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Palestine Conference Urges American Jews to Raise $4,500,000 to Spur Colonization

January 24, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The National Conference for Palestine, attended by 1,500 representatives from all over the country, called on American Jewry today to raise $4,500,000 in the coming year, after speakers had urged the launching of an unprecedented colonization program in Palestine to absorb German, Rumanian and Polish emigrants.

Great Britain was asked to lift immigration restrictions in one of a series of resolutions adopted with the aim of spurring the upbuilding of the Jewish homeland despite Arab terrorism and the uncertainty occasioned by the recent British White Paper.

The conference, called by the United Palestine Appeal and other organizations, opened last night at the Hotel Mayflower, and closed with a banquet tonight at which Federal Housing Administrator Nathan Straus, Senator Robert F. Wagner, Dr. Solomon Goldman of Chicago and Rabbi Philip M. Bernstein of Rochester were scheduled as principal speakers.

Secretary of Interior Harold L. Ickes, holding out the hope of fulfillment of the dream for a Jewish homeland, declared this afternoon that Palestine’s success depended on the protection of democracy and peace. He brought special greetings from President Roosevelt of “deep and continuing sympathy for Jewish efforts to build a national home.”

“World-wide malaise has created uneasiness and unrest in Palestine,” Mr. Ickes asserted. “Jewish life and property have not been safe even in Palestine. But the Jews have long been accustomed to seek and not to find, and yet not to yield fulfillment of their ideals. As the darkening shadows lift from a troubled world, the sun will also rise over Palestine, and law shall again go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”


With “cruel pressures against Jews in Europe not relaxed and access to Palestine no easier,” Secretary Ickes said “the need for a viable Jewish homeland in Palestine is greater than ever.”

“Your history, your traditions have put you in the vanguard of the struggle for human liberty,” he said. “But the enemies against whom you are forced to contend are not so much your enemies as the enemies of all human progress. I ask your cooperation not only that we may have peace and prosperity at home, but that we may advance the cause of peace abroad, which is so vital to the rebuilding of the Jewish homeland. For Palestine stands as a bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, and disturbed international relations naturally have serious repercussions in Palestine.”

Dr. Maurice J. Karpf, American non-Zionist member of the Jewish Agency Executive presented an authoritative exposition of the non-Zionist view in Palestine during a symposium. The non-Zionists, he said, oppose partition or crystallization of the status quo in Palestine, and favor a democratic state in which Jews and Arabs may develop freely with assurances of non-domination of either group by the other.

Replying to Dr. Karpf, Dr. Bernard Joseph, legal adviser of the Jewish Agency, warned that if the proposal for a Jewish State failed, there was a danger of a “much worse alternative,” including restriction of Jewish land purchase and closing of the entire hill district to the Jews.

Speakers last night included Dr. Stephen S. Wise, who presided, Dr. Joachim Prinz, Mr. Straus and Ludwig Lewisohn. Mr. Straus, in A pre-convention broadcast address, stressed the necessity of preserving Palestine if world democracy was to survive. He said the rebuilding of Palestine was the primary obligation of Jews everywhere, particularly in America.

Dr. Chaim Weizmann, in a message from Jerusalem, called attention to “our adversaries, both in Palestine and abroad, actively at work to undermine the political structure on which our work is built.” He said the Royal Commission report had opened up the prospect for the establishment of a Jewish State in our day and appealed for material support from America.

While the delegates gathered, five purported Palestine Arabs picketed the hotel with banners protesting Zionist endeavors. They said they were members of the Arab National League.

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