Zurich (Aug. 26)
The Zionist movement must face the fact that despite the United Nations’ desire to find a prompt solution to the Palestine problem, a final decision may be postponed for a long time, Moshe Shertok, political chief of the Jewish Agency, told the Zionist Actions Committee, meeting here.
Shertok said that although it was difficult to forecast the recommendations of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, a majority is known to favor partition, with a minority holding out for bi-nationalism.
Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, head of the Agency section in the United States, revealed that President Truman last week promised to maintain his friendly attitude towards Zionism. Silver said that there was no reason for pessimism concerning the stand the U.S. will take on the UNSCOP recommendations, adding that the State Department will not support an anti-Zionist policy. He cautioned, however, that Zionists cannot take for granted U.S. support of their aims and efforts.
Declaring that the United States has become the principal battleground in the “fight for the freedom of Israel,” the American Zionist leader urged formulation of a program to combat British anti-Zionist propaganda in the U.S., which, he said, was strengthened by the hanging of two British soldiers by the Irgun. He asserted that American Jews favor a militant policy, including a possible boycott of British goods. They support active resistance to the present British policy not only through un-authorized immigration and fasts, but by Jewish statesmanship aimed at uniting all resistance forces in Palestine under national discipline. Silver deplored the divisions in Zionist ranks in the present crisis and assailed dissident groups in America, who, he said, create confusion in the public mind.
BEN GURION AND GRUENBAUM CLASH ON ACTION AGAINST DISSIDENTS
The problem of the dissidents precipitated an angry exchange this morning between David Ben Gurion, Laborite chairman of the Zionist executive, and Isaac Gruenbaum, a member of the executive and General Zionist leader. In a two-hour impassioned address, delivered shortly after he arrived in Zurich, Ben Gurion demanded a merciless fight on the dissident groups by all means. Those refusing to back this stand should be thrown out of the movement, he urged.
Replying, Gruenbaum said that although he was also against terror, this was not the time to provoke civil war. He challenged Ben Gurion’s status, charging that he did not speak for the executive. Accusing Ben Gurion of “throwing oil on the fire,” Gruenbaum said bitterly: “I will never assist in a pact between Bevin and Ben Gurion against (Menachem) Beigin.” (Beigin is commander of the Irgun.) He threatened to resign from the executive of the Jewish Agency if the Actions Committee does not support his position.
Shertok interrupted at this point to state that Ben Gurion had spoken immediately after his arrival here, without having had an opportunity to discuss the question of terrorism with the executive. Speaking last night, Shertok attacked terror as the greatest danger to the Yishuv. He demanded a “real fight” against the Bergson groups in the United States.