Page images
PDF
EPUB

The CHAIRMAN. What bearing have these organizations upon the pending resolution?

Mr. LIPSKY. I am just coming to that.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well; proceed.

Mr. LIPSKY. At this American Jewish Congress several resolutions were unanimously adopted. As I have indicated, there were 360,000 Jewish voters who voted for the delegates. In addition the national organizations whose names I have just read elected delegates outside of those elected by popular vote.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you stated the date of that convention ?

Mr. LIPSKY. December, 1918, at Philadelphia. At this congress the following resolutions were adopted practically unanimously. There was one gentleman who voted against them:

“ The American Jewish Congress, speaking for the Jews of America, expresses its appreciation of the historic and epoch-making declaration addressed by His Majesty's Government on November 2, 1917, to the Jewish people, through the Zionist organization, in which it approved of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and pledged to use its best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object-it being clearly understood "

These were provisos put in there at the request of the Zionist organization so that there would be no misunderstanding.

it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The first proviso indicated the peaceful intentions of the Jews with regard to the development of Palestine, nothing to be done in Palestine to prejudice the interests of any racial or religious community in Palestine. The second to prevent any misunderstanding as to the status of Jews outside of Palestine, that the national home or haven of refuge to be created for the Jewish people in Palestine should not affect their status outside of Palestine; on the assumption that having a national home in Palestine, the Jewish civil status elsewhere should not be adversely affected.

Mr. COCKRAN. You do not want their civil rights in America to be affected by the fact that there is a Jewish state in Palestine?

Mr. LIPSKY. So far as the Jews are concerned, native-born citizens in any other country, the fact that a national home is established for the Jewish people in Palestine should not affect their citizenship in any other country.

Mr. KENNEDY. What does this national home mean; that an independent state is to be set up there? Mr. LIPSKY. I will read further, and you will see:

The American Jewish Congress further expresses its appreciation of the approval of the British declaration expressed by the Governments of France, Italy, Greece, Serbia, and Holland.

“ The American Jewish Congress pledges the cooperation of the Jews of America to the end that a Jewish national home, as set forth in said declaration, may be realized in a manner worthy of the traditions and the high ideals of the Jewish people.”

That was the resolution adopted by the Jewish Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you a copy of the British declaration ?
Mr. LIPSKY. Of the Balfour declaration?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. LIPSKY. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. This record will be read by the members of the House.
Mr. LIPSKY. I will read the declaration.
The CHAIRMAN. If the committee wishes it.
Mr. LIPSKY. It is a brief statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead.
Mr. LIPSKY (reading):

“His Majes:y's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home 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 may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing nonJewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The CHAIRMAN. Is that the declaration of Mr. Balfour or of the British Gov. ernment?

Mr. LIPSKY. Mr. Balfour at that time was secretary of state for foreign affairs of the British Government. It was issued as a consequence of a resolution adopted at a cabinet meeting.

Mr. COCKRAN. It states it is a Government declaration.

Mr. LIPSKY. This declaration was presented by Mr. Balfour to the cabinet and approved by the cabinet before it was issued. This declaration was sent by Mr. Balfour to Lord Rothschild, who was at that time vice president of the English Zionist organization. That declaration was subsequently approved by the French Government and other Governments of the world.

Mr. COCKRAN. Have you the record of that?
Mr. LIPSKY. That is all in this document.

Mr. COCKRAN. You have the approval of France, Italy, Greece, Serbia, and Holland?

Mr. LIPSKY. Yes,

Mr. COCKRAN. Did they approve the adoption of the terms or was it a general approval expressed in their own way?

Mr. LIPSKY. The official legal approval will be indicated in subsequent proceedings, as I shall state them. So far as the Peace Conference is concerned, this declaration did not remain merely as a declaration, but was subsequently presented to the Peace Conference at Versailles, and it was then turned over to the San Remo conference, where action was taken with regard to the Balfour declaration.

The CHAIRMAN. This record is printed and Members of the House who desire to read it will do so before passing any measure. It is, therefore, important, if there is any documeníary evidence, that it be made part of the record. There are 435 men in the House, some of whom may not have heard of it before, and if you will bear that in mind, and wherever you have an official document hand it to the stenographer, you will get your case in a much better way before the House.

