A clear-cut picture of Zionist aims was predated today to the Anglo-American inquiry committee by David Ben-Gurion, chairman of Jewish Agency executive, in a two-hour report in which he emphasized that Zionist leadership will not renounce its claim to the establishment of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine.
“Our aim,” Ben Gurion said, “is not a majority. Our aim is a Jewish state. As ‘Jewish state’ we mean Jewish soil, Jewish labor, a Jewish economy, Jewish schools, language and culture. We also mean Jewish security. We mean complete independence.”
As far as the Jews are concerned, the British troops can leave Palestine now, as Zionist leader told the inquiry committee. “We can take care of ourselves,” he explained, adding that “the British troops are here for other reasons into which I do not want to delve.”
The Jewish Agency, he continued, has now given up its attempts to cooperate with the Palestine Government to stop political violence. “We cannot do it, because it is futile, since the war ended and the remnants of European Jewry are still profited from going to their home in Palestine,” he declared. “Yes, we want to cooperate with the British for the future of Palestine, but the question is: ‘Do you want to cooperate?'”
Pointing out that he associates himself with Dr. Chaim Weizmann in hatred of political violence, Ben Gurion said that he could not give any answer to the question led by one of the members of the inquiry committee as to whether a point has been reached when Jews feel that they have the right to take up arms against the “wickedness” of the Palestine Administration. “I cannot answer this question,” he stated. He depends on whether the White Paper policy, which is condemned by the moral conference of the world, is continued.”
WANTS THE JEWISH AGENCY TO CONTROL PALESTINE IMMIGRATION
Ben Gurion demanded that the Jewish Agency be given the right to supervise immigration into Palestine under the authority of Article 11 of the Mandate, which proposes for development of the country to its full possibilities for the benefit of all peoples. When asked by a member of the inquiry committee whether he wants control of immigration taken out of the hands of the trustee, if Palestine is placed under trusteeship, Ben Gurion replied:
“It is a different name for the same thing–the League of Nations becomes the United Nations Organization, the Mandate becomes a trusteeship. I say we should have control over immigration because we can do it better. It is vital for us that the boss should feel our coming here is not at their expense.”
Referring to Arab-Jewish relations, Ben Gurion declared: “The conflict between us is most tragic, because it is a family conflict. But it will not last long. We will carry out our work of regeneration. Even if obstacles increase, we will continue with our work, because it is a matter of life and death.
“Many of you,” the Zionist leader continued, “prefer a poor Arab country to a rich Jewish one. This does you honor. But history has decreed that we must return to our country and establish a Jewish state. It will be established. Many of you show it and we know it. And we tell you that you have no more loyal and useful friends in the entire world than the Jewish people. The closer and the quicker we get together, the better for both. With a Jewish State on one hand and Arab unity on the other, we will help each other as equals toward a great destiny.”
DISPUTES ARAB ARGUMENTS; SAYS JEWS NOT INFLUENCED BY THREATS
Touching upon Arab opposition to a Jewish state, Ben-Gurion said that the Arabs allege that they fear the influence of Jews outside the country, but, at the same time, they threaten that such a state will have to be defended by British bayonets, for it will be destroyed by the Arabs.
“Both the fear and the threat are without foundation,” the Zionist leader said, “for we will take care of ourselves and certainly we will not trample on forty million Arabs in the Middle East. But whatever the case, we are not affected by threats and fears. And I tell you, gentlemen, that just as thousands of Englishmen would die rather than give up their country, so there are hundreds of thousands of Jews in this country and others who will give up their lives, if necessary, for Zion. We will not renounce Zion as we did not renounce Jewishness, whatever the price. We will not renounce the Jewish Commonwealth.”
There are three reasons why Jews are returning to Palestine, Ben-Gurion told the inquiry committee: 1. Escape from discrimination; 2. Love for Zion; 3. The age for Jewish independence. “This urge for independence,” he said, “is what you will a Jewish State, and it is the center of the entire problem.”
JEW ARE NOT PREVENTED FROM LEAVING PALESTINE FOR EUROPE, BEN-GURION SAYS
Asked about letters received by members of the inquiry committee from Jews are, who complained that they are being prevented from leaving Palestine for European, Ben-Gurion replied that no Jew is prevented from leaving the country. He suggested that such Jews be produced and give their testimony, in camera, if necessary.
The leader of the Jewish Agency complained that as matters stand today in Palestine, the Jews live under an “arbitrary” regime. “We do not even enjoy equality before the law,” he pointed out.
Ben-Gurion was followed by Siegfried Hoofien, president of the Anglo-Palestine bank, who was heard briefly on Friday. Hoofien urged that Germany pay reparations to Jews. “Germany,” Mr. Hoofien said, “declared a war of extermination against Jews, and Germany is responsible for the present acute form of the Jewish problem. Payments by Germany to Jews over a certain number of years would lighten the burden of payments which the Jewish state would have to pay against credits obtained abroad.”
Pointing out that there is no unemployment in Palestine and the 50,000 Jewish labor workers are now in peace-time industries, Hoofien said: “The Yishuv has been a fund business proposition and is so recognized everywhere, including in the City in London.’
David Horowitz, appearing for the Jewish Agency, gave the members of the committee a comprehensive lecture with illustrated maps, charts and graphs on Jewish immigration, employment, Moslem child mortality and other aspects of Palestine life.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.