New York (Jun. 16)
Criticism of British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin’s statement on Palestine, and particularly of his remark that New York does not went “too many” Jews, continued over the week-end both in the American press and in statements issued by various Jewish and non-Jewish organizations.
The Jewish Labor Committee, representing 500,000 organized Jewish workers who are affiliated with both the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, issued a statement rebuking Bevin. The statement says that the committee, which has been associated fraternally with the British labor movement for many years, was “shocked” by Bevin’s speech. It demands that the recommendation of the Anglo-American inquiry committee for the immediate admission of 100,000 displaced Jews to Palestine be implemented “without delay.”
“We were grievously astonished at the impermissible expression contained in Mr. Bevin’s remarks that New York did not want ‘too many Jews,’ as well as his assertion that anti-Semitism would grow in the British Army,” the statement says. “When we read the text of Bevin’s address we could not believe that the manner and spirit of these expressions were those of the Foreign Secretary of the Labor Government. These remarks were painful and we are deeply convinced that they are not in keeping with the spirit of the Labor Government of Great Britain as well as the labor movement in general,” the committee concludes.
The New York State convention of the American Liberal Party, held during the week-end, adopted a resolution condemning “the irresponsibility of Ernest Bevin” as evidenced by his statement on the admission of 100,000 Jews to Palestine. The resolution calls upon the British Government “to disavow publicly sentiments so destructive of a just and humanitarian solution” of the Jewish refugee problem.
“The Liberal party, in the name of common humanity, calls upon Great Britain and the United States to and the inhuman delay and to implement forthwith the recommendations of President Truman and the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry to admit 100,000 of these uprooted and dispossessed Jews of Europe into Palestine” the resolution states. “The problem of displaced persons being of international concern and the admission of the 100,000 Jews being only a partial solution of the problem, the Liberal Party calls upon the Government of the United States to relax its immigration laws, thereby setting a humans example to the other democratic countries to admit immediately as large a number of displaced persons as possible, regardless of race and creed,” it concludes.
BEVIN’S SPEECH TARMED “GRIEVONS BLEW” TO JEWISH REFUGEES IN CAMPS
The New York Herald-Tribune, in an editorial on America’s interest in the Palestine issue, said: “The attitude of the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Ernest Bevin, is a blew to American hopes for the execution of that part of the Anglo-American committee’s report which called for the immediate admission of 100,000 European Jews to Palestine. How much more grievous is the blow to refugees in the internment camps we can only try to imagine. Mr. Bevin’s suggestion to his constituents is to leave the thing as it is. The reaction here includes much bitterness. It is the more bitter, doubtless, because the speech was preceded only a few hours by President Truman’s appointment of a Cabinet committee to help him formulate and implement this nation’s Palestinian policy.”
Adding that “Mr. Bevin confused any appeal to reaccessibleness by his remark about New York – a remark that could only invite angry retort,” the editorial concludes: “There are two possibilities offering some hope now. One is that Mr. Bevin’s unwill- ingness to act may hasten the long-run solution. That solution, as set forth in the Anglo-American committee’s report, is execution of a trusteeship agreement under the United Nations. The other and more immediate prospect is that a reaction against Mr. Bevin’s stand by forces of public opinion in Great Britain comparable to those here may be strong enough to force its modification.”
The New York Times, in a second editorial within three days, expressed the hope that the endorsement which Bevin received at the British Labor Party convention where he delivered his statement on Palestine, “did not extend to the gratuitous assertion that agitation in the United States to admit 100,000 Jews to Palestine was because Americans ‘did not want too many of them in New York.’” Terming this assertion “an ill-considered remark,” the Times said: “Mr. Bevin misunderstands the feeling in this country if he fails to realize that American public opinion is preponderantly behind the plan to open a refuge at once to what may be called the 100,000 neediest cases among the homeless refugees in Europe. All he says on this burning issue, moreover, re-emphasizes the fact that the Palestinian problem cannot be solved by the British alone.”