Ben Gurion Urges Congress to Avoid Action on Partition and on Joining London Parley
Menu JTA Search

Ben Gurion Urges Congress to Avoid Action on Partition and on Joining London Parley

Download PDF for this date

David Ben Gurion, appearing before the Zionist Congress political committee today, appealed to the Congress to take no action on either partition or participation in the London Conference, but to leave the decision on these questions to the new executive.

If this were done, Ben Gurion said, the executive could determine when the situation was favorable for participation in the London talks, but only on the following conditions: recognition of the principle of a Jewish state and agreement that the White Paper provisions on land purchases and immigration shall be voided immediately after conclusion of the parley.

The chairman of the Jewish Agency executive called for continued organized resistance in Palestine and cautioned that the new executive must insure that the strength of the Jewish community shall not be dissipated.

Ben Gurion predicted that an agreement could be reached with the Palestine Arabs only after establishment of a Jewish state. To bolster his prediction, he cited the fact that the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem had sent emissaries to London after publication of the Peel partition plan in 1937 to negotiate for the establishment of relations between the two proposed states. He also said that several neighboring Arab states had approached the Agency for the same reason when it appeared that a Jewish state might be established.


A clash between Ben Gurion and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver occurred at the Political Committee when the former demanded that Zionist political activities in the United States should be carried on by non-American Zionist leaders. This brought an angry retort from Dr. Silver who asked whether Ben Gurion wished to discount all the political activities of the American Zionist leadership.

The Committee accepted a proposal by Ben Gurion that the Jews establish a city similar to Tel Aviv in the Negev in order to facilitate conquest of the desert. The plan will be embodied in a resolution to be submitted to the Congress.

Dr. Nahum Goldmann followed Ben Gurion, reporting to the Committee on recent negotiations in London and Washington on the Agency’s partition scheme. Berl Locker also reported concerning the London meetings with government representatives.


A statement expressing resentment at Dr. Weizmann’s remarks with regard to the American Zionists in the course of his address on Monday night was issued here today by the delegation of the Zionist Organization of America. The statement

“The delegation of the Zionist Organization of America feels compelled to express its deep resentment over the slurring references to American Zionists which were contained in the address of Dr. Chaim Weizmann on Monday night. These offensive remarks concerning American Zionists’ support of the Haganah and its resistance activities were passing strange coming from one who must be fully aware that the Zionists of America were repeatedly called upon by authoritative spokesmen of the Yishuv to give the utmost support to the responsible Jewish resistance movement in Palestine.


“American Zionists had responded willingly and enthusiastically–and effectively–to these appeals. Now to hear these very efforts which were so eagerly solicited on behalf of the Yishuv derided by Dr. Weizmann, and their purpose misrepresented, is shocking.

“In carefully measured words spokesmen of American Zionism at the Congress stated that it must be left to the responsible elements of Palestine Jewry to determine what should or should not be done with regard to resistance, and they reaffirmed the support of American Jewry to the Yishuv and Haganah in their heroic efforts to protect the rights of the Jewish people.

“This position of American Zionists was so distorted as to be susceptible to the interpretation that American Zionists were irresponsibly encouraging the youth of Palestine to expose themselves to danger while remaining safely in America and offering only moral, political and financial support. This unparalleled imputation has caused a feeling of outrage among the American delegates to the Congress and evoked expressions of protest and indignation at the sessions Monday evening and subsequently.

“We regret that contrary to reasonable expectations, Dr. Weizmann has not taken the occasion to withdraw his offensive remarks or to correct the painful impression they create.”


Approval by the Congress of partition or cooperation with the British Government against terrorists would be the signal for immediate civil war, William B. Ziff, American Revisionist, said today. He told a press conference that if the Zionist executive submitted to what he termed “quisling collaboration,” with Britain, it would be repudiated and fought as an enemy.

Ziff accused the British of recruiting “picked anti-Semites” for service in the Palestine police, and said while he was in Dublin he saw British newspaper advertisements offering police recruits twenty pounds monthly and “all pickings,” “that means all the loot they can lay their hands on,” Ziff added.

Several hours after conclusion of the press conference, the Revisionists announced that Ziff had been excluded from their fraction. Ziff expressed regret at his expulsion, but added: “Any excommunication is a silly piece of business.”

The Congress Court today opened hearings in the case of the 13 members of the American United Zionist-Revisionist delegation who were suspended early this week because of publication in the United States of an advertisement calling for support for the extremist groups in Palestine, and the submission to the United Nations of an appeal for the establishment of a trusteeship for Palestine. The advertisement bore the names of several organizations affiliated with the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation, as well as that of the Zionist Revisionists.

Meir Grossman, president of the United Revisionists of America, stated on behalf of his group that there could be no question of dissolving ties between his party and the H.C.N.L. because no such files existed. He denied knowledge of cooperation between his group and the H.C.N.L. although he said some members of the Revisionist organization might be members of the other body.

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, speaking for the executive, said that there must have been cooperation and affiliation between the groups. He declared that Grossman’s statement was satisfactory as far as it went, but that it should be followed by a similar statement by the United Zionists-Revisionists in the United States. He asserted that the executive does not desire to punish the Revisionist delegates, but that further action besides Grossman’s statement must be forthcoming. The court then adjourned until Sunday.


Eliezer Kaplan, treasurer of the Agency executive, today charged Ben Gurion with violating Labor Party discipline by appearing before the political committee without prior consultation with the party fraction. He told a stormy caucus of the Labor delegates, at which no agreement could be reached on any of the major issues facing the Congress, that if the party ignores this breach of discipline by Ben Gurion, the latter might negotiate personally with the Committee on Nominations concerning the conditions under which he would agree to be a candidate for membership on the executive.

The agency treasurer asked the caucus what stand the party wanted to take with regard to the demand by American Zionists that the executive of the Agency should not be “the sole controlling force” over the Agency’s budget and that the branch of the executive in Washington, if established, should have the right to a part of the budget.

“Since this demand has been made by the American Zionists in the form of an ultimatum, I must ask the party for a decision prior to my appearance before the Finance Committee of the Congress,” Kaplan insisted. The meeting unanimously decided to support Kaplan’s view that the executive of the Agency is to remain the sole distributor of the Agency’s budget.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund