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Mrs. ROGERS. There is just one question. Do you remember what action the State Department took regarding that statement we all signed in 1939?
Mr. Fish. I do not know what definite action they took because the White Paper still exists. I think they would probably have to communicate it to the British Government.
Mr. CELLER. Mr. Chairman, may I answer that question? Chairman BLOOM. Mr. Celler may answer the question if he knows.
Mr. CELLER. I was told verbally by the Secretary of State with reference to the resolution of this distinguished committee the matter as far as the White Paper was concerned in the langauge of Mr. Hull was still unfrozen, if you know what that means,
Chairman BLOOM. It is a little bit cold.
Mr. SCHIFFLER. Mr. Chairman, I might add something to that because at that time I had a conversation with the Secretary of State and he advised me there had been a protest filed against the White Paper.
Chairman BLOOM. Thank you very much.
Chairman Bloom. The committee will find out and get the correct information.
Mr. Celler, Representative Eaton desires to ask you a question, if you do not mind.
Mr. CELLER. I would be glad to try to answer it.
Dr. EATON. I would like to ask the very erudite and distinguished colleague of mine, for the benefit of our committee, to elaborate somewhat on his use of the word “right” of the Jewish immigration into Palestine, upon what that right is based? It would help our committee if you would elucidate that a little.
Mr. CELLER. Of course, the right goes back to Biblical times when Isaac said, "The race of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would again go singing into Zion."
Dr. Eaton. I want to go on record as recognizing the authenticity of that passage.
Mr. CELLER. As to legalities it was mentioned repeatedly in the Balfour resolution as to settling up a homeland for Jews, which, as I stated before, was accepted not only by our own Nation but by 52 other nations as a condition precedent for letting England have trusteeship or the stewardship involved in that.
There can be no national homeland if immigration is summarily cut off as of April 1 next.
You now have in Palestine a population of about one-third Jews and two-thirds Arabs. Arabs may come into Palestine in unlimited numbers after April 1, but Jews may not come in. So you will have a status which will be equivalent substantially to what we commonly term a ghetto. Jews will be a homeless minority.
The right I speak of also stems from the so-called Fish resolution of 1922 which reaffirms that Balfour Declaration.
It likewise stems from the treaty solemnly entered into by the United States and Great Britain in 1924, which in one of its articles, as set forth in this very fine document prepared by your chairman of the committee, states that there can be no discrimination with reference to immigration into Palestine on grounds of race or religion. If
Jews are discriminated against then they are discriminated against under race or religion. And the diplomatic correspondence between our own State Department and its accredited representatives and the British Foreign Minister and its accredited representatives clearly indicate that there can be no change in the political status
Chairman BLOOM. Just a second. Let us have no talking because it disturbs the witness.
Mr. CELLER (continuing). In the political status, no change in the terms of the mandate without the consent of the Council of the League of Nations and without the consent of the United States Government. The British Government sought to obtain the consent of the League of Nations. The procedure is to first apply to the Permanent Mandates Commission. It did so apply. Its proposal was turned down in very harsh terms, terms which are equivalent to repudiation. The United States has not consented to a change in the political status of Palestine, as indicated by my reference to the correspondence between Ambassador Bingham and British Minister for Foreign Affairs, then Anthony Eden. We have not consented, unless the State Department has covertly consented, and I doubt whether that would be the case because there has been no change in that treaty of 1924. One of the specific provisions of that treaty is there can be no unilateral change by either side of the treaty, without the consent of the other. Since we have not consented and since this White Paper is a change in the terms of the mandate, a change in the terms of the political status, it is equivalent beyond peradventure of a doubt to a change in
Upon all of that I base the right of the Jews to go into Palestine without let or hindrance which Winston Churchill stated shall be economic absorption capacity. Now, the economic experts, I am sure those who will follow today and possibly tomorrow, will indicate from their testimony the expert opinion that Palestine has still an absorptive capacity economically of at least the entrance of 2,000,000 more Jews.
