Weizmann Recommends Zionist Participation in London Conference on Palestine
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Weizmann Recommends Zionist Participation in London Conference on Palestine

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A forceful appeal for Jewish participation in the conference on Palestine which will resume next month in London was made here today by Dr. Chaim Weizmann at a meeting of European delegates of the General Zionists to the World Zionist Congress.

Speaking in Yiddish, the leader of the world Zionist movement said that there is no alternative other than participation, since taking part in the London parley will, at least give the Jews a chance to present their views. He pointed out that the U.S. Government has promised to send an observer to the parley if the Jews agree to participate, and stressed that if the Jews do not attend, decisions are likely to be taken there without them.

(In London, Foreign Under-Secretary Christopher Mayhew announced in the House of Commons that the conference will be resumed next month. The British Government, he said, will try at that time to arrive at a plan acceptable to both Jews and Arabs in Palestine.)


Mrs. Judith Epstein, President of Hadassah, addressing the plenary session today, took issue with Dr. Weizmann’s view–expressed in his opening address–that continuation of the British mandate was possible, if the British would live up to the terms of the Balfour Declaration.

Charging that there is no longer any possibility of continuing the mandate, the leader of the American Women’s Zionist Organization said: “One must not lull oneself into a false sense of security and prevent action to solve the problem now.” She traced events in Europe and Palestine for the last fifteen years and declared that those who believed that the mandate can be revised so as to wipe away the past, are indulging in “a false dream.”

Calling for independence, Mrs. Epstein emphasized that the Zionists must find a way to establish the kind of a freedom in Palestine “that will give us the right to create an economic capacity for the absorption of hundreds of thousands of immigrants.”


Dealing with the resistance in Palestine, the Hadassah leader said it was ugly, but necessary. She emphasized that she accepted “uncertified Jewish immigration” into Palestine unqualifiedly. “No political casuistry will convince the immigrants that a National Home is not a place where one can enter as one wills when one needs to and wants to,” she declared.

Mrs. Epstein did not rule out cooperation with the Big Powers. She urged the continuation of Zionist work on the diplomatic front, both in the United States and other lands, “to bring on our side the great nations without whose aid we cannot achieve success.” She said that it is possible to get increased support from the United States for the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine on the basis of enlightened self-interest–that a Jewish State would appeal to the United States’ desire for the establishment of a stable highly-developed industrialized economy in the Middle East.


Dr. Nahum Goldmann told the plenary session that Zionism must be ready for “tragic concessions” to break the political deadlock in Palestine, get rid of foreign rule and open the gates of the country to large immigration.

Assuring the delegates that no agreement has been reached with Britain on the basis of the partition resolution which the Jewish Agency executive adopted at its Paris conference this summer, Dr. Goldmann said the executive is not asking the Congress for blanket powers to conduct negotiations with the British Government, but asks only that it not be forbidden to negotiate in order to ascertain what proposals can be worked out. Such proposals, he said, will be brought before a special Zionist Congress for approval, if necessary.

Recalling that he was one of the authors of the Biltmore Declaration he told the assembly that at the time the Biltmore Declaration was proclaimed no one, including himself, thought of partition. It was drawn up on the assumption that millions of Jews would be transferred to Palestine after the war, but this did not materialize. Even the 100,000 recommended by the Anglo-American Inquiry Committee are not allowed to enter, he pointed out.


Under the circumstances, partition is the only way out, Dr. Goldmann argued. He warned that if no solution of the Palestine issue is found Britain will place the problem before the United Nations, or the Jews–or the Arabs–will themselves have to do so.

Should the issue go to the United Nations, he added, the Zionist movement must be prepared well in advance to state its aims. “The Jews must know that nothing is more harmful to a cause than a policy of waiting. The situation of the Jews both in Europe and in Palestine is bound to deteriorate.”

Turning to what he called “diplomatic realities,” Dr. Goldmann reported that only small nations who could not play power politics have offered aid to the Zionists. He warned the Congress that there is a vast difference between the world situation of 1918 and that of the present with regard to Palestine. The belief that a United Nations trusteeship would be preferable to the British mandate is a mistaken one, he continued.

He emphasized that, meanwhile, the status quo continues in Palestine and time works for the Arabs as long as there is no Jewish immigration into the country. He expressed personal opposition to terrorism, but added that people are entitled to use any weapon in order to protect themselves.


Dr. Goldmann warned that the situation in Palestine is getting more explosive. He also warned that the belief that the United States may endanger

In the course of his address, which was frequently interrupted by applause, Dr. Goldmann criticized delegates who have delivered “fighting speeches against partition.” He said he doubted whether the British Government would agree to the partition scheme, but there is a better chance to get partition than a new mandate.


In the most fiery speech delivered on the floor of the Congress, Meir Grossman, president of the United Zionists-Revisionists of the United States, called for the establishment of a provisional Jewish government for Palestine.

In the face of open hostility from most of the delegates, marked by frequent shouting and heckling which at one point forced him to halt his address, Grossman insisted that “there must be no retreat from our basic formula–a Jewish state within the historic boundaries of Palestine, based on a Jewish majority.” The most vociferous opposition demonstration occurred when he declared: “If the Congress compromises, subsequent events in Palestine may nullify its decision.”

Grossman spoke as much to the members of the praesidium seated behind him as to the audience, turning frequently to emphasize points which he hurled in a ringing voice. Revisionist delegates seated in a bloc rose to their feet in a body when he mentioned the named of “Jabotinsky,” late leader of the world Revisionist movement. The remainder of the delegates maintained an icy silence. The same demonstration was repeated when he offered greetings to all the young men and women who “stand with arms in their hands” in Palestine.