Mr. LIPSKY. I substantiate all the things that I say by the documents here. The other resolution adopted by the congress was this:

“ That the American Jewish Congress instruct its delegation in Europe to cooperate with the representatives ”

The American Jewish Congress elected delegates to proceed to Europe to attend the Peace Conference, the members of that delegation being Judge Julian W. Mack, Louis Marshall, Col. Harry Cutler, of Providence, and Rabbi B. L. Leventhal, of Philadelphia, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Joseph Barondess, Mr. Jacob de Haas, Leopold Benedict, and Dr. S. Syrkia. [Continuing reading :]

“That the American Jewish Congress instruct its delegation in Europe to cooperate with the representatives of other Jewish organizations and specifically with the world Zionist organization, to the end that the Peace Conference may recognize the aspirations and historic claims of the Jewish people with regard to Palestine, and declare that in accordance with the British Government's declaration of November 2, 1917, indorsed by the allied governments and the President of the United States

I might explain that President Wilson wrote a letter to Dr. Stephen S. Wise, in which he personally expressed his viewpoint with regard to the Balfour declaration. I have a copy of the letter here:

LETTER OF PRESIDENT WILSON.

THE WHITE HOUSE,

Washington, D. C., August 31, 1918. MY DEAR RABBI WISE: I have watched with deep and sincere interest the reconstructive work which the Weizmann Commission has done Palestine at the instance of the British Government, and I welcome an opportunity to express the satisfaction I have felt in the progress of the Zionist movement in the United States and in the Allied countries since the declaration by Mr. Balfour, on behalf of the British Government, of Great Britain's approval of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and his promise that the British Government would use its best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of that object, with the understanding that nothing would be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of nonJewish people in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in other countries.

I think that all Americans will be deeply moved by the report that even in this time of stress the Weizmann Commission has been able to lay the foundation of the Hebrew University at Jerusalem with the promise that that bears of spiritual rebirth. Cordially and sincerely yours,

WOODROW WILSON. DR. STEPHEN S. WISE,

Chairman, Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs,

Nero York. Mr. LIPSKY (continuing). “There shall be established such political, administrative, and economic conditions in Palestine as will assure under the trusteeship of Great Britain, acting on behalf of such League of Nations as may be formed, the development of Palestine into a Jewish Commonwealth "

At that time the thought was that an association of nations would be formed at the Peace Conference“ it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which shall prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

This resolution was adopted by the American Jewish Congress. I am stating these facts here simply to indicate the sentiment of the Jews of this country with regard to the Zionist movement. Three hundred sixty thousand Jewish men and women went to the polls and voted for delegates to the Jewish Congress, thirty or forty national Jewish organizations, representing practically the organized strength of all the Jewish people of this country, sent their delegates to the Congress and these delegates elected by the popular vote and national organizations came together at Philadelphia in the American Jewish Congress and adopted those resolutions.

Mr. FISH. How many Jews are there in the United States ?

Mr. LIPSKY. There are a little over three million Jews, of whom more than one million are in New York City.

Mr. COCKRAN. There are 1,500,000 in the State.

Mr. LIPSKY. Those resolutions were adopted by this representative body, and I think it indicates clearly the attitude of the mind of the Jews of this country with regard to it.

Mr. Fish. Is there any pronounced opposition among the Jews themselves? There may be some who are indifferent, but is there any organized opposition?

Mr. LIPSKY. There is no organized opposition to the Zionist movement. There are individuals here and there who are opposed to it. There are persons who, because of certain implications of reform Judaism, assume that it is necessary as a consequence of that belief to be opposed to any organization of Jewish people which has to do with other than strictly religious or philanthropic matters.

The CHAIRMAN. Was this conference in 1918 made up of orthodox Jews or of orthodox, conservative, and reform Jews?

Mr. LIPSKY. Of all elements. The Independent Order Bnai Brith is an organization composed primarily of reform Jews. The Eastern Council of Reform Rabbis is an organization of reform Jews. There are also represented by the Order Brith Abraham a certain percentage of reform Jews. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations was represented in the American Jewish Congress in the original call, but they had no delegate present.

