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THE
AND
NAZISM
JEWS
AMERICAN
ZIONISM


NAZISM, THE JEWS, AND AMERICAN ZIONISM



WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS DETROIT
NAZISM
thejeWSand
AMERICAN
ZIONISM
1933-1948
AARON BERMAN


Copyright © 1990 by Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan 48202. All material
in this work, except as identified below, is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license,
visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/.
All material not licensed under a Creative Commons license is all rights reserved.
Permission must be obtained from the copyright owner to use this material.
Humanities
MELLON
FOUNDATION
The publication of this volume in a freely accessible digital format has been made
possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the
Mellon Foundation through their Humanities Open Book Program.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Berman, Aaron, 1952-
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism, 1933-1948 / Aaron Berman,
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-0-8143-4404-0 (paperback); 978-0-8143-4403-3 (ebook)
1. Jews—United States—Politics and government. 2. Zionism—United States.
3. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)—Public opinion. 4. Public opinion—United States
5. United States—Ethnic relations. 6. Public opinion—Jews. 1. Title.
E184.J5B492 1990
320.5'4'0956940973-dc20
http:/ / wsupress.wayne.edu/
90-11942
CIP


CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 9
INTRODUCTION 11
CHAPTER I
II
III
IV
V
VI
AMERICAN ZIONISM AND THE EXTERNAL
THREAT, 1933-1936 15
A REORDERING OF PRIORITIES: THE
HOMELAND UNDER SIEGE 41
WAR AND STATEHOOD 68
AMERICAN ZIONISM AND THE HOLOCAUST
THE AMERICAN ZIONIST LOBBY,
1943-1945: A SUMMARY AND A CASE STUDY
THE TRIUMPH OF AMERICAN ZIONISM 151
CONCLUSIONS 181
NOTES 185
BIBLIOGRAPHY 217
96
124
INDEX 231



FOR MY WIFE, AMY MITTELMAN, AND MY
PARENTS, HARRY AND ROSE BERMAN



9
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I owe my thanks to the many people who have contributed to this book.
I am particularly grateful to the librarians and archivists who patiently
responded to my numerous requests. Sylvia Landress and her staff at
the Zionist Archives and Library were especially helpful as was Miriam
Leikind of the Abba Hillel Silver Memorial Archives. I also appreciate
the efforts of the staffs of the American Jewish Historical Society, the
Herbert H. Lehman Papers, the National Office of Hadassah, and the
Jabotinsky Institute. Daniel Schnurr, the social science reference librarian
of Hampshire College, generously provided me with references and
support.
I owe a special debt to Professor Walter P. Metzger of Columbia Uni
versity and Professor David S. Wyman, of the University of Massachu
setts at Amherst. Professor Metzger was an excellent dissertation spon
sor. His insightful comments and probing questions were numerous and
his editorial suggestions invaluable. Professor Wyman, as a friend and
mentor, was generous with his time and support. I can honestly say that
this book would not have been completed without their help.
Professors James P. Shenton, Paula Hyman, and Rosalind N. Rosen
berg read most of this manuscript and offered important suggestions. I
would like to especially thank Professor Shenton and Professor Peter
Onuf for their support and encouragement during my years as a gradu
ate student at Columbia University. Professors Henry Feingold and
Monty Penkower helped me understand the complex history of Ameri
can Jewry during the 1930s and 1940s. Many colleagues at Hampshire
College offered their encouragement and posed difficult and probing
questions. Leonard Glick was an important source of inspiration. I relied
upon Penina Glazer, the Dean of the Faculty, for friendship, advice, and


10
Acknowledgments
release time. I am also grateful for the support of Eqbal Ahmad, Nancy
Fitch, Allen Hunter, Bob Rakoff, and Miriam and Paul Slater.
I have been lucky enough to be associated with a group of scholars
who have been true comrades for many years. A special thanks to
Elizabeth Capelle, Dan Richter, Diana Shaikh, and Herbert Sloan.
Thanks also to Harriet Goldstein, Howard Berman, my late grand
mother Sarah Feller, the late Leo Mittelman, Bea Mittelman, Midge
Wyman, and Kirsten and Lia Meisinger who provided support and love
for many years.
Both Ms. Anne Adamus and Dr. Robert R. Mandel of Wayne State
University Press have been very helpful and unusually patient. I hope
that this book will meet their expectations. As should be obvious, while
many individuals have contributed to the appearance of this book, I
am solely responsible for any errors of fact and judgment.
I cannot adequately express my gratitude to my parents, Rose and
Harry Berman. All I can do is dedicate this book to them and to my
wife, Amy Mittelman. To Amy I owe much. As a talented historian she
set an example I tried to emulate and as a friend and companion she
successfully got me through more crises than I care to remember.
Finally, I thank my son, Louis, for the hearty laughs and big hugs
which helped me keep the task of writing this book in perspective.


11
INTRODUCTION
In 1943, the American Zionist leader Hayim Greenberg accused Ameri
can Jewish organizations of “moral bankruptcy” for failing to mobilize
to come to the aid of European Jewry. Greenberg, writing in the Yiddish
press, marveled at the lack of a frenzied response on the part of a people
who had learned that millions of their brethren were being brutally elimi
nated. 1 His claim that the great number of competing organizations that
made up the American Jewish community divided rather than united
American Jewry, anticipated the judgment of historians. Greenberg and
subsequent scholars, however, tended to ignore an intriguing fact: during
the Holocaust era, American Zionist organizations experienced tremen
dous growth and Zionists became the leaders of the American Jewish
community. 2
In 1933, the year Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Zionism
was a weak movement struggling to survive within the American Jewish
community. The major American Zionist organizations in 1933 claimed
a combined membership of slightly over sixty-five thousand. 3 In the
midst of a major depression, Zionists vainly fought to convince American
Jews to join a movement that seemed to be doing little to uplift the Jewish
condition either at home or abroad. To make matters worse, within the
United States powerful American Jewish organizations, such as the
American Jewish Committee and the entire Reform Judaism establish
ment, refused even to accept the very concept of Jewish nationhood.
On the eve of the Nazi nightmare, Zionist leaders in the United States,
like their counterparts in Palestine, did not expect to see the establish
ment of a Jewish state in their lifetimes. Instead, they looked forward
to a slow but steady Jewish settlement of Palestine under the supervision
of Great Britain, which held a League of Nations Mandate to prepare


12
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
the Holy Land for eventual independence. While this strategy did not promise
to immediately alleviate the “Jewish problem” in Europe, it would allow for social
experimentation and, through the kibbutz movement, the establishment of a class
less Jewish society in Palestine. Slow-paced development would also provide Zion
ists with time to forge a peaceful relationship with the Arab residents of Palestine.
While Palestine's Arab majority might be uncomfortable with Jewish settlement
in 1933, most American Zionist leaders optimistically looked forward to the time
when the Arabs would realize that the Zionist experiment in the Holy Land was
serving their own best interests, as well as those of the Jews.
Following the Nazi’s rise to power in 1933, many German Jews sought to flee
from their oppressors. The Jewish refugee crisis dramatically transformed American
Zionist organizations. The plight of assimilated German Jewry seemed to validate
the Zionist claim that Jewish nationalism was the only suitable survival tactic for
Diaspora Jewry. American Zionists energetically set out to provide the Jewish
refugees with a home in Palestine. Their ability to provide a practical solution to
the refugee crisis won the movement new prestige and members.
The thousands of Jewish refugees who found a home in the Holy Land fright
ened Palestine’s Arab majority. Dreading the possibility of becoming “second class
citizens” in their own land, the Arabs began a long and bitter armed insurrection
in 1936. Arab opposition to Jewish immigration led Great Britain in 1939 to re
nounce its support of Zionism and eventual Jewish statehood. The necessity to
defend Palestine against Arab attacks and to fend off American and British critics
of Jewish nationalism slowly changed the priorities of American Zionists. Whereas
they had previously been able to focus their attention on presenting Palestine as
the most practical and feasible refugee haven, they were now forced to use the
refugee crisis as a means to defend the Jewish settlement of the Holy I .and.
World War II seemed to offer American Zionists one last opportunity to create
a Jewish state. Believing that the Second World War would follow the pattern of
the First, American Zionists looked forward to a “second” Versailles conference,
which would redraw boundaries and settle territorial and national disputes. To
make this dream a reality, Zionists would have to gather massive political and popu
lar support during the war. Knowledge of Hitler’s ongoing extermination of Euro
pean Jewry did not force American Zionists to alter their thinking or strategy;
rather it confirmed their conviction that Jewish statehood was the best response
to genocide. As American Jews learned about the fate of their European co
religionists, they seemed to flock to the Zionist banner.
Historians have generally conceived of the American Jewish response to the
Holocaust and the triumph of American Zionism as two separate events. In fact,
they are inseparably linked. Hitler’s persecution of European Jewry (which began
long before the implementation of an extermination policy) fundamentally de
termined the development of American Zionism.


73
Introduction
American Jews completely transformed their political world between 1933 and
1948. By the end of 1947, Zionist organizations, with nearly one million mem
bers, 4 hegemonically controlled the American Jewish community. Zionists had
spearheaded a long, bitter political struggle resulting in the November 1947 United
Nations vote to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Much of this campaign was
waged against a British Empire that, in the minds of American Zionists, had been
transformed from a benign benefactor into an accomplice in the extermination
of six million European Jews. The struggle for Jewish statehood also fundamen
tally altered Jewish perceptions of the Arabs. American Zionist leaders no longer
looked upon Palestinian Arabs as a people merely needing to recognize the benefits
of Jewish development of the Holy Land. Instead, American Zionists viewed their
Arab opponents as reactionary neo-Nazis who were attempting to complete the
work that Adolf Hitler had begun.
This book is neither a diplomatic history of American Zionism nor an analysis
of organizational developments. Other historians have undertaken these tasks. 5
Rather, this is a study of how the worldview, or Weltanschauung, of American Zion
ists evolved during the critical decades of the thirties and forties. Particular atten
tion will be given to the dynamic and complex relationship between the Zionist
worldview and the policies they pursued during their confrontation with nazism.
Studying how the worldview of American Zionists developed and changed dur
ing the critical years between 1933 and 1948 requires a sensitive analysis of
sometimes neglected sources. Abba Hillel Silver, Stephen Wise, and their fellow
Zionist leaders delivered numerous speeches and published many articles aimed
at both Jewish and Christian audiences. The verbatim transcripts of American Zion
ist conventions total thousands of pages, recording the words of both movement
leaders and rank-and-file members. Of course, many of these speeches and com
ments were repetitious and unoriginal, but some Zionists like Silver and Wise could
express themselves eloquently and powerfully. Regardless of the quality of con
struction or delivery, the speeches and comments of American Zionists provide us
with a wonderful means of understanding how Jewish nationalists in the United
States attempted to make sense of their world.
American Jews in the 1930s and 1940s lived through times of confusion and
tragedy. In the midst of a major economic depression, which at times seemed
to threaten the social and political stability of the United States, they confronted
the rise of Nazi anti-Semitism. However, these acts of hatred were usually associ
ated with “unenlightened” Eastern Europe. Hitler’s success at enacting anti-Semitic
policies reminiscent of the Middle Ages in “civilized” Germany seemed incredible
and without precedent. The dilemma of American Jews deepened after the out
break of the Second World War when they learned about the ongoing mass murder
of European Jewry. The systematic, “scientific” extermination of millions of souls
was horrifying, all the more so because the victims were not strangers. The over-


14
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
whelming majority of Jews in the United States had roots that stretched across
the Atlantic to Nazi-occupied Europe. It was their kinfolk riding the railcars to Ger
man gas chambers. During World War II, American Jews desperately struggled
both to understand and respond to the European Jewish tragedy.
American Zionists shared in the despair and anguish of the entire American
Jewish community. However, they discovered that the ideology of Jewish nationalism
allowed them to understand events almost defying comprehension and provided
them with a means of responding to Hitler’s death camps. For Zionists, the Holo
caust proved that national homelessness caused anti-Semitism and that only through
the creation of a nation of their own could Jewry achieve salvation. Convinced
that the Second World War offered Zionists their last best chance to create a Jewish
state, they were determined not only to rescue European Jewry, but, through the
revolutionary step of Jewish statehood, to rescue the entire Jewish people, born
and unborn, from the threat of continued persecution. Failure to create a Jewish
state would be criminal, as they were sure that it would condemn future genera
tions to death and suffering.
Once Zionists intellectually “understood” the extermination of their European
kin, they offered their explanation and solution to the wider Jewish and Christian
publics. The powerful Zionist message appealed to the American Jewish masses
and to the many Christians desperately searching for an answer to Auschwitz. They
flocked around the blue and white flag of Zionism and joined in a crusade that
ended with the establishment of the State of Israel.
The pages that follow tell the story of how American Zionists struggled to com
prehend and respond to Nazi anti-Semitism and the consequences of their actions.


15
AMERICAN ZIONISM
AND THE EXTERNAL THREAT,
1933-1936
AMERICAN ZIONISM ON THE EVE OF THE THIRD REICH
The Zionist quest began in 1896, when Theodor Herzl published his
classic political manifesto, The Jewish State. Herzl, born in Budapest in
1860, grew up in an assimilated Jewish home and received his educa
tion in Vienna, where he became a prominent journalist and aspiring
playwright. A devout believer in the liberal credo, the young Herzl op
timistically expected that the advance of progress in Europe would com
pletely emancipate Jewry from discrimination and persecution.
Herzl’s optimism did not survive several personal encounters with
anti-Semitism, including the Dreyfus affair, which he covered as a cor
respondent for the Viennese Neue Freie Presse. By 1896, as The Jewish
State demonstrates, Herzl had undergone a conversion experience. He
no longer believed that Christians could be “educated” to tolerate Jews,
no matter how assimilated they became. Rather, he maintained that Chris
tians would always perceive of Jews as strangers and that anti-Semitism
would increase as the concentration of Jews in a given territory grew.
That being the case, it made no sense for Jews to respond to anti-Semitism
by emigrating to a more “tolerant” land, since Jew hatred in their new
homes would surely increase as a result of their arrival.
Having determined that anti-Semitism could not be escaped through
either assimilation or emigration, Herzl proposed a radical solution: Jewish
statehood. In their own country, he wrote, Jews would escape their minority
status and would be free to develop and progress like the great nations
of Europe. He thought that most of the world’s Jews would eventually
settle in the Jewish state, and predicted that anti-Semitism would decline
as the number of Jews in the Diaspora decreased. 1


16
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Herzl was not the first writer to suggest a national solution to the Jewish prob
lem. In 1882, Leo Pinsker, a Russian Jewish intellectual, had published his pam
phlet Autoemancipation, which in many respects foreshadowed Herzl’s later
work. 2 However, if Herzl was not an entirely original or critical thinker, he was
a magnificent politician. Shortly after completing The Jewish State, he began to
plan the formation of a political movement that would seek to establish an indepen
dent Jewish nation. Herzl’s work culminated in the First Zionist Congress, which
held its opening session in Basel, Switzerland, on August 29, 1897. The 197
delegates who attended the Congress came to hail Herzl and to form the World
Zionist Organization. 3
Even before the close of the Basel Congress it became apparent that Zionists were
divided on a number of significant issues. Herzl’s conversion to Jewish nationalism
had not been accompaneid by a corresponding growth in his interest in and commit
ment to Jewish culture and tradition. The Jewish state he intended to build would be
liberal, secular, and bourgeois, and would be located in whatever territory Jews might
acquire through negotiations with European imperial powers. The East European
Jews who quickly became the backbone of the Zionist movement held a very different
vision. They wanted to recreate a Jewish state in Palestine, the ancient and unforgotten
homeland of the Jews. Many of the East Europeans were attracted to the ideas of
Ahad Ha-Am, a Russian Jewish scholar and Zionist, who believed that a Jewish
homeland would not only answer the problem of anti-Semitism, but would also pro
vide the environment in which a new vibrant Jewish culture could evolve. Other East
European Jews attempted to fuse Jewish orthodoxy and Zionism. They organized the
Mizrachi Zionist Organization in 1902, which was dedicated to the establishment of
a religious Jewish state in a Palestine whose legal system and culture would be built
on the foundation of Torah and Talmud. 4
While the Mizrachi looked to the Jewish holy books for guidance, other East Euro
pean Zionists read Karl Marx. Like Herzl, the socialists planned to build a secular
Jewish state, but based on socialist principles. Greatly influenced by Russian popu
lism, the socialist Zionist organizations of Europe, including the Poale Zion (1907),
specialized in dispatching small groups of Jewish “pioneer” youth to Palestine to “re
turn” to the soil and live as laborers and farmers. These young people established
the kibbutzim (communal agricultural settlements) and became the dominant force
in the Palestinian Jewish community (the Yishuv) until the creation of Israel in 1948. 5
Zionist organizations in the United States reflected the ideological splits of the
world movement. Orthodox religious Zionists formed the Mizrachi Organization
of America in 1912, whose principal goal was the “Rehabilitation of Palestine in
the spirit of Jewish Torah and Tradition” and which was affiliated with the interna
tional Mizrachi Movement. The American Mizrachi, which claimed to have twenty
thousand members on the eve of the depression, had a limited constituency in
the United States. The Mizrachi tended to find its best audiences in the immigrant


17
American Zionism and External Threat
communities of New York, but its recruitment efforts suffered as a result of restric
tive American immigration quotas, which almost totally eliminated the influx of
East European Jews into the United States after 1921. 6
Socialist Zionism in the United States shared many of the problems of the Miz
rachi. It too found it difficult to sink roots deep into the American Jewish community;
in 1929 the Poale Zion, the most important socialist Zionist group in America,
claimed to have only five thousand members. Generally hostile to the Soviet Union
and the American Communist Party, which branded Zionism a form of bourgeois na
tionalism, the Poale Zion supported the organizing efforts of Jewish workers in Pales
tine and the United States. Perhaps one of the most important contributions of the
American socialist Zionists was the publication of their journal, Jewish Frontier.; which
first appeared in 1933. Edited by Hayim Greenberg, a talented writer and humani
tarian, Jewish Frontier's substantive and thoughtful articles attracted the attention of
many American Jews who never joined a socialist Zionist organization. 7
Both the Mirachi and Poale Zion were loyal participants in the World Zionist Orga
nization. On the eve of Hider’s rise to power in 1933, members of both organizations,
like most Zionists, believed that they would probably never live to see the establish
ment of a Jewish state in Palestine. This, the final stage of Zionism, would have to wait
until the Jews of Palestine, who in 1931 made up only 17 percent of the country’s
population, achieved majority status. In the meantime, the first priority of Zionists was
to carefully nurture the social and economic development of the Yishuv, preparing
it for eventual independence. The patience of the Mizrachi and the Poale Zion gen
erally reflected their essential trust of Great Britain, the Mandatory Power in Palestine.
While both organizations criticized specific British policies in Palestine, neither
doubted that London remained committed to the spirit of Foreign Minister Arthur
Balfour’s 1917 declaration that “His Majesty's Government view with favour the
establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” 8
Revisionist Zionists did not share these views. Vladimir Jabotinsky, who estab
lished the Revisionist party in 1925, was a powerful orator (his opponents called
him a demagogue) and a charismatic leader. The movement he established seemed
to many to be uncomfortably similar to Mussolini’s fascist organization. Revisionists
were passionately anti-socialist and seemed to be fascinated with military-like
discipline and rituals. By 1930, Jabotinsky was angrily attacking other Zionist
leaders for their failure to recognize that Great Britain was deserting them. He
was particularly upset by the Zionist movement’s failure to prevent Great Britain’s
establishment of the Arab kingdom of Transjordan in the territory west of the Jor
dan River, which had originally been included within the Palestine Mandate. Jabotin-
skv’s anti-British stance finally forced him and the Revisionist movement to break
from the World Zionist Organization in 1931. 9
Revisionism did not win many adherents in the United States and existed only
on the fringes of the American Zionist community. The Zionist Revisionist Organiza-


Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
tion of America (which later changed its name to the New Zionist Organization),
whose goal was to establish a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River, did
not even come close to approaching the numerical strength of Poale Zion. 10
The Zionist Organization of American (ZOA) and Hadassah were the most im
portant American Zionist organizations between the end of World War I and the
establishment of Israel in 1948. Hadassah, the largest organization of Zionist
women in the world, theoretically was affiliated with the Zionist Organization of Amer
ica, but actually exercised total autonomy. The organization concentrated its efforts
on practical programs and its financial backing was vital in the construction of
Palestine’s impressive health care system. Both Hadassah and the ZOA prided
themselves on being the only American Zionist bodies solely committed to re
establishing the Jewish nation in Palestine. Like the Poale Zion and Mizrachi, the
ZOA and Hadassah were part of the World Zionist Organization, but they criti
cized their Zionist competitors for diluting their Jewish nationalism with other
ideologies and philosophies. Generally, Hadassah and ZOA members saw their
mission as providing the pioneers in Palestine with financial and, when necessary,
political support. Few actually intended to settle in Palestine themselves. Most sup
ported the kibbutzim and the powerful Jewish labor organization in Palestine,
although they were not socialists, and a great many were also concerned with fur
thering and ecouraging the growth of Jewish culture in the United States, although
few were Orthodox."
During World War I, under the leadership of Louis Brandeis, the ZOA was able
to boast of a membership of two hundred thousand, which included prominent young
Jews like Felix Frankfurter who joined the Zionist ranks at Brandeis’s request. After
the war, however, American Zionism went into a period of steady decline, largely be
cause Zionists lacked an issue with which to capture the attention and loyalty of
American Jews. During the world conflict, the starvation, dislocation, and persecution
of East European Jewry stimulated American Jewish concern and propelled large
numbers into the Zionist ranks. With the return of peace, the condition of Jews on
the continent significantly improved and American interest in Zionism dwindled.
Many American Jews also seemed to believe that the Zionist movement had already
achieved its goal when the British government in 1917 expressed support for a Pal
estinian Jewish homeland in the famous Balfour Declaration. This commitment
was reaffirmed by the League of Nations when it awarded the Palestine Mandate to
Great Britain. Finally, a bitter struggle for the leadership of the world Zionist move
ment between Louis Brandeis and Chaim Weizmann, the Russian-born Zionist who
had been principally responsible for winning Britain’s support for Zionism, further
sapped Jewish nationalist strength in the immediate postwar years. Weizmann’s sup
porters within the ZOA, who resented the assimilated Brandeis’s lack of concern
with Jewish culture, defeated the forces of the Supreme Court justice, but only at
the expense of membership and prestige. On the eve of the stock market crash, the
18


19
American Zionism and External Threat
ZOA and Hadassah claimed a combined membership of sixty-five thousand. In
1929, Zionists did not and could not claim to speak for the more than four million
Jews of the United States. 12
The stock market crash of 1929 and the depression that followed struck a severe
blow at the already weak Zionist body politic, as the fear and actuality of unemploy
ment turned the attention of American Jewry inward. The reestablishment of a Jewish
state in the distant future seemed a trivial matter when compared to the urgency of
unpaid rent and grocery bills. In a time of economic emergency even many Zionist
veterans concluded that membership dues were a luxury that had to be sacrificed. 13
At many National Board meetings in the early 1930s, Hadassah’s leaders heard
reports describing the organization’s declining membership. 14 Hadassah leaders
tried to slow the rate of desertion by allowing members to forgo paying their four
dollar annual dues for two years before striking their names from the movement’s
mailing list. 15 In August 1932, officials declared that the continued loss of member
ship threatened the whole Hadassah framework, and in November, when they
learned that over one thousand members had left the organization during the
preceding year, they immediately decided to hire a professional publicity worker
to oversee a coordinated recruitment drive. 16
The aggressive campaign to attract women to Hadassah seemed to achieve quick
success. At the end of December 1932, board members learned that “for the
first time in three years reports indicated a temporary increase in membership.”
By February 1933, 2,096 new members had joined the Zionist ranks, making
Hadassah leaders believe that their own personal depression was over. Reports
in March indicated, however, that while over two thousand women had entered
the movement, a greater number of veterans had failed to renew their Hadassah
membership. By July it was clear that the success of the campaign had been an
illusion. Almost five thousand women had left Hadassah since the drive began,
and the extraordinary efforts of the organization’s leaders couldn’t attract even half
that many new women into the movement. 17
JEWISH REFUGEES AND AMERICAN IMMIGRATION RESTRICTION
As American Zionist organizations struggled to survive, Adolf Hitler began the long
process that would result in European Jewry’s near-extinction. While no plans existed
for the physical annihilation of German Jewry in 1933, Hitler certainly intended to
segregate and impoverish the Jewish population to the point where they would be
forced to flee. The Nazis quickly organized large-scale, anti-Jewish demonstrations,
dismissed Jews from government positions, urged “good” Germans to boycott Jewish
professionals and businessmen, and used all the resources of the German state to
spread the anti-Semitic virus throughout the German populace. 18


20
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Hitler’s persecution of German Jewry horrifed American Jewish leaders, but
it also had an unintended benefit. At its 1933 annual convention, ZOA president
Morris Rothenberg declared that “the calamity that had overtaken the 600,000
Jews in Germany has cast a shadow over everything else in Jewish life.” 19 Rabbi
Stephen S. Wise, one of American Jewry’s most respected Zionist leaders, agreed
but also pointed out that a “tragic vindication has come to Zionism in these un
happy days.” The assimilated German-Jewish community had rejected Theodor
Herzl and had denied the existence of a Jewish people. Wise even speculated that
the German obsession with Aryanism might have been “evoked” by the “repudia
tion” of Jewishness by German Jews and their espousal of “pseudo-Aryansim,”
but he called on Zionists to forgive German Jewry its errors, confessing that “our
hearts are full of compassion for them that have sinned against Jewish history.” 20
All segments of the organized American Jewish community concerned them
selves with the German Jewish crisis, and all American Jews supported efforts to
pressure the Nazi government into recognizing the civil rights of its Jewish citizens.
American Zionists did too, but because they feared that Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies
would not be easily overturned, they also believed that salvation for many Jews
would only come with emigration from the Nazi Reich. 21
Between January 1933 and September 1,1939, 226,000 German Jews, approxi
mately one-third of Germany’s Jewish population, left the Third Reich. During
the spring and summer of 1933, between four hundred and five hundred Jews
a day visited the Berlin offices of the Hilfsverein Der Deutschenjuden (Relief Organi
zation of German Jews) to gather information about emigration from Germany.
Their prospects for settlement were not particularly bright. Very few countries were
willing to allow large numbers of refugees to enter their borders. 22
The League of Nations responded to the German refugee crisis by appointing
a High Commissioner for Refugees. James G. McDonald, an American lawyer and
foreign policy specialist, assumed the office and for two years attempted to ra
tionalize and streamline the refugee emigration process. In June 1935, McDonald
resigned his position, frustrated by the failure of League members to support his
efforts to provide new homes for German refugees. 23
France, which shared a common border with Germany and was therefore a
likely candidate to become a major refugee haven, did allow many German Jews
to enter its borders, but encouraged them to leave again as soon as possible. A
large number of Jews used France as a major way station; in late 1933, over thirty
thousand German Jews found temporary salvation in France. By early 1938, the
number had dwindled to ten thousand. Great Britain was also willing to do its
“fair share” to solve the refugee crisis, but like France was unwilling to open its
doors to all or even a majority of those in need, and London also encouraged
arriving Jewish refugees to look for a permanent home elsewhere. 24
The United States was less generous than the European powers. America’s tradi-


21
American Zionism and External Threat
tional policy of open immigration came to an end when Congress enacted restric
tive quota systems in 1921 and 1924. Legislation stipulated that no more than
153,774 immigrants could enter the United States annually. The quota system
allowed 25,957 Germans to immigrate to the country every year. 25
After the stock market crash of 1929, restrictionist sentiment in the United
States grew as the average American believed that every immigrant allowed into
the country would add to the already intense competition for a limited number
of jobs. Representatives in Congress began to demand an additional reduction
of immigration. Existing legislation allowed American consular officials to deny
immigration visas to those individuals judged “likely to become a public charge.”
In September 1930, President Herbert Hoover ordered American officials vigor
ously to enforce the “Likely to Become a Public Charge” clause and to award visas
only to those individuals who could either prove that they had enough savings
to care for themselves after they came to the United States or who possessed af
fidavits from Americans who pledged to provide them with financial support. As
Hoover had hoped, the new American policy significantly reduced immigration to
the
United States; during the last year of his administration, State Department officials
distributed only 35,576 immigration visas. 26
State Department officials continued to use the “Likely to Become a Public
Charge” clause as a restrictive measure after Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration
in March 1933. The government’s failure to liberalize its immigration policy as
the refugee crisis worsened reflected the nativism of many State Department
bureaucrats, Roosevelt’s concentration on drawing up legislation to combat the
depression, and the new president’s wariness about advocating unpopular posi
tions. Roosevelt, however, soon had to confront the German Jewish dilemma, as
American Jews, including leading Zionists, took advantage of their official posi
tions and prominence to intercede with the administration on the refugees’ behalf.
Louis Brandeis, Stephen Wise, the directors of Hadassah, and other American
Zionists believed that the United States had a moral responsibility to provide a
haven for at least some of the German Jewish refugees.
Several months after President Paul von Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor
of Germany, Stephen Wise pressed Secretary of State Cordell Hull to support an
executive order that would allow refugees from Nazi persecution to enter the United
States. Wise was shocked to find Hull “weirdly uninformed” about the Jewish crisis
in Germany. 27 In April 1933, Felix Frankfurter, a professor at Harvard Law School
and one of America’s most respected Zionists, suggested to President Roosevelt
that a larger number of German refugees be allowed to enter the United States.
Hull, responding for Roosevelt, assured Frankfurter that Germans applying for
entry into the United States were experiencing no delay in receiving visas as a
result of immigration quotas. 28 Unsatisfied with this response, Frankfurter arranged
a meeting between Hull and Louis Brandeis. Brandeis told Hull that he was “more


22
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
ashamed of my country than pained by Jewish suffering.” He did not want the
United States to do away with quotas altogether, but he did argue that Washington
could reasonably be expected to relax its policy of restricting immigration. 29
Hull agreed to discuss the matter with Roosevelt, and eventually some executive
action was taken to streamline the torturous visa application process. In 1933,
only 5 percent of the German quota was filled. Over the next two years the number
of Germans entering the United States increased fourfold, and by 1937, 42 per
cent of the available visas for German nationals were used. After Hitlers annexa
tion of Austria in March 1938, the refugee crisis intensified as Austrian Jewry
joined the visa line, and finally, in 1939, State Department officials issued all of
the visas available under the combined German-Austrian quota. 30
Brandeis’s actions were not solely responsible for the very slow but steady
liberalization of American immigration policy. Many American Jewish organiza
tions and leaders made their requests and feelings known to the Roosevelt ad
ministration. Stephen Wise, an early and ardent supporter of the New Deal, played
a critical role in informing Roosevelt about the refugee tragedy and in 1938
became a member of the newly created President’s Advisory Committee on Politi
cal Refugees. In spite of their concern and good intentions, however, neither Wise
nor any other Zionist or Jewish leader in the United States mounted an aggressive
campaign aimed at breaching the American quota system, which insured that most
Jewish refugees would never be able to reach America. 31
During the depression decade, the American public’s opposition to a large in
flux of immigrants was even more intense than it had been in 1921 and 1924,
when the immigration quota laws were enacted. Nazi anti-Semitism and the frantic
search of German Jewish refugees for a new home did not force many Americans
to change their attitudes about immigration. Throughout the thirties, public opinion
polls revealed, a majority of Americans opposed opening the country’s doors to
Jewish refugees. In 1938, five years into Hitler’s “war against the Jews,” 83 per
cent of those polled responded “no” to the question: “If you were a member of
Congress, would you vote yes or no on a bill to open the doors of the U.S. to a
larger number of European refugees than are now admitted under our immigra
tion quotas?” This overwhelming response was partly due to the sincere belief
of many that there were simply not enough jobs or resources in the country to
accommodate a large number of newcomers. Sadly, however, the opposition of
many others to a more liberal refugee policy reflected the growing problem of anti-
Semitism in the United States. 32
During the thirties, American anti-Semitism never came close to approaching
the intensity of Jew-hatred in Nazi Germany. The government of the United States
did not pursue anti-Semitic policies, and Jews in the United States continued to
hold prominent positions in the public and private spheres. Nevertheless, American
Jews throughout the decade knew that some of their neighbors thought ill of them.


23
American Zionism and External Threat
Pollsters found that significant numbers of Americans believed that Jews had both
admirable and objectionable qualities. During the spring of 1938, over 60 per
cent of those quizzed admitted that they admired Jews, primarily because of their
business and intellectual achievements. 33 During the same period, another survey
found that 65 percent of Americans objected to certain “Jewish qualities,” including
their supposed greed, dishonesty, aggressiveness, and clannishness. 34 Only 13 per
cent of those polled in May 1938 would support a hypothetical anti-Semitic cam
paign, but an amazing 58 percent claimed that European Jewry was at least partly
responsible for its persecution. 35 A much more threatening sign was the growth of
rabidly anti-Semitic movements on the fringes of American politics. Father Charles
E. Coughlin, the charismatic radio priest, often inserted anti-Semitic statements
into his broadcasts without suffering censure from his church superiors. William
Dudley Pelley’s Silver Shirts and the German-American Bund had the support
of only a very small number of Americans, but they loudly and repeatedly de
nounced “traitorous” American Jews and accused Roosevelt of being under their
control. 36
The intensity of restrictionist sentiment in the United States and the latent anti-
Semitism of many Americans made Franklin Roosevelt’s feeble efforts to liberalize
immigration policy seem impressive. American Jewish leaders feared a restric
tionist victory in Congress; these fears were not unwarranted. In early 1939,
American Jewry and its supporters made their one serious attempt to breach the
United States quota walls. In February, Senator Robert Wagner (D., N.Y.) and
Representative Edith Rogers (R., Mass.) introduced bills in both houses of Con
gress that would have allowed 20,000 refugee children to enter the United States
above the quota limit. In spite of impressive support from Eleanor Roosevelt,
Hollywood personalities, and Jewish and humanitarian organizations, the bill was
amended out of existence. Restrictionist representatives, responding to the opposi
tion of various American “patriotic” organizations (including the American Legion),
would allow the bill only to give the children first priority in the existing and al
ready oversubscribed quota. Wagner was disgusted by his mutated bill and with
drew it. 37
Their inability to change significantly American immigration policy concerned
American Zionists, but did not depress them. They were convinced that many
German Jewish refugees would be able to find a permanent and prosperous home
in Palestine.
A PALESTINIAN SOLUTION TO THE REFUGEE CRISIS
American Zionists and their European and Palestinian counterparts enthusiastically
accepted the challenge of providing German Jews with a much-needed refuge.


24
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Chaim Weizmann wrote to an American supporter in the spring of 1933: "The Ger
man tragedy is absorbing—and seems likely to absorb for some time to come—
every ounce of my time and energy. . . .” 38 Max Shulman of the ZOA defined the
settlement of German refugees in Palestine as one of the major tasks of the American
Zionist movement. 39
At the 1933 ZOA convention. Rabbi Stephen Wise expressed the opinion of
all American Zionists that “Jews cannot permanently remain in Germany.” Zionists,
Wise noted, had long ago prepared a solution to this tragic situation: “The emergency
conference through which to meet the German situation was called by Theodor
Herzl in 1896. . . . The answer to the Hitler program is a Jewish program, and
the Jewish program is Zionism or Jewish nationalism.” 40
Speaker after speaker at the convention echoed Wise’s message and stressed
Palestine’s role in the solution of the German Jewish crisis. Abraham Goldberg,
a delegate from New York City, enthusiastically supported Zionist plans to settle
one hundred thousand German Jews a year in Palestine. Jewish nationalists, he
said, “will not be satisfied merely with protests, although we took an important
part in the protest demonstrations. We must have a constructive plan which will
help German Jewry and vindicate Jewish honor.” 41
American Zionists believed that Palestine could accommodate large numbers
of refugees, but during the first years of Hitler’s reign they carefully admitted that
Zionism was not the only solution to the problem of German anti-Semitism. This
not only reflected a commitment to the ideal of Jewish political and social equality
in Europe, but a genuine uncertainty about the absorptive capacity of Palestine
and an uneasiness about the suitability of many of the prospective immigrants. The
Jewish Frontier, the prestigious socialist Zionist journal, suspected that some of
the Jews fleeing to Palestine were not truly committed to the Zionist program. Many
of the former professionals and businessmen among the refugees seemed to be
unwilling to adapt themselves physically and culturally to their new homes, and
many of them were not willing to become farmers or laborers. In order to preserve
the Zionist experiment in Palestine, the journal advocated a more careful screen
ing of prospective immigrants, noting that, “Palestine has a right to expect of the
new immigrant not merely the devotion of his energies to the struggle for economic
survival, but also a readiness to participate, socially and culturally, in the reconstruc
tion of the Jewish homeland.” 42
Chaim Weizmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization from 1920
to 1931 (he would be reelected to the post in 1935), also recognized that massive
Jewish immigration to Palestine could be troublesome. In 1933, he warned members
of the Zionist Organization of America at their annual convention not to expect
too much from the Jewish homeland. He feared that too rapid an influx of refugees
would overwhelm the resources of the Jewish agricultural settlements and would
cause overcrowding in Palestine's towns and cities. Such a situation would imperil


25
American Zionism and External Threat
the entire Zionist project, since the collective agricultural village was the source
of the morals, culture, and civilization that Zionists were creating in Palestine. Weiz-
mann hoped that Zionists would realize that
if we are going to repeat the mistakes which Jews have made in all countries
that we settled in towns and the country was somebody else’s we shall not
have a normal national home. A normal national home is based on the right
balance between town and country; on the right proportion between town
dwellers and peasants. And, therefore, colonization on the land may be more
difficult; it may be slower; it may be costly, but it is the essential prerequisite
if our national home is going to be stable at all. 43
Weizmann also confessed some skepticism about the ability of German Jewry
to adapt to the new Jewish society of Palestine. Many refugees were crippled by
a tradition of 150 years of assimilation, which “hollowed out the spirit and the
heart of a great many Jews.” Like Stephen Wise, he believed that German Jews
bore some responsibility for their plight. Had they and other Western Jews “not
sneered so much at Palestine, had they believed in it as we did, . . . why they could
walk in today in Palestine in the hundreds of thousands.” 44
Weizmann’s concern for Palestine and his ambivalence about the moral character
of German Jewry was matched by a strong commitment to fight German anti-
Semitism. He believed that Palestine could play a role in the fight against Hitler
by accepting 40,000 refugees during the next year, and he hoped that a total of
250,000 could be accommodated within the next five or six years. 4S
Emanuel Neumann, one of American Zionism’s young and promising leaders,
disagreed with Weismann’s assessment. Neumann and his followers within the ZOA
believed that too much attention had been given to the building of small, socialist
agricultural communities by the Zionist movement. They favored increased private
investment in the country, industrialization, and the recruitment of middle-class
immigrants. Jews with money to invest in industry would create many jobs in Pales
tine and would increase the country’s capacity to absorb masses of German Jews.
Neumann urged Zionists to be honest with the Jewish world and admit that the
German refuge problem could not be solved by taking a number of Jews and
“physically” and “literally” settling them in Palestine. Instead, he argued, “we can
do it chiefly by opening the whole of Palestine to Jewish development on such
a scale that there will be room and possibilities for tens of thousands and hun
dreds of thousands to come into Palestine.” 46
Many Zionists at the 1933 Convention seemed to favor large-scale settlement
of Jewish refugees in Palestine without sharing Weizmann’s fears about destabiliz
ing the Jewish community already there. Solomon Goldman, a future president
of the ZOA, argued that Zionists had to engage in “a scheme of colonization that
will make all our previous efforts look insignificant.” Palestine, he continued, must


26
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
be made ready to act as a haven for all needy Jews. 47 However, in spite of signifi
cant support for Neumann’s position, ZOA leaders were unwilling to endorse a
plan that might undermine the agricultural and communal settlement of Palestine
because such a step would have alienated those ZOA members who sympathized
with the idealistic founders of the Jewish kibbutzim in Palestine. ZOA convention
delegates instead unanimously voted for a compromise resolution requesting the
world Zionist leadership to settle at least a quarter of a million Jews in Palestine
during the next four years. 48
Although Zionists worried about Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies and their impact
on Palestine’s development, they were also optimistic about the future. The ex
periences of German Jewry seemed to prove the Zionist dictum that Jewish na
tionalism, not assimilation, was the correct Jewish strategy for survival. Costly Zion
ist efforts to develop Palestine had prepared that land to serve as one of the few
havens available to Germany’s Jews. Zionists were proud to contribute to the refugee
problem’s solution, and they also realized that the refugees could benefit their
beloved Palestine. ZOA president Rothenberg observed: “We are profoundly con
vinced that tragic as the present situation is, it at the same time points to a historic
duty and historic opportunity to enlarge the possibilities of the Jewish National
Home for greater immigration.” 49
Some Zionists even hoped that the influx of refugees into Palestine would allow
Jewish colonization to expand out of the confines of the Palestine Mandate. Eman
uel Neumann, who had been actively involved in negotiations to open Transjordan
to Zionist colonization, argued that a solution to the refugee problem required Jew
ish settlement on both sides of the Jordan River. 50 Stephen Wise’s vision was even
grander than Neumann’s. He hoped that England, the United States, and the League
of Nations would respond to the refugee crisis by coupling Syria and Iraq with
Palestine so that they could “claim their share in the enriching processes which
Jews have brought to Palestine in our generation.” 51
Following the 1933 ZOA convention, American Zionists and their European
and Palestinian partners devoted considerable energy to implementing plans for
the settlement of German Jews in Palestine. 52 The Jewish Agency (which represented
Jewish interests in Palestine) and the Zionist Executive, however, were not legally
responsible for regulating Palestine’s immigration policy. Great Britain, interna
tionally recognized as Palestine’s legitimate protector and governor, held that power.
Hitler’s rise to power and the refugee exodus that followed strained Zionist-
British relations. In April 1933, Stephen Wise optimistically predicted that Great
Britain would increase the number of Jews it allowed into Palestine each year in
order to capitalize on world Jewry’s resentment of Hitler. Shortly afterwards, how
ever, Britain began to refuse Zionist requests for increased Jewish immigration
to Palestine. A massive influx of Jewish workers, British administrators hypothe
sized, could stimulate the Jewish economic sector and threaten the jobs of those


27
American Zionism and External Threat
Arabs employed by Jewish businessmen, farmers, and industrialists. Accordingly,
for the six months form October 1, 1932, to March 31, 1933, the British, follow
ing a policy enacted before Hitler’s assumption of power, issued 4,100 labor certifi
cates allowing Jews without capital and their families to enter Palestine. During
the next six-month period (April-September 1933) the British increased the num
ber of certificates they issued only by 550. 53
Robert Szold believed that the British were responding to Arab pressure, and
he called on Zionists to begin a program of counterpressure. 54 Louis Lipsky, a
close associate of Chaim Weizmann, who had led the struggle against Brandeis’s
leadership after World War 1, asked James McDonald of the League of Nations
Commission on Refugees to join the campaign against British immigration restric
tions. Justice Brandeis personally made his objections known to Sir Herbert Sam
uel, who had served as Britain’s first high commissioner in Palestine. 55
In spite of his concerns about British immigration restrictions, Brandeis did
not expect British hostility to continue. David Ben-Gurion, the leader of the Zionist
establishment in Palestine, also minimized the Mandatory Power’s opposition to
the Jewish settlement of Palestine. Ben-Gurion advised Felix Frankfurter against
adopting too aggressive an anti-British policy, writing: “I have a feeling that the
Government is not unfriendly disposed towards us, but that it is beset with doubts
and misgivings.” 56
The optimism of Ben-Gurion and Brandeis was quite realistic. In 1932, 9,553
Jews emigrated to Palestine. In spite of the restrictive British policy, that number
increased to 30,327 in 1933. More importantly, the British in 1934 finally began
to open the doors of Palestine wider, issuing 6,275 labor certificates for the period
from April 1 to September 30, 1934, and 7,200 certificates for the six months
following. The more liberal policy allowed 42,359 to reach Palestine in 1934,
a number that climed to 61,854 in 1935. 57
THE REFUGEE CRISIS AND THE REBIRTH OF AMERICAN ZIONISM
As they championed the refugees’ cause, American Zionists quickly learned that
a mutually beneficial relationship existed between their efforts to rescue German
Jewry and the advancement of the Zionist movement in America. As early as April
1933, Stephen Wise had written Louis Brandeis: “We feel that time has come
which almost parallels the 1914 situation, and that we may now be able to reawaken
the interest of American Jews in Palestine and Zionism.” 58 Robert Szold concur
red with Wise’s judgment and wrote: “There is no doubt that the German persecu
tion of Jews has aroused Jewry, as nothing has done for a long time. It is impossi
ble to over-estimate the extent of the feelings around;—and the possible effect on


28
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Palestine. Many discussions have taken place in this country looking toward large
schemes of Palestine development.” 59 Many American Jews were realizing that
Zionism seemed to offer a simple and practical solution to the refugees’ plight.
While other Jewish organizations futilely attempted to convince Adolf Hitler to alter
his anti-Semitic policies, Zionist settlements in Palestine offered German Jews securi
ty and a future. By the summer of 1934, Hadassah and the ZOA reported that
thirteen thousand American Jews had joined their organizations during the previous
twelve months and that their total membership had risen to seventy-eight thousand. 60
By February 1934, Hadassah leaders recognized that the German situation
might allow the organization to reverse the downward plunge of its membership
rolls. The board resolved that Hadassah must capitalize on the growing public
interest in Palestine as the one available refuge for German Jewry. 61 By the end
of March, Hadassah leaders were able to celebrate the continued influx of members
into the organization, and they enthusiastically looked forward to continuing good
times for the movement. 62
Hadassah’s leaders understood the extent to which their good fortune resulted
from American Jewish concern for their brethren caught in Hitler’s grasp. In the
spring of 1934, Dr. Mordechai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionism and a
widely respected theologian, urged Hadassah to concentrate its resources on solv
ing the problem of “white slavery,” which “blighted” the lives of many Jewish girls
in Europe. Zip Szold (wife of Robert Szold) and the other leaders of Hadassah
politely listened to Kaplan and promised to study the problem, 63 but continued
to center their activites around Palestine and German Jewry. They had little other
choice, as the local chapters of the organization would have tolerated no deviation
from the German problem. National leaders were even beginning to feel pressure
to abandon the organizations traditional emphasis on Palestinian health care. As
they explained:
There is a growing feeling in many Hadassah groups, . . . that Hadassah can
not always confine itself to a medical program in Palestine. The German situa
tion had intensified this feeling, and Hadassah has found it difficult to con
vince its Chapters that they are serving the German immigrants in Palestine
more effectively by providing them with good medical service than by under
taking other projects for their welfare. 64
Jewish nationalists at the July 1934 convention of the ZOA were clearly aware
of the refugee problem’s centrality to Palestine’s development and the success of
American Zionism. President Morris Rothenberg observed that “the world Jewish
situation, with the resultant emphasis upon the Zionist position, has brought the
Zionist Organization closer to the appreciation and understanding of the Jewish
public.” While the rest of the world closed their doors to the Jewish refugees, the
Zionist community of Palestine held out their hands to their beleaguered German


29
American Zionism and External Threat
kin. American Jewry’s acknowledgment of Palestine’s central role in the solution
of the refugee problem had stimulated Zionist growth and fund-raising activities
throughout the country. He reported that the ZOA had reduced its deficit from
$133,161 to $53,321 and predicted that Jewish public interest in Palestine would
continue to grow because many expected that Nazi anti-Semitism would spill over
Germany’s borders. He pointed to a general rise in European anti-Semitic activities
and said that the only bright spot for world Jewry was Palestine. 65
Louis Lipsky, the leader of the anti-Brandeis ZOA faction in the twenties strug
gle, and Robert Szold, a devoted disciple of the Supreme Court justice, agreed
with Rothenberg’s analysis. Lipsky feared that anti-Semitism would permeate Europe,
turning the continent into a large concentration camp. Palestine, of all the world’s
lands, was willing to open its doors to the refugees. He confidently predicted that
the refugee situation would make it difficult for any group or individual to main
tain an anti-Zionist position. 66 Szold declared that the most important problem fac
ing Zionists was “how to open the gates of Palestine to Jewish immigration.” Echo
ing Rothenberg, he called upon Zionists to get the maximum number of European
Jews into Palestine in the shortest possible time. 67
While concern about Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies significantly contributed to
the growing prestige and strength of American Zionism, some Jewish nationalists
feared that too strong an emphasis on the refugee crisis would dilute their move
ment. American Jews who had joined the Zionist ranks before the rise of Hitler
could not help but question the ideological commitment of their new comrades
who seemed only to be concerned about solving an immediate refugee problem.
Did they understand that Hitler was not a unique phenomenon and that Theodor
Herzl had established a revolutionary movement designed to end Jewish homeless
ness, the principal cause of anti-Semitism? Were they aware of the movement’s
past accomplishments as well as the history and culture of the Jewish people?
Would they continue to be Zionists after the refugee crisis was solved? In the
summer of 1934, ZOA president Rothenberg called upon American Jews to
enlist in the Zionist crusade to bring the maximum number of refugees into Pales
tine, but he added that
Zionism aims not merely to secure a place of refuge for those of our race
seeking to escape persecution, but also to provide for the Jewish people the
opportunity of a free, creative life, and to reproduce its national culture. . . .
Hence it has always been considered sound Zionist philosophy and practice to
participate in the cultural and spiritual development of Jewish life everywhere. 68
Zionists had to become actively involved in every facet of the American Jewish
community, particularly in the field of education. Rothenberg favored strong ef
forts to combat the progress of assimilation among American Jews. 69
Jacob de Haas opposed Rothenberg’s plan for expending Zionist resources on


30
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
a wide range of projects. De Haas, a native of Great Britain, had come to the
United States as an emissary for Theodor Herzl to oversee the development of
American Zionism. He urged ZOA members to focus all their efforts on support
ing the settlement of Jewish refugees in Palestine. It would be a great mistake,
he said, for the organization to involve itself with questions not directly linked to
the task of Jewish settlement. 70 Jewish youth, de Haas explained, were attracted
to the Communist party because they preferred action and concrete programs to
education courses. The same young people would flock to the ZOA if the Zionists
followed the Communist lead and instituted an activist program. 71
Severed Zionists attacked de Haas and condemned him for not being sufficiently
concerned with the fostering and encouragement of Jewish culture in the Diaspora.
Louis Lipsky supported the Rothenberg plan that de Haas had attacked. He
explained:
You do not win a Zionist only when you get him to go to Palestine. You win
a Zionist also when he becomes a Zionist in the Golus [exile] and acquires
all those attributes, with the exception of the political rights and political status,
of every Jew who lives in Palestine. The business of the Zionist movement is
to create in the Golus such nationally constructed human beings that they
become fit candidates to enter into the National Home even before they touch
it. The Zionist organization therefore has an eye on all things that happen in
the Jewish world. 72
The strongest opposition to de Haas came from a small group of Jewish and
Yiddish intellectuals and journalists who argued that Zionists must concern them
selves with combating the advance of assimilation among American Jewry. Several
expressed concern with the central role the German refugee movement was play
ing in the Zionists’ progress. Ludwig Lewisohn, a Jewish author, confessed that
almost every Jew he met claimed to be a Zionist because of the refugee situation.
Lewisohn condemned this position explaining that persecution was not the greatest
danger confronting the Jews. “True” Zionists understood that a larger problem
was posed by the emancipation of Jewry under a misguided liberalism that denies
that “mankind is forever divided into peoples.” 73 A. H. Friedland agreed with
Lewisohn and reminded de Haas that Zionism was more than a movement of set
tlement and a political machine. 74 They and their followers heartily backed Rothen
berg and hoped that the Jewish nationalist movement would not become solely
obsessed with the settlement of refugees in Palestine.
In spite of the contrary views of several leading American Zionists, the refugee
crisis in Europe would increasingly define the tactics, strategy, scope, and success
of Jewish nationalism for the next fifteen years. It could not have been otherwise.
Zionist leaders knew that many of the new members flocking to their organizations
lacked a proper appreciation of Jewish culture, did not understand the danger


31
American Zionism and External Threat
of assimilation, and were primarily interested in doing anything that might relieve
the suffering of European Jewry. However, there could be no arguing with the
fact that the new members increased the strength, prestige, and resources of the
Zionist Organization of America. Judge Bernard A. Rosenblatt, a respected veteran
member of the ZOA, showed that he understood the situation well in the summer
of 1934, when he told a ZOA convention: “Before that epoch-making year [1933],
anyone might have questioned the experiment of a Jewish Palestine. Today no seri
ous critic of our efforts in Eretz Israel can deny the ultimate success of our pro
gram.” Hitler’s policies ensured that Jews would someday make up a majority of
Palestine’s population. Rosenblatt explained that just as the Russian czar’s anti-
Semitism had led to the rise of the American Jewish community almost half a
century earlier, so would Hitler’s persecution lead to the development of a Jewish
Palestine, which would become the “Little America of the East.” 75
THE WIDENING APPEAL OF AMERICAN ZIONISM
Events and developments during the last half of 1934 and 1935 continued to
force Zionists to focus their attention on Palestine’s role in the solution of the ref
ugee crisis. On Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year) in the fall of 1934, Rabbi
Abba Hillel Silver, a Reform rabbi form Cleveland and one of the most talented
Zionist orators, described the past Jewish year in very bleak terms. Not only had
Hitler strengthened his grip on Germany, but Austrian Jews now feared that their
government would mimic Hitler’s programs. Pointing to anti-Semitic activities in
Greece, Algeria, and Canada, and the development of fascist organizations in
England and the United States, Silver lamented, “What a year of bitterness, stress
and heart-ache this has been for our people.” 76 The death of Poland’s Marshall
Joseph Pilsudski in early 1935 threatened the existence of three million more
Jews. Poland’s new leaders were much more willing to adopt anti-Semitism as an
official government policy than the old general was. Only the continuing develop
ment of Palestine seemed to brighten the gloomy Zionist perception of world
Jewry’s condition. 77
In response to the refugee crisis, ZOA president Morris Rothenberg spearheaded
the organization of the National Conference for Palestine. Rothenberg hoped that
the conference, which would be attended by non-Zionists as well as Zionists, would
mobilize support for the Jewish homeland. He wrote to Justice Brandeis:
The rapid disintegration of the Jewish position in many lands, particularly in
Germany and Eastern Europe, and the unparalleled development of Palestine
as a permanent haven of refuge for the victims of oppression . . . makes it


32
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
imperative that the full strength of the Jewish people be mobilized to enlarge
the scope and possibilities of Jewish settlement in Palestine, if large segments
of our people are not to perish.
Palestine, Rothenberg maintained, was the “greatest center for the salvaging of
Jewish life.” 78
Representatives of every segment of the organized American Jewish community
attended the National Conference for Palestine, which opened on January 20,
1935. Fifty-two national Jewish organizations and 141 cities sent two thousand
delegates to the conclave. Franklin Roosevelt dispatched a message, and Secretary
of the Interior Harold Ickes and Charles Edward Russell addressed the assembly.
Ickes’s strong support of Jewish efforts to develop Palestine thrilled Zionist leaders.
The cabinet secretary applauded the imagination and creativity of Jewish pioneers
in Palestine and compared the Jewish program to the New Deal. Both, he explained,
aimed to provide the people with a more abundant life through hard work and
planning. 79
One observer described the conference as a “big demonstration” supporting
the Palestinian solution to the European refugee problem. Joseph Saslaw, a Zionist
veteran, was heartened to see the leaders of the American Jewish Committee and
B’nai B’rith supporting the rebuilding of Palestine. Many delegates at the con
ference felt like they were living in “miracle days” when Rabbi Abraham Simon
expressed the approval of the traditionally anti-Zionist Reform Rabbinate for the
Jewish development of Palestine. Rabbi Simon, representing the Central Conference
of American Rabbis (the national association of Reform Judaism), stated that “the
tragedy of our people today is greater than the ideology of the Rabbinate,” Saslaw
reported. 80
Actually, the “miracle” was not as great as some believed. German Jewish im
migrants had formed the B'nai B’rith in 1843, and it quickly became the largest
Jewish fraternal organization in America with a membership exceeding 75,000
in 1935. Wealthy Jews of German descent had organized the American Jewish
Committee in 1906 to protect Jewish interests in the United States and to combat
anti-Semitism at home and abroad. Both organizations were hostile to Zionism
before World War I, reflecting the view common to American Jews of German
heritage that Jews had found their “Zion” in the United States and that a Jewish
state was unnecessary. Following World War I, however, the American Jewish Com
mittee found itself challenged by the American Jewish Congress founded by
Stephen Wise, whose membership was dominated by Jews of East European des
cent. The members of the Congress resented the elitism and conservatism of the
Committee and subjected it to bitter attack. Partially in response to the American
Jewish Congress’s criticism, the Committee began to rethink its position on Zion
ism, as did the B’nai B’rith, whose membership now included significant numbers


33
American Zionism and External Threat
of East Europeans. Both organizations adopted a so-called non-Zionist position.
They continued to oppose the establishment of a Jewish state; the American Jewish
Committee, in particular, fearing that the creation of a Jewish nation might raise
doubts among Christians about the “dual loyalty” of American Jews. However,
the B’nai B’rith and the Committee both supported Jewish immigration to and set
tlement of Palestine. Their support of a Palestinian solution to the refugee crisis
at the 1935 national conference did not therefore represent a significant change
of policy. 81
The 1935 endorsement of Jewish immigration to Palestine by the Central Con
ference of American Rabbis was a more important development. German Jewish
immigrants brought Reform Judaism to America in the middle of the nineteenth
century. The Reform movement, dedicated to the “modernization” of Judaism, bor
rowed much from Protestant religious practices, including Sunday instead of Satur
day Sabbath services and the use of choirs and organs. Most importantly, Reform
Jews defined their Jewishness purely in terms of religion, denying all claims of
separate nationality. Reform, unlike Orthodox or Conservative Judaism, rejected
the belief that a messiah would one day come to rescue Jews from their exile and
return them to Palestine. Reform doctorine led most Reform rabbis, with the notable
exceptions of Abba Hillel Silver, Stephen Wise, and a few of their compatriots,
to oppose Zionism.
By 1935, the problems of German Jewry, the Zionist success in colonizing
Palestine, and the maneuverings of Silver and other pro-Zionist Reform rabbis com
bined to force the Reform establishment to modify its views on Jewish nationalism.
The Central Conference of American Rabbis gave their approval to the settlement
of Jewish refugees in Palestine at the 1935 national conference and during their
own 1935 convention passed a “Neutrality Resolution” stating in part that: “In
the rehabilitation of Palestine, the land hallowed by memories and hopes, we be
hold the promise of renewed life for many of our brethren. We affirm the obliga
tion of all Jewry to aid in its upbuilding as a Jewish homeland by endeavoring
to make it not only a haven of refuge for the oppressed but also a center of Jewish
culture and spiritual life.” The Reform movement, however, continued to oppose
Jewish statehood. 82
The refusal of important elements of the American Jewish community to recog
nize the need for a Jewish state did not particularly trouble American Zionists
in 1935. Most continued to believe that the establishment of a Jewish nation was
the long-term goal of the Zionist movement. The determination of the exact political
nature of that nation, whether it would be a totally independent state, a member
of the British Commonwealth, or a part of a larger Middle East federation, would
wait until Jews achieved majority status in Palestine. For the immediate future, all
that was necessary was for Zionists to build support for large-scale Jewish immigra
tion to Palestine. 83


34
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Of course, some Americans insisted on searching for other havens for Euro
pean Jewry. In August 1935, Oswald Garrison Villard noted with some sarcasm
that “no nation had done more to aid the Jews in this crisis of the race’s history
than the wicked and godless Soviets.” Villard, a respected journalist and the one
time owner of the liberal periodical The Nation, believed that Birobidzhan, the
Jewish autonomous region of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, would ab
sorb large numbers of Jewish refugees. 84
The Jewish Frontier was particularly upset by Villard’s article. The socialist Zion
ist editors of the journal were profoundly anti-Soviet and had devoted considerable
space in their magazine to proving that Palestine was a far more suitable haven
for refugees than Birobidzhan. They warned Villard to “guard against unwittingly
aiding those who seek to disperse the energy which the Jewish people must con
centrate on Palestine.” 85
Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver shared the Jewish Frontier's concern. The young rab
bi argued that there could be no “ersatz” for Palestine because “Palestine is not
a colonization project or a relief measure. It is nation building. It is not an emer
gency place or refuge, a night’s lodging. It is Home!” 86
Many American Jews in 1935 probably did not share Silver’s concern for the re
vival of Jewish culture and language, but they did consider Palestine to offer the best
possible haven for European Jewry. Motivated by deep concern and sympathy for
those suffering under Nazi rule, interested Americans felt that they owed a debt of
gratitude to the Zionists. Palestine had proven its ability to absorb large numbers of
Jews while Birobidzhan and other suggested havens had not. The Yishuv’s generosity
and willingness to accept refugees contrasted vividly with the selfish, restrictionist
sentiment of most of the American population. Finally, Palestine’s availability as a
refugee haven probably made it easier for American Jews to live with the fact that
there seemed to be little they could do to change American immigration policy. By
the middle of 1935, the ZOA and Hadassah claimed a joint membership of 80,500,
leading several Zionist leaders to question whether “the Zionist organization can in
its growth keep pace . . . with Jewry’s interest in Palestine.” 87 It was a unique situa
tion, which American Zionists could not afford to miss, for as one ZOA member
noted: “Up till now, even when there was danger, there was no opportunity; and when
there was opportunity there was no danger. I say it is providential—danger on one
side opportunity on the other; and they come together in a fatefully most fruitful hour
in our life. We must make use of that fact 88
Of all the American Zionist organizations, Hadassah probably was most suc
cessful in latching onto and exploiting American Jewry’s growing concern for their
European co-religionists. The organization’s sponsorship of the Youth Aliyah pro
gram, designed to settle refugee children in Palestine and to provide them with
an education and trade, won it many new adherents, huge resources, and an en
viable reputation for success within the American Jewish community.


35
American Zionism and External Threat
Zionists developed the Youth Aliyah program because they realized that Hitler’s
early anti-Semitic policies had a particularly cruel effect on Jewish children. The
Jewish Agency, the quasi-official government of the Jewish community in Palestine,
designed the Youth Aliyah project (aliyah is a Hebrew word meaning immigration
or to go up), which took children out of Hitler’s grasp and settled them on cooperative
and communal agricultural settlements in Palestine. On the kibbutzim (communal
settlements) and moshavim (collective settlements), the refugee children received
a basic education and learned a trade. The Zionist leadership placed Henrietta
Szold in charge of Youth Aliyah. Szold had been born in the United States where
she founded Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization. She moved to Palestine
shortly after World War I and took a particular interest in social and health pro
jects there. Under Szold’s brilliant leadership Youth Aliyah settled over fifty thou
sand children in Palestine between 1934 and 1948. The first large group of children
arrived from Europe in February 1934. 89
In America, Hadassah began the “age of Hitler” in 1933 with protests against
German policy, but with little revision of the organization's original strategy of focus
ing on and improving Palestine’s health care system. However, by mid-1935, some
change in priority was clearly mandated. The many new members attracted to
the organization questioned whether better hospital care in Palestine was the most
pressing need of the German refugee. Moreover, thanks to Hadassah’s efforts, a
modern hospital and public health system existed in Palestine. Hadassah’s leaders
were left looking for a program to support. 90
In searching for a solution to this dilemma. Rose Jacobs, president of Hadas
sah, traveled to Palestine, hoping to discover some new project that could capture
the imagination of American Jewish women. As she traveled through the Holy
Land with Henrietta Szold, Jacobs was able to observe the efforts of Youth Aliyah
workers, and she marveled at their energy and dedication. When Jacobs returned
to the United States, she urged America’s women Zionists to play a special role
in supporting the Youth Aliyah program.
The National Board of Hadassah enthusiastically accepted the idea, discussed
it with refugee experts, and began to plan a large publicity campaign. 91 American
Zionist men did not fully approve of the project. Morris Rothenberg and Louis
Lipsky feared that Hadassah's efforts to raise money for Youth Aliyah would jeopar
dize other Zionist fund drives, particularly the American Palestine Campaign, which
they ran. Lipsky and Rothenberg maintained that Youth Aliyah’s potential as an
organizing slogan was too significant to entrust solely to Hadassah. 92
Encouraged by Louis Brandeis, who was probably only too happy to strike a
blow against his old enemy Louis Lipsky, the women of Hadassah persisted in
their efforts to assume exclusive control over the Youth Aliyah campaign in
America. 93 In order to defuse the crisis that threatened to end the cordial relation
ship between the ZOA and Hadassah, the Jewish Agency dispatched Berl Locker


36
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
to America to serve as a mediator. Locker, a Palestinian Zionist leader, asked Rose
Jacobs and the Hadassah leadership to put Zionist unity ahead of their own organiza
tion’s interest. Youth Aliyah, he explained, was an “important project,” but it also
was a “good slogan” and Hadassah would have to share it with Lipsky and Rothen
berg. Locker probably expected the women of Hadassah to acquiesce; male Zionist
leaders generally considered Hadassah to be a woman’s auxiliary. However. Ja
cobs refused: “Hadassah wants the project as a means of arousing Zionist interest
and promoting Zionist education among American Jewish women.” After some
effort. Locker finally negotiated a settlement under which Hadassah would serve
as the exclusive American agent for Youth Aliyah, but its financial campaigns would
have to be conducted within the framework of the United Palestine Appeal.** 4
Events quickly demonstrated that Hadassah's leaders had been correct to hitch
their organization’s fortunes to the Youth Aliyah bandwagon. The plight of refugee
Jewish children attracted the attention of many Americans. Entertainer Eddie Can
tor threw himself into Hadassah work and in ten months raised over $25,000.
During its first year of fund raising, Hadassah collected over $125,000 for Youth
Aliyah and gained a reputation for being at the vanguard of American Jewish ef
forts to aid European Jewry and Palestine. 95
By the beginning of 1936, American Zionism bore little resemblance to what
it had been during the bleak days of 1932. Roosevelt’s New Deal had stopped
the downward spiral of the economy, and American Jews were more prepared than
they had been to invest some of their earnings in Zionist projects to develop Pales
tine. At the same time, Nazi policies forced many American Jews to turn their
attention away from their own problems to the worsening plight of German Jewry.
Zionists were pleased to find that they could offer concerned American Jews a
practical solution to the refugee problem and that resettlement projects in Palestine
were supported by individuals who had never before been interested in Jewish
nationalism. Zionist leaders effectively exploited opportunities created by German
Jewry’s persecution to further the cause of Jewish nationalism in America.
AMERICAN ZIONIST PRIORITIES
American Zionism prospered in the years following Hitler’s rise to power, but this
is not to imply that its use of the refugee crisis was callous or Machiavellian.
Jewish nationalists understood that both Palestine and Zionism would benefit as
a result of the refugees’ plight, but they knew that their primary mission was to
aid their less fortunate brethren. From 1933 to 1936, no contradiction existed
between working to rebuild Palestine and aiding Jewish refugees. Hitler’s treat
ment of the Jews under his control was clearly not improving in these years, and


37
American Zionism and External Threat
emigration was the only solution available to many sufferers. Unfortunately, there
were few countries willing to accept large numbers of refugees. Immigration quotas
and a Congress unwilling to open the country’s doors to newcomers during a time
of economic depression kept the United States from assuming its traditional role
as an immigration center. England and France were somewhat more willing to
accept refugees, but they did so reluctantly. Only the Jewish community of Pal
estine was willing to accept refugees freely and happily. Palestinian Jewry pro
vided the refugees with the resources and services necessary to rebuild lives in
a new location. American Zionists were proving in these years that you could “have
your cake and eat it too.” They were in the rare and much enviable position of
being able to help themselves and save others.
One sign that they were not putting Zionist designs ahead of the safety of their
co-religionists was their unrelenting effort to improve the lot of Jews in Germany.
Zionists were extremely vocal in their appeals for international condemnation of
Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies. At the 1933 summer convention of the Zionist
Organization of America, the movement’s most prestigious leaders argued that im
migration to Palestine should not be the only response to Hitler’s persecution of
Jewry. The entire convention enthusiastically resolved that the civilized world had
to save those Jews whom the Nazis were threatening to destroy. 96
American Zionist organizations often supported the relief and protest campaigns
of other American Jewish organizations. For example, Hadassah helped the
American Jewish Congress plan a New York City parade to protest the burning
of Jewish literature in Germany. 97 The ZOA also supported the American Jewish
Congress’s efforts to improve the quality of life of those Jews who chose or were
forced to remain in Germany. 98
It should be noted that the line separating Zionist bodies from other Jewish
communal organizations was extremely blurry. Many members of the Zionist
Organization of America also belonged to the American Jewish Congress, while
Hadassah had well-developed organizational ties with the American Jewish Com
mittee. Several Zionist leaders also held important positions in other organizations.
Stephen Wise, in particular, transcended the boundaries of American Jewish
organizational life. Wise was one of the founding members of the ZOA and was
also the “father” of the American Jewish Congress. As the tragedy of German
Jewry deepened and the specter of anti-Semitism spread through Europe, Wise
was instrumental in the organization of the World Jewish Congress, which at
tempted to monitor and resist anti-Semitic policies and movements around the
world. 99
American Jews and Zionists were able to develop a dramatic method of striking
a blow against Hitler. Among the first anti-Semitic acts of the new Nazi state was
to declare a nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses. Jewish communities in
Europe and North America reacted to the Nazi attack swiftly and organized a


38
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
counterboycott of German imports. The American boycott campaign was particularly
effective and militant. Several established American Jewish organizations, including
the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish War Veterans, spearheaded the anti-
Nazi boycott. Unsuccessful attempts were made to unify the disparate boycott
organizations, but a lack of cohesion did not seem to handicap the boycott’s effec
tiveness. After concerted pressure, Macy’s, Gimbels, Sears and Roebuck, and
Woolworth’s agreed to comply with the boycotters’ demands and pledged not to
stock or sell German-produced merchandise. 100
American Zionists actively supported the anti-German boycott. Abba Hillel Silver
served as vice president of the American League for the Defense of Jewish Rights,
one of the most important pro-boycott organizations (in December 1933 the organi
zation's name was changed to the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion
Human Rights). Hadassah took part in the anti-Nazi boycott from its inception,
and members of the organization served on the American Jewish Congress’s boycott
committee. 101 The Zionist Organization of America and the Poale Zion, a socialist
Zionist group, also supported efforts to use economic coercion in order to force
Germany to alter its anti-Semitic policies. 102 Stephen Wise helped to supervise
the American Jewish Congress’s boycott activities and was especially effective in
explaining the. boycott to Christian Americans. Louis Brandeis encouraged Wise
to compare the Jewish boycott of German products to the boycott of British goods
by American patriots during the pre-Revolutionary War crisis, explaining that “the
American is an essentially manly being and he admires nothing more than courage.
We have got to fight and fight. We must, of course, fight fairly.” 103
Leaders of the boycott organizations hoped that the Nazi desire for prosperity
and profit would prove to be more powerful than their hatred of the Jews. Abba
Hillel Silver, one of the most articulate architects of the boycott, believed that the
anti-German import campaign would ultimately force Hitler to ease his persecu
tion of the Jews. Nazi anti-Semitism, Silver explained, was political and “must be
attacked with political weapons and the strongest political weapon, when all others
fail, is the economic boycott.” 104 Jews were fighting a life and death battle with
Nazi Germany. If Hitler succeeded in depriving all German Jews of their rights,
other tyrants would attempt to solve their “Jewish problem” in a similar manner.
The Jewish leadership, Silver declared, should wage political and economic war
against the Nazis in defense of German Jewish rights. Providing a refugee haven
was simply not enough. 105
While Silver and other American Zionists were participating in the boycott cam
paign, the Jews of Palestine were attempting to provide a home for the German
refugees. Nazi expropriation laws ensured that many of the refugees from the Reich
would arrive in their new home practically penniless. Jewish social service and
charitable organizations struggled to meet the needs of the impoverished refugees.
In response to this particular difficulty, the Jewish Agency for Palestine entered


39
American Zionism and External Threat
into negotiations with the Nazi government of Germany. Within a year of Hitler’s
rise to power, these talks resulted in the signing of the Haavara (Transfer) Agree
ment between representatives of the German government and the Zionist move
ment. Under this accord, a portion of the expropriated wealth of Jewish exiles
would be deposited in closed German bank accounts. This money would then be
used to pay for German-manufactured goods that would be shipped to the Jewish
community of Palestine. When the refugees reached Palestine’s shores, the Jewish
Agency, the official recipient of the German equipment, would reimburse the
refugees. 106
All groups seemed to benefit under the Haavara Agreement. Germany gained
a valuable new export market, Palestine received farm machinery, and the refu
gees avoided the threat of poverty in their new homeland. However, many Ameri
can Zionists were not pleased with the German-Zionist contract, which threatened
to sabotage Jewish efforts to organize a worldwide boycott of Nazi exports. Stephen
Wise accused the Jewish Agency of surrendering to Hitler’s blackmail. 107 Abba
Hillel Silver angrily attacked the Jewish Agency for betraying its duty to lead world
Jewry in the fight against oppression. Silver declared that “Palestine failed the
Diaspora. The interest of Palestine clashed —or seemed to clash—with those of
the Diaspora and the Diaspora was sacrificed.” Diaspora Jewry refused to profit
from trade with Germany, while the “whole-wheat Jews of Palestine were exempt
from such sacrifices.” 108 Silver sadly concluded that the Haavara Agreement was
not an example of “the sort of leadership which the Jews of the world have been
taught and promised to expect from Palestine.” 109
Zionists debated the Haavara Agreement at the July 1935 convention of the
Zionist Organization of America when a few members introduced a resolution con
demning the accord. Several speakers argued that trade between Jewish Palestine
and Nazi Germany was a source of embarrassment for the American Zionist move
ment. One delegate from Massachusetts called the trade contract dishonorable
and accused the Jewish Agency of behaving like simple merchants. Louis Lipsky
and other ZOA members defended Palestinian Jewry’s actions. Trade with Hitler
was distasteful, but necessary if the orderly resettlement of German Jews was to
continue, Lipsky maintained. As the debate grew more acrimonious, Abba Hillel
Silver presented his own compromise resolution. Silver’s proposal, which the con
vention subsequently passed, expressed the Zionist Organization of America’s con
tinued support of the anti-Nazi boycott and called on the organization’s delegation
to the next World Zionist Congress to investigate relations between Palestine and
Germany. 110
The entire Zionist movement was given the opportunity to discuss the Haavara
Agreement at the World Zionist Congress held at Lucerne, Switzerland, in August
1935. The majority of delegates, representing Zionist organizations of varying
ideologies, threw their support behind the agreement. 111 However, in the United


40
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
States, American Zionists continued to question the propriety of the Jewish Agen
cy’s behavior. When Hadassah learned that it could buy German medical equip
ment under the Haavara Agreement, the organizations leadership began to ques
tion whether they should remain loyal to the boycott campaign. Henrietta Szold,
who was then visiting the United States, urged the American women Zionists to
take advantage of the Haavara accord, but the National Board decided not to follow
her advice. The organization was very reluctant to breech the boycott of German
goods that was still being waged in America, fearing that Hadassah acceptance of
the Haavara Agreement could jeopardize financial contributions from American
Jews who strongly opposed doing any business with the Nazi regime. 112
The priorities of most American Zionists during the first years of the Third
Reich were clear. Hitlers rabid anti-Semitism shocked and grieved almost every
Jew. Zionists shared world Jewry’s horror at Hitler’s excesses, but their pain was
accompanied by a growing sense of righteousness that their longstanding views
had been vindicated. German Jewry, the loudest advocates to the strategy of assimila
tion and the most stubborn opponents of Jewish nationalism, now had to rely on
the Zionists for survival. Long-time members of the ZOA and Hadassah were grati
fied to discover that the years and riches spent developing Palestine now made
it possible to rescue thousands of Jews. Palestine’s significant contribution to the
solution of the German Jewish crisis in the early thirties had won new prestige
and members for Zionist organizations in the United States. The American leaders
of the Jewish nationalist movement were confident that, with time, an ever-developing
Palestine would be able to absorb even greater numbers of Jews from the Euro
pean continent where anti-Semitism seemed to be spreading ominously. If Zionists
successfully met this challenge, they assumed, rewards would follow. Palestine would
prosper and Jewish nationalism would be recognized by all Jews as the correct
strategy for survival. However, all depended on providing refuge and relief for
persecuted Jewry. Zionism, after all, had developed as a response to threats to
the survival and well-being of Jewry and Judaism. The first priority of American
Zionists was to rescue as much of German Jewry as they could. If they accom
plished this, the future of the Jewish National Home would be bright.
Unfortunately, events soon began to unfold that seriously altered the priorities
of American Zionists and undermined their optimistic perception of the future.
By September 1939, when German troops poured over the Polish border, Zionists
feared that there might not be any future at all for Jewish Palestine.