Chairman Bloom. Mr. Cellar, thank you very much for that. Go ahead, Dr. Eaton.
Dr. EATON. Mr. Chairman, I would like to make one correction in the gentleman's statement, which was very illuminating. Do not put the word "so-called" before the Fish amendment in there.
Mr. CELLER. I accept that.
Mrs. Rogers. Mr. Chairman, the State Department could not take action without Congress taking action.
Chairman BLOOM. Just a minute. The Chair would like to say that there is a gentleman here who wanted to be heard by at least 10:30. He is here, and he wishes to get away as soon as possible. If you want to call
witnesses back to cross examine them you may do so, which the Chair would like very much, but we have Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver here, who is chairman of the executive committee of the American Zionist Emergency Council. Dr. Silver, I think knows all the answers to any questions that you would want to ask him. Rabbi, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF DR. ABBA HILLEL SILVER, CHAIRMAN OF THE
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, AMERICAN ZIONIST EMERGENCY COUNCIL
Dr. SILVER. Thank you very much, Mr. Bloom. I am indeed very grateful for this opportunity to speak a word in endorsement of these resolutions which have been introduced in the House. I am very grateful for your courtesy, Mr. Bloom. You know what we think of you.
Chairman BLOOM. Do I know? Better tell the committee what you think of me. Tell these people around the table.
Mr. EATON. Mr. Chairman, I think that would be very appropriate, considering the dead cats and bricks that have been hurled at you unnecessarily and unjustly.
Chairman BLOOM. You and I have talked it over and you know, I fall back on that saying of my dear sainted mother, that one with God is a majority, so I do not care about those brickbats or dead cats when I know that I am in the right.
Dr. EATON. I agree with you.
Dr. Silver. May I say, at the outset, that nothing is further from the minds of those for whom I speak—and I believe I speak for millions of Jewish citizens of the United States—who through the representatives of their national organizations and the elected delegates of their respective communities gathered at the great American-Jewish conference last September and voiced overwhelmingly their endorsement of the Jewish commonwealth in Palestine and called for the abrogation of the White Paper than to embarrass our great and gallant ally Great Britain, whose heroic defense of civilization against Nazi barbarism in the dark days when she stood alone will remain an epic of high courage and spiritual grandeur to inspire all future generations. We have no quarrel with Great Britain. We can never forget that it was Great Britain which, first among the nations, gave recognition to the national aspirations of the Jewish people in the issuance of the Balfour Declaration. But a wrong and unjustifiable political policy affecting the Jewish national home which this very declaration welcomed and committed His Majesty's Government to its achievement, is about to be consummated. It would to all intents and purposes liquidate the Jewish national home. It is this policy, which has been sharply criticized by the foremost statesmen of Great Britain berself, that we ask to be rescinded. We retain our strong confidence in the integrity and the abiding good will of Great Britain that this will be done.
We feel that this very resolution when adopted will, as was pointed out here a moment ago, strengthen the hands of our many friends in Great Britain who wish to see this wrong, unwise, and illegal policy abrogated.
May I also be permitted to give a brief historical background to the movement to reconstitute the Jewish commonwealth in Palestine, perhaps a subject which will not be covered by the other people who will speak here? It is not a recent movement. It did not begin with modern Zionism, nor with the first Zionist colonies which were established in Palestine 65 years ago. The ideal of national restoration dates from the year of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple in the year
A. D. 70, and from the beginning of the widespread dispersion of the Jewish people.
Throughout the following centuries the hope of rebuilding their national home was never absent from among our people. Modern Zionism is only the latest expression of that undeviating will to national restoration which has persisted throughout the ages.
For fifteen centuries and more prior to the time of the great Dispersion, the Jewish people lived in Palestine as a nation. undergoing all the changing political vicissitudes which all nations, large or small, are bound to experience over a long period of time.
During some of those centuries they made their greatest contribution to civilization in the religious field. They gave the Bible to the world and formulated the great spiritual and ethical ideals of mankind. In Palestine and from the Jewish Nation came both Judaism and Christianity.
