New York (Mar. 22)
An immediate decision by the great powers, pledging the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine, was demanded last night by Dr. Abba Hillel Silver at a dinner tendered to him at the Hotel Commodore, attended by 1,200 active Zionists.
“It is quite self-evident and elementary that a transitional period will be required and a Jewish majority before the full apparatus of a free and democratic Jewish State can be brought into operation,” Dr. Silver said. “But all such reasonable exposition of self-evident truths at this time only serves the purpose of our adversaries who seize upon it as proof that Zionist leaders themselves favor delay and do not really expect a Jewish Commonwealth and may be satisfied with much less.
“If we succeed in obtaining a declaration now from the proper authorities that it is proposed to set up Palestine as a Jewish State, then, whether it takes three or five years to complete its implementation is secondary importance,” Dr Silver continued. “If we do not obtain such a positive declaration now, then the time element is altogether irrelevant, and whatever concessions in terms of immigration schedules are made, are politically speaking, of little moment. They may be only indices of defeat, for such schedules will most probably be fixed to insure a permanent minority status for us in Palestine.”
Dr. Silver rejected any proposals for partition or bi-nationalism. He emphasized that “we would be a majority in Palestine today were it not the interference of the Mandatory power.” He demanded that control over immigration to Palestine be vested in the hands of the Jewish Agency and that Palestine be placed at once under a special administration “on which the Jewish people shall have preponderant representation corresponding to its overwhelming stake in the country.” This is said, is the only kind of “transitional period” which can lead to a Jewish State.
CRITICIZES ROOSEVELT AND CHURCHILL FOR CONSULTING IBN SAUD ON PALESTINE
Dr. Silver criticized Roosevelt and Churchill for consulting Ibn Saud, the ruler of Saudi-Arabia, with regard to the future status of Palestine. “One wonders,” he said, “why Arab states were consulted about the fate of the Jewish National Home. Were the Jewish people consulted about the fate of Iraq, or Syria or Saudi-Arabia?” He said he wondered whether Jewish rights are to be made dependent on Arab consent, “It would seem that Ibn Saud is now the chief figure consulted by Great Britain and the United States about the future of the Jewish National Home,” he declared.
Pointing out that Churchill and Roosevelt will have much to do with the final settlement of the Palestine issue, Dr. Silver said that “they are great and good men and well intentioned toward us.” However, he warned that “it would be a mistake” to leave the entire fate of the Zionist movement in the hands of these two statesmen. “Repeated instances of profession lagging behind performance, should caution us against exclusive reliance upon the good intentions of one or two great men, however unquestionably sincere their intentions are,” he stated.
Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, speaking at the dinner, supported Dr. Silver’s demand for a “decision now” on the Palestine question by the great powers. He charged President Roosevelt with incensistoncy on the Palestine issue, in saying one thing and doing another. Alben W. Barkely, Senate majority leader, said that the solution of the Jewish problem would require the “patience and forbearance that for centuries have been characteristic of the great Jewish people.” Other speakers included Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr of the Union Theological Seminary, Wolf Gold, leader of the World Mizrachi Organizations, David Pinski, well-known Jewish writer and Zionist labor leader, Emanuel Neumann was chairman.