Mr. BEGG. Would you permit a question purely for information?
Mr. LIPSKY. Certainly.

Mr. Begg. Is it the intention, if this ultimately succeeds, to establish a state, I will say, more for the purpose of retaining the historic precedents of the Jewish people, or is it to establish a place where the Jews will come back to in some considerable number and establish their home? What is really the purpose of the movement?

Mr. LIPSKY. The purpose of the movement is to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine, where they may develop their own culture and their own life without oppressive alien influences.

Mr. Fish. Working out their destinies in the world?

Mr. LIPSKY. In their own way, without persecution, without oppression, without the intrusion of ideals that are alien to them; a free Jewish life in Palestine under associations that bring back to them memories of the historic achievements of the Jewish race, which would act as an inspiration to them. If out of that settlement of the Jews certain forms of government should develop they would naturally be developed for the protection of whatever life is created in Palestine.

Mr. BEGG. What could you do in Palestine that you could not do in the l'nited States beyond the restoration of the historic precedents?

Mr. LIPSKY. First of ail, that is a question which if raised not in the United States might be a pertinent question.

Mr. Begg. I do not want to embarrass you.

Mr. LIPSKY. There are 14,000,000 Jews in the world. There are 3,000,000 of these in the United States. The United States Government has passed certain restrictive measures against immigration. But as far as the United States is concerned, you could say that in the United States the Jews have perfect freedom. We are equal citizens. We develop with the institutions of America, etc., but there are 10,000,000 that are not here. There are 10,000,000 that are subject to all variations of persecution in eastern Europe, that make the Jewish people the victims.

Mr. BEGG. This would be a haven for people not in the United States?

Mr. LIPSKY. To those who need it most it comes as the salvation. To those who need it least it is an inspiration to philanthropic endeavor and humanitar'an and racial interests. Those who need it most are those people now being oppressed, driven from one country to another, who do not know exactly where they belong, and there are 10,000,000 Jewish people over there suffering these persecutions.

The CHAIRMAN. You would hardly say the entire 10,000,000 are suffering?

Mr. LIPSKY. Of course not, but where you find in the capitals of Europe at the present time 10,000 to 20,000 of the best young men with nothing to do, treated as aliens in the cities of Vienna, Warsaw, Constantinople, Trieste, Bucharest, tens of thousands of young men with nothing to do and not being regarded as citizens of the country where they are, that is an indication of the tragic fact that 10,000,000 Jews are in serious trouble.

Mr. Fish. I th‘nk your figures are high. It practically means that every Jew outside of America is oppressed. That is not the fact.

Mr. LIPSKY. No. Assume in the United States, with 3,000,000 population. you have 500,000 of them constantly in distress, you would be justified in saying that the 3,000,000 are affected, because they have the burden of caring and looking after the 500,000 that are existing under adverse conditions.

The CHAIRMAN. Is the condition of the Jews in Vienna any worse than that of the other people in Vienna?

Mr. LIPSKY. Much worse, because they are refugees.

Mr. Begg. That is the same question I am going to ask: Do the Jewish people in Russia suffer any worse than the Letts or the rest of them in the fluctuations in power occurring during this disorganized condition? If they establish a government and bring order out of chaos, will the Jews be treated as the rest of the people?

Mr. LIPSKY. Hardly possible, because they were not treated as were the natives, and the chances that they will be treated as other people are very small.

Mr. Begg. Is that the case in countries adjoining Russia where they have a stable government?

Mr. FISH. In Rumania, Poland, and Hungary they are not treated as equals.

Mr. LIPSKY. The Jewish people in Poland were the middlemen, who introduced industry and commerce into the country, and always have been identified with commerce and industry. And from the first Poland regarded over 60 per cent of the Jewish people as aliens, although they had contributed to the upbuilding of the country and had become a part of it. Because they were Jews they were regarded as aliens and treated accordingly.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you base that statement on the report brought to America by Louis Marshall ?

Mr. LIPSKY. Mr. Marshall never was in Poland.

The CHAIRMAN. Did you ever read the report of the American commission that went to Poland for the purpose of investigating the pogroms?

