London (Nov. 26)
Declaring that he considers Jewish condemnation of the Bevin statement on Palestine “a grave error,” Harold J. Laski, chairman of the Grecutive of the Labor Party, said today, in an article written for the Overseas News Agency, that he thinks “the wiser path is one of waiting to see what the Angle-American commission decides.”
“Only in the light of the recommendations of this commission, both interim and final, and the decisions taken on each, can the wisdom or lack of wisdom of the policy be judged,” Laski says. Explaining why he urges the Jews to have patience, “however hard it may be to be patient,” Laski writes:
“It is of decisive importance that President Truman has agreed to full American participation in the inquiry. It is of not less decisive importance that the terms of reference to the Anglo-American committee are wide enough not only to make possible the sbandonment of that administrative separation between Palestine and Transjordan which was a grave initial error in British policy, but which Zionists have always insisted was an error which worked to their detriment. It is of outstanding importance, also, that the case made by men of the standing of Dr. Lowdermilk can now be examined at the level where favorable judgment will imply an Anglo-American obligation to act; and I believe myself that irrigation of the Negev alone, if it is judged practicable, will permit, and, indeed compel the recognition of the Jewish right to large-scale immigration.”
Mr. Laski comes to the conclusion that “if it is the wish of the overwhelming majority of European Jews to settle in Palestine, the Zionists need not fear the outcome of the commission’s researches into this question since their judgment would then be confirmed.” He adds that he does not see in the Balfour Declaration or in the terms of the Palestine Mandate “any pledge that there shall be a Jewish majority or a Jewish State.” The clear meaning of each of these documents, he says, is the right of Jews to be allowed freely to enter Palestine so long as that entrance does not impair the welfare of the Arabs.
“I think the committee can be shown, first, that free entrance, viewed objectively, has increased, and not impaired Arab welfare, and that if Transjordania be included, and schemes like that of Dr. Lowdermilk are applied there and to the Negev, the Arabs in Palestine so conceived would lack any ground for opposing large-scale Jewish immigration, even if it meant a Jewish majority.”