New York (Oct. 17)
Declaring that he spoke “as an American and, after that, as a Jew,” Bernard Baruch last night bitterly criticized the governments of Britain and the United States for “shilly-shallying” on the admission of European displaced Jews to Palestine. He emphasized that America, too, has not been the sanctuary she was for many years.
Pointing out that he is not a political Zionist, Baruch stated that he nevertheless “deplores and condemns” the policy of rejecting the right of Jews to a haven in Palestine as provided by the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. At the sometime, he stressed that “something must be done” to admit Jews from Europe to the United States. He cited immigration figures showing that the United States has done little and can do much more towards rescuing the remnants of European Jewry from death.
Baruch delivered his impressive plea at a dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel attended by 2,000 prominent guests, marking the beginning of the charitable and relief activities of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation. The part of his address dealing with the attitude adopted toward the plight of the Jews in Europe reads:
“I would be less deserving of the affectionate friendship that prevailed between Al Smith and myself for something like thirty years, if I did not say–as an American and, after that, as a Jew–that I have been shocked to the heart by the treatment accorded the pre-war and post-war refugees, particularly, the Jews. Eighteen million men, women and children have been sacrificed in the blood lust of totalitarianism. Of these, six millions were Jews.
SAYS MORAL SIDE OF QUESTION WAS IGNORED
“I am not a political Zionist. But I would be less than frank if I did not deplore and condemn the shilly-shallying and weather vaning of the British and, too, of the American Governments, regarding the right of haven that was to have been accorded these unfortunates under the Balfour Declaration, following the Palestine mandate, granted Great Britain after the first World War.
“The moral side of this question has been ignored and wiped out. Death followed. Politics of a dubious nature, resting upon assumptions that are even more doubtful, have been permitted to sway the world, and notably the Labor Government in Britain, from the plainly marked path of duty; nor has America been the sanctuary she was for so many years, which helped make her great.
“As the President pointed out some time ago, in urging a small temporary increase in immigration, she has done little and can do more toward a salvation from death. The figures are interesting. Since 1935 we have admitted 171,325 war-driven Jewish refugees, During that period Great Britain has admitted 65,000. Into Palestine have gone 193,189, The total, insignificant in comparison to the needs, is 429,514. If the others are not to die something must be done.”