Palestine Partition Plan Debated by Zionist Leaders at Hadassah Convention
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Palestine Partition Plan Debated by Zionist Leaders at Hadassah Convention

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The partition plan for Palestine offered by the Jewish Agency executive as a basis for negotiations with Britain was debated today by two prominent Zionist leaders before the Hadassah convention which closes here tomorrow. Dr. Nahum Goldmann, member of the Agency executive, defended the proposal while Dr. Emanuel Neumann, vice president of the Zionist Organization of America, criticized it.

In defending the plan, Dr. Goldmann pointed out that “by suggesting partition as a way out, we are not giving up our claims to the whole of Palestine.” He emphasized that the scheme has the support of President Truman and of the State Department, and expressed the belief that Britain and the United States could get Arab acquiescence to the establishment of “a viable Jewish state” in Palestine. However, he added that should Britain reject the plan, the Jewish Agency will then have no other way except to appeal to the United Nations to take up the Palestine problem for final solution.

Dr. Neumann pointed out that the Zionist Organization of America “has not challenged, does not challenge and will not challenge” the authority of the Jewish Agency executive, but that at the forthcoming World Zionist Congress “the delegates will exercise their rights to review all the acts of the executive and participate in the framing of future policy.” He declared that “it was a mistake for the executive to offer a compromise solution on the Palestine problem as a substitute for the Biltmore program,” which calls for the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth. This problem, he said, can be reversed or modified only by the Zionist Congress.


Dr. Goldmann stressed that when the Biltmore program was formulated, there was hope that once hostilities ended, the victorious democratic powers would facilitate the entrance of 500,000 to 1,000,000 European Jews to Palestine. This, he said, would have opened the way for the implementation of the Biltmore program after a short period of time. “The developments of the last two years have shown that this chance does not exist,” he pointed out.

To adhere to the Biltmore program, he continued, means to ask either for a continuance of the British mandate until the Jews have a majority in Palestine, or for the establishment of another transitory regime which will enable the Jews to create this majority in a reasonable period of time. “Both possibilities are most unlikely,” he argued, asserting that the partition plan is the best solution under existing circumstances.

Dr. Neumann, in criticizing the partition offer, said: “It was a mistake to suppose that to display such eagerness for compromise would elicit a prompt and favorable response on the part of the British and the Arabs. It was a mistake to display such eagerness to participate in the London conference on Palestine convened by the British Government when there was not the slightest sign of a change of heart on the part of that government or a disposition to alter its basically anti-Zionist policy. It was in our view a grave error to announce to the world our readiness to forgot our claims and legally established rights with respect to one-half of Palestine in order to retain the other half. Gestures of renunciation and willingness to compromise never softened the heart of the British Government in the past.”

He appealed to the convention not to adopt any resolution which could be interpreted as an abandonment of the Biltmore program, and that the Hadassah should reassert “the historic claims and aspirations of the Jewish people and its legally established rights, which extend to the whole of Palestine, undivided and undiminished.”

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