Mr. LIPSKY. Yes.

Mr. MOORE of Virginia. Palestine is now under the control of Great Britain under a mandate. Is that the fact?

Mr. LIPSKY, I was going to go ahead with the story.

Mr. COCKRAN. What are the relative numbers of Jews and Mohammedans in Palestine now?

Mr. LIPSKY. At the present time there are 600,000 Arabs in Palestine and 80,000 Jews; that is, Mohammedan Arabs and Christian Arabs. The Mohammedan Arabs outnumber the Christians.

Mr. COCKRAX. The Mohammedans would be three to one to the rest of the population?

Mr. LIPSKY. Yes.

Mr. COLE. What are you going to do with them? Leave them in the country or expel them?

Jr. LIPSKY. No; the facts with regard to Palestine are these: Palestine is now occupied to the extent of 10 per cent of its territory by the present population.

The CHAIRMAX. What is the size of the territory?
Mr. LIPSKY. It is larger than the State of Rhode Island.

Mr. COCKRAN. Most of it is barren country around between Jerusalem and the shore. There is scarcely any arable land.

Mr. LIPSKY. Then it is peculiar-the choice of the Jewish people to go there

The CHAIRMAN. You say Palestine would be a haven of refuge to the Jewish people. How could they make a living in that barren country? Suppose two or three million Jewish refugees should go to Palestine. Will they make a living in that country?

Mr. LIPSKY. We have plans for the economic development of Palestine which would provide for at least 5,000,000 people to live in Palestine.

Mr. COCKRAN. What would they do-agriculture?

Mr. LIPSKY. The problem of Palestine has been that it was regarded by the Turkish Government as the outpost of the Empire, and because it was so regarded they wanted it to be as barren as it possibly could be. They had taxes imposed in Palestine that made it impossible for industry to develop, put taxes on trees which stimulated the destruction of the trees. They put imposts upon trade and made it impossible for trade to exist. They made taxes in such a form that the farmers who grew things never knew exactly how much taxes they would have to pay. The result of this effort of the Turks to preserve Palestine as a desolate outpost of the Empire has been to remove trees from Palestine and display barren rocks and to promote aridness. The Zionist organization has in hand now a concession that has been granted by the British Government for the development of the water power of the Jordan River.

One of the Zion st engineers now in this country, Mr. Rutenberg, has developed the plans and with the expenditure of $5,000,000 the whole of that part of Palestine will be covered by the electrical plant and it will be developed into an industrial center, and the water of the Jordan River will irrigate the farms and in the course of 10 years these rocks will be covered with trees. The farms will be irr gated. There will be an industrial development all along the Jordan River. Palestine is a deserted country, not a barren country. Palestine is a fruitful country, but it has not been made fruitful because nobody was working on it. For 400 years there have been Arabs in Palestine. It is the same now, but due to the government and due to their own indolence they have never done anything to develop it. Only with the incoming of the Jews in the last 40 years have there sprouted in Palestine new institutions; schools, new c'ties, roads have been built, and enterprises have been introduced in Palestine. Whatever has been created in Palestine in the last 25 or 30 years has been created only by Jews. No other people came there; nobody went to Palensine to build it up except the Jewish people. Whether it is a desolate country or not, whether 10,000,000 can get in or not, the Jewish people make their choice and say, we are going to build up this country; we are going to make this a better country. We are going to make it ours through labor and sacrifice. You may think it is unprofitable. The Jewish people are going there to build it up for the sake of their ideals and their future.

The CHAIRMAN. You stated that the Jews in Poland and a number of other places were intermediaries in commercial life?

Mr. LIPSKY. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Would these intermediaries go to Palestine? They would not enter into industrial life there? Mr. LIPSKY. Some of them might. The CHAIRMAN. Very few,

Mr. LIPSKY. Probably. But we are counting upon those, unfortunately; we are counting upon the thousands that are displaced. There are hundreds of thousands of Jews displaced from Poland, Armenia, Transylvania, and Galicia, and out of Russia. They must go somewhere. It is not a question of choice with them. They must go somewhere.

Mr. COOPER. Referring to the second paragraph of the resolution

« PreviousContinue »