American Jewish Committee Issues Statement on Its Position on Palestine

The American Jewish Committee in a statement is asked today declared that the main objective of the visit of the Committee’s president, pledge Joseph M. Proskauer, and Jacob Blaustein, chairman of its executive committee, the President Truman recently was to advise the President that “substantially all Jews, either Zionist or non-Zionist, were united on the pressing need for Jewish immigration into Palestine and fully support his request that the British Government immeditaly admit 100,000 Jews into Palestine.”

The statement of the Committee was in reply to a recent statement by the American Jewish Conference interpreting the visit. The American Jewish Committee further stated that its officers engaged in no discussion with President Truman on a Jewish state, other than to request that the immediate immigration of 100,000 European Jews could be granted entirly irrespective of whatever conclusion might be reached on the question of statehood.” The statement enumerates the following series of actions taken of the Committee in recent years to bring about the abrokation of the White Paper and is opening of the gates of Palestine to large-scale Jewish immigration.

1. In January 1944, the Committee presented a strong plea to Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to Washington, calling for the abrogation of the White Paper as taking contrary to the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine.

2. During the San Francisco Conference, the Committee representatives addressed communication to Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., then Secretary of State, urging that the United Nations take no action which would prejudice Jewish rights with respect to Palestine. The same request was made by the American Jewish Conference as well.

3. Following the recent visit to the President, the Committee, in a communication to Secretary of State Byrnes dated Nov. 9, 1945, on the eve of Prime Minister (##)ttlle’s arrival in the United States, again emphasized Jewish unity on this issue and asked for “our Government’s zealcus furtherance of President Truman’s request that the British Government immediately allow 100,000 Jews to enter Palestine.”

“These actions were in line with the Committee’s consistent policy, dating back at least to 1918 when it endorsed the Balfour Declaration,” the statement says. In 1930, the Committee opposed the Passfield White Paper, in 1938, it protested against the partition plan. The chief difference between the Committee on the one hand and the Zionist organizations in the Conference on the other has been that the Committee has earnestly urged on its fellow Jews the strong advisability of emphasizing the immigration issue at this time, a view which it is confident is shared by many leading Zionits.

“The Committee is compelled to take issue with the position of the Conference that it speaks for all Jewry on Palestine,” the statement continues. “It points out that among the constituent bodies of the Conference the National Council of Jewish Woman, the B’nai B’rith, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Jewish Labor Committee refused to adopt the Palestinian resolution of the Conference. Nor can we admit the position of the Conference which seeks to deny to any other group the right to speak merely because it is alleged to be a ‘minority.’ Even political democracy is essentially concerned with the protection of minorities.

Pointing out that “there is honest difference of opinion as to the wisdom of emphasizing the demand for a Jewish state in advance of the securing of additional immigration into Palestine,” the statement concludes: “At this time, when the efforts of all Jews should be directed toward improving the lot of our suffering brethren in Europe, it ill becomes Jews to dissipate their energies on internal strife and conflict. Only in a spirit of mutual understanding can the Jewish cause be served.”

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