Ben Gurion Demands Jewish State; Warns Terrorism May Plunge Palestine into Civil War
Menu JTA Search

Ben Gurion Demands Jewish State; Warns Terrorism May Plunge Palestine into Civil War

Download PDF for this date

A vigorous appeal for the creation of a Jewish state was made today by David Ben Gurion, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency, in an address to the Zionist Congress in which he emphasized that the establishment of such a state is the only way of saving the surviving Jews in Europe and “the most advantageous instrument for securing peace in Palestine, stability in the Middle East, and a relationship of cooperation and mutual help between Jews and Arabs in Palestine and in the neighboring countries.”

Ben Gurion lashed out against terrorism, warning that the activities of the extremists may lead to civil war. He assailed a “state of affairs where every gang of youths with enough money to buy a kilogram of dynamite and a machine gun is permitted to connect national policy and proclaim a separatist war,” and said that continuation of terrorism can plunge the Jews of Palestine into the “greatest tragedy that can happen to us in this period of great crisis–civil war.”

Rejecting the Morrison federalization plan, he charged that its general outlines had been submitted to the British Government by the Arabs several years ago. “We oppose the plan because it is only a slight modification of the White Paper and the changes are not always to the advantage of the Jews,” he stated, adding that it was a violation of the Mandate.


Describing immigration as the “central, decisive front,” he warned that “no foreign power will overcome it. Refugees will continue to find their way to Palestine. They will leap into the waters and swim to the shores of the homeland, and every Jew, because he is a Jew–be he Zionist or not–will stand behind them. Fleets and air forces whose strength lies in physical force alone will not halt immigration.”

Defining what he meant by a “Jewish state,” Ben Gurion said that “it goes without saying that a Jewish state can be based only on a democratic system in which there will be full equality of rights–civil, political and religious–for all inhabitants without exception, irrespective of race, religion or sex.

“It is self-understood that Jews outside the Jewish state will be citizens of the countries in which they live, just as Englishmen and Frenchmen in America are citizens of America, even though England and France exist as independent countries. Just as Irishmen in America or Australia are citizens even though Eire exists as an independent country to which they are bound by ties of tradition and affection.”

When he mentioned “progress,” the Agency chairman stated, he meant that “we want to have the sovereign right to root out from the life of Palestine poverty, disease, illiteracy, unhygienic housing conditions in town and country, the oppression of women and children and the shortage of the right food from which an over-whelming majority of the Arab population and not a small section of the Jewish population probably suffers.

“We want sovereign independence for the Jewish people in their historic homeland by virtue of its becoming an ensured majority, liberated from the perennial curse of exile, the curse of perpetual minority status, the curse of constant depend- ence and the curse of dispersion and of everywhere being strangers and foreigners. We want our independence and sovereignty and to be represented at the United Nations like every other free people.”

“Why should the Jewish people be denied what is accorded even to small countries and tiny peoples like Luxembourg, Lebanon, Albania and others?” Ben Gurion asked. “It is only because there is no Jewish state. We demand independence for our people… We are capable of conducting our own affairs and protecting ourselves. We are living de facto in a Jewish state, although we have not obtained the position de jure.”

If Britain feels that the Mandate is unworkable–which even today the Zionists do not recognize is the case–it should allow the creation of a Jewish state as promised by the Mandate, he asserted.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund