Board of Deputies Votes to Ask British Government for Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine

The Board of Deputies of British Jews today voted to submit to the government a memorandum demanding the establishment of a Jewish State or Commonwealth in “an undivided Palestine.” (Full text of the memorandum appeared in the JTA Bulletin on Nov. 5.) The vote was 85 to 20. An amendment asking elimination of the word “Commonwealth” was defeated 159 to 18.

Debate on the resolution was marked by sharp controversy, chiefly around the issue of a Jewish state or commonwealth. Prof. Selig Prodestky, president of the Board, said that the deputies considered the statement on Palestine which has been drafted by the Anglo-Jewish Association as “insufficient” because the Association does not ask for the establishment of a Jewish state or commonwealth. He revealed that he has written to Leonard Stein, president of the Association, pointing cut that if the Association’s stand on Palestine is submitted to the government “this may be another case of 1917.”

Several deputies, including B. A. Levinson, M. Gluckstein, and Basil Henriques, called on the Board to withdraw the demand for a Jewish state from its memorandum, asserting that it was a concession to narrow nationalism and would expose Jews to the charge that they are an alien race.

Proponents of the Jewish state, led by Lavy Bakstansky, secretary of the British Zionist Federation, charged that only by the establishment of a Jewish Common wealth could Palestine absorb the large-scale immigration which is expected after hostilities cease. Lord Nathan, Victor Gollancz, and H. A. Goodman, secretary of the World Agudas Israel, also urged establishment of a Jewish state.

An amendment asking support of the policy of Dr. Judah L. Magnes, the Ichud Party in Palestine and the Hashomer Hazair, all of whom favor a bi-national state, was rejected. Phineas Horowitz, British Zionist leader, said that Zionists had been attempting, unsuccessfully, for 25 years to come to an understanding with the Arabs.

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