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Britain’s Honor at Stake in Palestine, Laguardia Tells Balfour Day Rally

November 4, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

“This is no time for England to monkey with her honor” in Palestine, where the Jewish homeland has been her most creditable policy since the Armistice, Mayor F.H. LaGuardia declared last night to more than 3,000 Zionists attending a Balfour Day rally at Mecca Temple and several hundred more listening by loud speaker at an overflow meeting outside.

Spurning the use of suggested material furnished him by the Emergency Committee on Palestine as “too diplomatic,” the Mayor asserted that “no words can indicate my indignation and my protest against even the remote suggestion that England should go back on her word. He expressed belief that Britain has “too much good sense to run out now” and declared that her honor was at stake in the situation.

“I do not believe that it is at all possible to change a policy which has been 00 successful, not only to the people of the Jewish faith but to England herself,” he said. “I now make one suggestion and ask England one question: if, since the signing of the armistice, Great Britain can point to any one single act or policy which has brought more credit to Great Britain than her policy in Palestine itself.”

He made a passing reference to Hitler, renewing the condemnation that has made him a center of diplomatic difficulties in the past. “As I have stated so many times,” he declared, “Secretary Hull and I have an agreement. He attends to foreign affairs and I attend to cleaning the streets of New York City. And when it comes to one gentleman in Europe, we are both dealing in the same commodity.”

Governor Lehman, who had been scheduled to address the rally but did not attend because of pressure of other work, sent a message asserting that curtailment of Palestine Jewish immigration “would shock the conscience of the world.” Prof. Albert Einstein said in a message: We expect that England shall not submit to the pressure of terror, but through the establishment of security shall reach a peaceable solution.”

Other speakers were Representative Hamilton Fish, co-author of the Congressional resolution ok 1922 supporting the Balfour Declaration; Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Judge Morris Rothenberg, Dr. Hirsch L. Gordon, president of the American Palestine Jewish Legion, and Louis Lipsky, who presided.

The rally approved a telegram to be sent to President Roosevelt expressing gratitude for the representations which he had made regarding Palestine. The telegram said that the president’s action had “buttressed the cause of peace,” and concluded: “Through you, once again, the heart of America has spoken.”

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