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U.S. Asked to Admit Displaced Jews on Immigration Quotas Not Used During the War

January 11, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Emphasizing that Palestine can be regarded at best has only one of the places” to which displaced Jews from Europe can emigrate, Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, today told the Anglo-American Inquiry Committee here that the problem of the homeless Jews in Europe can be solved only by the United Nations Organization under the leadership of the United States.

“I propose that the United Nations Organization immediately call a conference of all of its members,” Mr. Rosenwald said at the hearings of the inquiry committee. “Each nation should agree to accept a number of the total figure of those desiring emigration. Any single nation’s offer of help may take into account those the whom they have already given refuge.”


The United States can make a signal contribution to such a conference, Mr. Rosenwald declared. “Owing to the war, the flow of new, potential American citizens through the channels of immigration was virtually halted,” he explained. “We recommend that the United States agree to admit up to the number of immigrants that would normally have been admitted under our immigration quotas, but who were prevented from coming due to the war.

“By our use of the hitherto unused quotas, a notable contribution to the solution of this problem would be made within the meaning and intent of our immigration laws which recognized the value of continuous and regulated additions to our population through immigration,” Rosenwald continued. “Once such action is taken, other countries should be persuaded to assume comparable shares of what is a common responsibility.”

Pointing out that such a plan could be put into operation quickly, and that the very knowledge of its existence would do much to be later the spirits of Jews who no longer wish to stay in Europe, Rosenwald said that even if the complex political problems were solved and the gates of the country were opened, Palestine would still be inadequate, on practical grounds, as the answer to the immediate needs of the displaced and other Jews in Europe who wish to emigrate.

“The most optimistic Zionist estimates,” he said, “have indicated that Palestine can receive at the most 100,000 immigrants a year, and this at a high cost. Not including any immigration of American Jewish youth, such as is presently being organized and sent by Zionists, and assuming that European Jews would be given this quota exclusively, it would require over six years to meet the problem of the 600,000 potential Jewish emigrates.”


Declaring that the American Council for Judaism believes that “Palestine can and must contribute a share “to the alleviation of the Jewish emigration problem, Rosenwald said. “But even such a contribution is possible only on renunciation of the claim that Jews possess unlimited national right to the land, and that the country shall take the form of a racial or theocratic state.”

Palestine, he continued, stands in an increasingly important place strategically in the new patterns of world communication. The peace of the country is therefore a prime consideration. “If, in order to insure peace, former declarations or commitments require amendment or annulment, such action should be taken,” Rosenwald urged. “Without basic peace, Jews who may leave Europe and go to Palestine may be going from the trying pan into the fire.”

The leader of the American Council for Judaism pointed out to the committee that his group rejects that Hitlerian concept that classified Jews as a race or na- tion.” He said that Jews are members of a religion, Judaism, and must, as such, receive full equality of rights and responsibilities everywhere in the world. “We reject any thesis that asks for action on their behalf on grounds of nationality or race, he stated.


Joseph E. Beck, executive director of the National Refugee Service, and Prof. Maurice R. Davie, director of a nation-wide investigation conducted by the Committee for the Study of Recent Immigration, testified before the committee on America’s experience with the 250,000 refugees who were admitted to this country.

The two experts revealed that the refugees who have found haven in the United States are almost all well-adjusted, self-supporting members of their communities and that they have had a beneficial influence upon this country out of proportion to their numbers. Mr. Beck described the national refugee-assistance program centering around the NRS which enabled the Jewish refugees to speedily and smoothly adjust themselves to American life.


Hayim Greenberg, leader of the American Zionist Laborites, testifying before the inquiry committee, emphasized that the Jewish Federation of Labor in Palestine would welcome an unrestricted number of Jewish newcomers and expressed hope for establishment of a Jewish commonwealth and of early entry of 100,000 displaced Jews, recommending use of the experience and apparatus of the Federation to facilitate the transfer. “There is room in Palestine both for its present inhabitants and for the many thousands of Jews who clamor for admittance and opportunity to start a new productive life in their historic homeland,” he said.

No political entity is contemplated, he continued, in which any fragment of the population would be subjected to any disabilities or prevented from carrying on their way of life. He outlined the health, educational and social services of the Jewish Federation of Labor, declaring that they benefit Arabs as well as Jews, and had been instrumental in raising the Arab standard of living. His explanation of the existence of separate trade unions for Arabs and of differing wage scales for Jewish and Arab workers evoked rather lengthy questioning chiefly from British members Singleton and Crossman.

He warned that “only a firm and resolute decision in favor of a Jewish Commonwealth by the U.S. and Britain would satisfy the Jews and–paradoxical as it may sound–pacify the Arabs.” Arab tempers, he explained, will be calmed when the Arabs are convinced that “the period of their ambiguous diplomacy has been ended and that Britain and the U.S. are determined to apply the principles of faithfully carrying out political promises and moral obligations.”


The New Zionist Organization of America today declined an invitation it received from the committee to submit “written evidence and to make oral presentation,” In a statement, the NZO said: “We flatly reject this inquiry as an obvious attempt to place a question mark upon all pledges and obligations internationally made to the Jewish people, and upon the inherent and historic rights of the Jewish people to Palestine.”

(In London, the Foreign Office announced tonight that the inquiry committee would hold hearings there between Jan. 25 and 31).

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