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Leaders of Major Zionist Organizations Testify Before Anglo-american Committee

January 9, 1946
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The Zionist case was presented today to the Anglo-American Inquiry Committee by Dr. Stephen S. Wise, chairman of the American Zionist Emergency Council, and Dr. Emanuel Neumann, vice-president of the Zionist Organization of America, both of whom emphasized the political rights of the Jews to Palestine and stressed the need for mass-admission of Jews from Europe to Palestine.

Declaring that he was appearing with “great reluctance,” Dr. Wise told the unusually intent committee that the Jews ask only for 10,000 square miles in Palestine as compared with the millions of square miles held by the Arab states. The Christian world, he declared, including England, which permitted six million Jews to perish, owes the Jews a great measure of reparation.

“The political and national homelessness of the Jews was the primary cause of their persecution,” Dr Wise said, urging the establishment of Palestine as the Jewish National Home. He denied the charge by Lt. General Sir Frederick E. Morgan of a planned exodus of Jews from Poland, declaring that it was an uninstigated movement “of Jews whom the government was unable to protect.”

Expressing his appreciation of President Truman’s interest in the fate of the displaced Jews, Dr. Wise testified that President Wilson told a group of Jewish leaders, including himself, that the foundations of a Jewish commonwealth should be laid in Palestine. “None of us dreamed that we would remain a minority there,” he stated, adding that a minority status for Jews in Palestine would be unbearable.

Dr. Wise expressed confidence that a poll of the British people would reveal the “overwhelming majority” as differing from some politicians and as saying “the Jews should have Palestine.” American Christian people, he said, have been in completes sympathy with Zionist aims and aspirations.


Henry Monsky, co-chairman of the American Jewish Conference, presented the committee with a four-point program and a call for abolition of the White Paper as” a prerequisite not only to the proper solution of the Palestine problem but to the elimination of anti-Semitism throughout the world.” The Conference program proposed.

1. Immediate announcement by the responsible powers of their intention to reconstitute Palestine “as a free and democratic Jewish commonwealth.”

2. Immediate abolition of all existing restrictions on free Jewish immigration into Palestine and on the right of Jews to purchase land and settle on it there.

3. Vesting of the Jewish Agency for Palestine with full authority over immigration into Palestine and with necessary powers to up build the country.

4. Extension to the Jewish Agency of the necessary financial and technical facilities on an intergovernmental basis to expedite large scale Jewish immigration and settlement.

Monsky called the committee’s attention to the resolution adopted by both houses of Congress as reflecting declaration of traditional American policy. He said it would be “unfortunate” if the committee limited its-efforts to finding a sanctuary for Jewish displaced persons. This, he declared, is a temporary situation and would contribute little to the long range solution which has been “too long delayed.” He said Palestine offers security, peace of mind and opportunity for normal development, “if the Balfour Declaration is carried out.”

Judge Hutcheson asked Monsky whether he believed that Jews can “never” live in Europe in the future, or cannot “now” live there. Monsky replied that he hoped “this is not the end of Jews in “Europe,” and said that France, Belgium, Holland and other European countries could certainly afford opportunities for European Jews.

A 42-page memorandum submitted by the American Zionist Emergency Council to the committee was praised by Hutcheson as ” a very valuable document.” The memorandum cites the basic Zionist and British declarations with regard to a national home in Palestine, refutes attempts to “distort” Palestine into a “racial” or “theocratic” state, recites the history of international negotiations on the subject and cites, among others, the late David Lloyd George as stating no one ever dreamed of restricting Jews to a permanent minority in Palestine. It includes using the identical phrasing–the four demands presented by the American Jewish Conference as well as a request that the Jewish Agency participate in any international commission dealing with Palestine.


Dr. Emanuel Neumann attacked the humanitarian or philanthropic approach to the Palestine problem. The fundamental question, he declared, was whether the essential and established rights of the Jewish people with respect to Palestine shall or shall not be honored. If they are, the refuges problem can be solved, if not, the refuges problem remains “hopelessly insoluble,” he said.

Neumann referred to the failure which followed efforts to deal with the refugee problem in the Evian Conference called in 1938 by the late President Roosevelt, the Bermuda Conference in 1943, and by the War Refugee Board in this country, recently dissolved. “The so-called humanitarian approach,” Neumann asserted, “which avoided the controversial issue of Palestine resulted in the continued destruction of human life.”

Citing the case of Oswego. Neumann said, “If 900 refugees from Nazi Europe already on American soil constituted a ‘problem’ and had to be kept in a detention camp for a year and a half, what hope or prospect is there for the emigration and resettlement of hundreds of thousands in this or any other country halfway acceptable to them?”

Referring to President Truman’s letter of August 21, 1945 asking immediate admission of 100,000 Jews to Palestine, Neumann said in comment or the failure to admit them: “There will be fewer Jews alive in Europe in April and May of 1946 than there were in July of 1945” he then declared, “We the Jews of America want no more ‘Strummers’ nor do we want to go hat in hand begging for admission when of right the Jews ought to be admitted to Palestine.

Neumann was asked by the chairman of the committee to file a brief on the basic documents establishing the Jewish right to a national Jewish homeland in Palestine. This, he said, the Zionist Organization of America would do.


Dr. Neumann proposed – as an interim measure – the establishment of an international commission, backed by the United Nations Organization, for early large scale transfer of Jews to Palestine. Representation on the Commission of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, commensurate with the Agency’s responsibilities, was declared by Neumann to be essential for the success of such a commission.

Neumann’s characterization of the Palestine land laws as “vestigial remains of Nuremberg legislation” drew objection from Major Reginald Manningham-Buller, British member of the committee, who asked Neumann if he thought that the Palestinian laws were intended to be an imitation of Nazi legislation. Neumann denied intent of imitation, but termed the land laws “outrageous” in the officially imposed discrimination against Jews and virtually complete repudiation of obligation which, he said, they represent.

Neumann emphatically declared his belief that Jews and Arabs “can and will live amicably together in Palestine.” When Major Manningham-Buller asked him whether the Zionist program envisioned the evacuation of Arabs from Palestine to other countries, he vigorously replied: “There is no need for displacement of a single Arab from Palestine. They have every right to continue to live there with full autonomy.” His subsequent comment that the suggestion for such evacuation came from the British Labor Party drew considerable laughter from committee members and audience alike.

To Manningham Buller’s comment that he failed to see how amicable co-living of Jews and Arabs might be achieved in Palestine, Neumann pointed out the necessity of a sharp distinction between political strife participated in by a limited strata of Arab society, and the ordinary human relations between the mass of Jews and Arabs. He denied any racial animosity between Jews and Arabs, declaring it was the political tension which had to be resolved.

Mrs. Judith T. Epstein, president of Hadassah, outlined to the committee the history and work of her organization in Palestine, which, she said, had benefited Arabs as well as Jews.

Citing the advantages received by the Arabs from Hadassah’s medical and welfare work in Palestine, she pointed to the non-sectarian character of all Hadassah medical facilities and to the establishment in many purely Arab sections of infant welfare stations for exclusive Arab use. Many Arabs are alive today, she said, including many children, who might have died but for the work of Hadassah.

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