41
A REORDERING OF PRIORITIES:
THE HOMELAND
UNDER SIEGE
AMERICAN ZIONISTS AND THE ARABS
The exodus of Jews from Europe that began in 1933 greatly strength
ened the Zionist position in Palestine. An official British census in 1931
found that 175,000 Jews comprised 17 percent of Palestine’s total popula
tion. By December 31, 1935, the number of Jews in Palestine had more
than doubled, and the tremendous growth of the Yishuv showed few signs
of slowing. During the first six months of 1936, an additional 19,000 Jews
immigrated to the Holy Land, allowing Zionist leaders proudly to claim
the loyalty of 28 percent of Palestine’s population. The Zionist dream
seemed to be well on the way to fruition. 1
Zionists in Palestine, preoccupied with the monumental task of set
tling tens of thousands of Jewish refugees, generally did not worry about
how the Arabs of Palestine would react to the astonishing growth of the
Yishuv. For the most part, Palestinian Jewry clung to the belief that the
Jewish development of Palestine would enrich Arabs as well as Jews and
that a grateful Arab population would ally themselves with the Zionist
campaign. Theodor Herzl was among the first Zionists to articulate this
position in his utopian novel, Altneuland (1902), and succeeding genera
tions of Zionists religiously adopted the position. Arab, demonstrations
against Zionists, including anti-Jewish riots that erupted in several Pales
tinian towns and cities in 1920 and 1929, did not destroy Zionist faith
in peace through economic progress, but did lead Jews to temper their
idealism with a heavy dose of pragmatism. By the early thirties, Yishuv
leaders believed that the steady growth of Jewish power in Palestine would
not only enrich the Arabs, but would also convince them of the futility
of resisting Zionist settlement. Shortly after Jewish refugees from nazism


42
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
began to arrive in Palestine, David Ben-Gurion predicted that the Arabs would
be forced to reconcile themselves to the Zionist settlement of the country if Pales
tine’s Jewish population reached one-half million within five years. 2
American Zionist leaders’ understanding of Arab interests and views differed
little from that of their counterparts in the Yishuv. Publicly, they expressed their
sincere belief that the Zionist colonization of Palestine would benefit Arabs as well
as Jews. Two years before Hitler’s coming to power, Professor Felix Frankfurter
of the Harvard Law School wrote that the Zionists returning to Palestine were will
ing to share Palestine with the Arabs; he promised that Arab standards of living
would rise as a result of Jewish settlement. For the moment, he continued, Zionists
demanded only the right to bring Jews to Palestine; the political future of the ter
ritory would not be determined for some time, and, when it was, the interests of
the Arabs would surely influence Jewish actions. Zionism was a movement of libera
tion not enslavement, and Frankfurter’s credo was simple: “If the Jewish homeland
cannot be built without making the fellaheen’s [peasant's] lot worse rather than
better, it ought not be be built.” 3
In December 1934, as the tremendous growth of the Jewish population of
Palestine continued, Hayim Greenberg, a prestigious American socialist Zionist
leader and the editor of the Jewish Frontier, reported on his recent trip to the Mid
dle East. During his travels in the Holy Land he had repeatedly asked himself,
“Was I justified in claiming for years that we have not harmed the Arabs economi
cally; that the Arabs were better off with us than without us?” His answer was
an unequivocal yes. He had observed that the closer an Arab community was to
a Jewish settlement, the more prosperous and healthy the inhabitants were. The
reverse was also true:
The farther an Arab village was situated from a center of Jewish colonization,
the more dirt and mud were visible; the larger the number of blind wrecks—
men in rags and women in tatters. The hungry, barefoot children suffered from
sick, inflamed eyes; their camels were scrawny, their donkeys undersized —
desert creatures without the romance of the desert.
Greenberg’s findings did not completely cheer him, for he, unlike Frankfurter,
realized that Arab-Jewish relations in Palestine were not solely a matter of econ
omics. An Arab, he noted, could be convinced that “he has lost nothing through
Jewish colonization” and that additional Jewish immigration would benefit him.
It was much harder though to prove to the Arab that he would not lose his dignity
during the process. No people, the Bible taught, wished to be beholden or depen
dent on another. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a pot of lentils, but, after
his hunger was satisfied, he wanted his birthright too. Jacob tried to persuade
Esau that “he does not need the birthright; that the difference between Jacob and
Esau is not the difference between greater and lower, but merely a difference in


43
Reordering Priorities
kind.” Tragically, Esau could not be persuaded, and he hated Jacob for robbing
him and his children of their birthright and dignity.
Greenberg could propose no simple solution to this dilemma, which seemed
to be more psychological than economic or political. The Zionist task, he con
cluded, was to “discover the therapeutic measures which will heal the sore spots
in the relations between Jew and Arab.” Unfortunately, he could not provide a
more specific remedy. 4
A number of Greenberg’s associates were less optimistic than he about the pros
pect of “therapeutic measures” insuring Arab acceptance of Zionism. They, like
Frankfurter and Greenberg, believed that the Jewish settlement of Palestine bene
fited the Arabs, but if necessary they were prepared to deal with the Arabs in terms
of power and not accommodation. In mid-1933, Abraham Goldberg, a veteran
American Zionist, predicted that there would be no security problem if an additional
half million Jews emigrated to Palestine. 5 In March 1934, Emanuel Neumann (then
an American representative on the Zionist Executive in Palestine) happily reported:
“The proportion of Jews to Arabs has increased, and if the government continues to
permit the present rate of immigration, we will soon have quite a favorable represen
tation in the country.” The Jewish birthrate was growing as was the number of men
capable of bearing arms. Neumann concluded that “in time, with all these factors
operating, the Jews would be in an ‘impregnable position.’” 6
Some American Zionists even hoped that the mass immigration of Jews to
Palestine would allow them to expand the very boundaries of the national home.
For years Zionists had resented Britain’s 1922 amputation of the eastern part
of Palestine, which resulted in the creation of Transjordan. Many had never ac
cepted the legitimacy of the British act and hoped that, in the future, Jewish settle
ments would straddle both sides of the Jordan River. 7
When Emanuel Neumann arrived in Palestine in 1932 to assume a position
on the Zionist Executive, he immediately asked British authorities about the possi
bility of Jewish settlement in Transjordan. 8 Neumann’s own interest in the matter
had been reinforced by Louis Brandeis, who had asked the young Zionist leader
to investigate the Transjordan situation.’ In the fall of 1932, Neumann was in
trigued to learn from Heschel Farbstein, a Mizrachi (Orthodox Zionist organiza
tion) representative on the Zionist Executive, that the Arab leader of Transjordan,
Emir Abdullah, was interested in selling some of his country’s land to Zionist set
tlers. Neumann met secretly with Abdullah and obtained an option to purchase
land east of the Jordan River. In spite of an exchange of money, there was no
actual transfer of land from the Arab ruler to the Zionist organization. British and
radical Arab disapproval convinced Abdullah that the time was not right to con
duct business with the Jewish settlers of Palestine. Nevertheless, Abdullah's offer
and Neumann’s negotiations stimulated the interest of many Zionists, particularly
those in America. 10 Neumann himself was committed to the opening of Transjor-


44
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
dan to Jewish settlement and confided to Stephen Wise: “I would be willing to
lay down my life for the opening up of Transjordan if need be and I know there
are tens of thousands who feel as I do.” 11 After Abdullah's cancellation of the land
sale deal, Supreme Court Justice Brandeis wrote Neumann: “Even if the cancella
tion should prove definite and final, you have, in my opinion, achieved much for
the cause. The crack in the Transjordan wall which you affected will be widened,
and opportunity opened for Jew and Arab by the Jewish immigration.” 12
The rise of Hitler and the onset of the refugee exodus naturally fueled Zionist
interest in the settling of Jews in Transjordan. 13 Neumann reported that Abdullah’s
approval for the land sale could be easily obtained if British support could be
won for the scheme. Neumann planned to establish a Development Corporation
for Transjordan, which would oversee the Zionist purchase and development of
land acquired from Abdullah. Among the first subscribers to the corporation was
Louis Brandeis who invested $25,000 in the project. 14 Felix Frankfurter also sup
ported the establishment of a charter development company, arguing that Trans
jordan and Great Britain, as well as the Zionist movement, would benefit from
the movement of Jewish settlers east of the Jordan River. 15
American Zionist leaders attached great importance to the Jewish settlement
of Transjordan. The very success of the Jewish nationalist movement seemed to
depend on it. Abdullah’s decision to do business with the Zionists would be an
important step in the normalization of the Arab-Jewish relationship in the Middle
East. Additional land would also allow the Zionists to demand more immigration
certificates from the British on the grounds that their capacity to absorb Jewish
refugees had increased. The Jewish settlement of Transjordan, Zionists also realized,
would allow Jews to increase the size and stretch the boundaries of their home
land. As Emanuel Neumann wrote:
[T)he success of our effort in Palestine, in the larger sense will depend ulti
mately upon our ability to penetrate T.J. [Transjordan] and colonize it. Without
T.J., Palestine is an awfully tiny strip on the seashore — hardly a sufficient basis
for any large-scale immigration settlement scheme. Unless the Hinterland is
opened up, the strong immigration and development in Western Palestine will
receive a check in the not distant future. 16
Early in the summer of 1934, Felix Frankfurter, then a visiting professor at
Oxford, attempted to enter into informal negotiations with British officials on the
Transjordan question. Britain at this time still maintained ultimate control of Trans
jordan, which did not become a totally independent state until 1946. Colonial
Secretary Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister claimed to sympathize with the Zionist desire
to move Jews into Transjordan, but refused to endorse any immediate Jewish move
ment into the territory because he feared that the Arabs of Transjordan would
resist Jewish colonization. 17


45
Reordering Priorities
In spite of Britain’s failure to support Jewish settlement projects in Transjordan,
Zionist interest in the land east of the Jordan River continued, fueled by the ever-
worsening plight of Jewry in Europe. By the summer of 1935, the virus of anti-
Semitism seemed to be spreading beyond Germany’s borders and Jewish leaders
in the West worried especially about the virulent anti-Jewish policies being adopted
by the Polish government. Some Zionists even feared that the persecution of Polish
Jewry soon might become more severe than that of their German co-religionists.
Palestine, which had proven itself to be one of the most important havens for Jew
ish refugees from Nazi Germany, now confronted the possibility of receiving mil
lions of Jews from Eastern Europe.
Abba Hillel Silver told the annual ZOA convention in July 1935 that they were
not involved in building little settlements in Palestine, but a “great Jewish nation.”
He prophesied that the influx of millions of refugees would stretch the boundaries
of the Jewish homeland, noting that: “The little land now known as Palestine will
be too small for the hosts of our people who will go there. And we will become
in that land stretching beyond the Jordan, stretching north and stretching south
on the shores of the Mediterranean, one of the great imperial, one of the mighty
spiritual and not only physical peoples of the coming world.” 18
Abba Hillel Silver could not know in the summer of 1935 that within a year
his dream of an expanding, vibrant Jewish homeland would lie in shambles. Even
as he spoke, Arabs were becoming increasingly fearful about the consequences
of the expanding Jewish population of Palestine.
THE ARAB UPRISING OF 1936: DEFENDING THE IEWISH HOMELAND
Zionists in the United States and Palestine had seriously underestimated Arab
opposition to the growth of the Yishuv. Jewish settlement, as Zionists predicted,
had provided Palestinian Arabs with one of the highest standards of living in the
Middle East, but as Hayim Greenberg had reported, many Arabs, from all class
and social backgrounds, feared that they would soon become second-class citizens
in a Jewish-dominated land. Even as the influx of Jewish refugees into the Holy
Land gave Zionist leaders a false sense of security, Arab notables from Palestine’s
elite landowning class were using the fear of Jewish domination to recruit peasants
and city workers into a Palestinian-Arab national movement. Haj Amin Muhammad
al-Husseini, the Mufti (Moslem religious leader) of Jerusalem, was the most prom
inent of these Arab nationalist leaders. Husseini, an Arab nationalist since 1919,
was ardently anti-British and blamed the Mandatory Power for encouraging and
fostering the Jewish “take over” of Palestine. 19
Arab resentment about Zionist advances in Palestine finally resulted in violence


Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
on April 15, 1936, when a group of Arabs intercepted a bus and killed two Jewish
passengers. The murders set in motion a tragic chain reaction of retaliation and
counter-retaliation. On the night of April 16, Jews killed two Arabs and set off
a number of Arab riots and protests throughout Palestine. The Mufti and other
nationalist leaders in Palestine seized the occasion to declare a general strike aimed
at forcing Great Britain to prohibit further Jewish immigration to Palestine. The
general strike, which lasted almost seven months, was not the only form of Arab
resistance to growing Zionist power. In the hills of Palestine, Arab guerrilla bands,
with the covert support and guidance of the Mufti, attacked nearby Jewish set
tlements. Violence raged until October 1936, when the British were finally able
to defeat the Arab rebels. In this first round of fighting, 197 Arabs, 80 Jews, and
28 British soldiers fell. 20
The Arab revolt created a serious dilemma for the British authorities. Arab
violence could not be tolerated, but Arab goodwill was an essential ingredient
of British imperial policy. At the same time, Mandatory officials also found them
selves under increasing pressure from Jewish community leaders to suppress
violence and restore law and order. British leaders tried to follow a balanced policy.
They refused to halt Jewish immigration to Palestine, but also would not take drastic
measures to repress the Arab strike and revolt. London administrators hoped that
the Arab “disturbance” would run its course quickly, and they tried to encourage
Arab restraint by pledging to investigate Arab grievances and the causes of Arab
unrest as soon as peace was restored. However, ongoing Arab resistance forced
the British to take stronger measures. By the end of the summer of 1936, the
British had doubled the number of Jewish policemen in Palestine and had re
cruited the assistance of 2,700 Jewish supernumerary police. The British also
rushed military reinforcements to Palestine, including Royal Air Force detachments,
which carried out bombing and strafing attacks on Arab guerrilla bands. 21
In Palestine, Jews responded to the Arab revolt by taking up arms themselves.
The Haganah, the quasi-legal underground defense force of the Jewish Agency,
expanded in size and strength during the Arab revolt with the encouragement of
the British. Following a policy of Havlagah (self-restraint), the Haganah organized
the defense of threatened Jewish settlements, but refrained from carrying out acts
of counterterrorism against Arab civilians. The Jewish community of Palestine im
posed taxes on themselves to pay for defense measures, and financial donations
from abroad also contributed to the increased military strength of Palestine’s Jews.
Among the most prominent of these foreign contributors was Louis Brandeis of
the United States. 22
Besides sending money to Palestine, 23 American Zionists during the early stages
of the revolt also mounted efforts to encourage the British to take a firmer stand
against Arab violence and protest. In May 1946, the Pro-Palestine Federation,
a Zionist-sponsored support group of prominent Christians, sent a petition to the
46


47
Reordering Priorities
British asking for a stronger pro-Jewish policy in Palestine. 24 Congressman Emanuel
Celler of Brooklyn, a supporter of the Zionist cause, attacked the British for failing
to adopt “stringent measures” to defend Palestinian Jewry. Celler supported David
Ben-Gurion’s charge that the Arab revolt was caused by Great Britain’s failure to
demonstrate its full support of Jewish settlement of Palestine. Had the British fully
embraced Zionism, the Arabs would never have felt confident enough to violently
resist the return of the Jews to Palestine. Celler urged Britain to “punish the foul
wrongdoers, suppress the agitators and do all in its power to prevent a recurrence
of the evil.” 25
The intensity and longevity of the Arab revolt physically challenged Zionists
in Palestine, but ideologically and intellectually challenged supporters of Jewish
nationalism in the United States. Widespread Arab violence made it difficult for
Zionist spokesmen to claim that there was no basic conflict between Jews and
Arabs and that material progress would create Jewish-Arab friendship in Palestine.
Stephen Wise even feared that the Arab attacks would strengthen the position of
those Jews who supported the Soviet-sponsored Jewish homeland in Birobidzhan.
Suddenly, American Zionists, who had been concentrating their efforts on proudly
portraying Palestine as the most effective solution to the refugee crisis, found
themselves having to defend the very right of Jews to build a national home in
the Holy Land. 26
Six days after the Arab revolt began, the New York Times, whose assimilated
Jewish publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger was one of the most prominent American
Jewish opponents of Zionism, editorialized that the clash between Arabs and Jews
disclosed the “irreconcilable” conflict between the two peoples. The newspaper
explained that: “The inertia and conservatism of an economically backward peo
ple intensify their natural resentment against the thrust of expanding, energetic
newcomers, some of whom are not responsive to the sensibilities of their Arab
neighbors.” The Time's editors believed that peace in Palestine could be achieved
only if Jewish and Arab leaders stressed the need for practical cooperation. Neither
Jews nor Arabs, the paper argued, “no matter what the pretensions of extremist
leaders, can reasonably look forward to sole control over Palestine.” 27
Journalist Albert Viton (a pseudonym) concurred with the Time's gloomy analysis
of the Palestine situation. Traveling in the Middle East at the height of the riots,
Viton wrote back to the Nation that nationalism was gripping the whole Middle
East as it had gripped Europe in the nineteenth century. The Jews came to Palestine
to escape anti-Semitism and paid dearly for every piece of land they bought, but
despite some good intentions, there was little Arab-Jewish cooperation in the coun
try. Viton gloomily predicted that bloodshed was inevitable because: “An Arab
nationalist sees in a Zionist his mortal enemy who comes to rob him of his father-
land. . . . Every good Zionist sees the Arabs as an unnecessary obstacle to his
homeland dream.” 28


48
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
William Ernest Hocking, a professor of philosophy at Harvard University, ad
vanced a strongly pro-Arab argument in the pages of the Christian Century, a
prestigious liberal Protestant periodical. Hocking, an anti-imperialist, portrayed
the general strike and violence in Palestine as a desperate attempt by the Arabs
to resist Jewish domination. He then went on to challenge the very basis of the
Jewish claim to Palestine, claiming:
Palestine does not belong to the Jews. It does not belong to them on historical
grounds. They had full possession of it for less than five hundred years. The
Arabs have had it for thirteen hundred years. The Jews were not driven out
of Palestine by the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus. Their dispersion for
several hundred years had been a voluntary diaspora.
If Zionists truly wanted to aid persecuted Jewry, Hocking concluded, “let it above
all refrain from forcing them into Palestine under the shelter of British guns." 21 ’
Arab-Americans tried to assist Hocking and other opponents of Zionism in ex
plaining the Palestine situation to the American public, but their ability to shape
public opinion in the United States was limited. While pro-Arab supporters out
numbered Zionist sympathizers in the State Department and American missionary
societies, there simply was not a large enough Arab population in America to sup
port a major anti-Zionist propaganda campaign. Shah-Mir, an Arab living in Brook
lyn, could only write a letter to the New York Times complaining about the anti-
Arab bias of most of the New York press, which did not understand that the Arab
nation was struggling against an invasion of foreigners. No matter what Zionists
maintained, he wrote, no Arab welcomed the penetration of Palestine. He sym
pathized with the suffering and persecution of European Jewry, but condemned
as hypocritical those who wanted to help refugees reach a safe haven as long as
it was on somebody elses territory. 30
Zionist spokesmen responded to the doubts and attacks of their critics. Jacob
de Haas, the English-born Jew whom Theodor Herzl selected to spread the Zionist
gospel in the United Slates, argued that Jews were not really the cause of Arab
unrest. In a letter to the New York Times, he explained that the Jewish pioneers
in Palestine had become pawns in the struggle between Arab nationalists and the
British authorities. He claimed that the British used the Jews as their “goat” be
cause the legal basis for the British presence in Palestine was their undertaking
to develop the Jewish national home, and he argued that “there are fair reasons
for assuming that a Zionism minus British overlordship would be compatible with
the Pan-Arab and Pan-Islamic movements.” 31
Unlike de Haas, most Zionists in the United States and Palestine were not will
ing to do without the British. Moshe Shertok, the head of the Political Department
of the Jewish Agency in Palestine, a post roughly equivalent to that of a foreign
minister in a legitimate state, attempted to convince an American audience that


49
Reordering Priorities
the issue in Palestine was not between the Jews and Arabs of the Holy Land, but
between the Jewish and Arab peoples in general. Palestine was the only country
in the world where the Jewish people could achieve “national salvation,” but “the
national existence of the Arab race as a whole, its political self-determination and
the prospect of its achieving the full stature of independent nationhood” did not
depend on Palestine. Zionists had brought prosperity to all Palestinians, and, Sher-
tok promised, the Jewish nationalist program would make no Arab suffer. The
same could not be said of the Arab nationalist movement in Palestine and he
warned that: “If the claims of the Palestine Arabs were granted, if Jewish immigra
tion were stopped, not only would Jews in Germany, Poland and other countries
for whom Palestine offers the only possible refuge be doomed, but the hope of
the Jewish people to become again a nation rooted in a homeland would become
extinct.” 32
Albert Viton’s Nation article published on June 3, 1936, infuriated several
Zionists who rushed to refute his contention that “every good Zionist sees the Arab
as an unnecessary obstacle to his homeland dream.” The Jewish Frontier dis
missed his claim as distortion and “poppycock,” and Marie Syrkin, the daughter
of the prominent socialist-Zionist theoretician Nahman Syrkin, condemned him
for failing to discuss the great benefits Jewish development had brought to all of
Palestine’s residents. 33
The attacks on Zionism by William Hocking and other anti-imperialists troubled
those Zionists who were themselves critical of colonialism. Maurice Samuel, a Zion
ist author and a student of Yiddish literature, spoke for those “radical Zionists”
who at “first glance” seemed to be allied with reactionary British interests. Socialist
Zionists, he wrote, dealt with Great Britain not by choice, but out of necessity,
because the League of Nations had made London responsible for Palestine. Why,
he asked, if Zionism furthered imperialism as some claimed, did not British
authorities adopt a stronger pro-Jewish position in Palestine? Why hadn’t Manda
tory officials immediately taken drastic steps to crush the Arab general strike and
revolt at its inception? Going on the offensive, Samuels charged that the real reac
tionaries in Palestine were not the Zionists, but the elite leaders of the Arab na
tional movement. 34
Samuels was not the only Zionist to attack the legitimacy of the Arab nationalist
movement. Hayim Greenberg had pointed perceptively to some of the sources of
Arab anti-Zionism sixteen months before the outbreak of violence in Palestine.
The Mufti’s militant demand for a cessation of Jewish immigration, which, if ful
filled, would have denied many refugees a haven and have doomed the Zionist
dream of building a homeland, significantly diminished his ability to empathize
with the Arab experience. In June 1936, while Arab workers and peasants con
tinued their general strike and guerrilla attacks, Greenberg wrote that the Arab
masses had absolutely no reason to oppose Zionist development, which economi-


50
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
cally benefited Arabs as well as Jews. Earlier, he had recognized that economic
progress would not ease the Arabs’ fear of becoming second-class citizens in a
Jewish-dominated Palestine, but now he argued that the Arab masses had become
the unknowing tools of reactionary leaders like the Mufti. “Peaceful Jewish col
onization is the Industrial Revolution of Palestine,” he explained, and “the Jewish
cooperatives and communes are the cells of a new socialist economy.” Arab peasants
and workers were prospering as a result of Jewish settlement, and they were learn
ing the virtues of efficiency, democracy, and equality from their Zionist teachers.
“The present Arab chauvinist leaders seek to head off and destroy this resolution,”
Greenberg wrote, and he scolded American critics of Zionism for having “hitched
their wagon to the Grand Mufti’s counter-revolution.” 35
In December 1936, the debate over Palestine intensified as Albert Viton, in
a two-article series for the Nation, attacked the Zionists for refusing to recognize
the existence of Arab nationalism in Palestine. Although Zionists claimed to be
a “movement of liberation” for the native Arab population, they were increasingly
playing a “reactionary role.” He accused Jews of relying on British protection in
stead of trying to reconcile themselves with the Arabs and concluded that there
could be no peace in Palestine as long as Zionists clung to their dream of a Jewish
state. Millions of Jews might have to escape European persecution, he added, but
Palestine would not be able to offer them security. 36
Viton, by this time, had earned the deep ire and hatred of many American
Zionist leaders. Philip Bernstein, a Rochester, N.Y., rabbi and a rising young
leader of the ZOA, assumed the task of doing battle with Viton in the pages of
the Nation. Before the Arab revolt, Zionists had conceived of Palestine as the
means through which the Jewish refugee problem could be solved. Now, Bernstein
altered the equation and used the refugee crisis as a weapon to defend the Jewish
position in Palestine. He began his essay by pointing to the horrible condition
of Jews living in Germany, and he forecast that their problems would continue
even if Hitler’s regime was to be overthrown because Nazi authorities had thor
oughly indoctrinated German children, so the conditions that produced anti-
Semitism would continue to exist. Emigration offered the only immediate salvation
for European Jewry, but where, he asked, would Jewish refugees go if denied ac
cess to Palestine? No nation in the world was willing to extend the victims of Hit
ler’s persecution the same degree of hospitality and generosity as the Yishuv did.
Once in Palestine, he continued, Jews, the victims of countless persecutions, sought
to elevate not dominate others. Finally, he accused Arab nationalist leaders of op
posing Zionism because it threatened to undermine their feudal status, a view that
was becoming increasingly popular among American Zionists. 37
Sensing a victory, Zionists and their allies rushed letters to the Nation to rein
force Bernstein’s rebuttal of Viton. John Haynes Holmes, a prominent New York
minister and a close friend of Stephen Wise, wrote to say that he had seen genuine


51
Reordering Priorities
cooperation between the Jewish and Arab masses in Palestine. He claimed that
the tensions in the Holy Land were caused by British imperialists and “feudal
landowners” who saw “a rapidly growing Jewish population refusing to go ‘native’
or take the status of‘natives.’” With time, Holmes believed, Jews and Arabs would
solve Palestine’s problems peacefully. 38 Stephen Wise congratulated Bernstein, and
the socialist editors of the Jewish Frontier celebrated the appearance of a pro-
Zionist tract in the Nation, a journal that seemed to be hostile to the Jewish na
tionalist cause. 39
THE PEEL COMMISSION AND THE PARTITION OF PALESTINE
In November 1936, as American Zionists struggled to present their own inter
pretation of the Arab revolt, a Royal Commission of Inquiry arrived in Palestine
to determine for itself why Arab Palestinians so violently resisted Zionist settle
ment. The commission, headed by Lord (Earl) Peel, chairman of the British Wheat
Commission and a former Secretary of State for India, thoroughly investigated the
social, political, and economic conditions of Palestine. 40 American Zionists did
not have the opportunity to give testimony to the commission, but the Jewish na
tionalist position was presented by very able witnesses. 41
Professor Maurice Hexter, director of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Depart
ment, detailed Jewish agricultural and industrial achievements in Palestine, aim
ing to prove that the territory had enough resources to absorb large numbers of
additional Jewish immigrants without economically displacing the native Arab
population. 42 David Ben-Gurion told the commission that the Zionists wanted to
bring as many Jews as possible to Palestine, but did not seek to dominate the
Arabs. He was even willing to share political power with the Arabs provided that
they end their opposition to Jewish immigration. 43 Chaim Weizmann’s testimony
was particularly eloquent. He reviewed the history of the Balfour Declaration for
the commission and went into a lengthy description of the deteriorating condition
of Polish and German Jewry. For many European Jews, he said, “the world is
divided into places where they cannot live and places they may not enter.” Only
Palestine offered the refugees the possibility of redemption. Weizmann, like Ben-
Gurion, asked the commission to support the continuance of mass Jewish immigra
tion to Palestine. 44
Arab nationalists also appeared before the Royal Commission. Kahil Totah, head
master of the Quaker school at Ramallah and an associate of the Mufti, blamed
British administrators and Zionist leaders for the alienation and despair of many
of his students who felt cut off from the rest of the Middle East. 4S The Mufti him
self appeared before the Peel Commission, barely concealing his contempt for


52
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
its members. His prescription for peace in Palestine was simple: he demanded
that all Jewish immigration cease and that the British withdraw from the territory
and grant its Arab inhabitants independence. 46
After weeks of private and public hearings, the Peel Commission returned to
Great Britain in January 1937 to draft its report. Commission members knew that
the task of reconciling Jewish, Arab, and imperial interests in Palestine would be
difficult, if not impossible. Ben-Gurion, Weizmann, and the other Jewish witnesses
were clearly willing to have Great Britain continue its rule over the Holy I .and
provided that large-scale Jewish immigration continued. Arab nationalists, on the
other hand, seemed to be convinced that a Zionist-British conspiracy existed to
displace and "imprison” them. Stephen Wise feared that the commission might
resolve this dilemma by denying the Arabs independence, while at the same time
drastically limiting, or even suspending, Jewish immigration to Palestine. 47
There seemed to be good reasons for Wise to expect such a serious British
act. On November 5, 1936, the day the Peel Commission left England, London
announced a new six-month immigration schedule that gave the Jewish Agency
only 17 percent of the labor certificates it had requested. The New Palestine, the
official journal of the ZOA, correctly analyzed this action as a British attempt to
win Arab support 4B British policymakers, particularly Foreign Office officials, hoped
that the reduction in Jewish immigration would convince Palestinian Arabs that
Britain was concerned about their interests in spite of its violent response to Arab
guerrilla attacks. 49 Most Zionists believed that the British action would just be a
temporary setback. Eliezer Kaplan, treasurer of the Jewish Agency in Palestine,
confidentially confided to Hadassah leaders that in spite of the British action, "enor
mous possibilities” for further immigration continued to exist. 50 The editors of Jew
ish Frontier, believing that the British reduction was just a temporary action, praised
the British for not giving in to terror tactics and for allowing at least some Jewish
immigration to continue. 51
The editors' good cheer ended in May 1937 when Great Britain announced
a new four-month immigration schedule that gave the Jewish Agency so few cer
tificates that the Zionist body refused to accept them as a matter of principle. 52
Zionists knew that British immigration restrictions threatened to limit their ability
to respond to the Jewish refugee crisis. Jews caught in Hitlers Germany would
be the immediate victims of such a development, but the Zionist movement would
also suffer a loss of prestige and power. The American Zionist response to the
British reduction was not particularly intense, however, because the attention of
Jewish nationalists was occupied by a crisis that seemed even more serious.
In April 1937, three months before the publication of the Peel Commissions
report. Zionists learned from friendly British sources that one of the plans the
commission was considering called for the division of Palestine into separate Jewish
and Arab states. The rumor did not surprise Chaim Weizmann, the London-based


53
Reordering Priorities
president of the World Zionist Organization. During one of its closed meetings,
the Peel Commission had asked him how he would respond to the partition of
Palestine. At the time, Weizmann’s response was negative, but by April 1937 his
opposition was wavering. An independent Jewish state, he reasoned, would allow
the Zionist movement to determine its own immigration policy in Palestine, freeing
both the Jewish nationalists and the refugees from the burden of endless negotia
tions with British officials who controlled all their futures. The surrender of ter
ritory would be a high but not disastrous price to pay for autonomy. 53
Among American Zionists, the rumored British division of Palestine met with
almost universal derision. 54 Hadassah immediately informed British and American
officials that it would oppose any attempt to limit the Jewish claim to Palestine. 55
Hayim Greenberg of the socialist Jewish Frontier condemned any “Balkanization”
of the Holy Land, which would severely reduce the number of refugees who could
find a haven in Palestine, 56 while the orthodox Mizrachi Zionist Organization an
nounced that the British division of Palestine would be a crime as heinous as the
“Italian rape of Ethiopia.” 57 The ZOA vowed to fight any partition plan and warned
Great Britain that Zionists would not repeat the error they had made fifteen years
earlier when they had failed to mobilize against the 1922 British division of Pales
tine that established Transjordan. 58 To reinforce their threat, the ZOA decided to
switch its summer convention from Baltimore to New York City in order to hold
a massive anti-British demonstration at Madison Square Garden. 59
Several American Zionist leaders doubted whether the anti-partition consensus
within the American Zionist community could long endure. Robert Szold and Louis
Brandeis both knew that Chaim Weizmann was flirting with accepting the British
partition proposal, and they feared that Louis Lipsky would eventually adopt the
views of his mentor. 60
Despite Szold s concern, the Fortieth Convention of the Zionist Organization
of America, held ten days before the official release of the Peel Commission plan,
reached an unusual consensus on the issue of partition. Stephen Wise, ZOA presi
dent, declared that the commission was appointed to investigate the Arab disorders,
not to “consider the problem of partition or division or cantonization or amputa
tion.” Palestine’s partition would bring new disorders, not peace, and Wise, think
ing of Weizmann, criticized those Zionists who were sympathetic to the plan. He
wondered whether “partition has not made too lurid an appeal to some histrionic
hotheads among us who are more avid to the name ‘Jewish State’ than the reality
of a Jewish National Home.” He passionately maintained that “a partitioned, divided,
truncated Palestine would no more be Palestine than England would be England
without Scotland and Wales, without Yorkshire and Northumberland.” 61
Robert Szold seconded Wise’s position and reminded the assembled delegates
that there had already been one partition of Palestine in 1922. Partition, he ex
plained, was even worse than a temporary halt of immigration because “partition


Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
means a permanent cutting off of the land.” Partition would be “geographically
impossible, economically infeasible and morally suicidal." Drawing the applause
of his audience, Szold asserted that the fate of all Jewry, present and future, was
jeopardized by the division of the Holy Land and that no Zionist organization
had the right to surrender any part of the Jewish birthright. 62
Louis Lipsky, to Szold’s satisfaction, joined in the anti-partition clamor saying:
“The Sovereignty we thought we were to have a chance at is now being broken,
halved and quartered, to serve the needs of Empire—the Empire of the British and
the soon-to-be Empire of the Arab people.” 63 Morris Rothenberg, a past president
of the ZOA, and Senator Robert Wagner, one of Zionism’s most important congres
sional supporters, also opposed the partition of Palestine. Rothenberg argued that
in a time of “unprecedented Jewish homelessness,” England should not restrict im
migration to or reduce the size of Palestine. 64 Senator Wagner told the ZOA convention
that Palestine was an “outpost” of “civilization” and freedom, and concluded: “The
colonization of Palestine must be encouraged. The promises made for Palestine
must be kept. That is the test of fair treatment toward the Jewish people. That
is the test of wisdom and humanity on the part of the civilized world.” 65
The case against partition was presented most eloquently by Abba Hillel Silver.
Silver, a Reform rabbi with a prosperous Cleveland congregation, was a brilliant
orator with a forceful personality that at times angered his associates. Zionists,
Silver told his audience, had transformed a “wilderness” into a “flowering land.”
He agreed with Szold, Wise, and Brandeis, predicting that a Jewish state in a parti
tioned Palestine would be a political and economic “absurdity.” The Zionists had
not “conquered” Palestine with a sword and bloodshed, but with “labor.” The Arabs
had prospered as a result of Jewish settlement and were no longer “illiterate” and
oppressed by a “semi-feudal oligarchy.” The partition of Palestine, Silver warned,
would do incalculable harm to the Jewish people because a divided Holy Land
would not be able to absorb masses of Jewish refugees and the “Jewish prob
lem” would never be solved:
The aim of Zionism, my friends, is not to shift the diaspora. It is to put an
end to it. The aim of Palestine, if we cannot put an end to it, is to transform
the diaspora through the establishment of a large scale Jewish National Home
which will be enabled to draw in millions of our people. The aim of Zionism
is not to take masses of our people from one place where they are an insecure
minority and put them in another where they will continue to be an insecure
minority. The aim of Palestine is to create somewhere on this God’s footstool
a place where the Jews will finally be masters of their own political destiny—at
home.
Jews were a people with a culture who needed a land “into which our culture
can sink its roots and from which it can draw sustenance.” Silver pleaded with
54


55
Reordering Priorities
those Zionists who were willing to accept the principle of partition not to “sacrifice
the ultimate ideal for the sake of a few seeming concessions and rewards. Think
of the ultimate. We want a Jewish homeland.” Silver asked his audience to
“rededicate” themselves “to this ancient covenant, to rebuild, if not tomorrow, if
not by ourselves, ... by our own children and our grandchildren, the land in its
historic boundaries, the Jewish land.” 66
The ZOA delegates rose, applauded vigorously, and sang the Zionist anthem
Hatikvah (The Hope). The convention then adopted resolutions strongly opposing
partition and requested that the United States intercede with the British on their
behalf. 67
Not everyone was happy with the ZOA’s actions. During the proceedings, Chaim
Weizmann telephoned from London to tell Stephen Wise, Louis Lipsky, and Felix
Frankfurter that the Peel Commission would definitely recommend Palestine's par
tition. Weizmann felt that the commissions suggestion might be better than a con
tinuance of the status quo, and he unsuccessfully tried to convince the ZOA leader
ship not to take a stand against the partition issue. 68 He also wrote Frankfurter
that if the partitioned Jewish state was big enough to allow growth and included
Jerusalem, “we have gone a long way towards realization of a dream, which might
compensate us a little for the nightmare of Jewish life at present.” 69 Weizmann
hoped that all Zionists would remain united and calm. He told Frankfurter that
“it is our destiny to get Palestine, and this destiny will be fulfilled someday, some
how.” Once a Jewish state existed the problem of its “expansion” could be left to
“future generations.” 70
On July 7, 1937, the Peel Commission finally published its long-awaited report.
The commission’s detailed analysis of the Arab-Jewish conflict reflected the
remarkable sensitivity and objectivity of its members. Lord Peel and his associates
found that many of the Zionist claims about Palestine were in fact accurate, and
they praised the economic and physical accomplishments of the Yishuv. The Arabs,
the report acknowledged, “have shared to a considerable degree in the material
benefits which Jewish immigration has brought to Palestine,” and enjoyed a substan
tially higher standard of living than they had in 1920. 71 The commission deter
mined, however, that Zionist-inspired economic progress had not succeeded in
winning Arab acceptance of Jewish settlement in Palestine. Arab nationalism was
a much more powerful movement than Zionists recognized. Peel reported, and
Arab opposition to Jewish immigration was intense and widespread. 72
The Peel Commission sadly concluded that the status quo could not continue
in the Holy Land. Both Arabs and Jews had legitimate rights to Palestine, but their
programs and goals were irreconcilable. 73 The continued settlement of refugees
in Palestine would exacerbate Arab fears of Jewish domination and would surely
result in renewed violence. Ending Jewish immigration to Palestine would enrage
the Zionists and condemn thousands of Jews to a miserable existence. The com-


56
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
mission reported that it could recommend only one solution to this quandary: the
partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The Jewish state, much smaller
in size than the Arab, would encompass those regions of Palestine with heavy Jew
ish settlement: the coastal plain stretching from Tel Aviv to Haifa and part of the
Galilee. Great Britain would retain control of several small strategic areas includ
ing Jerusalem, a holy place for Christians, Jews, and Moslems, and Bethlehem,
the birthplace of Jesus. The rest of Palestine, including Transjordan, would con
stitute an independent Arab nation. 74
Peel and his colleagues knew that their partition proposal would be controver
sial and that neither Jews nor Arabs would be pleased with the sacrifices they
would have to make. They hoped, however, that both Zionists and Arab nationalists
would ultimately be satisfied with a partial victory. Peel notified his superiors: “Par
tition seems to offer at least a chance of ultimate peace. We can see none in any
other plan.” 75 He added that it would be necessary to restrict (but not to end)
Jewish immigration to Palestine until partition could be affected, so as not to pro
voke new Arab attacks. He warned that if the partition proposal was not accepted,
England would be forced to allow only twelve thousand Jews to enter Palestine
annually for the next five years. 76
The British government of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Conservative
party) accepted the Peel Commission’s suggestions, although Foreign Secretary An
thony Eden objected that the establishment of a Jewish state would incite anti-
British sentiment throughout the Middle East. In an official policy statement, Col
onial Secretary William Ormsby-Gore, a major proponent of the Peel plan, wrote
that the “irreconcilable conflict” between Jewish and Arab “aspirations” made it
impossible for Britain to continue its present mandate in Palestine and that, “a
scheme of partition . . . represents the best and most hopeful solution to the
deadlock.” 77 During parliamentary debates on the Peel plan, opponents of the
Conservative party took the opportunity to attack partition and the Chamberlain
government. Liberal party leader Sir Archibald Sinclair condemned the Peel pro
posal for according the Jews much too small a part of Palestine. Tom Williams,
speaking for the Labor party, objected to the partition proposal, calling it “hope
lessly inconclusive” and “hazardous.” Conservative party maverick Winston Chur
chill, regarded by many Zionists as one of their closest allies, also objected to
the division of Palestine. The opposition of these impressive individuals was not
strong enough to defeat the government’s plan, although the House of Commons
refused to commit itself totally to partition and instead authorized Chamberlain
to continue negotiations on the plan before submitting it for final approval. 78


57
Reordering Priorities
THE CONTINUING BATTLE OVER PARTITION
The Peel Commission’s recommendations outraged many leading American Zionists,
including Hayim Greenberg, Louis Brandeis, Louis Lipsky, Stephen Wise, and
Abba Hillel Silver. Wise confessed, “I never dreamed that we would fare so badly
at Britain’s hands.” Brandeis and several of his disciples, whose distrust of Chaim
Weizmann was rooted in the factional disputes of a decade and a half earlier,
feared that the president of the World Zionist Organization would accept the British
plan. David Ben-Gurion, the leader of the powerful Labor Zionists of Palestine,
had initially condemned the British offer, but the Brandeis cohort suspected that
he might “be carried away by the lure of an immediate Jewish state.” 79
Following the publication of the Peel Commission’s report, American Zionists
focused their attention on Zurich, Switzerland, where the Twentieth Zionist Con
gress would consider the British proposal to partition Palestine. American delegates
to the congress included Stephen Wise, Louis Lipsky, Abba Hillel Silver, and many
of the Hadassah leaders. Robert Szold decided to attend the congress after his
mentor, Louis Brandeis, urged him to aid Wise in the fight against partition. 80
The delegates who met in Zurich in August 1937 reflected the factionalized world
of Jewish nationalism. Chaim Weizmann presented the case for partition, warning that
if the Jews rejected the Peel scheme, the British would severely and permanently re
strict Jewish immigration to Palestine. Jews would then remain a permanent minority
in the Holy Land and the Zionist dream of sovereignty and a national home would
die. A Jewish state in a divided Palestine was not an ideal situation, but it would
guarantee Jewish autonomy and control of immigration into at least part of Palestine.
Weizmann agreed with critics of partition that the size of the Jewish state suggested
by the Peel Commission was unacceptably small, but he believed that Britain would
agree to increase the size of the proposed Jewish nation. 81
Several American Zionists who had fought Weizmann immediately after World
War I continued to suspect his motives. Julian Mack wrote Brandeis that “C. W.
[Chaim Weizmann] I believe, is not at all a well man. To be king or president of
a Jewish state would in his judgement, I fear, put him just one notch above Herzl
and the temptation is too great.” Robert Szold and Stephen Wise were among those
who tried to counter Weizmann’s pro-partition position at the Zurich congress. They
argued that the Palestine Mandate was workable and that difficulties could be over
come. Szold predicted that a Jewish state would be unable to absorb the large
number of Jews seeking to escape Poland and Germany, and he warned that this
would break the morale of the Jewish pioneers in Palestine whose strength and
courage were “based on their hope that they are assisting in the solution of the
Jewish problem.” If Britain divided Palestine, he continued, “the dreams of a his
toric Palestine as a Jewish State or Commonwealth will be gone.” Szold concluded
that “we have no moral right, because concerned with another temporary crisis,


58
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
permanently and irrevocably to consent to and deal a moral [mortal) wound to
Zionism.” 82
As some American Zionists had nervously anticipated, David Ben-Gurion re
versed his original opposition to the partition scheme and supported Chaim Weiz
mann at Zurich. According to Szold, Ben-Gurion was attracted to the idea of Jewish
autonomy, believing that even the best British officials would sometimes “sabotage”
the mandate’s commitment to Zionism. 83
Weizmann’s reelection as president of the World Zionist Organization reflected
the anti-partitionists’ lack of a majority at Zurich. Several factions made up the
forces opposed to Palestine’s division, even if a small Jewish state would be created
by the process. The Mizrachi, a world-wide organization of ultra-religious Zionists,
opposed Weizmann because they believed that God had given the Jewish people
all of Palestine, and that no one had the right to surrender even a part of this
treasure. 84 Joining the Mizrachi in a strange alliance was the Hashomer Hatzair,
an organization of radical socialist Zionists who believed that cooperation with the
Arabs was possible and preferable to the partition of Palestine between the two
peoples. Most of the Hadassah delegates at Zurich also opposed the partition scheme
as did the representatives of the B group of General Zionists. 8S
The delegates of the Zionist Organization of America, chosen by the 1937 con
vention that had strongly opposed partition, split over the issue at Zurich. Silver,
Wise, Szold, and their supporters opposed Weizmann and the division of the Holy
Land, while those delegates, including Louis Lipsky, who had supported Weiz
mann in the past continued to do so. Joining the pro-Weizmann ZOA group were
the delegates of General Zionist faction A, which was Weizmann’s power base. The
Ben-Gurion-led Labor Zionists, who were particulary strong in Eastern Europe
and Palestine, lent critical support to the partition plan. The representatives of
the small, American labor Zionist groups (excluding the Hashomer Hatzair)
cooperated with their European and Palestinian comrades. In an address delivered
at the end of the congress, Hayim Greenberg, who had originally opposed parti
tion, confessed that he still had grave doubts about whether the division of Pales
tine was practical. However, he was convinced that it should at least be attempted. 86
The Twentieth Zionist Congress passed a resolution that seemed to straddle
the partition issue, but which actually handed a victory to Weizmann, Ben-Gurion,
and the pro-partitionists. While labeling the Peel proposal unacceptable, the con
gress authorized the Zionist Executive to negotiate with the British in hopes of
winning better boundaries for the proposed Jewish state. The resolution, however,
prohibited the Executive from agreeing to any particular British proposal without
first getting the approval of another World Zionist Congress. 87
The Zurich resolution did not prevent the outbreak of an intense conflict over
partition, which threatened to divide American Zionists. Shortly after returning
from Zurich, Dr. David de Sola Pool, a respected rabbi and scholar, tried to ex-


59
Reordering Priorities
plain his pro-partition vote at Zurich to the National Board of Hadassah. Dr. Pool
said his vote was not for partition but to give the Zionist Executive authority to
negotiate with Britain. The unwillingness of Great Britain to encourage Jewish im
migration in the face of Arab opposition made it imperative for Zionists to enter
into negotiations that might lead to the creation of a viable Jewish state in part
of Palestine. Pool argued that if Zionists rejected the Peel Commission's recom
mendations, they would antagonize the British people and government, “the only
country and the only people to show any real interest in the Jewish problems.”
Total rejection would also lead Great Britain to limit severely Jewish immigration
into Palestine, thereby guaranteeing that the Jews would never achieve majority
status in the Holy Land. Pool hoped that negotiations with Britain would result
in “the establishment of a Jewish State which would meet the urgent and immediate
needs of the Jewish people.” 88
The continued debate over partition threatened to disrupt the autumn 1937 con
vention of Hadassah. The leadership of the women’s Zionist organization found them
selves in a quandary. Hadassah delegates had voted against the Weizmann position
at Zurich, but Hadassah leaders felt duty-bound to maintain the group’s traditional
commitment to acting only in accordance with official policy as decided at Zionist
congresses. The National Board resolved to prepare a compromise resolution that
would express Hadassah’s desire for the full implementation of the Mandate while
also supporting ongoing negotiations between the Zionist Executive and Great Brit
ain in accordance with the decision of the Twentieth Zionist Congress. Hadassah
leaders hoped that the resolution, which would neither clearly support nor oppose
partition, would preserve the internal unity of the organization and also “would at
test to Hadassah’s position as a disciplined group within the Zionist organization.”
Hadassah's compromise strategy broke down at the organization’s convention,
when some Board members urged that an anti-partition resolution be presented to
the delegates. The National Board then reversed its original decision and decided
to allow Hadassah members to choose between a resolution that would support par
tition and one that would oppose the division of Palestine. Unfortunately, when the
convention began to decide the issue, a partition supporter on the National Board in
troduced the original compromise resolution. After Henrietta Szold spoke in favor
of the compromise, the chair found it impossible to rule the resolution out of order.
Before the pro- and anti-partition resolutions could be introduced, nearly 60 percent
of the Hadassah delegates voted to support the compromise resolution.
This unexpected development angered Zip Szold, an anti-partitionist and the
wife of ZOA leader Robert Szold. She was determined to discover the true feelings
of Hadassah’s members. When Szold asked the delegates to indicate their approval
or opposition to the Zurich decision, she was pleased to see 95 percent of the
delegates express their opposition to Palestine’s partition. Szold and the majority
of anti-partitionists on the Board viewed the delegates’ vote as a “mandate” to un-


60
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
dertake anti-partition activity in the United States."'' They rationalized that “propa
ganda conducted in a friendly and fair manner could not be construed as an ex
pression of disloyalty to the | World Zionist| Executive." , ’ H Pro-partitionists were not
as “good natured" as the Hadassah leaders and one high-ranking world Zionist
leader even appealed to Stephen Wise for help in “taming” the women Zionists. 1 ’ 1
While Hadassah was wrestling with the partition issue, anti-partition forces within
the ZOA were also marshalling their forces. Veterans of the anti-Weizmann/Lipsky
fight within the ZOA were at the forefront of the anti-partition effort. Stephen Wise,
a confirmed anti-partitionist, was president of the ZOA, but Louis Lipsky, a Weiz
mann supporter, served as editor of the ZOA's official journal. New Palestine, mak
ing it difficult for opponents of partition to reach the organization’s large and dis
persed membership. In order to solve this problem, Bernard Flexner and Robert
Szold formed a committee dedicated to the production and dissemination of anti
partition propaganda. Szold, Julian Mack, and the Palestine Economic Corpora
tion, an organization heavily funded by Supreme Court Justice Ixruis Brandeis,
provided the anti-partition committee with the capital necessary to carry out an
extensive publicity campaign. Stephen Wise also supported the work of the com
mittee, as did Felix Frankfurter, who condemned the Peel plan as “unworkable"
and called all the talk of a Jewish state "romanticism chasing a mirage.”'' 2
American Zionists working against the partition of Palestine found that they
had some unusual allies. Wealthy non-Zionists, usually of German-Jewish descent,
had helped finance the settlement of pioneers and refugees in Palestine even
though they rejected the Zionist notion of Jewish nationality. The possible partition
of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states disrupted the uneasy alliance between
non-Zionists and Zionists. Several prominent American Jews, including Felix War
burg, feared that the creation of a Jewish state would destabilize American Jewish
life by allowing anti-Semites to question the primary loyalty of Jews in the United
States. Stephen Wise and lx»uis Brandeis did not share Warburgs concern about
dual loyalty and looked forward to the eventual establishment of a Jewish state
in all of Palestine, but they were willing to cooperate with him in order to maintain
the physical unity of the Jewish homeland. Robert Szold counted on the non-
Zionists to publicize the anti-partition case and reported to Brandeis that the power
ful, non-Zionist American Jewish Committee seemed to have budgeted some money
for this purpose. Szold said that anti-partition Zionists had decided to keep in touch
with the non-Zionists but not to consolidate their efforts. A formal alliance with
opponents of Jewish nationalism, Szold explained, would lose the anti-partitionist
leaders support and standing with their American Zionist constituents." 3
While the anti-partitionists within the ZOA organized, Ixruis Lipsky and his
pro-partition supporters also mustered their strength. The battle within the ZOA
was bitter, reflecting the belief of both factions that they were fighting to protect
the Zionist experiment in Palestine. Opponents of partition were struggling to pre-


Reordering Priorities
serve the birthright of the Jewish people. They were convinced that partition would
not solve the Jewish problem because a divided Palestine would be unable to sup
port a viable Jewish state. Pro-partition advocate Louis Lipsky also claimed to be
fighting for the survival of the Jewish people. On the night of December 30. 1937.
at a meeting of ZOA leaders. Lipsky warned that Great Britain would respond to
a Zionist rejection of partition by repealing the Balfour Declaration and by com
pletely abandoning the Jewish national project. 1 ' 4
The anti-partitionists found it difficult to respond to Lipsky’s dire prediction.
Brandeis. Szold, and Wise had successfully composed powerful arguments against
the dismemberment of Palestine, but the task of formulating an alternative policy
was significantly more troublesome. Shortly after the Zurich World Zionist Con
gress. Brandeis confidently proclaimed: “it ought to be possible to work out a mo
dus vivendi-temporary [sic]—with the Arabs. . . . Reason and virtue will sometime
again have their way. The British . . . will return from their erring way. It is im
perative that nothing be done until then in the way of [the] ultimate disposition
of the problems." 95
Unfortunately, by December, the optimism of some anti-partitionists was begin
ning to crumble as Britain continued to restrict Jewish immigration to Palestine
and Arabs renewed their attacks on Jewish settlements. Stephen Wise wrote
Brandeis: “I have felt firm in the faith that partition would not come. Many things
that are happening tend to shake my faith.” 96 By the end of December, Brandeis
and Szold were desperate to develop a peace agreement with the Arabs that would
make partition unnecessary. They were even considering a plan under which the
Zionists would voluntarily limit immigration to ensure that Jews would remain a
minority in Palestine for a limited number of years. Brandeis recommended a five-
to ten-year limitation on immigration, at the end of which time Jews would not
exceed 40 to 45 percent of Palestine’s population. Brandeis stipulated that Trans
jordan's Arab population was to be considered in these figures. Wise, however,
was opposed to this scheme and agreed with the Zionist Executive that any tem
porary self-restriction on immigration would undermine the Jewish claim to Palestine
and would condemn Jews to a permanent minority status in the country. 97
Making the best of a difficult situation, Brandeis and Szold finally concluded
that the opponents of partition did not have to develop alternatives to the British
scheme because that would only admit that partition was a proper topic for the
Mandatory Power to consider. While the present government seemed to be in favor
of partition, Brandeis hoped that it might be replaced by a new cabinet with an
opposing point of view. He and Szold reasoned that a strong, large Jewish com
munity in Palestine was vital to British interests, and they hoped that “the common
sense of the situation will become more and more apparent to responsible
Britishers.” 911
While all Zionists anxiously awaited the conclusion of Weizmann’s discussions
61


62
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
with the British government, the partition debate continued to dominate the
American Zionist community. Zip Szold of Hadassah questioned the validity of
pro-partitionist claims that the plight of European Jewry required the immediate
creation of a Jewish state, even if that state was smaller than most Zionists would
prefer. The Hadassah leader, presenting her own variation of an argument often
used by anti-Zionists, claimed that a partitioned Palestine would not have the ab
sorptive capacity to satisfy the demand of European refugees for a new home.
She remarked that the Jewish position “will be much sorrier when it is the Jewish
state itself which has to deny admittance to persecuted Jews than when such ad
mission is denied by the Mandatory power.” According to Szold, the pro-partitionists
“complete disregard for future generations of Jews is entirely out of harmony with
Jewish tradition and with the realistic emergencies which face Jewish survival at
the present moment.” 1 ''’
ZOA members, who had extensively discussed Palestine’s partition the year
before, resumed the debate at the next annual convention in July 1938. Robert
Szold expected that Louis Lipsky would attempt to succeed Stephen Wise as presi
dent of the organization, thereby increasing the strength of pro-partitionists within
the ZOA bureaucracy. He left for the 1938 convention determined “to protect the
position of the anti-partitionists.” 100
Despite Szold’s belligerent stance, Stephen Wise seemed intent on not letting
the partition issue tear his organization apart. In his convention address he singled
out Louis Lipsky for praise, thanking him for his help, while acknowledging their
differences on the partition question. Wise repeated the anti-partition argument,
but was generally much more understanding of the opposition’s point of view than
he had been a year earlier. He pointedly declared that he would willingly comply
with the decision of the World Zionist Congress, although he also wanted world
Zionist leaders to give American Zionists more power within the international
organization. Wise tried to shift the attention of ZOA delegates away from the par
tition issue and focus it instead on the refugee crisis, which had been exacerbated
by Hitler’s annexation of Austria in March 1938. 101
Louis Lipsky also tried to strike a moderate tone in his address to the conven
tion, but he continued to present a cogent argument in favor of Palestine’s parti
tion. He confessed that he and other Jewish nationalists, who had thought that
the national home would be built slowly, had not foreseen the rise of Hitler. Lipsky
argued that Zionists now had to realize that a change in strategy was necessary:
“It was never dreamed that the burdens and problems of the Diaspora would be
thrown upon Zion, that they would batter at the gates with claims, with appeal.”
The Jewish refugee problem, Lipsky continued, could only be solved if a sovereign
Jewish state existed that would control its own immigration policies. The partition
of Palestine was the price Zionists had to pay for their state. 102
Most of the ZOA delegates seemed to be exhausted after a year of bitter debate


63
Reordering Priorities
about Palestine’s future. Abba Hillel Silver had passionately denounced partition
in 1937, but after a year of uncertainty and anguish, he called on Great Britain
to make up its mind about Palestine’s fate. If partition and a Jewish state were
to be London’s formula. Silver for one was now willing to accept it, even though
he continued to find the prospect of partition extremely distasteful. 103
ZOA members at the Detroit convention, in an attempt to end the dangerous
conflict within their own ranks, chose Solomon Goldman to succeed Stephen Wise
as their president. Goldman, a Chicago rabbi, opposed partition, but like Abba
Hillel Silver was prepared to accept the division of Palestine if the British forced
the issue. 104 The convention also passed a compromise partition resolution that
gave both pro- and anti-partition forces within the ZOA the freedom to advocate
their positions until a new World Zionist Congress finally decided on the issue. 105
A REORDERING OF PRIORITIES
Even as American Zionists argued over the wisdom of Ben-Gurion and Weizmann’s
acceptance of the principle of partition, developments in the Middle East were
making it extremely difficult for the British to act on the Peel Commission’s pro
posals. Arab nationalists in Palestine adamantly refused to consider the division
of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, and Arab regimes in the Middle East
also condemned the British proposals. Palestinian Arab militants responded to
the Peel Commission’s report by launching a new campaign of anti-British and
anti-Zionist violence. To the dismay of the British, the new Arab revolt was more
intense and violent than the upheavals that had led to the creation of the Peel
Commission. 106
The British cabinet characteristically responded to the new crisis by appointing
yet another royal commission, this one under the direction of Sir John Woodhead
who had served the empire in India. The commission arrived in Palestine in April
1938 and began gathering testimony, a task that was seriously complicated by
the stubborn refusal of Palestinian Arab nationalists to cooperate with the in
vestigating committee. The Woodhead Commission finally submitted its findings
to the cabinet in November 1938, reporting that the Peel Commission’s partition
proposal was impractical. The Woodhead group suggested several alternative plans,
including one of partition that would have created an even smaller Jewish state
than the one proposed by Lord Peel. According to this blueprint, the Arab and
Jewish states would be economically united and neither state would have autonomy
over economic matters. 107
Both Arabs and Zionists opposed the Woodhead report, forcing the British to
abandon partition as a compromise solution to the Arab-Jewish crisis in Palestine.


64
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
At the end of November 1938, the British government announced that it was no
longer considering any plan for the division or partition of Palestine. Instead, the
British cabinet invited the Zionists, Palestinian Arabs, and the Arab states to send
representatives to London to negotiate a mutually agreeable solution to the Pales
tine problem. The cabinet also warned all parties that if they failed to reach a
solution. Great Britain would be forced to impose its own policy, even if both Jews
and Arabs objected. 108
American Zionists who had opposed partition welcomed the British announce
ment that the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine was no longer an immediate
prospect. Louis Brandeis wrote, “It is a source of rejoicing for us (and should be
of deep humiliation for the British) that the government has reversed itself on
partition and recognized the Mandate as binding it.” While happy about the demise
of the partition proposal, the Supreme Court Justice condemned the British pro
posal to negotiate with representatives of Arab countries, calling it “as stupid (and
craven) as its past proposal of partition.” Brandeis urged other Zionist leaders not
to propose alternative solutions to the Arab-Jewish dilemma, but rather to demand
that London simply fulfill its duties under the League of Nations Mandate. He
wrote to his loyal assistant Robert Szold: “My own conviction is, that if once the
terrorists are beaten—soundly beaten—we can arrange to get along with the other
Palestinian Arabs, but not until then. And that we must divorce Palestinians from
all other Arab populations in the settlement of the Palestinian problem.” 100
Emanuel Neumann, the promising young leader of American Zionism, was also
pleased with the abandonment of the partition proposal, but he did not share
Brandeis’s optimism about the future. The best that could be hoped for from
England, he gloomily reported, was another “more or less bad” compromise. 110
The defeat of partition seemed to return Zionists to the situation that had ex
isted before Lord Peel set foot into the land of Palestine. The Arabs stubbornly
refused to accept the Zionist presence in the Middle East, and the British, faced
with a growing fascist threat in Europe, were tempted to desert the Zionists in or
der to stabilize a critical part of the empire. However, while the partition contro
versy might not have radically altered the external political realities of the Middle
East, it did profoundly affect the mind-set of American Zionists.
Before the Arab revolt of 1936 and the Peel Commission that followed, Ameri
can Zionists had focused their attention on the plight of European Jewry. Wise,
Silver, Szold, Brandeis, Rothenberg, and Lipsky all expected Palestine to be the
destination of most Jewish refugees, and they understood that the Zionist move
ment in America would win new respect and support with every refugee that
the Yishuv successfully absorbed into Palestine. Satisfied that events had proven
Theodor Herzl correct, American Zionists set out to transform Palestine into a
haven for refugees. However, the Arab riots of 1936 and the British reaction to
them subtly changed the priorities of American Jewish nationalists.


65
Reordering Priorities
Arab violence and the fear that it would seriously undermine British support
for the Zionist program led Jewish nationalists in the United States to turn their
main attention away from the European refugees to the survival of the Zionist ex
periment in Palestine. Upset over the British failure to crush the Arab revolt and
suspecting that partition would be recommended by the Peel Commission, Brandeis
and other American Zionists concluded that London was determined “to prevent
Jewish development from becoming too powerful in the Near East.” Accordingly,
discussions between Zionist leaders and American officials began to focus more
on the Palestine situation than on the plight of German Jewry. 111
Of course, the threat to Palestine’s future was connected to the plight of Euro
pean Jewry. If the British were to restrict Jewish immigration to the country, one
of the few havens available to refugees would be lost. Appeasement of the Arabs
would deprive many European refugees of a new life and future generations of
a Jewish national home. American Zionists also understood that any decrease in
the efficiency of refugee resettlement in Palestine would undermine the advances
made by Zionists within the American Jewish community.
Zionist organizations did not ignore the worsening plight of European Jewry
in this period. American Jewish nationalists collected and distributed money for
relief and resettlement work, and protested against the persecution of European
Jewry in the German Reich and Poland. 112 Nonetheless, American Zionists in
creasingly concentrated on what the Diaspora could do for Palestine rather than
what the Jewish homeland could do for the world’s Jews. In 1934, Abba Hillel
Silver and other Zionists attacked the Haavara Agreement, claiming the the Yishuv
had an obligation to the Jews of Germany and should not profit financially from
their suffering. After the Arab riots, however, Stephen Wise and Louis Brandeis
could sympathize with the fear of the Yishuv that "the Diaspora Jews . . . may
fail to do their part” to support Zionist efforts in Palestine. Palestine, in the opinion
of American Zionists, offered needy Jews “permanent reconstruction” while other
resettlement efforts promised only “temporary relief.” If American Jewry was to
save its European co-religionists, it would first have to defend Palestine. 113 In Mor
ris Rothenberg's words: “Would it not be morally indefensible for the American
Jewish community, living in security and comfort in this great and free land, to
keep silent as they see their brothers in their tragic plight, . . . being threatened
with the deprivation of their last cherished hope for a better future for themselves
and their children?” 114
As the struggle over Palestine’s future continued, Zionists began to use the refu
gee erisis as a means to defend their stake in the Holy Land. In debates with
American critics of Zionism, publicists like Philip Bernstein argued that any attack
on the Jewish claim to Palestine was also a blow against thousands of refugees
who could find no other home. Both sides of the partition debate argued that the
well-being of the refugees depended on their victory. Weizmann. Lipsky, and Ben-


66
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Gurion explained that an autonomous Jewish state, even if it encompassed only
part of Palestine, could offer sanctuary to Jews escaping German or Polish anti-
Semitism. Robert Szold and other anti-partitionists claimed that a state in a di
vided Palestine would lack the resources necessary to absorb the massive number
of needy Jews.
The Peel Commission’s proposal to divide Palestine between the Arabs and
Jews, and the restriction of Jewish immigration that began in November 1936
seriously undermined American Zionists’ confidence in Great Britain. Opponents
of partition feared that the Peel proposal was part of a cruel and brutal British
plan to crush the Zionist movement. Those Zionists advocating Palestine’s division
also questioned Britain’s loyalty to the Balfour pledge and advocated partition as
a means of escaping the dictates and whims of colonial administrators and the
London cabinet. 115
Unfortunately, the Zionists’ suspicions about Great Britain proved to be well
founded. The growing likelihood of a new European conflict made it imperative
for London to secure England’s position in the Middle East. British strategists were
afraid that, in the event of a war against Germany, continued Arab unrest in the
region would drain army manpower away from the European battlefields. Accord
ingly, after inviting Arab and Zionist representatives to a London conference to
be held in early 1939, Great Britain warned that if the negotiations failed, the
British cabinet would impose its own settlement on the region.
For the Zionists, the London conference held in February 1939 proved to be
a disaster. Arab delegates from Palestine and neighboring Middle Eastern states
refused even to sit at the same table with representatives of the Zionist movement. 116
The inability of Jews and Arabs to develop a compromise agreement gave British
authorities the opportunity to impose their own will in Palestine. On May 17, 1939,
Great Britain published yet another White Paper on Palestine. To the dismay of
all Jewish nationalists, the 1939 MacDonald White Paper seemed to repudiate
the Balfour Declaration by declaring that:
His Majesty’s Government believe that the framers of the Mandate in which
the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that Palestine
should be converted into a Jewish state against the wifi of the Arab population
of the country. . . . His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequi
vocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish
State. They would indeed regard it as contrary to their obligations to the Arabs
under the Mandate, as well as to the assurances which have been given to
the Arab people in the past, that the Arab population of Palestine should be
made the subjects of a Jewish State against their will.
The British proclaimed their intention to establish an independent state in Pales
tine in ten years, in which Jews and Arabs would share political power. The White


67
Reordering Priorities
Paper recognized the fear of Arab Palestinians that indefinite Jewish immigration
would endanger their well-being. In order to reassure the Arabs that a Jewish
state would never emerge, London announced that it would allow only seventy-five
thousand Jews to enter Palestine during the next five years. This would insure that
the Jews would remain a minority in the Holy Land, outnumbered three to one
by the Arabs. After five years, any further Jewish immigration would depend on
the agreement of Palestine’s Arab community, which was unlikely to ever give its
consent. The 1939 White Paper, labeled a “death sentence” by Zionist leader
Chaim Wiezmann, also imposed severe restrictions on Jewish land purchases in
the Holy Land." 7
Three and a half months before the outbreak of the Second World War, Zionists
in Europe, Palestine, and America seemed to be faced with a gloomy and tragic
future. If the British carried out their new policy, a Jewish majority would never
be established in Palestine and the Zionist dream of creating a Jewish homeland
would go unfulfilled. The German tanks that crossed Poland s borders on the morn
ing of September 1, 1939, ignited a conflict that would result in the death of forty
million people. For Zionists, the German attack seemed to offer one last oppor
tunity to win their homeland.