Whenever disaster threatened their national existence, they found strength to surmount it. The destruction of the first temple in the sixth century B. C., and the exile of the best part of Israel to Babylonia did not result in the death of the nation. By the rivers of Babylon they sat down and wept as they remembered Zion, and in their exile they vowed: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her cunning.”
In the second pre-Christian century, the Jews revolted against their Syrian overlords and regained their political independence. A century later they lost it again to the Romans. When the oppression of the Romans became too great, they revolted again. This great revolt lasted for 6 years, until 70 A. D., when Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed. But the Jewish Nation did not perish then. In 115 the Jewish people revolted again. And in 135 they revolted a third time. Determinedly they resisted the greatest empire of the earth in defense of their national life and liberties.
In the following centuries and as a result of persecution, Jewish life in Palestine sharply declined from its high levels, but it continued in à relatively large scale up to the seventh century, when we again hear of Jews fighting for their freedom. Jews clung to Palestine all through Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Christian, and Turkish domination, to this very day. "Throughout the ages, even in the darkest periods of the Crusades, the protracted wars of the Middle Ages, and in modern times, the Jews never entirely left the soil of Palestine." They never surrendered the hope that some day they would rebuild their national life there. The bitter experiences of 2,000 years of exile, outlawry, ghettos, and massacres only served to reinforce that hope. The effort to return to Palestine was unremitting through the
The living bond with Palestine was never broken. The hope of return became part of the Jews' creed. It echoed through the pages of his prayer book. His festivals were redolent of memories and hopes of Palestine. The Messianic hope which sustained the spirits of our people throughout the bleak centuries was essentially the hope of Israel's return to Palestine. All through the Middle Ages, when traveling was most difficult and dangerous, Jews found ways singly or in groups, to return to Palestine. In the
nineteenth century this age-old national aspiration finally entered the phase of political organization and practical action.
Orthodox rab bis and lay leaders, moved by convictions both religious and national, were among the first to advocate planned and concerted colonization projects to Palestine.
A strong urge towards political action for national emancipation came also from the circles of Jews of western Europe who had become disillusioned with the results of the nineteenth century enlightenment and emancipation. Sudden and violent outbursts of antiSemitism in unexpected places forced upon these Jews who had so sanguinely awaited the early liquidation of the Jewish problems, the necessity of taking stock of their position anew.
They realized that the problem of the national homelessness of the Jewish people was the principal source of the Jewish millennial tragedy and that it remained as stark and as menacing as ever. It simply could not be circumvented by wishful thinking or pleasant daydreaming
These Jews began to look for the basic solution of the problem and they soon discovered it. Fundamentally the root of all the trouble was that the Jewish people was a national homeless people in the world and the only solution for national homelessness is a national home.
Great thinkers from among the intellectual circles of westernized Europe Jewry formulated this new insight and conviction. The theme common to all was emancipation through national restoration. Not that all Jews should return to Palestine any more than that all Englishmen in all parts of the world should return to England, or all Frenchmen to France, or all Germans to Germany. Every nation today has many of its former nationals, citizens of other countries. The Jews in other parts of the world will remain as heretofore loyal citizens of the country which will permit them to remain equal citizens of those countries, and the American Jews, who have served their country so faithfully both in peace and in war, intend to remain citizens of the United States, and their relationship with the Jewish commonwealth will be no different from that of other American citizens with respect to their ancestorial homes. But, just as there is an England, a France, and a Germany, so must there be a Land of Israel in order that the status of the Jewish people might be normalized throughout the world. Politically the Jewish people as a people must become, like every other people, possessed of an independent life in a national home.
In 1897, Theodore Herzl convoked the first Zionist Congress at Basle, Switzerland. There the official Zionist platform was adopted: "The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law."
Within 20 years of the organization of modern political Zionism, the movement received formal approval at the hands of the greatest empire on earth-Great Britain.
On November 2, 1917, Arthur James Balfour, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, issued the famous declaration in the name of the British Government
His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home note the term "national" for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which