Turning to the praesidium, Grossman cried: “Three months before the Congress you dared to negotiate on partition behind our backs, now you dare to come to the Congress and tell us there is no other way out except partition.” He charged that the members of the Jewish Agency executive had negotiated with every one except with “the mounting power of the new resistance” in Palestine. “We are at war with the British,” he shouted, “and this war should be recognized by the Congress.”


Declaring that “every Jewish boy and girl who fell in the resistance struggle is a martyr” and has changed the character of Zionism to a “fighting movement,” he stated that the members of the executive had failed in their task, and urged their removal. Analyzing the “continuous contradictions” of Zionist diplomacy, Grossman voiced sharp criticism of David Ben Gurion and Dr. Nahum Goldmann. He concluded with the declaration that the case of “Ireland can repeat itself in other countries” and insisted that the “struggle must go on until Jewish national aspirations are fulfilled.”

Rising in answer to Grossman, Jacob Chasan, Palestinian delegate of the Hashomer Hatzair, denied that the Jews alone hold the solution to the Palestine problem. He charged that to say they do “helps the growth of terrorism, which we abhor. We abhor murder from ambush.” At this point prolonged heckling from the Revisionists forced him to pause.


Turning from his attack on the Revisionists, Chasan made a stirring appeal for the establishment of a bi-national state in Palestine under the supervision

He called for an Arab-Jewish agreement, stating that there are Arabs with whom an understanding can be reached, adding that the Jewish Agency is pressing a plan which has “only repulsed every friend.” There are 1,200,000 Arabs in Palestine, he said, and “we must take them into consideration, whether we want to or not.” He then aimed a blast at Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, who he said favored partition de facto, but “wants others to do it for him.”


Berl Locker, a member of the executive, said that although “a real miracle had been worked in the field of Zionism in the United States,” the question still remained whether American Zionism was sufficiently mature to take over the leadership of the World Zionist movement, which, he said, was still based on European Jewry.

Replying to Grossman, Locker warned the Revisionists that the Zionist movement would not allow itself to be terrorized. “I warn you that terrorism against outside objectives also involves terrorism in internal affairs,” he said. “Mr. Grossman, you will not terrorize the men of Ein Harod and Rukhama. You are not talking to German Social Democrats, but to the Jewish workers and citizens of Palestine.”

Commenting on the question of Arab Opposition to a Jewish state raised by Chasan, Locker said that the Arabs already have seven states and are tremendously powerful as compared to the Jews. He rejected the Hashomer Hatzair suggestion for tri-power supervision of a bi-national state saying “there was some illusion some time ago that Russia was interested in a Zionist Palestine, but the situation has since changed. England strives to stay in the Middle East and Russia tries to get in–the game is the same, the interests are the same.” He said that a binational state appealed neither to the Arabs, Zionists or England.

Locker supported the position taken by the executive at Paris, stating that with Jews on the road from Poland and ships on the high seas headed for Palestine, there could be no delay in establishment of a Jewish state. At the same time, he defended Dr. Goldmann’s attempts to secure U.S. support for the decision taken at Paris.


Isaac Tobenkin, representative of Achduth Avoda, which together with the Hashomer Hatzair make up the left-wing Labor opposition, loosed a double-barreled attack upon partition and Britain, which he declared is opposed to a Jewish homeland because it wants to use Palestine as a military base for a third World War.

Zionism is the “cradle of peace,” he said, “our aggression lies in building a peaceful life. Immigration is not illegal, but the law barring immigration is illegal. As long as immigration is not permitted, our lives are endangered.” Jewish leaders, To benkin, insisted, should not sit at the same table with those who “throw Jewish immigrants into the sea.” He opposed partition because it would not include Jerusalem in a Jewish state, and without the city the state would not be Jewish.

Other. speakers today included S.Z. Shragai, of the Labor Mizrachi, who said that the Agency executive and the Zionist Actions Committee should be empowered to decide whether to participate in the London conference; Felix Rosenbluth of the Aliyah Hadasha, the party of post-Hitler immigrants, who pleaded for an end to “activism;” and David Braver of the Central Committee of Displaced Jews in Germany.

Before the political debate was resumed this morning it was decided to limit the time allotted each party to three minutes per speaker, but the party itself has to decide which of its delegates should use the time allotted to the entire group. The gag rule does not apply to replies by members of the executive. The political debate is expected to end Sunday night and will be recessed during the day on Saturday.

Pamphlets in English and French calling for recognition of the Stern Group as “fighting for the liberation of Palestine from the yoke of an alien ruler” were delivered to all delegates today. The pamphlets were delivered in official Congress envelopes by hotel porters who were under the impression that they were official communications.

They warned the delegates that “the world is watching with no sympathy the Anglo-Jewish alliance. Let the Congress abandon this alliance which brings nothing but disaster,” they said, “let the Jews free themselves from servitude.” The pamphlets concluded with the warning that “our war will be waged everywhere by every means.”

(The Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz today received a joint letter from the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Sternists announcing that they will “not infringe on national discipline” and will refrain from taking any action for the duration of the Congress.)

Thirty uniformed Jewish employees of the Jewish Agency in Germany are visiting the Congress as spectators, among them Sylvia Newlander of New York, who is the only American. Except for one Yugoslav Jew, she is the only non-Palestinian in the group, all of whom are dressed in British and American uniforms with blue and-white shoulder patches embroidered with the initials “J.A.F.P.” All are liaison workers in UNRRA centers and displaced persons camps.

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