68
Ill
WAR AND STATEHOOD
despair: responding to the white paper
At the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City, dozens of nations exhibited
artifaets illustrating their economic and cultural achievements. Among
the many national pavilions, one represented a people without a country.
The Palestine pavilion’s opening highlighted the forty-second annual con
vention of the Zionist Organization of America. Many of the ZOA's leaders
had supervised the construction of the exhibit, the cornerstone of which
came from Kibbutz Hanita, a young Jewish settlement in Palestine whose
founders had withstood a sustained Arab attack in 1938. For American
Zionists meeting one month after the publication of the MacDonald White
Paper, the stone from Hanita seemed to symbolize their intention to con
tinue the building of a Palestine homeland in the face of official British
opposition. 1
The organizers of the ZOA convention were determined to carry on
business as usual. 2 Rabbi Stephen Wise told the audience that Ix>rd
Halifax, the British ambassador to the United States, had informed him
that there were times when moral claims, such as the Zionists' on Pal
estine, had to yield to administrative necessities like the White Paper.
Wise disagreed with the British official and brought the ZOA delegates
to their feet when he asserted that: “Jewish history affirms that every ad
ministrative necessity yields before the uncancellable moral claim of the
Jewish people to live and rebuild Eretz Israel.” 2 Rabbi Solomon Goldman,
president of the ZOA, also attacked the White Paper, admitting that it
was a setback for Zionists but also proclaiming his refusal “to convert
a temporary setback into a rout.” Former ZOA president Morris Rothen
berg predicted that the White Paper would shortly become just “another


69
War and Statehood
exhibit in the dusty archives of inept British statesmanship,” and Louis Lipsky
bravely commented that “the work of Palestine goes on. No power on earth can
completely stop it.” 4
In spite of these heroic words of resistance, the ZOA leadership’s hopeful good
humor was just a facade to camouflage the despair and confusion caused by the
new British pro-Arab policy. On May 10, 1939, Justice Louis Brandeis confided
to Robert Szold that Zionist leaders in Palestine were “panic stricken” over the
imminent publication of the White Paper. Most of the plans they suggested, he
continued, were either “impossible” to fulfill or were “unwise.” 5
American Zionists shared the anxiety and pessimism of their Palestinian counter
parts. Solomon Goldman, dismissing the strategic imperatives that dictated British
policy in Palestine, believed that the new White Paper was the latest in a long
series of atrocities committed against the Jews. Equating anti-Zionism with anti-
Semitism, Goldman concluded that Nazi racist doctrines had affected Great Bri
tain. 6 Rose Jacobs, a former leader of Hadassah and an American representative
on the Jewish Agency in Palestine, compared the British White Paper to the
Munich Pact and the betrayal of the Czechs. Zionists, she worried, might have
done a terrible disservice to the Jewish people because they had “led a whole
generation of youth to believe that they could be secure in Palestine, and that
security had now become a myth.” 7
While Jacobs worried about the future, the practical and businesslike leaders
of Hadassah began to discuss the decrease in contributions to the Youth Aliyah
program that would probably follow the implementation of the new British im
migration restrictions. 8 The Hadassah women could not have found much solace
in the opinions of Solomon Goldman and Louis Brandeis, who “optimistically”
noted that the MacDonald White Paper “at least” gave Zionists five years to organize
against the planned total halting of Jewish immigration to Palestine. 9
The religiously orthodox Mizrachi organization, like Hadassah, also began the
painful task of adapting to the post-White Paper world situation. Realizing that
the task of resettling the Jewish homeland could not, at least for the time being,
be continued, Mizrachi officials decided to concentrate their efforts on the religious
education of American Jewish youth who would have to assume the burden of
keeping the Zionist dream alive. 10
There seemed to be little direct action that the Zionists could take against the
British. American Zionists wondered how they could adopt a strong anti-British
policy and still work with London against their common enemy, Adolf Hitler. Rose
Jacobs wearily commented, “This dilemma demonstrated most clearly how alone
the Jews are as a people. They have no place to look to for help in the outside
world.” 11
Several Zionist organizations tried to organize and coordinate protests against
the British policy; two hundred leading Jewish nationalists agreed to travel to


70
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Washington to lobby among representatives and senators. Zionist leaders hoped
to demonstrate that “although Zionist membership in this country might be small,
Zionist sentiment was very large.” Jewish leaders did not expect these demonstra
tions to have an immediate effect on the British, but they hoped that the public
actions would provide the Zionist rank and file with an “outlet” for their “indigna
tion” and would also help “secure their loyalty and support for the long struggle
ahead.” 12
While world Jewish leaders organized popular protests, they also struggled to
bring the Palestine situation before the League of Nations. The League had incor
porated the Balfour pledge into the Palestine Mandate it awarded to Great Britain,
and it could censure London for its restrictive immigration policies. However,
there was slight chance that the Chamberlain government would give much cre
dence to the desires of the League, which had already proven its impotence in
the face of German, Italian, and Japanese aggression. 13
In the face of catastrophe, Zionist leaders desperately sought reason for hope.
Some Zionists found solace in an almost mystical belief in the indestructibility of
the Jewish people who had endured so many persecutions and setbacks. Many
also looked to the eventual election of a new government in England, which they
hoped would be more supportive of the Zionist program than the Conservative
party. 1 *
During parliamentary debates in May 1939, both the Liberal and Labour
parties had vigorously condemned the White Paper. Herbert Morrison, a Labour
party member of the House of Commons, attacked the Chamberlain government
for its “cynical breach” of the Balfour Declaration, which implicitly pledged to
support mass Jewish immigration to Palestine. Now, he continued, alluding to the
plight of German Jewry, “the Jews, already victims of other races as a minority
in certain countries, are ... to be made a permanent minority in the country that
had been promised to them.” 15 Liberal party leader Sir Archibald Sinclair argued
that the world would interpret the White Paper as a surrender to Arab violence
and he warned that, if the new policy was instituted in Palestine, “we shall create
confusion in that country, [and] we shall incur the scorn of Europe. 16 Winston
Churchill, an arch-opponent of Chamberlain’s policy of appeasing Hitler, likened
the White Paper to the Munich Pact. He reminded Parliament that the Balfour
Declaration’s “pledge of home of refuge, . . . was not made to the Jews in Palestine
but to the . . . vast, unhappy mass of scattered, persecuted, wandering Jews whose
intense, unchanging, unconquerable desire has been for a National Home.” He
predicted that outside events would not allow Great Britain to carry out its five-year
plan of immigration restriction in Palestine, saying:
Europe is more that two-thirds mobilized tonight. . . . That cannot possibly
continue for five years, not for four, nor for three years. It may be that it will


71
War and Statehood
not continue beyond the present year. Long before those five years are past,
either there will be a Britain which knows how to keep its word on the Balfour
Declaration and is not afraid to do so, or, believe me, we shall find ourselves
relieved of many overseas responsibilities other than those comprised within
the Palestine Mandate. 17
While American Zionists waited for Churchill or some other opponent of the
White Paper to take possession of 10 Downing Street, Palestinian Jewry, more action-
oriented than their American cousins, began to wage war against the British Em
pire. On May 18, 1939, the day after the publication of the White Paper, Jews
throughout Palestine demonstrated against Britain’s new policy. In Jerusalem the
demonstration turned into a riot as Jewish protesters fought British policemen,
wounding four and killing one; 135 members of the Yishuv were hurt in the fight. 18
The Irgun (a small group of Jewish radicals loyal to Revisionist leader Vladimir
Jabotinsky), which refused to acknowledge the authority of Zionist leaders in
Palestine, responded to the White Paper with a terrorist campaign aimed at British
and Arab targets. The Irgun set off a bomb at the Palestine Broadcasting Service
on May 17 and blew up the main post office on June 12. 10 In August, Irgun assas
sins murdered Ralph Cairns, commander of the Jewish section of the British Crimi
nal Investigation Department in Palestine. In retaliation for Arab attacks on Jewish
civilians, Irgun terrorists killed over seventy Arabs in a series of explosions in
Haifa. 20 A tragedy was fortuitously averted on June 9, when British police arrested
a young Irgun woman who was about to plant a bomb among a large group of
Arab women and children waiting to visit relatives incarcerated in Jerusalem’s cen
tral prison. 21
The Irgun’s bloody terrorist campaign against civilians appalled Zionist leaders
in Palestine, but they were also determined to respond to the White Paper forcefully.
On June 5, 1939, the Jewish Agency in Palestine authorized the secret creation
of Haganah Special Squads, which would operate under the direct command
of David Ben-Gurion. The Special Squads attacked British targets in Palestine,
damaging oil pipelines and sinking a British police boat in August. Although their
successes might have been spectacular, the Haganah’s military offensive constituted
only a minor element of the Yishuv’s anti-White Paper campaign. The Zionists
devoted most of their resources to Aliyah Bet—the illegal smuggling of Jewish
refugees into Palestine. 22
Actually, the first illegal immigration operation occurred in June 1934, when
a Polish Zionist youth organization successfully smuggled 350 refugees into Pales
tine on board the Greek ship Velos. The failure of a second Aliyah Bet attempt
in late 1934 convinced Zionist leaders to suspend all further actions in order to
avoid a confrontation with British authorities. In 1937, after Britain began to
decrease the number of Jews it allowed into Palestine, the Irgun and Revisionist


72
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Zionist organizations in Europe adopted the illegal immigration tactic, bringing
between five and six thousand Jews to Palestine before the outbreak of war in
September 1939. Late in 1938, the Haganah and the Jewish Agency established
the Mossad IlAliyah Bet (Institute for Illegal Immigration) to oversee the illegal
transportation of refugees into Palestine. After the publication of the 1939 White
Paper, the Mossad intensified its efforts, smuggling over six thousand Jews into
Palestine in less than two years. A favorite Mossad tactic was to anchor a transport
ship off of Palestine’s coast. During the night, small boats would shuttle refugees
from the ship to one of the many kibbutzim that dotted the Mediterranean shore.
Not all these attempts were successful. On June 1, 1939, British naval vessels
intercepted a Greek cattle boat carrying 906 Jews to Palestine. Mandatory authori
ties transported the refugees, including 360 women and children, to Haifa and
announced that they would be allowed to remain in Palestine, but that their num
ber would be deducted from the White Paper quota. 23
American Zionists, far removed from the action in Palestine, could do little to
contribute to the Aliyah Bet campaign. Most generally supported the Mossad’s
efforts and compared Aliyah Bet to the Boston Tea Party and other “illegal” American
colonial attempts to resist tyrannical British taxation. 24 A few Zionist leaders in
the United States, however, worried about the potentially serious consequences
of illegal immigration. Abba Hillel Silver, chairman of the United Palestine Ap
peal, a major Zionist fund-raising organization, voiced his concerns at the twenty-
first World Zionist Congress, which met in Geneva, Switzerland, in late August
1939. In a rare mood of caution, Silver, who during the next decade would ac
quire a reputation for aggressive risk taking, asked Zionist authorities to refrain
from doing anything that might bring the Yishuv into conflict with British forces.
In a public address repeatedly interrupted by hecklers and during private ses
sions, Silver explained that the Jews could not hope to win a war against Britain
and instead should avoid confrontation until British public opinion forced a change
in the Mandatory Power's policy. Asked about the plight of Jewish refugees search
ing for a haven. Silver replied that thousands of Jews could be settled in Palestine
even under the White Paper’s restrictions.
Berl Katznelson, a Palestinian socialist Zionist leader and editor of the Hebrew
daily Davar, refuted Silver’s position, warning that criticism of Aliyah Bet betrayed
the refugees and young Yishuv members who were spearheading the battle against
Britain. Katznelson’s argument proved to be irresistible for most of the Zionists
at Geneva, including many in the large delegation from the United States. Even
those Americans who shared Silver’s doubts could not bring themselves to cen
sure or disown the courageous Aliyah Bet operatives. 25
While Aliyah Bet caused some controversy within Zionist ranks, neither it nor
the Irgun’s terror campaign were having the desired effect of forcing Great Britain
to alter its Palestine policy. London, preparing for a possible war with Germany,


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War and Statehood
was determined to pacify the Middle East in order to insure that, in the event
of war, British resources could be concentrated on the Western Front, not dwin
dled away in suppressing Arab revolts or threats to the Suez Canal. In a war, the
British coldly calculated, the Jews of Palestine would have little choice but to sup
port those forces battling Hitler. In the meantime, British resources in Palestine
were sufficient to limit the impact of the “Jewish revolt” against the White Paper.
On August 31, British police in Palestine raided a house in Tel Aviv and arrested
most of the Irgun command. Other Jewish terrorists were shot down by the Pales
tinian police. Even Aliyah Bet proved to be no more than a nuisance for the British
authorities. 2 *
WORLD WAR IK NEW HOPE
Because American Zionists did not fully comprehend British imperial strategy,
the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and the English and
French declarations of war that followed boosted their morale. Many tended to
compare the 1939 White Paper with the Munich Pact and anticipated that the
outbreak of war would discredit all forms of appeasement, whether it be of Nazis
or Arabs. Stephen Wise thought that the White Paper would be one of the first
casualties of a new European war. 27 Mrs. Moses Epstein of Hadassah analyzed
the Zionist position just four days after German tanks rolled across the Polish fron
tier and found it to be stronger than it had been before the outbreak of hostilities.
The democracies, she naively reported, were finally accepting the fact “that Nazi
and Fascist persecution of a Jewish minority inevitably leads to persecution of other
minorities, and in the last analysis is a threat to the democratic structure itself.”
Renewed British support of Zionism would surely follow, she predicted. 28
American Zionist optimism at the start of World War II was based not only
on the conviction that all forms of appeasement would soon end. Of even greater
importance was the fact that Zionists, like most Americans, believed that the Sec
ond World War would follow the course of the first and would end with an interna
tional peace conference where the victorious powers would redraw political bound
aries and create new states. At Versailles, Jewish delegations had lobbied for the
granting of political and cultural rights to Jews and other European minorities,
and had won international support for the Balfour Declaration. ZOA President
Solomon Goldman expected the Jewish nationalists at a post-World War II peace
conference would be able to improve on the concessions they had won from the
Allies following World War I. 29
American Zionists who had been despondent about the British White Paper
now had reason to believe that better times were near. Zionist contributions to


74
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
the British war effort would win renewed British support of Jewish nationalism
and lead to the abandonment of the White Paper, a development that would
safeguard the Zionist experiment in Palestine and would benefit the Jewish refugees
who were struggling to escape Hitler’s grasp.
Chaim Weizmann in London and Jewish leaders in Palestine shared the views
of their American comrades and quickly took steps to assure that a Zionist delega
tion would be present at the peace conference that would end the Second World
War. Immediately after the German invasion of Poland, David Ben-Gurion an
nounced that, while the Yishuv would never accept the White Paper’s immigration
restrictions, Jewish Palestine would use all of its resources to help Great Britain
defeat Hitler. Weizmann offered the Chamberlain government the total assistance
of the world Zionist movement and as a personal contribution to the war effort
he cooperated with British scientific efforts to produce artificial rubber and high-
octane fuel. 30
Even the Irgun decided to support the British war effort. On September 9,
1939, the organization’s high command announced a suspension of all anti-British
actions and offered their services to the imperial forces. 31 Avraham Stern, a leading
member of the Irgun, refused to accept the dictates of his superiors and with a
small number of followers bolted from the organization in order to carry on the
struggle against the British. In no mood to tolerate resistance, Mandatory security
forces hunted Stern down, finally apprehending him in a Tel Aviv apartment where
he was summarily executed. 32
Stern’s anti-British program found practically no support within Zionist ranks.
Ben-Gurion, Weizmann, and their comrades looked forward to London accepting
their offers of cooperation and expected the British to mobilize the Yishuv youth
into Jewish fighting units, perhaps even a Jewish army. The Jewish soldiers would
enter battle with two goals in mind. Their primary mission would be the defeat
of the hated Hitler. Their sacrifices in the field would also allow Zionist statesmen
to demand recognition as a co-belligerent with Great Britain and would insure
that Jewish Palestine’s interests would be considered in the reconstruction of the
postwar world.
To the dismay of all Zionists, the Chamberlain government was reluctant to ac
cept their help. British officials were convinced that the advantages of Yishuv sup
port would be outweighed by the wave of Arab unrest that an alliance with the
Zionists would surely spark. Accordingly, London continued to enforce its White
Paper policy and allowed only a small number of Jews to serve in military support
units in Palestine. The German conquest of France in the spring of 1940 forced
the British to reconsider their position. The new government of Winston Churchill
was more prepared than its predecessor to accept Zionist assistance and allowed
a larger number of Palestinian Jews to enter military service. In the spring of 1941,
with Rommel’s Afrika Korps threatening the entire Middle East, the British army


75
War and Statehood
cooperated with the Haganah in the creation of the Palmach, a small unit of Jew
ish youth that would operate as a guerrilla force in the event of a German conquest
of Palestine. However, in spite of England’s grave military condition, the British
General Staff and, in particular. Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden remained con
vinced that the empire’s security depended on the continued appeasement of Arab
leaders and nationalist movements. They knew that the Arabs, unlike the members
of the Yishuv, were not eager to enlist in the British army, but they also realized
that Britain could not afford to divert any military resource to the suppression of
a new Arab revolt in Palestine. Churchill, heeding the advice of his cabinet, re
fused to authorize the total mobilization of the Yishuv and rejected repeated Zionist
requests for the revocation of the White Paper. 33
Britain’s behavior forced Ben-Gurion and Weizmann to conclude that a full-
scale political campaign would be required to force London to accept the Zionist
movement as an ally. The actual task of negotiating with British officials would
remain in their hands, but American Zionists would also have an important role to
perform. If enough American public support for a Jewish army could be amassed,
Britain, desperate for American assistance in the war against Hitler, might be forced
to change its policies. Weizmann traveled to the United States in early 1940 in
order to rally American Zionist support, 34 and in June 1940 Ben-Gurion sent an
urgent message to the ZOA annual convention informing the already concerned
organization: “Never has our people, never has our country faced as great danger
as today.” Nearly five million Jews were now in Hitler’s control and Nazi armies
were themselves threatening Palestine, whose conquest would wipe out all the great
Zionist achievements of the preceding half century. He warned that “history” would
never forgive American Jewry, the largest free Jewish population in the world, if
they did not do everything possible to give the Yishuv the chance to defend itself. 35
American Zionists enthusiastically responded to Ben-Gurion’s call for action.
The Mizrachi, representing Orthodox religious Zionists in the United States, pro
claimed: “We must in this grave and critical hour concentrate all efforts for the
defense of Eretz Israel.” 36 Louis Lipsky called on American Zionists to sacrifice
and do everything possible to support Palestinian Jewry in their “great defensive
effort.” 37 Almost eight hundred ZOA delegates, recognizing that American Jewry
represented “the last bulwark of moral and material support for the development
of the Jewish Homeland in Palestine,” 38 urged Winston Churchill to allow Pales
tinian Jewry to form combat units to fight in defense of the Middle East 39
American Zionists attempted to demonstrate that the Jewish and British war
efforts were inextricably linked. Zionists repeatedly pointed out that the Jews were
the first victims of “Nazi aggression.” According to ZOA president Solomon Gold
man, while German Jewry struggled through years of persecution, the democratic
powers attempted to avert war by ignoring Nazi atrocities and militarism. Zionists,
he claimed, being among the first to understand that nazism was a threat to all


76
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
democracies, welcomed the British to the battle against fascism. Jewish nationalists
could, more easily than anyone else, understand the terror and despair of those
peoples struggling to free their countries from German domination because their
nation, Palestine, had been conquered by Roman armies two thousand years be
fore. Members of the Yishuv were already contributing to the British battle to halt
Nazi aggression and free Europe; all they asked was to be allowed to enlist in
larger numbers. After Hitler was defeated, Goldman concluded, Zionists would
expect their allies to complete the crusade for liberation by allowing the Jews to
return to Palestine. 40
The American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs (AECZA) attempted
to coordinate Zionist efforts in the United States to build public support for the
creation of a Jewish army and the revocation of the White Paper. Established in
late 1939, the AECZA had twenty-four members representing all the major
American Zionist organizations. Although Stephen Wise served as chairman of
the AECZA, Emanuel Neumann directed the day-to-day work of the organization. 41
Personal and organizational rivalries crippled the AECZA and frustrated Neumann
who resigned his position and complained that AECZA members “were acting
not as a unified body, but as ambassadors from sovereign organizations. Some
of them insisted that they had to consult their respective organizations—their 'gov
ernments’—before any action could be taken.” The ZOA, Hadassah, Poale Zion,
and Mizrachi refused to supply the AECZA with the $250,000 Neumann felt was
necessary to mount an effective political campaign. 42 Louis Brandeis and his sup
porters, unwilling to let old conflicts die, were suspicious about the activities and
loyalty of their old opponent Louis Lipsky. an AECZA member. Robert Szold and
Morris Rothenberg of the ZOA opposed Neumann’s organizational activities because
they worried that a politically powerful and independent AECZA would absorb
“Zionist work in this country so as to leave the ZOA with nothing except member
ship work to do.” 43
In fact, American Zionism desperately needed just the type of organization
Rothenberg and Szold dreaded. In the years following Hitler’s seizure of power,
Zionist groups in the United States experienced tremendous growth. By the sum
mer of 1941, the ZOA and Hadassah claimed a joint membership of two hundred
thousand, while the much smaller Mizrachi and Poale Zion had both more than
doubled their membership since 1933. 44 However, without some organizational
structure that would transcend petty organizational and personal rivalries, Zionists
could not hope to develop the resources and skills necessary to build political
support outside of the American Jewish community. The impotency of the AECZA
was primarily responsible for the failure of Zionists to mount any effective drive
in support of a Jewish army or against the White Paper before the Japanese attack
on Pearl Harbor.
Political immaturity was not the only difficulty American Zionists confronted


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War and Statehood
during this period. Their strong support of Britain’s war effort pitted them against
powerful isolationist forces in the United States, including Robert R. McCormick,
publisher of the Chicago Tribune, the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, and social
ist leader Norman Thomas. Lindbergh attacked American Jews for their strong
support of Great Britain and accused them of conspiring to push the United States
into war. 45 Even the Reverend John Haynes Holmes, a supporter of Jewish na
tionalism, spiritual leader of New York’s Community Church, and a close friend
of Stephen Wise, who had defended Zionist interests during the Arab Revolt of
1936, preached the doctrine of isolationism. 46
Holmes, a life-long pacifist and admirer of India’s Mahatma Gandhi, often
spoke out against any American support for Britain’s war against Hitler. In Decem
ber 1940, the Christian Century, a liberal Protestant periodical, asked Holmes
if he would support the United States if it was “drawn into the war.” His response
was an unequivocal no. Hitler, the Protestant clergyman wrote, was not the source
of the world’s troubles, but was only one symptom of mankind’s moral decay. The
war between Britain and Germany was a “fundamentally immoral clash of com
peting imperialisms” and, Holmes concluded, “if America goes into the war, it
will not be for idealistic reasons but to serve her own imperialistic interests so
closely identified with those of Britain.” 47
Holmes’s refusal to support the British war effort troubled Stephen Wise, who
admired his friend’s allegiance to Gandhi and pacifism. More than twenty years
before, the rabbi and the minister had both applauded Woodrow Wilson’s neu
trality policies and worked to insure the President’s reelection in 1916. When the
United States declared war against Germany in April 1917, the two parted ways
as Holmes condemned Wilson’s “betrayal” of neutrality, while Wise, believing that
German militarism made war unavoidable, offered his services to the administra
tion, even working one summer as a unskilled worker in a military shipyard. 48 After
the armistice. Wise slowly drifted back into pacifism and reconciled his differences
with Holmes. He even encouraged his congregation to see If This Be Treason, an
antiwar play coauthored by Holmes and Reginald Laurence, which received little
critical acclaim. 46
The fascist threat again led Wise to revise his views on war. Following the Ger
man invasion of Poland, Wise, believing that a German victory “would mean the
blackest night for civilization,” 50 led the effort to rally American Jews and Zionists
to Great Britain’s defense saying:
The question has ceased to be one of war versus peace, but is rather become
a question whether unbridled might and unmoral [sic] power shall again rule
over the destinies of men and nation. Insofar as England and France have
taken up the gage, insofar as the two great democracies of Western Europe
dared to say to Hitler after his threat to Poland, “Thus far shalt thou go and
no further,” it is for peoples who are, and for men who would remain free,


78
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
their most sacred obligation to give moral, political and material aid and fur
therance to Britain and France. 51
Wise urged all ZOA members to cooperate with William Allen Whites efforts to
awaken the American public to the Nazi threat. 52 In 1941, as president of the
American Jewish Congress, he directed financial campaigns within the American
Jewish community that netted over $100,000 for Britain's defense. 55 Following the
German conquest of France in June 1940, Wise, saying that England was “the
Maginot Line of the United States,” urged Americans to extend to Britain all sup
port short of war. 54
Although Wise never called on the United States to actually declare war against
Germany, he supported all the president’s efforts, which slowly made Washington
an ally of London, including Lend Ijease and the use of American ships against
German U-boats. In May 1940, Wise, referring to Roosevelt’s opposition to isola
tionism, called the president the “one clear voice in the world today” and "the
earth’s foremost statesman.” 55 It was a view most American Jews and Zionists
shared. At its annual convention in June 1940, the ZOA unanimously and without
debate passed a resolution urging all Americans to support Roosevelt’s efforts to
supply London with the resources it needed to defeat the totalitarian regimes that
threatened to “plunge” America into “catastrophe.” 56 As political scientist Lawrence
H. Fuchs noted, “there was no stronger interventionist group in the United States
than the Jews.” Understanding that every Nazi conquest subjected thousands of
their co-religionists to terrible persecution, American Jews in overwhelming num
bers turned to the anti-isolationist Roosevelt for salvation and security. According
to surveys by the American Institute of Public Opinion and by the National Opin
ion Research Center at the University of Denver, more than 90 percent of Jewish
voters cast their ballots for Roosevelt in 1940. 57
Significantly, most American Jews supported Roosevelt in spite of his failure
to take a strong stand on Zionism. The President respectfully sent welcoming
messages to Zionist conventions, but his administration did little to further the
Zionist quest. For example, Roosevelt and the State Department did not endorse
the 1939 British White Paper, but neither did they seriously attempt to convince
London to revoke it. Generally, Roosevelt seemed to believe that the future of
Palestine was a British concern. 58
MOVING TOWARD STATEHOOD
Even as Wise and Roosevelt cooperated in the campaign to build public support
for American intervention in a second world war, Zionists began to comprehend
the profound contradictions that plagued their wartime program. The war against


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War and Statehood
Hitler, Chaim Weizmann noted, put Jewish nationalists in the paradoxical position
of supporting their “British friends,” while their would-be ally’s policies threatened
to destroy the Zionist project in Palestine. 59 The schizophrenic nature of this situa
tion was apparent at the November 1940 convention of the National Labor Com
mittee for Palestine, which drew together delegations representing several American
Zionist groups. The convention delegates supported Stephen Wise’s demand that
the United States do everything “short of war” to strengthen Britain in its defense
of civilization. Shortly afterwards, the same audience enthusiastically responded
as Wise condemned Britain’s decision to deport 1,800 “illegal immigrants” from
Palestine. 60 Infuriated by this dilemma, an angry Abba Hillel Silver protested:
Our desire to help Great Britain in this war is maneuvering us into a policy
distinctly harmful to Zionism. We are asked not only to withhold criticism of
outrageous acts . . . , but actually . . . [toj become apologists for the Palestine
Government. In the meantime England intends to pursue her policy of ap
peasing the Arabs even more aggressively than she did before the war. . . . This
is an intolerable situation into which we are being moved. Every people speaks
up for its own rights in this desperate time, . . . The Jews alone, the most hard-
pressed of all, must speak up only in behalf of Great Britain. 61
Britain’s cruel and insensitive wartime policies exacerbated the dismay and in
tensified the fury of Silver and his fellow Zionists. London not only continued to
refuse to establish a Jewish army, but also strictly enforced the 1939 White Paper
in spite of the desperate plight of Europen Jewry. As German armies raced across
Western Europe in the spring of 1940, the “free world” knew that Jews in Nazi-
occupied lands were singled out for special abuse. This was particularly true for
the three million Jews of Poland who, in 1940, were forcibly moved into small,
overcrowded ghettoes. Cut off from their Christian neighbors, Polish Jewry strug
gled to survive the famine and disease that characterized ghetto life. 62 Small groups
of European Jews, sometimes with the aid of Mossad or Revisionist agents, were
able to board ships in order to seek refuge in Palestine. These ships were usually
small and barely seaworthy; not all of them made it safely to Palestine’s shores.
In the fall of 1940, Bulgaria, a German ally, exiled several hundred Jews from
Dobrudja, a territory it acquired from Romania in September 1940. From this
group, 380 chartered the Salvador, a sixty-ton Bulgarian sailing vessel, on which
they hoped to reach Palestine. After the ship encountered stormy seas, the Turkish
government allowed the vessel to anchor temporarily in the Strait of Bosporus.
When the weather improved on December 13, the Turks, unwilling to have their
country become a haven for Jewish refugees, ordered the Salvador to sail. Sixty
miles from Istanbul, heavy winds knocked out the ship’s small auxiliary motor.
The captain and crew struggled to maintain control of the boat, but, as one refugee
remembered: “Suddenly a violent shock aroused us. We had been hurled onto


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
a reef. The ensuing scenes were terrible. Prayers and shrieks mingled with the
howling of the gale, and in the pitch darkness the white-crested waves broke over
us and water poured through thousands of fissures as the ancient craft began to
break up.” That night, 231 refugees drowned. 63
Some refugee boats were lucky enough to reach Palestinian waters, but the
Royal Navy usually apprehended the vessels before their Jewish passengers could
disembark. At first, British authorities allowed the “illegal immigrants” (who often
spent months in internment camps) to remain in Palestine after subtracting their
number from the White Paper immigration quotas. The British cabinet in late
1940, intent on discouraging European Jews from seeking refuge in Palestine, de
cided to deport illegal immigrants to British detention camps on the island of
Mauritius. Government leaders explained, with very little evidence, that the Nazis
were using the refugee exodus to smuggle spies and saboteurs into Palestine.
In November, nearly two thousand illegal immigrants boarded the British ship
Patna for transport to Mauritius. After London refused to consider repeated Zionist
appeals for clemency, Munia Mardor, a Haganah agent, smuggled explosives onto
the Patria. His intent was to disable the ship in order to prevent its sailing. Trag
ically. Mardor's demolition skills were weak, and the bomb that exploded on
November 15 was much more powerful than expected, killing more than two hun
dred of the refugees. The British announced that the Patria survivors would be
allowed to remain in Palestine, but refused to extend the same hospitality to the
1.581 immigrants who had reached Palestine on board the Atlantic the day before
the Patria catastrophe. On December 9, two British ships began the voyage to
Mauritius carrying the despondent refugees. 64
A year after the Patria incident, the Struma, a decrepit old steamer, slowly
made its way into Istanbul Harbor. The almost eight hundred Jews on the ship
had wanted to reach Palestine, but the Struma was dangerously unseaworthy, and
the refugees decided to request sanctuary from the Turkish government. Turkey
refused to grant the Jews’ request, and the ship remained in Istanbul for months
while Jewish leaders attempted to convince British officials to give the refugees
special permission to enter Palestine. The English, unwilling to stray from the 1939
White Paper policy, refused to give the Struma passengers any type of visa, and
the Turkish government finally gave orders for the removal of the ship. On February
24, 1942, tugboats pulled the Struma beyond Turkey’s territorial waters. Shortly
afterward the ship sank; 767 men, women and children drowned. 65
Angered and disillusioned by Britain’s seemingly unshakeable hostility to the
Zionist cause, Yishuv leaders began to reconsider their tactics and philosophy.
The Zionists’ wartime strategy, developed after the German invasion of Poland,
assumed that the White Paper was an aberration, a temporary reversal of London’s
traditional support of Jewish settlement of Palestine. Jewish nationalists believed
that Zionist material and political assistance to Great Britain would convince Lon-


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War and Statehood
don to conclude that the empire’s interests would be best served by an alliance
with the Yishuv, not by appeasement of the Arabs. With the anticipated reversal
of Britain’s anti-Zionist policies, the situation in Palestine would revert back to that
of the pre-Arab-revolt “golden age” of 1933-36. Those refugees who could es
cape Nazi-occupied Europe would find a home in Palestine, and in the postwar
period mass Jewish immigration to the Holy Land would resume. Within a short
period of time a Jewish majority would emerge in Palestine and Zionists could
then realize their ultimate goal—the creation of a Jewish state.
By late 1940, David Ben-Gurion and some of his Palestinian colleagues had con
cluded that time was no longer on their side. The White Paper was over one year old,
and the British gave no hint of its imminent demise. Continued immigration restriction
would insure that the Jews would remain a permanent minority in Palestine; the
“Jewish National Home,” it seemed, was destined to become an Arab state.
Desperate times demanded radical action. Armed struggle against the British
was, as least for the moment, completely out of the question. The Yishuv simply
was materially unprepared for revolution, nor could Jews, in good conscience, do
anything that might contribute to Hitler’s triumph. Instead, Ben-Gurion, in con
sultation with several of his closest advisers, decided that the Zionist movement
must alter its timetable. Sovereignty could no longer remain the distant long-term
goal of the movement. Recent experience with the British proved that large num
bers of Jews would enter Palestine only when the Zionists themselves were free
to establish and administer the territory’s immigration policies. Therefore, it was
imperative for Zionists to mount, as quickly as possible, a powerful pro-statehood
political campaign. Ben-Gurion understood that the success of this venture would
depend, in no small measure, on the ability of American Zionists to become a
potent political force. 66
During two long stays in the United States, Ben-Gurion explained his views to
American Zionist leaders. On December 5, 1940, shortly after the Patria disaster,
Ben-Gurion met with eight prominent American Zionists, including Abba Hillel
Silver, Stephen Wise, Israel Goldstein, and Louis Lipsky of the ZOA, and Tamar
de Sola Pool of Hadassah. Ben-Gurion told his compatriots that the European war
would leave four to five million Jews destitute and demoralized. Palestine could
easily absorb these pitiful victims of anti-Semitism, but the British White Paper
threatened to prevent the Zionist movement from accomplishing its mission of
mercy. Statehood, Ben-Gurion argued, was the only “means” through which future
Jewish emigration to Palestine could be ensured. Remembering the bitter conflict
over the Peel Commission’s partition proposal, he quickly pointed out that the ques
tion of the future state’s boundaries and its relationship to Britain could be left
to future discussion. The reconstituted Jewish nation might opt for membership
in the British Commonwealth or could even join in a postwar federation of Middle
Eastern states. 67


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Ben-Gurion was not naive. He knew that London, intent on keeping Jews out
of Palestine, would not simply comply with the Zionist request for statehood. How
ever, Ben-Gurion believed that World War II would substantially reduce Great Brit
ain’s influence in the Middle East. The long series of British military disasters
since the German invasion of Poland proved that the empire, on its own, could
not defeat the Axis. American material support was sustaining Churchill’s armies;
it would have to increase if Europe was to be liberated. Ben-Gurion, with an eye
on a future peace conference, calculated that Washington, not London, would con
trol the destiny of Palestine. Therefore, it was imperative for all American Zionist
groups to set aside their differences and join together in a concerted drive to build
public and political support for Jewish statehood. As Ben-Gurion told the AECZA
in November 1941: “There was no doubt that England will be influenced by what
America says, and it was most important to develop political Zionism in America.
Public opinion must be convinced that Palestine is the only solution to the Jewish
problem. If the Jews here were won over to faith in our cause, then ... we could
win over the government.” 68
At the December 5 meeting, Abba Hillel Silver, who was thoroughly disgusted
with British anti-Zionism, agreed with Ben-Gurion’s analysis. Silver had opposed
Palestine’s partition during the Peel Report controversy, but now that the issue of
boundaries was no longer being debated, he wholeheartedly adopted the goal of
Jewish statehood. Nahum Goldmann also supported Ben-Gurion. A German-born
Zionist who served as a representative of the Jewish Agency in Washington,
Goldmann predicted that the tactic of using a postwar refugee problem to justify
the establishment of a Jewish state would be very effective. American Jews were
extremely concerned about the fate of their European co-religionists and doubted,
given the American public’s strong opposition to mass immigration, whether the
refugees would be able to find a home in the United States after the war. There
fore, if Zionists could suggest a large, dramatic solution to the predicted refugee
problem, wide public support would follow. 69
Stephen Wise also supported the goal of statehood at the December meeting,
but the elderly rabbi found his colleagues’ rhetoric to be excessively militant. He
warned that the aggressive political campaign Ben-Gurion was suggesting would
add to London’s burdens just at a time when British armies were barely holding
off the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe. He reminded his comrades that they too had
a stake in Britain’s war; the defeat of Hitler was the prime objective of all Jews. 70
Silver disagreed with Wise’s position, arguing that the New York rabbi “was
talking himself into a position disastrous to Zionism.” Ben-Gurion agreed with Silver
and added that Wise’s policy would be an injustice to the British cause. He ex
plained that London’s failings had to be publicized and corrected so that the moral
basis of England’s fight could be preserved. 71
Ben-Gurion’s persistent arguing of his case and Britain’s uncompromising


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War and Statehood
enforcement of the White Paper steadily convinced most American Zionist leaders
to accept the goal of statehood. On December 12, 1940, the American Emer
gency Committee for Zionist Affairs voted, with Ben-Gurion’s encouragement, to
adopt a stronger stand against the White Paper. 72 At the end of January 1941,
Abba Hillel Silver delivered a stirring address to the annual convention of the
United Palestine Appeal, the largest American Zionist fund-raising organization.
Responding to Silver’s call for American Jewry to go on a “war-footing,” the two
thousand delegates of the convention resolved that the refugee problem that would
arise at the end of the war could only be solved by the creation of a Jewish com
monwealth in Palestine. 73
In September 1941, Stephen Wise, who had voiced reservations at his meeting
with Ben-Gurion nine months earlier, asked the annual ZOA convention to ap
prove the policy of making Palestine’s postwar autonomy the goal of their move
ment. The statement of principle unanimously ratified by the convention repeated
many of the arguments used by David Ben-Gurion at the December 1940 Win-
throp Hotel meeting. It maintained that the millions of uprooted Jews who would
survive the war could only find peace and salvation if “afforded the opportunity
to re-establish themselves in a land of their own.” The rapid resettlement of refu
gees depended on “the reconstitution of Palestine in its historic boundaries of the
Jewish Commonwealth.” 74
At the convention, Henry Montor, an officer of the United Palestine Appeal,
called on his fellow Jewish nationalists to “go forward in comradeship and dedica
tion, to the achievement of the unequivocal, the unexpressed and the inexpres
sible post-war aim of the Zionist movement, the creation of a Jewish state in Pales
tine.” 75 Solomon Goldman told the ZOA audience that the Jews suffering Nazi
persecution wanted to live a creative and idealistic life in freedom. He pleaded
with Winston Churchill to give a sign so that all would know that “Eretz Israel
is the assured, the guaranteed Homeland, the sovereign Homeland, dependent
Homeland, self-governing Homeland of the Jewish people.” 76
Ben-Gurion eventually even won the cooperation of his arch rival Chaim Weiz
mann. Since the outbreak of the war, the two men had been moving in opposite
directions. The Palestinian believed that Weizmann’s love of Great Britain kept him
from realizing that London had become one of Zionism’s major adversaries. Ben-
Gurion was determined to unseat Weizmann from his position as president of the
World Zionist Organization so that the movement could adopt a more aggressive
stance against the British. Weizmann, for his part, considered Ben-Gurion to be
a dangerous extremist who would deprive Palestine of the great benefits Britain
could bestow. Like the Palestinian leader, Weizmann looked forward to the crea
tion of a Jewish state, but was more willing to compromise this long-term goal
for immediate political gains. In May 1941, while Ben-Gurion was rallying Ameri
can Zionists to the statehood goal, Weizmann organized a meeting of thirty-three


84
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
prominent American Jewish leaders, including representatives of the American
Jewish Committee (AJC). Wanting to insure the Committee’s support of mass Jewish
immigration to Palestine after the war and knowing that the AJC opposed the
establishment of a Jewish nation because it would raise questions about the loyalty
of Diaspora Jewry, Weizmann deviated from the statehood formula. He explained
that the Zionists would be satisfied with the creation of a semi-autonomous Palestine,
preferably under Britain’s protection, in which Jews would have control over im
migration and colonization policies. 77
Weizmann, by late 1941, seems to have found the momentum toward statehood
irresistible. In an article for the prestigious American journal Foreign Affairs, he
spelled out his plans for Palestine’s future. Like Ben-Gurion, he anticipated a ma
jor postwar Jewish refugee problem, which would be exacerbated by a major
economic crisis as nations made the transition to peacetime economies. Given this
situation, “it would probably be unduly optimistic to assume that countries like
the United States, Canada, and some of the South American republics, will radi
cally change their immigration policy after the war.” The Yishuv, on the other hand,
had the desire and the capacity to absorb millions of homeless Jews. 78
While Weizmann extolled the virtues of Palestinian settlement, he did not follow
Ben-Gurion’s example and justify the establishment of a Jewish nation on the
grounds that the White Paper experience proved that mass Jewish immigration
could take place only under a sovereign Jewish government. Instead, he argued
that Jewish statehood was not only a political necessity, but also a moral impera
tive. The Jews, the “most abject of all the abject victims” of Nazi terror, deserved
and demanded a radical solution to the problem of anti-Semitism. That, Zionist
doctrine taught, could only be statehood, which would allow Jews, who were
everywhere a minority, to prosper and mature as a “normal nation.” Weizmann
concluded:
A Jewish state in Palestine would be more than merely the necessary means
of securing further Jewish immigration and development. It is a moral need
and postulate, and it would be a decisive step toward normality and true eman
cipation. . . . The latest manifestation of Nazi ingenuity is the decree by which
every Jew under Nazi rule must bear on his chest a so-called “badge of
shame”—the Shield of David. We wear it with pride. The Shield of David is
too ancient and too sacred a symbol to be susceptible of degradation under
the pagan Swastika. Hallowed by uncounted ages of suffering and martyrdom,
patiently and unrevengefully borne, it will yet shine untarnished over Zion’s
gate, long after the horrors of our present night are forgotten in the light of
the new day that is to come. 71 '


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War and Statehood
THE BILTMORE CONFERENCE
As the statehood idea gained in acceptance, Emanuel Neumann explained to
American Zionists that the political task Ben-Gurion asked them to assume would
not be easily accomplished. Neumann knew that Franklin Roosevelt was tremen
dously popular with American Jews and Zionists who approved of the president’s
New Deal and interventionist policies. Stephen Wise revered Roosevelt and would
tolerate no criticism of him even though the White House had actually done little
to support the Zionist cause beyond sending annual greetings to ZOA conventions
and issuing a mild rebuke of the White Paper. Recognizing that Roosevelt was
“off-limits” Neumann attempted to separate the president from his government.
Neumann told a large group of leading Zionists that Roosevelt was genuinely sym
pathetic to the plight of European Jewry and to the cause of Jewish nationalism.
However, he maintained, American diplomats were “not yet in their hearts, pre
pared to say that the solution [to the Jewish problem) must ... be the reconstitu
tion of Palestine as the Jewish Commonwealth.” The State Department was pri
marily concerned with providing Great Britain with aid and was inclined to accept
Ixmdon’s explanation that military necessity required the denial of Jewish rights
to Palestine. Whether Roosevelt would prevail over Zionism’s opponents depended
on American Jewry, because Neumann explained: “it is obvious that the lengths
to which he can go now or later will depend upon the strength of public backing—
not only backing but urging—which he will have on the part of the public.” The
successful establishment of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine depended on the
support of the American government, and Neumann urged Zionists to organize
mass support for their cause. 80
Toward this end, the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs in
late 1941 began preparations for a major meeting of American and world Zionist
leaders. At the conference, Ben-Gurion hoped, the entire Zionist movement in the
United States could formally unite around the goal of immediate statehood. If Zionist
groups could pool their resources they would be able to set out to win the support
of the entire American Jewish community. With this base secured, Zionists ex
pected that their movement would become a potent political force. 81
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor sped up the statehood drive within the
Zionist movement. America’s entrance into World War II ended any doubts about
whether the United States would occupy an important seat at a future peace con
ference. The eminent Jewish historian Salo Baron observed in June 1942 that
“it is enough for us to recollect the transformations in the American Jewish com
munity which took place as a result of the First World War to get an inkling of
what changes might be expected from the Second War which is so much greater
in the issues at stake, so much more profound in the depth of its upheaval, and
so much more encompassing both area and apparent duration.” 82 Time was run-


86
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
ning out. World War II offered Zionists their last best chance to change the destiny
of the Jewish people. If an international peace conference failed to endorse the
creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, Diaspora Jewry would be doomed to further
persecution when a new anti-Semitic demagogue arose to resume Hitler’s work.
With this sobering thought in mind, 586 American Zionists gathered at New
York’s Biltmore Hotel for the Extraordinary Zionist Conference, which would plan
the redemption of the Jewish people. They were joined by 67 guests from abroad
including Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion. The organizations included
all of the major and minor American Zionist groups with the exception of the small
right-wing Revisionist organization, which still refused to accept the authority of
the world Zionist movement and was considered a pariah by most American Jewish
nationalists. 83
The delegates who gathered at the Biltmore Hotel in May 1942 knew that they
were meeting at a time of grave danger, yet one that also held the possibility of
great promise. It was clear that the goal of Jewish statehood would be the major
topic at the Biltmore Conference. Naturally, delegates also devoted much discus
sion to the Jewish refugee problem, which had rejuvenated and strengthened the
Zionist movement during the decade preceding Biltmore and was expected to reach
crisis proportions after the war. The six hundred Zionists in the New York hotel
could not know that Adolf Hitler had already begun his “final solution” to the
refugee problem. When German troops crossed the Soviet Union’s borders in June
1941, select units of the SS followed, executing Jews, gypsies, and Communist
party leaders in Nazi-occupied Russia. Shortly after the invasion of Russia, the
Nazis also began to build huge extermination centers in Poland where they could
efficiently and quickly gas Jews to death. By the end of 1942, trains packed with
Jews were arriving at Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka, and other extermination camps,
where most of the passengers were immediately executed. 84
Jewish leaders in the United States did not learn about the Nazi plan to
systematically murder all of European Jewry until three months after the Biltmore
Conference. However, Chaim Weizmann and his compatriots did know that Nazi
rule subjected European Jewry to starvation, persecution, and murder. Weizmann
was deeply troubled by the suffering of the European Jews and at Biltmore he
identified himself with their suffering by declaring: “Like all of you, I am a deeply
wounded Jew.” Jews were the first targets of Hitler and while many other people
were caught in the grip of the German oppressor, Weizmann believed that “our
tragedy is both in quality and quantity, different from that of the world around
us.” The “father" of the Balfour Declaration mournfully predicted that 25 percent
of East European Jewry would perish as a result of Nazi brutality and atrocities.
Those Jews who survived the war would “float” between heaven and hell and as
many as four million would be homeless. Much of the world would experience
a period of great economic dislocation after the war, and Weizmann believed that


87
War and Statehood
the United States and other nations would be unable to absorb many of the Jewish
survivors. Palestine was the only practical solution to this dilemma and he argued
that “the very weight of the tragedy and the lack of a rational solution except
through Palestine, will . . . focus and force the attention of the world to this solu
tion.” The Biltmore audience enthusiastically responded to Weizmann’s declara
tion: “I would like to relieve the non-Jewish world of the trouble of settling our
problems. We can do it ourselves. We can do it ourselves, and with God’s help,
we shall do it ourselves.” 85
David Ben-Gurion, who was still battling Weizmann for control of the Zionist
movement, agreed with his competitor’s assessment of the Jewish situation. He
told the Biltmore delegates that Jewish suffering in World War II was greater than
it had been in World War I and that the condition of European Jewry after Hitler's
defeat would be much worse than it had been in 1919. Zionists, Ben-Gurion pro
claimed, demand that the Allies unequivocally reaffirm the Balfour Declaration
and agree to the postwar reestablishment of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine.
Until the commonwealth could be established, Ben-Gurion continued, the Jewish
Agency should be given sole responsibility for the colonization and immigration
policies of Palestine. 86
American Zionists, like Ben-Gurion, also emphasized the need to create a Jew
ish homeland in order to solve an anticipated postwar refugee problem. According
to Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, most Americans understood that large numbers of
Jewish refugees would have to go to Palestine after the war, but, he lamented,
most of these people were also unsympathetic to the goals of political Zionism.
They favored massive Jewish immigration to Palestine, but could not comprehend
why it was necessary for the Zionists to create a Jewish state. They failed to under
stand that political Zionism was the only possible solution to the postwar Jewish
refugees’ plight. It was impossible to argue for Jewish immigration to Palestine
on “philanthropic” grounds. The Holy Land had already absorbed a huge number
of refugees, and the British could legitimately claim that Palestine had done its
part in the humanitarian solution of European Jewish homelessness. Silver ex
plained: “Unless we have our political claim to Palestine, our historic claim to
Palestine, . . . internationally reaffirmed, that Jews have a right to Palestine in the
same self sense as Englishmen have a right to England, then we won’t have a leg
to stand on at the Peace Conference after the war.” Only the creation of a Jewish
state in Palestine would insure the right of all Jews to emigrate to that land. The
American public. Silver concluded, had to be taught that the “distinction between
political Zionist and philanthropic, humanitarian action for Jews in Palestine is
an unreal, a spurious and a dangerous distinction.” 87
Palestine’s importance to the solution of a postwar refugee problem, as outlined
by Ben-Gurion and Silver, became the primary basis for pro-Zionist agitation and
diplomacy during the years following the Biltmore Conference. While many


88
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
American Jews would be drawn to Zionism because of their concern about postwar
Jewish refugees, the delegates at the Biltmore Hotel knew that their own support
of Jewish statehood rested on other rationales. Most of them had been Zionists
long before Hitler came to power in Germany, and their commitment to Jewish
nationalism went beyond any desire to solve an immediate Jewish refugee crisis.
They were fully convinced that Zionism woidd solve, once and for all times, the
2,000-year-old problem of anti-Semitism.
David Ben-Gurion addressed this issue when he warned the Biltmore assembly
to “beware of the dangerous illusion that the destruction of Hitlerism alone will
free the world from all ills and the Jewish people from its misery.” There was
something fundamentally wrong with a world that consistently singled Jews out
for extreme punishment and persecution. The task of Zionism was to remake Jewish
history by reestablishing a political entity that would end the long nightmare of
Jewish homelessness. In the style of a biblical prophet, Ben-Gurion foresaw that
“a Jewish Palestine will arise. It will redeem forever our sufferings and do justice
to our national genius. It will be the pride of every Jew in the diaspora and com
mand the respect of every people on earth.” 88
According to Robert Szold, Zionists were trying to do more than create a refu
gee haven or a “cultural outpost”; they were struggling to change the fate of all
the Jewish people. Leon Gellman of Mizrachi supported Szold s position and added
that “Palestine is not just a place to send refugees.” Louis Segal, a member of
Poale Zion, a socialist and secular Zionist organization, essentially agreed with
the ultra-religious Gellman and the capitalist Szold, asserting: “If Zionism can only
answer the momentary tragedy that happens to a few Jewish people, then it’s of
no importance. It must give an answer to the national folk beliefs and folk tradi
tions.” Nahum Goldmann joined his colleagues in distinguishing between Zionist
and non-Zionist supporters of Jewish immigration to Palestine. The Biltmore au
dience responded loudly and proudly as Goldmann defined a non-Zionist as a
Jew who wants to develop Palestine for those who “need” it. However, a Zionist,
according to Goldmann, wanted to settle Palestine for the “Jewish people” of which
he was a “living part.” 89
Of all the Zionists at the Biltmore, Abba Hillel Silver most clearly articulated
the belief that Jewish statehood was not merely a practical solution to the Nazi
persecution of European Jewry. For Silver, like many Jews, Jewish history for two
thousand years seemed to be one long chain of persecution and tragedy. Silver
could see nothing unique about the experience of Jews in Nazi-occupied territories.
Their plight was no different than that of their ancestors who had endured forced
conversions, expulsions, inquisitions, and pogroms. Anti-Semitism predated Hitler
and the defeat of the Nazis would not be the final cure to this affliction. “We Jews,”
Silver said, “stand to come out of the war, even after an Allied victory, defeated,
unrequited and betrayed.” An American and British victory would do nothing to


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War and Statehood
solve the cause of all Jewish suffering—national homelessness. As a Zionist, Silver
believed that the entire course of Jewish history could be changed by the bold
act of reestablishing the Jewish state destroyed two millennia before by the Roman
Empire. The American people, he said, had to understand:
what has been the basic fact in Jewish tragedy right through the ages, the
fact of our national homelessness, of our abnormal political status in the world,
and that now, after a second World War, in which Jews by the millions are
already casualties ... in a war in which Jews suffer doubly and trebly in rela
tion to every other people, that . . . the ultimate solution of the Jewish prob
lem must finally be sounded, and the ultimate solution is the establishment
of a Jewish Nation in Palestine.’ 0
Following Silvers address, the conference overwhelmingly voted to ratify a
declaration making the creation of a Jewish commonwealth the immediate and
major goal of the American Zionist movement. The conference called on Great
Britain to give the Jewish Agency full control of Palestine’s immigration and col
onization policies.
Zionists articulated two sets of ideas to justify and explain this historic act. In
the propaganda they prepared for Christian consumption, Zionists generally argued
that only a Palestinian Jewish nation could solve the postwar refugee problem.
However, the radical Zionist promise to solve the “Jewish problem” and to put an
end to Jewish persecution was especially effective in winning the support of the
American Jewish masses who were grieving for their suffering European brethren.
As American Jews became more aware of the magnitude of Nazi murder and
destruction, the Zionist plan to revolutionize Jewish existence became almost ir
resistibly attractive.
HIDDEN SCHISMS: THE TRUE MEANING OF BILTMORE
The Biltmore platform’s endorsement of a radical Zionist solution to the Jewish
problem was carefully and soberly worded. The conference deliberately decided
to use the term “commonwealth” instead of state, although many Zionists at the
hotel used the two words interchangeably in their addresses. This strategy was
partially dictated by a desire not to alienate non-Zionist organizations like the
American Jewish Committee, which had traditionally supported the settlement of
Palestine while opposing the concepts of Jewish nationality and statehood. 91 Zionist
leaders also seized on the ambiguous term “commonwealth” as a tool to link to
gether the many organizations that met at the Biltmore. The Biltmore Conference,
organized by the AECZA to celebrate Jewish nationalist unity, in fact revealed just
how different Zionist dreams could be. The various organizations that made up


90
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
the Jewish nationalist community in the United States were committed to radically
different visions of a reestablished Jewish homeland.
Even the two most prestigious foreign dignitaries at Biltmore found it difficult
to reach common ground. Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion had both been
attracted to the Peel Commission partition plan of 1937, but by 1942 issues of
both policy and style divided the leaders. Weizmann, by now the elder statesman
of the Zionist movement, remembered the successful negotiations of 1917, which
had led to Britain’s endorsement of Zionism in the famous Balfour Declaration.
In May 1942, his faith in Britain’s moral superiority and tradition of tolerance,
for which his son Michael, an RAF pilot, had died three months earlier, remained
strong. 92 Even after three years of harsh British immigration policies, Weizmann
could still express optimism about soon-to-be-improved relations with the Colonial
Office. Weizmann called the MacDonald White Paper an aberration of traditional
British goodwill, which would soon pass. 93 When he uttered the slogan “Jewish
commonwealth,” he looked forward to some distant date when Jews would have
political sovereignty in at least some part of Palestine, which might even be linked
constitutionally to the British Commonwealth.
Ben-Gurion’s faith in British virtue was much weaker than Weizmann’s. The
Palestinian leader told his American audience that British colonial administrators
had been trained to deal with “primitive peoples,” not the progressive Jewish com
munity they encountered in the Holy Land. Naturally, the officials felt more at
ease with Palestine’s Arabs, “where they could indulge their colonial habits of main-
ing [sic) the status quo.” Ben-Gurion found Weizmann’s approach to London too
passive and understanding, and he advocated a Zionist policy that recognized that
Jewish and British interests were not necessarily identical. He instructed the
delegates that “reviewing the history of the past twenty years, and taking into ac
count the needs facing us in the future after the war, our first conclusion is that
the Mandate must be entrusted to the Jewish people themselves.” When Ben-Gurion
called for the establishment of a Jewish commonwealth, he visualized an indepen
dent Palestinian state that Zionists could create quickly if they launched a powerful
political offensive to win support in the free countries of the West. 94
Several Zionist delegates at Biltmore even found themselves in the position of
having to oppose the creation of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. B. C. Sher
man confessed in Yiddish: “I know I will not get your approbation if I tell you
that I disagree with Mr. Ben-Gurion, that I don’t think we can make a Jewish world
in Palestine, ... in spite of the unity that Professor Weizmann spoke of last night.” 95
Sherman and other members of the left-wing faction of Poale Zion were particu
larly committed to the socialist ideals of international brotherhood and coopera
tion, and they feared that the establishment of an autonomous Jewish political
entity in Palestine was both impractical and dangerous because it ignored the Arab
question. Sherman warned that “even in liberal movements there is less understand-


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War and Statehood
ing and less sympathy for us than there was years ago.” The creation of a Jewish
commonwealth would not meet with Arab support, and Zionist campaigns for its
creation would win no new friends in the democratic world. He appealed to Zionist
leaders to try and work with the Arab working class in Palestine, whose interests
coincided with those of the majority of the Yishuv.*"* Moshe Furmansky reinforced
Shermans position and advocated that the Zionists join with Arabs in order to
create a binational state in Palestine.** 7
In a binational state political power would be shared by Jews and Arabs. Pro
ponents of this strategy acknowledged that the Jewish claim to Palestine did not
supersede that of the country’s Moslem and Christian populations. While only a
minority of Palestinian Jewry supported binationalism, several outstanding celebri
ties championed it, among them Martin Buber, the prominent German-Jewish
philosopher; Judah Magnes, the American-born rabbi and chancellor of Hebrew
University; and Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah and the director of the
Youth Aliyah program of the thirties.*" 1
Although the concept of binationalism had few supporters at Biltmore, several
delegates worried about the consequences of Jewish statehood for Palestine's Arab
population. Hayim Greenberg, an influential socialist Zionist journalist and thinker,
argued that "no one can say that there isn’t an Arab-Jewish problem in the world.”
He frankly admitted that there had been times when he had believed that "it
would be better to enter upon great compromises, and to reserve to ourselves the
hope of expansion later.” After serious thought, Greenberg continued, he decided
that “there is no possibility in our time that we will be able to agree with Arab
factions in Palestine.” Since in his view no Arab leader was willing to negotiate
with moderate Zionists. Greenberg concluded that any Jewish attempt to compro
mise would be suicidal.** 9
Louis Segal of Poale Zion had even less patience for binationalists than his
fellow socialist Greenberg. Asserting that there was too much concentration on
the Arab problem, he declared: “Jews want to come to Palestine to establish a Jew
ish Homeland. If the Arabs understand that, then there will be peace; if they
should refuse to understand it then we cannot make peace with them. That is all." 100
Hadassah delegates, perhaps influenced by the position of their “patron saint”
Henrietta Szold, were less willing than Seigal to condemn the binationalists. Rose
Jacobs reminded Zionists that there would be grave consequences if no solution
to the Arab-Jewish problem could be found. She could offer no formulas for peace
except “that of recommending investigation and inquiry that may ultimately lead
to action based on judgement.” 101
Bernard Rosenblatt, a retired New York State judge who had been active in
Zionist affairs for almost thirty years, worried about the fate of Palestine's Arab
majority. He warned the Biltmore audience that demanding the immediate crea
tion of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River would “run counter to


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
all precedents based upon the liberal philosophy of democraey. with its implicit
faith in ‘the rights' of the majority of a population." While he supported the crea
tion of a Jewish commonwealth. Rosenblatt’s blueprint for the future Jewish
homeland radically differed from those of either Ben-Gurion or Weizmann. For
almost a deeade Rosenblatt had been advocating the creation of a federated
Palestine, which would consist of a Jewish commonwealth and an Arab sister state.
The federated Arab and Jewish entities would each exercise control over immigra
tion to their respective sectors. He believed that his solution to the problem of
conflicting Arab and Jewish claims to Palestine was based on the American prece
dent of federalism, which had brought peace and justice to “peoples" of diverse
“race" and “cultures." 102
While Rosenblatt and some members of Hadassah might be willing to accept
a Jewish commonwealth in only part of Palestine, others at the Biltmore Conference
were appalled by such a possibility. The representatives of Mizrachi, the organiza
tion of Orthodox religious Zionists, adamantly objected to any compromise plan
that involved making concessions to Palestinian Arabs. Leon Gellman of Mizrachi
warned that his organization would tolerate “no deviation from the original plans
for Palestine, even in the name of Peace.” He urged the Biltmore delegates pub
licly to declare that the one and only objective of their movement was the establish
ment of a “Jewish world" in “all” of Palestine. 105 Another Mizrachi leader angrily
reminded the delegates that all of Palestine belonged to the Jewish people by “tra
dition" and by “right.” 10 '* Rabbi Wolf Gold, a representative of Mizrachi’s interna
tional leadership, pledged that his organization would never accept the partition
of Palestine. 105
Many members of the Zionist Organization of America also continued to op
pose the principle of partition. They all remembered the long conflict over the
Peel Commission's partition proposal. Some, including Stephen Wise, now sup
ported the goal of Jewish statehood, but the New York rabbi pointedly remarked
that Jews could not be diverted away from the “high purpose of building a national
home for themselves and their children within the borders of undivided and un
partitioned Palestine.’’ 106 Robert Szold. another veteran of the anti-partition strug
gle of the late thirties, expressed his support for the Biltmore resolution, but he
argued against any concessions by Zionist leaders that would whittle down Jewish
rights in Palestine. Plans for binationalism, federalism, and partition were imprac
tical and would condemn Jews to a permanent minority status in Palestine. 107 Dr.
Israel Goldstein, chairman of the American branch of the Jewish National Fund
and another old opponent of partition, stated that the Jewish acquisition of the
maximum amount of land possible in Palestine was a “non-debalable” issue within
the Zionist movement. 108
By endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian Jewish commonwealth, the
Biltmore delegates skillfully avoided the question of exactly how much of Palestine’s


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War and Statehood
territory Jews would control. While most American Zionists were willing to work
for the creation of some politically autonomous Jewish entity, no consensus existed
on the vital issue of boundaries. Any Jewish nationalist attempting to draw the
future Jewish state's borders would have to confront two contradictory positions
within the American Zionist body politic. One powerful faction, consisting of the
Mizrachi and a sizable number of ZOA members, refused to accept any territorial
concessions. For them, religion and tradition dictated that all of Palestine by right
belonged to the Jews and that any territorial concession to the Arabs would be
comparable to Esau’s sale of his birthright. On the other side of the spectrum,
several moderate and left-wing Zionists saw some legitimacy in the Arab’s claim
to Palestine. In return for peace with the Arabs, these Zionists were willing to cre
ate their Jewish state in only part of Palestine. Any Zionist attempt to establish
Jewish sovereignty over the entire Holy Land, they feared, would ignite a long,
bloody, and perhaps suicidal conflict with the more numerous non-Jewish popula
tion of the area. United Zionist action in 1942 clearly required that nothing be
done that would bring these mutually contradictory positions to the surface and
into conflict. 10 ''
ON THE EVE OF TRAGEDY
Fortunately for American Zionists, the radical and idealistic spirit eloquently ex
pressed at the Biltmore Hotel survived the conference’s closing. Five months after
the Extraordinary Conference, the annual convention of the Zionist Organization
of America heard Morris Rothenberg say that “either Zionism will now offer a
comprehensive solution for the problem of Jewish misery and Jewish homelessness,
or it will disappear as an answer to the Jewish question. It will take its place as
a brave, interesting, but abortive attempt to solve the Jewish problem.” 110 Robert
Szold, who had often disagreed with Rothenberg in the past, now sided with him,
saying, “Zionists feel that now there must be a complete, clear, and unequivocal
and permanent solution.” 111
During the months that followed American Jewish espousal of Jewish political
sovereignty, Zionist spokesmen continued to formulate arguments designed to at
tract broad public support in the United States. As they had done at Biltmore,
Zionists continued to predict that a major Jewish refugee problem would plague
the postwar world and that a Jewish state in Palestine was the only practical solu
tion to this anticipated crisis. 112 Jewish nationalist leaders also understood that
they had to link Zionist goals to the postwar interests and ideals of the Allied pow
ers. 1 13 During World War I, Zionists and other ethnic nationalist groups used Wood-
row Wilson’s support of self-determination to legitimate their national demands.


94
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Robert Szold believed that the Zionist rhetoric of World War I could not be used
in the struggle against Hitler. He suggested that “postwar solutions may not be
again based primarily in territorial lines with emphasis on self-determination of
nationalities.” Instead, the Allied powers would be most concerned with the social
and economic measures necessary to facilitate the postwar reconstruction of the
world. Szold asked Zionist spokesmen to emphasize the vital role Jews could play
in the development of Middle Eastern resources so that Jewish nationalism would
be in accord with progressive thought. 114
The practical work necessary to achieve the goal of Jewish autonomy also con
tinued after the closing of the Biltmore Conference. Emanuel Neumann in late
1942 observed that the United States government was becoming more involved
in Middle Eastern affairs, and he remembered that many Zionists had expected
Washington to automatically assume a pro-Zionist stance because they reasoned
that it was “our America.” Unfortunately, the American adoption of Zionism could
not be accomplished so easily because, as Neumann said, “there are people in
official and unofficial life who are constantly watching out, seeking the weakest
spots in our armor, looking for signs of disunity, trying to discover Jewish groups
who are not Zionists or who may be prepared to fight Zionism.” Politics in the
United States, according to Neumann, was also a battle between minorities. In
wartime America, there were pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist minorities, while the ma
jority of the public was uninformed and without an opinion. If Zionists were to
win their struggle for American support they would have to proceed methodically
with a powerful, well-organized political and propaganda campaign. Zionists,
Neumann was pleased to announce, had already taken the first step in the cam
paign at the Biltmore, where there had been “substantial progress” in the develop
ment of a common Zionist ideology. Consensus among American Zionists was a
precondition for the success of Neumann’s second objective, the uniting of Ameri
can Jews around a pro-Zionist platform. Zionist leaders, Neumann reported, had
already begun preliminary discussions with non-Zionist American Jewish organiza
tions. A staunchly pro-Zionist American Jewish community, Neumann confidently
predicted, would facilitate winning support from American public and political
figures and from important government agencies. 115 Neumann's formula for Zionist
victory was endorsed by Chaim Weizmann who told American Jewish nationalists:
“Your task is to close the ranks of American Zionism, to win the support of Ameri
can Jewry and to enlighten American public opinion on the justice and high moral
significance of our social cause.” 116
By the end of 1942, Zionist organizations were giving special priority to the
task of winning broad American support. The Zionist Organization of America
convention in October devoted an entire Thursday afternoon session to a sym
posium on public relations programs that could be carried out by local ZOA branches.
Delegates listened closely as the rabbi of a Pottsville, Pennsylvania, congrega-


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War and Statehood
tion explained how his flock had decided to enroll en masse as ZOA members.
The new Zionist recruits had also amended the constitution of their congregation
and now required every new member of the synagogue to also enlist in the ZOA. 117
Zionists hoped that the ideological and propaganda weapons they were refining
would allow them to “conquer” the American Jewish community. Hitlers persecu
tion of European Jewry facilitated the task of nationalizing American Jewry, who,
as Morris Rothenberg observed, believed that they had a responsibility and an
opportunity to “serve” their “bruised” and “lacerated” European cousins. 118 Zion
ism offered a radical solution to the Jewish problem. A Jewish commonwealth in
Palestine would provide postwar refugees with a home, and it would also revolu
tionize Jewish existence. If Zionists were successful, they would be able to guarantee
that there would never again be another Jewish problem in Europe. A Jewish state
would permanently solve the crisis of anti-Semitism, which Zionists believed was
caused by Jewish homelessness. No other Jewish group in the United States could
match the scope and promise of the proposed Zionist solution to the Jewish prob
lem. ZOA President Levinthal insightfully remarked: “every Jew in the country
must rally to the support of our cause, and I believe the Jews who are not ashamed
of their Jewish identity and who have faith in the Jewish future will come to our
support because there is no other alternative.” I1<>


96
IV
AMERICAN ZIONISM
AND THE HOLOCAUST
THINKING ABOUT THE UNTHINKABLE
Adolf Hitler’s plan to exterminate European Jewry remained a secret
until the summer of 1942. Even before the devastating news of Nazi mass
murder reached the United States, American Jewish and Zionist leaders
knew that their brethren in Hitler's lands were being subjected to terrible
atrocities. At the Biltmore Conference of May 1942, Chaim Weizmann
reported that the suffering of European Jewry was different in “quality”
and “quantity” from that of the rest of the world. Hitler had declared
war against the Jews in 1933, and since then Nazi pogroms, atrocities,
and ghetto conditions were exacting a heavy toll. Weizmann concluded
that “a cold, statistical calculation reveals the cruel fact that probably
about 25 per cent of the Jews of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, will
be, to use the modern word, ‘liquidated.’” 1
Nahum Goldmann. a brilliant political analyst, almost guessed what
the Nazis’ true intentions were in the spring of 1942. Goldmann urged
the delegates at the Biltmore Hotel not to ignore Weizmann’s grim pro
phesy. Nobody could know what European Jewry’s final fate would be
because
Who can foretell what the Nazi regime, once brought into the posi
tion of the surrounded killer, will do in the last moment before it
goes down to shame? Do to Europe or the Jews under its command
in the last moment before the downfall? But even as it is today, some
times news reaches us, a glimpse of the situation is given, and every
time it is a new horror and a new shock. One reports 800 killed
a day in the Warsaw ghetto. I think it is exaggerated, because, if it


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
would be true, then in the course of two years the total of a half million Jews
in the Warsaw ghettos may be wiped out. Now you don’t have to be a great
mathematician to figure out what will be the result of such a process, if it
goes another year, two years, three years.
In spite of his fears, Goldmann didn’t propose any program to come to the im
mediate aid of those threatened with annihilation. Instead, he called for the establish
ment of a Jewish commonwealth, and he urged Zionists to prepare “to enlarge
the spheres of Jewish life” in postwar Europe. He specifically demanded new ef
forts to reach the Jews of the Soviet Union, whose removal from the Zionist world
he called the most harmful “blow” directed against the Jewish people since the
end of the First World War. 2
By the summer of 1942, numerous unconfirmed reports of large-scale Nazi
murder operations were circulating within the American Jewish community. On
August 1, 1942, Dr. Gerhart Riegner, a German Jewish emigre and director of
the Geneva office of the World Jewish Congress, received some startling informa
tion. Riegner, through a German source, learned that the Nazis were carrying out
a plan to murder all the Jews under their control. According to Riegner’s source,
Nazi extermination centers would gas to death Jews from all German-occupied
territories. Riegner asked that the American legation in Switzerland inform Stephen
Wise about the Nazi murder plan. The legation sent a message off to Washington,
but State Department bureaucrats decided not to forward Riegner’s information
to Wise. The American officials did not believe the seemingly fantastic information
coming out of Switzerland.
Fortunately, Riegner had also sent his report, through British diplomatic sources,
to World Jewish Congress leaders in London, who then contacted Stephen Wise
in New York City. Wise shortly decided to request aid from the Roosevelt administra
tion, and he contacted Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, a diplomat who
was sympathetic to the plight of European Jewish refugees. In view of the un
believable nature of Riegner’s report, Welles asked Wise to wait for State Depart
ment confirmation before making news of the extermination public. Wise felt that
he had no choice but to comply. Otherwise, he would alienate the State Depart
ment, the branch of the government to which he would have to look for help. Un
fortunately, more than three months would pass before Wise could inform the
American public about the Holocaust. 3
While Wise honored his promise not to publicize the report, he did not keep
the information secret from other Jewish and Zionist leaders. A few prominent
Zionists also had their own European sources who reported similarly terrible news. 4
In mid-October 1942, Wise and several other Zionist leaders who were aware of
the ongoing extermination of European Jewry met at the forty-fifth Annual Con
vention of the Zionist Organization of America.


