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Weizmann Breaks Silence; Hits British Government’s Mew Policy on Paiestine

November 20, 1945
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, in a speech delivered tonight at the convention of the Zionist organization of America here, broke the silence he has maintained since his arrival in this country, and delivered a scathing attack on the new policy on Palestine enunciated in London by Foreign Secretary Bevin.

Although speaking with a great deal of restraint, he bitterly criticized Bevin for his statement last week in the House of Commons, and, more partioularly, for his interview with the press which followed.

Emphasizing that he has devoted his life to the integration of Zionist fulfilment with the best interests of Great Britain, Dr. Weizmann said that he still believes in this identity of purpose. At the same time, he said he considers the statement by Bevin as nothing but “another document added to these which seek to repudiate the criminal solemn covenant-of 1917 between Great Britain and the Jewish people.”

Declaring that the British Foreign Secretary, in speaking subsequently to the press, “took care that the world should not be misled by the few courteous phrases in the official document which sought to mitigate the hard blow, “Dr. Weizmann said:

“And in what spirit does the Foreign Secretary approach the Palestine problem and its relation to the Jewish people? He sounds a warning to the helpless, destitute and despairing remant of European Jewry, stretching out its hands for the bare essentials of life: “If the Jews want to get too much at the head of the queuc” they face the danger of another anti-Semitic reaction. What does it mean, ‘getting too much at the head of the queue?’ A simple request for survival, which is all that the Jews of Europe mean by their hunger to get to Palestine? Is it ‘getting too much at the head of the queue’ if, after the slaughter of six million Jews, the remnant of a million and a half implore the shelter of the Jewish homeland?

“What a sorry epitaph the new declaration of policy seeks to write over the graves of six million of our dead. The soil of Europe is saturated with their innocent blocd. It is also impregnated with the foul seeds of hate. Into that earth, infected with every form of economic, politioal and physical malady, new seeds are being sown now, Does the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain believe that his peculiar admonition to Jews not “to get too much at the head of the queue” will not be seized upon by those who still cling to the perverted ideals of Nazism?”


Taking issue with Mr. Bevin’s rebuke to the Jewish Agency for its request for 100,000 cortificates and for its refusal to accept a grant of 1,500 out of the balance of the White Paper quota, Dr. Weizmann said that throughout the war the Jewish Agency kept appealing to the compassion of the world for aid to the Jews of Europe to enable them to escape.

The Jewish Agency, Dr. Weizmann pointed out, “tried every strategem for rescue, But the records disclose a lamentable lack of help on the part of those in power, and that was done was too late and too little. It might, perhaps, have been possible to exercise patience if the death-rate did not continue so appallingly high. There was so few Jews left that each of them is doubly precious to us. When the war was on, we were told by the democracies that the millions of Jews had to perish because there was no way to reach them. Now we are told that the survivors must wait until another inquiry will establish the exact measure of help they will require.”


The leader of the Jewish Agency expressed amazement at the assertion by Bevin in the House of Commons that Great Britain “never undertook to establish a Jewish State’ that “did undertake to establish a…home.” It is true, Dr. Weizmann said, that in the {SPAN}(##){/SPAN} Declaration and in the Mandate there is no explicit mention of a Jewish State, that it is quite incorrect to say that the promise referred merely to the establishment of “a Jewish home”.

Pointing out that even taking the term “home” at its lowest political and oral value, it is certainly something which one should be able to enter without a certificate, or the prior consent a third party, Dr. Weizmann declared:

“I believe that I had some part in the negotiations that led up to the Balfour Declaration. I also shared in the subsequent efforts for the implementation of that covenant between Great Britain and the Jewish people. It is, therefore, not inappropriate for me to say that the attempt to establish a distinction between the terms Jewish State and Jewish National Home is purely arbitrary and without foundation in fact. That essential of nationhood was understood by every responsible statesman who shared in the Balfour Declaration and in the documents that succeeded it. The National Rome was regarded as a transitory which would be permitted to grow organically through immigration and settlement into a Jewish State or Commonwealth.”


Referring to the establishment of the Anglo-American inquiry commission, the world Zionist leader drew attention to the fact that the aim of Zionism is not merely to selve the Jewish refugee problem. “It never was,” he stated, ” nor is the refugee problem limited to Europe. Any survey of the number of Jews who will have to find a haven in Palestine must also take into account the frightful position of the Jews in Oriental countries. The recent events in Tripolitania and Egypt show how precarious is the life of minorities whose future depends on the temporary good-will or ill-will of the peoples among whom they live.”

Dr. Weizmann pointed out that Zionism strives to save not merely individuals, but to safeguard the very survival of the Jewish people. He stressed that the Jewish community in Palestine is ” our pride and strength.” At the same time, he called for restraint and self-discipline. “Violence,” he said, “is the antithesis of Jewish morality. It is a weapon which we Jews have steadily abjured.”

Expressing his conviction that the Jewish development of Palestine will continue despite all obstacles, and that the Jews in Palestine will create their own absorptive capacity from which the whole Middle East will benefit, Dr. Weizmann concluded with an appeal to the U.S. “for help and assistance” and by expressing thanks to President Truman for his request that Britain immediately admit 100,000 Jews to Palestine.

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