NEW YORK (Mar. 31)
There will be massacres of unarmed Jews from Algiers across Africa to Iraq and Lebanon, if the United Nations fails to solve the Palestine problem, Prof. Harold J. Laski warned tonight in an address at the opening session of the four-day convention of the American Jewish Congress.
“If the men who rule us let things drift outside the Middle East as they have let things drift within its boundaries, there will be no Jewish problem because there will be no Jews,” the former chairman of the British Labor Party said.” “The world will not listen to your warning and mine. Let us pray that it may recognize swiftly that the echo of the first guns fired in Palestine after May 15 will echo around the world, for they will be the first shots fired in that third global war which will end, for our generation and our children’s, the prospect of civilized life.”
The rulers in Europe and America, Prof. Laski continued, should understand that those who leave the Jews to die for a dream are themselves destined to perish not for a dream but for a nightmare full of sound and fury, but without meaning for those whom it will destroy. He termed the present state of affairs in Palestine as “one of the most cynical betrayals in history” and feared there will be “fatal inactivity” in the United Nations on solving the Palestine problem. He emphasized that he does not doubt that in the event of such a situation, the Jews in Palestine will fight.
ATTACKS ROLE OF BRITAIN AND UNITED STATES IN PALESTINE SITUATION
Bitterly attacking the “British abdication from moral obligation” and the “immature confusion of American leadership” with regard to Palestine, Prof. Laski said that “first and most responsible” for the present developments in Palestine is the British Government. “It sacrificed its honor–and the Jews–to oil and strategy,” he declared, “It sheltered itself behind a Jewish terrorism it itself largely evoked, and it used all its influence to conceal from the British people the character and quantum of the terrorism in order to escape from the legal and moral responsibilities it had inescapably incurred.
“But,” Prof. Laski continued, “I think the American Government must bear its share of guilt–less heavy than ours, but heavy. It has exercised power and influence without an atom of responsibility. It has been guilty of not letting its left hand know what its right hand was doing. It has made this grave issue the football of vote-catching strategy. It has been confused, inept, reckless and timid at the same time. It has tried to assure everyone of its determination and made the situation far more critical by making its irresolution obvious and painful.
“I think we Jews cannot escape our share of blame–British Jews because they did not see the pattern of power politics in which Palestine was one thread; American Jews because they thought that successful lobbying meant the genuine acceptance of vital principles and were too often as eager to deceive themselves as to confront the hard facts; Palestine Jews who suffered great provocation and witnessed theenactment of a horrible tragedy, but did not prevail upon an indefensible group among them to desist from using indefensible means for an end to which they were never proportionate; and world Jewry because it failed to convince the Arab masses that the development of a Jewish homeland would be an Arab liberation as well as a Jewish achievement.”
Pointing out that the British Labor Party had pledged itself to abrogate the British White Paper which restricted Jewish immigration and land acquisition in Palestine, Prof. Laski charged the present Labor Government with not observing its pledges. He accused British Prime Minister Ernest Bevin of playing “a sinister role in the story” and said that Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech-Jones “became a passive instrument of Cabinet purposes” with regard to the Palestine issue.
“It is probably too late now to prevent the outbreak of hostilities which are both unnecessary and futile j” he declared, “If they continue they will destroy more than Palestine, For the victims of the disagreements between the Great Powers destroy their masters as well as themselves, There will “be the announcement of a Jewish state in Palestine* There will he massacres of unarmed Jews from Algiers across Africa to Iraq and Lebanon. Evil men will watch those graves filled that Hitler left empty, That is the moment when it may still be possible to awaken the conscience of the world, That will either he the fall of a final darkness or the first gleam of day.
“The Jews have no alternative hut the search for life,” Prof. Laski pointed 3txt, “If Britain, America and Russia have determined that they must fight to live, they will fight. It need not “be so. It ought not to have been so. There is a national solution to this issue. But it cannot “be applied unless we start to “build world peace it cannot “be applied if we value oil and strategic routes more than the spirit of man.”