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
When Wise first addressed the ZOA audience he refrained from any mention
of the terrible fate of European Jewry. 5 He did speak of the European situation
in a second speech at the end of the Zionist conclave. The Nazis, Wise declared,
had decimated European Jewry, but they had not broken their “unconquerable”
spirit. Jewry would not be “liquidated” nor “destroyed.” Wise promised the Jews
in the German-occupied territories: “we will stand with you and by you and for
you until you either go back to your homes in Europe, or forward to Eretz Israel.” 6
Some Zionists at the 1942 meeting were more explicit than Wise. In the midst
of a lengthy analysis of Zionist political aims, Nahum Goldmann casually remarked
that Zionists did not have a realistic sense of what the position of European Jewry
would be after the war. It would be a blessing, he said, if just half the Jews of
occupied Europe survived the war. Goldmann continued: “You know what is going
on with the deportations. Deportations mean deportation to certain death, and the
Hitler regime has in the last months definely [sic] from a period of indirect starva
tion, discrimination and persecution and the extermination of the Jews, to a period
of direct extermination by mass murder and mass slaughter.” 7 Judge Morris
Rothenberg, a former president of the ZOA, referred to districts in Eastern Poland
where Jews from all of Poland were brought to be shot. Rothenberg lamented that
mankind had not experienced anything like the “systematic butchery” of innocent
civilians that was taking place in Nazi-occupied Europe. He announced that the
reported Nazi deportations of Jews to unknown places were, in fact, “part of the
ruthless policy to exterminate the Jewish people and to reduce other populations
to a state of helpless vassalage.” 8
The almost nine hundred ZOA delegates attending the conference did not seem
to grasp the significance of Goldmann’s and Rothenberg’s comments. Their descrip
tions of the German extermination policy were buried in the dozens of long and
often tedious addresses that characterized most ZOA conferences. 9 Because Rothen
berg and Goldmann delivered their speeches without any fanfare, the delegates
should be forgiven for not recognizing the importance of their messages.
Rothenberg and Goldmann did not urge American Zionists to take any extraor
dinary steps to save their European brethren. In fact, all of the small group of
leaders privy to Wise’s information initially responded to news of Hitler’s exter
mination program by assuming that the Jewish people would somehow survive
what seemed to be just the latest in a long chain of tragedies that marked the
two thousand years of Jewish exile from their national home. Selig Brodetsky’s
message to the conference was typical: “Hitler has just reaffirmed his resolve [to]
exterminate [the] Jewish people, but in spite of mass murders . . . practiced on
our helpless brethren throughout occupied Europe, he will fail as many tyrants
before him have failed.” 10 With an almost mystical belief in Jewry’s ability to
persevere, Zionist leaders dedicated themselves to insuring that nazism would be
the last crisis the Jewish people would have to endure. Accordingly, their commit-


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
ment to the Biltmore formula of Jewish statehood increased for, as Louis Lipsky
proclaimed, “there must be an end of the homelessness of the Jewish people,”
the root of all their suffering. 11
Nahum Goldmann concurred with Lipsky’s analysis and lamented: “Our genera
tion is in the tragic position that one-half of the generation is being slaughtered
before our eyes, and the other half has to sit down and cannot prevent this catastro
phe.” Goldmann, however, urged his audience not to despair, but instead to direct
their energies to the creation of a Jewish state that would make future tragedies
impossible. 12
Goldmann's call to action, like his warning about Nazi mass murders, did not
lead to any spontaneous demonstrations of support by the ZOA delegates, prob
ably because they and the entire American Zionist movement were already follow
ing the course set at the Biltmore Conference. Even as Stephen Wise waited for
the State Department to corroborate Gerhart Riegner’s information about Nazi
genocide, he and other American Zionists continued to plan for the opening of a
grand and extraordinary meeting of all American Jewish leaders who, they hoped,
would give the community’s blessing to Jewish statehood.
Leon Feuer, a disciple of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, clearly enunciated the Zion
ist position as it stood by early November 1942 in his monograph. Why a Jewish
State. The survival of a large number of European Jews was fundamental to Feuer’s
case for Jewish statehood. Repeating an argument that Zionists had developed
at the Biltmore Conference of May 1942, Feuer predicted that after the war, mil
lions of Jewish refugees would find it impossible to return to normal lives in their
European homes. 13
German occupation authorities, according to Feuer, were subjecting European
Christians to massive doses of anti-Semitic propaganda, and Jew hatred would
continue to be a problem for some time after the Nazi defeat. Unless a solution
to the Jewish problem was found, European anti-Semitism would again endanger
the world. Hitler had used anti-Semitism as a tool to achieve power in Germany.
Other demagogues and tyrants could use the same tool after the war to achieve
their own ends, thereby jeopardizing world peace and stability. 14
Palestine, Feuer argued, could solve both the long-term and immediate prob
lems of Jewish homelessness. A Jewish state would give dignity and power to a
people who had been subject to persecution and humiliation for centuries. It would
also provide a home to the millions of stateless refugees expected to survive the
war. No other country outside of Europe, he forecast, would be willing to open
its gates to the millions of impoverished and demoralized Jews now caught in Hit
ler’s grasp. After the war, Feuer explained, “these countries will have their own
heavy burdens of readjustment.” Only the Jews of Palestine were anxious to wel
come their downtrodden brethren. 15
Feuer, like most Jewish nationalists, believed that Zionists would have their last


100
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
chance to win international support for Jewish statehood at a great postwar peace
conference. If they failed to take advantage of this great opportunity, he soberly
warned, “it may never again present itself.” 16
FIRST RESPONSES TO THE EXTERMINATION OF EUROPEAN JEWRY
Shortly after the publication of Feuer's pamphlet, Stephen Wise received a tele
gram from Undersecretary of State Welles asking him to come to the State Depart
ment. As he later remembered, a deeply troubled Welles told him on November
24, 1942, ‘“I have in my hands documents which have come to me from our
legation in Berne. 1 regret to tell you, Dr. Wise, that these confirm and justify your
deepest fears.'” 17
Rabbi Wise immediately called a press conference and released the contents
of Riegner’s message. He also announced that the Nazis had already exterminated
two million Jews. The New York Times on November 25, 1942, saw fit to carry
news of the murders on page ten. The Times informed its readers of the existence
of special extermination camps and reported that the State Department confirmed
the accuracy of Wises statements. 18
The Wise announcement was electrifying. The rabbi and other Jewish leaders
declared a day of fast and mourning for the dead and dying Jews of Europe. 19
The Jewish Labor Committee, a non-Zionist left-wing labor organization, called
for a ten-minute work stoppage on the day of mourning, December 2, 1942. The
International Indies Garment Workers Union and the Amalgamated Clothing
Workers of America agreed to participate in the work stoppage, while Yeshiva Uni
versity in New York agreed to cancel all classes. 20
A week later, at the initiative of Stephen Wise, a delegation of American Jewish
leaders met with President Roosevelt. The President offered his condolences and
sympathy, but he suggested no plan for the immediate salvation of European Jewry. 21
By this time it was apparent to American Jewish leaders that the immediate
fate of European Jews could be determined only by the Germans who sought
to destroy them or the Allies who might be able to rescue them. Roosevelt and
Churchill had the resources and tools necessary to threaten Nazi leaders and the
German people with retribution if they continued to slaughter the Jews. Allied
pressure could be exerted on Hungary and other satellite states that had not yet
agreed to turn their Jewish populations over to the Gestapo. The State Department
and Foreign Ministry could negotiate with Turkey, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden,
and other neutral states that bordered the Reich and that could offer haven to
those Jews who could escape from German-occupied territory. Only the American
and British armies and air forces could launch military rescue operations. Thus,


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
American Jewish leaders could most effectively contribute to the salvation of their
European brethren by making use of their contacts with high government officials
and by initiating a national publicity campaign to focus public pressure on the
Roosevelt administration and Congress to act on the behalf of European Jewry.
Shortly before the Jewish delegation met with Roosevelt, Peter Bergson, the
leader of the Committee for a Jewish Army (CJA), wrote to Judge Louis Leninthal,
the newly elected president of the Zionist Organization of America. The CJA was
a small organization formed by a group of Palestinians sent to the United States
by the Irgun, a right-wing Jewish underground group in Palestine. Prior to Wise’s
press conference, the CJA had been building American support for the creation
of a Jewish Army to fight with the Allies against the Axis Powers. After Wise's
announcement, the Bergson group began to devote most of its attention to publi
cizing the plight of European Jewry by attempting to put pressure on the Roosevelt
administration to act. Bergson, in his letter to Levinthal, offered to form an alliance
with the ZOA to press for rescue action. 22
Levinthal refused to join hands with Bergson, but representatives of major Jew
ish organizations, including prominent Zionists, did respond to the situation by
forming the Joint Emergency Committee on European Jewish Affairs, a body that
excluded the Bergson group. The committee existed for only a few months, but
it did engage in activities aimed at influencing the American government to rescue
European Jewry. American Zionists were in the forefront of these efforts, which
included the lobbying of representatives in Congress in an unsuccessful bid to
convince the legislature to take a stand on rescue. The emergency committee also
desperately tried to influence the State Department to develop rescue programs.
Primarily, the committee concerned itself with sponsoring mass meetings through
out the nation calling for government action on rescue. 23
The most important of the American Jewish mass meetings was the “Stop Hitler
Now” rally organized by the American Jewish Congress with the cooperation of
the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
On March 1, 1943, over 21,000 people jammed into New York’s Madison Square
Garden as an expression of support for the millions of European Jews threatened
with extinction. Jewish leaders presented an eleven-point rescue program to the
rally requesting the Allied powers to:
1. Negotiate with Germany and her satellites through neutral states in
order to win freedom of emigration for Jews under Hider’s control.
2. Open sanctuaries and havens in Allied and neutral countries for
any Jews who might be released by the Axis.
3. Liberalize American immigration practices, so that existing Amer
ican quotas would be completely filled. 24
4. Open England’s door to as many Jewish refugees as would not
constitute a danger to her national security.


102
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
5. Urge Latin American nations to modify their restrictive immigra
tion policies.
6. Open the doors of Palestine to Jewish immigration thereby end
ing the White Paper limitations.
7. Guarantee financial assistance to neutral countries that provide
sanctuary for refugees, and promise to provide the refugees with
a permanent haven as soon as possible.
8. Devise a system to provide food to starving Jews under Nazi
control.
9. Establish an intergovernmental agency to implement a rescue
program.
10. Provide financial guarantees for the execution of the rescue pro
gram outlined.
11. Establish a war crimes commission that would outline the pro
cedure by which Nazi war criminals would be brought to justice. 25
The rally’s eleven-point plan was a workable and comprehensive strategy for
rescue. In December 1942, the editors of the New York Times had sadly noted
that the most tragic aspect of Hitlers extermination of European Jewry was “the
world’s helplessness to stop the horror while the war is going on.” After the “Stop
Hitler Now” rally, the editors were more optimistic about the Allies’ ability to resist
Hitler’s slaughter and warned that “the United Nations governments have no right
to spare any efforts that will save lives, even though dealings with the German
and German-controlled states may be necessary.” 26 Anne O’Hare McCormick, in
her widely read Times column “Abroad,” wrote that the “Christian world’s” failure
to support the rescue proposal would be “an act of submission to Hitler.” 27
In succeeding years, various private and governmental agencies would refine
and compile plans on how these specific suggestions could be put into effect. Point
#9, calling for the establishment of a rescue agency, was clearly the most impor
tant rescue proposal. The Nazi regime had made the destruction of European Jewry
a war aim and had established a sophisticated bureaucracy to coordinate the
resources and “skills” necessary to accomplish it. Clearly, only a correspondingly
comprehensive effort on the part of the American government held out the hope
of halting, or at least impeding, the destruction process. A governmental rescue
agency would be able to coordinate the military, diplomatic, and financial re
sources needed to resist Hitler’s “war against the Jews.” In fact, it is difficult to
justify Franklin Roosevelt’s failure to establish such a commission as soon as news
of the Holocaust was released. 28
The other ten proposals also reflected the shrewd perceptivity of American Jew
ish leaders. Even in March 1943, it was apparent that the major obstacle to rescue
was the unwillingness of outside countries to accept Jews. Several of the eleven


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
proposals (numbers 2-7) dealt with that difficult problem. While Germany might
not have been willing to negotiate the release of Jews under its control, by 1943
it was clear that some German satellite states, including Bulgaria and Romania,
were searching for ways to ingratiate themselves with the Allies who seemed to
be on their way to victory over the Third Reich. In order to carry out these delicate
negotiations, an Allied rescue agency that could coordinate the activities of the
State and Treasury Departments was clearly essential. 29
American Zionists, particularly Stephen Wise, played important roles in the orga
nization of the “Stop Hider Now” rally, and they were in the forefront of all of the Joint
Emergency Committee’s actions. Their attempts to induce the United States govern
ment to rescue European Jewry, however, did not divert their attention away from the
goal of Jewish statehood. In fact, Zionists generally and understandably responded
to confirmed news of the ongoing European tragedy with an increased commitment
to their original program. They had, after all, based their demand for Jewish state
hood on the belief that the restoration of a Palestinian homeland would once and for
all solve the problem of anti-Semitism and Jewish persecution. Only through Zionist
work, Chaim Weizmann wrote in December 1942, “can we find consolation—that
perhaps a better day will come for those who will survive this holocaust.” 30 Youth and
Nation, the journal of the Hashomer Hatzair, a left-wing Zionist group, similarly asked
its readers to devote themselves to the establishment of a “free Jewish nation” that
would spare future generations of Jews from the recurrence of such a tragedy, 31 while
Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver called for the settlement of one dunam [about a quarter
acre) of Palestine’s land for every murdered Jew. 32
This is not to say that Zionist leaders were not also deeply concerned with steps
directed at immediate rescue. In early December 1942, Zionist leaders, including
Rose Halprin, Tamar de Sola Pool, Meyer Weisgal, and Hayim Greenberg, met
to discuss the rescue situation. Most of them agreed that it was of utmost impor
tance to concentrate on steps that might halt the Nazi mass murder of European
Jewry. Zionist leaders believed that they should wait until the American public
was firmly committed to rescuing European Jewry before they suggested Jewish
statehood as the ultimate remedy to Jewish persecution. 33
Several months after the December meeting, Hayim Greenberg, a leader of
the Poale Zion in the United States, published in the Yiddish press a blistering
attack on the American Jewish organizations for failing to concentrate their re
sources on an aggressive campaign to force the U.S. government to attempt rescue
actions. Greenberg accused American Jews of behaving in a morally bankrupt
fashion, and he marveled at the lack of a frenzied response on the part of a people
who had learned that millions of their brethren were being brutally eliminated. 34
Greenberg’s case was overstated. American Jews and Zionists were working for
rescue, though not at the pace Greenberg would have preferred. They had met
with President Roosevelt and other members of the administration, circulated


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
petitions demanding that the Allies take steps to rescue European Jewry, held news
conferences, and released press statements. The March 1 “Stop Hitler Now” rally
was a huge success and did produce a valuable list of rescue proposals. The left-
wing Zionist journal. Youth and Nation, hoped that the rally and other forms of
American Jewish pressure would force the United States to abandon its policy of
inaction and that the Roosevelt administration would become a leading agent in
the rescue of European Jewry. 35
THE BERMUDA CONFERENCE
American and British Jewish pressure did, in fact, force a response from the Al
lied governments. In early March 1943, Washington and London announced that
they would hold a conference to develop plans to aid European Jewry. British and
American officials originally planned to have the rescue conference in Ottawa,
Canada, but they later decided to switch the location to Bermuda because report
ers and the representatives of Jewish organizations would be less likely to intrude
on the privacy of the conferees. 36
The Bermuda Conference opened on April 19, 1943. On that same day, Jewish
resistance fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto rose up against their Nazi oppressors.
While the Warsaw Ghetto fighters armed with pistols and Molotov cocktails battled
against German SS troops, British and American representatives at Bermuda
deliberated about the fate of European Jewry. Harold Willis Dodds, the president
of Princeton University, led the American delegation at Bermuda. It also included
Senator Scott Lucas (D., 111.) and Representative Sol Bloom (D., N.Y.). Richard
K. Law, the Parliamentary Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, led the British group.
American Jews and Zionists hoped that the Bermuda discussants would develop
a plan for the salvation of European Jewry. Jewish organizations submitted memo
randa and written rescue plans to British and American authorities, which essen
tially repeated the proposals made at the “Stop Hitler Now” rally. 37 Unfortunately,
even before the opening of the rescue conference, there were signs that the Allied
powers were not willing to rise to the challenge of Nazi mass murder.
Any realistic plan to save European Jewry would have to deal with the question
of what to do with Jewish refugees once they were freed from Hitler’s clutches.
Given the experiences of the last decade, there seemed little chance that the
American Congress would be willing to liberalize immigration quotas, which se
verely restricted the entry of East Europeans into the United States. Wartime pas
sions had, if anything, strengthened nativist sentiments in the United States. The
British, for their part, were adamant in their determination to abide by the White
Paper restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine to 75,000 over the five years
from 1939-44. Already hard pressed in the fight against the Axis, British mili-


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
tary and political leaders wanted to avoid any unrest or rebellion among the Arabs
of the strategically important Middle East. The British were clearly unwilling to
ease restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine even if it jeopardized attempts
to rescue Jews. On February 4, 1943, Lord Halifax, the British ambassador to
the United States, sent Stephen Wise the good news that the government of Bul
garia, a German satellite state, had agreed to allow a large number of Jewish chil
dren and a smaller group of adults to leave for Palestine. However, the British
ambassador was careful to inform Wise that London would continue to abide by
the White Paper. He also wrote, “The very considerable difficulties involved in
making the necessary arrangements for transport and for the accommodation and
sustenance in Palestine of such large parties of refugees may limit the numbers
that can be handled under this procedure.” 38
The Bermuda Conference failed to change the fate of the millions of Jews des
tined for the gas chambers. The American representatives to the conference an
nounced that the most efficient way to rescue European Jewry was to ensure a
speedy Allied victory. They implied that the Jewish rescue proposals, if imple
mented, would hinder the Allied war effort. America’s refusal to consider any plan
involving a breaching of the nation’s immigration quota wall handicapped the Ber
muda Conference from the day of its opening, as did the British refusal to deviate
from the White Paper restrictions. Despite optimistic statements following the con
ference by the participants, the only concrete action taken at Bermuda was the
revival of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (IGCR) first established
by the 1938 Evian Conference. The IGCR, however, proved to be no more capable
of effective action in 1943 than it had been in 1938. 39
Shortly after the Bermuda Conference, Peter Bergson’s Committee for a Jewish
Army placed a large advertisement in the New York Times charging that “to
5,000,000 Jews in the Nazi Death Trap, Bermuda was a Cruel Mockery.” The
ad demanded that the Allies set up an agency to rescue the Jews of Europe. 40
The leaders of the established American Jewish organizations responded to
the conference’s failure to act upon rescue with dismay, incredulity, and disap
pointment. In a May 2 address to the National Conference for Palestine, Abba
Hillel Silver noted that the Allies had been no more supportive of Jewish efforts
to save their European brethren from annihilation. They express sympathy. Silver
said, and ask us to be patient. That all European Jewry might be dead when vic
tory was finally won. Silver angrily declared, “does not seem to arouse these friends
of ours to any extraordinary emergency acts of rescue and deliverance.” The Ber
muda Conference, ostensibly convened to satisfy popular humanitarian demands,
was “never” intended to do anything to adequately respond to the tragedy. Silver
sadly concluded that “clearly the friends upon whom we had hoped to lean have
turned out to be broken reeds. The enemies of Israel seek us out and single us
out, but our friends would like to forget our existence as a people.”


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Lacking practical expedients, Silver lapsed into the almost mystical rhetoric
through which Zionists sustained themselves in adversity: “The inescapable logic
of events! When the doors of the world will be closed to our people, then the hand
of destiny will force open the door of Palestine. And that hour is rapidly approach
ing[Italics in original.] Zionists, Silver stressed, had been proven correct in their
belief that the lack of a Jewish national home led to persecution and murder. He
urged all American Zionists to remain faithful to the cause of Jewish statehood.
The Allied powers, according to Silver, would have to provide the Jews with a state
in order to achieve a stable postwar world. Reactionary forces had used anti-
Semitism, created by Jewish homelessness, time and again in their struggle for
power and conquests, and unless the Jewish situation was changed, it would be
used again.
Silver concluded his address on a messianic note, which reflected his belief
that it was God’s will to put an end once and for all to the primary cause of Jewish
misery. He told his audience that Jewish sages taught that two arks led the Chil
dren of Israel through the desert to the Promised Land. One ark contained the
body of the Patriarch Joseph, while the other held the tablets of law, divinely
delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai. There were two arks, he repeated, “the Ark
of death and the Ark of faith!” Today, Silver continued, another ark of death, this
one carrying two million dead Jews was “leading us . . . through the wilderness
to Palestine!” Along with the martyred Jews of Europe, an Ark of Faith also moved,
“our covenant with the future, our faith in our destiny.” If this latest tragedy of
persecution was to be the last ever suffered by Jewry, they would have to resolve
finally to put an end to Jewish homelessness, the cause of anti-Semitism. He con
cluded, “we now wish to be noble and free and as a free people in its own land.” 41
The day after Silver’s eloquent appeal for continued insistence on a Jewish state,
leading American Zionists met to discuss the Bermuda Conference. Moshe Fur-
mansky, a left-wing socialist Zionist and a proponent of a binational Arab-Jewish
state in Palestine, argued that Zionists must take immediate action to offset the
American and British failure at Bermuda. He suggested that American Zionists
immediately organize a mass protest campaign against the White Paper’s restric
tion on Jewish immigration to Palestine. Nahum Goldmann seconded Furmansky’s
proposal, but added that if Zionists wanted to conduct a massive attack on the
White Paper, they would have to cease demonstrating against the massacre of Euro
pean Jewry. Goldmann explained that the Zionists’ limited resources made it im
possible to engage in two major campaigns at the same time. He agreed with Abba
Hillel Silver that after Biltmore, it was now necessary “to emphasize the preemi
nence of the Zionist program in relation to the refugee question.”
Rabbi Wolf Gold, a leader of Mizrachi, the Orthodox Jewish Zionist organiza
tion, disagreed with Goldmann. He believed that action against the White Paper
was “long overdue,” but he didn’t understand why it would preclude mass action


707
American Zionism and the Holocaust
against the Nazi extermination program. Gold maintained that the two issues could
be linked together, since the only answer to the problem of rescue was to open
the gates of Palestine. 42
While Gold and Goldmann disagreed about the relationship of a drive to press
the government to attempt rescue and an anti-White Paper campaign, no one at
the meeting questioned whether Nazi extermination policies threatened to under
mine the Zionist argument for Jewish statehood. Long after Stephen Wise’s terrify
ing November 1942 announcement, Zionists continued to insist that a large num
ber of homeless Jews would survive the war and that the only practical solution
to their plight would be resettlement in a Jewish state in Palestine. Few American
Zionists seemed to realize that Nazi gas chambers threatened to solve the whole
problem in a most gruesome manner.
In mid-1943, one lone voice within the councils of American Zionism ques
tioned the logic of remaining loyal to the Biltmore resolution’s demand for a Jewish
commonwealth while the Holocaust continued. Chaim Weizmann, by the middle
of 1943, had been engaged in an increasingly bitter personal dispute with David
Ben-Gurion for a number of years. Although Weizmann had supported the Biltmore
resolution in 1942, he believed that Ben-Gurion and other Zionists were attaching
too much importance to its demand for a Jewish commonwealth. The Bitlmore
declaration, he maintained, was “just” a resolution, “like the hundred and one
resolutions usually passed at great meetings in this country, or in any other coun
try.” 43 On June 1, 1943, Weizmann then in the United States for an extended
visit, attended a meeting of the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Af
fairs (AECZA). He told the Jewish nationalist leaders at the meeting that he would
soon be leaving the United States with a “heavy heart” and that he wished to make
“a few summary remarks.” Zionists, he said, had to consider seriously the implica
tions of the Nazi extermination of European Jewry. Where, he asked, will the mil
lions of Jews who were supposed to go to Palestine come from? In Nazi-occupied
Europe, only the courageous few who were lucky enough to have the means to
endure would survive the war. The Soviet Union would probably not let any Jews
left in Russia after the war go to Palestine because of the traditional communist
opposition to Zionism. Weizmann also noted that the five million Jews of the United
States would not go to Palestine unless “driven.” Therefore, given the demographic
and internal problems confronting Zionists and the lack of American and British
support for Jewish statehood, Weizmann urged Jewish nationalists to abandon “old
methods” and “slogans” and to seek out new strategies and positions. These, how
ever, he did not specify. Weizmann explained that when Zionists passed the Bil-
more resolution they “were genuinely convinced that the Jewish state would be
realized ‘tomorrow.’” Unfortunately, that was not to be, and, Weizmann concluded,
the Biltmore program was a “symbol” and a “flag” but not practical politics. 44
Weizmann’s stark and depressing analysis of the problems confronting the Zion-


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
ist movement sparked a lively discussions among the AECZA leaders. Rabbi Meyer
Berlin, a Palestinian leader of Mizrachi who was also on a visit to the United
States, argued that such a bleak portrayal of the Zionist future would be strongly
opposed in Palestine where the Yishuv generally believed that peace would bring
the implementation of the Biltmore program. He also pointed out that no one could
accurately forecast how many Jews would survive the “massacres” in Europe; mil
lions of Jews might well endure. The rabbi insisted that the establishment of the
Jewish right to “Eretz Israel" was still the most important task confronting the Zion
ist movement. 45
The furor caused by Weizmann's comments continued after the AECZA meeting.
On June 25, Weizmann wrote Stephen Wise that his remarks at the meeting “have
been construed as a deviation from the Biltmore program and that as a result
a cable has been sent to Palestine in protest against this ‘heresy.’” Subjected to
censure and criticism, Weizmann retreated from his position. Publicly, he followed
the orthodox Zionist line of demanding, on behalf of persecuted European Jewry,
the establishment of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine, while he privately wor
ried about the consequences of European Jewry’s demise on the Zionist program 46
Writing in 1944 to Meyer Weisgal, his strongest American supporter, Weiz
mann warned that the successful extermination of European Jewry would under
mine the Zionist case for statehood. He wrote;
The main argument based on pressure due to anti-Semitism loses its force
if only a very small number of Jews remain alive in Europe after the war. I
am quite sure that our opponents are already reckoning on this in their own
minds, though they do not speak about it yet because it would be very ungra
cious to make political capital out of such a catastrophe. But when everything
is over, and the facts become known, they will speak for themselves. And any
demand of ours based on the imperative necessity of transferring large num
bers of Jews speedily to Palestine will then fall to the ground.
Weizmann counselled Weisgal to begin recuriting large numbers of American youth
for settlement in Palestine as a way out of the dilemma caused by the Holocaust 47
THE AMERICAN JEWISH CONFERENCE
As Chaim Weizmann despaired about the effects of mass extermination on Jewish
nationalism, and while Allied planning for the Bermuda Conference continued,
Zionists prepared to continue the work they had began at the Biltmore Hotel in
May 1942. Now that American Zionists were united around the statehood goal,
they began to organize a national conference representing all American Jews, which


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
would endorse the Zionist program. 48 In early 1943, prominent American Zionists
convinced Henry Monsky, the President of B’nai B’rith, to send a letter to the
leaders of thirty-four major American Jewish organizations. American Jewry, Mon
sky wrote, would have to represent the interests of all the Jewish people at the
peace conference that would follow the Allied victory over the fascists. Monsky
wanted to avoid any conflict between American Jewish groups at the peace con
ference, and he invited the leaders of the thirty-four organizations to meet with
him in Pittsburgh to formulate a united American Jewish plan for the postwar
reconstruction of European Jewry. 49 Monsky did not mention the creation of a Jew
ish commonwealth in Palestine in his letter, but the Zionists who were helping him
plan the conference intended to use it to advance their own program. 50
Jewish leaders met in Pittsburgh three times during the weekend of January
23 and 24, 1943. Many of the seventy-eight delegates were Zionists. Israel Gold
stein, Louis Levinthal, and Morris Rothenberg represented the Zionist Organiza
tion of America, while Rose Halprin was one of the three Hadassah delegates
present. Some of their ablest leaders represented the Orthodox religious Mizrachi
organization and the socialist Zionists, including Leon Gellman (Mizrachi), and
Hayim Greenberg and David Wertheim (socialist). 51
Unfortunately for the Zionists, the prestigious American Jewish Committee re
fused to attend the Pittsburgh conference. The conservative and elitest Committee
rejected the concept of Jewish nationhood, but had for sometime supported “non
political” projects to settle Jews in Palestine. However, by early 1943, the American
Jewish Committee’s leadership was disturbed by the increasing power of American
Zionism and by the movement’s decision at Biltmore to campaign aggressively for
the establishment of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. 52
Participants in the Pittsburgh meetings decided to organize an American Jewish
Assembly where representatives of the entire American Jewish community could
debate the critical issues of the day. They devised an elaborate election system
to ensure that the 500 delegates who attended the assembly would be democrati
cally selected. National Jewish organizations participating in the assembly would
select 125 of the delegates. Local Jewish communities would select the remainder.
The number of representatives dispatched by each community would depend on
the size of its Jewish population. 53
The original intention of those Zionists planning the American Jewish Conference
was to win the support of the entire American Jewish community for the creation
of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. The failure of the small but influential
American Jewish Committee to attend the preliminary Pittsburgh meeting threat
ened to undermine the success of the conference. It would be difficult for Zionists
to argue that they had the support of all American Jews if the American Jewish
Committee was absent from the conference. Because the Committee objected to
the term assembly, arguing that it implied that American Jews were a distinct and


110
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
separate political group. Monsky and his colleagues agreed to change the name
of the assembly to the American Jewish Conference. The American Jewish Com
mittee also convinced the conference’s organizers to agree that any decisions made
by the delegates would not be binding on any organization that chose to attend. 54
As they negotiated with the Committee to ensure its participation, Zionist lead
ers had to confront the fact that even if the Committee chose to attend the Ameri
can Jewish Conference, there was little likelihood that it would consent to support
the Biltmore program. In early 1943, the American Emergency Committee for
Zionist Affairs met to discuss what steps to take regarding the American Jewish
Committee. Some Zionist leaders stubbornly refused to alter the Biltmore pro
gram’s support of a Jewish commonwealth even if it meant a complete break with
the American Jewish Committee. Others hoped that a way could be found to win
the cooperation of the Committee, and they urged that “nothing be done” to ali
enate those Committee members who might be eventually won over to the Jewish
nationalist position. After long deliberation, the AECZA finally decided that Zion
ists should privately continue negotiating with the American Jewish Committee
provided that nothing be done to limit the freedom of the Zionists to present the
Biltmore program to the American Jewish Conference. 55
The leaders of the constituent organizations of the American Emergency Com
mittee for Zionist Affairs organized efficient electoral campaigns to insure that
American Jewish communities elected a substantial number of Zionists to the
American Jewish Conference. Several leaders of the AECZA understood that Zion
ists could campaign “too hard,” however, and explained that “the impression must
be avoided that the Zionists are out to capture all the delegates.” 56
American Zionists, who had been instrumental in the organization of the con
ference, did remarkably well in the elections held to choose representatives to the
assembly. Due to the organizational ability of the Zionist leadership and the hard
work of rank and file members, well over half of the 501 delegates at the Ameri
can Jewish Conference were affiliated with an established Zionist organizations.
Conference organizers estimated that “at least 2,225,000 Jews participated directly
or indirecdy” in the elections, held in all forty-eight states and the District of Colum
bia, which selected 379 of the delegates. National Jewish organizations, including
Zionist groups and the pro-Zionist American Jewish Congress and the B’nai B’rith,
appointed the remaining 123 delegates according to a key agreed on at the Pitts
burgh meeting. The non-Zionist American Jewish Committee and Jewish Labor
Committee were represented. 57
The original agenda for the American Jewish Conference included only two
major items for discussion: the future of Palestine and the postwar reconstruction
of the Jewish communities of Europe. Conference organizers added the rescue
issue only when Jewish popular pressure demanded it. However, no one doubted
that the main task of the conference was to deliberate about the future of Palestine.


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
According to Joseph Halbert, a delegate from Adantic City, his community discussed
only the commonwealth issue when it voted to select its representatives to the
conference. 58
As the day for the opening of the conference approached, the Zionist political
position became even more complex and confused as some Jewish nationalist
leaders, continuing their effort to ensure the support of the American Jewish Com
mittee, recognized that they would have to moderate their statehood demand. Of
ficially, the major American Zionist organizations maintained that their delegates
at the American Jewish Conference were pledged to support the Biltmore resolu
tion. Louis Lipsky, Emanuel Neumann, Abba Hillel Silver, and others hoped that
the conference would give its stamp of approval to the goal of Jewish statehood.
However, some Zionist leaders, in particular Nahum Goldmann, pressed for some
moderation in the Zionist approach to the conference. They did not oppose the
eventual creation of a Jewish state, but they didn’t think it was possible to unite
the American Jewish community around this goal in 1943. They argued that it
would be more profitable for Zionists to win the conference’s support for a resolu
tion that would strongly oppose the British White Paper and that would call for
unlimited Jewish immigration to Palestine. Through his talks with leaders of the
American Jewish Committee, Goldmann knew that they would support the demand
for Jewish immigration to Palestine provided it was clearly separated from any
call for statehood. While such a position did represent a tactical retreat from the
Biltmore resolution, in Goldmann’s view it did not undermine the eventual establish
ment of a Jewish political entity in Palestine. The creation of a Jewish majority,
after all, would set the stage for Jewish political control of Palestine. 59
On August 29, 1943, five hundred delegates and fifteen hundred guests gathered
at the Waldorf Astoria for the opening of the American Jewish Conference. To
symbolize the seriousness of the occasion, the room was left undecorated except
for the American flag and the blue-and-white Star of David flag of the Zionist move
ment. A memorial service for the European Jewish victims followed the singing
of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah” (“The Hope”), the Zionist anthem. 60
B’nai B’rith president Henry Monsky welcomed the delegates and reminded
them that Hitler had declared war against the Jewish people before he attacked
the rest of the civilized world. However, he lamented:
It is with regret that we record the lack of practical measures for the relief
of the millions who have been persecuted, pillaged, pilloried and devastated.
Many statements of sympathy and compassion have been issued by our Govern
ment and its allies. Such statements are reassuring, but distressingly ineffec
tive so far as the plight of the victims is concerned.
American Jews had to act promptly and in unison if they wanted to save European
Jewry. Palestine, he continued, had a large role to play in solving the postwar prob-


112
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
lems that the Jewish people would confront. Monsky demanded that the British
White Paper of 1939 be withdrawn, but he avoided calling for the immediate crea
tion of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. 61
Stephen Wise also made no mention of the creation of a Jewish commonwealth
in his address to the conference. Jews, Wise said, totally supported the Allied war
effort, yet they were singled out by Great Britain and discriminated against. White
Paper immigration restriction must end, he proclaimed, and the gates of Palestine
must be opened to the Jewish refugees. He was confident that the American Jew
ish Conference would unanimously and forcefully express its opposition to the
White Paper. 62
Other speakers at the American Jewish Conference followed the trend set by
Monsky and Wise and avoided asking the conference to endorse the Biltmore resolu
tion’s demand for the immediate creation of a Jewish state. Nahum Goldmann an
nounced that he would be satisfied if Great Britain gave the Yishuv complete con
trol over immigration to Palestine. The creation of a Zionist state, he concluded,
could wait until Jews made up a majority of Palestine’s population. 63
The American Jewish Committee, through its president. Judge Joseph Proskauer,
responded positively to the Zionists’ moderate approach. Proskauer, in his address
to the conference, praised the achievements of the Yishuv and said: “We are one
in our concern for its [the Yishuv’s) preservation and upbuilding, and I do not
believe we would ever have a difference in adopting a formula along the lines that
Dr. Wise suggested, of keeping the gates of Palestine open.” 64
Not all American Zionists were pleased with the abandonment of the Biltmore
program. Emanuel Neumann believed that the very purpose of organizing the
American Jewish Conference had been to win the support of American Jewry for
the creation of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. He approached Abba Hillel
Silver, who was also displeased with the course of the conference, and asked him
to speak in favor of Jewish statehood. Silver was not scheduled to appear before
the conference. Zionist leaders willing to cooperate with the American Jewish Com
mittee apparently feared that Silver, a fiery speaker, might undermine the fragile
relationship they had worked out with Proskauer. But Neumann was able to ar
range for Silver to address the entire conference on Monday night, August 30,
1943. 65
ABBA HILLEL SILVER AND THE “RESCUE” OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
Silver, then fifty years old and at the peak of his capabilities, proved more than
able to meet the task that Neumann set for him. In a masterful speech, he cham
pioned the ideal of Jewish statehood and defeated all those who had sought com-


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
promise. He brilliantly reflected the concerns and hopes of an American Jewry
that was living through the hell of a war in which millions of their brethren were
being butchered.
Calling on his audience to look beyond the war years, Silver opened his speech
by declaring:
My dear friends, the Jewish people is in danger of coming out of this war
the most ravaged of peoples and the least healed and restored. The stark trag
edy of our ravage has been abundantly told here and elsewhere—tragic, ghastly,
unredeemed. To rehearse it again is only to flagellate oneself and to gash our
souls again and again. But what of the healing? What is beyond the rim of
blood and tears? Frankly to some of us, nothing.
The rabbi warned that many Jews were falsely hoping that the Second World War
would achieve “what an Allied victory failed to give them after the last war, what
a whole century of enlightenment, liberalism and Progress failed to give them —
peace and security.” Putting one’s faith in international treaties and guarantees
of minority rights was naive. These solutions did not take into account the prin
cipal cause of Jewish suffering, “the immemorial problem of our national home
lessness.” All Jewish history since the exile from Palestine consisted of one long
line of tragedies. He explained:
There is a stout black cord which connects the era of Fichte in Germany with
its feral cry of “hep, hep,” and the era of Hitler with its cry of “Jude verrecke.”
The Damascus affair of 1840 links up with the widespread reaction after the
Revolution of 1848—the Mortara affair of Italy; the Christian Socialist Move
ment in the era of Bismark; the Tisza-Ezlar affair in Hungary; the revival of
blood accusations in Bohemia; the pogroms of the 80s in Russia; La France
Juive and the Dreyfus afffair in France; the pogroms of 1903; the Ukranian
blood baths after the last war and the human slaughter houses of Poland in
this war.
There was only one solution for the “persistent emergency,” the “millennial tragedy”
of Jewish life. Resettlement programs, refugee havens, these were not solutions.
“There is but one solution for national homelessness. That is a national home!”
Silver declared that there could be no compromise on the commonwealth de
mand. Jewish statehood was more than ideology. It was the “cry of despair” of
a people who had suffered yesterday, were suffering today, and would probably
suffer tomorrow if their prayer was not answered. Silver proclaimed that the “cruci
fixion” of the Jewish people must end, saying:
From the infested, typhus-ridden ghetto of Warsaw, from the death-block of
Nazi occupied lands, where myriads of our people are awaiting execution by


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
the slow or the quick method, from a hundred concentration camps which
befoul the map of Europe, from the pitiful ranks of our wandering hosts over
the entire face of the earth, come the cry: “Enough; there must be a final
end to all of this, a sure and certain end.”
To those who believed that the cause of unity justified compromise on the
Biltmore program. Silver explained: “I am for unity in Israel, for the realization
of the total program of Jewish life, relief, rescue, reconstruction, and the national
restoration in Palestine. I am not for unity on a fragment of the program, for a
fragment of the program is betrayal of the rest of the program and a tragic futility
besides.” As Ben-Gurion had argued several years earlier, Silver maintained that
only a Jewish government would allow Jews to enter Palestine in large numbers.
Great Britain’s betrayal of its Balfour Declaration pledge clearly proved that Zionists
could not rely on the goodwill of Christian governments, which would only protect
the Jews if it served their own national interests. Silver realized that the survival
of his people was a political, not a humanitarian issue, and that it would be insured
only if the Jews understood that:
We cannot truly rescue the Jews of Europe unless we have free immigration
to Palestine. We cannot have free immigration into Palestine unless our political
rights are recognized there. Our political rights cannot be recognized there
unless our historic connection with the country is acknowledged and our right
to rebuild our national home is reaffirmed. The whole chain breaks if one
of the links is missing.
Silver warned the conference delegates that if they failed to pass a resolution that
mentioned the need for a Jewish commonwealth, that the Jewish delegation to
the Allied peace conference at the war’s end would have nothing more than an
“immigration aid plea to let Jews go to Palestine, as if Palestine were for us another
Santo Domingo?”* 6
As Silver finished speaking, the conference audience spontaneously arose and
sang “Hatikvah,” the Zionist anthem. The highly emotional ovation that followed
sealed Silver’s victory over those who had attempted to avoid the commonwealth
issue. 67
The crowd that reacted to Silver’s speech and the masses of American Jews
who flocked to the Zionist movement in the years that followed were responding
to Hitler’s extermination of their European brothers and sisters. Like Silver, they
saw nothing unique in Hitler’s attempt to annihilate the Jewish people. Their sense
of Jewish history told them that this had been the ultimate desire of tyrants and
demagogues for nearly two thousand years. While some Jewish leaders might come
forward with piecemeal plans to save European Jewry, Silver offered American
Jews the ultimate rescue plan. Unless they succeeded in creating a Jewish state.


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
there would be little sense in trying to send food to the starving masses in the
Jewish ghettos or even in bombing the death camps and the trains that brought
Jews to their extinction. Unless the problem of Jewish homelessness, the basic
cause of anti-Semitism, was solved, future generations of Jews would have to suffer
in other death camps.
The conference’s Palestine Committee, charged with the wording of a Palestine
resolution to be presented to all the delegates, discussed Silver’s call for the histori
cal rescue of the Jewish people. Moderates and non-Zionists on the committee
launched a final effort to present their case. Judge Proskauer appealed to the Zion
ists to compromise for the sake of unity. He threatened to withdraw the American
Jewish Committee from the American Jewish Conference if the Zionists persisted
in pushing through a resolution supporting the establishment of a Jewish com
monwealth in Palestine. 68 Dr. James Heller, a Reform rabbi and Zionist, also con
tinued to advocate a moderate course of action. He argued that “extreme” measures
would only intensify the hostile attitudes of the State Department and Foreign
Office. 69
Robert Goldman, a dedicated Zionist for over a quarter of a century, who
represented the Union of American Hebrew Congregations at the conference, was
also in favor of a compromise resolution. He decided to confront Silver’s thesis
that the best response to Hitler’s extermination policies was immediately to create
a Jewish state so that future persecution would be impossible. Goldman told the
Palestine Committee that American Jewry faced two problems. The long-range
problem was the need to create a Jewish state. The “immediate problem,” he con
tinued “is rescue; and I don’t care what else you say or how you characterize it,
or what you say about me for saying it, that is the immediate problem and that
is the problem that we should be concerned with.” Goldman insisted that the first
task of American Jewry was to save their European kin and he warned that “if
the long run problem which we want to project is going to interfere with the solu
tion of the immediate problem, . . . you have no right to insist on that problem
that may result in the loss of thousands and hundreds of thousands of more Jews
that could otherwise be saved in the next few years.” Some British and American
officials, he explained, were totally opposed to increased Jewish immigration to
Palestine, while others supported opening Palestine’s doors as a humanitarian
response to Hitler’s extermination policies. If Zionists insisted on demanding
statehood, Arab opposition in the entire Middle East would intensify, making it
impossible for proponents of increased immigration to win their case. If this hap
pened, hundreds of thousands of Jews would be left “in places where they can
not be rescued.” 70
Proponents of Jewish statehood on the Palestine committee wasted little time
before rebutting the moderates’ position. Morris Rothenberg reminded the con
ference delegates that they were not creating a commonwealth for those Jews who


116
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
were “lucky” enough to live in the United States, but for those who were "denied"
and “disinherited.” Louis Levinthal of the ZOA cautioned Joseph Proskauer that
the British would interpret the conference’s failure to endorse the commonwealth
goal as a sign that Zionists had abandoned the goal of statehood. 71
Zionists on the committee challenged Robert Goldmans position that first priority
should be given to the rescue of European Jewry. Robert Szold commended
Goldman for his sincerity, but warned the conference delegates that “the Jews
of Palestine would feel that a blow had been delivered to them today if we here
assembled deliberately refrain from holding out to them a helping hand.” Hayim
Greenberg, the socialist Zionist who earlier in the year had accused American
Jewry of moral bankruptcy for failing to do enough to rescue those Jews facing
extermination, also disagreed with Goldman’s thesis. Greenberg repeated a point
Silver had made in his address and argued that the right of Jews to emigrate to
Palestine was linked to their right to create a state there. A campaign directed
solely at opening Palestine's doors would not be successful, and he feared that
a failure to clarify the political future of Palestine would only create more unrest
among the country's Arab population. 72
Emanuel Neumann delivered the most articulate and vigorous condemnation
of a “rescue-first” strategy. The "immediate problem” facing the conference, he
said, was not peculiar to the Jews of their day. For centuries, Jews had been in
a “permanent state of emergency.” He charged that Jewish leaders always con
cerned themselves with the “immediate problems,” thereby ignoring the underly
ing cause of their suffering and persecution. Had Jews dealt with the problem
of “homelessness” earlier, he speculated, “either a Hitler would not have arisen
in our time, or, if one had, we might have had a country under Jewish control
in which Jews of Germany and other lands could have been received—and received
in large numbers.” Neumann complained: “It has been our misfortune throughout
our history that we have not been able to look ahead, to plan ahead, and to provide
this radical solution.” If American Jewry in 1943 failed to put an end to the long
history of Jewish suffering by supporting the creation of a commonwealth in Pales
tine, Neumann concluded, “we shall be contemptible in our own eyes.” 73
Neumann’s and Silver’s argument won many more supporters than did Goldman's.
With the exception of four delegates, including the representatives of the American
Jewish Committee, the entire American Jewish Conference voted for a resolution
demanding “the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration, and of the Mandate for
Palestine whose intent and underlying purpose, based on the ‘historical connection
of the Jewish people with Palestine,' was to reconstitute Palestine as the Jewish
Commonwealth.” 7 * Proskauer responded to the Zionist victory by withdrawing the
American Jewish Committee from the American Jewish Conference. 75
The euphoric spirit of the American Jewish Conference carried over to the an
nual convention of the Zionist Organization of America, which was held two weeks


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
later. ZOA President Levinthal told the convention that the American Jewish Con
ference had had a revolutionary impact on American Zionism. The demand for
a Jewish commonwealth was no longer an idea held by Zionists; it had become
the “credo” of all American Jews. 76 ZOA speakers seemed to enjoy repeating the
formula so dramatically presented by Abba Hillel Silver at the American Jewish
Conference. For almost two thousand years Jews had suffered through one persecu
tion after another. Now Jews had a “rendezvous with destiny.” The time had Anally
arrived to put an end to Jewish national homelessness, the basic cause of Jewish
suffering.
Abba Hillel Silver made a triumphant appearance before the ZOA convention
and announced that the American Jewish Conference proved that Zionists were
not simply a party within the American Jewish community, but were the Jewish
people. Remembering his triumph at the conference, he told the ZOA delegates:
“There was real danger of conciliation, of what has come to be called ‘appease
ment’; there were threats made, there were dire forebodings, and the weak began
to waiver, but fortunately the rank and Ale of the Zionist forces remained Arm
and strong.” Receiving a standing ovation, Silver continued: “We are on the eve
of a messianic era for our people. We have gone through the purging, the cleans
ing, the terror, the apocalyptic dread. . . . [I]t depends upon us, upon our merit,
upon our desserts, whether that hour of redemption will be hastened or retarded.” 77
AMERICAN ZIONISM AND THE RESCUE OF EUROPEAN JEWRY
Besides addressing the ZOA convention, Silver spent the weeks following the
American Jewish Conference reorganizing the American Zionist community’s
political apparatus, the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs. 78 Before
the American Jewish Conference, the ZOA, Hadassah, Mizrachi, and Poale Zion,
fearing that a powerful AECZA would threaten their autonomy, had thwarted
Emanuel Neumann’s efforts to turn the body into the vanguard of political Zionism
in the United States. Neumann’s frustration with the impotency of the AECZA had
Anally led to his resignation as the organization’s director in early 1943. 79
By the summer of 1943, Zionist leaders concluded that it was necessary to
revitalize the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs. As early as June
1942, Chaim Weizmann had decided that Abba Hillel Stiver was the “most suit
able” candidate to lead Zionist political forces in the United States. Weizmann’s
moderate nature and policies contrasted dramatically with Silver’s aggressiveness
and stubborn commitment to the Biltmore program, but the future president of
the state of Israel recognized Stiver’s charisma and talents and threw his support
behind a plan to give the rabbi control of American Zionism’s political machine.


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
On August 26, 1943, on the eve of the opening of the American Jewish Con
ference, Silver’s opponents and supporters completed a compromise under which
Silver and his rival Stephen Wise became co-chairmen of the American Emer
gency Committee for Zionist Affairs. The compromise also allowed Silver to assume
sole leadership of the organization’s all-important executive committee. 80
Wise graciously welcomed Silver to the AECZA, saying that he “looked for
ward to working with him towards the fulfillment of our common aim to make
Palestine a Jewish Commonwealth.” Silver told the Emergency Committee that they
were on the “eve of great decisions” and he confided to them that “those who
know him know that his bark is worse than his bite.” Under Silver’s brilliant,
though sometimes overbearing, leadership the AECZA was reorganized and re
named the American Zionist Emergency Council (AZEC). 81
The AZEC claimed to represent the 95 percent of American Jewry that, it main
tained, had expressed their support for a Jewish commonwealth through the
American Jewish Conference. Within a few months of the conference’s closing,
the AZEC and Silver were seeking congressional backing for a resolution that
would officially express American support for the creation of a Jewish common
wealth, while AZEC propagandists attempted to convince the American public
that the establishment of a Jewish state would benefit the United States as well
as the Jewish people. At the helm of the AZEC, Silver took steps to insure that
American Zionists would give first priority to the “long range” problem confront
ing Jewry: national homelessness. However, Silver’s charisma and fiery temper
did not prevent some Zionists from questioning his strategy.
Rose Jacobs, a former president of Hadassah and an American representative
to the Jewish Agency’s Zionist Executive, wrote to Silver shortly after the American
Jewish Conference to express her support of Jewish statehood. While she was
pleased with the outcome of the American Jewish Conference, she also feared
that it would be disastrous for Zionists to devote all their energies and resources
to the commonwealth campaign. Jewish nationalists could not realistically expect
to win American and British support for statehood in the near future. Therefore,
Jacobs suggested that American Zionists pursue a short-term strategy of attacking
British immigration restrictions to Palestine rather than stressing the goal of
statehood. 82 Implicitly rejecting Silver’s contention that the right of Jews to immigrate
to Palestine could not be separated from their right of sovereignty, Jacobs, adopt
ing a position taken by several AECZA members in May 1943, argued that an
anti-White Paper campaign could be linked with efforts to rescue European Jewry.
Thus a humanitarian plea for increased Jewish immigration to Palestine might be
more effective than demanding Jewish statehood. 83
Silver and most of the Zionist leadership nonetheless insisted on the primacy
of the statehood campaign. Nahum Goldmann summarized their positions when
he stated: “Thinking in terms of political reality we should fight for constructive


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
action. We should use the fine machinery we have built up for the constructive
program. Great Britain is now beginning to discuss the Near East, and there is
not time first to spend six months fighting the White Paper, then to start talking
about the Commonwealth.” 84
Silver and Goldmann’s views triumphed within the American Zionist Emer
gency Council. 85 Under Silver’s leadership American Zionists organized congres
sional and popular support for the creation of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine.
Zionist advances during the months and years that followed the August 1943
American Jewish Conference significantly contributed to the successful establish
ment of Israel in 1948.
Ironically and tragically, the Zionists’ decision to give first priority to the crea
tion of a Jewish commonwealth weakened American Jewish rescue efforts. Con
centration on the statehood issue meant that few resources were left for the rescue
campaign. Abba Hillel Silver and other Zionist leaders occupied themselves with
the campaign for a Jewish state, while their talents and energies were sorely needed
in the struggle to press the Roosevelt administration for rescue action. Jewish
natonalist leaders were not blind to the suffering of the European co-religionists.
Zionists grieved and mourned for the victims of Nazi mass murder, but they felt
that other organizations, including the World Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor
Committee, should have primary responsibility to press for aid to European Jewry. 86
Zionist organizations and agencies occupied themselves with what they perceived
to be a higher and more important form of rescue. The creation of a Jewish state,
Zionists religiously believed, would save future generations of Jews from other
Auschwitzes and Treblinkas. As a result, the extremely efficient lobby and propa
ganda machine fashioned by the American Zionist Emergency Council cham
pioned Jewish statehood, not the rescue of European Jewry. 87
The ideological and political imperatives of Jewish nationalism actually forced
Zionists to oppose some rescue efforts advanced by other groups. The Palestinian
emissaries of the Irgun who made up Peter Bergson’s Committee for a Jewish
Army were the authors of several rescue plans opposed by the Zionist organiza
tions. A month before the American Jewish Conference, Bergson and his principal
associate, Samuel Merlin, organized an Emergency Conference to Save the Jewish
People of Europe. At the conference the Bergsonites drew up a rescue plan and
created the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe (ECSJPE),
whose only goal was to press for the rescue of European Jewry. The writer Ben
Hecht worked with the group, as did Congressman Will Rogers, Jr. (D., Cal.)
and Senator Guy M. Gillette (D., Iowa). The members of the ECSJPE believed
that the rescue of European Jewry superseded all other issues, reasoning that if
European Jewry perished there would be little point in creating a Jewish state.
Bergson remarked: “we cannot avoid the fact that our work will be determined
by the fate of the European Jews. For if they perish, the Jews the world over will


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
forever remain an international sore with no practical way for a dignified and
honorable solution.” 88
The principal objective of the Bergson group was to convince the Allied govern
ments to establish an agency to rescue the European Jews. Shortly after its estab
lishment in July 1943, ECSJPE began building public support for a congressional
resolution that it planned to have introduced by Senator Gillette and Congressman
Rogers. The resolution would call on President Roosevelt to create a governmental
agency of diplomatic, economic, and military experts, charged specifically with
the rescue of European Jewry. Bergson supporters introduced the resolution in
the House of Representatives and the Senate on November 9, 1943. It inten
tionally avoided making any mention of Palestine or a Jewish state. Bergson and
Merlin had decided to try to avoid such politically controversial issues as a Jewish
state and to present rescue to the American public as a humanitarian necessity.
ECSJPE propaganda stressed that the American ideals of justice and freedom,
for which American soldiers were dying, required that everything humanly possi
ble be done to save European Jewry from destruction. The Bergsonites feared
that any mention of the Jewish claim to Palestine would politicize their demands
for rescue, making it easier for the Allied governments to refuse to act. Bergson
and Merlin also believed that the interests of Palestine would be served by their
rescue resolution, even if the Zionist program was not specifically mentioned. Eri
Jabotinsky, the son of right-wing ideologue Vladimir Jabotinsky and a member
of the ECSJPE explained:
[0]nce the [rescue] commission is created it will certainly discover that Pales
tine is the most appropriate location for an asylum, and also that Palestine
must be considered in connection with the creation of other asylums, for no
country wifi accept several tens of thousands of Jewish refugees unless it is
guaranteed that they will be removed after the cessation of hostilities. Re
moved where to? The commission will soon enough discover that the only an
swer is Palestine. The commission will probably become the central instru
ment in the fight for Palestine. 89
Most American Zionists did not agree with Bergson's views. Silver, Wise, and
their lieutenants feared that Zionist political efforts would be undermined by
Bergsons attempts to win support from legislators and the Yiddish and American
press. The American Jewish Conference and the American Zionist Emergency
Council both published statements accusing the Bergson group of opportunism
and stressing that Bergson did not represent the American Jewish community.
Zionists also attempted to convince Bergson sympathizers to defect from the ECSJPE.
Zionist representatives even met with Senator Gillette and unsuccessfully tried to
convince him to support a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish com
monwealth in Palestine instead of Bergson’s rescue commission legislation. 90


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
Zionist leaders could not publicly oppose the creation of a rescue agency, but
they did seek to change the wording of the Bergson rescue resolution. 91 At hear
ings held by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Stephen Wise, co-chairman
of the AZEC, maintained that the Bergson group was not a responsible part of
the Jewish community and that its program was not in accordance with the plans
worked out by the legitimate American Jewish organizations. He argued that the
Bergson resolution was inadequate because of the absence of any demand for
free Jewish immigration into Palestine. Wise’s statement angered Congressman Will
Rogers, Jr., one of the cosponsors of the rescue agency bill, who responded that
his resolution was specifically designed to avoid “injecting the ancient and acri
monious issue of Palestine into a resolution specifically involving relief [rescue].”
Rogers shared the Bergsonite view that linking rescue and Palestine would allow
Roosevelt and Churchill to treat the Jewish appeal for help as a political, not a
humanitarian issue. 92
Zionist opposition to the Bergson group continued even after January 1944,
when Franklin Roosevelt established the War Refugee Board, an official United
States rescue agency. During the summer of that year, Bergson and his colleagues
were campaigning for the establishment of emergency refugee shelters in Palestine.
Under their plan, Jewish refugees would be admitted to Palestine on a temporary
basis, as a lifesaving measure. They would not have the legal right to remain in
Palestine when the war ended. 93 The Bergsonites realized that Palestine was in
an ideal location to grant shelter to Jewish refugees who might escape from Hungary,
Romania, or Bulgaria into Turkey. The emergency refugee shelters plan, which
was supported by the War Refugee Board, offered a way around the British White
Paper of 1939 and its restrictive immigration policy. 94 The plan gained added
relevance in mid-July 1944, when the Hungarian government offered to release
all Jews with visas to Palestine. The British and American governments accepted
the Hungarian offer on August 11, although they did not explain how it would
be carried out. A Nazi-engineered coup in Hungary on October 14, 1944, brought
an end to any hope of acting on the Hungarian proposal. 95
American Zionists vehemently opposed the concept of Palestinian emergency
refugee shelters. They feared that Bergson’s plan would sabotage their efforts to
get a pro-commonwealth resolution passed in Congress, which, Zionists believed,
would be an important step in the ultimate and final rescue of the Jewish people.
Zionist unwillingness to sacrifice this long-term goal forced them to oppose the
Bergson plan and put them in the precarious position of seeming to prefer “to
keep Jews out of Palestine rather than yield on the Commonwealth.” 96
As the situation of Hungarian Jewry became more precarious, Zionists cooper
ated in the rescue efforts of the Jewish organizations and the War Refugee Board,
but they adamantly refused to endorse the establishment of emergency refugee
shelters in Palestine. The very notion of Jews being labeled refugees while they


122
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
were in the Jewish national home was anathema to most American Zionists. AZEC
spokesmen claimed that Bergson’s plan was unnecessary since political and trans
portation difficulties would only allow a small number of Jews to leave Hungary.
Those Jews who did escape could be accommodated within the White Paper limits
since fourteen thousand Palestine visas were still available. 97
Zionist opposition to emergency refugee shelters also stemmed from their con
ception of how a Jewish state would be created. Bergson and his colleagues were
classic revolutionaries. They believed that a Jewish state would only be established
through armed struggle. The Bergsonites were prepared to see Jews admitted to
Palestine as refugees because they knew that the final fate of the refugees would
be decided by Jewish military might. American Zionists, unlike the Bergsonites,
were revolutionaries only to the extent that they wished radically to alter the histori
cal fate of the Jewish people. However, the means to this radical end would not
involve armed struggle. The entire structure of political Zionism in the United States
reflected the Zionists’ belief that the Jewish state could be created through diplo
matic negotiations. This being the case, Zionists believed that their acceptance
of Bergson’s plan would weaken their bargaining position with the British and
American governments. The first rule of negotiation is always to ask for more than
what you want. If Zionists allowed Jews to be temporarily interned in Palestine,
they would seem to be surrendering the central point on which their case was
based: that Palestine was, by right, the land of the Jews. The Balfour Declaration
had recognized this claim and all Zionist propaganda was aimed at convincing
the world of its legitimacy.
The Zionists were ideologically and politically unable to support the establish
ment of emergency refugee shelters in Palestine, just as they found it impossible
to give the rescue of European Jewry priority over the creation of a Jewish com
monwealth. Silver and his compatriots could not distinguish between the rescue
issue and the statehood issue. They seemed to be inextricably linked by the Zionist
view of Jewish history. For nearly two thousand years Jews had suffered through
a seemingly unending series of persecutions. Hitler’s attempt to exterminate Euro
pean Jewry was unique, Zionists thought, only in its dimension. Theodor Herzl
had offered the Jews a chance to save themselves. Silver and his followers despair
ingly reasoned that the failure to achieve the Zionist dream before 1933 was a
principal cause for the suffering of European Jewry. They resolved to put an end,
once and for all, to the awful cycle of suffering in order to insure that future genera
tions need not share the fate of their European ancestors. World War II, which
Zionists expected would end with the redrawing of the world’s boundaries, seemed
to offer Jewish nationalists one last chance to achieve their goal. For the Zionists
at the American Jewish Conference, failure to seize the time would be criminal.
Ironically, the Zionists’ zealous commitment to solve the Jewish problem led
them to underestimate significantly the very dimension of the European catastro-


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American Zionism and the Holocaust
phe. When Zionists negotiated with Allied governments, they continued to insist
that a Jewish state would have to be created after the war in order to accommodate
the large number of Jewish refugees who would survive Hitlers slaughter. The
logic of this situation led Zionists to think in terms of the survival of European
Jewry, not their eradication. American Zionists rejected Chaim Weizmann’s “danger
ously pessimistic” estimate of the number of Jews who would die in Hitler’s Europe.
Zionist convention after Zionist convention included references to the almost mysti
cal ability of the Jews to survive persecution, and Zionist spokesmen tended to
underestimate the total number of Jewish dead in their speeches. Thus, over a
year after Stephen Wise’s dramatic announcement that two million European Jews
were dead, Abba Hillel Silver used the same figure when testifying before a con
gressional committee. 98 Even when the extent of the Holocaust began to be ap
parent near the end of the war, Zionists still insisted on focusing on the number
of Jews who would survive in Europe, not on those already dead, and on the neces
sity of creating a Jewish state to handle the postwar Jewish refugee crisis. 99
During 1944 and 1945, the American Zionist Emergency Council developed
the experience and resources that would make it into one of the most efficient
political lobbies in America. Special efforts were made to capture the loyalty of
specific segments of the American population. Emanuel Neumann and his pro
pagandists labored especially hard at convincing American liberals of the neces
sity for the creation of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. While this work pro
gressed, the Nazi crematoriums continued to dispose of the corpses of slaughtered
Jews.


