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to give their views on the resolution demanding free immigration by Jews to Palestine and the ultimate establishment of a Jewish Commonwealth there, was made today by Republican Congressmen Robert B. Chiperfield of Illinois, during hearings by the Committee on the resolution. He urged that the Foreign Affairs Committee “he considerably guided thereby.”

Rep. Chiperfield made his suggestion following the testimony given this morning by K.S. Twitchell, consulting engineer of the Saudi-Arabia Mining Syndicate, who was the chief of the U.S. Agricultural Mission to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Twitchell warned of possible bloodshed if Palestine were “overcrowded.” He said that the interests of 300,000,000 Moslems are involved in the resolution. “Do you believe that the American people would want their sons to die to maintain order among the Arabs?” he asked.

Questioned as to whether he thought that anti-Semitism might develop in the United States as a result of possible clashes between Arabs and American troops, Mr. Twitchell replied: “The troubles in Boston suggest this is a possibility.” He urged that the Palestine question be deferred until after the war and suggested that refuge could be found for Jews in the Dominican Republic, in Portuguese West Africa, Cyrenaica, Ethiopia and Brazil.


Faris S. Melouf, president of the Syrian-Lebanese Federation in this country, also expressed opposition to the Palestine resolution. He described the Balfour Declaration as “weak, ambiguous, and dishonest.” He charged that the Declaration was a secret document secretly negotiated so far as the Arabs were concerned. “It ill behooves the United States to found any of its policies on such a document,” he said.

Emanuel Neumann, re-appearing before the committee, said that Melouf’s presentation was based on the premise that the Zionists want the Arabs to move elsewhere. “At no time in the long record of the Zionist movement,” he declared, “has it ever been proposed to move the Arabs out of Palestine.” He pointed out that Palestine’s Arab population had increased, whereas that of Transjordan, where Palestinian Jews are barred, had not.

Neumann asserted that “among those who came forward and desired Jews to immigrate into Transjordan was Emir Abdullah himself.” He said he had conferred with the Emir on this subject in 1939, but the plan fell through because of British disapproval. In rebuttal to suggestions that other refuges could be found for Jews, Neumann described the Jewish Territorialist Association headed by Israel Zangwill, which he indicated failed to find such refuges. “There is no suggestion on the part of the Zionists that the United States is expected to send an expeditionary force to Palestine,” he declared. “There is a mandatory government which has assumed certain responsibilities. The peace-loving people living in Palestine are perfectly capable of maintaining internal security.”


Rabbi Morris S. Lazaron of Baltimore, told the Foreign Affairs Committee that he opposed the part of the resolution dealing with the ultimate establishment of a Jewish Commonwealth, but indicated his support for the portion calling for free immigration and land purchase in Palestine. “Passage of this resolution,” he said, will give a direction to Jewish life for centuries, will inject emphases and biases that are potentially dangerous. It would affect the status of Jews who must live outside Palestine. Has Congress the right to take sides in an intra-Jewish matter?”

Rabbi Lazaron questioned whether, as Dr. Wise said yesterday, 90 to 95 percent of American Jews favor a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine. “The registered Zionists as listed in the American Jewish Yearbook for 1942-3 number 200,000,” he said, adding that many members of Hadassah joined for its philanthropic work.

Rep. Will Rogers, disagreeing with Rabbi Lazaron, said the resolution is a political and military matter of grave importance to the world. “I don’t agree that this is a purely intra-Jewish matter,” he stated. “This is a matter for the entire country, for all people. It was made such by the Nazi persecutions. Congress should not be influenced by Zionist or non-Zionist positions among Jews.”


Herman Shulman, testifying on behalf of the American Zionist Emergency Council. said: “The resolution must be adopted as a whole, because whatever rights the Jews have to free immigration and full colonization rests on the fact that the Jews 25 years ago were given a special right, a privilege, in that small part of the world.”

Rep. John Vorys, Ohio Rep., asked Shulman whether the President and Secretary of State would not be in as good a position to press Britain for action on Palestine if no action were taken by Congress at all. Shulman replied by asking whether Congress did not feel some responsibility, since the White Paper constitutes, in his view, a violation of its own 1922 resolution. Rep. Will Rogers said it was necessary to pass the resolution as a unit, or not at all.

Rabbi William H. Fineschriber, of Philadelphia, in testifying, said that he is opposed to the Jewish Commonwealth clause in the resolution, but favors the abrogation of the White Paper and free immigration into Palestine.

“Does the resolution mean, that all Palestine citizens have to be Jews, and Jews outside Palestine cease to be Jews, or does it mean a mixed pattern?” he asked. “Why not constitute all of Palestine into a Holy Land which neither the Jews nor the Arabs shall dominate politically,” he suggested.

The Committee hearings were adjourned “subject to call by the Chairman,” following testimony by Louis Lipsky who devoted most of his time to replying to the arguments of the opponents of the full resolution. Mr. Lipsky said “the strange and disturbing fact is that these Jewish advocates are not content with expressing their opinions in Jewish circles, but appear as crusaders determined to crush the hopes of the Jewish people.”

Among those testifying in favor of the resolution today were Rep. Vito Marcantonio, American Labor Party Representative from New York, and Rep. Adolph J. Sabath, Chicago Democrat.

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