The first world Zionist conference since the outbreak of the war opened here today with a dramatic address by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, in which he appealed to the British Government to adopt a new policy with regard to Palestine based on the acceptance of Jewish statehood and recognition of Jewish rights to free immigration and settlement in Palestine. He urged the carrying out of a practical program of political and economic activities in order to achieve a speedy transformation of Palestine into a Jewish State.
The leader of the world Zionist movement also appealed to the United Nations, particularly to the United States and the USSR. “to give their approval and support to the righting of an ancient wrong” and to secure for the Jewish people their place in the family of nations.
The Jews, Dr. Weizmann said, with their 6,000,000 victims, their 1,000,000 fighters and 35,000 Palestine volunteers. were relegated to corridors at the San Francisco Conference, while states were admitted which had just signed declarations of war. “Continuation of this anomaly is intolerable,” he continued. “The Jewish people must be given their rightful place in the family of nations. Palestine as a Jewish State must be one of the fruits of victory. By God – it shall be!”
Emphasizing that the primary responsibility for enunciation of a “new policy with regand to Palestine is Britain’s, Dr. Weizmann recalled the declarations by the American political parties and the endorsements given to the Zionist cause by the late President Roosevelt and President Truman. “Our appeal,” he declared, “goes out to all the United Nations, especially to the two major allies of Britain – the United States and the USSR – who in this very hour meet to mould the world’s destinies.”
The Zionists will not swerve and will not depart from the original aim of developing Palestine into a Jewish State as intended by the Balfour Declaration, Dr. Weizmann stated. He demanded that the new British Government take definite steps “at the present historic juncture” to implement the Declaration’s original purpose. “We do not claim in Palestine what belongs to others,” he said. “But we want an opportunity to create new things. Important development schemes are ready, but their execution depends on new political dispensations.”
PLEDGES COOPERATION WITH ARABS IN A JEWISH PALESTINE
The world Zionist leader pledged that the Arabs in Palestine will retain their possessions and their linguistic, cultural and religious identity, as well as domplete equality of rights and natural ties with their brethren in the neighboring countries where Arab nationalism, he said, has ample scope.
“The Arabs,” he pointed out “have gained tremendously in the last war and in this war. Is this struggle to bring to the Arabs fulfillment of all their hopes, and to the Jews nothing? We are vitally interested in cooperating with our Arabs neighbors. but we can do so effectively only if we ourselves are firmly established in our own country and on a footing of equality with the neighboring countries.”
Dr. Weizmann revealed that he had had good reason to believe that revision of the Palestine policy would be undertaken by the British Government “as soon as the European war was over.” The tendency towards postponement, he said, may not be surprising in view of urgent questions on the international agenda.
“But we cannot wait,” he continued. “Delay means the prolongation of the agony of the Jewish survivors in Europe, the growing of tension, and finally a crisis. Unless there is a clear lead, the position is bound to deteriorate. Our people in Europe are going under, while in the Middle East new facts are being created calculated to prejudge the issue. It cannot be expected that people should look with equanimity upon the agony of their brothers and to the liquidation of their national home, the foundations of which were laid with so much devotion, effort and sacrifice. I am speaking as a person for whom cooperation with His Majesty’s Government has been a fundamental article of faith and who for twenty-eight years has preached forebearance in relations to Britain.”
WANTS 100,000 CERTIFICATES; URGES ALL GOVERNMENTS TO PERMIT EMIGRATION
Stressing the question of Jewish immigration to Palestine as “the most urgent problem,” the leader of the World Zionist Organization asked the British Government for a speedy decision on the Jewish demand for 100,000 certificates as a first installment on post-war Jewish immigration to Palestine. At the same time, he appealed to all governments to grant free exit to all Jews in their countries willing to emigrate to Palestine. “I appeal to the conscience of the world: Let my people gol”, he said.
Referring to the Labor Government, Dr. Weizmann emphasized that the Zionist movement had never been linked up with any one political party. He paid tribute to Winston Churchill, terming him a sincere friend of the Zionist movement and crediting him with the formation of the Jewish Brigade. He recalled the solid vote of the British Labor Party against the White Paper and its pro-Zionist resolutions, emphasizing that Herbert Morrison, one of the leaders of the Labor Party, and present Lord President of the Council, had stated at the time the White Paper was adopted that it would not be binding upon subsequent governments.
Dr. Weizmann concluded with an appeal to the Jews in Palestine “not to lose heart, to stand fast and continue with set face against attempts by a handful of irresponsible men to distort the legitimate political struggle by suicidal resort to terrorism.” Clear-headed determination must be the Zionist watchword, he declared.
Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Prof. Selig Brodetsky, who also addressed the conference, demanded the immediate cancellation by the British Government of the White Paper. They insisted that free Jewish immigration to Palestine, which has been restricted by the White Paper, must resume now.
Dr. Wise conveyed to the gathering the greetings of the Zionists of America. He attacked the Pan-Arab League’s anti-Zionist efforts and assured the delegates that “American Zionists will not rest until Palestine is established as a free and democratic Jewish Commonwealth.” Other speakers at the opening session were Chief Rabbi Leo Baeck of Berlin, Eliahu Dobkin, head of the immigration department of the Jewish Agency, and David Remez, leader of the Histadruth. Speaking in Hebrew, Remez emphasized that every Jewish family in Palestine is ready to take a new immigrant from Europe into its home.
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.