124
THE AMERICAN ZIONIST LOBBY,
1943-1945: A SUMMARY
AND A CASE STUDY
THE ZIONIST LOBBY: FINDING FRIENDS
After their success at the American Jewish Conference in August 1943,
Zionists claimed to represent over 90 percent of American Jewry. While
the American Jewish Conference gave Zionists the opportunity to have
“American . . . Jewry speak for us,” 1 it did not provide an effective political
lobby organization capable of making the voice of American Jewry heard.
This did not prove to be a serious handicap because the Conference sur
rendered responsibility for pro-Zionist political work to the American
Zionist Emergency Council (AZEC) under the leadership of Abba Hillel
Silver and Stephen Wise. 2 Zionist leaders hoped that the AZEC would
prove to be a more successful public relations machine than its troubled
predecessor, the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs
(AECZA).
Bitter factional disputes had handicapped the AECZA since its crea
tion in 1939. The Poale Zion, Hadassah, Mizrachi, and the Zionist
Organization of America feared that a powerful Zionist umbrella com
mittee would weaken their autonomy and perhaps lower their prestige. 3
The history of the AECZA seemed to prove that the multiplicity of Jewish
organizations in the United States made it difficult for the community
to achieve any goal. However, by the summer of 1943, the major Zionist
organizations were prepared to pool their resources and accept the dis
cipline of an executive committee headed by Wise, the most prestigious
American Jewish nationalist, and Silver, the most dynamic. While they
might disagree about the political, religious, and economic nature of the
reconstituted Jewish nation, American Zionist groups had agreed at the
Biltmore Conference that the immediate creation of a Jewish state was


125
American Zionist Lobby
absolutely vital. The extermination of European Jewry, the continuing British en
forcement of the White Paper, and the Zionist triumph at the American Jewish
Conference, all combined to convince Jewish nationalists that they were in a life
or death struggle. Either they would succeed in recreating a nation in Palestine,
which would revolutionize the Jewish experience and end the long chain of catas
trophes that made up their history, or they would fail, dooming Jews to centuries
more of anti-Semitism and persecution.
Once they decided to cooperate in a unified political campaign, Zionist organiza
tions found that their diversity of opinion and philosophy was an asset, not a liability.
American Zionism spanned the left-right political spectrum, encompassing the or
thodox religious and the anti-religious, the committed capitalist and the ardent
socialist. Therefore, when Zionists sought to reach out to the general Jewish and
Christian populations, they found support from a wide variety of constituencies.
The religious Mizrachi, for example, specialized in working with Orthodox Jewish
organizations and communities, while the socialist Poale Zion focused its attention
on the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organ
izations (CIO). Abba Hillel Silver maintained close contact with the Republican
party, being especially close to Senator Robert Taft of his home state of Ohio;
Stephen Wise, co-chairman of the AZEC, was an ardent Democrat, with strong
ties to the party’s political machine and leadership. 4
After the American Jewish Conference, the AZEC established various commit
tees, each geared to a particular function or aimed at a specific constituency. Louis
Lipsky headed the Publications Committee, which oversaw the production of Zionist
propaganda and educational material. Rabbi Milton Steinberg’s Committee for In
tellectual Mobilization worked with writers, academics, and artists. Hadassah’s Rose
Halprin ran a Zionist information campaign directed at the numerous official and
unofficial groups concerned with drawing up blueprints for the postwar world. Rabbi
Wolf Gold of Mizrachi headed the Committee on Contact with American-Jewish
Religious Forces, primarily concerned with winning support within the Orthodox
Jewish community. 5
The Poale Zion representative on the AZEC spearheaded the formation of a
committee that would maintain contact with the American labor movement. The
Poale Zion had previously done this type of work independent of the larger Zionist
body and it succeeded in convincing the AFL to pass a resolution “supporting
the upbuilding of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth” at its October 1943
convention. 6
Max Zaritsky, president of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers In
ternational Union, agreed to serve as chairman of the AZEC labor committee. 7
A Russian-born Jew, a long-time socialist, and a supporter of Franklin Roosevelt,
Zaritsky established the American Labor party in 1936. 8 By April 1944, sixty
Jewish labor leaders were affiliated with Zaritsky’s American Jewish Trade Union


126
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Committee for Palestine, and Zaritsky hoped that there would be “a nucleus in
every city in the United States in which there is an organized Jewish trade union
movement.” 9
The AZEC’s national network of local emergency councils proved to be the
most effective element of the Zionist public relations structure. The local commit
tees, microcosms of the larger AZEC, were made up of representatives of all the
major Zionist factions. 10 Although nominally led by Joel Gross, the AZEC’s Com
munity Contacts Committee, charged with organizing and maintaining local emer
gency committees, was actually directed by Rabbi Leon Feuer, a protege of Abba
Hillel Silver. 11 By the end of November 1943, Zionists had established 125 local
emergency committees; the number rose to 225 by January 1944. 12
Silver and his lieutenants on the American Zionist Emergency Council paid
special attention to the organizing of Christian support groups. These Christian,
for the the most part Protestant, “friends” of Zionism, were to play the critical
role of demonstrating that the American and Christian values of justice, freedom,
and compassion led directly to the support of Zionism and the recreation of a
Jewish state in Palestine. The effort to organize such a group of Christians was
older than the AZEC itself. Louis Brandeis’s close friend. Judge Julian Mack, who
had been a leader of American Zionism during the World War I era, organized
the Chicago-based Pro-Palestine Federation of America in 1930. 13 Within a year
of Mack’s effort, Emanuel Neumann, then a young and promising Zionist func
tionary and associate of Brandeis, began enlisting prominent American politicians
and public figures for a new organization, the American Palestine Committee (APC).
With the cooperation of Brandeis, Neumann held a founding dinner for the APC
on January 17, 1932. Vice President Charles Curtis, Assistant Secretary of State
James G. Rogers, Senators Robert M. LaFollette, Jr. (R., Wise.), William H. King
(R., Utah), William E. Borah (R., Idaho), and Congressman Hamilton Fish, Jr.
(R., N.Y.) supported Neumann’s effort. The climax of the dinner came with the
reading of a letter from President Herbert Hoover declaring his support for the
Jewish development of Palestine. 14
While its beginnings seemed to be auspicious, the American Palestine Com
mittee was, in fact, stillborn. Largely Emanuel Neumann’s creation, the organiza
tion ceased to function when he moved to Palestine later in 1932, to assume his
role as American delegate to the World Zionist Executive. By mid-1941, however,
Neumann had returned to the United States and Zionists faced a new crisis. Hitler
controlled most of continental Europe, Rommel’s Afrika Korps threatened the Suez
Canal and the approaches to Palestine, and the British seemed to be adamantly
committed to the White Paper policy of 1939, which threatened to ensure that
Palestine would become an Arab state. Deserted by the British, Zionists looked
for new allies and supporters. Louis Brandeis argued that Zionists would have to
attract Christian supporters if they hoped to convince American Jewish “doubters”


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that Zionism was legitimate and not inimical to American interests. 15 Brandeis al
lowed Neumann to use his living room as a meeting place to recruit senators and
representatives for a new Christian support group. 16
Reorganized in April 1941, the new American Palestine Committee was more
broadly based than its predecessor. Sixty-eight senators, two hundred represen
tatives, several Cabinet officials, President William Green of the AFL and Presi
dent Philip Murray of the CIO, and prominent Christian intellectuals, including
Monsignor John A. Ryan and Dr. Henry A. Atkinson, affiliated themselves with
the new organization. 17 Senator Robert Wagner (D., N.Y.) served as head of the
reconstituted American Palestine Committee. Wagner, one of the premier liberals
of the New Deal and World War II eras, had been close to the Zionist leadership
for some time. Although truly sympathetic to the Jewish nationalist cause, his busy
schedule and many commitments seem to have precluded his being any more than
a figurehead leader of Christian Zionism. Rabbi Meyer Berlin of the Mizrachi
Organization visited with Senator Wagner early in 1943 and reported: “My im
pression of Senator Wagner is that he is a fine gentleman but rather luke-warm
in general political questions and knows very little about Jewish problems and
Zionism, although he is the chairman of the Pro-Palestine Committee and, as I
understand, delivers addresses for our cause quite willingly from time to time.” 18
Although the American Palestine Committee was nominally a Christian organiza
tion, Zionists exercised a considerable amount of control over it. Emanuel Neu
mann, in mid-1941, directed the Publicity Committee of the APC with the aid
of such experienced Zionist workers as Arnold Israeli and Arthur Lourie. 19 The
Public Relations committee of the American Emergency Committee for Zionist
Affairs (precursor of the AZEC) oversaw the publication of a bulletin to be dis
tributed to APC members, while Herman Shulman, a key AZEC staff worker, super
vised the APC’s 1944 membership drive. 20 Although the APC raised operating
funds from its members, the Zionist organizations were also important sources
of operating capital. 21
Zionist activity in the United States increased in 1942 with the Biltmore Con
ference in May and with the planning for the American Jewish Conference that
finally took place in August 1943. Not surprisingly, there was a corresponding
increase in the organizing of Christian supporters. Neumann and other Zionist
leaders, while happy with the work of the American Palestine Committee, felt that
a separate organization made up exclusively of Christian clergy would allow the
Sunday pulpit to become a powerful medium for transmitting the Zionist message. 22
The Christian Council on Palestine, formed in December 1942, gathered over nine
hundred clergymen into its ranks within a year; by 1946 its roster approached
three thousand. 23
The American Palestine Committee, like the Christian Council, was predomi
nantly Protestant in makeup. The failure of large numbers of Catholics to join either


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the APC or the Christian Council partially reflected Catholic doctrine, which saw
the Jewish exile from Palestine as part of the torment that came with rejecting
Jesus. Jewish wandering. Catholic tradition taught, would only end with the total
conversion of the Jews to Christianity. The Catholic Church was also concerned
about the fate of its Holy I .and if Jews were to regain political and jurisdictional
control over Palestine. 24
As with the American Palestine Committee, Zionist officials closely directed the
work of the Christian Council. Well before the actual formation of the Council, Amer
ican Zionists delegated the task of organizing Christian clergy support to Rabbis Phil
lip S. Bernstein and Milton Steinberg. Bernstein, of Rochester, N. Y., was an excellent
and logical choice for this important position given his success in bringing the Zionist
message to American liberals through the Nation and the New Republic 25
The Christian Council listed an attractive array of Protestant clergymen and
intellectuals on its letterhead. Henry A. Atkinson, secretary-general of the Church
Peace Union and World Alliance for International Friendship Through the Churches,
served as chairman of the council. Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr served on
the council’s executive committee. 26 Niebuhr, the intellectual leader of liberal Pro
testantism, significantly added to Zionism’s prestige within the United States. 27 Pro
fessor S. Ralph Harlow of Smith College, a close friend of Stephen Wise, also was
an active council participant. A veteran missionary, Harlow was a singularly unique
Zionist ally, espousing the goal of a Jewish homeland while most other veterans
of Middle East proselytizing campaigns identified with the Arab claims to Palestine. 211
Christian pro-Zionists organized impressive educational campaigns. For exam
ple, the American Palestine Committee and the Christian Council on Palestine held
meetings attended by more than four hundred Christian civic and religious leaders
in Cincinnati on January 9, 1944. During that same week, the Christian groups
sponsored 21 different meetings in St. Louis, including several for teachers, which
attracted more than 4,400 educators. 2 ''
Christian support groups, working with and closely supervised by the AZEC,
provided the Zionist public relations machine with an important weapon. In fact,
American Zionists needed all the help that they could gather as they embarked
on the difficult task of generating pro-Zionist support within an American public
and government preoccupied with immediate wartime tasks and concerns. The
threat that “dissident” Jewish organizations would challenge the Zionist claim to
speak for the Jewish community significantly complicated this task.
THE ZIONIST LOBBY: COMBATING ENEMIES
The American Jewish Committee's (AJC) secession from the American Jewish Con
ference especially worried American Zionists. While it was not a mass-member


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organization, the AJC represented some of the wealthiest and most prestigious Jews
of the United States. The Committee could also justly claim many impressive suc
cesses in protecting Jewish civil rights at home and abroad since its establishment
in 1906. 30 With its impressive financial and political resources, the AJC might be
able to block the Zionist quest for hegemony within the American Jewish community.
Abba Hillel Silver, at the helm of the AZEC, aggressively responded to the
American Jewish Committee threat. He charged that the Committee’s refusal to
accept the decision of the democratically elected American Jewish Conference
proved that non-Zionists would cooperate with Zionists only on their own terms.
Silver urged that everything be done to break the influence of the American Jew
ish Committee. 31 Heeding an AZEC request, over half of the eighteen national
organizations affiliated with the American Jewish Committee, including Hadas-
sah, cut all ties with the group. 32
Zionists, believing that world Jewry was involved in a battle for survival, ac
cused the AJC of treason. By withdrawing from the American Jewish Conference,
the AZEC argued, the Committee seriously undermined Jewish unity and signifi
cantly weakened the “Jewish war effort.” A letter from the Council of Jewish Organi
zations of Bensonhurst and Mapleton (Brooklyn) is typical of the attacks on the
American Jewish Committee. The Brooklyn Council chastised AJC President Joseph
Proskauer for refusing to cooperate with the American Jewish Conference in pro
tecting “our people against a future of continued horror, persecution, discrimina
tion, and murder.” The letter included a dire warning that “those who undermine
the unity of our Jewish People give aid and comfort to the forces of evil by practic
ing their policy of ‘divide and conquer.’” 33
With all America mobilized for the war effort, the charge of giving aid and com
fort to the enemy was certainly serious and powerful. Believing that only they could
free the Jewish people from a 2,000-year-old tradition of persecution, Zionists
realized that the AJC’s opposition to the American Jewish Conference’s platform
threatened to do more than just challenge Zionist claims to community leadership;
it might condemn future generations of Jews to the horrors of another Hitler. Given
this view, the Zionist assault on the AJC is understandable and perhaps justified.
The leaders of the AJC found it difficult to resist Zionist pressure. In an attempt
to maintain some leadership role in the American Jewish community, they de
cided that the Committee would have to undergo a drastic organizational transfor
mation. The organization, which had always been content to restrict membership
to a relatively few prominent Jews, launched a mass membership drive shortly
after the American Jewish Conference. However, its struggle was futile. As Ameri
can Jewry learned about the horrible extent of the Holocaust, the Zionist promise
to put a “certain end” to Jewish homelessness, the principal cause of Jewish perse
cution, became nearly irresistible. By 1946, the AJC, finally prepared to bow to
the will of American Jewry, began to cooperate with the Zionist crusade. 34


Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Besides battling the AJC, the American Zionist Emergency Council devoted
a considerable amount of energy to attempting to destroy the small group of Irgun
representatives in the United States, led by Peter Bergson, who came to the United
States shortly before the outbreak of war in Europe to raise money to support Irgun
activities in Palestine. In December 1941, the Irgunists formed the Committee
for a Jewish Army, believing that American public support might encourage Great
Britain to organize Jewish Palestinians into a lighting force. 35
After launching the Jewish Army effort, Bergson contacted Stephen Wise and
offered to participate in a joint campaign. 36 Wise and most of the Zionist leader
ship considered the Irgun to be a renegade neo-fascist organization and con
demned the group’s refusal to accept the authority of the World Zionist Organiza
tion. As a result, Zionists refused to supply Bergson with any financial support. 37
However, American Zionists, recognizing Bergson’s skills as a propagandist, were
willing to cooperate on a limited basis; they proposed that the Committee for a
Jewish Army would assume responsibility for publicity campaigns, while Zionist
authorities would carry on all negotiations with the American and British govern
ments. 38 David Ben-Gurion vetoed this plan, ruling out any cooperation with
Bergson until he and his associates accepted the authority of the World Zionist
Organization. 39
Bergson’s formation of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People
of Europe (ECSJPE) in July 1943 increased the tension between American Zionists
and the Irgunists. The AZEC feared that the Bergson group, specialists in the use
of full-page newspaper ads, would divert support and members from them. Zionists
were particularly concerned about the Bergson-inspired Baldwin-Gillette resolu
tion, which called for the establishment of a government agency to rescue the Jews
of Europe but which made no mention of Palestine or Jewish statehood. 40 Ap
palled by what they considered to be the Bergson group’s abandonment of Zionism,
the American Jewish Conference on December 30, 1943, accused the ECSJPE
of tricking American Jews into making financial contributions in the false belief
that the committee was engaged in actual rescue work. The Conference statement
also condemned the Baldwin-Gillette rescue resolution for being introduced in
“complete disregard of the rescue program which is being actively pressed in
Washington by representative Jewish agencies.” 41
Historians and other investigators have never found evidence to substantiate
the Zionist claim that Bergson and his associates were involved in financial ir
regularities. Ads run by the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of
Europe always noted that contributions would be used to support the publicity
campaign aiming to force the Roosevelt administration to adopt an aggressive rescue
policy. 42 However, during the tense and dangerous years of World War II, American
Zionists found it easy to believe that the “undisciplined” and “irresponsible” Bergson
group was capable of almost any perfidy. A few weeks after the American Jewish
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American Zionist Ixibby
Conference assault, the American Zionist Emergency Council sent letters to
American legislators and distributed press releases accusing Bergson of creating
“paper” organizations that were not representative of the American Jewish com
munity and of “acting in accordance with opportunistic impulses of the moment.” 43
As part of the AZEC’s campaign against Bergson, Stephen Wise unsuccessfully
attempted to convince Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes to resign his position
as Honorary Chairman of the ECSJPE. 44 Zionist leaders had more luck in secur
ing agreements from Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles and refugee-problem
expert Myron Taylor not to participate in Bergsons rescue campaign. 45 Harry
Shapiro, director of the AZEC, instructed all chairpeople of the local emergency
committee in May 1944 to disseminate anti-Bergson statements in their communities.
Shapiro reminded the local Zionist leaders that, after securing the resignation of
Bergson supporters, they should “send us their names, along with any statement
which they care to make, and we will release the story to the Yiddish and Anglo-
Jewish press.” 46 R. J. Thomas, president of the United Auto Workers, and William
Green, president of the AFL, asked that their names be withdrawn from a list
of Bergson supporters shortly after the AZEC operation began. Dean Alfange, leader
of New York’s Labor party and one of the oldest and strongest backers of the
ECSJPE, resigned from the organization in 1944. 47
The Bergson group continued to exist in some form until Israel’s creation
in 1948, however they were never able effectively to challenge the claim of es
tablished pro-Zionist and Zionist organizations in the United States that they,
not Bergson, represented the interests and retained the loyalty of American
Jewry. Instead, Bergson and his followers remained an annoying, but perhaps
healthy, stimulant for American Zionist leaders who understood that the imagina
tive and energetic Irgunists might find a larger audience among American Jews
if the Zionists appeared to be slackening in their efforts to solve the “Jewish
problem.”
THE PALESTINE RESOLUTIONS
While Zionist publicists and politicians devoted considerable energy to oppos
ing rival Jewish organizations, the main function of the AZEC was to generate
pro-Zionist sentiment in the U.S. public and government. Much of the Ameri
can Zionist Emergency Council’s work was unspectacular and certainly unro
mantic. Copying the tactics of other Jewish and Christian public relations cam
paigns, Zionists spent much of their energies collecting endorsements from pub
lic figures. By the summer of 1945, all but seven of the nation's governors had
signed an AZEC-sponsored petition calling on the president to act to “open the


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doors of Palestine to Jewish mass immigration and colonization and to bring about
the earliest transformation of that country into a free and democratic Jewish
Commonwealth.” 48 The AZEC received hundreds of solicited endorsements from
senators and representatives for publication in Reuben Fink’s America and Pal
estine, a book that attempted to demonstrate the long-standing commitment by
the U.S. government for the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. 49
Zionists did not find it especially difficult to convince legislators to issue state
ments in support of the creation of a Jewish commonwealth. Given the insignifi
cant number of Arab-Americans, congressmen or state representatives took no
political risk when they voiced sympathy for the Zionist position. These endorse
ments. however easily acquired, played an important role in the political cam
paign for Jewish statehood. The AZEC could use even vague statements of sup
port by American politicians to demonstrate the compatibility of American na
tional interest and Jewish nationhood. This was important in convincing Chris
tian Americans that there was no danger involved in supporting Zionism and
was essential in winning the approval of those Jews who feared that ethnic na
tionalism might raise embarrassing questions about the dual loyalty of American
Jewry.
As important as political endorsements were to the Zionist education campaign,
the AZEC in 1944 and 1945 discovered that it could not easily transform verbal
expressions of support into concrete policies. During these years the organization
devoted a considerable amount of its resources to a futile attempt to win congres
sional support for Jewish nationalism. The resolutions the Zionists asked the Senate
and the House of Representatives to consider would not commit the government
to a specific course of action, but would simply express the legislatures sense that
the United States should support free Jewish immigration to Palestine and the
establishment there of a Jewish Commonwealth. 50
Although seemingly devoid of any meaningful content, the resolutions were cen
tral to the Zionist program. Jewish nationalist leaders hoped that congressional
action would influence the State Department to adopt a more pro-Zionist position.
The State Department would then become an important ally in negotiations be
tween Great Britain and the Zionists on the postwar status of Palestine. 51 Emanuel
Neumann and Abba Hillel Silver believed that it was extremely important to in
troduce the resolutions in 1944, an election year, when both Democrats and
Republicans, vying for Jewish votes, would be most inclined to support Jewish
statehood. 52 Furthermore, it must be realized that the strategy Zionists began to
pursue in 1942 led inevitably to the floor of the Congress. At the Biltmore Con
ference all major American Zionist groups made the creation of a Jewish com
monwealth their goal, a position the representatives of the entire American Jewish
community adopted at the American Jewish Conferences. The next logical step
for Zionist leaders was to have the representatives of all Americans accept the


American Zionist Lobby
commonwealth position. If the Senate and the House of Representatives passed
the Zionist resolutions, the AZEC could claim to speak for all Americans, not only
American Jewry.
Fearful that Peter Bergson’s ECSJPE was preparing its own resolution for con
gressional approval, Zionist leaders in early 1944 decided immediately to activate
their own congressional strategy. The AZEC anticipated that the Bergson-inspired
resolution would, like their own, call for free, unrestricted immigration to Palestine,
but would make no mention of Jewish statehood. Instead of relying on the Jewish
political claim to Palestine to justify their request for free immigration, the Bergson
proposal would simply argue that Palestine’s geographic location made it the most
practical temporary haven for Jews escaping from Hungary and the Balkans. 53
Pro-Zionist legislators sponsored the Palestine resolution in the House of Repre
sentatives and the Senate. Following AZEC orders, local emergency committees
solicited statements of support from hundreds of prominent Americans. The AZEC
forwarded these endorsements to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which
held hearings on the Palestine resolution in February 1944. 54
The Zionists skillfully presented their case to the Committee on Foreign Af
fairs. Their statements contained few original ideas, but they articulately presented
the case for Jewish statehood that Zionists had developed since the start of the
war. Abba Hillel Silver condemned the British White Paper as a policy of appease
ment and emphasized the vital role Palestine could play in solving the dangerous
Jewish refugee problem the Allies would confront after victory. 55 Dr. Israel Gold
stein, president of the ZOA, and David Wertheim, National Secretary of the Poale
Zion, detailed Palestinian Jewry’s contributions to the Allied war effort. 56 Hadassah
President Judith Epstein’s testimony focused on the many benefits the Zionists
had brought to Palestine’s Arabs. Stephen Wise, Wolf Gold of Mizrachi, and Emanuel
Neumann reminded the representatives of the continuing murder of European Jewry.
Neumann counselled the committee that by passing the Zionist resolution they
could send a “word of cheer” and a message of “hope” to the Jews caught in Hit
ler’s Europe. 57
Prominent Christians, organized by the AZEC, assisted the Zionists at the con
gressional hearings. According to Senator Robert Wagner, speaking for the Ameri
can Palestine Committee, the slaughter of European Jewry “demand[sj of us a
statesmanlike, constructive policy which will provide a more secure and dignified
future for the Jewish people in the democratic world of tomorrow.” 58 Dr. Henry
Atkinson, president of the Christian Council on Palestine, warned the House com
mittee that a failure to solve the Jewish problem might allow another tyrant to use
anti-Semitism to come to power and plunge the world into a third world war. 59
For a time it seemed that the Zionists would succeed in winning Congress’s
support. On January 10, 1944, Isaiah Berlin, attached to the British Embassy
in Washington, reported in his weekly political summary that Zionist agitation
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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
against the White Paper was “embarrassing” the Roosevelt administration. A
month later he cautioned that while passage of the Palestine resolutions would
not commit America to a specific course of action, “its significance should not
be minimized as its passage imposes inevitable curbs on pro-Arab tendencies of
Near Eastern Office of the State Department on Palestine issue.” 60 To the British
government’s relief, the United States War Department informed Congress that
passage of the pro-Zionist resolutions at that time could incite an Arab revolt in
the Middle East that would undermine the Allied war effort. The House of Repre
sentatives and the Senate had little choice but to heed the War Department’s warn
ing and tabled the Palestine resolutions until the military situation in the Middle
East was more secure. On March 6, Isaiah Berlin reported that the “pendulum
now seems to be swinging away from the Zionists.” 61 Franklin Roosevelt attempted
to ease the Zionists’ pain by announcing, after a visit by Rabbis Wise and Silver,
that the United States did not approve and had never approved of the restrictions
on Jewish immigration to Palestine imposed by the White Paper of 1939 62 Roose
velt’s Democratic party followed the lead of the Republican party and included
a pro-Zionist plank in its platform. 63
Throughout the remainder of 1944, the Zionists quietly prepared to have their
resolutions reintroduced in Congress. In October, the War Department informed
Senator Robert Taft that the military situation in the Middle East had substantially
improved since March. With the War Department’s roadblock removed. Silver and
the AZEC expected that the Palestine resolutions would win easy passage. However,
after the presidential elections, the State Department, at the request of President
Roosevelt, convinced Congress to postpone action on the bills because of the
“tense” international situation. Roosevelt, in a letter to Senator Taft, expressed his
concern with avoiding an Arab massacre of Palestinian Jewry, which he feared
might follow the creation of a Jewish state. 64
The State Department’s scuttling of the Zionists’ lobbying campaign infuriated
Abba Hillel Silver. With the support of Emanuel Neumann, he demanded that
the AZEC openly attack Roosevelt for betraying his and the Democratic Party’s
electoral campaign pledges of support for Zionism. Stephen Wise and a majority
of the AZEC members refused to accept Silver’s argument. Wise, who claimed
to have a close friendship with the president, maintained that Roosevelt’s commit
ment to the Jewish cause was genuine. Many of the AZEC members understood
that an attack on Roosevelt might backfire. He had not yet even begun his fourth
term, and it seemed likely that the Zionists would have to deal with him for at
least another four years.
After a hard-fought battle over what the Zionist response to Roosevelt should
be, Silver gave up leadership of the American Zionist Emergency Council in
December 1944. He would not return to the Zionist helm until July 1945. In
the meantime, he and his supporters would wage an underground campaign


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American Zionist Lobby
against Wise, preparing the way for Silver s resumption of power, while the AZEC
carried on its public relations campaign. 65
The Palestine resolution fiasco proved that even an efficient and energetic public
relations and lobbying organization could not easily influence a popular wartime
president who was able to justify unpopular actions by citing the imperative of
victory over a cruel enemy. During World War II, however, the AZEC could allevi
ate its frustrations over the failure to influence presidential policy by contemplating
its remarkable success in achieving a position of power and prestige within the
American Jewish community. In 1933, the year Adolf Hitler came to power,
Zionism was just one of several competing ideologies and movements within the
American Jewish community. After the American Jewish Conference, Jewish na
tionalists could, with much justice, claim to be the rightful leaders of the com
munity. By V-E day in 1945, American Zionists, with their Christian allies, had
made substantial progress in bringing the case of Jewish statehood to the general
American public, although they were far from a decisive victory for the “hearts
and minds” of the American public. Many Americans with loved ones in the
armed services were little aware of the plight of European Jewry and the Zionist
solution of the Jewish problem.
AMERICAN LIBERALS AND ZIONISM: A CASE STUDY
Liberalism and Zionism
Unlike many of their compatriots, American liberals seemed to be particularly
sensitive to the “Jewish problem.” Although they were by no means a monolithic
group and could sharply disagree on many crucial factors, “liberals” during the
World War II era generally shared basic values. Most espoused a creed of tolerance
and opposed discrimination and persecution on the basis of race or religion. While
some had flirted with isolationism in the twenties and thirties, the Japanese attack
on Pearl Harbor unified them in the battle against the Axis. During the war, they
devoted considerable thought to how they wished to reconstruct the world after
the Allied victory. Some, like Eleanor Roosevelt, looked forward to the “interna
tionalization” of the New Deal. Many renewed their commitment to a Wilsonian
brand of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. Very few adopted a strictly anti
nationalist stance, although many who viewed nazism as an aberrant form of ex
cessive nationalism believed that love of and commitment to nation had to be
tempered with good sense. Roosevelt and Churchills Atlantic Charter reflected
a liberal sensibility in its commitment to provide all nations with “access on equal
terms to the trade and raw materials . . . needed for their economic prosperity,”


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
and its “desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the
economic field, with the object of securing for all improved labor standards,
economic advancement, and social security.” Anthropologist Margaret Mead’s 1942
ethnography of the American people, And Keep Your Powder Dry, ends with a
blueprint for the postwar world that elaborates upon the Atlantic Charter. Mead
envisioned a world of sovereign nation-states, each recognizing that its prosperity
and security depended on cooperation between all nations. Republican liberal
Wendell Wilkie expressed much the same view in One World:
When I say that peace must be planned on a world basis, I mean quite literally
that it must embrace the earth. Continents and oceans are plainly only parts
of a whole, seen, as I have seen them from the air. England and America
are parts. Russia and China, Egypt, Syria and Turkey, Iraq and Iran are also
parts. And it is inescapable that there can be no peace for any part of the
world unless the foundations of peace are made secure throughout all parts
of the world.
An interest in the development of regional federations and economic unions was
consistent with this world vision, which tended to equate war with unrestricted
international competition and peace with economic cooperation. 66
Partly because of their commitment to tolerance and their opposition to pseudo
scientific racism, liberals were generally more concerned about the plight of Euro
pean Jewry than most of the American public. Columnist Dorothy Thompson
championed the refugees’ cause and attacked Nazi anti-Semitism throughout the
thirties and forties. 67 The New Republic and the Nation, two of the most respected
liberal periodicals of the time, sympathized with the refugees’ plight and forcefully
demanded that the American government take steps to prevent the extermination
of European Jewry. 68
Zionists expected liberals to become an important part of their American con
stituency and, as noted, went to considerable lengths to organize the liberal Chris
tian clergy. In fact, many prominent liberals supported the Jewish national cause.
Robert Wagner, the “father” of the National Labor Relations Act, championed the
Zionist cause in Congress. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes also supported
Jewish nationalism. 69
Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, professor of the Philosophy of Religion at the Union
Theological Seminary, strongly supported the Zionist cause. A world famous Pro
testant theologian and philosopher, Niebuhr served as editor-in-chief of Christianity
and Crisis, a journal committed to furthering the Christian values of humanism
and tolerance in the political world, sat on the editorial board of the Nation, and
was a member of the pro-Zionist American Palestine Committee. Many American
Zionists, perhaps surprised that a leading Christian thinker would join their crusade,
admired Niebuhr. In September 1941, the minister received a tumultuous ovation


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when he told the annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America that
“justice” demanded that the Jews have a homeland. 70
In February 1942, nine months before the American public learned about the
continuing Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe, Niebuhr wrote a two-part essay
for the Nation, “Jews After the War.” Taking a position that David Ben-Gurion and
Abba Hillel Silver would popularize at the Biltmore Conference two months later,
he told the liberal readers of the Nation that the defeat of Hitler would not solve
the problems of the Jewish people. Because the war would leave “millions” of Jews
homeless and “disinherited,” the world would have to provide the Jews with a post
war home. Declaring it “a scandal that the Jews have had so little effective aid
from the rest of us,” the theologian launched a devastating attack against unnamed
liberals who, he claimed, incorrectly evaluated the Jewish problem.
Niebuhr condemned the tolerance of many American liberals, which was “based
upon a false universalism which in practice develops into a new form of national
ism.” There was a “partly unconscious” element of “cultural imperialism” in a
tolerance that welcomed and expected “a complete destruction of all racial distinc
tions.” Assimilation, he noted, was a “painless death,” but it was “death nevertheless.”
Jews, Niebuhr maintained, had a unique position in the American melting pot.
While other ethnic groups could allow themselves to assimilate because their “col
lective will to survive” was “engaged” and “expressed” in their native homeland,
Jews, a people without a country, would lose their collective identity if they chose
to assimilate into liberal and tolerant America.
Zionism expressed the “national will” of Jewry to live. Liberals in particular
and the Allied world in general must accept the Zionist program, which was “cor
rect in principle, however much it may have to be qualified in application.” Niebuhr
explained that “every race finally has a right to a homeland where it will not be
‘different,' where it will neither be patronized by ‘good’ people nor subjected to
calumny by bad people.” 71
Many American liberals, like Niebuhr, sympathized with the suffering Jews of
Europe, but not all followed him into the Zionist ranks. The editors of the Nation,
who published Niebuhr’s pro-Zionist articles, and their colleagues at the New
Republic did not endorse the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. After
the beginning of the Arab revolt in Palestine in 1936 both of these prestigious
liberal journals opened their pages to liberal supporters and critics of the Zionist
enterprise. Both journals appreciated the work of the Yishuv in resettling Jewish
refugees, but they also were genuinely concerned and troubled by Arab opposi
tion to Jewish settlement. 72
Some American liberals questioned whether Palestine could become either a
Jewish state or a mass haven for refugees. In November 1940, Henry Wallace,
the newly elected vice president, told one prominent Zionist to consider using Bra
zil as a haven for Jewish refugees because Palestine was only a little land with


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limited natural resources. 73 Six months later, Wallace argued that Palestine could
not be a solution for the refugee problem because the Holy Land had already
reached its population “saturation” point. Solomon Goldman, president of the Zion
ist Organization of America, feared that most American officials shared Wallace’s
view. 74
In the early years of World War II, as Zionist activities in the United States
intensified, Jewish nationalists decided to confront the fears of Henry Wallace.
An American Christian stood at the center of the new Zionist strategy. Dr. Walter
Clay Lowdermilk, one of America’s leading soil conservationists and assistant chief
of the United States Agriculture Department’s Soil Conservation Service, visited
the Middle East in 1938 and 1939, on an official study of land use in the region 75
As he traveled through the Middle East, he despaired to see the “repugnant
evidences of deadly soil erosion superseding the results of skill and land use dur
ing previous centuries.” 76 Lowdermilk’s mood brightened when he discovered the
three hundred Jewish settlements of Palestine, where he found refugees from Euro
pean persecution defying all hardship and “applying the principle of cooperation
and soil conservation to the old Land of Israel.” 77 His experience in Palestine
moved Lowdermilk to suggest that an eleventh commandment be added to the
ancient ten. Speaking on Palestine’s radio network in June 1939, the American
soil conservationist proclaimed: “Thou shalt inherit the holy earth as a faithful
steward conserving its resources and productivity from generation to generation. . . .
If any shall fail in this stewardship of the land, thy fruitful fields shall
become . . . wasting gullies and thy descendants shall decrease and live in poverty
or perish from the face of the earth.” 78
Lowdermilk’s enchantment with the Jewish pioneers and his conviction that con
tinued scientific development would allow Palestine to absorb millions of Jewish
refugees, attracted the attention of American Zionists. Emanuel Neumann con
tacted Lowdermilk and happily discovered that the soil conservationist was willing
to write a book about Palestine’s development prospects. 79 Zionist leaders agreed
to provide Lowdermilk with technical and financial assistance and assumed respon
sibility for finding a suitable publisher for the planned volume. 80
Lowdermilk’s plan for a huge irrigation and hydroelectric project in the Jordan
Valley fascinated Neumann. 81 The project would be modeled on the New Deal’s
Tennessee Valley Authority and would accordingly be named the Jordan Valley
Authority (J.V.A.). Lowdermilk informed Neumann that the J.V.A. would allow five
million Jewish refugees to settle in Palestine. 82 With this prospect in mind, Neu
mann took steps to begin planning for the eventual construction of the J.V.A. project. 83
Even before the publication of his book, Lowdermilk was playing an important
role in the Zionist campaign. He appeared as a witness before the House Commit
tee on Foreign Affairs in February 1944, testifying on Palestine’s ability to absorb
a great number of Jewish refugees without displacing the Arab population. 84 Zionists


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used Lowdermilk’s work to argue that the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine
would be practical as well as just. Emanuel Neumann expected that liberals would
be particularly impressed by Lowdermilk. The J.V.A. offered, Neumann remarked,
“a new approach to the problem of Palestine and one that is peculiarly suited to
the American mind.” It would “attract wide support on the part of many who would
naturally resent a direct political approach. Politically speaking, it may be re
garded as a flanking movement of a most promising character—one of the most
significant contributions ever made to Political Zionism.” 85
According to an agreement Neumann negotiated with Harpers Brothers, Lowder
milk’s publisher, the American Zionist Emergency Council financed a promotional
campaign for Palestine: Land of Promise. 86 The AZEC arranged for magazines
and newspapers to print reviews. 87 George W. Norris, the “father” of the T.V.A.,
bestowed his blessings on the Jordan Valley Authority in the Nation. 88 Within a
year, Palestine: Land of Promise went through seven printings, producing a total
of sixteen thousand copies. Zionists distributed fifteen hundred gratis copies to
congressmen, government officials, educational and religious leaders, journalists,
diplomats, and state and local politicians. 89 By the end of 1945, the text appeared
in Hebrew and Spanish translations, while the Jewish Morning Journal printed
a serialized Yiddish version of the book. 90
Lowdermilk’s success delighted Zionist leaders. At Stephen Wise’s suggestion,
the American Palestine Committee organized a large testimonial dinner in the soil
conservationist’s honor. 91 The Mutal Broadcasting System broadcast portions of
the testimonial including a call for a Jewish state. Prominent public officials at
tended the dinner including T.V.A. chairman David Lilienthal and Undersecretary
of the Interior Abe Fortas. Neumann wrote that the continued “propagandization”
of the Jordan Valley Authority scheme would “not only win new friends for our
movement in areas in which we have very few friends, but will . . . offset the ques
tions as to the absorptive capacity of Palestine with which we are continuously
confronted.” 92
By November 1942, Zionists had undertaken substantial steps to win the sup
port of liberal America. Reinhold Niebuhr had presented an elaborate pro-Zionist
argument aimed specifically at a progressive audience. Walter Lowdermilk’s work
seemed to be especially promising. At the end of November, however, a tragic out
side event interjected itself into the Zionist-liberal relationship when Americans
learned about the Nazis’ systematic extermination of European Jewry.
Liberals, Zionists, and the Rescue of the European Jews
Unlike many Americans, liberals quickly acknowledged and bemoaned what
Alfred Kazin termed “our silent complicity in the massacre of the Jews.” 93 The


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
New Republic reported in its December 7th edition that Hitler considered the “an
nihilation" of the Jews the most important Nazi goal. 94 Two weeks later, the journal
published a long article on the Holocaust written by Varian Fry. A journalist and
frequent contributor to the New Republic (he would later serve on the magazine’s
editorial board). Fry had worked for thirteen months in Vichy France, legally and
illegally aiding Jews to escape Hitler’s reach. 95 In his essay. Fry, remembering
the false atrocity stories of World War I, acknowledged that it was difficult to be
lieve the stories of systematic slaughter. But convinced that the terrible news was
true, he urged Franklin Roosevelt to publicly threaten to punish individuals par
ticipating in the extermination and suggested that the United States offer asylum
to those few Jews who could escape Europe. 96
On December 19, 1942, the Nations editors recommended that the Vatican
intercede on the Jews' behalf and that Franklin Roosevelt condemn the Nazi
murders. 97 By the end of February 1943, the magazine was charging the Allied
governments with near complicity in European Jewry’s demise. The Jews, an edi
torial stated, needed more help and less pity, “for when definite measures are
proposed to help the victims . . . the State Department and the British Foreign
Office, though ever so politely, turn away.” 98 In March, Freda Kirchwey, the pub
lisher and chief editor of the Nation, warned that an Allied victory might not save
European Jewry. “It is not fantastic to believe that even when Hitler is overthrown,
he will find profound compensation in leaving behind him a Europe ‘cleansed’
of the hated Jew.” If the Jew perished, the United States would be guilty of abetting
the Nazi murders in their heinous crime. Kirchway mourned: “If we had behaved
like humane and generous people instead of complacent, cowardly ones, the two
million Jews lying today in the earth of Poland . . . would be alive and safe. And
other millions yet to die would have found sanctuary. We had it in our power to
rescue this doomed people and we did not lift a hand to do it.” 99
Zionists attempted to shape the liberal response to the Holocaust. During Janu
ary and February 1943, the Nation published a series of four articles by Zionist
publicist Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein. The first essay appeared less than two months
after news of the Holocaust reached the American public. 100 Repeating a standard
Zionist argument, Bernstein noted that while the Jews were the “worst victims
of the war” anti-Semitism endangered all Europeans. For centuries tyrants had
used Jew hatred to maintain the loyalty of the masses and to justify conquest. He
warned that a peace treaty that did not provide a solution for the Jewish problem
could not effectively ensure peace and stability in Europe. Jews would again become
the first victims of would-be dictators and conquerors.
Bernstein’s second essay focused on European Jewry’s “frightful dilemma.” 101
Allied victories would not necessarily lead to Jewish salvation. Every German defeat
seemed to infuriate the Nazis who then “perpetrated new pogroms.” Recognizing
that only England and the United States had the resources and power to prevent


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the Jews’ destruction, Bernstein proposed a seven-point Allied rescue plan, calling
on Great Britain to open Palestine’s doors to at least the number of refugees al
lowed under the White Paper. The Allies, he demanded, should also allow stateless
and Palestinian Jews to form Jewish military units and should immediately an
nounce that the Jews “will have a hearing in the councils of the United Nations.”
The magnitude of Hitler’s persecution horrified Bernstein, but he refused to
label the attempted extermination of European Jewry an “aberration” born in the
mind of a mad dictator. Rather, in a third article, 102 anticipating the major theme
of Abba Hillel Silver’s epic address to the American Jewish Conference, Bernstein
argued that the mass murder was “the logical culmination of the whole history
of the Jews in Europe.” To escape the threat of postwar pogroms, Jews, particularly
the East Europeans who had little contact with their Christian neighbors, would
have to emigrate. He regretfully reported that there was little support for opening
the doors of the United States to Jewish refugees. Many Americans expected that
the country’s postwar capacities and resources would be severely strained by the
need to absorb millions of returning soldiers. While he hoped for an eventual
liberalization of the American immigration quotas, Bernstein suggested that large-
scale Jewish immigration to Palestine would be a bold and practical solution to
the Jewish problem.
Bernstein concluded his series of essays with a powerful defense of Zionism that
glorified Jewish accomplishments in Palestine. 103 Most Palestinian Jews were farm
ers and workers, not merchants and middlemen like their Diaspora ancestors and
brethren. Americans could identify with these “new Jews” who had “much in com
mon with the frontiersmen who cleared the wilderness and built the first settle
ments on the North American continent.” An attachment to Palestine’s soil gave
Jews there “a quiet strength and courage denied to the harried restless Jews in
Europe.”
Bernstein, like most Zionists, believed that only a few American Jews would
choose to settle in Palestine. Nevertheless, he announced that Palestine could still
help ensure the security and safety of American Jewry. Every European Jew who
went to the Holy Land reduced the pressure on the United States to settle refugees
within its own borders. This pressure, Bernstein warned, threatened to incite anti-
Semites within the United States.
Aiming his comments at his liberal audience, Bernstein maintained that the
Zionist development of Palestine benefited the native Arab population, and he cited
the work of Lowdermilk to prove that millions of Jews could settle in the Holy Land
without displacing any Arabs. He asserted, however, that Zionism would still be
justified even if some Arabs were displaced. Jews needed Palestine more than
the Arabs did, for there was “no Arab problem in the sense that there is a Jewish
problem.” The Arabs did not have to fear brutal extermination, and they pos
sessed more land than they could possibly settle.


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Eleven weeks after the final installment of his Nation series, Bernsteins appeal
to American liberals appeared in abridged form in the New Republic. 10 * He re
peated many of the points he made in the earlier series and wrote that “it would
be an injustice to the Arabs not to expose them to the inspiration and the example
of Jewish social idealism and scientific progress in Palestine.”
The continuing murder of European Jewry seemed to strengthen Bernstein’s
argument. As the Nazi extermination plan progressed, liberal concern for Euro
pean Jewry began to dwarf consideration of Zionism’s perceived drawbacks. The
Arab population of Palestine was not forgotten, but secular liberal journals began
to demand that Britain disregard Arab opposition of Jewish settlement and allow
any Jew who could escape into Palestine.
The New Republic printed a nineteen-page special rescue supplement in August
1943. 105 The journal asked Americans to realize that “the fate of the Jewish peo
ple is one of the issues of the war.” 106 If World War II was to be a crusade for
peace and humanitarian idealism and not a struggle for national power, the United
States had to attempt the rescue of European Jewry. The New Republic’s editors
suggested many steps to alleviate Jewish suffering in Europe and paid particular
attention to Palestine’s central role in any rescue strategy. One article asserted that
due to the hard work of Zionist pioneers, the Holy Land could provide homes
for at least two million refugees, if only the British would reverse their inhumane
White Paper policy. The essay acknowledged, however, that the final decision on
Palestine’s political future would have to await the war’s conclusion. 107
Arab-Americans tried, with difficulty, to argue against unrestricted Jewish im
migration to Palestine. In a letter to the New Republic, Jabir Shibli of the State
College of Pennsylvania accused Jewish nationalists of being “more interested in
the conquest of Palestine from the Arabs . . . than they are in saving the Jews from
Nazi persecution.” The Palestine Zionist was an “alien” who used British power
to master Palestine, an Arab land. The persecution of Jewry was a “disgrace,” he
conceded, and everyone had to be willing to sacrifice to put an end to European
Jewry’s suffering. Palestine, however, had already done its humanitarian duty by
absorbing nearly five hundred thousand Jewish refugees. Any further growth in
Zionist strength in Palestine, he feared, would hinder legitimate Arab aspirations
for “independence” and “unification.” 108
Arab nationalists in the United States were not formidable opponents to the
American Zionist campaign for liberal support. However, even as the Zionist educa
tion campaign continued in full force, some influential American liberals began
to adopt positions on the Jewish problem that potentially threatened the successful
establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Most disturbingly for Zionists, several
liberals seemed to be attracted to the “heretical” ideas of Peter Bergson.
Although the Palestinian Irgun was a right-wing organization, Bergson and his
Irgun associates won a surprising level of support from American progressives.


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Dean Alfange, a New York Labor party leader, served as co-chairman of the
Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe (ECSJPE) until his
resignation in the summer of 1944. The presidents of the American Federation
of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations gave at least nominal support
to the Bergson rescue committee. The New York Post, at that time a strong sup
porter of liberal and left-wing causes, was the ECSJPE’s closest media ally. Bergson
maintained a very cordial relationship with Ted Thackrey, the Post's managing
editor, and the newspaper, in turn, strongly endorsed the program of the ECSJPE.
When the Zionist establishment launchd a concerted attack against the Bergsonites
in 1944, the Post carried an extremely favorable feature story on Bergson. 109
Other prominent liberal journals never embraced the ECSJPE with the same
warmth as the New York Post. In fact, a March 1943 New Republic editorial
sharply criticized the Irgun’s brand of right-wing Zionism without specifically nam
ing Bergson and his organization. 110 Despite this, the “Bergson Boys” (as their
opponents called them) managed to have some input into the magazines that both
reflected and helped to mold liberal thought.
The ECSJPE made extensive use of full-page newspaper and magazine adver
tisements. During World War II the organization ran many advertisements in liberal
journals. These ads, some written by Hollywood script writer Ben Hecht, caught
the publics attention with such stirring headlines as: “HITLER’S ENEMY NO.
1 MUST BE RECOGNIZED AS OUR ALLY NO. 1”; “HOW WELL ARE YOU
SLEEPING?”; “TIME RACES DEATH-WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?”;
“ONE VICTORY FOR HITLER?”" 1
Many American liberals, like the Bergson group, were primarily concerned with
the immediate rescue of European Jewry. They recognized Zionist leaders as legiti
mate representatives of American Jewry, but naturally found themselves attracted
to certain aspects of the ECSJPE’s program.
On November 9, 1943, Congressmen Will Rogers, Jr., and Joseph B. Baldwin
and Senator Guy M. Gillette, all supporters of Peter Bergson, introduced congres
sional resolutions calling for the creation of a United States Commission to Save
the Jewish People of Europe. The Zionist-dominated American Jewish Conference
charged that the resolutions were introduced in “complete disregard” of the rescue
programs of “representative” Jewish organizations. 112 In spite of this formidable
opposition, the Nation's editorial staff saw fit to support the rescue agency resolu
tion. The journal attacked the American government’s inaction and callousness
toward the murders in Europe and asked Congress to establish an agency that
would “help save the stateless Jews of occupied Europe who have no government
to speak for them.” 113
On several other occasions, liberal positions coincided with those of the Berg
son Boys and conflicted with the interests of the American Zionist establishment.
The American Zionist Emergency Council had its own set of resolutions intro-


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
duced in Congress in early 1944. If passed, they would have expressed the
legislature's support for the creation of a Jewish commonwealth. The New York
Post, reflecting Bergson’s view, opposed the Zionist resolutions because they politi
cized the rescue issue. 114 The editors of the New Republic endorsed the Post and
recommended that the resolutions be modified to ask only for a “temporary re
fuge” in Palestine for those Jews whose “alternative” was death. Because the tem
porary refuge proposal would not affect the Holy Land’s future political status,
the liberal editors confessed, “We don’t see how even the Arabs or the War Depart
ment can legitimately object to this action.” 115
Bergson and his colleagues spent the summer of 1944 campaigning for the
establishment of emergency refugee shelters in Palestine. Under their plan, Jew
ish refugees admitted to the shelters would have no legal right to remain in Pales
tine once the war ended. 1 lft The emergency shelter scheme offered a way around
Britain’s restrictive immigration policy, but American Zionists vehemently opposed
it. The idea of Jews being treated as refugees in their “national home” was too
painful for Jewish nationalists. 117 The Nation's Freda Kirchwey, however, could con
template the possibility without great anguish. 11B
Liberals and Binationalism
Liberal deviation from the rescue strategy of pursuing Jewish statehood troubled
Zionist leaders. The tendency of some liberals to adopt the binationalist cause
when they became interested in a Palestinian solution to the Jewish problem fur
ther disturbed Jewish nationalists.
The idea of a binational Arab-Jewish state in Palestine did not originate in the
forties. In 1925, Brith Shalom, a Palestinian Jewish organization, advocated the
creation of a state where Jews and Arabs would share power equally. Each people
would be guaranteed equal rights and cultural autonomy. Brith Shalom never at
tracted many members, but it included some of Palestine’s leading intellectuals.
The remarkable Judah Magnes led the organization. An American by birth, a
Reform rabbi by vocation, and a nonconformist by inclination, Magnes pioneered
community work among East European Jewish immigrants crowded into New York’s
Lower East Side. His pacifism compromised his position as a communal leader
during the patriotically intolerant days of World War I. Shortly after the armistice,
Magnes moved to Palestine, becoming chancellor of the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem. 119
Most American Zionists opposed the binational state idea. Their hostility inten
sified after May 1942, when Zionist leaders at the Biltmore Hotel decided that their
common goal would be the immediate postwar establishment of a Jewish com
monwealth in Palestine. When Magnes resuscitated the defunct Brith Shalom


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organization (now to be called Ihud) in the early forties, Jewish nationalist leaders
prepared to do battle with him. 120
Magnes presented his program to American liberals at the end of 1944, in
a long letter published in the Nation.' 21 His concept of a binational state linked
to a larger regional federation appealed to liberals concerned with regionalism
and internationalism. With an insight that proved to be all too prophetic, Magnes
warned that any attempt to turn Palestine into either an Arab or Jewish state would
lead to war. If bloodshed was to be avoided, large numbers of Jews would have
to be allowed into Palestine, and Arab fears of being dominated by a Jewish ma
jority would have to be allayed. A binational state was the logical solution to this
perplexing riddle. In such a state, to be based loosely on the Swiss model, Arabs
and Jews would share political power and each group would be assured of equal
rights. Magnes proposed that an additional half-million Jews be allowed to enter
Palestine. This influx would give the half-million Jews already in Palestine numerical
parity with the country’s million Arabs. He stipulated, however, that the Jewish
rate of entrance should be determined by the economic absorptive capacity of
Palestine. After this initial influx of Jews, immigration would continue at a pace
designed to offset the higher Arab birthrate. Thus, neither Arabs nor Jews could
hope to achieve a majority in the state. Arab fears of being dominated by Jews
would be further assuaged by the creation of a larger union (or federation) of bina
tional Palestine, Transjordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Magnes believed that this pro
gram would provide both Arabs and Jews with a sense of security and that the
binational framework would allow both peoples to build bonds and mutual trust.
The Zionist leadership wasted little time in countering Magnes’s presentation. 122
Attorney Bernard Joseph, a Jewish Agency adviser, called the binational scheme
“unrealistic.” In a letter to the Nation, he argued that giving Jews and Arabs equal
political power in Palestine would only result in continual stalemate, while the other
Arab nations would probably refuse to join the federation that Magnes proposed. 123
Magnes’s concern with Jewish immigration to Palestine, Joseph wrote, ignored the
major issue, which was to give every Jew who desired it, the right to enter the
Holy Land by putting an end to the national homelessness of the Jewish people.
Magnes’s second major error was to base his program on fear of the Arabs. Arab
disapproval or protest should not be allowed to interfere with a just solution to
the Jewish problem because the conflict was not between the Jews and Arabs of
Palestine, but between the Jewish and Arab peoples. The Arabs already had six
independent countries, why couldn’t the Jews have at least one? Most Arabs op
posed binationalism, Joseph concluded, and Jews would also refuse to support
Magnes, who, in spite of living in Palestine for more than two decades, still failed
to understand its Jewish community.
Despite the Zionist attack on Magnes, binationalism succeeded in winning some
American support. The binational idea’s foundation on the ideals of tolerance and


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
cooperation especially appealed to American liberals who hoped that it would
militate against the dangers of excessive nationalism. The plan to link Palestine
to a larger Middle Eastern federation attracted those liberals who, as late as 1945,
continued to look forward to a postwar world reconstructed on the cornerstones
of regionalism and internationalism.
Former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles was among the few State Depart
ment veterans to sympathize with the suffering of European Jewry and the goals
of the Zionist movement. In The Time for Decision, published in 1944, Welles
supported the creation of a Jewish National Home in Palestine and expressed great
confidence in the leadership abilities of Chaim Weizmann. 124 But Welles also wrote
that he was convinced that a solution to the Arab-Jewish problem would be found
“along the lines proposed by Judah Magnes.” Welles suggested that an interna
tional organization (the United Nations) temporarily supervise the regional federa
tion Magnes proposed to create. 125
The editors of the New Republic also believed that the binational solution would
provide a basis for Jewish-Arab compromise and peace. The magazine called a
rumored Arab compromise offer in the winter of 1945, the “most interesting and
important development in Palestinian racial relations in a long time.” Under the
plan, reportedly proposed by Arab foreign ministers, enough Jews would be al
lowed into Palestine to create numerical parity with Moslems in the country. The
balance of power would be held by Palestine’s small Christian Arab population.
The New Republic conceded that Zionists who insisted on the creation of a Jewish
state would object to the Arab proposal, however the magazine found hope in the
plan’s striking similarity to Judah Magnes’s binational state proposal. 126
I. F. Stone, a prominent liberal journalist and long-time Washington editor of
the Nation, also supported binationalism. Stone, however, was not an early follower
of Magnes. In fact, his adoption of the binational state idea came after he had
seemingly adopted the Jewish state solution. Writing about the Jewish problem
in March 1944, Stone carefully avoided any mention of statehood in Palestine and
expressed support only for the creation of a nondefined “Jewish national home.”
He charged that British and American foreign policy makers opposed Zionism
because they feared that Jewish settlement of Palestine would lead to a war that
could jeopardize the continued flow of Middle Eastern oil. He believed, as did
many Zionists, that the State Department and Foreign Office preferred to deal with
neo-feudal Arab leaders who did not represent the best interests of their people
rather than with the Jews of Palestine who were committed to democracy and anti
colonialism. English and American selfishness had deadly consequences, he ex
plained, as both governments attempted to appease the Arabs by restricting immi
gration to Palestine while the Jews of Europe, a people without a refuge, continued
to be shipped to Nazi slaughterhouses. 127
Soon after World War II, Stone’s opinions underwent a metamorphosis when


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he visited Palestine and personally confronted the Arab-Jewish conflict. He risked
displeasing American Jewry and wrote back to the States that “we have been car
rying on a campaign in America on the basis of half-truths.” Zionists were correct
in claiming that there was room in Palestine for millions of Jewish refugees and
that the Arab population had progressed because of Jewish settlement. But, Stone
warned, no Jew he talked to could identify an Arab who wanted to live in a Jewish
state. This was not surprising, he noted, because “it should not be hard to under
stand the natural dislike of any human being for being ruled by another people
or his unwillingness to trust himself to such rule.” At the beginning of his stay
in Palestine, partitioning Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states seemed
to be the only practical solution to this dilemma. Carefully noting the arguments
Zionists would use against partition, Stone argued:
I know there are other Arab states, while there is only one possibility for a
Jewish state; I know that proposals to divide Palestine into two national states,
put forward several times by Jewish sources, have fallen on stony ground. Never
theless, despite present public utterances by the leadership of both sides, I
think that a division on these lines ... is ethically right and politically feasible
and would be acceptable to a great majority of Jews and Arabs if it were im
posed from above by Anglo-American or United Nations decision. 128
When he left Palestine, Stone declared that he no longer favored the creation
of a Jewish state. He had discovered a major defect in Jewish nationalist ideology,
which he identified as a “failure to take into account the feelings and aspirations
of the Palestinian Arab.” While Zionists had not hurt the Arabs, they had made
them feel excluded. He happily reported though that relations between Jews and
Arabs were not as bad as he had first thought and that the Arab “does not fear
the Jew, ... he fears being dominated by him.” If this fear could be allayed, Jew
ish and Arab cooperation would develop and mature. Stone concluded that the
fairest solution to the Palestine problem was to establish a binational state that
would exist within a larger Middle Eastern federation. 129
I. F. Stone, Sumner Welles, and some other American liberals who were ex
tremely concerned with the plight of European Jewry, found it difficult to fully
accept the Biltmore formula of Jewish statehood. Even while agreeing to a Pales
tinian solution of the Jewish problem, they could not totally forget that another
people claimed the Holy Land as their own. The war against fascism was for many
liberals a fight against the excesses of nationalism. The future world that they were
sacrificing for would be based on cooperation not competition, justice not strength,
tolerance not hate, and pluralism not ethnocentrism. The concept of a binational
state allowed some liberals to express their concern for European Jewry while main
taining their tolerant stance of internationalism.


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
The Zionist Counterattack
Weaning American liberals away from their neo-universalist convictions was not
an easy task for American Zionists. Individuals like I. F. Stone were often stub
born, and Zionist influence on them was always limited. However, the liberal ten
dency to flirt with binationalism on the one hand and to accept Bergsonite posi
tions on the other did not cripple efforts to build support for Jewish nationalism.
The American Zionist Emergency Council continued to denounce the Magnes plan,
and Zionists continued to link the rescue of European Jewry with the need for a
Jewish state. The bond connecting salvation from Hitler’s hell with Jewish Palestine
was extremely effective when personalized, as it was in a September 1944 essay
written by Gerold Frank.
Frank, a professional journalist and occasional contributor to the Nation, was
sympathetic to Zionism and maintained close contact with American Zionist organiza
tions. While visiting Palestine, Frank met with Jewish children who had escaped
the Nazi deathtrap. Many were the sole surviving members of their families and
their tales, as related by Frank, were horrifying. The children owed their lives,
he explained, to the executive branch of the Zionist movement, the Jewish Agency
for Palestine, which had negotiated the childrens rescue. While most of the world
reluctantly accepted refugees, the Jewish community of Palestine enthusiastically
welcomed the European survivors. Palestine gave these demoralized and despondent
victims of Hitlers persecution a new sense of purpose, mission, and self-worth. 1 '’ 0
Shortly after the publication of Frank’s article. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise also
centered an appeal to American liberals around the Holocaust. In common with
other Zionists, Wise linked the extermination of European Jewry with the need
for a Jewish state, but his approach differed from that of Frank and previewed
a theme that would be used much more widely by Jewish nationalists after the
war’s end. Attempting to come to terms with the awful dimensions of the Holo
caust, the rabbi argued that Jewish statehood was not simply a means to the rescue
of the Jewry, but was a form of just reparation for the heinous crimes committed
against his people.
In an address to a conference organized by the Nation, Wise proclaimed that
the United States as well as Germany had to accept responsibility for Hitler’s
genocide. Washington was guilty of “assenting” to Hitler's persecution of the Jews,
he said, “as witnessed ... by the non-organization in any real sense of rescue
and of migration.” He applauded the work of the War Refugee Board established
by Franklin Roosevelt in January 1944, but he realistically noted that even that
measure was “too little and ... too late.” Great Britain too must also accept its
fair share of the blame for cruelly putting Palestine, which could have been a haven
for the oppressed, off limits. Speaking for the remnants of the Jewish people. Wise
asked the Allies, at the war’s conclusion, to allow the Zionists to establish a corn-


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monwealth in Palestine. “My people,” he implored, “deserve reparation from a
Christian world if there be a Christian world.” 131
In the years after World War II, Wises argument would prove to be an im
portant factor in Zionism’s success. During the war, American Zionists had made
significant progress in their campaign to win liberal support for Jewsh statehood.
Liberals were more aware than most Americans of Hitler’s persecution of Euro
pean Jewry. When the Nazis moved from discrimination and expropriation of
wealth to genocide, progressive-minded Americans suffered mental anguish. In
a world filled with war and horror, Jews seemed to be suffering much more than
most. Believing that the war against Hitler was a crusade in defense of progres
sive and humanitarian values, many liberals wanted the Allies to do something
to save those awaiting slaughter. To do less would nullify the Allies’ claim to be
fighting for mankind.
Increased liberal concern for Jewry’s sad plight coincided with the Zion
ists assumption of American Jewish community leadership. Zionist organizations
claimed to be the legitimate representatives of American and European Jewry,
and liberal opinion makers accorded them increased respect. Liberal concern
for Palestine’s Arab population continued, but it was generally superseded by a
wish to provide Jewish refugees with at least one haven.
Zionists, however, did not succeed in gaining full liberal support during
World War II. I. F. Stone, for example, agreed that Palestine had a role to play
in the Jewish future, but he opposed the establishment of a Jewish state. Other
liberals questioned the Zionist claim that Jewish statehood was inextricably linked
to the rescue and salvation of European Jewry. Two months after V-J Day, a New
Republic editorial demanded that all the survivors of the Nazi death camps be
allowed into Palestine. 132 The editorial also argued that Zionist demands for a
Jewish state complicated the job of getting the refugees to Palestine. The article
bluntly concluded:
The editors of the New Republic are not and cannot be Zionists. They believe
that the Zionists ill serve the cause of human decency when they raise the
issue of Jewish nationalism and a Jewish state in Palestine. Nor are they im
pressed by Arab nationalism. ... all of these matters are secondary to the
immediate and practical job of bringing the Jews of Europe —those who want
to go—to the only place where they are really welcome, Palestine.
After receiving angry letters complaining about its editorial, the New Republic
acknowledged that the British and Arabs “ill serve the cause of human decency”
by using the Jewish survivors of Nazism as a “political football.” But the journal
maintained that, just because Arab nationalism and British imperialism were wrong,
did not mean that the “Zionist demand for a Jewish state is right.” Reasserting
their position, the editors wrote: “From the liberal point of view, nationalism—the


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Zionists do not deny their nationalist objectives—and sovereign independence are
hardly adequate solutions in the modern world, regardless of whether they are
advocated by nascent nationalists like the Zionists or articulate Arab elements or
by dying nationalists like our own isolationists or British imperialists.'’ 133


151
THE TRIUMPH OF
AMERICAN ZIONISM
AMERICAN ZIONISTS CONFRONT THE POSTWAR WORLD
Adolf Hitler's suicide in April 1945 and the American Army Air Corps’
bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August brought World War II
to a close. On V-J Day thousands of Americans celebrated the end of
a long and costly conflict. American Zionists joined in the rejoicing, but
they understood that their war was far from over. By the summer of 1945,
Zionists could legitimately claim to be the leaders of America’s five million
Jews. The Zionist Organization of America and Hadassah, the two largest
American Zionist groups, claimed a combined membership of 315,000.
Nearly half a million American Jews belonged to some form of Zionist
organization. 1 Segments of the general American public, the targets of
a steady stream of Zionist produced propaganda, were beginning to
acknowledge the justice and logic of Jewish nationalism. The Jewish state,
however, still did not exist, and the British authorities at the end of the
war remained firm in their opposition to the Zionist program.
Several new and important factors confronted American Zionists
after the surrender of the German and Japanese forces. On the do
mestic political front, Zionists found themselves confronting a new Amer
ican president. On April 12, 1945, as Allied armies were advancing
through Germany, Franklin Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Stephen Wise forwarded the American Zionist Emergency Council’s
condolences to the president’s widow. Wise considered Roosevelt to be
a friend and believed that he “deeply sympathized with my people and
their aspirations.” The elderly rabbi found it impossible to blame the pres
ident for American policies that injured the Zionist cause. To associates
and subordinates he explained that the “anti-Zionist” State Department


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was not following Roosevelt’s directives, that “he plans and recommends one
course; they execute another.” 2
Other Zionist leaders did not share Wise’s dismay at Roosevelt's passing. Publicly,
they expressed their sorrow, acknowledging Roosevelt’s greatness as a leader dur
ing depression and war. Privately, they realized that the Zionist task would be eased
by his passing. Nahum Coldmann admired Roosevelt as a humanitarian but recog
nized that the president’s commitment to political Zionism and the creation of a
Jewish state was weak. Emanuel Neumann, unlike Stephen Wise, believed that
the State Department’s anti-Zionist bias reflected Roosevelt’s position and reported
that Abba Hillel Silver was “thoroughly disillusioned and disgusted with the tac
tics of the White House and the State Department.” 3
During his presidency Roosevelt was an obstacle for American Zionists. Shortly
before his death, Roosevelt, returning from the Yalta conference, stopped in Cairo
to confer with Saudi Arabia’s ruler Ibn Sa’ud. After the meeting, Roosevelt, to the
dismay of Zionist leaders, commented: “I learned more about the whole prob
lem, . . . the Jewish problem, by talking with Ibn Sa’ud for five minutes than I
could have learned in an exchange of two or three dozen letters.” Despite their
concern, there was little that Zionists could do to Roosevelt. His overwhelming
popularity with American Jews made any Zionist threat of political retaliation ap
pear empty if not ludicrous. This immunity from attack was not transferred with
the White House to Roosevelt’s successor. Harry Truman, who had not forged
strong ties to the Zionist organizations during his political career, attempted to de
vise a Palestine policy that would satisfy some of the demands of the Jews, Arabs,
and British. To his dismay he found himself under intense attack from a Zionist
community that now discovered itself free to unleash sill its impressive political
weapons against the White House’s occupant. 4
Zionists also found themselves confronting a new power alignment in the Con
gress following the elections of 1946. After more than a decade of Democratic
domination. Republicans gained control of the Senate and House of Represen
tatives. This development increased the importance of Abba Hillel Silver within
the Zionist leadership, as he was one of the few American Jewish leaders to have
intimate contacts with the national leadership of the Republican Party. Silver was
on particularly good terms with Senator Robert Taft from his home state of Ohio. 5
American Zionists also found a new political leadership in London after World
War II. In the summer of 1945, to the surprise of the world, the British Labor
party succeeded in gaining a majority in Parliament. Clement Attlee took Winston
Churchill’s place at 10 Downing Street, and Ernest Bevin assumed command of
the Foreign Ministry. At first, Zionists assumed that the Labor party would support
the creation of a Jewish state. As an opposition party, Labor had supported the
Zionist program and had opposed the White Paper of 1939. To the chagrin of
American and world Zionists, however. Labor leaders abandoned their pro-Zionist


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Triumph of American Zionism
position once they assumed control of Parliament, and the new cabinet announced
that it would continue to restrict Jewish immigration to Palestine. 6
American Zionists were at least able to confront the postwar situation with a
united leadership dedicated to vigorous action. Near the end of 1944, tensions
within the top echelons of the American movement had threatened to destroy Zion
ist unity. Abba Hillel Silver was a talented political leader. His colleagues respected
his gifts, but many found it impossible to like the man. Silver’s fiery temper and
lack of personal charm disturbed many of his associates. After becoming cochair
man of the AZEC in August 1943, Silver and Nahum Goldmann, the director
of the Washington office of the Jewish Agency, squared off in a bitter jurisdictional
dispute over who would have authority for carrying on Zionist diplomatic work
in America. Although there was little love lost between Silver and Goldmann, their
differences seemed trivial when compared to the tenuous relationship that existed
between Silver and Stephen Wise. Following the American Jewish Conference, the
two leaders of the AZEC were able to work out a viable but uneasy partnership.
By the end of 1944, however, the two rabbis found themselves moving in entirely
different directions. Silver, a Republican, believed that Wise’s allegiance to Franklin
Roosevelt undermined the effectiveness of the American Zionist lobby. Wise trusted
Roosevelt’s decency and refused to sanction Silver’s attacks on the president and
his administration. In December 1944, the two chairmen of the AZEC resigned
their posts. Wise, supported by the leadership of Hadassah and Poale Zion as
well as by Israel Goldstein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, then
assumed the undivided leadership of the AZEC. 7
Silver and his loyal lieutenant Emanuel Neumann left the AZEC but did not
turn their backs on the Zionist movement. With their followers, Neumann and Sil
ver began to gather support for Silver’s return to power. Realizing that a large por
tion of the Zionist rank and file remained loyal to Silver and that his political skills
and energy were irreplaceable, the AZEC welcomed him back as its leader in
July 1945. During the postwar years Silver forged a strong alliance with David
Ben-Gurion, who in 1946 finally succeeded in ousting Chaim Weizmann to become
the undisputed leader of the international Zionist movement. The two men, one
a socialist pioneer, the other a Republican rabbi, would engineer and execute a
militant campaign that succeeded in establishing the State of Israel in May 1948. 8
Before the Jewish state could be created, American Zionists had to deal with
one of the most tragic results of World War II. Following the German surrender,
it became apparent that the Nazi murder machine had been more efficient than
anyone had expected. Of the nearly 3.5 million Polish Jews alive when German
armies invaded their country in 1939, a mere fifty thousand survived to see the
defeat of their tormenters. Only 14 percent of the Jews of Holland were alive on
V-E Day. The Jews of Hungary, a German satellite state, were “lucky” enough to
be among the last Jewish communities dispatched to the extermination camps.


