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American Jewish Committee’s Statement on Palestine Evokes Zionist Reply

February 17, 1943
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs today issued the following statement in reply to the declaration adopted by the American Jewish Committee at its annual meeting:

“Not only does the statement of the American Jewish Committee offer no acceptable compromise on the essential demands of Zionism, but it represents a retrogression from previous positions taken by the Committee itself with regard to Palestine. On April 28, 1918, the Committee adopted a resolution which endorsed the Balfour Declaration, in which reference was made to the National Home of the Jewish people in Palestine. On March 1, 1919, the Committee joined in a memorandum submitted to President Wilson, asking that the Peace Conference recognize ‘the aspirations and historic claims of the Jewish people’ in regard to Palestine. The present statement of the Committee makes no mention of these aspirations and historic claims, it does not allude to the National Home, nor does it take cognizance of the existence of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, officially recognized in the Mandate.

“The statement of the Committee cannot serve as the basis for united action with regard to Palestine because it is contradictory to or noncommittal on the program formulated in the Extraordinary Conference of all Zionist Organizations in America held at the Biltmore Hotel in April of 1942, which was thereafter endorsed by practically all groups within the World Zionist Organization.

“In the course of negotiations, over a period of fifteen months, the Committee was fully apprised of the Zionist position. The Zionist program presented a demand for a Jewish Commonwealth of Palestine. The Committee, however, expresses the view that ‘there should be no preconceived formula at this time as to the permanent political structure which shall obtain there.’ The Zionist program asked that immigration to Palestine be under Jewish control in order that a maximum number of Jews may be enabled to settle in Palestine in as short a time as possible. The statement of the Committee is limited to a demand for ‘safe-guarding the Jewish settlement in and Jewish immigration into Palestine’ under an international trusteeship.

“The Zionist position is based on the conviction that Palestine provides the basic solution of the problem of Jewish homelessness. The statement of the Committee specifically rejects this conclusion. Nor does the statement of the Committee give due consideration to the terrible plight of the Jews of Europe as a consequence of a decade of Nazi persecution, or to the implications of Jewish creative work in Palestine in the past twenty-five years, which now requires that the foundations of the Jewish Commonwealth be politically secured.”

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