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Agency Fails Gromyko Statement; Palestine Paper Calls It “Soviet Balfour Declaration”

May 16, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Jewish Agency today gave voice to the gratification of Palestine Jewry at Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko’s demand in the U.N. yesterday for the establishment in Palestine of separate Jewish and Arab states, if bi-nationalism proved to be unacceptable to both peoples.

"Gromyko’s speech caused great satisfaction and gratification to world Jewry and the Palestine Jewish community and to the Jewish Agency," an Agency spokesman stated. "It is obviously an event of extraordinary importance when one of the three major powers makes a public declaration in which a number of basic principles guiding us in our analysis of the Jewish position and our work are accepted and underlined," he continued. "It is of extreme importance that the USSR’s representative should underline the historical connection between our people and this country."

Echoing the opinion of the man in the street, the Hebrew press expressed similar sentiments. Mishmar, organ of the Hashomer Hatzair Party, which together with the Ichud group headed by Dr. Judah Magnes, are the chief proponents of binationalism within the Jewish community, termed the speech an "historic declaration which will be entered as such in the annals of Jewish and world history."

Referring to it as the "Soviet Balfour Declaration," the newspaper said: "At a time when the successors of (Lord) Balfour and (Woodrow) Wilson are selling out the right of refuge of the Jewish people to Arab reaction for oil, one of the most powerful factors in the world came to the defense of the Jewish people. The Soviets now support the fundamental principles on which our liberation movement is built.

"We are gratified that Russia and, with her, all progressive forces in the world, demand that an Arab-Jewish agreement be fostered and that in any case the right of the Jewish people to national independence be safeguarded. We feel that this a declaration of principles not motivated by a desire for tactical advantages."

Davar, organ of the Histadruth, declared that "Russia’s lifting of its boycott of Zionism" will, in effect, "undermine Britain’s position in the Middle East." It asserted that Gromyko out the ground out from under the British Labor Party’s policy of intimidating British public opinion with the threat that if the government granted the Jewish demands the Arabs would rush into the arms of the Soviet Union.

Haaretz, conservative newspaper which usually speaks for the General Zionists, also pointed out that Gromykos historic speech will undermine the basis on which the experts of the British Foreign Office build their Middle East and Palestine policies"–"appeasement of the Arabs at Jewish expense in order to prevent the Arabs from joining Russia against the Western powers. Now, this basis is devoid of value," it concluded.

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