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
They suffered a mortality rate of 50 percent. Postwar studies revealed that Hitler’s
henchmen had murdered between five and six million Jewish men, women, and
children. 9
The magnitude of the Nazi slaughter did not cause Zionists to question the
policies they had pursued during the war. Shortly before V-E Day, even as the
shocking number of Jewish dead was becoming ever more apparent, David Ben-
Gurion lamented that, had a Jewish state in Palestine existed, the Nazis would
never have exterminated European Jewry. Almost two years earlier, Emanuel
Neumann and other American Zionists had made the same point at the American
Jewish Conference. Senator Robert Wagner, a staunch Zionist ally, explained that
the death of six million Jews was “a tragic and conclusive demonstration of the
necessity for a Jewish Homeland.” 10
Judith Epstein, president of Hadassah, believed that Zionist efforts in Palestine
had eased the pain of European Jewry during their imprisonment and torture.
Shortly after meeting with some death camp survivors, Epstein told an American
Zionist audience that:
They had not been afraid to die because they knew that life was good and
because they believed life was worth living with dignity and with beauty . . .
and what made life beautiful? The fact that there was a Palestine; that the
Jews could look forward if not to personal happiness, to future happiness for
their descendants, that there would be a collective Jewish future which was
well worth dying for.
Other American Zionists shared Epstein’s view that Hitler’s Jewish victims were
casualties in a war being fought for Jewish survival. In November 1945, the entire
annual convention of the ZOA stood in a moment of silent tribute “as a mark of
respect for those who suffered and died in the cause of freedom—our cause.”
American Zionists, believing themselves engaged in a holy crusade to change the
course of Jewish history, knew that in all wars, soldiers fell. The Jewish nation,
just like the Allied nations, had to be willing to make huge sacrifices in the strug
gle against tyranny. Thus, American Zionists tended to perceive of the Holocaust
victims as fallen soldiers of a great Zionist army. 11
THE DISPLACED PERSONS
While the soldiers of other armies demobilized and went home, those Jews who
managed to outlive the Third Reich began to contemplate just where their homes
were. Many made their way back to their cities and towns and began the slow
process of rebuilding their lives. Only some managed to succeed in this painful


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Triumph of American Zionism
task. The war left Europe’s economy in ruins and many Jewish survivors found
it difficult to support themselves. Jews often found their homes occupied by Chris
tian families and sometimes survivors encountered intense anti-Semitism. One day
in the summer of 1946, a young boy in the Polish town of Kielce accused local
Jews of having kidnapped him and claimed that the Jews were killing Christian
children. The citizens of Kielce responded to this charge by murdering forty-one
Jews who had somehow managed to survive Hitler’s extermination program. 12
Allied occupation armies in Germany established camps for those Jews who
could not create new lives for themselves. These refugee centers, sometimes located
on the sites of former Nazi concentration camps, also housed Jews who had not
even attempted to return to their old homes. Many of the survivors of the exter
mination camps, suffering from starvation and disease, required long periods of
care and recuperation. The psychological wounds endured by these people were
often even more severe than the physical, and many understandably wanted to
escape from the scene of their suffering.
The Jewish displaced persons (DPs) cared for in the American, British, and
French zones of occupied Germany numbered about a quarter of a million
by the end of 1946. They created serious problems for the occupation authori
ties who had to provide them with food, clothing, and medical care. Aside from
a financial burden, the DPs also were a political problem for Great Britain and
the United States. The DPs, like the Jewish refugees of the prewar period, were
in need of a home, and few nations in the world seemed to be willing to wel
come them. London, after the war, continued to believe that supporting the Zion
ist development of Palestine would undermine British imperial interests, and thus
maintained that the DPs could not find a home in Palestine. Restrictionist senti
ment in the U.S. Congress remained strong after the end of World War II, and
many Americans expected a dramatic increase in the unemployment rates as
discharged soldiers attempted to re-enter an economy making the difficult adjust
ment to peacetime. The massive influx of DPs would only intensify the competition
for jobs. 13
Despite these difficulties, the Jewish displaced persons did not constitute as
grave a problem as Zionists had anticipated. During the war Zionist strategists as
sumed that European Jewry would play a crucial role in their postwar campaign.
Zionists expected world opinion to support the creation of a Jewish state in Pales
tine for practical, not humanitarian, reasons. Millions of homeless Jews, wartime
Zionist propaganda had predicted, would threaten the political stability of postwar
Europe and might even serve as a vehicle for new demagogues to gain power. But
the relatively small number of Jewish DPs did not jeopardize the political equili
brium of postwar Europe.
Although the small number of Jewish survivors did not threaten the stability
of Europe, the DPs did significantly contribute to the establishment of Israel in


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
1948. Wartime Zionists, as events would prove, had not only overestimated the
extent of the postwar Jewish problem, but had to some extent underestimated
the sympathy and compassion that the Christian world would extend to those who
endured the Nazi horror.
Revelations about the true nature of Nazi atrocities disturbed the American
public, which had largely ignored or disbelieved wartime reports about German
brutality. General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, asked
Washington to dispatch a select committee to inspect the death camps because
he did not want anyone to doubt the validity of his reports. Edward R. Murrow,
in a moving radio address, stood in the middle of a Nazi concentration camp and
begged his audience to believe the nightmarish scene he described. On April 30,
1945, Newsweek published photographs of the liberated Buchenwald concentra
tion camp, and on May 12, the New Yorker carried a short, but graphic account
of Nazi atrocities against the Jews. The more scholarly audience that read the An
nals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science learned about Nazi
extermination practices in Holland, while the Presbyterian, a leading Protestant
periodical in October 1945, expressed its horror at the extermination of European
Jewry and concluded that the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine would
be just compensation for their suffering. Public opinion polls revealed that the
American public wanted to do something to relieve the suffering of the Holocaust
survivors, but most were not yet willing to liberalize United States immigration quotas,
particularly for Jews whom many still regarded somewhat critically. Americans
seemed to be searching for some solution to the refugee crisis that would not call
on them to make any significant sacrifice. 14
Zionists hoped that “Christian guilt” could be directed in the interest of Jewish
statehood. Zionist propagandists accused the Allies of complicity in Hitler’s mur
ders. They argued that the world could begin to pay for its sins by establishing
a Jewish state in Palestine. By presenting Jewish statehood as the only suitable
compensation for the Holocaust, Zionists were able to abandon the argument that
Jewish survivors would undermine the stability of the continent and possibly be
the cause of yet another world war.
In September 1945, Senator Robert Wagner remarked that it was “heartbreak
ing” to calculate how many lives might have been saved had Palestine’s doors been
open to Jewish refugees. The “small remnant” of European Jewry that survived,
Wagner continued, only sought to leave Europe. Whether they would be allowed
to enter Palestine was not only a question of importance for Jews, but for all
Americans. Palestine was “the crucible in which will be tested the ability of the
powerful to deal faithfully with the weak.” 15
Other Zionist spokesmen went beyond Wagner’s restrained position and indicted
the Allied powers as accessories in the extermination of European Jewry. Abba
Hillel Silver told a Zionist audience near the end of 1945 that “our six million


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Triumph of American Zionism
dead are a tragic commentary on the state of Christian morality and the respon
siveness of Christian conscience.” Had Great Britain and the United States been
willing to grant Jewry the same “temporary refuge” accorded to prisioners of war,
many lives might have been saved. 16
Zionist leaders contrasted the indifference of the Allies toward the Holocaust
with the courageous efforts of Palestinian Jewry to rescue their suffering co
religionists. Spokesmen specifically praised the efforts of thirty-two Jewish volunteers
who parachuted into Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, and Yugoslavia to organize
resistance and rescue efforts. Axis soldiers captured and executed seven of these
agents. The martyrs included Channa Senesh, a young Hungarian-born girl from
Kibbutz S’dot Yam, and Enzo Sereni, who had been a leading Italian Zionist. 17
Remembering the parachutists, Israel Goldstein asked, “Who was it that dared
at the risk of life to bring succor ... to thousands of Jews trapped in Nazi oc
cupied Europe during the war?” While the United Nations hesitated and the Jew
ish relief organizations of the United States waited for authorizations before acting,
the “sons of the Yishuv found a way by unconventional methods to help thousands
and to rescue hundreds.” Chaim Weizmann also praised the handful of courageous
Palestinian volunteers, remarking that had their determination been matched by
the United Nations, Hitler’s murderous campaign might have been halted. Weiz
mann explained, “I am not prepared to say that we could have saved all the mil
lions, but it might have saved hundreds of thousands.” 18
Jewish nationalists singled out Great Britain, the Mandatory Power in Palestine,
for special attack. Morris Rothenberg, a former president of the ZOA, charged
that “tens of thousand of Jews now in nameless graves, whom Palestine might have
saved but for the inhuman enforcement of the infamous and illegal White Paper,
point an accusing finger at Great Britain for what is now happening in Palestine.”
Even Chaim Weizmann, who more than any other Zionist leader admired the English
and their traditions, believed that had it not been for the White Paper, many Jews
might have been able to flee to Palestine and escape deportation and extermination. 19
Nothing could bring the dead back to life, but England and America could
begin to make up for their crimes by satisfying the demands of those few lucky
Jews who survived Hitler’s inferno. Zionists in the United States argued that these
demands included the opening of Palestine’s doors to free Jewish immigration and
the creation there of a Jewish state. Louis Levinthal of the ZOA wrote: “Historic
justice demands that atonement be made for the needless death of multitudes
of innocent victims of bureaucracy and red tape. Historic justice demands the fulfill
ment, at long last, of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate.” 20
American Zionists effectively used the plight of the Jewish displaced persons
in Europe to arouse feelings of concern and guilt in the American public. Felix
Frankfurter, who had largely withdrawn from Zionist activities after being appointed
to the Supreme Court, in a rare public statement cited the urgent need of Jewish


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
DPs for a home, which only Palestine could provide. 21 In April 1946, a little less
that one year after Adolf Hitler’s suicide, a moving portrait of the DP dilemma
appeared in the New Republic. Gerold Frank, a journalist with close ties to the
American Zionists, reported that the Jewish survivors of Hitler’s death camps
detested Europe and distrusted the world. Only the hope of going to Palestine
kept the survivors from going mad. The DPs understood that in the Jewish Holy
Land they would be “wanted by those among whom they live.” He warned that
if the English and Americans prevented the survivors from casting “off the stigma
of an inferior race,” they might respond with a violent burst of vengeance and de
spair. The DPs would accept no answer to their plight other than Palestine, for
“they are convinced that their only hope is to begin life anew on their own soil.” 22
Individuals and institutitons who had not been strongly committed to the cause
of Jewish statehood helped the Zionists to publicize the DP problem. Henry Wal
lace was convinced “that there will never be peace in the world until justice is done
to the Jew.” The former vice president supported the complete opening of Pales
tine’s doors to Jewish survivors. 23 Eleanor Roosevelt, who had refused to throw
her support behind the Zionists during the war, was moved by the DPs’ condition
and urged that they be allowed to enter Palestine. She suggested that the United
States should unequivocally tell the Arabs that “we intend to protect Palestine.” 24
The editors of the New Republic also urged the Truman administration to support
large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine. 25
I. F. Stone accompanied a group of Jewish refugees on their attempt to illegally
enter Palestine and published a series of articles describing his journey in the
New York liberal daily PM. Stone vividly described the determination of the sur
vivors to reach Palestine and the courage and idealism of the young Palestinians
who operated the modern “underground railroad.” 26 Stone reported: “The ‘pull’
toward Palestine I heard expressed again and again, not only from the young
Khalutsim on the train, but from older folk who would say, ‘I’m not a Zionist,
I’m a Jew. That’s enough. We have wandered enough. We have worked and strug
gled too long on the lands of other peoples. We must build a land of our own.’” 27
The Nation and its publisher Freda Kirchwey played an active role in publicizing
the contribution Palestine could make to the solution of the DP problem. In May
1947, the Nation published a special supplement on the Palestine problem. If
the DPs were not allowed to enter Palestine, the journal told its readers, there was
virtually nowhere else for them to turn. The United States, which could provide
a secure future for the European Jews, was virtually off-limits as a result of im
migration restriction quotas. Even if America’s doors were opened, it was not cer
tain that the Jewish survivors would accept an offer of hospitality. When asked
to list a preferred location of resettlement other than Palestine, hundreds of DPs
reportedly responded, “the crematorium.” 28
In their campaign to confront the American public with the Jewish problem,


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Triumph of American Zionism
Zionists received help from a most unexpected source—the American government.
Harry Truman, shortly after taking possession of the White House, found himself
under Zionist pressure to support mass Jewish immigration to Palestine. Media
coverage of the DP issue focused attention on the Army’s allegedly incompetent
and insensitive treatment of Displaced Persons, leading Secretary of the Treasury
Henry Morgenthau, Jr., to call for the creation of a special cabinet-level committee
to wrestle with the refugee dilemma. Truman opposed Morgenthau’s suggestion,
but did agree to send a special delegation to Europe to investigate the treatment
of the DPs. 29
Truman, Morgenthau, and the State Department agreed that the American
delegation should be led by Earl G. Harrison, a lawyer who had had a distinguished
career as a government official and law school dean. The Harrison delegation,
including Patrick M. Malin of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees,
Herbert Katzski of the War Refugee Board, and Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz of the
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, left the United States in July 1945.
Harrison’s selection to head the group disturbed Stephen Wise, who had hoped
that James G. McDonald, the past chairman of the Intergovernmental Committee
on Refugees, would be assigned the task. Harrison, unlike McDonald, had few
ties to American Zionist leaders and organizations and could not be relied on to
make a report that would be favorable to the Jewish nationalist cause. As events
would prove, Wise’s concern was unwarranted. 30
Harrison’s final report filtered through the Washington bureaucracy in last August
1945. The report documented the inadequate living conditions and diet supplied
to the DPs by American authorities and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilita
tion Administration (UNRRA). The Harrison group reported that the great major
ity of Jewish DPs wished to be resettled in Palestine. Harrison and his associates
recommended that British immigration policies be revised to allow for the entrance
of the DPs into Palestine, and Harrison threw his support behind a Jewish Agency
request for British permission to allow one hundred thousand DPs immediately
to enter the Holy Land. 31
The Harrison report seemed to offer official, nonpartisan confirmation of many
of the claims being made by Zionist spokesmen. Zionists seized on the Harrison
report, and the demand for the immediate settlement of one hundred thousand
Jews in Palestine became one of their most employed slogans. I. F. Stone wrote
that Harrison had left the United States unsympathetic to the Zionist cause, but
in Europe had found that the Nazis had succeeded in spreading anti-Semitism
throughout the territories they once occupied. As Zionists claimed, the Jewish sur
vivors “want to go home as others are going home, and this for most of them means
going to Palestine.” 32
Harry Truman also threw his support behind the Harrison proposal. The presi
dent might have been truly affected by the terrible situation of the DPs, but he


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
also saw good political reasons for favoring the entrance of one hundred thousand
Jews into Palestine. He hoped that this action would pacify the Zionist lobby with
out distressing British and Arab leaders who would realize that the presidents
actions fell far short of endorsement of the creation of a Jewish state. Unfortunately
for Truman, his calculations proved to be faulty. British Foreign Minister Bevin
angrily denounced the president for meddling in London’s affairs. Arab leaders
were dismayed by what they perceived to be Truman’s pro-Zionist position, while
American Zionists continued to pester the White House, demanding presidential
support for Jewish statehood. 3 *
During the long and often depressing years between V-E Day and the establish
ment of Israel in 1948, the DP problem strengthened the resolve and revived the
morale of Zionist activists in the United States, as it won new supporters for the
Jewish nationalist cause. In April 1946, shortly after visiting several DP camps,
one prominent AZEC official, clearly upset by the suffering he witnessed, pri
vately remarked that “the despair of people standing around in camps with nothing
to do and no place to go is heartbreaking to witness. There is no other stand than
to be firm Zionists.” 34
ZIONISM AS ANTI-IMPERIALISM
The misery of the DPs stiffened the resolve of Jewish nationalists but posed serious
problems for the Arabs and their supporters. As sympathy for the DPs developed
into increased pro-Zionist sentiment within the American public, anti-Zionist
spokesmen faced the difficult problem of responding to the Holocaust. Samir
Shamma, an Arab lobbyist in Washington, told the editors and readers of the New
Republic that all Arabs condemned the Nazi extermination of European Jewry as
an “abhorrent crime.” Arabs, however, regarded “it as most unfair to suggest that
the problem of the persecuted Jews be solved by persecuting another nation, the
Arabs of Palestine.” C. A. Hourani, an associate of Shamma’s, argued that the DP
problem had to be considered separately from the future development of Palestine.
Both Hourani and Shamma maintained that the Jewish survivors had to be reset
tled somewhere else other than Palestine. 35
The Arab position, as presented by Shamma and Hourani, seemed to have
some validity. The refugee crisis, as they claimed, was a “global humanitarian pro
blem.” The Germans and their Axis allies were guilty of the murder of six million
European Jews. The United States and Great Britain callously refused to under
take large-scale rescue efforts and could be justly branded accomplices in the
Nazi crimes. But why should the Arabs of Palestine be asked to pay for the mis
deeds of others? 36


Triumph of American Zionism
The men and women guiding the American Zionist movement in the postwar
period understood that they were competing with Shamma and Hourani in a strug
gle to capture American public opinion. Zionists, Emanuel Neumann understood,
had an advantage because “through our far-flung organization we have roots and
units in every community in the land.” Still, the Arab lobby, which Zionists es
timated to have an operating budget of three quarters of a million dollars, seemed
to be a powerful enemy. Clearly some response had to be made to the Arabs’ claim
that they were not responsible for the plight of European Jewry. 37
The failure of the Arab states to rigorously support the Allied cause during
World War II provided Zionist spokesmen with some valuable ammunition. British
attempts to appease the Arabs had failed miserably. As Rommel’s troops approached
the Suez Canal, concerned British officials incarcerated pro-Nazi sympathizers in
cluding Anwar Sadat, a young nationalist leader. Few Arab Palestinians joined the
thousands of young men of the Yishuv in volunteering for British military service.
At the end of April 1941, at the height of an Afrika Korps offensive, anti-British
elements of the Iraqi Army attempted a coup d’etat. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who had led the Arab uprising in Palestine in 1936,
participated in the Iraqi revolt. When the British-officered Arab Legion of Trans
jordan crushed the pro-Nazi coup, the Mufti found refuge in Berlin where he made
propaganda broadcasts for the Hitler regime. 38
During and immediately after the war, Zionist propaganda emphasized the dis
mal Arab war record. In late October 1945, Eliahu Ben-Horin, a Palestinian jour
nalist connected to the AZEC, condemned wartime pro-Nazi Arab sympathizers.
He told a liberal American audience that even after Hitler’s fall, Arab leaders
remained unrepentant, while the Allies had taken no action against the Nazi col
laborators. AZEC leader Abba Hillel Silver and ZOA President Israel Goldstein
also publicly denounced the Mufti of Jerusalem as a Nazi war criminal. 39
In early 1946, the Mufti, who had been in the custody of French authorities,
escaped and fled to Cairo. The American Zionist Emergency Council feared that
British authorities, in a further attempt to appease Arab public opinion, would
permit the Mufti to return to Palestine. The AZEC Executive Committee decided
to fight this possibility with an aggressive publicity campaign that would document
the Mufti’s pro-Nazi activities. Eliahu Epstein, chief of the Jewish Agency’s Arab
Department, published a devastating attack on the Mufti in the Nation. According
to Epstein, the Mufti was not only guilty of collaborating with Nazi attempts to
ferment revolts in the Middle East, but had also played a part in the extermination
of European Jewry. The Nuremberg judges, the article said, possessed an affidavit
from Rudolf Kastner, the former chairman of the Budapest Jewish Council, who
reported that a high-ranking Gestapo official had told him that the Mufti had en
couraged Hitler to murder all of Europe’s Jews. 40
The American Zionist Emergency Council argued that the Mufti's responsi-
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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
bility for the extermination of European Jewish constituted a “crime against hu
manity” and insisted that he be tried as a major war criminal at Nuremberg. The
State Department refused to accept the Zionist position and also resisted persis
tent requests for the United States government to publish the documents that in
criminated the Mufti in the liquidation of European Jewry. The AZEC therefore
used its own formidable information apparatus to bring the “facts” to the American
media and public. 41
Arab attempts to respond to the Zionist charge were not particularly effective.
Kahil Totah, executive director of the Institute of Arab American Affairs, attempted
to put the Mufti’s activities into historical perspective. There had been many ex
amples of alliances between nations and groups based on shared interest not prin
ciple. The American revolutionaries of the eighteenth century had fought Great
Britain with the assistance of the despotic government of France; Communist Russia
under Stalin had even forged a short-lived alliance with Hitler’s Germany. Accord
ing to Totah, the Mufti, an ardent Arab patriot, had cooperated with the Nazis
because he believed a German victory would facilitate the liberation of Palestine
from British imperial control. The Mufti was a patriot, Totah said, not a Nazi. 42
Historians of the Holocaust have found no substantial evidence to link the
Mufti with Hider’s decision to liquidate European Jewry. However, in the late
1940s, Zionists and their supporters could find litde reason to doubt the charge.
They could still vividly remember the bloody and murderous attacks of the Mufti’s
followers during the bitter 1936 civil war in Palestine. For Zionists it seemed
reasonable that the Mufti, whom they believed was a rabid anti-Semite, would trans
fer his hatred of the Yishuv to the Jews of Europe. Not coincidentally, the attacks
on the Mufti and other Arab Nazi sympathizers and collaborationists, effectively
countered the claims of Arab lobbyists that they were being asked to pay the pen
alty for a European-engineered crime. 43
The attacks on the Mufti were part of a larger pro-Zionist education campaign
aimed at portraying the Arab leaders of the Middle East as reactionary despots
intent on destroying the progressive Jewish experiment in Palestine. Several months
before the end of the war, Stephen Wise, Nahum Goldmann, Hayim Greenberg,
Rose Halprin, and the other members of the American Zionist Emergency Coun
cil determined that if a Jewish state were to be created, “the idea that the Arabs
consent must be obtained . . . must be broken down.” Accordingly, they decided
that AZEC propaganda should stress that the Arabs represented “a reactionary
element in the Middle East.” 44
Shortly after the meeting of American Zionist leaders, publicist Eliahu Ben-
Horin wrote that “Arab social philosophy and the existing forms of Arab society
are in harmony with the Nazi-Fascist system rather than with our democratic ideas.”
The Arab rulers of the Middle East, the last remaining bulwarks of feudalism in
the world, “fight bitterly against any democratic or civilizing innovation.” Mean-


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Triumph of American Zionism
while, Ben-Horin complained, Britain and America continued to support Arab
leaders who consistently undermined any possibilities for Arab-Jewish rapproche
ment in Palestine. The Mufti, for example, had killed many progressive Arabs who
“regarded sympathetically the social-economic progress brought to Palestine by
Jewish-Zionist enterprise.” 45
Besides attacking Arab leaders as reactionary despots and anti-Semites, Ameri
can Zionists pressed the point that the Arab masses were unwilling to follow them.
Abba Hillel Silver maintained that the “fellaheen,” the peasant class of Palestine,
bore no responsibility for the anti-Zionist propaganda emanating from the Middle
East. The Arab peasant was not “concerned” about the Jewish settlement of
Palestine, while “the feudal lords” of the Arab world, knowing “that the establish
ment of the Jewish homeland means the end of their feudal regime,” attempted
to destroy the Zionist experiment. Jewish settlement of Palestine had significantly
improved the lives of the Arab population. Citing the work of Walter Clay Lowder-
milk, Silver maintained that Palestine could easily accommodate three or four million
people. Jews, Moslems, and Christians could all share a prosperous life in a Pales
tine modernized by Zionist investments of money and sweat. 46
In May 1947, as the United Nations began to consider the question of Palestine,
Silver again attacked the validity of Arab national claims to Palestine. The League
of Nations Mandate for Palestine, Silver told a group of reporters, had specifically
recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine.” Silver
pointed out that the document made “no mention of the establishment of an Arab
National Home.” The loss of Palestine would not deny the Arabs of the Middle
East autonomy and independence. Zionists, Silver insisted, supported the national
aspirations of the Arab people. During the years between 1920 and 1947, Arabs
had established five Arab states in the Middle East, which occupied over a million
square acres of land. All that the Zionists asked for was “a little notch” of the vast
Middle East.
Silver’s comments reflect his and other Zionists’ simplistic view of Arab na
tionalism. No attempt was made to distinguish between the national aspirations
of Syrians, Egyptians, Iraqis, and Palestinians. When one reporter raised the issue
of the Arab claim to Palestine based on centuries of residence. Silver responded:
There has never been an Arab country called Palestine. There has never been
an Arab government in Palestine. Palestine has been for centuries now a pro
vince within the Turkish Empire. The statesmen of the world at the time that
they issued the Mandate fully understood the . . . background of Palestine and
the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine. 47
Zionist depictions of Arab society and Arab nationalism after World War II
were in most ways similar to the portraits they presented to the American public
during the 1930s. During both periods, Zionist spokesmen essentially attempted


164
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
to deny that there was any basic conflict between the goals of the Jewish settlers
in Palestine and the aspirations of the land’s Arab majority. Believing that increased
prosperity and better health care could win the loyalty of Palestine’s non-Jewish
population, Zionists blamed tensions and unrest in the country on unscrupulous
leaders committed to protecting their own selfish interests. Zionism, as Silver ex
plained, frightened the Arab leaders of the Middle East because it was importing
“irresistible democratic influences which are bound to penetrate to the periphery.” 48
In one respect however, postwar Zionist explanations of political conditions in
Palestine did differ from those made earlier. Before World War II, most influential
Zionists in the United States were sparing in their condemnation of Great Britain
and its policies. Zionists often had held unenlightened colonial administrators, not
the London cabinet, responsible for unsatisfactory conditions in Palestine. As rela
tions between Jews and Britain strained following the Arab revolt in 1936, Zionists
began to direct their criticism directly at Whitehall and Parliament. Even then,
Zionists continued to hope that a change in Britain’s political leadership would
result in the resumption of a pro-Zionist policy. Essentially, Zionists then believed
that a community of interest existed between themselves and the “justice-loving”
British people. During World War II, Zionists grew disillusioned with the British,
who seemed to be doing little to save European Jewry from Hitler’s henchmen.
After the war, Zionists increasingly asserted that imperial self-interest dictated Brit
ish policy in Palestine. Jewish nationalists came to portray themselves as the vic
tims of a partnership between British imperialists and Arab reactionaries.
Frank Gervasi’s To Whom Palestine? (1946), published with the assistance of
the AZEC, reflected the Zionists’ belief that the British and Arabs were conspiring
against them. Although not a Jew, Gervasi had become strongly attracted to the
Zionist cause. He felt compelled to tell the story of Jewish Palestine because, dur
ing the war, “I’d seen Jews die alongside Catholics and Protestants and Orthodox
Greeks, and their blood, I assure you, is uniformly red. I didn’t see any Arabs
die in freedom’s cause.” 49
Great Britain’s Palestine policy, Gervasi wrote, was just one element of a larger
strategy designed to secure British hegemony in the Middle East. The British govern
ment believed that yielding to Zionist demands in Palestine would exact “a price
in prestige and power in the Levant out of all proportion to what it would gain
by the creation there of a new independent state.” In seeking to maintain the im
perial status quo in Palestine and the Middle East, British officials found it easy
to forge an alliance with the Arab leaders of the region, who also felt “the pres
sures gestating within their society.” For both the reactionary Arab leader and the
British colonial official, the Jews represented “a force of change and progress”
that threatened to upset their domination of the Arab masses. 50
Non-Jewish Zionist spokesmen, in particular, seemed to be eager to attack “per
fidious Albion” and also attempted to portray the Jews of Palestine as victims of


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Triumph of American Zionism
British imperialism and Arab reaction. Bartley Crum, a liberal Republican busi
nessman, was an American representative on the Anglo-American Commission
of Inquiry established in 1946 to investigate the question of Palestine. Crum was
sympathetic to the Zionists’ goals and in 1947 published an account of the com
mission's activities. He remembered that:
Albert Einstein had pointed out that the English had two interests; raw materi
als for industry and oil. Large landowners, he said, found themselves in a
precarious situation because “they fear they will be gotten rid of. The British
are always in a passive alliance with these land possessing owners.” People
who are ruled, he pointed out, “will accept rule as long as they . . . know no
better, but as soon as they realize that serfdom is not preordained, they begin
to resist. . . .” Neither rulers nor landlords wish this, for it means the end of
their privileged status; thus the “passive alliance” cited by Einstein.
James McDonald, another American Christian friend of Zionism, concurred with
Crum’s view, noting “the British natural sympathy with the static Arab civilization
and resentment at the pushing dynamic Jewish conception of what Palestine should
be.” s 1
Zionist portrayals of themselves as the victims of British imperialism reached
a sympathetic American audience. A Callup poll taken in December 1945 found
that 76 percent of those Americans who followed events in Palestine favored allow
ing Jews to settle there. Only one percent believed that Great Britain should deter
mine the rate of settlement, and one additional percent believed that the Arabs
should decide how many Jews entered Palestine. A second public opinion poll
in early 1946 found that 33 percent of those Americans who kept abreast of
events in Palestine believed that the British were primarily to blame for disorders
there. Twelve percent blamed the Jews; 10 percent the Arabs. By August 1946,
38 percent of knowledgeable Americans believed that British authorities treated
Arabs better than Jews in Palestine. Only 7 percent believed that Jews received
preferential treatment. 52
Liberal Americans seemed to be particularly willing to believe that British ac
tions in Palestine were unjustly motivated by selfish interests. Freda Kirchwey,
publisher of the Nation, wrote in November 1945 that there was no contradiction
between the shooting of nationalists in Java and the British support of Arab na
tionalists in the Middle East. Both policies were attempts “to suppress those ele
ments which threaten the dominance of the ruling groups to whom the Colonial
Office looks for cooperation in maintaining British control.” A tour of Europe and
the Middle East in the summer of 1946 strengthened Kirchwey’s belief that British
opposition to Zionism was motivated only by imperial concern. The Jewish develop
ment of Palestine, she observed, was bringing progress to the region and threatened
to topple the Arab feudal leaders on whom British rule depended. Kirchwey


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
urged President Truman to reject British imperialist policies and pursue a new,
more progressive strategy in the Middle East. I. F. Stone, like Kirchwey, believed
that as the Jewish community of Palestine grew it would “continue to dissolve feu
dal Arab relationships, to raise living standards, and to make reform inevitable.”
Stone, a supporter of the creation of a binational Arab-Jewish state in Palestine,
believed that the Arabs and the Jews were both victims of British imperialism.
He believed that “a Palestine settlement beneficial to both Jews and Arabs is possi
ble any time the British government wants it.” 53
While American Zionists waged a campaign against British imperialism, they
also sought to prove that American support of Jewish Palestine would further this
nation's interests in the developing cold war with the Soviet Union. Eliahu Ben-
Horin, the Zionist publicist, told Americans that they were being tricked by Arab
leaders who threatened to ally themselves with the Soviet Union if the United
States supported the establishment of a Jewish State. The reactionary Arab elite,
Ben-Horin wrote, might not be “learned gentlemen,” but they understood that the
Soviets advanced their interests by destroying “political reaction” and “social-
economic backwardness.” Stalin himself, always the opportunist, understood that
a partnership with the Arabs was impossible and was instead beginning to adopt
a pro-Zionist line in order to portray himself as the friend of progress and justice.
American pro-British policies, Ben-Horin warned, actually benefited Moscow
because “the conviction is spreading that the Soviet Union is the true bearer of
progressive ideas and that Britain—now joined by America—upholds diehard con
servatives and reaction.” Washington could avoid this propaganda defeat by unequi
vocally giving its support to the cause of Jewish statehood. The Arab states of the
Middle East would have no alternative but to support the United States, the only
nation in the world willing to give generous oil royalties without getting “anything
important” in return. The Arabs would remain loyal allies, Ben-Horin concluded,
“as long as America remains the richest and least imperialistic power in sight.” 54
THE ANGLO-AMERICAN COMMITTEE
While Zionists attempted to influence Allied foreign policy, the British and Ameri
can governments grappled with the difficult problem of Palestine. Zionist leaders
understood that the political development of the Middle East and particularly
Palestine was just one of the major issues the Western powers had to consider
in their effort to establish a peaceful and secure postwar world. Clearly, as the
cold war deepened. Western interests required the development of a Palestine plan
that would prevent political instability in the geographically strategic and oil rich
Middle East. The size of the Arab population of Palestine, its tradition of violent


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Triumph of American Zionism
opposition to Jewish settlement, and the anti-Zionist positions of important Arab
states like Egypt and Transjordan made it politically impossible for Washington
to support the establishment of a Jewish state in all of Palestine. Realistically, Zion
ists had to be willing to accept some territorial compromise and had to begin to
consider the kind of concessions they would be willing to make in exchange for
American support of Jewish sovereignty.
Any discussion by Zionist leaders of the future Jewish state’s boundaries was
bound to be difficult and fiery. In 1937 and 1938, the possible partition of Pales
tine had bitterly divided the Zionist community in the United States. The brutal
destruction of six million Jews psychologically prepared most American Zionists
to surrender some part of the historic Jewish homeland in return for sovereignty
and security, but the actual terms of the Zionist position on Palestine’s partition
was a source of bitter Zionist debate in the years between V-E Day and the establish
ment of Israel in 1948.
In November 1945, London and Washington announced the formation of an
Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry Regarding the Problems of European Jewry
and Palestine. The Anglo-American committee explored various plans for the reset
tlement of Jewish displaced persons and studied the part Palestine could play in
the rehabilitation of the death camp survivors.
The creation of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry (AACI) temporarily di
vided the Zionist leadership in the United States. Abba Hillel Silver was enraged by
the proposal to investigate Palestine’s role in the solution of the refugee problem, al
though he distinguished between the motives of Harry Truman and Ernest Bevin.
Truman, Silver explained, had been genuinely moved by Earl Harrison’s description
of the DPs plight, but was being manipulated by the British into accepting an in
vestigation instead of action. Bevins support to the AACI, on the other hand, reflected
his basic desire to “liquidate” the Jewish national home in Palestine. Believing that
Jews should not cooperate in their own destruction. Silver proposed that the Zionist
leadership announce that they would not accept and would not be bound by the deci
sions of the AACI. Several prominent Zionists lent their support to Silver’s radical
position. Gedalia Bublick, the Mizrachi representative on the American Zionist
Emergency Council, announced that his organization would refuse to cooperate with
the AACI. Emanuel Neumann condemned the AACI as a “deadly trap” aimed “to
enmesh America in the toils of British policy.” It was the duty of all Zionists, he con
tinued, to discredit the committee even before it completed its mission. 55
Other Zionist leaders approached the Anglo-American committee suspiciously,
but favored cooperation with the British and American investigation. Stephen Wise,
always more cautious than Silver and Neumann, counseled against a hasty re
jection of the AACI. The leadership of Hadassah strongly supported Zionist coopera
tion with the investigative body in order to insure that the committee was given
access to the “right information.” 56


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
The Zionist leaders of Palestine and Great Britain supported the moderate posi
tion advanced by American Hadassah. They reasoned that the American public
would interpret a rejection of the AACI as an act of extremism. This would under
mine the work of the movement’s publicists who contrasted the noncompromising,
aggressive Arab opposition to Zionism with Jewish nationalists’ willingness to pur
sue negotiations and compromise. Zionists also understood that the military forces
of the Yishuv were not strong enough to drive the British from the Middle East.
A diplomatic solution to the Palestine problem was their only alternative. Even
those Americans who had attacked the AACI finally decided to abide by the deci
sion of the World Zionist leadership and cooperated with the Anglo-American
investigation. 57
After spending months collecting testimony and data, the AACI issued its final
report in May 1946, unanimously calling for the abandonment of the White Paper
restrictions on immigration to Palestine so that one hundred thousand Jewish DPs
could immediately settle there. While they supported Jewish immigration to Pales
tine, the AACI members opposed the creation of either a Jewish or an Arab state.
Instead, they looked forward to the eventual sharing of political power by Jews
and Arabs and the creation of a unified Palestinian nation in which neither Jews
nor Arabs would dominate. Realistically recognizing that their plan could not be
implemented while a near state of war existed between Palestinian Arabs and Jews,
the committee recommended that Britain continue to control the Palestine territory
until a climate of peace and cooperation could be restored. 5 "
Nahum Goldmann, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Washington Office, admit
ted that the AACI’s report was “at best a very poor statement of non-Zionism.”
However, he continued, Zionists should disregard the AACI’s refusal to endorse
Jewish statehood and should concentrate on winning implementation of the com
mittee’s call for increased Jewish immigration to Palestine. Elimination of British
immigration restriction to Palestine would strengthen the Jewish position in the
Holy Land and would allow the Zionists to save the lives of at least one hundred
thousand DPs. 5v
Emanuel Neumann accused Goldmann of dangerous defeatism. He agreed
that the immediate task for Zionists was to have the American government imple
ment the “100,000 recommendation,” but he warned against ignoring the implica
tions of the Anglo-American committee’s recommendations for the political develop
ment of Palestine. Believing that Jewish nationalists should continue their public
demands for the establishment of a Jewish state in all of Palestine, Neumann
declared: “We must fight for the positive part of the Report, but we must also
fight against the negative aspects.” 60
Neumann’s position prevailed within the American Zionist Emergency Council
largely because of the strenous support of Abba Hillel Silver and David Ben-
Gurion, who arrived in the United States for a short visit in May 1946. Ben-Gurion


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Triumph of American Zionism
agreed that Zionists should work for the implementation of the AACI’s proposal
for mass immigration to Palestine while attacking the group for not supporting the
creation of a Jewish state in all of Palestine. Accordingly, the American Jewish
Conference applauded the AACI’s criticism of the British White Paper immigra
tion restriction as a “posthumous victory” for the millions of dead Jews who might
have been saved from Hitler had it not been for the White Paper. At the same
time, it objected to the AACI’s proposal for continued British control of Palestine,
branding it “unrealistic” and “unfortunate.” 61
Zionist leaders could have avoided their acrimonious debates over how to re
spond to the proposals made by the AACI. Silver, Ben-Gurion, and Neumann prob
ably would have been amused to know how much the AACI’s report angered Bri
tain’s Labour party government. While Zionists rebelled against the report's failure
to endorse Jewish statehood, British leaders fumed about the AACI’s refusal to
sanction Ix>ndon’s Palestine policies. When Prime Minister Clement Attlee and
Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin proposed establishing the Anglo-American Inquiry
Committee, they expected that the investigators would conclude that the tenuous
nature of Arab-Jewish relations in Palestine made large-scale refugee resettlement
impractical if not impossible. The AACI’s repudiation of Britain’s immigration
restriction policies and suggestion that one hundred thousand Jews be allowed
to enter Palestine shocked British authorities, who quickly asked Washington to
postpone official publication of the committee’s report. President Truman’s refusal
to accede to London’s request and his public endorsement of the AACI’s report
on May 1, 1946, enraged Bevin and Attlee. They quickly maneuvered to soften
the impact of Truman’s action, announcing that Britain could not assume sole re
sponsibility for acting upon the committee’s findings. Bevin and Attlee correctly
calculated that Truman’s support for increased Jewish immigration to Palestine
was motivated by his desire to solve the refugee problem cheaply. They knew that
the president was unwilling and unable to commit the United States to share the
responsibility for putting the AACI proposals into effect, particularly if this entailed
dispatching American troops to Palestine to pacify the Arabs who could be ex
pected to respond violently to the influx of large numbers of Jews to the Holy
Land. Bevin’s infamous remark that Truman supported Jewish immigration to
Palestine because he did not want too many of them in New York was crude, but
it accurately described the self-serving nature of the Truman administrations’s sup
port for a humanitarian policy that entailed little or no expense for Washington. 62
While the politicians attempted to devise a plan for Palestine that would be
acceptable to Jews and Arabs as well as serve British and American national
interests, the Jewish community in Palestine struggled for control of the Holy
Land. In liberated Europe, emissaries from the Haganah, the Jewish underground
army in Palestine, and former Jewish partisans prepared the survivors of Hitler’s
death camps to participate in the struggle against Great Britain. The Hagannah


770
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
men were especially active in the displaced persons camps, raising the morale
of the survivors by describing the lives of dignity and freedom they would one
day lead in a Jewish Palestine. Periodically, the Palestinian emissaries transported
large groups of homeless Jews to European ports and onto ships, which then at
tempted to reach Palestine. Only a few of these antiquated vessels, often chris
tened for the occasion with the names of Zionist heroes, succeeded in delivering
their passengers to freedom. Usually, British air or naval units intercepted and
boarded the ships, interning their refugee cargo in the Atlit detention camp, about
ten miles south of Haifa. The leaders of the Haganah and the Jewish Agency
did not consider the detentions a defeat because they realized that “illegal im
migration” (as the British authorities dubbed it) was a most efficient means of un
dermining British strength in Palestine. To close off Palestine’s shores to the hapless
Jewish refugees, London had to maintain a huge and costly military presence in
the Middle East, which significantly added to Britain’s severe economic crisis at
the end of World War II. Each illegal immigrant ship captured also kept the plight
of the displaced persons and Palestine in the press and seemed to highlight the
immorality and inhumanity of Britain’s immigration policies, which prevented Hit
ler’s victims from returning “home.” 63
In mid-1946 the Haganah high command decided to escalate their struggle
against British immigration restriction and anti-Zionism. Following the lead of
Menachem Begin’s Irgun, which had been waging an underground war against
the British since 1944, the Haganah secret radio network threatened the British
with a campaign of sabotage unless London lowered Palestine’s immigration bar
riers. On the night of June 17, 1946, soldiers of the Palmach, the shock troops
of the Haganah, blew up key railway lines and bridges, totally distrupting Pales
tine’s transportation system. The Holy Land seemed to be on the brink of open
and total warfare. 64
If Zionist leaders expected to achieve a military victory over the British, they
were sadly mistaken. On Saturday, June 29, British military and police units con
ducted a massive sweep through Jewish Palestine, uncovering and seizing arms
caches and arresting over two thousand members of the Yishuv. Most of the Jewish
Agency’s leadership found themselves jailed; fortunately, David Ben-Gurion, chair
man of the Jewish Agency, was temporarily out of the country and avoided arrest.
The British agreed to release the Zionist leaders only after they pledged to aban
don military action and pledged their cooperation in the suppression of the Irgun.
The discovery of a large arms depot on Kibbutz Yagur particularly worried Zionist
leaders who feared that the British police action would leave the Yishuv unarmed
and open to Arab attack. Zionist concern deepened when the British announced
in August 1946 that “illegal immigrants” would no longer be interned in Palestine
but would be transported to prison camps on the island of Cyprus. London hoped
that the displaced persons in Europe would refuse to challenge the British block-


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Triumph of American Zionism
ade once they knew that they could not even look forward to incarceration in
the Holy Land. 65
THE AMERICAN ZIONIST STRUGGLE OVER PARTITION
The intensity and efficiency of Great Britain’s repressive measures in Palestine
left the Zionist leadership in disarray. Nahum Goldmann was convinced that the
Zionists would have to minimize their demands drastically if they were to avoid
total defeat. Goldmann’s concerns were deep-rooted. As early as May 1946, when
the AACI’s report was published, he had attempted to convince his fellow Zionist
leaders that they had no alternative but to ask Great Britain and the United States
to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. In 1946 there were still less
than six hundred thousand Jews in Palestine who were outnumbered by nearly
two million Arabs. Goldmann knew that a Jewish state could only be established
in Palestine when Jews achieved majority status in the land. Goldmann determined
that it was impossible for Jews to become a majority in the Holy Land because
the British would never be willing to jeopardize their strategic interests in the Mid
dle East by opening Palestine’s doors to large-scale Jewish immigration. The only
viable Zionist plan, Goldmann argued, was to propose the partition of Palestine.
He recommended that Jewish nationalists present the proposal as an ultimate com
promise and plead with Washington and London that this statesmanlike act de
served acceptance. Goldmann acknowledged that a Jewish state in a partitioned
Palestine would be small, but it would also be autonomous. The Zionists would
finally be free of British control and would have the power to establish their own
immigration policy. 66
Goldmann’s position had little support in the summer of 1946. Most Zionist
leaders in the United States and Palestine believed that any partition proposal
would have to be initiated by Great Britain. They shrewdly calculated that a Zionist
partition proposal would seriously weaken their negotiating position because Bri
tain would not accept the Zionist plan as a legitimate compromise. Instead, the
Zionist request would become the starting point for negotiations, the outcome of
which would surely be less satisfactory than the plan originally put on the table
by Jewish nationalist leaders. 67
Following the British arrest of Jewish Agency leaders on June 29, 1946,
Goldmann again tried to advance his views on partition. On July 11, the New York
Times reported that Zionist leaders were contemplating an appeal to the United
Nations and that they had reluctantly determined that partition was the only prac
tical solution for the Palestine problem. The Times noted that the Zionist spokes
man on partition asked to remain anonymous, yet the careful reader could deter-


772
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
mine that Goldmann was the source. His was the only name mentioned in the
article and the Times reporter credited him with providing details about Zionist
plans regarding the U.N. Goldmann's partition plan, as outlined in the newspaper,
was detailed and precise. One-third of Palestine, with the largest concentration
of Arabs, would be ceded to Transjordan, while the remaining two-thirds would
become a Jewish state. 68
From the perspectives of Abba Hillel Silver and Emanuel Neumann, Goldmann’s
leak to the Times could not have come at a less opportune time. The day after
the newspaper report. Ambassador Henry F. Grady brought an American delega
tion to London to confer with his English counterpart, Herbert Morrison, about
devising a plan to act on the proposals of the Anglo-American Committee of In
quiry. Although Morrison and Grady conducted their discussions in secret, details
of their negotiations quickly reached the press. I-ong before the official announce
ment of their plan on July 31, Zionist leaders in the United States knew that Mor
rison and Grady proposed to divide Palestine “into Arab, Jewish and British pro
vinces, with full control over the entire country to be vested in the central British
administration." Silver, who had been angered by Goldmann’s flirtation with parti
tion, quickly went to Washington where he convinced Goldmann to join him in
denouncing the Morrison-Grady proposals. Under Silver’s skillful leadership, the
American Zionist Emergency Council generated enough public pressure to force
President Truman to reject the Morrison-Grady proposal. 69
Goldmann's willingness to cooperate with Silver did not reflect any change in
his attitude on partition. In early August, while Silver remained in the United
States to coordinate opposition to the Morrison-Grady plan, Goldmann traveled
to Paris for strategic and tactical discussions with leaders of the Jewish Agency
and the Zionist Executive who had escaped arrest and internment by the British.
Goldmann was able to overcome the suspicions of David Ben-Gurion and Moshe
Sneh (the commander of the Haganah who had escaped arrest in Palestine) and
won their permission to go to Washington to make one more attempt to win Amer
ican support for Jewish statehood. The Zionist leadership instructed Goldmann
to convey to President Truman the Zionist Executive’s total objection to the Morrison-
Grady scheme, but also its willingness to discuss a partition plan that would estab
lish a “viable Jewish state" in part of Palestine. Goldmann was to request that
immigration of one hundred thousand Jews to Palestine begin at once and that
the Jewish leaders of Palestine immediately be granted full administrative and
economic autonomy in the part of Palestine destined to become a sovereign Jew
ish state. The Paris meeting specifically wanted Truman’s assurance that Zion
ists would be allowed to determine the rate of immigration into the designated
Jewish territory even before formal statehood was declared. 70
Goldmann knew that he could not expect to have the full support of the Ameri
can Zionist leadership for his mission to Truman. At the Paris meeting, Israel Gold-


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Triumph of American Zionism
stein, a nonvoting observer from the Zionist Organization of America, had refused
to endorse the partition scheme. Goldmann could expect Abba Hillel Silver to fight
any attempt to discuss the division of Palestine before any concrete partition plan had
been proposed by Great Britain or the United States. Silver had even opposed holding
the Zionist Executive meeting in Paris and had refused to attend because he believed
that the entire Zionist leadership should be in Washington lobbying against the
Morrison-Grady plan. Ironically, Goldmann was able to use Silver’s absence from
Paris to divert the Rabbi’s attention away from his partition scheme.
At a meeting of the AZEC’s executive committee on August 7, Silver described
his understanding of what Goldmann’s instructions were. Basing his analysis on
sketchy information. Silver explained that Goldmann would convey the Zionist Ex
ecutive's rejection of the Morrison-Grady plan to Truman and would demand the
immediate implementation of the AACI’s proposal that one hundred thousand DPs
be transported to Palestine. If Truman then proposed partition as a compromise
solution to the Palestine quandary, Silver acknowledged that Goldmann had the
authority to begin negotiations. Goldmann, who had just returned from Europe
and was attending the AZEC meeting, announced that Silver’s understanding of
the Paris decision was correct, even though Goldmann knew that he not Truman
would propose the partition compromise. 71
Goldmann next turned his attention to winning the Truman administration’s sup
port for the partition of Palestine, but he was far less successful in influencing
Truman than he was in tricking Silver. He met with Acting Secretary of State Dean
Acheson several times, but was never able to see President Truman, and he found
it impossible to convince the administration to abandon Great Britain and to take
the lead in championing a Zionist partition plan. 72
When Silver discovered Goldmann’s activities, he was furious, but reluctantly
concluded that the best had to be made of a terrible situation. He told the AZEC:
It is clear that as of the moment the entire demarche of the [Jewish) Agency
has been a failure. The American government did not advance the partition
proposal as its own, and the British Government has refused to accept it as
a basis of discussion. As to our own position, whether we like it or not, we
have to recognize it as a fact that the partition proposal has been put forward
officially in the name of the movement and once made, there is no way at
the moment for us to go behind or around it. If we are the continue to carry
on any political work in Washington we cannot ignore these official proposals
made by the Jewish Agency. They are now the maximum that we can ask for
and the minimum that we can accept. We must fight hard to make sure that
we at least get that which has been asked for, and it will not be easy.
Silver discovered, however, that he, like Goldmann, could find little official sup
port for partition in either Washington or London. He concluded that the Jewish


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Agency’s partition initiative had been a total disaster, and he resolved to put a
final end to any premature discussion of Palestine’s division. His opportunity came
in December 1946 when representatives of the entire Zionist movement convened
in Basel, Switzerland, for the first World Zionist Congress of the postwar era. 73
The Zionists’ choice of Basel was most appropriate as the city had hosted the
very first Zionist Congress organized by Theodor Herzl in 1897. The delegates
arriving in 1946 did not share the optimism and enthusiasm of their counterparts
who had heard Herzl’s historic call for Jewish emancipation and independence.
The extermination of six million Jews and the opposition of Great Britain to Jewish
statehood angered all the Zionists at Basel. Their discussions promised to be long
and acrimonious.
Debates about the wisdom of both Zionist policies and leaders dominated the
deliberations of the World Zionist Congress. Abba Hillel Silver, David Ben-Gurion,
and their followers ferociously attacked Nahum Goldmann and Chaim Weizmann,
claiming that their lack of intestinal fortitude had seriously undermined the Zionist
position. Goldmann, who was frequently involved in controversy and who was en
dowed with a powerful ego, does not seem to have been very hurt by the criticisms
of his associates. He later remembered: “My friends in the [Zionist] Executive
held back somewhat and did me the honor of letting the opponents of partition
concentrate their fire on me. I mention this in no spirit of complaint; on the con
trary, I sometimes enjoy being the target of attack in fair debate.” Weizmann,
who was nearing the end of his life and who possessed a far more gentle soul
than Goldmann, found it much more difficult to tolerate attack. His autobiography,
which graphically chronicles his decades of service to the Zionist cause, barely
mentions his painful experience at Basel. 74
At first, it seemed as if Weizmann would survive the onslaught of his opponents
and continue to play a leadership role within the Zionist movement. On December
10, congress delegates honored Weizmann by naming him president of the World
Zionist Congress. Although the congress president actually exercised little power,
the overwhelming vote for Weizmann indicated that the “father of the Balfour
Declaration” still held the support and respect of many within the movement. While
forty-eight Zionist delegates opposed Weizmann’s selection, approximately four times
that many supported his elevation. 75
In a fifty-minute address to the congress, Weizmann attempted to explain why
the Jewish Agency had taken the initiative in proposing partition as a solution to
the Palestine quandary. His listeners might very well have experienced a sense
of deja vu while listening to Weizmann. His position on the partition of Palestine
in late 1946 closely resembled his response to the Peel Commission report of
1937. On both occasions Weizmann reasoned that the plight of the Jewish people
and inadequate support from Great Britain made it imperative for Zionists to sacri
fice territory for autonomy. Nineteen months after V-E Day, Weizmann’s appeal


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Triumph of American Zionism
seemed to have much merit. Congress delegates could still vividly remember the
newsreel film of liberated Nazi concentration camps and the horrible images they
captured. Many of the emancipated survivors of those camps were incarcerated in
Cyprus detention camps. Their dream of reaching Palestine and the continuing
British resolve to keep them out of the Holy Land lent support to Weizmann’s
claim that Zionist leaders had to take immediate and extraordinary measures to
create a Jewish state in at least part of Palestine. 76
Weizmann’s oration moved many of the delegates at the World Zionist Congress
and they frequently interrupted his address with applause. Nahum Goldmann, of
course, also supported Weizmann and shared his views on partition. Stephen S.
Wise, who had bitterly opposed Weizmann during the Peel Commission contro
versy, now came to the defense of his former adversary. Although he was not a
strong supporter of the Weizmann-Goldmann partition strategy. Wise sympathized
with Weizmann’s personal plight because it closely resembled his own. Wise, like
Weizmann, was struggling to survive the attacks of Silver and his supporters who
accused the elderly rabbi of undermining their attempts to forge links with the
Republican party. 77
Weizmann’s prestige, Nahum Goldmann’s cleverness, and Stephen Wise’s fighting
spirit were not sufficient to defeat the followers of Ben-Gurion and Silver. Emanuel
Neumann, Silver’s long-time friend and loyal lieutenant, organized a block of
delegates at Basel to oppose Weizmann’s leadership and Goldmann’s tactics of par
tition. Neumann’s coalition transcended party organization; at its core were two-
thirds of the ZOA representatives and the delegates of the Mizrachi (religious) and
Revisionist (right-wing) parties, which were deeply opposed to Weizmann and any
premature discussion of partition. Neumann also relied on the support of most
of the Labor Zionist delegates who could be counted on to vote against Weizmann
out of loyalty to Ben-Gurion. He also attempted to win the allegiance of as many
of the Hadassah delegates as possible, though this proved to be difficult because
most disliked and disapproved of Silver’s vicious attacks on Goldmann, Weizmann,
and particularly Wise. 78
While Neumann quietly worked to recruit sillies at Basel, his comrades used
the congress proceedings as a forum to launch their attacks and articulate their
views. On December 10, David Ben-Gurion, who had reservedly endorsed Nahum
Goldmann’s partition tactics earlier in the year, delivered a long political report
to the congress. He unequivocally announced that he would oppose any Zionist
overture to Great Britain that proposed to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab
states. Responsible Zionist governing bodies should not even discuss the desirability
of dividing Palestine until Great Britain formally presented such a proposal. 79
As was often the case, Abba Hillel Silver made one of the most effective
presentations at the World Zionist Congress. The ideas Silver articulated were
not original; almost any of Goldmann’s American Zionist adversaries could have


176
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
made them. However, few could have delivered the message with the same force
and eloquence.
Silver’s speech reflected his cynical and probably accurate belief that morality
and justice would never dictate how Christian governments and leaders responded
to Jewish needs. Whereas his arch rival Stephen Wise had devoted his career to
fostering Jewish and Christian dialogue and conciliation. Silver by 1946 had deter
mined that Christian society was fundamentally anti-Semitic. Jewish Agency leaders.
Silver explained, had overestimated the humanity of the British authorities when
they endorsed Nahum Goldmann’s partition plan believing that this “supreme
sacrifice” would evoke a generous response. They should have realized that
This is not the spiritual climate of our age. If sacrifices could move the hearts
of Governments today, the leaking hulks which are transporting our storm-
tossed refugees would not be turned away with their cargo of human misery
from the shores of Palestine to detention camps in Cyprus. The sacrifice of
six million of our people did not move the British Government to deviate by
an iota from its illegal and immoral action which shut the one real haven of
refuge against their possible rescue.
In the “real” world, governments recognize sacrifices as signs of weakness. The
“surest way" for Zionists not to “get” partition was to propose the division of Pale
stine to the great powers, for Washington and London understood the rules of ne
gotiations, which the Jewish Agency had forgotten: You always ask for more than
what you want. When Goldmann made his partition offer, “it became the Jewish
solution, and therefore, unavailable as a compromise solution.” Silver urged his
audience to realize that “every eloquent speech made at this Congress in favor
of partition is a nail driven into its coffin.” Truman and Bevin would propose
“sound and just” solutions to the Palestine problem if Zionists did not lose their
“nerve” and if they courageously and determinedly exerted political pressure on
the White House and 10 Downing Street. In the future, Silver counseled, all Zion
ist spokesmen should insist on the establishment of a Jewish state in an “undivided”
Palestine. 80
Silver and Ben-Gurion’s arguments, combined with Neumann’s skillful negotia
tions, successfully convinced a majority of the World Zionist Congress to reject
the Weizmann-Goldmann position. The delegates at Basel voted to give Ben-Gurion
and Silver total control of charting the Zionist political course. After defeating Weiz
mann decisively, Ben-Gurion asked the congress to pay tribute to the long service
and accomplishments of the elderly Zionist leader. Ben-Gurion’s praise for the
architect of the Balfour Declaration was actually a eulogy. Weizmann left Basel
powerless, although he would continue to play a limited role in Zionist affairs. Wise
returned to the United States a bitter man and announced that he was resigning
from his role as leader in the Zionist Organization of America because he could


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Triumph of American Zionism
not support Abba Hillel Silver’s extremist tactics and demands for the creation
of a Jewish state in an undivided Palestine. 81
THE TRIUMPH OF AMERICAN ZIONISM
Events following the Basel congress proved the validity of Silver’s political analysis.
The British Labour government, as Silver had accurately perceived, was firmly
committed to pursuing an anti-Zionist policy. Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was
simply unprepared to accept the establishment of a geographically viable and
fully sovereign Jewish state, and he rejected every Zionist attempt to initiate a com
promise solution to end the struggle for Palestine. Therefore, after the Zionist Con
gress, Jewish nationalists pursued a two-pronged campaign. Publicly, Silver and
other Zionist orators repeatedly stated that their goal was to achieve full Jewish
control over all of Palestine, while Jews in Europe and Palestine persevered in a
much more grueling and demanding conflict. Zionist agents in Europe, under the
command of Jewish leaders in Palestine, continued to assault the British blockade
of the Holy Land with boatloads of Jewish refugees. Meanwhile, the renegade Jewish
terrorist organizations, the Irgun and the Stern Gang, which refused to accept Ben-
Gurion’s authority, attacked military installations in Palestine and assassinated British
officials. 82
The Zionists’ aggressive war of words and deeds achieved results within an
astonishingly short period of time. On February 14, 1947, a weary and frustrated
British government announced that it would allow the United Nations to resolve
the Palestine problem. In the United States, Silver’s championing of an extreme
Zionist platform was actually helping to build up American support for the parti
tion of Palestine. The extermination of six million Jews and the DPs’ plight troubled
Americans, who could also admire the stubborn determination of the survivors
of Hitler’s death camps to reach their “homeland” in Palestine. Still, they knew
that Palestine was a contested territory and that Arabs were equally as willing to
kill and be killed for its possession. By posing as an “extremist,” Silver allowed
Americans to weigh his position against that of militant Arab Palestinian national
ists. The partition of Palestine seemed to be a reasonable and practical compromise. 83
The key to this strategy, for Zionists, was not to adopt the partition formula
too quickly. Silver understood that it was critical for world opinion to believe that,
in accepting partition, the Zionists were making a sacrifice, not winning a victory.
The final act of the partition drama was staged before the United Nations. The
General Assembly opened its debate on Palestine in April 1947 and decided to
send a special committee to the Middle East to investigate the situation and devise
proposals to be submitted for approval by the whole assembly. 84


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
After visiting Palestine, the eleven-nation committee submitted two reports to
the General Assembly. A minority report submitted by the representatives of In
dia, Iran, and Yugoslavia essentially called for the cantonization of Palestine into
Arab and Jewish semi-autonomous regions united under a federal government.
The majority proposal, made by the representatives of Canada, Czechoslovakia,
Guatemala, the Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, and Uruguay, called for the partition
of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. 85
The majority partition proposal was precisely what Zionist leaders had been
waiting for. A suggestion for dividing Palestine was now being initiated by a respon
sible political body, not by the Zionists themselves. According to Silver and
Neumann’s conception of how the diplomatic game was played, it was now time
for the Zionists reluctantly but nobly to accept the division of the Holy Land. Coin
cidentally, the task fell to Abba Hillel Silver, the only American on the Zionist dele
gation that had been invited by the United Nations to participate in the proceedings.
Silver played his part beautifully, beginning his address with a strong attack
on the legitimacy of Palestinian nationalism. There had never been a “politically
or culturally distinct” Arab nation in Palestine, Silver claimed. In fact, the Arabs
who took possession of Palestine in 634 a.d. had “held sway” for only 437 years
before the region was conquered by “non-Arab peoples,” including the Kurds,
Crusaders, and Turks. In contrast, Silver continued, “by the time the Arabs con
quered Palestine . . . the Jewish people had already completed nearly two thou
sand years of national history in that country, during which time they created a
civilization which decidedly influenced the course of mankind.” Repeating a com
mon theme of Zionist propaganda, Silver claimed that the Zionist return to Pales
tine harmed no one. For the Arabs of Palestine, Jewish settlement brought eco
nomic and social progress. Zionism was not even a threat to Arab nationalism.
Silver continued, pointing out that “the Arabs possess today independent mon
archies in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, and Transjordan, and independent
republics in Syria and Lebanon.” All the Jews desired was to return to their
homeland, which occupied a mere ten thousand square miles of the vast Middle
East.
After presenting the reasons why the Zionists could justly claim control of all
of Palestine, Silver turned his attention to the two proposals before the General
Assembly. The minority report of the Palestine committee, calling for the creation
of an independent Federal State of Palestine consisting of two semi-autonomous
regions, was totally unacceptable to the Zionist movement. The Arab majority of
Palestine would never allow large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine, thereby
condemning the Jews of the nation to permanent minority status. Silver said, “The
plan entails for the Jews all the disadvantages of partition—and a very bad parti
tion geographically—without the compensating advantages of a real partition:
statehood, independence and free immigration.”


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Triumph of American Zionism
The majority report calling for the partition of Palestine was clearly not in the
spirit of the framers of the Balfour Declaration, who Silver claimed intended to
create a Jewish state in all of Palestine. To propose partition was to ask the Jewish
people to make a “very heavy sacrifice,” but the Zionist movement was willing to
pay this price because “the proposal makes possible the immediate re-establishment
of the Jewish State, an ideal for which our people ceaselessly strove through the
centuries, and because it ensures immediate and continuing Jewish immigration
which, as events have demonstrated, is possible only under a Jewish State.” Then,
attempting to prove that the Zionist leadership was capable of great statesmanship
and maturity, in comparison to Arab nationalist leaders who had never been will
ing to compromise, Silver said the Zionists would also accept partition “as our
contribution to the solution of a grave international problem and as evidence of our
willingness to join with the community of nations in an effort to bring peace at
last to the troubled land which is precious to the heart of mankind.” There were
limits to sacrifice, however. The Jews would only accept partition with the understand
ing that the Jewish state would be fully sovereign and would have full control over
its own immigration policy. Silver summed up the Zionist position succinctly:
We have budded a nation in Palestine. That nation now demands its inde
pendence. it will not be dislodged. Its national status will not be denied. We
are asked to make an enormous sacrifice to attain that which, if uninterfered
with, we would have attained long ago. In sadness, and most reluctantly, we
are prepared to make this sacrifice. Beyond it we cannot, we will not go. 86
After additional debate and deliberation, the General Assembly decided to ac
cept the majority report and partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The
U.N. vote was quite impressive, particularly given the fact that both the United
States and the Soviet Union both opted to support the creation of a Jewish state.
The Soviet Union’s vote to create a Jewish state was probably the result of Stalin’s
shrewd calculations. The Soviets, who had always been hostile to Zionism, recognized
that by voting to create a Jewish state they would be promoting the decline of the
British Empire in the Middle East while they received credit for supporting a
measure that many in the United States considered just and humane. 87 Washing
ton’s support of Jewish statehood, on the other hand, was the result of the long,
hard political and propaganda struggle of American Zionists.
It was a bittersweet victory for American Zionists. In 1933 they were just a
small, beleaguered segment of the American Jewish community. The rise of Hitler
had rejuvenated their movement. Responding to the plight of their co-religionists,
American Zionists provided the financial and political support necessary to bring
large numbers of refugees to Palestine. The Zionists’ ability to provide a practical
solution to the refugee crisis brought the movement great prestige and respect
among American Jews who were anguished and concerned by Nazi anti-Semitic


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Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
policies. An Arab revolt and increasingly hostile British policies convinced Ameri
can Zionists that to provide a haven for refugees they would first have to insure
the security of Jewish Palestine. Believing that they were waging a war for the sur
vival of the Jewish people, Zionists set out to unite the American Jewish com
munity in a statehood campaign as the first important step to winning the support
of the Roosevelt administration. In this context, learning about Hitler’s extermina
tion of European Jewry only served to convince American Zionists that their path
was correct. Abba Hillel Silver’s passionate and eloquent claim that the Nazi exter
mination program was the latest link in a chain of anti-Semitism that could only
be broken by the end of Jewish homelessness, not only expressed the view of most
American Zionists, it captured the attention of concerned American Jews who were
in agony over the seemingly insurmountable task of rescuing European Jewry. They
flocked to the Zionist movement believing, like Silver, that Zionism was the ultimate
form of rescue. Together with Silver and other Zionist leaders they worked and
sacrificed to gain American public and political support. Tragically, their victory
came only after the murder of six million Jews.
Almost all American Zionists could take some credit for Israel’s creation.
Emanuel Neumann and Abba Hillel Silver had skillfully constructed an efficient
public relations machine and had astutely developed an aggressive and tough
strategy. Stephen Wise’s charm and good works had steadily won support for Zion
ism from Jews and Christians and gave Zionists an important link to the Democratic
party. In spite of their dislike for each other, Neumann, Silver, Wise, and Gold
mann made an effective team. The “extremists” provided the force and attempted
to influence American policymakers with a stick, while the moderates were always
available to mend fences and extend sympathy to Truman and his administration.
The United Nations vote did not end the struggle for Palestine. Other political
battles remained to be fought as elements within the State Department unsuccessfully
attempted to postpone Jewish independence, which was scheduled for mid-May
1948. Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, and Lebanon responded to David Ben-Gurion’s
declaration of independence by launching a full-scale military invasion against
the new Jewish state of Israel. That long bloody war did not end with a peace
settlement, but with an armistice. More conflict was to follow.


181
CONCLUSIONS
For world Jewry, the decade and a half between 1933 and 1948 was
traumatic and cataclysmic. The persecution of German Jewry that began
with Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, ended with the annihilation
of six million Jews. While Germany was primarily responsible for the
Holocaust, the democratic governments of the United States and the
United Kingdom must be considered at least accomplices in genocide.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, a liberal and humane leader, rescued his country
from the despair caused by a massive economic failure and saved the
world from the threat of fascist domination, but did practically nothing
to deliver six million men, women, and children from the hands of their
executioners. While the Jews perished in Nazi death camps, the Roosevelt
administration persistently, if politely, resisted appeals from Jewish leaders
for salvation. The record of Winston Churchill’s government is perhaps
even bleaker than that of Roosevelt’s. Fully aware of the fate of Jews
trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe, Great Britain refused to open the doors
of Palestine to those few who might have been able to escape from the
clutches of their murderers if only a safe haven had existed.
The Allied victory over the Axis in 1945 did not end the plight and
suffering of the pitifully small number of European Jews who had some
how managed to survive the war. For many of the survivors, the war’s
end did not bring freedom, but only a reprieve from the threat of im
mediate annihilation. Homeless and stateless, many of the postwar sur
vivors continued to live in the former Nazi concentration camps, cared
for by the American GIs and British “Tommies” who had replaced the
SS guards.
Most of the survivors refused to allow themselves to sink into a state
of deep and permanent mental depression. Soon after the war, many be-


182
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
gan the painful task of resconstructing their lives and of creating new families to re
place those extinguished by the Nazis. With the help of Palestinian Jewish emissaries,
the one-time concentration camps became Zionist training centers where the sur
vivors prepared themselves for a new life in Palestine. With the establishment of
the State of Israel in May 1948, the homelessness of many of the survivors ended.
Some of those who had escaped death in Auschwitz and Treblinka fell on battle
fields in the Galilee and Negev, fighting to ensure the existence of a state that they
hoped would protect future generations of Jews from suffering the same fate as
the martyred six million. Most of the survivors who came to Israel in 1948 lived
to see their children reach maturity in a modern Jewish state which had, in spite
of numerous wars and economic crises, become a regional superpower.
American Zionists shared in the experiences of their European co-religionists.
Although they personally did not have to endure deportation to death camps,
American Zionists were painfully aware of what was occurring in the Nazi murder
factories. Many had relatives in occupied Europe, and all felt a real responsibility
to combat the Nazi forces of extermination. The leaders of the Zionist movement
in the United States were all too aware of the reluctance of American and British
officials to deal decisively with the “Jewish problem.”
In spite of the great hardships they endured, the period between 1933 and
1948 ended triumphantly for American Zionists. In 1933, American Zionism was
just one of several movements competing for the loyalty of American Jewry. At
the helm of disorganized, financially and numerically weak organizations, few of
the leaders of American Zionism expected to witness the triumph of Jewish na
tionalism within their lifetimes.
The fight against Hitler radically transformed American Zionism. During the
decade of the thirties, the ability of American Zionists to present Palestine as a
practical solution to the European refugee crisis resulted in a steady increase in
the power and prestige of Jewish nationalism in the United States. During World
War II, the Zionist claim to hold the ultimate solution to the problem of anti-
Semitism captured the imagination of American Jews struggling to comprehend
and respond to the Holocaust. In remarkably large numbers, American Jews enlisted
in the Zionist crusade to create a Jewish state that would finally end the problem
of Jewish homelessness, which they believed was the basic cause not only of the
Holocaust but of all anti-Semitism. By 1943, American Zionists had achieved a
commanding position within the American Jewish community.
Having won the competition for the allegiance of American Jewry, Zionists set
out to turn their movement into a powerful political force. By the end of World
War II, American Zionist organizations had not only succeeded in vanquishing
opposing Jewish groups, but had also created the machinery necessary to gain
influence in Washington. The fight for American political support was a difficult
one, but at the crucial November 1947 United Nations deliberations on the future


183
Conclusions
of Palestine, the United States supported the establishment of a Jewish state in
the Holy Land. American Zionists could justly claim some of the credit for the
successful establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.
The triumph of American Zionism entailed great cost and sacrifice. Unlike their
comrades in Palestine, no American Zionist had to endure combat to create Israel.
However, the leaders and rank and file of the American Zionist movement con
tributed generously to the Jewish nationalist cause. American fund raisers pro
vided much of the necessary capital to build and defend the Jewish state. Con
siderable amounts of energy and time went into generating the American political
and popular support for Zionism that was vitally important to Israel’s creation.
While American Zionists were aware of their sacrifices, few if any realized that
the Zionist success in America exacted a far more tragic cost.
After learning in late 1942 about Hitler’s program to exterminate European
Jewry, American Zionist leaders decided that their primary task had to be the
building of support for the immediate establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Their decision did not reflect a callousness about or disinterest in the terrible fate
of the European Jews. Rather, American Zionists believed that there was nothing
unique about Hitler’s plan for genocide. It simply seemed to be the latest of a long
series of anti-Semitic persecutions that had plagued the Jewish people since their
exile from the Holy Land by the forces of the Roman Empire. Believing that Jewish
homelessness was the basic cause of all anti-Semitism, American Zionists resolved
to put a final end to Jewish statelessness. The failure of previous generations to
accomplish this task, Zionists believed, was partly responsible for the tragic situa
tion of European Jewry. If Zionists failed to create their state, future generations
of Jews would surely follow in the path of the Jews being deported to Auschwitz.
Sadly, the American Zionists’ calculation was faulty. The existence of a Jewish
state in Palestine during the 1930s probably would have provided many Jewish
refugees with a haven and might have been able to offer salvation to the Jews
marked for annihilation by the Nazis. However, once the Nazis embarked on their
program of genocide, the American Zionist decision to make the establishment
of a Jewish state their primary goal handicapped any attempt to build a powerful
lobby to force the American government to undertake the rescue of European
Jewry. Powerful and talented leaders like Abba Hillel Silver gave their energies
to Zionism, not the immediate rescue of the Jews of Europe. The American Zionist
Emergency Council, an efficient and successful political lobby and public rela
tions machine, devoted little of its resources to the rescue of European Jewry. Finally,
the Zionist insistence on including a demand for Jewish statehood in any proposal
to aid European Jewry, politicized the rescue issue, and made it impossible to
appeal for American aid on purely humanitarian grounds.
While we can criticize the policies of American Zionists, it is important to
remember that Adolf Hitler is primarily responsible for the murder of six million


184
Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism
Jews. To some extent, the Nazi persecution of European Jewry is also responsible
for the political turmoil in the Middle East that followed Israel’s creation.
In 1933, the year Hitler gained power in Germany, few Zionist leaders expected
to live to see the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. The Zionist settlement
of the Holy Land was to be carried out slowly and judiciously. With time on their
side, Zionists wanted to ensure the careful and scientific creation of an economic
and social base in Palestine that could effectively support larger numbers of Jewish
settlers. Time might also have allowed Zionists to come to an accommodation with
the Arabs of Palestine who feared that Zionist settlement would displace them and
turn them into second-class citizens in their own land.
The terrible plight of European Jewry upset Zionist plans and made it impossi
ble to reach any agreement with the Arabs. As the Zionists began to bring Jewish
refugees to Palestine, the Palestinian Arabs revolted in defense of their own na
tional interests. Zionists, primarily concerned with providing a home for the Jewish
refugees and fearing a British betrayal, could not respond to the Arab protests
with understanding. Instead, they responded to the Arab revolt with armed force
and sought to insure their own claim to Palestine.
The British abandonment of a pro-Zionist policy in 1939 and the Nazi exter
mination of European Jews that began in June 1941 finally convinced Zionists
in the United States and Palestine that Jews must achieve immediate independence
in Palestine. This understandable conclusion based on an accurate understanding
of the dangers they faced not only hampered the establishment of a powerful pro
rescue lobby in the United States, but also guaranteed that the conflict with Palestine’s
Arab population would continue. During World War II and the immediate postwar
years, Zionists increasingly came to link the Arabs with the Nazi and the British
forces that were seeking to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state. Sadly, in
the eyes of American Zionists, the Arabs were steadily being transformed from
a people with whom an accommodation would have to be made into a mortal enemy
who had to be defeated. This is the legacy we still live with today.


185
NOTES
NoU»: TIm* following abbreviations are used:
ZAL Zionist Archives and Library, New York City.
AHSMA Abba Hillel Silver Memorial Archives, The Temple, Cleveland, OH.
INTRODUCTION
1. Greenbergs essay, “Bankrupt,” can be found in Marie Syrkin, ed., Hayim Greenberg An
thology (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1968). pp. 192-203.
2. Arthur Morse, While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy (New York: Random
House, 1968); David S. Wyman, Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941 (Amherst:
University of Massachusetts Press, 1968); Henry Feingold, The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Ad
ministration and the Holocaust 1938-1945 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1970); Saul
S. Friedman. No Haven for the Oppressed: United States Policy Toward Jewish Refugees 1938-1945
(Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1973). David S. Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews: America
and the Holocaust 1941-1945 (New York: Pantheon, 1984) is a recent and important addition to this
literature.
3. Samuel Halperin, The Political World of American Zionism (Detroit: Wayne State University
Press. 1961), p. 327.
4. Halperin. Political World of American Zionism, p. 327.
5. In particular, see Melvin Urofsky, American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust (Garden
City, NY: Anchor Press, 1975); Urofsky, We are One!: American Jewry and Israel (Garden City, NY:
Anchor Press, 1978); Yonathan Shapiro, leadership of the American Zionist Organization 1897-1930
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971); Marnin Feinstein, American Zionism 1897-1904 (New
York: Herzl Press, 1965); Zvi Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, 1945-1948 (New York:
Holmes & Meier, 1979); Peter Grose. Israel in the Mind of America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983);
Michael J. Cohen, Palestine and the Great Powers 1945-1948 (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1982); John Snetsinger, Truman, the Jewish Vote and the Creation of Israel (Stanford: Hoover Institu
tion Press, Stanford University, 1974).
CHAPTER I
1. The best biographies of Herzl are Alex Bein, Theodor Herzl: A Biography; trans. Maurice
Samuel (New York: Atheneum, 1962, reprint 1970); Amos Elon, Herzl (New York: Holt. Rinehart
& Winston, 1975). Herzls The Jewish State has been reprinted many times. For an easily accessible


186
Notes to Chapter 1
version, see Arthur Hertzberg, ed., The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader (New York:
Atheneum, 1959, reprint 1973), pp. 204-26.
2. On Pinsker, see Hertzberg, Zionist Idea, 178-98; Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism
(New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972), pp. 70-75.
3. Laqueur, History of Zionism, pp. 103-9.
4. Ibid., pp. 107-8, 162-66, 481-84; Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error: An Autobiography
(New York: Schocken Books, 1949, reprint 1966), pp. 43-54.
5. Laqueur, History of Zionism, chap. 6.
6. The American Jewish Year Book 5690, Oct. 5, 1929 to Sept. 22, 1930, vol. 31 (Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society of America, 1929), p. 274; Melvin Urofsky, American Zionism: From Herzl
to the Holocaust (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1975), p. 104; Laqueur, History of Zionism, pp.
481-84; Samuel Halperin, The Political World of American Zionism (Detroit: Wayne State University
Press, 1961), pp. 65-71; Maier Bryan Fox, “American Zionism in the 1920s,” Ph.D. diss., George
Washington University, 1979, pp. 231-36; Naomi W. Cohen, American Jews and the Zionist Idea (New
York: Ktav Publishing House, 1975), p. 7.
7. American Jewish Year Book 5690, vol. 31, p. 270; Urofsky, American Zionism, pp. 103-4;
Laqueur, History of Zionism, chap. 6; Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, pp. 159-62,
173-75; Fox, “American Zionism in the 1920s,” pp. 253-73.
8. Palestine Department of Migration Annual Report, 1934 (Jerusalem: 1935), p. 13; Martin
Gilbert, Exile and Return: The Struggle for a Jewish Homeland (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1978), chaps.
12 & 13; Alan R. Taylor, Prelude to Israel: An Analysis of Zionist Diplomacy 1897-1947 (New York:
Philosophical Library, 1959), chap. Ill
9. Laqueur, History of Zionism, chap. 7.
10. American Jewish Year Book 5696, Sept. 28, 1935 to Sept. 16, 1936, vol. 37 (Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society of America, 1935), p. 333; Urofsky, American Zionism, pp. 357-58 n.;
Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, 320; Fox, “American Zionism in the 1920s,” pp. 240-43.
11. For the best histories on the early American Zionism, see Urofsky, American Zionism; N.
Cohen, American Jews and the Zionist Idea, chaps. 1, 2, 3; Mamin Feinstein, American Zionism,
1884-1904 (New York: Herzl Press, 1965); Yonathan Shapiro, Leadership of the American Zionist
Ogranization, 1897-1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971).
12. American Jewish Yearbook 5690, vol. 31, p. 290. There is a vast amount of literature on
the BrandeisWeizmann feud. For examples see: Urofsky, American Zionism, chap. 7; Laqueur, History
of Zionism, pp. 458-62; Weizmann, Trial and Error, pp. 248-50, 265-78; Ben Halpern, The Idea
of a Jewish State, 2d ed. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969), pp. 183-88; Peter Grose,
Israel in the Mind of America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, distributed by Random House, 1983),
pp. 72-82; Ben Halpren, A Clash of Heroes: Brandeis, Weizmann and American Zionism (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1987).
13. American contributions to the two major Zionist philanthropic funds, the Keren Hayesod
and the Keren Kayemeth, shrunk after the onset of the depression. This was particularly serious because
American Jews had traditionally provided 50 percent of the income of these international funds.
Stenographic transcript of the thirty-sixth convention of the ZOA, July 1-4,1933, p. 23, ZAL (hereafter:
Transcript of the 1933 ZOA Convention). Also see Chaim Weizmann to Felix Warburg, Dec. 24, 1932,
letter #328 in The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann, Series A, vol. XV, ed. Barnet Litvinoff,
(New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 1978).
14. See Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meetings, Jan. 26, 1932; Feb. 9, 1932; Feb. 23,
1932; May 10, 1932; Nov. 6, 1932, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
15. Ibid., May 31, 1932.
16. Ibid., Aug. 3, 1932; Nov. 6, 1932.
17. Ibid., Dec. 21, 1932; Feb. 1, 1933; Mar. 19, 1933; Apr. 19, 1933; July 26, 1933.


