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40 Zionist Delegates to Congress Arrive on Queen Mary After Tense Voyage

September 5, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

After a five day voyage marked by nightly “black outs” and tension over the war crisis, the first group of some 40 American delegates to the Geneva Zionist Congress returned this morning on the liner Queen Mary with the message that Zionists were united in support of the democracies and expected a Palestine Jewish state to emerge from the present conflict.

Met by joyous relatives and friends on the crowded West Fiftieth Street Cunardpier, the Zionists told of their difficulties in arranging steamship passage from crisis stricken Europe. After receiving American Embassy assurances that they would be evacuated by an American battleship if necessary, they waited at the French port of Nacqueville from Aug. 26 to 30 and finally embarked for a voyage during which they listened anxiously to radio bulletins and observed rigid “black-out” restrictions, not even being able to smoke on deck at night.

In an interview with Dr. Solomon Goldman, president of the Zionist Organization of America, and with leaders of the various factions, including General Zionists, the Poale Zion, Mizrachi and Hadassah, three salient points emerged:

(1) The Zionists and world Jewry are virtually unanimous in support of the allies in the present war, Britain’s Palestine policy having been submerged in the emergency.

(2) Zionists expect a “new deal” for Palestine as a result of the war and the emergence of a Jewish state.

(3) The United States will be more than ever a center of Zionist activities and American Jewry will be obliged to make unprecedented contributions of men, money and moral strength.

Dr. Goldman issued the following statement after consultation with other Zionists.

“The 21st Zionist Congress, convened only two weeks ago in Geneva, seems just now far removed from us. The cataclysmic events of the last several days confront civilized humanity with only one issue that of assuring the victory of humanity over barbarism. The British and French people are fighting for all of us. Unless we are badly informed, hundreds of thousands of Germans will desert to the Allies. Hitler will go down to ignominious defeat, leaving behind only the bleak memories of an evil nightmare.

“The Zionist Congress, meeting on the eve of war, again proved that Zionism is guided by principle and not by expediency. Despite the injustice perpetrated on our movement by the recent White Paper on Palestine, we instantly decided where our duty lies. In the present struggle, Zionists as always will be found on the side of humanity and civilization. The new struggle for justice inspires Zionists with renewed hope. The Balfour Declaration was conceived and born when mankind was fighting for democracy we believe that declaration will not only receive reaffirmation now but also its implementation at a time when peoples are warring, in the words of Chamberlain, for justice and against persecution. The Zionists in the United States will understand their special responsibility in this grave hour.”

Amplifying the statement in an interview, Dr. Goldman said that “the war and the prospects for a new world order–and therefore for larger opportunities in Palestine–over shadowed the discussion of the White Paper at the Congress…Every indication is in the direction of abandonment of the White Paper. The Jews would be gravely disappointed to learn that MacDonald (British Colonial Secretary) is still of the opinion that the White Paper is the last word in the destiny of Palestine.”

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