187
Notes to Chapter I
18. For an impressively extensive analysis of Nazi anti-Semitic policies, see Raul Hilberg, The
Destruction of the European Jews, 2d ed., 3 vols. (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985).
19. Transcript of the 1933 ZOA Convention, p. 16.
20. Ibid., pp. 62-64.
21. Urofsky, American Zionism, pp. 369-70.
22. Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe 1939-1945 (New York: Oxford Univer
sity Press, 1979), p. 6; David S. Wyman, Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941
(Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1968), pp. 27-30; Mark Wischnitzer, To Dwell in Safety
(Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1948), p. 178.
23. Ari J. Sherman, Island Refuge: Britain and Refugees from the Third Reich (London: Elek,
1973), pp. 40-55; Wischnitzer, To Dwell in Safety, pp. 182-83.
24. Wyman, Paper Walls, pp. 33-34; Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe, p. 7; Arieh
Tartakower and Kurt R. Grossman, The Jewish Refugee (New York: Institute of Jewish Affairs of the
American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, 1944), pp. 130-42, 217-22. Sherman,
Island Refuge, is the most extensive analysis of British immigration policy during the prewar period.
25. U.S. Department of Labor, Annual Report of the Commissioner General of Immigration—1932
(Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 16; Wyman, Paper Walls, p. 221.
26. Wyman, Paper Walls, pp. 3-4; Arthur Morse, While Six Million Died (New York: Random
House, 1968), pp. 139-40; Henry L. Feingold, The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration
and the Holocaust, 1938-1945 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1970), p. 16; Saul
S. Friedman, No Haven for the Oppressed: U.S. Policy Toward Jewish Jewish Refugees, 1938-1945 (De
troit: Wayne State University Press, 1973), p. 22.
27. Wise and Bernard Deutsch Memorandum, Apr. 38, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll
#22, ZAL.
28. Hull to Frankfurter, May 6, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL.
29. Brandeis to Wise, May 11, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL.
30. Wyman, Paper Walls, pp. 168-69, 221.
31. Melvin I. Urofsky, A Voice that Spoke for Justice: The Life and Times of Stephen S. Wise (Al
bany: State University of New York Press, 1982), pp. 302-7.
32. Charles H. Stember et al., Jews in the Mind of America (New York: Basic Books, 1966), p. 145.
33. Ibid., p. 56.
34. Ibid., p. 54.
35. Ibid., pp. 131, 138.
36. Wyman, Paper Walls, pp. 14-23; Donald S. Strong, Organized Anti-Semitism in America:
The Rise of Group Prejudice During the Decade 1930-1940 (Washington, DC: American Council on
Public Affairs, 1941); Alan Brinkley, Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin and the Great Depres
sion (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), pp. 269-73.
37. Wyamn, Paper Walls, chap. 4; Feingold, Politics of Rescue, pp. 148-55; Morse, While Six
Million Died, chap. XIV; Friedman, No Haven for the Oppressed, chap. 4.
38. Weizmann to Louis Lipsky, n.d. (May 1933?), letter #369 in Letters and Papers of Chaim
Weizmann, Series A, vol. XV.
39. Transcript of the 1933 ZOA Convention, pp. 1-4.
40. Wise’s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 58-72.
41. Ibid., p. 76.
42. Michael Traub, “Tempo of Palestine,” Jewish Frontier, Feb. 1933, pp. 25-26. Also see Hayim
Greenberg, “Profiteers Discover Palestine,” Jewish Frontier, Mar. 1935, pp. 20-22.
43. Transcript of the 1933 ZOA Convention, pp. 47-48.
44. Ibid., p. 142.
45. Ibid., pp. 48, 256.


188
Notes to Chapter 1
46. Emanuel Neumann’s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 84-115.
47. Ibid., pp. 127-28.
48. The resolution can be found in Ibid., pp. 73-75.
49. Ibid., p. 43.
50. Ibid., pp. 101-2, 113.
51. Ibid., pp. 69-70.
52. Szold to Harry Friedenwald, Oct. 19, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22,
ZAL.
53. Wise to Brandeis, Apr. 5, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL; Palestine
Department of Migration Annual Report, 1937 (Jerusalem: 1938). p. 14.
54. Szold’s comments can be found in Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Nov. 27.
1933, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
55. Lipsky to McDonald, Nov. 28, 1933, McDonald Papers, General Correspondence File #13,
l^ehman Library, Columbia Univ.; Brandeis to J. W. Mack, Sept. 27, 1933, in Letters of Louis D. Bran-
deis, vol. V, ed. Melvin Urofsky and David Levy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1971),
pp. 521-22.
56. Brandeis to Bob (Szold), Nov. 19. 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL; Ben-
Gurion to Felix Frankfurter, Dec. 8, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL; Brandeis
to Ben-Gurion, Jan. 25, 1934, in Letters ofljouis D. Brandeis, vol. V, pp. 531-32. Also see, Ben-Gurion
to Brandeis, Jan. 5, 1934, in Letters of Louis I). Brandeis, vol. V, p. 533.
57. Palestine Department of Migration Annual Report, 1934 (Jerusalem: 1935), p. 12; 1935
(Jerusalem: 1936), p. 10; 1937 (Jerusalem: 1938), p. 14.
58. Wise to Brandeis, Apr. 5, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL.
59. Szold to Brandeis, Apr. 19, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22. ZAL.
60. American Jewish Yearbook 5695, Sept. 10, 1934 to Sept. 27. 1935. vol. 36 (Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society of America, 1934), pp. 350-51.
61. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Feb. 26, 1934, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
62. Ibid., Mar. 21, 1934.
63. Ibid.. Apr. 25, 1934.
64. Ibid., May 3, 1934.
65. Morris Rothenberg’s address can be found in the Stenographic Transcript of the thirty-seventh
ZOA Convention, July 1-3. 1934, pp. 4-57, ZAL (hereafter: Transcript of the 1934 ZOA Convention).
66. Louis Lipsky’s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 73-95.
67. Robert Szold s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 96-105.
68. Ibid., pp. 48-49.
69. Ibid., pp. 48-57.
70. Ibid., pp. 108-14.
71. Ibid., pp. 212-19.
72. Ibid., p. 77.
73. Lewisohn’s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 119-43.
74. Friedland's address can be found in Ibid., pp. 189-98. Also see the addresses of Maurice
Samuel, pp. 143-59; Dr. S. Margoshes, pp. 198-204; and Dr. Greenberg, pp. 220-24.
75. Rosenblatt’s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 292-303.
76. Silver, “A Happier New Year,” Sept. 19, 1934, Jewish Daily Bulletin articles. Silver Papers,
MSS. and Typescripts File #34-17, AHSMA.
77. See Robert Svold’s comments on Palestine in Szold to Brandeis, Apr. 21, 1935, Brandeis
Records. Microfilm Roll #24, ZAL.
78. Rothenberg to Brandeis, Nov. 21, 1934, Brandeis Records. Microfilm Roll #23, ZAL. Also
see Rothenberg to Brandeis, Dec. 28, 1934, on the same microfilm roll.


189
Notes to Chapter I
79. For descriptions of the conference, see New York Times, Jan. 21, 1935, p. 6; Washington
Post, Jan. 21, 1935, p. 13, and Jan. 22, 1935, p. 15.
80. See Morris Rothenberg address in Stenographic Transcript of the thirty-eighth ZOA Conven
tion, June 30-July 2, 1935, pp. 26-27, ZAL (hereafter: Transcript of the 1935 ZOA Convention);
Joseph Saslaw to Brandeis, Jan. 25, 1935, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #24, ZAL. Also see
“A Rabbinical Statement Regarding Labor Palestine,” Jewish Frontier,; Feb. 1935, pp. 32-34.
81. On B’nai B’rith, see Halperin, Political World Of American Zionism, pp. 144-47; American
Jewish Year Book, 5696, vol. 37, pp. 287-88. On the American Jewish Committee, see Naomi W.
Cohen, Not Free to Desist: The American Jewish Committee, 1906-1966 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publica
tion Society of America, 1972); Stuart Knee, The Concept of Zionist Dissent (New York: R. Speller,
1979), chap. IV.
82. Howard R. Greenstein, Turning Point: Zionism and Reform Judaism (Chico, CA: Scholars
Press, 1981); Neutrality Resolution quoted in Ibid., p. 29; Knee, Concept of Zionist Dissent, chap.
Ill; Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, pp. 71-79; Michael A. Meyer, Response to Moder
nity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp.
293-95, 326-32.
83. For expressions of this view, see “Plain Words On the Mandate,” Jewish Frontier, Feb. 1935,
pp. 6-7; “Solution by Surrender,” Jewish Frontier,; Mar. 1935, pp. 6-7.
84. Oswald Garrison Villard, “Russia and the Jews,” Nation, Aug. 28, 1935, p. 231.
85. “Futile Search for Territories” Jewish Frontier, Sept. 1935, p. 4.
86. Silver, “Ersatz,” Jan. 6, 1935, Jewish Daily Bulletin articles, Silver Papers, MSS. and Type
scripts File #34-17, AHSMA.
87. American Jewish Yearbook 5696, vol. 37, p. 332; Israel Goldstein to Brandeis, Aug. 26,
1935, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #24, ZAL.
88. Abraham Goldberg quoted in Transcript of the 1935 ZOA Convention, pp. 226-34.
89. Joan Dash, Summoned to Jerusalem: The Life of Henrietta Szold (New York: Harper & Row,
1979), chap. VI; Irvin Fineman, Woman of Valor: The Life of Henrietta Szold 1860-1945 (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1961), pp. 357-95; Urofsky, American Zionism, p. 397.
90. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, May 3, 1934, Hadassah Papers, ZAL; Mrs.
Edward Jacobs to Brandeis, June 17, 1935, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #24, ZAL.
91. Jacobs to Brandeis, Oct. 31, 1935, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #24, ZAL; Minutes
of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Oct. 23, Nov. 27, Nov. 28, 1935, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
92. Jacobs to Brandeis, Oct. 31, 1935, Brandeis Records, Roll #24, ZAL; Minutes of Hadassah
National Board Meeting, Nov. 27, 1935, Hadassah Papers, ZAL; Weizmann to Hexter, Nov. 20, 1935,
and Nov. 24, 1935, letters #76, #79 in Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann, Series A, vol. XVII.
93. Jacobs to Brandeis, Oct. 31, 1935, and Nov. 14, 1935, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll
#24, ZAL.
94. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Nov. 28, 1935, Hadassah Papers, ZAL; Weiz
mann to Hexter, Nov. 24, 1935, letter #79 in Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann, Series A, vol.
XVII; also see editorial note on p. 65. On the controversy over Youth Aliyah, also see Marlin Levin,
Balm in Gilead: The Story of Hadassah (New York: Schocken Books, 1973), pp. 120-29.
95. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Apr. 19, 1936, and Dec. 19, 1936, Hadassah
Papers, ZAL; Donald H. Miller, “A History of Hadassah 1912-1935,” Ph.D. diss., New York Univ.,
1968, p. 320; Levin, Balm in Gilead, pp. 129-35.
96. Transcript of the 1933 ZOA Convention, pp. 15-46, 58-72, 276-77.
97. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, May 3, 1933, Hadassah Papers, ZAL. But
for some reluctance of Hadassah leaders to cooperate, see minutes of Nov. 8, 1933, and Apr. 11, 1934.
98. For example, see Morris Rothenberg’s address in Transcript of the 1933 thirty-sixth ZOA
Convention, p. 42, and Transcript of the 1935 ZOA Convention, p. 34.


190
Notes to Chapter II
99. For more on Wises remarkable career, see Urofsky, A Voice that Spoke for Justice.
100. On the boycott, see Moshe Gottlieb, American Anti-Nazi Resistance 1933-1941 (New York:
Ktav Publishing House, 1982); Gottlieb, “The Anti-Nazi Boycott Movement in the United States: An
Ideological and Sociological Appreciation? Jewish Social Studies XXXV (July-Oct. 1973): pp. 198-227.
101. Minutes of Joint Meeting, Hadassah National Board and Junior National Board, Apr. 16,
1934; Minutes of Hadassah Summer Executive Meeting, n.d. (1934), Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
102. Transcript of the 1934 ZOA Convention, pp. 323-24; “Hitlers War of Extermination,” Jewish
Frontier.; Sept. 1935, pp. 4-5.
103. Brandeis to Wise, Sept. 18, 1933, Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, pp. 520-21; Memoran
dum of Strook, Waldman, Kallen, and Wise meeting with Brandeis, May 15, 1934, Brandeis Records,
Microfilm Roll #23, ZAL.
104. “Abstract of an Address on the Boycott of Nazi Germany,” delivered at the Hotel Pennsylvania,
Jan. 3, 1934, Silver Papers, MSS. and Typescripts File #34-7, AHSMA.
105. Silver, “Relief Is Not Enough,” Feb. 12, 1934, Jewish Daily Bulletin articles, Silver Papers,
MSS. and Typescripts File #33-13, AHSMA. For additional information on Silver and the boycott,
see his Jewish Daily Bulletin articles: “On the Alert!” Apr. 8, 1934; “Yorkville is Not Yet America,”
Oct. 28, 1934.
106. On the Haavara Agreement, see Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement: The Untold Story
of the Secret Agreement Between the Third Reich and Jetvish Palestine (New York: Macmillan, 1984);
Gottlieb, American Anti-Nazi Resistance, pp. 88-91.
107. Friedman, No Haven for the Oppressed, pp. 75-76.
108. Silver, “The Line of Confusion and the Plummet of Emptiness,” April 22, 1934, Jewish Daily
Bulletin articles, Silver Papers, MSS. and Typescripts File #33-13, AHSMA.
109. Silver, “Orange Juice,” Nov. 4, 1934, Jewish Daily Bulletin articles, Silver Papers, MSS. and
Typescripts File #34-17, AHSMA.
110. Transcript of the 1935 ZOA Convention, pp. 304-29.
111. Black, The Transfer Agreement, pp. 334-43.
112. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, May 20, 1936, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
CHAPTER II
1. Palestine Department of Migration Annual Report, 1934 (Jerusalem: 1935), p. 13; 1935
(Jerusalem: 1936), p. 10; 1936 (Jerusalem: 1937), p. 9.
2. Yehoyada Haim, Abandonment of Illusions—Zionist Political Attitudes Toward Palestinian
Arab Nationalism, 1936-1939 (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983), pp. 5-6; Ben-Gurion to Frank
furter, Dec. 8, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL. Also see Emanuel Neumanns min
utes of a discussion with Ben-Gurion on Feb. 23, 1933, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL.
For an interesting analysis of Ben-Gurion s developing views on the Arabs, see Shabtai Teveth, Ben-
Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).
3. Felix Frankfurter, “The Palestine Situation Revisited,” Foreign Affairs 9 (April 1931): pp. 409-34.
4. Hayim Greenberg, “Jew and Arab,” Jewish Frontier, December 1934, pp. 23-24.
5. Stenographic transcript of the thirty-sixth ZOA Convention, July 1-4, 1933, p. 78, ZAL
(hereafter: Transcript of the 1933 ZOA Convention).
6. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Mar. 1, 1934, Hadassah Papers, ZAL. Also
see Dr. Jonas S. Friedenwald to Brandeis, Mar. 3, 1938, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22, ZAL.
7. Emanuel Neumann, In the Arena (New York: Herzl Press, 1978), p. 121; Minutes of Hadassah
National Board Meeting, Mar. 21, 1933, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.


191
Notes to Chapter II
8. Neumann, In the Arena, p. 123.
9. Ibid., p. 123; Brandeis to Szold, July 11, 1932, in Letters of Louis D. Brandeis. vol. V, ed.
Melvin Urofksy and David Levy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1971), pp. 506-7.
10. Neumann, In the Arena, chap. 11, pp. 131-34, 325-30.
11. Neumann to Wise, Jan. 26, 1933, Stephen S. Wise Papers, Box 128, File 8, American Jewish
Historical Society, Waltham, MA (hereafter: Wise Papers).
12. Many copies of this document exist. See Brandeis to Neumann, Jan. 27, 1933, Wise Papers,
Box 128, File 8; Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, pp. 513-14; Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll
#21, ZAL; Neumann, In the Arena, p. 130. Chaim Weizmann, however, was not pleased with Neumanns
activities and feared that they might injure Zionist relations with Great Britain. See Weizmann to Arloso-
roff, Jan. 31, 1933, letter #340 in Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann, Series A., vol. XV, ed.
Barnet Litvinoff (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 1978).
13. Transcript of the 1933 ZOA Convention, pp. 101, 102, 113, 268-69, 275-76.
14. Neumann, In the Arena, pp. 133-34; Neumann to Franfurter. July 20, 1933, Felix Frank
furter Papers, Box 86, Microfilm Roll #2, Library of Congress, Washington, DC (hereafter: Frankfurter
Papers).
15. Frankfurter to Neumann, July 22, 1933, Frankfurter Papers, Box 86. Microfilm Roll #2.
16. James N. Rosenberg to Felix Warburg, Mar. 19, 1934, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll
#22, ZAL; Neumann to James N. Rosenberg, Mar. 22, 1934, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #22,
ZAL; Abba Hillel Silver, “Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent\ 7 Jewish Daily Bulletin, Jan. 7, 1934, Silver
Papers, MSS. and Typescripts File #3-13, AHSMA.
17. Frankfurter, “Memorandum of Interview with Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister,” June 28, 1934,
Frankfurter Papers, Box 88, Microfilm Roll #4.
18. Stenographic Transcript of the thirty-eighth ZOA Convention, June 30-July 2, 1935, pp.
407-8, ZAL.
19. Jacob C. Hurewitz, The Struggle for Palestine (New York: Schocken Books, 1950, reprint
1976), chap. 4; Y. Porath, The Palestinian Arab National Movement: From Riots to Rebellion (London:
F. Cass, 1977), chaps. 4 & 5; Ann M. Lesch, Arab Politics in Palestine 1917-1939 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press, 1979), pp. 67-75.
20. Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), pp. 196-201; Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, pp. 67-68; Haim, Abandon
ment of Illusions, p. 33-35; “No Immigration Ban, Says Thomas,” New Palestine, May 8, 1936, p.
1. Porath’s description of this stage of the Arab revolt is quite detailed, see Porath, The Palestinian
Arab National Movement, chap. 5.
21. Michael J. Cohen, Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate: The Making of British Policy, 1936-45
(New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978), chap. 2; Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, pp. 69-72; Haim, Aban
donment of Illusions, pp. 39-40.
22. Brandeis to Szold, Oct. 5, 1936, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #25, ZAL; Haim, Aban
donment of Illusions, pp. 46-49. The Irgun, a small group of Revisionist Zionist activists, rebelled
against the “self-restraint” policy of Yishuv authorities and waged their own war of counterterror against
Palestinian Arabs.
23. Not all Jews were willing to contribute to Jewish self-defense. Felix Warburg, a wealthy assimi
lated Jew, refused Stephen Wise’s request for financial aid. Wise to Brandeis, May 5, 1936, Brandeis
Records, Microfilm Roll #25, ZAL.
24. New York Times, May 31, 1936, p. 14.
25. Ibid., June 8, 1936, p. 12; June 10, 1936, p. 22. For the same position, see “The Dis
turbances in Palestine,” New Palestine, Apr. 24, 1936, p. 4.
26. Wise to Brandeis, May 5, 1936, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #25, ZAL; Minutes of
Hadassah National Board Meeting, June 17, 1936, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.


192
Notes to Chapter 11
27. Alew York Times, Apr. 21, 1936, p. 22.
28. Albert Viton. “Why Arabs Kill Jews,” Nation, June 3, 1936, pp. 708-9. Also see H. N.
Brailsford, “Storm Over Palestine,” New Republic, July 1, 1936, pp. 230-32.
29. William Ernest Hocking, “Misconceptions About Palestine,” Christian Century, July 1936,
pp. 930-32. Also see William Hocking letter to the editor. New York Times. June 14. 1936, sec. IV,
p. 9. See Hockings obituary in New York Times, June 13, 1966, p. 39.
30. New York Times, June 28, 1936, sec. IV, p. 9. On the history of Arab-American anti-Zionism,
see Stuart E. Knee, The Concept of Zionist Dissent in the American Mind 1917-1941 (New York: R.
Speller, 1979), chap. VIII.
31. New York Times. May 18, 1936, p. 16.
32. Ibid.. May 26, 1936, p. 10.
33. “Page Albert Viton,” Jewish Frontier. July 1936, pp. 5-6; Syrkins letter can be found in
Nation. June 24, 1936, p. 822.
34. Maurice Samuels, “The Intellectual Dilemma,” Jewish Fmnlier, November 1936, pp. 35-37.
35. Hayim Greenberg, “Arab Nationalism,” Jewish Frontier. June 1936, pp. 18-20.
36. Albert Viton. “The Fate of Zionism,” Nation. Dec. 19, 1936, pp. 725-28; Viton, “A Solution
for Palestine,” Nation. Dec. 26. 1936, pp. 756-58.
37. Philip Bernstein, “Promise of Zionism,” Nation. Jan. 2, 1937, pp. 12-15.
38. “Letters to the Editors,” Nation. Jan. 16, 1937, pp. 307-8.
39. Wise to Bernstein, Jan. 6. 1937, Wise Papers, Box 44. File 5; "The Nations New Policy,”
Jewish Frontier. Jan. 1937, pp. 2-3; “Viton Statistics.” Jewish Frontier. Jan. 1937, p. 2. Also see "The
Nation Discusses Palestine Again,” New Palestine. Jan. 1. 1937, p. 4.
40. Neu- York Times. July 21, 1936, p. 5. On the Peel Commissions investigation, see Joan Peters,
From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (New York: Harper
& Row, 1984), pp. 302-12; Martin Gilbert, Fxile and Return: The Struggle for a Jewish Homeland
(Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1978). pp. 164-77.
41. American Zionist leaders did make their feelings known to officials who appeared before
the Peel Commission. Wise to Brandeis. July 8, 1936, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #24. ZAL;
Brandeis to Julius Simon, July 31, 1936, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #25. ZAL; Brandeis to
Robert Szold, Sept. 5. 1936, Letters of Louis I). Brandeis. vol. V, pp. 577-81.
42. Hexter Testimony, Palestine Royal Commission. Minutes of Evidence Heard at Public Ses
sions (London, 1937), p. 114-32 (hereafter: Royal Commission Minutes). A copy can be found at the
Zionist Archives and Library.
43. Ben-Gurion Testimony, Royal Commission Minutes, pp. 288-91.
44. Weizmann Testimony, Royal Commission Minutes, pp. 30-40; Weizmann, Trial and Error:
The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann (New York: Schocken Books, 1949, reprint 1966), pp. 384-85;
Norman Rose, Chaim Weizmann: A Biography (New York: Viking, 1986), pp. 316-18.
45. Totah Testimony, Royal Commission Minutes, pp. 351-57.
46. Muftis Testimony, Royal Commission Minutes, pp. 292-99.
47. Wise to Warburg, Mar. 8, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
48. “The Two-Faced Policy Controversy,” New Palestine, Nov. 13, 1936, p. 4.
49. Gabriel Sheffer, “Political Considerations in British Policy-Making on Immigration to Palestine.”
Studies in Zionism, no. 4 (Autumn 1981): pp. 258-72.
50. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Feb. 17, 1937, Hadassah Papers, ZAL; Hure
witz, Struggle for Palestine, p. 72.
51. “The Immigration Schedule,” Jewish Frontier, Dec. 1936. p. 5.
52. “Rejected,” Jewish Frontier, June 1937, p. 3; Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, p. 72.
53. Arthur Lourie to Stephen Wise and Louis Lipsky, Apr. 4, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm
Roll #26. ZAL; Weizmann, Trial and Error, pp. 385-87; Rose, Chaim Weizmann, pp. 319-20.


193
Notes to Chapter 11
54. Dr. Samuel Margoshes, editor of the Yiddish daily newspaper The Day, was one of the few
Zionists to defend partition. He acknowledged that the division of Palestine was bad, but he argued
that it was better than any other British action that could be expected. Margoshes editorial. The Day,
Apr. 19, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
55. “Hadassah Petition to the U.S. Secretary of State and the British Ambassador in the U.S.—
May 1937—Passed at the HADASSAH SPRING CONFERENCE,” attached to Minutes of Hadassah
National Board Meeting, May 11, 1937, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
56. Greenberg, “Balkanization of Palestine,” Jewish Frontier.; May 1937, pp. 12-14.
57. “Cantonization — An Experiment in Geographic Surgery,” Jewish Outlook, May 1937, p. 4.
58. “Rejected.” New Palestine, Apr. 30, 1937, p. 4. Also see “Why Ignore Transjordan,” New
Palestine, May 7, 1937, p. 4.
59. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, June 2, 1937, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
60. Szold to Brandeis, June 10, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
61. Wises address can be found in the Stenographic transcript of the fortieth ZOA Convention,
June 1937, pp. 2-24, ZAL (hereafter: Transcript of 1937 ZOA Convention). Also see Wises comments
on pp. 253-59.
62. Robert Szold’s address can be found in Ibid.., pp. 31-39.
63. Lipsky s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 61-76.
64. Morris Rothenberg s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 412-18.
65. Senator Wagner’s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 402-7.
66. Silver’s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 96A-111.
67. Ibid., pp. 43-44, 47-50; Szold to Brandeis, June 30, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm
Roll #26, ZAL.
68. Szold to Brandeis, June 30, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL; “Memoran
dum of Overseas Telephone Talk with Weizmann,” June 28, 1937, Frankfurter Papers, Box 86, Microfilm
Roll #2.
69. Weizmann to Frankfurter, June 29, 1937, Frankfurter Papers, Box 86, Microfilm Roll #2.
70. Weizmann to Frankfurter, June 29, 1937, Frankfurter Papers, Box 86, Microfilm Roll #2.
This letter is different from the one cited in the previous footnote.
71. Palestine Royal Commission Report (London: 1937), pp. 113, 128-30.
72. Ibid., pp. 110-11, 144, 363.
73. Ibid., pp. 2-3.
74. Ibid., pp. 380-93.
75. Ibid., p. 375.
76. Ibid., p. 306-7.
77. M. Cohen, Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate, pp. 32-34; Palestine Statement of Policy
(London: July 1937).
78. Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 5th ser., vol. 326 (1937): Tom Williams, cols. 2337-50;
Archibald Sinclair, cols. 2264-74; Winston Churchill, cols. 2329-33. Also see Gilbert, Exile and
Return, p. 182; M. Cohen, Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate, pp. 34-38; Hurewitz, Struggle for
Palestine, p. 76; Norman A. Rose, The Gentile Zionists: A Study in Anglo-Zionist Diplomacy 1929-1939
(London: F. Cass, 1973), pp. 130-40; Joseph Gorny, The British Labour Movement and Zionism
1917-1948 (London: F. Cass, 1983), pp. 129-39.
79. “American Zionist Leaders Comment on Report,” New Palestine, July 12, 1937, pp. 1, 3;
Wise to Brandeis, July 5, 1937; Wise to Zioniburo, London, July 3, 1937; Brandeis (?) to Frieden-
wald, July 12, 1937; Mack to Brandeis and Frankfurter, July 12, 1937, all in Brandeis Records, Micro
film Roll #26, ZAL. Hayim Greenberg, “‘Jewish State’ Examined,” Jewish Frontier, Aug. 1938, pp.
4-7. Also see Abraham Revusky, “Facts About Palestine,” Jewish Frontier, Aug. 1938, pp. 7-10; Bran
deis to Robert Szold, July 12, 1937, in Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, pp. 590-91.


194
Notes to Chapter II
80. Brandeis to Szold, July 12, 1937, in letters o/IjOuLs D. Brandeis, vol. V, pp. 590-91; Szold
to Brandeis, July 21, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
81. Weizmann, Trial and Error.; p. 386; Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: Holt.
Rinehart & Winston, 1972), p. 518; Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, p. 77, Rose, Chaim Weizmann,
pp. 325-27. See reprints of Weizmann’s address in “The Zionist Congress Debates,” Jewish Frontier,
Sept. 1937, pp. 22-25; “A Basis for the Growth of Jewish Life,” New Palestine, Sept. 3, 1937, pp. 4-5.
82. Mack to Brandeis and Frankfurter, Aug. 6, 1937, and Szold to Mack, Aug. 16. 1937, both
in Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL. Also see: Melvin Urofsky, A Voice That Spoke for
Justice (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982), pp. 286-87; New York Times, Aug. 9,
1937, p. 5; “Answer to Britain is ‘Non Possumus,’” New Palestine, Sept. 3, 1937, pp. 5-6.
83. Szold to Mack, Aug. 16, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL. Szold’s analy
sis was essentially correct. Ben-Gurion's criticism of the Peel Plan had been half-hearted. In a letter
to his son, he wrote: “A Partial Jewish state is not the end, but only the beginnning. ... We shall
bring into the state all the Jews it is possible to bring ... we shall establish a multi-faceted Jewish
economy—agricultural, industrial and maritime. We shall organize a modern defense force, . . . and
then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in other parts of the country, either
by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbors or by some other means.” Quoted in Michael Bar-Zohar.
Ben-Gurion: A Biography, trans. Peretz Kidron (New York: Delacorte Press, 1978), p. 91. Also see
Michael Bar-Zohar. Ben-Gurion the Armed Prophet (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968), pp.
57-58.
84. Samuel Kerstein, “The Congress Delegation Reports.” Jewish Outlook, Sept. 1937, pp. 5-6;
“Mizrachi On Partition,” Jewish Outlook, Nov. 1937, p. 3.
85. General Zionists were neither socialists nor ultra-religious. The B faction generally opposed
Chaim Weizmann, believing that he was too pro-British in attitude. New York Times, Aug. 6, 1937.
p. 3: Laqueur, History of Zionism, p. 519; Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, p. 77; Neumann, In the
Arena, pp. 136-37.
86. New York Times, Aug. 12, 1937, p. 1. Also see Neumann, In the Arena, pp. 136-37; Hure
witz, Struggle for Palestine, pp. 77-78. Szold to Mack, Aug. 16, 1937, Mack to Brandeis and Frank
furter, Aug. 6, 1937, and Aug. 11, 1937, Mack to Brandeis, Aug. 14, 1937, Wise to Brandeis. Aug.
17, 1937, all in Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL. Action of Hadassah's Summer Executive
G>mmittee, Aug. 11, 1937, Hadassah Papers, ZAL; Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting,
Sept. 1, 1937, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
87. New York Times, Aug. 12, 1937, p. 1; Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 387; Laqueur, History
of Zionism, p. 520; “Congress and Agency Act,” Jewish Frontier, Sept. 1937, p. 27.
88. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Sept. 8, 1937, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
89. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Nov. 3, 1937, Hadassah Papers, ZAL; Robert
Szold to Brandeis. Nov. 2, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
90. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meetings, Dec. 15, 1937, and Jan. 19, 1938, Hadassah
Papers, ZAL.
91. Wise to Szold, Nov. 11, 1937, Robert Szold Papers, Correspondence File X/15, ZAL.
92. Brandeis to Flexner, Nov. 11, 1937, Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, p. 592; Szold to
Brandeis, Dec. 8, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL; Frankfurter to Harry Zinder,
Dec. 23, 1937, Frankfurter Papers, Box 86, Microfilm Roll #2, Szold to Brandeis, Dec. 23, 1937.
Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
93. Szold to Brandeis, Dec. 23, 1937, Brandeis to Wise, Sept. 23, 1937, Wise to Brandeis,
Sept. 22, 1937, all in Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL. Also see “Summary of Dr. Adler’s
Views,” July 12, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
94. Szold to Brandeis, Dec. 31, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL. Also see
Louis Lipsky, “Toward a Jewish State.” New Palestine, Sept. 3, 1937, p. 3.


195
Notes to Chapter II
95. Brandeis to Wise, Sept. 23, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL; Brandeis
to Wise, Nov. 1, 1936, Robert Szold Papers, Correspondence File X/14, ZAL.
96. Wise to Brandeis, Dec. 10, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
97. Szold to Brandeis, Dec. 31, 1937, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL; Brandeis
to Szold, Sept. 2, 1938, Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, p. 593; Brandeis to Szold, Jan. 16, 1938,
Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, pp. 593-94; Szold to Brandeis, Jan. 13, 1938, Brandeis Records,
Microfilm Roll #27, ZAL.
98. Szold to Rose Jacobs, May 18, 1938, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #27, ZAL.
99. “Mrs. Szold’s Presentation of the Anti-Partition Position,” attached to Minutes of Hadassah
National Board Meeting, Mar. 2, 1938, Hadassah Papers, ZAL. Also see Robert Szold to Brandeis,
Mar. 3, 1938, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #27, ZAL.
100. Szold to Brandeis, Apr. 13, 1938, and Szold to Brandeis, July 1, 1938, both in Brandeis
Records, Microfilm Roll #27, ZAL.
101. Wise’s address can be found in the Stenographic Transcript of the forty-first ZOA Convention,
July 1938, pp. 12-38, ZAL (hereafter: Transcript of 1938 ZOA Convention). Also see Brandeis to
Szold, Apr. 14, 1938, Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, p. 599.
102. Lipsky's address can be found in Transcript of 1938 ZOA Convention, pp. 44-60.
103. Silver’s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 126-50.
104. Ibid., pp. 348-54.
105. Ibid., pp. 264-80. Also see Mack to Solomon Goldman, July 8, 1938, Brandeis Records,
Microfilm Roll #27, ZAL.
106. Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, pp. 81-90; Haim, Abandonment of Illusions, pp. 123-35.
107. Palestine Partition Commission Report—Prepared by the Secretary of State for the Colonies
to Parliament, October 1938 (London: 1938). Also see Rose, Gentile Zionists, pp. 149-65; M. Cohen,
Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate, pp. 39-45.
108. Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, pp. 90-98; M. Cohen, Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate,
pp. 66-74; Sachar, History of Israel, pp. 217-19.
109. Brandeis to Szold, Nov. 11, 1938, Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, pp. 603-5. Also see
Brandeis to Bernard Flexner, Oct. 12, 1938, Ibid., vol. V, pp. 602-3.
110. Neumann to Wise, Oct. 23, 1938, Robert Szold Papers, Correspondence File X/16,
ZAL.
111. Report on meeting of Louis Brandeis, Eliezer Kaplan, and Stephen Wise, Feb. 7, 1937, Bran
deis Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL; Report on Visit of Stephen Wise to Franklin Roosevelt, Oct.
5, 1936, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #25, ZAL.
112. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meetings, Dec. 16, 1936, and Feb. 17, 1937, Hadassah
Papers, ZAL.
113. Wise to Brandeis, Sept. 2,1936, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #24, ZAL; Wise to Bran
deis, Apr. 16, 1936, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #25, ZAL.
114. Transcript of 1937 ZOA Convention, p. 418.
115. Robert Szold to Brandeis, July 6, 1937, and Wise to Brandeis, July 5, 1937, both in Brandeis
Records, Microfilm Roll #26, ZAL.
116. M. Cohen, Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate, pp. 72-82; Porath, The Palestinian Arab
National Movement, pp. 281-95.
117. Palestine Statement of Policy Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament
by Command of His Majesty, May 1939 (London: 1939, reprint 1946); “British Statement of Policy,
May 1939 (MacDonald White Paper), reprinted in Book of Documents Submitted to the General As
sembly of the United Nations Relating to the Establishment of the National Home for the Jewish People
(New York: Jewish Agency for Palestine, 1947), pp. 100-111, ZAL. Also see Hurewitz, Struggle for
Palestine, chap. 7; Rose, Gentile Zionists, chaps. 8 and 9; M. Cohen, Palestine: Retreat from the Man-


196
Notes to Chapter 111
date, pp. 72-87; Nicholas Bethell, The Palestine Triangle: The Struggle for the Holy land, 1935-48
(New York: Putnam, 1979), pp. 61-69; Peters, From Time Immemorial, pp. 335-40.
CHAPTER III
1. For example, see Israel Goldsteins address in the Stenographic Transcript of the forty-second
ZOA Convention, June 1939. pp. 368-73, ZAL (hereafter: Transcript of 1939 ZOA Convention).
2. Ibid., pp. 172, 224.
3. Ibid., pp. 88-89.
4. Ibid., pp. 23, 61-65, 201.
5. Brandeis to Szold, May 10, 1939, in Ijetters ofhmis D. Brandeis, vol. V, ed. Melvin Urofsky
and David I^evy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1971), p. 618.
6. See Solomon Goldman’s comments in Transcript of 1939 ZOA Convention, pp. 41-45, 226-
27. The British cabinet's decision to adopt an anti-Zionist policy was largely due to the government's
desire to ensure Arab support in the event of a war with Hitler. However, there was some validity in
Goldman's claim. By 1939, some English officials seemed to be grossly insensitive to the plight of
the world's persecuted Jews. Chaim Weizmann reported that “Lord Halifax was strangely ignorant of
what was happening to the Jews of Germany. During the St. James Conference he came up to me
and said, ‘I have just received a letter from a friend in Germany, who describes some terrrible things
perpetrated by the Nazis in a concentration camp the name of which is not familiar to me,' and when
he began to grope for the name I realized it was Dachau he was talking about. He said the stories
were entirely unbelievable, and if the letter had not been written by a man in whom he had the fullest
confidence he would not attach the slightest credence to it. For five or six years now the world had
known of the infamous Dachau camp, in which thousands of people had been tortured and maimed . . .
and the British Foreign Secretary had never heard of the place, . . .” Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error
(New York: Schocken Books, 1949, reprint 1966), pp. 404-5.
7. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, June 14, 1939, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
8. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, May 23, 1939, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
9. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting. May 17, 1939, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
10. “Mizrachi Convenes.” Jewish Outlook, June 1939, p. 3. Also see “To the Convention: Sym
posium on New Orientations in Mizrachi,” Jewish Outlook, May 1939, pp. 5-14.
11. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, June 14, 1939, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
12. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meetings, May 23, 1939 and May 17, 1939, Hadassah
Papers, ZAL.
13. Brandeis to Robert Szold, Aug. 2, 1939, Letters of Ijouis I). Brandeis, vol. V, p. 623.
14. See the addresses of Abraham Goldberg and Solomon Goldman in Transcript of 1939 ZOA
Convention, pp. 134-41, 14-57, 215-30; Brandeis to Flexner, July 12, 1939, Ijetters of bmis I). Bran
deis, vol. V, p. 621; Brandeis to Szold, Aug. 2, 1939, Ibid., vol. V, pp. 622-23.
15. Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 5th Series, vol. 347 (1939), cols. 2130, 2142. Also see
Joseph Gorny, The British Ijabour Movement and Zionism 1917-1948 (London: F. Cass: 1983), pp.
146-60; Norman A. Rose, The Gentile Zionists: A Study in Anglo-Zionist Diplomacy 1929-1939 (Lon
don: F. Cass, 1973), pp. 201-20.
16. Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 5th Series, vol. 347 (1939), col. 2157.
17. Ibid., cols. 2171-72, 2176, 2177.
18. New York Times, May 19, 1939, p. 5.
19. J. Bowyer Bell, Terror Out of Zion: Irgun Zvai Leumi, LEHI and the Palestine Underground,
1929-1949 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1977), p. 48.


197
Notes to Chapter III
20. Jacob C. Hurewitz, The Struggle for Palestine (New York: Schocken Books, 1950, reprint
1976), p. 92; New York Times, June 19, 1939, p. 4; Ibid., July 4, 1939, p. 4.
21. New York Times, June 10, 1939, p. 9.
22. Yehuda Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of
America, 1970), pp. 57-60.
23. Ibid., pp. 60-63; Monty Noam Penkower, The Jews Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy
and the Holocaust (Urhana: University of Illinois Press, 1983), pp. 33-58; New York Times, June
2. 1939, p. 5. On July 3, British police seized a second boat with 697 “illegial immigrants” on board.
Ibid., July 4, 1939. p. 4.
24. Transcript of 1939 ZOA Convention, p. 381.
25. New York Times, Aug. 20, 1939, p. 15; Ibid., Aug. 21, 1939, p. 2; Penkower, Jews Were
Expendable, pp. 38-39; Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, pp. 61-62.
26. Bell, Terror Out of Zion, pp. 48-49; Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, pp. 16-24; Michael
J. Cohen, Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978), pp. 1-9.
27. Wise to Brandeis, Aug. 30, 1939, Brandeis Records, Microfilm Roll #27, ZAL.
28. Action of Emergency Meeting of Hadassah National Board, Sept. 5, 1939, Hadassah Papers,
ZAL.
29. Stenographic Transcript of the forty-third ZOA Convention, June 30-July 2,1940, pp. 42-43,
ZAL (hereafter: Transcript of 1940 ZOA Convention).
30. Penkower, Jews Were Expendable, pp. 3-4; Weizmann, Trial and Error, pp. 418, 422-24.
31. In May 1941, David Raziel, the Irgun’s commander, was killed while on an espionage mis
sion for the British in Iraq. Bell, Terror Out of Zion, pp. 51. 55-56.
32. Ibid., pp. 62-73.
33. The best in-depth study of Jewish military developments in Palestine is Bauer, From Diplomacy
to Resistance, chaps. 2-5. Penkower, Jews Were Expendable, chap. 2, is particularly informative about
Zionist-British negotiations. Also see Weizmann, Trial and Error, pp. 424-25; Bernard Wasserstein,
Britain and the Jews of Europe 1939-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), pp. 271-88;
Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, pp. 124-31; and Cohen, Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate, pp. 98-124.
34. Weizmann. Trial and Error, pp. 419-20.
35. David Ben-Gurion’s message can be found in Transcript of 1940 ZOA Convention, pp. 136-39.
Also see Chaim Weizmann’s message on p. 113.
36. Transcript of 1940 ZOA Convention, pp. 154-55.
37. Ibid., pp. 65-66.
38. Ibid., p. 304.
39. Ibid., pp. 178, 332-34.
40. Ibid., pp. 6-45. For similar views see the comments at the convention of Rabbi Barnett
Brickner, p. 84; Henry Monsky, pp. 46-48; Rabbi James G. Heller, pp. 86-90; Israel Goldstein,
pp. 155-62; and Louis Lipsky, pp. 55-66.
41. Emanuel Neumann, In the Arena (New York: Herzl Press, 1976), pp. 149-66; Melvin Urof
sky, American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1975), p. 83.
42. Neumann, In the Arena, p. 167.
43. Szold to Solomon Goldman, Oct. 8, 1940, Robert Szold Papers, Correspondence File X/4,
ZAL. Also see Brandeis to Szold, July 5, 1940, letters of Louis D. Brandeis, vol. V, pp. 643-44; Szold
to Goldman, Dec. 28, 1940, and Jan. 19, 1941, Robert Szold Papers, Correspondence File X/4, ZAL;
Goldman to Szold, Jan. 19, 1941, in Ibid., Correspondence File X/4.
44. American Jewish Yearbook 5702, Sept. 22, 1941-Sept. 11, 1942, vol. 43 (Philadelphia: Jewish
Publication Society of America, 1941), pp. 569, 597, 602.
45. Thomas to James McDonald, June 6, 1941, MacDonald Papers, General Correspondence
File #382, Herbert H. Lehman Papers, Columbia University, New York. On isolationism, see Manfred


198
Notes to Chapter III
Jonas, Isolationism in America 1935-1941 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1966). On Thomas,
see Stuart E. Knee, The Concept of Zionist Dissent in the American Mind 1917-1941 (New York: R.
Speller, 1970), pp. 165-68.
46. For Holmes in 1936, see chapter two of this book. On the Wise-Holmes relationship, see
Carl Hermann Voss, Rabbi and Minister: The Friendship of Stephen S. Wise and John Haynes Holmes
(Cleveland: World Publication Company, 1964).
47. Holmes, The Christian Century; Dec. 11, 1940, pp. 1546-49. Also see Holmes, The Chris
tian Century; Nov. 8, 1939, pp. 1374-77; and Voss, Rabbi and Minister,; pp. 291-98.
48. Melvin Urofsky, A Voice That Spoke for Justice: The Life and Times of Stephen S. Wise (Albany:
State University of New York Press, 1982), pp. 134-42; Voss, Rabbi and Minister pp. 138-53.
49. Voss, Rabbi and Minister, pp. 292-93.
50. New York Times, Feb. 12, 1940, p. 3.
51. Stephen S. Wise, As / See It (New York: Jewish Opinion Publishing Corp., 1940), p. 114.
Also see pp. 222-27, 248-51.
52. Transcript of 1940 ZOA Convention, pp. 68, 329-31.
53. New York Times, Feb. 19, 1941, p. 14, and July 2, 1941, p. 5.
54. Ibid., June 24, 1940, p. 34, and Nov. 24, 1940, p. 14.
55. Ibid., May 20, 1940, p. 14.
56. Transcript of 1940 ZOA Convention, pp. 68, 329-31.
57. Lawrence H. Fuchs, The Political Behavior of American Jews (Glencoe, II,: Free Press, 1956),
pp. 100-101, 72; also see chap. 11, “Sources of Jewish Internationalism and Liberalism."
58. Samuel Halperin and Irwin Oder, “The United Slates in Search of a Policy: Franklin D.
Roosevelt and Palestine," Review of Politics 24 (July 1962): pp. 320-41; Selig Adler, “The Roosevelt
Administration and Zionism: The Pre-War Years, 1933-1939,” in Fssays in American Zionism 1917-
1948, The Herzl Yearbook, vol. 8, ed. Melvin Urofsky (New York: Herzl Press, 1978), pp. 132-48;
Selig Adler, “United States and Palestine in the FDR Era," American Jewish Historical Quarterly 62
(Sept. 1972): pp. 11-79; Urofsky, American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust, pp. 414-15; Peter
Grose, Israel in the Mind of America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983), pp. 134-40.
59. Weizman, Trial and Error, p. 417.
60. New York Times, Nov. 24, 1940, p. 14.
61. Silver to Neumann, Dec. 2, 1940, Stephen S. Wise Papers, Box 119, File 20, American
Jewish Historical Society, Waltham, MA.
62. On Dec. 15, 1940, New York Times reported on page 7 that the Germans had completed
constructing the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto.
63. New York Times, Dec. 14, 1940, p. 4, and Dec. 12, 1940, p. 4. Also see Penkower, Jews
Were Expendable, p. 53; and Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe, pp. 76-78.
64. For the best account of the Patria incident, see Penkower, Jews Were Expendable, pp. 30-58.
Also see Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, pp. 108-9; Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe,
pp. 60-68; New York Times, Dec. 19, 1940, p. 3.
65. On the Struma, see Penkower, Jews Were Expendable, pp. 56-57, 150-51; Hurewitz, Strug
gle for Palestine, pp. 140, 141; Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, p. 244; Wasserstein, Britain
and the Jews of Europe, pp. 143-57.
66. Penkower, Jews Were Expendable, pp. 50-53; Monty Noam Penkower, “Ben-Gurion, Silver,
and the 1941 UPA National Conference on Palestine: A Turning Point in American Zionist History,"
American Jewish History LXIX (Sept. 1979): pp. 66-91; Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, chap.
6; Michael Bar-Zohar, Ben-Gurion: A Biography, trans. Peretz Kidron (New York: Delacorte Press, 1978),
pp. 101-5.
67. “Report of a meeting with Mr. Ben-Gurion held at the Winthrop Hotel," Dec. 5, 1940, Eman
uel Neumann Papers, Ben-Gurion file, ZAL.


199
Notes to Chapter 111
68. Ibid.-, American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs (hereafter AECZA) Minutes, Nov.
28, 1941, Neumann Papers, AZEC File, ZAL. Also see Penkower, “Ben-Gurion. Silver, and the 1941
UPA Conference,” pp. 72-73.
69. “Report of a meeting with Mr. Ben-Gurion held at the Winthrop Hotel,” Dec. 5. 1940, Neu
mann Papers, Ben-Gurion file, ZAL.
70. Ibid.
71. Ibid.
72. Penkower, “Ben-Gurion, Silver and the 1941 UPA Conference,” p. 75.
73. Ibid., pp. 74-75; New York Times, Jan. 25, 1941, p. 1; Jan. 26, 1941, p. 25; Jan. 27, 1941.
p. 5. The Zionists use of the term Commonwealth will be discussed later in this chapter.
74. “Statement of Principles” in the Stenographic Transcript of the forty-fourth ZOA Convention.
Sept. 1941, pp. 91-95, ZAL (hereafter: Transcript of 1941 ZOA Convention).
75. Transcript of 1941 ZOA Convention, p. 20. Also see the comments of Mendel Fisher on
p. 25 and Neumann on p. 48.
76. Ibid., pp. 149-50.
77. St. Regis Hotel Conference, May 25, 1941, quoted in Isaac Neustadt-Noy, “The Unending
Task: Effort to Unite American Jewry from the American Jewish Congress to the American Jewish
Gmference,” Ph.D. diss., Brandeis University, 1976, pp. 149-53; Isaac Neustadt-Noy, “Toward Unity:
Zionist and non-Zionist Cooperation, 1941-1942,” in Essays in American Zionism 1917-1941, p. 152.
78. Chaim Weizman, “Palestine’s Role in the Solution of the Jewish Problem,” Foreign Affairs
20 (Jan. 1942): pp. 324-38.
79. Ibid.
80. Neumanns comments can be found in Transcript of 1941 ZOA Convention, pp. 167-69.
81. Weizmann to Meyer Weisgal, Oct. 13, 1941, letter #195 in The Letters and Papers of Chaim
Weizmann, Series A, vol. XX, ed. Barnet Litvinoff (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, Rutgers
University, 1979); Weizmann to Levinthal, Oct. 15, 1941, letter #197 in Ibid.-, Neustadt-Noy, “Toward
Unity: Zionist and non-Zionist Cooperation,” pp. 149-65; David H. Shpiro, “The Political Background
of the 1942 Biltmore Resolution,” in Essays in American Zionism 1917-1941, pp. 166-77.
82. Salo Baron, “The Second World War and Jewish Community Life,” in Baron, Steeled in Adver
sity: Essays and Addresses on American Jewish Life (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America,
1971), p. 455. Baron gave this address at the Conference on Jewish Relations on May 26, 1942,
and at the National Conference of Jewish Social Welfare on June 6, 1942. For similar views, see Joseph
Schlossberg, “The Jews After the War,” Congress Weekly, Jan. 9, 1942, pp. 5-7; “Dr. Weizmann's Presen
tation,” Congress Weekly, Jan. 2, 1941, p. 4.
83. “Extraordinary Zionist Conference, New York 1942, Stenographic Protocol,” pp. 13-14, 278,
ZAL (hereafter: Biltmore Protocol). The AECZA organized the conference and prepared the resolu
tions for the delegates to debate and vote on. AECZA Minutes, May 5, 1942, Neumann Papers, AZEC
file, ZAL.
84. For the most comprehensive history of the Holocaust, see Raul Hilberg, The Destruction
of the European Jews. 2d. ed., 3 vols. (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985). On the mobile killing
squads, see vol. 1, chap. 7.
85. Weizmann, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 20-40.
86. Ben-Gurion, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 51-52, 73-74.
87. Silver, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 460-63.
88. Ben-Gurion, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 81-82.
89. Biltmore Protocol: Szold, p. 145; Gellman, p. 153; Segal, p. 194; Goldmann, pp. 248-49.
90. Silver, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 456-78.
91. Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, pp. 168-69.
92. Weizmann’s autobiography. Trial and Error, reveals the intensity of his devotion to Great Britain.


200
Notes to Chapter IV
93. Weizmann, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 33-34, 499.
94. Ben-Gurion. Biltmore Protocol, pp. 71-72. For an enlightening discussion of Weizmann and
Ben-Gurions positions at Biltmore, see Yehuda Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, pp. 234-42.
95. Sherman, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 179-82A.
96. Ibid.
97. Furmanksy, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 190-91.
98. On binationalism, see Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: Holt. Rinehart &
Winston, 1972), pp. 251-55; Arthur Goren, ed.. Dissenter in Zion: From the Writings of Judah L.
Magnes (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982); Susan Lee Hattis, The Bi-National Idea
in Palestine During Mandatory Times (Haifa: Shikmona, 1970).
99. Greenberg, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 157-64.
100. Seigal, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 192-96.
101. Rose Jacobs, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 84-93.
102. Rosenblatt, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 93-107. Rosenblatt believed that the Arab component
of a Federated Palestine should include Transjordan. He also held out the possibility that Palestine
might eventally become part of the British Commonwealth or a larger federation of the Levant states.
103. Gellman, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 152-53.
104. Bublic, Biltmore Protocol, p. 192.
105. Gold, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 202-3. Also see Rabbi J. H. Ivookstein, pp. 431-40.
106. Wise, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 4-5.
107. Szold, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 142-44.
108. Goldstein, Biltmore Protocol, p. 214.
109. Ben Halpern, The Idea of the Jewish State, 2d ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 1961, reprint 1969) pp. 45-48.
110. Stenographic Transcript of the forty-fifth ZOA Convention, Oct. 1942. p. 432, ZAL (hereafter:
Transcript of 1942 ZOA Convention). Also see Emanuel Neumanns address, pp. 131-33.
111. Transcript of 1942 ZOA Convention, p. 437.
112. Zionists also persuaded some of their Christian allies to adopt the postwar refugee formula.
For example, see Senator Robert Wagner s greeting in Transcript of 1942 ZOA Convention, pp. 425-26.
113. Ibid., pp. 459-60.
114. Ibid., pp. 444-46.
115. Ibid., pp. 135-44.
116. Ibid., p. 415.
117. Ibid., pp. 593-94.
118. Ibid., p. 434.
119. Ibid., p. 576.
CHAPTER IV
1. Weizmann, “Extraordinary Zionist Conference, New York, 1942, Stenographic Protocol,” pp.
20-21, ZAL (hereafter: Biltmore Protocol).
2. Goldmann, Biltmore Protocol, pp. 231-57.
3. David S. Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust (New York:
Pantheon, 1984), chaps. 2 & 3; Henry Feingold, The Politics of Rescue (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers
University Press, 1970), pp. 161-71; Arthur Morse, While Six Million Died (New York: Random House,
1968), chaps. 1 & 2; Saul S. Friedman, No Haven for the Oppressed (Detroit: Wayne State University
Press, 1973), chap. 6; Stephen S. Wise, Challenging Years (New York: Putnam's Sons, 1949), pp. 274-


201
Notes to Chapter IV
76; Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth about Hitlers u Final Solution” (Boston:
Little, Brown, 1980), pp. 158-64.
4. For example, see R. Lichteim to Arthur Lourie, Sept. 15, 1942, Emanuel Neumann Papers,
AZEC File, ZAL.
5. Stenographic Transcript of the forty-fifth ZOA Convention, Oct. 1942, pp. 327-32, ZAL
(hereafter: Transcript of 1942 ZOA Convention).
6. Transcript of 1942 ZOA Convention, p. 669.
7. Ibid., pp. 484-85.
8. Ibid., pp. 428-29.
9. In fact, Goldmann’s and Rothenbergs comments account for only four of the more than
eight hundred pages of the verbatim transcript of the conference.
10. Transcript of 1942 ZOA Convention, pp. 512-13.
11. Ibid., pp. 665-66. Morris Rothenberg and Robert Szold called on Zionists to offer the
world a “comprehensive” and “permanent” solution to the problems of Jewish misery and home
lessness. Ibid., pp. 432, 437. Also see Radiogram from British Zionist Federation, in Ibid., pp. 513-
14.
12. Transcript of 1942 ZOA Convention, pp. 485, 504.
13. Leon Feuer, Why a Jewish State (New York: R. R. Smith, 1942), pp. 69-72.
14. Ibid., p. 15.
15. Ibid., pp. 74-75.
16. Ibid., pp. 80-81.
17. Wise, Challenging Years, pp. 275-76.
18. New York Times. Nov. 25, 1942. p. 10.
19. Ibid.. Nov. 26, 1942, p. 16.
20. Eliyho Matzozky, “The Response of American Jewry and Its Representative Organizations
Between Nov. 24, 1942, and April 19, 1943, to Mass Killings of Jews In Europe” (Masters thesis,
Yeshiva University, 1979), pp. 13-14.
21. Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews. pp. 71-73; Matzozky, “The Response of American Jewry,”
chap. 3.
22. Bergson to I^evinthal, Dec. 8,1942, Bergson Papers, 134 N3 (2), Yale University, New Haven,
CT. For information on the Bergson groups, see Aaron Berman, “The Hebrew Committee of National
Liberation and the Rescue of the European Jews,” Division III project, Hampshire College, 1975;
and chapter V of this book.
23. Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews. pp. 93-98, 102-3, 109-11, 120-21, 168-69; Edward
Pinsky, “American Jewish Unity During the Holocaust—The Joint Emergency Committee, 1943,” Ameri
can Jewish History LXII (June 1983): pp. 477-94.
24. During this time the American government remained firmly committed to a restrictionist
immigration policy. From Dec. 7, 1941, to V-E Day, only 10 percent of the available visas for refugees
were used. The 1930s experience demonstrated that it was not possible to raise the quota limit. Instead
the battle centered on convincing the State Department to issue all the visas that were available. Wyman,
Abandonment of the Jews. pp. 5-6, 124-37.
25. New York Times. March 2, 1943, p. 2; Feingold, Politics of Rescue, pp. 176-77; Wyman,
Abandonment of the Jews. pp. 88-89; “Program Action on the Rescue of Jews in Nazi Occupied Ter
ritories Adopted by the Joint Committee on the European Emergency Jewish Situation,” n.d.. Silver
Papers, Manson File 1-81, AHSMA
26. New York Times. Dec. 18, 1942, p. 26; March 3, 1943, p. 22.
27. Ibid.. March 3, 1943, p. 22.
28. In January 1944, under pressure from Congress and the Treasury Department, Roosevelt
finally established the War Refugee Board, which has been credited with saving approximately 200,000


202
Notes to Chapter IV
Jews. How many would have been saved if the agency had been established earlier, we shall sadly
never know. Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews, p. 285.
29. A New York newspaper reported in March 1943 that Bulgaria had agreed to release over
four thousand Jews. New York Times, March 3, 1943, p. 22; Feingold, Politics of Rescue, pp. 181-85;
Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews, pp. 82-84.
30. Weizmann to Goldstein, Dec. 24, 1942, letter #360 in The Letters and Papers of Chaim
Weizmann, Series A, vol. XX, ed. Barnet Litvinoff (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, Rutgers
University, 1979).
31. “We Mourn and Protest,” Youth and Nation, Dec. 1942, p. 3.
32. New York Times, Dec. 28, 1942, p. 15.
33. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Dec. 9, 1942, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
34. Hayim Greenberg, “Bankrupt!,” reprinted in Hayim Greenberg Anthology* ed. Marie Syrkin
(Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1968), pp. 192-203.
35. “End the Conspiracy of Inaction,” Youth and Nation, March 1943, pp. 3-4.
36. Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews, p. 108.
37. For example, see Weizmann to Halifax, Apr. 14, 1943, letter #23 in Letters and Papers of
Chaim Weizmann, Series A, vol. XXI; Shulman to Silver, Apr. 5, 1943, Silver Papers, Manson File
1-81, AHSMA.
38. Halifax to Wise, Feb. 4, 1943, Silver Papers, Manson File 1-96, AHSMA; Weizmann to
Halifax, Feb. 16, 1943, letter #9 in Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann, Series A, vol. XXI.
39. For background on the Bermuda Conference, see Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews, chap.
6; Feingold, Politics of Rescue, chap. 7; Morse, While Six Million Died, chap. Ill; Friedman, No Haven
for the Oppressed, chap. 7.
40. New York Times, May 4, 1943, p. 17.
41. Silvers May 2, 1943, address can be found in Abba Hillel Silver, Vision and Victory: A
Collection of Addresses, 1942-1948 (New York: Zionist Organization of America, 1949), pp. 1-12.
42. AECZA Minutes, May 3, 1943, #59, ZAL.
43. Weizmann to Dugdale, Jan. 8, 1943, letter #364 in Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann,
Series A, vol. XX.
44. Minutes of AECZA Office Comm. Meeting, June 1, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
45. Ibid.
46. Weizmann to Wise, June 25, 1943, letter #42 in letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann,
Series A, vol. XXL Also see Weizmann to Weisgal, Aug. 23, 1943, letter #58 in Ibid.
47. Weizmann to Weisgal, Apr. 13, 1944, letter #151 in Ibid.
48. The idea of organizing a national conference was not a new one. Chaim Weizmann, among
others, had suggested holding such a meeting. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, Jan.
6, 1943, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
49. Monsky’s letter is reprinted in The American Jewish Conference: Its Organization and Pro
ceedings of the First Session, ed. Alexander S. Kohanski (New York: American Jewish Conference, 1944),
p. 319.
50. Minutes of AECZA Office Committee Meeting, Jan. 7, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA: Samuel
Halperin, The Political World of American Zionism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1961), p. 223.
51. For a full list of those attending the Pittsburgh meetings see Kohanski, American Jewish Con
ference, pp. 320-21.
52. Naomi Cohen, Not Free to Desist: The American Jewish Committee, 1906-1966 (Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society of America, 1972), pp. 256-60.
53. Kohanski, American Jewish Conference, p. 325; Halperin, Political World of American Zionism,
p. 225.
54. Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, p. 226.


203
Notes to Chapter IV
55. AECZA Office Committee Minutes, Feb. 4, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
56. Minutes of AECZA Office Committee Meetings, Feb. 4, 1943, and June 1, 1943, Silver
Papers, AHSMA.
57. Kohanski, American Jewish Conference, pp. 47-48; Halperin, Political World of American
Zionism, pp. 231-33.
58. Kohanski, American Jewish Conference, p. 46; Joseph Halbert, “Minutes of the Palestine
Committee, American Jewish Conference Sessions held Aug. 31 through Sept. 1, 1943,” p. 210. ZAL
(hereafter: Minutes of Palestine Committee).
59. Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting, May 12, 1943, Hadassah Papers, ZAL; Isaac
Neustadt-Noy, “The Unending Task: Efforts to Unite American Jewry from the American Jewish Con
gress to the American Jewish Conference” (Ph.D. thesis, Brandeis Univ., 1976), p. 298; Emanuel
Neumann, In the Arena (New York: Herzl Press, 1977), pp. 190-91; Emanuel Neumann, interview
by Yehuda Bauer, July 21, 1967, p. 13, Neumann Papers, ZAL.
60. Kohanski, American Jewish Conference, pp. 56-57.
61. A detailed summary of Monsky s address can be found in Ibid., pp. 67-70.
62. Ibid., pp. 70-73.
63. Ibid., p. 87-92. As part of an agreement to assure unity with the American Jewish Commit
tee, Goldmann, Wise, and other Zionist spokesmen carefully avoided asking the Conference to endorse
the Biltmore Resolution’s demand for the immediate creation of a Jewish state. They believed that the
American and British governments were jointly preparing to declare that they would not discuss the
future political status of Palestine until the end of the war. Such a development. Zionist leaders be
lieved, would be catastrophic because it would link the American government to Great Britain's anti-
Zionist Middle East policy. American Zionists also understood that if this crisis situation developed,
the financial and political resources of the American Jewish Committee would significantly strengthen
the Zionist position in the United States. As a result, in return for solidarity on an anti-White Paper
platform, Jewish nationalists toned down their rhetoric and program. Halperin. Political World of Ameri
can Zionism, pp. 233-34; Neumann, In the Arena, pp. 190-91; Emanuel Neumann interview by Yehuda
Bauer, July 21, 1967, p. 13, Neumann Papers, ZAL; Y. Ben-Ami to Bergson, Aug. 13, 1943, Commit
tee for a Jewish Army Papers, 21/3/3H, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv.
64. Kohanski, American Jewish Conference, pp. 73-76.
65. Neumann. In the Arena, p. 191; Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, p. 234;
Melvin Urofsky, We Are One!: American Jewry and Israel (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1978). p. 27.
66. Silver's address can be found in Silver, Vision and Victory, pp. 13-21; and Arthur Hertz-
berg, ed., The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader (New York: Atheneum, 1959, reprint
1973), pp. 592-600.
67. Rose Halprin noted that “Dr. Silver s magnificent address won over to the cause of Palestine
many unaffiliated and previously unenthusiastic persons.” Minutes of Hadassah National Board Meeting,
Sept. 8, 1943, Hadassah Papers, ZAL.
68. Minutes of Palestine Committee, pp. 108-15.
69. Kohanski, American Jewish Conference, pp. 133-34.
70. Minutes of Palestine Committee, pp. 73-77.
71. Rothenberg, Minutes of Palestine Committee, pp. 53-68, 239-50; Levinthal, Minutes of
Palestine Committee, pp. 153-57.
72. Szold, Minutes of Palestine Committee, pp. 117-29; Greenberg, Minutes of Palestine Com
mittee, pp. 190-98.
73. Neumann, Minutes of Palestine Committee, pp. 218-36. For other opponents of Robert
Goldman, see Minutes of Palestine Committee: Rabbi David W. Pearlman, pp. 105-8; Herman Shul-
man, pp. 157-65; Rabbi David Shapiro, pp. 169-73; Harry Levin, pp. 184-90; Benjamin Shwadran,
pp. 79-81.


204
Notes to Chapter IV
74. Minutes of Palestine Committee, pp. 266-70; Kohanski. American Jewish Conference, pp.
178-81.
75. For a very fine discussion of the American Jewish Conference as well as the American Jewish
Committees relationship with the Conference, see Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, pp.
223-51, 129-44.
76. Stenographic Transcript of the forty-sixth ZOA Convention, Sept. 1943. pp. 39-55. ZAL
(hereafter: Transcript of 1943 ZOA Convention).
77. Ibid., pp. 189-202.
78. Neumann to Abraham Tulin, Sept. 15, 1943, Tulin Papers, File #32, ZAL.
79. Neumann, In the Arena, p. 187.
80. Weizmann to l^ewis Namier, June 27, 1942, letter #301 in letters and Papers of Chaim Weiz
mann, Series A, vol. XX; Weizmann to Wise, June 20, 1942. letter #298 in Ibid.; Neumann, In the
Arena, p. 188.
81. Minutes of AECZA Meeting, Aug. 26, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
82. Jacobs to Silver, Sept. 27, 1943, Silver Papers, File #4-2-11, AHSMA.
83. American Zionist Emergency G>uncil (AZEC) Minutes, Oct. 5, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
84. AZEC Executive Committee Minutes, Nov. 29, 1943, Silver Papers. AHSMA.
85. American Jewish Conference Digest of Minutes of Interim Committee, Jan. 25, 1944, Silver
Papers, Manson File II—3. AHSMA; AZEC Executive G>mmittee Minutes, Dec. 13, 1943, Silver Papers,
AHSMA.
86. AZEC Minutes, Sept. 20, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
87. The American Zionist Emergency Council will be discussed in the next chapter.
88. Bergson to Chapter Offices of the Committee for a Jewish Army, Sept. 16, 1943, Bergson
Papers, Hebrew Committee of National Liberation file #1 and Committee for a Jewish Army file #21,
Jabotinskv Institute, Tel Aviv. The Bergsonites cooperated with Ben Hecht, journalist and Hollywood
scriptwriter, in the preparation of a pageant dramatizing the crisis confronting European Jewry. “We
Shall Never Die,” produced by Billy Rose, staged by Moss Hart, with music by Kurt Weill, starred
Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson. It honored those Jews killed by the Nazis while the world kept
silent and demanded that action be taken to prevent any more murders. Hecht’s demand for rescue
proved so successful at its March 9 premiere in Madison Square Garden that Hecht and the Bergsonites
decided to have it performed in several other American cities.
89. Eri Jabotinsky to “Kitty and Ted,” Jan. 11, 1944, Bergson Papers. Emergency Committee
file #70, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv.
90. AZEC Minutes, Nov. 15, 1943, Silver Papers. AHSMA; “Memorandum Issued by the In
terim Committee of the American Jewish Conference,” Dec. 29, 1943, Wise Papers, Box 99, File 4,
American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham. MA; New York Times, Dec. 31. 1943, p. 10; AZEC
Executive Committee Minutes Jan. 3, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA; AZEC to various senators. Jan.
10, 1944, Bergson Papers, Hebrew Committee of National Liberation file #27, Jabotinsky Institute,
Tel Aviv; Eri Jabotinsky to Taitel, Jan. 5. 1944, Bergson Papers, Emergency Committee file #70, Jabotinsky
Institute, Tel Aviv; Minutes of interview with Senator Gillette, Jan. 17, 1944, Silver Papers, Manson
File 11-35, AHSMA; Gillette to Shapiro, Jan. 13, 1944, Silver Papers. Manson File 11-35, AHSMA.
91. AZEC Executive Committee Minutes. Nov. 29, 1943, Silver Papers. AHSMA.
92. U.S. G>ngress. House Committee on International Relations, Problems of World War II and
Its Aftermath—Part 2—The Palestine Questions, Problems of Postwar Europe, Selected Executive Session
Hearings of the Committee, 1943-50, Vol. II, (Washington, DC: GPO, 1976), pp. 217-43 (Wise testimony),
pp. 235-38 (Rogers); Feingold, Politics of Rescue, pp. 238, 211-12; Wyman, Abandonment of the
Jews, p. 199; Minutes of conversation with Congressman Sol. Bloom, Dec. 8, 1943. Silver Papers,
Manson File II—21, AHSMA: New York Times, Dec. 2, 1943, p. 4. The Bergson resolution won the
approval of the Senate but never reached the floor of the House. However, public pressure generated


205
Notes to Chapter V
by the resolution did contribute to Roosevelt’s decision to create the War Refugee Board in January
1944.
93. Bergson to Halifax, June 10, 1944, reprinted in “A Statement of Policy Pertaining to the
Entry of Hebrews into Palestine,” published by the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation, Jan.
1945, Hebrew Committee of National Liberation file #50, Bergson Papers, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel
Aviv; Answer Magazine, July 15, 1944, p. 22; Answer Magazine, Aug. 29. 1944, p. 28.
94. John Pehle to Edward Stettinius, March 20, 1944, Bergson Papers, microfilm roll #12, Yale
University.
95. For more details on the plight of Hungarian Jewry, see Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the Euro
pean Jews, 2d ed., vol. 2 (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985) pp. 796-860; Randolph L. Braham, The
Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary, 2 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981);
Braham, Eichman and the Destruction of Hungarian Jewry (New York: World Federation of Hungarian
Jews, distributed by Twayne Publishers, 1961); Feingold, Politics of Rescue, chap. 9; Morse, While Six
Million Died, chap. XX; Friedman, No Haven for the Oppressed, chap. 9; and Wyman, Abandonment of
the Jews, chap. 13.
96. AZEC Executive Committee Minutes, March 20, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
97. Sack to Abba Hillel Silver, Aug. 29, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA; AZEC Executive Com
mittee Minutes, Aug. 31, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Arthur Lourie, “Draft Statement on Emer
gency Rescue Shelter Resolution,” Sept. 6, 1944, Silver Papers, File #4-2-24, AHSMA; Silver and
Wise to Hugh Scott, Sept. 6, 1944, Silver Papers, File #4-2-50, AHSMA; AZEC Executive Commit
tee Minutes, Sept. 11, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA; John McCormack to Silver, Sept. 14, 1944, Silver
Papers, correspondence files, AHSMA: AZEC Minutes, Sept. 14, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
98. Speech reprinted as “At the Congressional Hearings,” in Silver, Piston and Victory, pp. 22-37;
Draft Statement at the Foreign Affairs Committee, n.d.. Silver Papers, File #4-2-3, AHSMA.
99. AZEC Executive Committee Minutes, Feb. 8, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA; “Draft State
ment sent to FDR after meeting on March 9, 1944,” Silver Papers, File #4-2-48, AHSMA.
CHAPTER V
1. American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs Minutes, Sept. 20, 1943, Silver Papers,
AHSMA (hereafter: AECZA Minutes).
2. Samuel Halperin, The Political World of American Zionism (Detroit: Wayne State University
Press, 1961), p. 247.
3. Discussed in chap. 3.
4. Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, pp. 279-80.
5. American Zionist Emergency Council Executive Committee Minutes, Oct. 5, 1943, Silver
Papers, AHSMA (hereafter: AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes).
6. Ibid.; Louis Segal, “Proposals to the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs,”
Silver Papers File #4-2-11, AHSMA.
7. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Nov. 15, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
8. New York Times, May 11, 1959, p. 27.
9. Zaritsky to Abba Hillel Silver, Apr. 5, 1944, Silver Papers, File #4-2-19, AHSMA.
10. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Oct. 5, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
11. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Oct. 18, 1943, ZAL.
12. AZEC. Exec. Comm. Minutes, Nov. 29, 1943, and Jan. 13, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
13. Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, p. 179.
14. Carl Herman Voss, “The American Christian Palestine Committee,” in Essays in American
Zionism: Herzl Year Book, vol. VIII, ed. Melvin I. Urofsky (New York: Herzl Pres, 1976), pp. 242-43;
Emanuel Neumann. In the Arena (New York: Herzl Press, 1976), pp. 110-14.


206
Notes to Chapter V
15. Minutes of an interview with Louis D. Brandeis, Aug. 20, 1941, Emanuel Neumann Papers,
ZAL.
16. Yehuda Bauer interview with Emanuel Neumann, July 21, 1967, p. 4, Neumann Papers,
correspondence file “Bauer,” ZAL.
17. Voss, “American Christian Palestine Committee,” p. 244; Halperin, Political World of American
Zionism, p. 182.
18. Berlin, Confidential Memorandum, Feb. 24, 1943. Silver Papers, Manson File 1-62, AHSMA.
19. Minutes of American Palestine G>mmittee, Publicity Committee, June 19, 1941, Neumann
Papers, ZAL.
20. AECZA Office Committee Minutes, June 1, 1943; AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Jan. 13,
1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
21. Melvin Urofsky, We Are One!: American Jewry and Israel (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press,
1978), p. 38.
22. Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, p. 184; Neumann, In the Arena, p. 156.
23. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Nov. 29, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Halperin, Political
World of American Zionism, p. 184.
24. On Catholic and Protestant views of Zionism and Jewish statehood, see Esther V. Feldblum,
The American Catholic Press and the Jewish State, 1917-1959 (New York: Ktav Publishing House,
1977); Hertzel Fishman, American Protestantism and a Jewish State (Detroit: Wayne State University
Press, 1973).
25. AECZA Minutes, May 5, 1942, Neumann Papers, ZAL; Neumann, In the Arena, p. 156;
Voss, “American Christian Palestine Committee,” p. 245. On Bernsteins activities, see chaps. 2 and
4 of this book.
26. Voss, “American Christian Palestine Committee,” pp. 245-46; Halperin, Political World of
American Zionism, p. 374.
27. Niebuhrs views on Zionism will be dealt wth later in this chapter.
28. Voss, “American Christian Palestine Committee,” p. 246; Wise to Neumann, July 29, 1941.
Stephen Wise Papers, Box #128, File #8, American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham, MA. In 1946,
the American Palestine Committee and the Christian Council merged to form the American Christian
Palestine Committee.
29. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Jan. 15, 1945, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
30. For a very informative history of the AJC, see Naomi W. G>hen, Not Free to Desist: The American
Jewish Committee 1906-1966 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1972).
31. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes. Oct. 27, 1943, ZAL.
32. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Nov. 15, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Doreen Bierbrier,
“The American Zionist Emergency Council: An Analysis of a Pressure Group.” American Jewish Histori
cal Quarterly LX (Sept. 1970): pp. 101-2; Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, pp. 134-35.
33. Herman Nederland, president of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Bensonhurst and
Mapleton, to Proskauer, Jan. 16, 1944, Silver Papers, File # 4-2-15, AHSMA.
34. For the Zionist promise, see Abba Hillel Silvers speech to the American Jewish Conference.
N. Cohen, Not Free to Desist, pp. 259-64, 293-303; Bierbrier, “American Zionist Emergency Coun
cil,” p. 102; Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, pp. 134-42.
35. On the activities of the Bergson group, see Aaron Berman, “The Hebrew Committee of Na
tional Liberation and the Rescue of the European Jews,” Division III thesis, Hampshire College, 1975;
Monty Penkower, “In Dramatic Dissent: The Bergson Boys,” American Jewish History 70 (March 1981):
pp. 281-309; Sarah E. Peck, “The Campaign for an American Response to the Nazi Holocaust,
1943-1945,” Journal of Contemporary History 15 (Apr. 1980): pp. 367-400; Answer Magazine, Febru
ary 1946, p. 11; Yitshaq Ben-Ami, Years of Wrath, Days of Glory: Memoirs from the Irgun (New York:
R. R. Speller, 1982).


207
Notes to Chapter V
36. Silver to Bergson, Feb. 12, 1941; Bergson to Silver, March 7, 1941; Bergson to Silver, May
25, 1941; Bergson to Wise, May 7, 1941; all in Bergson Papers, Series I, Box 1, File 5, Yale University,
New Haven, CT (hereafter: Bergson Papers).
37. Wise to Bergson, June 4, 1941, Bergson Papers, Series 1, Box 1, File 5.
38. “First Proposal made by the Committee for a Jewish Army to the Emergency Committee
for Zionist Affairs, Dec. 3, 1941,” Bergson Papers, Series I, Box 1, File 5; Van Paassen to Wise, Dec.
3, 1941, Bergson Papers, Series I, Box 1, File 5.
39. Yehuda Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance: A History of Jewish Palestine 1939-1945
(Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1970), p. 236; Peter Bergson, interview with
author. New York City, Aug. 30, 1974; Nachum Goldman to Bergson, Aug. 27, 1943, Bergson Papers,
microfilm roll #1.
40. See preceding chapter.
41. New York Times, Dec. 31, 1943, p. 10.
42. David S. Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews (New York: Pantheon, 1984), pp. 86-87.
43. The Jewish Advocate, Jan. 13, 1944, Bergson newspaper scrapbooks, Jabotinsky Institute,
Tel Aviv; American Zionist Emergency Council to various senators, Jan. 10, 1944, Hebrew Committee
of National Liberation Papers, file #27, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv.
44. Eri Jabotinsky to Irving Taitel, Jan. 5, 1944, Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish Peo
ple of Europe Papers, file #70, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv.
45. Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews, p. 144.
46. AZEC Memo (Harry Shapiro) to Chairman Local Emergency Committees, May 11, 1944,
Papers of the American League for a Free Palestine, file #49, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv.
47. New York Times, Aug. 9, 1944, p. 13; Trend of Events, June 9, 1944, “Palestine Assails
Hebrew Committee,” Hebrew Committee of National Liberation Papers, file #40, Jabotinsky Institute,
Tel Aviv; Trend of Events, Aug. 11, 1944, “Resignations From . . . ,” Hebrew Committee of National
Liberation Papers, file #40, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv.
48. “A Petition from the Governors of Forty One States,” n.d.. Silver Papers, AHSMA. Thirty-
nine state legislatures also endorsed the Zionist program. Bierbrier, “American Zionist Emergency Coun
cil,” p. 91.
49. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, July 24, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Reuben Fink, ed.,
America and Palestine: The Attitude of Official America and of the American People Toward the Rebuild
ing of Palestine as a Free and Democratic Jewish Commonwealth (New York: American Zionist Emergency
Council, 1944).
50. U.S. Congress, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, The Jewish National Home in Palestine—
Hearings H. R 418 and 419, 78th Cong., 2d sess., 1944, p. 1 (hereafter: Jewish National Home Hearings).
51. Urofsky, We Are One!, p. 55.
52. Zvi Ganin, “Activism versus Moderation: The Conflict Between Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen
Wise during the 1940s,” Studies in Zionism 5 (Spring 1984): p. 76.
53. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Jan. 3, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
54. American Zionist Emergency Council Minutes, Jan. 13, 1944, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Jewish
National Home Hearings includes scores of supporting statements.
55. Jewish National Home Hearings, pp. 24-31, 88-95.
56. Ibid., pp. 110-20 (Goldstein), 232-33 (Wertheim).
57. Ibid., pp. 150-56 (Epstein), 271-76 (Wise), 230-32 (Gold), 263-71 (Neumann).
58. Ibid., p. 372.
59. Ibid., pp. 192-93.
60. H. G. Nicholas, ed., Washington Despatches 1941-1945: Weekly Political Reports from the
British Embassy (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1981), pp. 303-4, 314.
61. Ibid., p. 325.


208
Notes to Chapter V
62. Ganin, “Activism vs. Moderation,” p. 76; Nicholas, Washington Despatches, pp. 329-30.
63. Ganin, “Activism vs. Moderation,” p. 77.
64. Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews, pp. 172-74; Ganin, “Activism vs. Moderation,” pp. 79-81;
Peter Grose, Israel in the. Mind of America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983), pp. 147-48.
65. On the Wise-Silver conflict, see Ganin, “Activism vs. Moderation,” pp. 78-95; Urofskv. We
Are One!, pp. 84-93.
66. Arthur A. Ekrich, Jr., Ideologies and Utopias: The Impact of the New Deal on American
Thought (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969), pp. 246-52; Richard H. Pells, Radical Visions and
American Dreams (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), chap. VIII; Margaret Mead, And Keep Your Powder
Dry(New York: W. Morrow, 1942); Wendell Wilkie, One World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943),
p. 203; Richard Pells, The Liberal Mind in a Conservative Age: American Intellectuals in the 1940s
and 1950s (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), chap. 1.
67. Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, pp. 110-11; Marion K. Sanders, Dorothy Thompson—A
Legend in Her Time (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973), pp. 161-62, 184-85.
68. Discussed later in this chapter.
69. J. Joseph Huthmacher, Senator Robert F. Wagner and the Rise of Urban Liberalism (New
York: Atheneum, 1968), pp. 306-7, 331-33; Halperin, Political World of American Zionism, pp. 182-84;
Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, p. 192; Harold L. Ickes, The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes,
vol. II, The Inside Struggle 1936-1939 (New York: Macmillan Co., 1954), p. 304. Ickes spoke at the
1935 National Conference for Palestine: see chap. 1 of this book.
70. Niebuhr’s address can be found in the Stenographic Transcript of the forty-fourth ZOA Con
vention, Sept. 1941, pp. 124-42, ZAL.
71. Reinhold Niebuhr, “Jews After the War,” Parts I, II, Nation, Feb. 21 and 28, 1942, pp. 214-16,
351-52. Zionist leaders endorsed Niebuhrs articles and quickly sent letters to the Nations editors,
“letters to the Editors,” Nation, March 21, 1942, pp. 351-52. On Niebuhr and Zionism, see Richard
W. Fox, Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography (New York: Pantheon, 1985), pp. 209-11.
72. See chap. 2.
73. Ben Rosenblatt to Stephen Wise, Nov. 6, 1940, Stephen S. Wise Papers, Box 333, File 18,
American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham, MA
74. Solomon Goldman to Robert Szold, Apr. 1, 1941, Robert Szold Papers, File: x/4, ZAL.
75. Walter C. Lowdermilk, Palestine: Land of Promise (New York: Harpers Brothers, 1944), p.
2; Neumann, In the Arena, p. 175.
76. Lowdermilk, Palestine, p. 3.
77. Ibid., p. 5.
78. Ibid., page preceding title page.
79. Neumann, In the Arena, p. 176.
80. Neumann to Lowdermilk, July 28, 1942; Lowdermilk to Neumann, July 31, 1942; A. Revusky
to Lowdermilk, Sept. 3, 1942; all in Neumann Papers, Lowdermilk correspondence file, ZAL.
81. Neumann, In the Arena, p. 177; Neumann to Dr. and Mrs. Lowdermilk, Aug. 1942, Neumann
Papers, Lowdermilk correspondence file, ZAL.
82. Neumann, “An Economic Development Plan for Palestine,” Nov. 19, 1942, Neumann Papers,
Lowdermilk File, ZAL.
83. Neumann, In the Arena, chap. 14; Neumann to David Lilienthal, Sept. 29, 1942, Neumann
Papers, Lilienthal File, ZAL.
84. Jetvish National Home Hearings, pp. 175-92.
85. Neumann, “An Economic Development Plan for Palestine,” Nov. 19, 1942, Neumann Papers,
Lowdermilk file, ZAL; Neumann, In the Arena, p. 178.
86. Neumann to Lowdermilk, Jan. 26, 1944, Neumann Papers, Lowdermilk correspondence
file, ZAL.


209
Notes to Chapter V
87. AZEC Memo, Weisgal to Steinberg, March 31, 1944, Neumann Papers, Lowdermilk cor
respondence with others file, ZAL.
88. George Norris, “TVA on the Jordan,” Nation, May 20, 1944, pp. 589-91.
89. AZEC Memo, Lourie to Steinberg, Feb. 9, 1945, Neumann Papers, Lowdermilk correspon
dence with others file, ZAL.
90. Typed Memo, n.d., n.a. (approx, late 1945), Neumann Papers, Lowdermilk correspondence
with others file, ZAL.
91. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Dec. 13, 1943, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
92. List of names of people invited to be on committee of sponsors for testimonial dinner for
Walter Lowdermilk, n.d.; Memo on Lowdermilk dinner, June 6, 1944; American Palestine Committee
Press Release, n.d.; all in Neumann Papers, Lowdermilk Testimonial Dinner file, ZAL.
93. Alfred Kazin, “In Every Voice in Every Ban,” New Republic, Jan. 10, 1944, pp. 44-46.
94. “The Massacre of the Jews,” New Republic, Dec. 7, 1942, p. 728.
95. For information on Fry, see Timothy P. Maga, “The Quest for a Generous America: Varian
Fry and the Refugee Cause, 1940-1942,” Holocaust Studies Annual I (1983): pp. 69-87; Arthur Morse,
While Six Million Died (New York: Random House, 1968), p. 307; David Wyman, Paper Walls: America
and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941, (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1968), p. 142.
96. Varian Fry, “The Massacre of the Jews,” New Republic, Dec. 21, 1942, pp. 816-19.
97. “Murder of a People,” Nation, Dec. 19, 1942, pp. 688-89.
98. “Hitlers Subtlest Poison,” Nation, Feb. 27, 1943, p. 293.
99. Freda Kirchwey, “While the Jews Die,” Nation, Mar. 13, 1943, pp. 366-67.
100. Philip Bernstein, “The Jews in Europe: The Remnants of a People,” Nation, Jan. 2, 1943,
pp. 8-11.
101. Philip Bernstein, “The Jews in Europe: Seven Ways to Help Them,” Nation, Jan. 9, 1943,
pp. 48-51.
102. Philip Bernstein, “The Jews of Europe: Alternatives to Zion,” Nation, Jan. 30,1943, pp 158-61.
103. Philip Bernstein, “The Jews of Europe: The Case for Zionism,” Nation, Feb. 6, 1943, pp.
196-200.
104. Philip Bernstein, “What Hope for the Jews?,” New Republic, April 26, 1943, pp. 555-56.
105. “The Jews of Europe: How to Help Them,” New Republic, special supplement, Aug. 30, 1943.
106. “The First Front,” New Republic, special supplement, Aug. 30, 1943, pp. 301.
107. “The Contribution of Palestine” New Republic, special supplement, Aug. 30,1943, pp 314-15.
108. “What Hope for the Jews,” correspondence section, New Republic, May 31, 1943, p. 735.
109. Berman, “The Hebrew Committee of National Liberation,” pp. 35, 62, 67; New York Times,
Aug. 9, 1944, p. 13; Trend of Events, June 9, 1944, Aug. 11, 1944, Hebrew Committee of National
Liberation, file #40, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv; “A Time for Harmony,” editorial, New York Post,
Jan. 3, 1944, Bergson clipping, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv; “Leader of the Crusade for a Free Pales
tine,” New York Post, July 11, 1944, Bergson clipping, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv.
110. “The New Zionism,” New Republic, Mar. 8, 1943. pp. 303-4.
111. New Republic, Aug. 30, 1943, p. 298, Dec. 6, 1943, Dec. 27, 1943, Jan. 24, 1944; Nation,
Dec. 4, 1943, Dee. 25, 1943. For other ads, see New Republic, Nov. 8, 1943, Nov. 22, 1943 (inside
cover), Dec. 20, 1943, Jan. 17, 1944, Jan. 31, 1944, Feb. 14, 1944, Feb. 21, 1944, Apr. 22, 1944;
Nation, Nov. 27, 1943, p. 617, Dec. 18, 1943, Apr. 8, 1944, Apr. 29, 1944.
112. See chap. 4 of this book for more information. For American Jewish Conference statement,
see New York Times, Dec. 31, 1943, p. 10.
113. “Crocodile Tears,” Nation, Dec. 25, 1943, p. 748.
114. Berman, “The Hebrew Committee of National Liberation,” p. 93; New York Post, Mar. 8,
1944, Bergson clipping, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv.
115. “Danger in the Near East,” New Republic, Mar. 20, 1944, pp. 366-67.


210
Notes to Chapter VI
116. Bergson to Halifax, June 10, 1944, and Telegram, Bergson to Churchill, July 15, 1944, re
printed in “A Statement of Policy Pertaining to the Entry of Hebrews into Palestine,” published by the
Hebrew Committee of National Liberation, Jan. 1945, Hebrew Committee of National Liberation file
#50, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv; Answer Magazine, July 14, 1944, p. 22, Aug. 19, 1944, p. 28.
117. The response of American Zionists to the threatened extermination of Hungarian Jewry is
discussed in chap. 4 of this book.
118. Freda Kirchwey, “Rescue Hungary’s Jews,” Nation, Aug. 26, 1944, p. 229.
119. Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972), pp. 251-
55; Susan Lee Hattis, The Bi-National Idea in Palestine During Mandatory Times (Haifa: Shikmona,
1970); Arthur A. Goren, ed., Dissenter in Zion: From the Writings of Judah L. Magnes (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 1982).
120. For more on the binational state idea, see chap. 3 of this book. On the American Zionist
response to Ihud, see American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs Minutes, Sept. 17, 1942,
Neumann Papers, AZEC file, ZAL.
121. Judah Magnes, “Compromise for Palestine,” letters to the editors. Nation, Dec. 23, 1944,
pp. 783-84.
122. Following the publication of a similar letter in the New York Times in February 1945, the
AZEC decided to send a letter to the newspaper and discussed asking prominent Jews, including Albert
Einstein, publicly to oppose Magnes’s plan. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Feb. 19, 1945, Silver Papers,
AHSMA.
123. Bernard Joseph, “Dr. Magnes and Palestine,” letters to the editors. Nation, Feb. 3, 1945,
pp. 138-39.
124. Sumner Welles, The Time for Decision (New York: Harper Brothers, 1944), pp. 265-66.
125. Ibid., p. 267.
126. “Compromise for Palestine,” New Republic, Mar. 19, 1945, pp. 373-74. For follow-up, see
James Read, “Which Way Zionism,” New Republic, May 14, 1945, pp. 667-70; “Palestine and the
UNO,” New Republic, Oct. 1, 1945, pp. 420-21.
127. I. F. Stone, “Palestine Run-Around,” Nation, Mar. 18, 1944, p. 326-28.
128. I. F. Stone, “Jewry in a Blind Alley,” Nation, Nov. 24, 1945, pp. 543-44.
129. 1. F. Stone, “Palestine Pilgrimage,” Nation, Dec. 8, 1945, pp. 615-17. Stones adoption of
the binational state idea concerned American Zionist leaders who discussd how to respond to his arti
cle. AZEC Minutes, Dec. 7, 1945, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
130. Gerold Frank, “Europe’s Children,” Nation, Sept. 23, 1944, pp. 349-50.
131. Stephen Wise, “What the Jews Hope For,” Nation, part II, Oct. 21, 1944, p. 487.
132. “Nowhere to Lay Their Heads,” New Republic, Oct. 29, 1945, pp. 556-57.
133. “Blackmail In Palestine,” New Republic, Nov. 12, 1945, p. 622.
CHAPTER VI
1. The American Jewish Year Book 5706, 1945-46, vol. 47 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication
Society of America, 1945), pp. 561-610.
2. AZEC Minutes, #23, Apr. 16, 1945, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Wise to James McDonald,
April 9, 1945, James McDonald Papers, General Correspondence File #425 “Wise,” Herbert H. Leh
man Papers, Columbia University, New York. On the hostility of the State Department, see Peter Grose,
Israel in the Mind of America (New York: 1983), chaps. 6 and 7; Ezekiel Rabinowitz, The Jews: Their
Dream of Zion and the State Department (New York: Vantage Press, 1973), chaps. 6, 8, 9.
3. Nahum Goldmann, The Autobiography of Nahum Goldmann (New York: Holt, Rinehart &
Winston, 1969), pp. 204-5; Emanuel Neumann, In the Arena (New York: Herzl Press, 1976), 198-99;


277
Notes to Chapter VI
“Interview with Dr. Emanuel Neumann,” by Yehuda Bauer, July 21, 1967, Emanuel Neumann Papers,
correspondence file: Bauer, ZAL.
4. Melvin Urofsky, We Are One!—American Jewry and Israel (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press,
1978) , p. 62. On Roosevelt’s relationship with Jewish voters, see Grose, Israel in the Mind of America,
pp. 112-16. On Truman and the Palestine dilemma, see Grose, chap. 8; Zvi Ganin, Truman, American
Jewry and Israel, 1945-1948 (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1979); Herbert Parzen, “President Truman
and the Palestine Quandary: His Initial Experience, April-December 1945,” Jewish Social Studies
35 (Jan. 1973): p. 42-72; Kenneth R. Bain, The March to Zion (College Station: Texas A&M Press,
1979) ; Evan M. Wilson, Decision on Palestine (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford Univer
sity, 1979), chaps. 5-9.
5. Neumann, In the Arena, p. 201.
6. Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error (New York: Schocken Books, 1949, reprint 1966). pp.
439-40; Urofsky, We Are One!, pp. 104-5; AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Sept. 24, 1945, Silver Papers,
AHSMA; Wise address. Stenographic Transcript of the forty-eighth annual ZOA Convention, November
16-20, 1945, pp. 131-32, ZAL (hereafter: Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention); Abba Hillel Silver
address. Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, pp. 137-59; Michael J. Cohen, Palestine: Retreat From
the Empire (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978), pp. 182-86. For an informative study of the Labour
party's Palestine policy see Joseph Gorny, The British Labour Movement and Zionism 1917-1948 (Lon
don: F. Cass, 1983), chaps. 10 and 11.
7. Urofsky, We Are One!, pp. 88-93; Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, pp. 35-
37; Neumann, In the Arena, pp. 206-7. For more on the Wise-Silver dispute, see chap. 5 of this
book.
8. Neumann, In the Arena, pp. 202-10; Melvin Urofsky, A Voice that Spoke for Justice: A Biogra
phy of Stephen S. Wise (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982), pp. 341-46; Weizmann,
Trial and Error, chap. 42; Walter Z. Laqueur. A History of Zionism (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston,
1972), pp. 574-77.
9. Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 2d ed., vol. 3 (New York: Holmes &
Meier, 1985), pp. 1048, 1201-20.
10. “Report of Ben Gurion Speech in Tel Aviv at JNF Exhibition in that City,” n.d.. Neumann
Papers, correspondence file: AZEC sub-file: American Zionist Policy Committee, ZAL; Message from
Senator Wagner, Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, pp. 5-6.
11. Epsteins address in Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, pp. 18-23; also see p. 8.
12. On the pogrom, see Leonard Dinnerstein, America and the Survivors of the Holocaust (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1982), pp. 107-8. Interested readers might also see Yehuda Bauer,
Flight and Rescue: Brichah (New York: Random House, 1970); Abram L. Sachar, The Redemption
of the Unwanted: From the Liberation of the Death Camps to the Founding of Israel (New York: St.
Martins Press, 1983).
13. Hilberg, Destruction of European Jews, vol. 3, pp. 1141-53; Dinnerstein, America and the
Survivors of the Holocaust, p. 278; Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, p. 208. Dinnersteins is the
best and most recent study of American immigration policy in the immediate postwar period.
14. Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, p. 105; Edward R. Murrow, In Search of Light: The
Broadcasts of Edward R Murrow 1938-1961, ed. Edward Bliss, Jr. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967),
pp. 90-95; “Nazi Policy of Organized Murder Blackens Germany for All History,” Newsweek, April
30, 1945, pp. 56-57; “They Look at Horror,” Newsweek, May 28, 1945, pp. 34-35; “Letter From
Germany,” New Yorker, May 12, 1945, pp. 50-52; J. F. Krop, “The Jews Under the Nazi Regime,”
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 245 (May 1946): pp. 28-32; A.
Timmenga, “Concentration Camps in the Netherlands,” Annals of the American Academy of Political
ad Social Science 245 (May 1946): 19-27; William D. Camp, “Religion and Horror: The American
Religious Press Views Nazi Death Camps and Holocaust Survivors,” Ph.D. diss.. Carnegie Mellon Uni-


212
Notes to Chapter VI
versity, 1981, p. 89; Charles H. Stember el al., Jews in the Mind of America (New York; Basic Books,
1966), chap. VI, pp. 144-54.
15. Robert F. Wagner, “Palestine: A World Responsibility,” Nation, Sept. 15, 1945, pp. 247-49.
16. Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, pp. 137-38. Also see I^ouis I^evinthal, “The Case for
a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
240 (July 1945): pp. 89-98.
17. Howard M. Sachar. A History of Israel (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), p. 240.
18. Goldstein address. Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, p. 57; Weizmann address. Ibid., p. 406.
19. Rothenberg address. Ibid., p. 701; Weizmann address. Ibid., p. 406.
20. Iievinthal, “The Case for a Jewish G>mmonwealth in Palestine,” p. 92. Also see Rabbi Joshua
Lieban, Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, p. 371.
21. Frankfurter, Remarks phoned from Washington to dinner in honor of Dr. Chaim Weizmann,
Nov. 27, 1945, Felix Frankfurter Papers, Box 86, Microfilm Reel #2, Library of Gmgress, Washington, DC.
22. Gerold Frank. “The Tragedy of the DPs,” New Republic, April 1, 1946, pp. 436-38. Also
see Joseph Dunner, “The Jews That Remain,” Nation, July 6, 1946, pp. 15-16.
23. Henry Wallace, “The Problem of Palestine,” New Republic, April 21, 1947, pp. 12-13; Henry
Wallace, “In Rome, As In Palestine,” New Republic, Nov. 17. 1947, pp. 12-13; Henry Wallace, “Pales
tine, Food and Chiang Kai-Shek,” New Republic, Nov. 24, 1947, pp. 12-13.
24. Eleanor Roosevelt to James McDonald, April 28, 1946, McDonald Papers, general cor
respondence file #35 “E. Roosevelt,” Herbert H. Lehman Papers, Columbia University, New York;
Jason Berger. A New Deal for the World: Eleanor Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy (New York:
Social Science Monographs, distributed by Columbia University Press, 1981), pp. 88-94; Joseph P.
Lash, Eleanor: The Years Alone (New York: Norton, 1972), p. 118.
25. “Send Them to Palestine,” New Republic, January 7, 1946, pp. 7-8. Also see Edward P.
Morgan, “They Seek A Promised Land,” Colliers, May 4, 1946, pp. 83-84.
26. Stones articles were later published as Underground to Palestine (New York: Pantheon, 1946,
reprint 1978).
27. Stone, Underground to Palestine, p. 47.
28. Freda Kirchwey, “The Palestine Problem and Proposals for Its Solution,” special supple
ment, Nation, May 17, 1947. Part II. In particular, see these features of the supplement: “Are There
Other Countries to Which Jews Can Migrate?” pp. 589-90; “The Need for Migration.” pp. 587-89.
On Kirchwey and Zionism, see Sara Alpern, Freda Kirchwey: A Woman of the Nation (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), pp. 195-200.
29. Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, pp. 28-32.
30. Wise to McDonald, July 23. 1945, McDonald Papers, correspondence file #71 “Wise,” Her
bert H. Lehman Papers, Columbia University. New York. For information on the Harrison mission,
see Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, pp. 196-201; and Dinnerstein. America and the Survivors
of the Holocaust, chap. 2.
31. Neumann, In the Arena, p. 209.
32. I. F. Stone, “The Plight of the Jews,” Nation, Oct. 6, 1945, pp. 330-31.
33. Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, p. 33; Herbert Parzen, “President Truman and
the Palestine Quandary: His Initial Experience, April-Deeember 1945,” Jeu>ish Social Studies 35 (Jan.
1973): pp. 42-72; Harry S. Truman, Memoirs, vol. 2, Years of Trial and Hope (New York: Doubledav,
1956), pp. 132-42. For an example of Zionist criticism of Truman, see Abba Hillel Silver's address.
Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, p. 139.
34. Philip Bernsteins report, AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, #78, April 10. 1946, Silver Papers.
While other Zionist spokesmen and leaders around the world enthusiastically seized on the DP issue,
Abba Hillel Silver coolly, and perhaps wisely, warned that overemphasizing the refugee issue might
sabotage the Zionist crusade. As he had done during the wartime rescue debates. Silver counselled


213
Notes to Chapter VI
that the demand for mass Jewish immigration into Palestine should not be made on humanitarian
grounds, but should be linked to the basic Jewish right to establish a state in Palestine. To do otherwise.
Silver knew, was to invite the British and other opponents of Jewish nationalism to contend that Palestine
lacked the natural and economic resources to accommodate the total Jewish refugee population. Silver
reminded a ZOA audience that Zionism was not a “refugee movement.” Even if the DP problem did
not exist, he explained, Zionism would still be a “necessity” because “all the centuries of dispersion
and the recurrent incidents of persecution . . . have persuaded the Jewish people that in order ... to
gain a measure of security, it needs a country of its own.”
Silver and his principal assistant, Emanuel Neumann, knew that the very success of Zionism within
the American Jewish community required a periodic reiteration of the basic tenets of Jewish nationalism.
Neumann reminded American Jews that Zionism was a “revolutionary” movement in Jewish life, but
that the tens of thousands of men and women who had joined the movement during the war years
had been largely motivated by a desire to aid their persecuted brethren in Europe. Unlike the long-time
veterans of American Zionism, the newcomers often lacked a coherent and deep sense of Zionist history
and philosophy. A dangerous situation was developing, Neumann feared, because “in the past, the
newcomer was a minority in our midst; today he is in the majority.” Because Zionist organizations
operated according to democratic principles, “old timers” had to “indoctrinate” and “convert” new mem
bers lest they divert the movement away from its great traditions. Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention,
pp. 146-53, 179-80. Also see Marie Syrkin, “Forum: Should Palestine Become the Jewish Homeland?—
Yes: The Zionist Case,” Forum, June 1946, pp. 912, 914-18.
35. Samir Shamma, “From An Arab Spokesman,” New Republic, Jan. 28, 1946, p. 128; C. A.
Hourani, letter to the editor, New Republic, Aug. 5, 1946, p. 143. Also see Kermit Roosevelt, “The
Arabs Live There Too,” Harpers, Oct. 1946, pp. 289-94; W. T. Stace, “The Zionist Illusion,” Atlantic
Monthly, Feb. 1947, pp. 82-86.
36. Samir Shamma, “From An Arab Spokesman,” p. 128.
37. Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, p. 186. Estimate of Arab lobby budget from I. J. Cak-
plan. Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, p. 335. Arab lobbyists in the United States probably only
wished that they were as powerful as Zionists believed. Kahil Totah, of the Institute for Arab-American
Affairs, mournfully noted that in the United States, Jewish voters far outnumbered those of Arab des
cent. Kahil Totah, “Forum: Should Palestine Become the Jewish Homeland?—No: The Arab Case,”
Forum, June 1946, pp. 913, 918-22.
38. J. C. Hurewitz, The Struggle For Palestine (New York: Schocken Books, 1950, reprint 1976),
chap. 11.
39. Eliahu Ben-Horin, “Have the Arabs A Case?,” Nation, Oct. 20, 1945, pp. 399-401; AZEC
Exec. Comm. Minutes #64, Oct. 29, 1945, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Goldstein address. Transcript
of 1945 ZOA Convention, p. 31; Silver address, Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention, p. 158. Also
see New York Times, Sept. 25, 1945, p. 13.
40. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, Jan. 30 and April 9, 1946, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Eliahu
Epstein, “Middle Eastern Munich,” Nation, March 9, 1946, pp. 287-88.
41. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, June 11, 1946, Jan. 30, 1946, Apr. 9, 1946, Apr. 10, 1946,
July 15, 1946, June 4, 1947, July 14, 1947, Sept. 17, 1947, Silver Papers, AHSMA. Also see the
Minutes of Meeting, American Section of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, Sept. 17.
1947, Silver Papers, AHSMA; American Christian Palestine Committee, The Arab War Effort (New
York: American Christian Palestine Committee, 1947). Among the journalists to pick up Epstein’s in
dictment of the Mufti were: 1. F. Stone, “The Case of the Mufti,” Nation, May 4, 1946, pp. 526-27;
Del Vayo, “The People’s Front,” Nation, Dec. 7, 1946, p. 646; “The Mufti's Henchmen,” Nation, May
17, 1947, pp. 561-62; “The Grand Mufti in World War II,” Nation, supplement. May 17, 1947, pp.
597-99; E. A. Mowrer, “Call the Mufti! Author of Jewish Extermination Goes Free,” Forum, March
1946, pp. 611-12. Stephen Wise in an October 1946 article for the New York Times accused the Mufti


214
Notes to Chapter VI
of playing “a prominent role in the extermination of six million of my fellow Jews in Europe” New
York Times, Oct. 6, 1946, p. 37. Also see New York Times, May 12, 1947, p. 3, and May 13, 1947, p. 12.
42. Kahil Totah, “Correspondence,” Nation, Apr. 6, 1946, pp. 410-11. Also see New York Times,
Oct. 6, 1946, p. 37, and May 13, 1947, p. 17.
43. Aside from polemical works, the strongest case against the Mufti is made by Joan Peters,
From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine (New York: Harper &
Row, 1984), pp. 360, 363, 371-72, 435-42. Peters argues that “there was a symbiotic relationship
between Muftism and Nazism” and cites a letter from the Mufti urging that Hungarian Jews not be
allowed to enter Palestine, suggesting instead that they be transported to Poland. Raul Hilberg and
Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the two historians who have systematically detailed and analyzed the Nazi genocide
machine, give the Mufti no credit for inspiring or significantly abetting the German extermination of
European Jewry. Both demonstrate that Hitler and Himmler were dedicated to the liquidation of world
Jewry and needed little support or encouragement from the Mufti. See Hilberg, Destruction of Euro
pean Jews, especially vol. 2, pp. 789-90, and vol. 3, p. 1071; Lucy Dawidowicz, The War Against the
Jews 1933-1945 (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1975). Randolph L. Braham’s definitive study
of the extermination of Hungarian Jewry makes barely any mention of the Mufti, only noting that out
of deference to him the Germans refused to sanction the evacuation of any Hungarian Jews to Palestine.
Braham, The Politics of Genocide, 2 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), pp. 945, 108.
44. AZEC Minutes, March 19, 1945, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
45. Eliahu Ben-Horin, “Have The Arabs A Case?” pp. 399-401. Also see Ben-Horin, “Palestine:
Realities and Illusions,” Atlantic Monthly, April 1947, pp. 72-77; and the comments of Dean Howard
LcSourd, director of the American Christian Palestine G>mmittee, Transcript of 1945 ZOA Convention,
pp. 319-23.
46. Silver Address to Jewish National Fund Annual Dinner, Oct. 17, 1945, MSS. and Typescripts
File #45-15 “JNFT Silver Papers, AHSMA.
47. “Statement by Dr. Silver, ... at a Press Conference at the Mayflower Hotel,” May 5, 1947,
Silver Papers, MSS. and Typescripts File #47-4 “AZEC Press Statement,” AHSMA. Also see Marie
Svrkin, “Forum: Should Palestine Become the Jewish Homeland?”
48. “Statement by Dr. Silver, ... at Mayflower Hotel,” May 5, 1947, Silver Papers, MSS. and
Typescripts File #47-4 “AZEC Press Statements,” AHSMA.
49. Frank Gervasi, To Whom Palestine? (New York: D. Appleton-Centurv Company, 1946), pp.
2, 3; AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, #73, Jan. 30, 1946, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
50. Gervasi. To Whom Palestine?, pp. 161-62.
51. Bartley C. Crum, Behind the Silken Curtain (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1947), p. 155;
McDonald to Joseph Hutcheson, June 26, 1946, McDonald Papers, Correspondence file #187, “Hut
cheson,” Herbert Lehman Library, Columbia University, New York. Reinhold Niebuhr, a long-time
friend of the American Zionist movement, also condemned the alliance between British officials and
“Arab feudalism.” See Niebuhr, “Palestine: British-American Dilemma,” Nation, Aug. 31, 1946, pp.
238-39.
52. George H. Gallup, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1935-1971 (New York: Random House,
1972), p. 554; Stember, Jews in the Mind of America, p. 175.
53. Freda Kirchwey, “British Policy Breaks Down,” Nation, Nov. 24, 1945, pp. 540-41; Kirch
wey, “Will the Arabs Revolt?” Nation, July 13, 1946, pp. 36-39; I. F. Stone, “Middle Eastern Forces,”
Nation, Dec. 29, 1945, pp. 726-28; Stone, “The Plight of the Jews,” Nation, Oct. 6, 1945, pp. 330-
31; Stone, “Jewry in a Blind Alley,” Nation, Nov. 24, 1945, pp. 543-44; Also see Stone, “Palestine
Pilgrimage,” Nation, Dec. 8, 1945, pp. 615-17; Max Lerner and Martin Kingsley, “Sins of American
Liberals,” Nation, March 2, 1946, pp. 251-53; and “Introduction,” Nation, special Palestine supple
ment, May 17, 1947, pp. 585-86.
54. Eliahu Ben-Horin, “Palestine and Grand Strategy,” Nation, Oct. 27, 1945, pp. 424-25. The


215
Notes to Chapter VI
editorial staff of the Nation also came to link Zionism with the American struggle against the Soviet
Union. In May 1947, an editorial warned that if Britain allowed the Arabs to create a state in Palestine
that “a depressed economy would offer to the adherents of the Communist system ... to stir up the
miserable population against its rulers." “A Working Plan for Palestine," Nation, May 10, 1947, pp.
533-34. Also see Tulin to Silver, Jan. 17, 1946, Tulin Papers, file #35, “Corresp.: A. H. Silver,” ZAL.
55. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, #66, Nov. 14, 1945, and #70, Dec. 10, 1945, Silver Papers,
AHSMA.
56. Ibid., #66, Nov. 14, 1945, and #70, Dec. 10, 1945. For more on the Zionist reaction to
the Anglo-American committee, see Neumann, In the Arena, chapter 18; Urofsky, A Voice That Spoke
for Justice, pp. 350-51; David Horowitz, State in the Making, trans. Julian Metzger (New York: Alfred
A. Knopf, 1953), pp. 28-35; Urofsky, We Are One!, p. 107.
57. Memo, Tulin to Silver, Jan. 17, 1946, Tulin Papers, file #35, “Corresp.: A. H. Silver," ZAL;
Neumann, In the Arena, p. 216; Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, pp. 55-56. For an in
teresting account of the committee's activities, see Horowitz, State in the Making, chaps. 6, 7, 8.
58. On the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, see Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel,
chap. 4; Dinnerstein, American Survivors of the Holocaust, chap. 3; Grose, Israel in the Mind of America,
pp. 202-5; Michael J. Cohen, Palestine and the Great Powers (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1982), chap. 5; Bain, March to Zion, chap. 4; Amikam Nachmani, Great Power Discord in Palestine:
The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry into the Problems of European Jewry and Palestine, 1945-1946
(London: F. Cass, 1987).
59. AZEC Minutes, #30, May 9, 1946, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
60. Ibid., #30, May 9, 1946.
61. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, #86, May 13,1946, Silver Papers, AHSMA; “Statement Adopted
by the Executive Committee of the American Jewish Conference,” May 1, 1946, Robert Szold Papers,
file VIII/3, ZAL.
62. Sachar, History of Israel, pp. 263-64; Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, pp. 247-50; Horowitz,
State in the Making, p. 94; Gorny, British Labour Movement and Zionism, pp. 211-18; M. Cohen,
Palestine and the Great Powers, pp. 109-15.
63. Sachar, History of Israel, pp. 267-70; Yehuda Slutsky and Yehuda Bauer, “Illegal Immigra
tion and the Berichah,” in Immigration and Settlement (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, Israel
Pocket Library, 1973), pp. 35-49; Sachar, Redemption of the Unwanted, chap. 7. The most comprehensive
study of illegal immigration is Bauer, Flight and Rescue: Brichah.
64. Sachar, History of Israel, pp. 264-65; Horowitz, State in the Making, p. 102; M. Cohen,
Palestine and the Great Powers, p. 83.
65. Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, p. 254; Sachar, History of Israel, p. 265; Horowitz, State
in the Making, pp. 103-7; M. Cohen, Palestine and the Great Powers, pp. 81-90. In response to the
British arrest of Jewish Agency leaders, the AZEC initiated a national protest that included the picketing
of British consulates and the staging of a large public demonstration in New York's Madison Square
Park on July 2. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, #91, June 29, 1946, and #92, July 1, 1946, Silver
Papers, AHSMA.
66. Goldmann, Autobiography, pp. 225-41; AZEC Minutes, #30, May 9, 1946, Silver Papers,
AHSMA.
67. Memo, Abraham Tulin to Silver, Jan. 17, 1946, Tulin Papers, file #35, “Corresp.: A. H.
Silver," ZAL; AZEC Minutes, #30, May 9, 1946, Silver Papers, AHSMA; AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes,
#86, May 13, 1946, Silver Papers, AHSMA.
68. New York Times, July 11, 1946, p. 7; Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, p. 84.
69. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, #95, July 25, 1946, Silver Papers, AHSMA; Ganin, Truman,
American Jewry and Israel, chap. V; M. Cohen, Palestine and the Great Powers, chap. 6.
70. Goldmann, Autobiography, pp. 232-33; Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, pp. 88-


216
Notes to Chapter VI
89; Horowitz, State in the Making; p. 117; Urofsky, We Are One!, p. 133; M. Cohen, Palestine and
the Great Powers, pp. 141-47.
71. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, #98, Aug. 1, 1946, and #99, Aug. 7. 1946, Silver Papers,
AHSMA.
72. Ganin, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, pp. 90-94; M. Cohen, Palestine and the Great
Powers, pp. 147-51.
73. AZEC Exec. Comm. Minutes, #101, Sept. 10, 1946, Silver Papers, AHSMA: Ganin, Truman,
American Jewry and Israel, pp. 113-14.
74. Goldmann, Autobiography; p. 239; Weizmann, Trial and Error, Norman Rose, Chaim Weiz
mann: A Biography (New York: Elisabeth Sifton Books-Viking, 1986), pp. 418-21.
75. New York Times, Dec. 11, 1946, p. 25.
76. Ibid., Dec. 10, 1946, p. 14; Neumann, In the Arena, pp. 231-32.
77. Urofsky, A Voice That Spoke for Justice, pp. 353-55. Silver went so far as to imply that Wises
loyalty to the Democratic party prevented him from criticizing Franklin Roosevelt for doing little to
rescue the Jews of Europe, thereby contributing to their liquidation. See Silver’s address to the World
Zionist Congress, reprinted in Silver, Vision and Victory (New York: Zionist Organization of America,
1949), pp. 106-14. Also see Joseph Hutcheson to James McDonald, Dec. 18,1946, McDonald Papers,
General Correspondence file #352, “Hutcheson,” Herbert H. Lehman Papers, Columbia University,
New York.
78. Neumann, In the Arena, p. 228; New York Times, Dec. 12, 1946, p. 14.
79. New York Times, Dec. 11, 1946, p. 25.
80. The speech is reprinted as “The Vital Role of Tactics,” in Silver, Vision and Victory, pp. 115-23.
81. New York Times, Dec. 25, 1946, p. 6, and Jan. 4, 1947, p. 17. On Basel Congress, see
M. Cohen, Palestine and the Great Powers, pp. 177-83.
82. Hurewitz, Struggle for Palestine, chaps. 20, 21.
83. Arthur Koestler, “The Great Dilemma That is Palestine,” New York Times Magazine, Sept.
1, 1946, pp. 5, 51-52; editorial. Nation, Sept. 14, 1946, pp. 281-82; “Peace for Palestine?,” Nation,
Jan. 11, 1947, p. 33; Joel Carmichael, “Crisis of Zionism,” Nation, Jan. 25, 1947, pp. 90-92; “Some
Proposed Solutions,” Nation, May 17, 1947, special supplement, pp. 610-12; Henry Wallace, “Palestine,
Food and Chiang Kai-Shek,” New Republic, Nov. 24, 1947, pp. 12-13.
84. For an interesting insiders account of the U.N. drama, see Horowitz, State in the Making,
pp. 151-248.
85. Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, pp. 233-36. The representative of Australia abstained.
86. Silver’s address is reprinted as “We Shall Make This Sacrifice,” in Silver, Vision and Victory,
pp. 135-49; and in Vital Speeches of the Day, Oct. 15, 1947, pp. 10-15.
87. Grose, Israel in the Mind of America, pp. 243-45.


217
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Lorimer, M. Madeline. “America’s Response to Europe’s Displaced Persons, 1945-1952: A Pre
liminary Report.” Ph.D. diss., St. Louis University, 1964.
Marcus, R. W. “Stephen S. Wise: The Eclipse 1937-1946.” Master’s essay, Columbia University. 1974.
Miller, Donald H. “A History of Hadassah 1912-1935.” Ph.D. diss.. New York University, 1968.
Neustadt-Noy, Isaac. “The Unending Task: Efforts to Unite American Jewry from the American Jewish
Congress to the American Jewish Conference.” Ph.D. diss., Brandeis University, 1976.
Oder, Irwin. “The United States and the Palestine Mandate, 1920-1948: A Study of the Impact of
Interest Groups on Foreign Policy.” Ph.D. diss., Columbia University. 1956.
Pinsky, Edward D. “Cooperation among American Jewish Organizations in their Efforts to Rescue Euro
pean Jewry During the Holocaust, 1939-1945.” Ph.D. diss.. New York University, 1980.
Schmidt, Sarah L. “Horace M. Kallen and the Americanization of Zionism.” Ph.D. diss.. University
of Maryland, 1973.
Stewart, Barbara McDonald. “United States Government Policy on Refugees from Nazism, 1933-1940.”
Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1969.
OTHER SOURCES AND INTERVIEWS
Bergson, Peter. Interview with author. New York. Aug. 30, 1974.
Greenberg, Marian. Interview with author. Amherst, MA. April 21, 1979.
Merlin, Samuel. Interview with author. New York. Aug. 30, 1974.
Shpiro, David H. “The Stand of the American Zionist Leadership on the Question of Actions to Rescue
European Jews— November-December 1942.” Unpublished paper. n.d., available from the American
Commission on the Holocaust.



231
INDEX
Abdullah. Emir, 43, 44
Alfange, Dean, 131, 143
Aliyah Bet campaign, 71-72, 73
Altneuland (Herzl), 41
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America,
100
American G>mmunist Party, 17
American Emergency Committee for Zionist
Affairs (AECZA), 76, 82, 83, 85, 89,
107, 108, NO, 117-18, 124, 127
American Federation of l^hor (AFL), 125
American Jewish Committee (AJC), 11; op
position to statehood, 60, 84, 89, 109;
participation in American Jewish Con
ference. 109-10, 111, 112, 115, 116; posi
tion on Zionism, 32-33; secession from
American Jewish Conference. 128-29
American Jewish Conference, 108-16, 120,
124, 128-29, 130. 132, 143, 154
American Jewish Gmgress, 32, 37, 38. 110
American Jewish Trade Union Committee
for Palestine, 125-26
American Jews: and anti-Nazi boycott.
37-38; and Holocaust (see Holocaust, and
American Jews); non-Zionist, 33, 88 (see
also American Jewish Committee); position
on Zionism, 31-33, 182; in Reform move
ment, 33; support for Roosevelt, 78. 152.
See also Zionism, American
American l^abor party, 125
American league for the Defense of Jewish
Rights, 38
American Palestine Campaign, 35
American Palestine Committee, 126-28
American Zionist Emergency Council
(AZEC), 148, 151, 172; anti-Arab propa
ganda of, 161-64; attack on AJC, 129;
campaign against Bergson group, 120.
121, 122, 130-31, 133; and Christian
support groups, 126-28; committees of,
125-26; and congressional resolutions,
132-35, 143-44; leadership of, 118, 119,
153; public relations function of, 131-32.
See also American Emergency Committee
for Zionist Affairs (AECZA); Zionism,
American
And Keep Your Powder Dry (Mead), 136
Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry
(AACI), 167-71, 172
Annals of the American Academy of Political
and Social Science, 156
Anti-Semitism: in Europe, 29, 31, 37;
Herzl's view of, 15; Nazi, 19, 22, 37, 40,
86; in Poland, 31, 45. 79, 155; in United
States, 22-23; Zionism as solution to, 15.
29, 88-89, 113-14
Arabs, Palestinian, 12; and American public
opinion, 47-51; and benefits of Jewish set
tlement, 41-43, 138, 141, 163; and bina
tional state strategy, 91, 144-47; fear of
Jewish domination, 45; and federated state
strategy, 92; general strike of, 46; Jewish
perception of, 13, 163-64, 184; opposi
tion to partition, 63; opposition to postwar


232
Index
Arabs (continued)
refugees, 160; and Peel Commission re
port, 55; pro-Nazi sympathizers, 161; re
volt of, 46-47, 51, 63; testimony before
Peel Commission, 51-52; and Transjordan
settlement, 43-45
Atkinson, Henry A., 127, 128, 133
Atlee, Clement, 152, 169
Austrian Jews, 22, 31
Autoemancipation (Pinsker), 16
Baldwin, Joseph B., 143
Balfour Declaration, 17, 18, 51, 66, 70, 71,
73, 87, 90, 122, 157
Baron, Salo, 85
Begin, Menachem, 170
Ben-Gurion, David, 27, 42, 47, 65-66, 71,
74, 130, 137, 153, 154, 170, 172; on AACI
proposals, 168-69; distrust of Britain, 90;
on partition issue, 57, 58, 175; and state
hood goal, 81-82, 83, 85, 87, 88, 107;
testimony before Peel Commission, 51
Ben-Horin, Eliahu, 161, 162-63, 166
Bergson, Peter, 101, 105, 119, 120, ISO-
31, 133, 142-44
Berlin, Isaiah, 133-34
Berlin, Meyer, 108, 127
Bermuda Conference, 104-6
Bernstein, Philip, 50, 65, 128, 140-42
Bevin, Ernest, 152, 160, 167, 169, 176,
177
Biltmore Conference, 86-92, 96, 107, 111,
112, 124, 132, 144
Binationalism: liberal support of, 145-47;
Zionist attack on, 144-45; Zionist support
of, 91, 144
Birobidzhan, 34, 47
Bloom, Sol, 104
B’nai B’rith, 32-33, 110
Borah, William E., 126
Boycott campaign, anti-Nazi, 37-38
Brandeis, Louis, 18, 21-22, 27, 31, 35, 38,
43, 44, 46, 53, 65, 69, 76; and Chris
tian support groups, 126-27; opposition to
partition, 57, 60, 61, 64; rejection of
Arab negotiations, 64
Britain. See Great Britain
Brith Shalom, 144-45
Brodetsky, Selig, 98
Buber, Martin, 91
Bublick, Gedalia. 167
Bulgarian Jews, 79-80, 105
Cairns, Ralph, 71
Cantor, Eddie, 36
Catholic Church, 127-28
Celler, Emanuel, 47
Central Conference of American Rabbis, 32,
33
Chamberlain, Neville, 56, 70, 74
Christian Century; 77
Christian Council on Palestine, 127-28
Christianity and Crisis, 136
Churchill, Winston, 56, 70, 74, 75, 83,
135, 181
G>mmittee for a Jewish Army (CJA), 101,
105, 119, 130
Committee on Foreign Affairs, 133
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO),
125
Coughlin, Charles E., 23
Crum, Bartley, 165
Cunliffe-Lister, Philip, 44
Curtis, Charles, 126
Davar,; 72
De Haas, Jacob, 29-30, 48
Democratic party, 125, 134
Dodds, Harold Willis, 104
Dreyfus affair, 15
Eden, Anthony, 56, 75
Eisenhower, Dwight, 156
Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish
People of Europe (ECSJPE), 119-22,
130-31, 133, 143
Epstein, Eliahu, 161
Epstein, Judith, 133, 154
Epstein, Mrs. Moses, 73
Farbstein, Heschel, 43
Feuer, Leon, 99, 126
Fish, Hamilton, Jr., 126
Flexner, Bernard, 60
Foreign Affairs, 84
Fortas, Abe, 139
France, and refugee problem, 20, 37
Frank, Gerold, 148, 158


233
Index
Frankfurter, Felix, 18, 21, 27, 42, 44, 55,
60, 157-58
Friedland, A. H., 30
Fry, Varian, 140
Fuchs, Lawrence, 78
Furmansky, Moshe, 91, 106
Oilman, Leon, 88, 92, 109
German-American Bund, 23
German Jews: assimilationism of, 20, 25,
40; attitude to Zionism, 32-33; and
Birobidzhan resettlement plan, 34, 47;
Hitler’s persecution of, 19, 22, 37, 40;
opposition to partition, 60; and Palestine
resettlement. 12, 23-29, 30-31, 36-37,
40, 64-65; prospects for resettlement of,
20-21; reimbursed by Haavara Agree
ment, 39
Ormany. See Nazi Germany
Gervasi, Frank, 164
Gillette, Guy M., 119, 120, 130, 143
Gold, Wolf, 92, 106, 125, 133
Goldberg, Abraham, 24
Goldman, Robert, 115, 116
Goldman, Solomon, 73, 75, 76, 83, 138;
attack on White Paper, 68, 69; and parti
tion* issue, 63; on refugee problem, 25-26
Goldmann, Nahum, 88, 111, 152, 153,
162, 180; on AACI proposals, 168; on
Holocaust, 96-97, 98, 99; partition plan
of, 171-72, 173-74, 175, 176; statehood
goal of, 92, 97, 118-19
Goldstein, Israel, 92, 109, 133, 153, 157,
161, 172-73
Grady, Henry F., 172
Great Britain: in Anglo-American Gimmittee,
166-68, 169, 172; Arab-Jewish negotia
tion proposal of. 64; Arab policy of, 46,
48, 90, 161. 164, 165; arrest of Jewish
Agency leaders, 170, 171; Balfour Decla
ration, 17, 18. 51, 66, 70, 71, 73, 90,
122, 157; creation of Transjordan, 17, 43;
deportation of illegal immigrants, 79,
170-71; execution of Stern, 74; immigra
tion policy of, 26-27, 52, 56, 59, 61,
66-67, 69, 80, 104-5, 168, 169, 170-
71; London conference of 1939, 66; Man
date, 11-12, 17, 18, 49, 70; opposition to
Jewish statehood, 12, 152-53, 160, 167,
169, 177; partition proposals of, 55-56,
63-64; Peel Commission, 51-52, 53,
55-56, 66; response to refugee problem,
20, 37, 155; and Transjordan settlement
issue, 44-45; White Paper, 66-67, 68-
69, 74, 80, 81, 90, 104, 111, 112. 133.
157, 168, 169; Woodhead Commission.
63; Zionist cooperation in war effort,
73-78; Zionist criticism of, 68-73, 75,
106-7, 111, 112, 133. 164-66
Green, William, 127, 131
Greenberg, Hayim, 11, 17. 42-43, 45.
49-50, 53, 58, 91, 103, 109, 116.
162
Gross, Joel, 126
Ha-am. Ahad, 16
Haavara Agreement, 38-40, 65
Hadassah, 37, 38, 69, 76, 109, 151, 167;
mission of, 18, 28; opposition to Haavara
Agreement, 40; and partition issue, 53,
58, 59-60, 62; post-World War I decline
of, 19; and refugee problem, 28; and
statehood goal, 91, 92; and Youth Aliyah,
34-36
Haganah, 46, 71, 72, 75. 80, 169-70
Halbert, Joseph, 111
Halifax, Lord, 68, 105. 196n.6
Halprin, Rose, 103, 109, 125, 162
Harlow, S. Ralph, 128
Harrison, Earl G., 159, 167
Hashomer Hatzair, 58, 103
Havlagah policy, 46
Hecht, Ben, 119
Heller, James, 115
Herzl, Theodor, 15. 16, 20, 24, 29, 30,
41, 48, 122, 174
Hexter, Maurice, 51
Hilfsverein Der Deutschen Judea, 20
Hindenburg, Paul von. 21
Hitler, Adolf, 19, 21, 22, 28, 31, 86, 96,
151, 183-84. See also Nazi Germany
Hocking, William Ernest, 48, 49
Holmes, John Haynes, 50-51, 77
Holocaust: American response to, 100,
139-40, 143, 149. 156-58; mortality rate
of, 153-54; Muftis role in, 161-62; and
Palestine rescue efforts, 157; responsibility
for, 156-57, 160, 183-84; survivors of.


234
Index
Holocaust, and American Jews (continued)
155-56, 157-60, 181-82; Weizmann’s
assessment of, 86-87
Holocaust, and American Jews, 13-14;
emergency refugee shelters plan, 121-23,
144; failure of Bermuda Conference,
104-6; first reports of, 96-97, 100; and
rescue campaign, 100-104, 119-21, 183;
and statehood goal, 105-8, 114-17,
122-23, 148-49, 154, 183, 184
Hoover, Herbert, 21, 126
Hourani, C. A., 160
Hull, Cordell, 21-22
Hungarian Jews, 100, 121, 153-54
Husseini, Haj Amin Muhammad al- (Mufti),
45, 46, 49, 50, 51-52, 161-62, 163
Ibn Saud, 152
lekes, Harold, 32, 131, 136
If This Be Treason, 77
Ihud, 144-45
Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees
(IGCR), 105
Irgun, 71, 73, 74, 101, 130, 142, 170, 177
Israeli, Arnold, 127
Jabotinsky, Eri, 120
Jabotinsky, Vladimir, 17, 71
Jacobs, Rose, 35, 69, 91, 118
Jewish Agency, 26, 35, 46, 48, 51, 52, 71,
72, 87, 148, 159; arrest of leaders, 170,
171; Haavara Agreement, 38-40; partition
proposal of, 172-75
Jewish Frontier.; 17, 24, 34, 42, 49, 51, 52,
53
Jewish Labor Committee, 100, 110, 119
Jewish National Fund, 92
Jewish State, The (Herzl), 15, 16
Jewish War Veterans, 38
Joint Emergency Committee on European
Jewish Affairs, 101
Jordan Valley Authority (JVA), 138, 139
Joseph, Bernard, 145
Kaplan, Eliezer, 52
Kaplan, Mordechai, 28
Kastner, Rudolf, 161
Katznelson, Berl, 72
Katzski, Herbert, 159
Kazin, Alfred, 139
Kibbutz movement, 12, 26, 35, 68
King, William H., 126
Kirchwey, Freda, 140, 144, 158, 165-66
Labour party, 152-53, 160, 167, 169, 177
La Follette, Robert M., Jr., 126
Laurence, Reginald, 77
Law, Richard K., 104
League of Nations, 11-12, 18, 20, 49, 70
Levinthal, Louis, 95, 101, 109, 116, 117,
157
Lewisohn, Ludwig, 30
Liberals, American: basic values of, 135-
36; and Bergson group, 142-44; and bi
nationalist cause, 145-47; fear of Zionism,
137- 38; and Palestine soil conservation,
138- 39; response to Holocaust, 139-40,
143, 149; supporters of Zionism, 136-37;
Zionist campaign for support of, 140-42,
148-50
Lilienthal, David, 139
Lindbergh, Charles, 77
Lipsky, Louis, 27, 29, 30, 35, 39, 55, 57,
65, 69, 75, 76, 81, 111, 125; and parti
tion issue, 53, 54, 58, 60, 61, 62
Locker, Berl, 35-36
Lourie, Arthur, 127
Lowdermilk, Walter Clay, 138-39, 141, 163
Lucas, Scott, 104
McCormick, Anne O’Hare, 102
McCormick, Robert R., 77
McDonald, James G., 20, 27, 159, 165
MacDonald White Paper. See White Paper
Mack, Julian, 57, 60, 126
Magnes, Judah, 91, 144-45, 146
Malin, Patrick M., 159
Mardor, Munia, 80
Margoshes, Samuel, 193n.54
Marx, Karl, 16
Mead, Margaret, 136
Merlin, Samuel, 119, 120
Mizrachi Zionist Organization, 16-17, 43,
53, 58, 69, 75, 76, 88, 92, 106, 108,
125, 167
Monsky, Henry, 109, 110, 111-12
Montor, Henry, 83
Morgenthau, Henry, Jr., 159


235
Index
Morrison. Herbert, 70, 172
Moshavim, 35
Mossad LAliyah Bet, 72
Mufti of Jerusalem (Husseini), 45, 46, 49,
50, 51-52, 161-62, 163
Murray, Philip, 127
Murrow, Edward R., 156
Nation, 47, 49, 50, 51, 137, 140, 143,
144, 145, 146, 148, 158, 161, 165-66
National Conference for Palestine, 31, 32
Nazi Germany: anti-Semitism in, 19, 22, 37,
40; boycott campaign against, 37-38; ex
termination camps of, 86, 98; Haavara
Agreement with, 38—40. See also
Holocaust; Holocaust, and American Jews
Neue Freie Presse, 15
Neumann, Emanuel, 64, 76, 94, 111, 117,
132, 133, 134, 152, 153. 154, 161, 167,
180; on AACI proposals, 168; and Amer
ican Palestine Committee, 126-27; and
Jordan Valley Authority scheme, 139; op
position to partition, 175; and statehood
goal, 85, 112, 116; and Transjordan settle
ment scheme, 26, 43-44
New Palestine, 52, 60
New Republic, 137. 140, 142, 144. 146,
149-50, 156
Newsweek, 156
New Yorker., 156
New York Post, 143, 144
New York Times, 47, 48, 100, 102, 105
New Zionist Organization, 18
Niebuhr, Reinhold, 128, 136-37
Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion
Human Rights, 38
Norris, George W., 139
One World (Wilkie), 136
Ormsby-Gore, William, 56
Palestine: Aliyah Bet campaign, 71-72. 73;
Arabs of (see Arabs, Palestinian); Haganah
in, 46, 71, 72, 75, 80, 169-70; Jewish
population of, 41; Mandate, 11-12, 17, 18,
49, 70 (see also Great Britain); and parti
tion issue, 53-63, 92, 167, 171-77; reset
tlement of refugees (see Refugee problem);
terrorist campaigns in, 71, 73, 170, 177;
in war effort, 74-78; wartime rescue ef
forts of, 157. See also Jewish Agency;
Zionism; Zionism, American
Palestine Broadcasting Service, 71
Palestine Economic Corporation, 60
Palestine: Ixind of Promise (Lowdermilk),
139
Palmach, 75, 170
Patria incident, 80
Peel, Lord (Earl), 51
Peel Commission, 51-52, 53, 55-56, 66
Pelley, William Dudley, 23
Pilsudski, Joseph, 31
Pinsker, Leo, 16
PM. 158
Poale Zion, 16, 17, 18, 38, 76, 88; in
AZEC, 125; opposition to statehood,
90-91
Polish Jews, 31, 45, 79, 104, 153, 155
Pool, David de Sola, 58-59
Pool, Tamar de Sola, 81, 103
Presbyterian. 156
President’s Advisory Committee on Political
Refugees, 22
Pro-Palestine Federation, 46-47, 126
Proskauer, Joseph, 112, 115, 116, 129
Reform Judaism, 11, 32, 33
Refugee problem: and American Zionism,
12, 23-24, 25-26, 27-31, 36-37,
40, 64-65, 154-60, 212-13n.34; and
British policy, 52, 56, 59, 61, 66-67, 69,
80, 104-5, 168, 169, 170-71; illegal
immigration, 71-72, 73, 79-80, 170-71;
postwar immigration, 86-88, 93, 107,
111-12, 122-23, 137-38, 141, 142, 144,
148, 149-50, 154-60. 168, 169-70,
181-82
Republican party, 125, 152
Revisionist Zionism, 17-18
Riegner, Gerhart, 97, 100
Rogers, Edith, 23
Rogers, James G., 126
Rogers, Will, Jr., 119, 120, 121, 143
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 23, 135, 158
Roosevelt, Franklin, 23, 32, 135; anti
isolationism of, 78; immigration policy of,
21, 22; and rescue of European Jewry,
100-101, 121, 140. 181; Wises allegiance


236
Index
Roosevelt, Franklin (continued)
to, 134, 151, 153; and Zionism, 85, 134,
151-52
Rosenblatt, Bernard A., 31, 91-92
Rothenberg, Morris, 20, 26, 28-29, 30,
31-32, 35, 54, 65, 68-69, 76, 93, 95,
98, 109, 115-16, 157
Russell, Charles Edward, 32
Ryan, John A., 127
Sadat, Anwar, 161
Samuel, Herbert, 27
Samuel, Maurice, 49
Saslaw, Joseph, 32
Schwartz, Joseph J., 159
Segal, Louis, 88, 91
Senesh, Channa, 157
Shah-Mir, 48
Shamma, Samir, 160
Shapiro, Harry, 131
Sherman, B. C., 90
Shertok, Moshe, 48-49
Shibli, Jabir, 142
Shulman, Herman, 127
Shulman, Max, 24
Silver, Abba Hillel, 13, 31, 33, 34, 45, 57,
65, 81, 103, 111, 123, 137, 141, 156-
57; and anti-Nazi boycott, 38; attack on
Arab claims, 163, 164; criticism of Aliyah
Bet, 72; leadership of AZEC, 117-19,
124, 129, 132, 134-35; opposition to
Haavara Agreement, 39; opposition to par
tition, 54-55, 58, 63, 172, 173-74; and
refugee problem, 212-13n.34; rejection of
AACI proposals, 167, 168; Republican
party ties of, 125, 152; and statehood
goal, 82, 83, 87, 88-89, 105-6, 112-14,
117, 180; strategy for achieving statehood,
175-77, 178-79
Simon, Abraham, 32
Sinclair, Archibald, 56, 70
Sneh, Moshe, 172
Socialist Zionism, 16, 17
Soviet Union, 97, 166
Steinberg, Milton, 125, 128
Stern, Avraham, 74
Stern Gang, 177
Stone, I. F., 146-47, 149, 158, 159, 166
“Stop Hitler Now” rally, 101-3, 104
Struma incident, 80
Sulzberger, Arthur Hays, 47
Syrkin, Marie, 49
Syrkin, Nahman, 49
Szold, Henrietta, 35, 40, 59, 91
Szold, Robert, 64, 69, 76; opposition to
partition, 53-54, 57-58, 60, 61, 62, 92;
and refugee crisis, 27-28, 29, 66; and
statehood goal, 88, 92, 93, 94
Szold, Zip, 28, 59, 62
Taft, Robert, 125, 134, 152
Thackrey, Ted, 143
Thomas, Norman, 77
Thomas, R. J., 131
Thompson, Dorothy, 136
Tillich, Paul, 128
Time for Decision, The (Welles), 146
Totah, Kahil, 162
To Whom Palestine (Gervasi), 164
Transjordan, 17, 26, 167, 172; negotiations
for Jewish settlement in, 43-45
Truman, Harry, 158, 166; and parti
tion compromise, 172, 173, 176; and
refugee problem, 159-60, 169; and
Zionism, 152
Turkey, and Struma incident, 80
United Nations, 163, 177-79, 182
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Ad
ministration (UNRRA), 159
United Palestine Appeal, 36, 72, 83
United States: and Anglo-American Commit
tee, 166-68, 169, 172; anti-Semitism in,
22—23; entry into World War II, 85; im
migration restriction in, 21, 22, 155; isola
tionist forces in, 77; and Lend Lease, 78;
and Palestine congressional resolutions,
132-35, 143-44; response to Holocaust,
100, 139-40, 143, 149, 156-58; re
sponse to refugee problem, 20-21, 37,
155, 158-60; War Refugee Board of, 121.
See also American Jews; Liberalism,
American; Roosevelt, Franklin; Truman,
Harry; Zionism, American
Villard, Oswald Garrison, 34
Viton, Albert, 47, 49, 50


237
Index
Wagner, Robert, 23, 54, 127, 133, 136,
154, 156
Wallace, Henry, 137-38, 158
Warburg, Felix, 60, 191n.23
War Refugee Board, 121
Warsaw Ghetto, 104
Weisgal, Meyer, 103, 108
Weizmann, Chaim, 18, 27, 58, 65, 74,
103, 117, 123, 146, 153, 157, 176;
doubts about German Jewish immigration,
24-25; faith in Britain, 90; and postwar
refugee problem, 86-87; report on Nazi
atrocities, 86, 96; and statehood goal,
83-84, 107-8; support for partition,
52-53, 55, 57, 174-75; testimony before
Peel Commission, 51, 53
Welles, Sumner, 97, 100, 131, 146
Wertheim, David, 109, 133
White, William Allen, 78
White Paper (1939), 66-67, 68-69, 70,
74, 75, 80, 81, 90, 104, 111, 112, 133,
157, 168, 169
Why a Jewish State? (Feuer), 99
Wilkie, Wendell, 136
Williams, Tom, 56
Wilson, Woodrow, 77, 93
Wise, Stephen, 13, 20, 25, 27, 32, 33, 37,
38, 39, 44, 51, 52, 55, 65, 68, 73, 76,
81, 103, 125, 128, 131, 133, 139, 159,
162, 167, 180; leadership of AZEC, 118,
124, 135, 153; opposition to ECSJPE,
121: opposition to partition, 53, 57, 58,
60, 61, 62; and refugee crisis, 21, 22,
24, 26, 47, 112; report on Holocaust,
97-98, 99, 100; resignation from ZOA,
176-77; and Roosevelt, 134, 151-52,
153; and statehood goal, 82, 83, 148-49;
and war effort, 77-78, 79; and Weiz
mann, 175
Woodhead, John, 63
Woodhead Commission, 63
World Jewish Congress, 37, 97, 119
World War II: American entry, 85; Zionist
hopes for peace conference, 73, 85;
Zionist movement in, 73-78. See also
Holocaust; Holocaust, and American Jews
World Zionist Congress, 39-40, 174-76;
first, 16, 174; twentieth, 57-59; twenty-
first, 72
World Zionist Organization, 16, 17, 18, 24,
58, 130
Yeshiva University, 100
Youth Aliyah, 34-36, 69
Youth and Nation, 103, 104
Zaritsky, Max, 125-126
Zionism: formation of political movement,
16; international funds of, 186n.l3; Miz-
rachi, 16, 43, 53, 58; Revisionist, 17; as
solution to anti-Semitism, 15, 29, 88-89,
113-14. See also Palestine; Zionism,
American
Zionism, American: and American Jewish
Conference, 108-16, 120, 124, 128-29,
130, 132, 143, 154; and Anglo-American
Committee, 167, 172; in anti-Nazi boycott
campaign, 37-38; attack on British policy,
68-70, 75, 106-7, 111, 112, 133, 164-
66; and Biltmore program, 86-92, 96,
107, 111, 112, 117, 132, 144; combat
against assimilation, 30; commitment to
Palestine survival, 64-65, 68; debate over
Arab position, 47-51, 142, 160-64;
debate over Haavara Agreement, 39-40;
debate over partition, 53-55, 57-63,
92-93, 167, 171-77; and Holocaust (see
Holocaust, and American Jews); leadership
of, 117-19, 153, 176-77, 180; and liberal
support (see Liberalism, American); Miz-
rachi, 16-17, 53, 69, 75, 76, 88, 92,
106, 108, 125, 167; opposition to bina
tional state, 91, 144; opposition to state
hood, 90-93; organizations of, 17-18, 19,
37, 124, 125; post-World War I decline,
18-19; post-World War II growth, 13,
151; rebirth of, 27-31, 76, 182; and refu
gee problem, 12, 23-24, 25-26, 27-31,
36-37, 40, 64-65, 154-60, 212-13n.34;
Revisionist, 17-18; Roosevelt and, 85,
134, 151-52; socialist, 16, 17 (see also
Poale Zion); statehood goal of, 81-84, 85,
86, 87-89, 93-95, 99-100, 112, 114-17,
124-25, 183 (see also American Zionist
Emergency Council [AZEC]); status in
1933, 11-12; support of war effort, 73-
78; and Transjordan settlement, 43-44,
45; triumph of, 177-80, 182-83; widen-


238
Index
Zionism (continued)
ing appeal of, 31-36. See also American
Jews; specific names and organizations
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), 19,
34, 37, 38, 45, 52, 74, 76, 83, 151,
176; dispute over Youth Aliyah, 35-36;
mission of, 18, 24; and partition issue.
53-55, 57, 58, 60-61, 62-63, 92;
recruitment effort of, 94-95; and refugee
problem, 28-29, 30; resistance to White
Paper, 68-69; and statehood goal, 92, 93,
116-17
Zionist Revisionist Organization of America,
17-18