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Labor Action, 13 May 1946


Jessie Kaaren

Anglo-American Diplomats Produce
a Monstrosity in Report on Palestine


From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 19, 13 May 1946, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


In an effort to steer a middle course between the policies of British and American imperialism, the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on displaced Jews and Palestine has produced, in its report, a bastard child which no group wants to own, although some like it better than others.

The United States is mainly concerned with ridding itself of the problem of 100,000 homeless Jews in the occupied territories of Germany and Austria – Jews who have no possibility of returning to pre-war homes. The American State Department is anxious to head off pressure for immigration to the United States. It also wishes to placate the large body of American Jews who form a large electoral element.

On the other hand, American diplomacy is not as deeply concerned as are the British with placating the Arabs. The American government feels well enough protected by the British army which is now American imperialism’s first line of defense in the colonial world, whether or not the British army likes its new role.

The British Empire, on the other hand, is less concerned with the displaced persons’ camps. They are America’s war babies. But it is vitally interested in maintaining a huge arsenal of men and equipment in the Middle East. Palestine being the only logical place for a military base, now that British forces have been withdrawn from Iran, Syria and are soon to withdraw from Egypt, it must be maintained as a backward, feudal country.

An Incitement to Arab-Jewish War

So the committee made its gesture toward the United States by recommending that the 100,000 stateless Jews be admitted to Palestine. It then bows to Great Britain with a recommendation that the British army remain in Palestine. It states that it is opposed to any constitutional form of government or to national independence: “If British forces were withdrawn, there would be immediate prolonged bloodshed, the end of which it is impossible to predict.”

The committee throws a few crumbs to the Jews. It says that the Jews in the camps must be removed at once. But it is very vague on what is to happen to the hundreds of thousands of other Jews who feel they must get out of Europe. It very meekly suggests that other countries in the world open the immigration door just a crack.

The committee report tries to calm the Arabs. It tells the Arabs that it is opposed to the creation of a Jewish state. The report also suggests that large agricultural and industrial development in Palestine in consultation with neighboring Arab states would help raise the Arab standard of living.

Regardless of whether or not the committee intended it to be so, the report is an incitement to war between Arabs and Jews. The British government welcomed the report by offering a bargain to the Jews and to the United States. American troops should be sent to Palestine. Bevin asks the Jewish underground army to give up its arms. The British know that these are two impossible conditions.

The report gives the Arab feudal leadership the weapon it needs for stirring the masses out of their lethargy and whipping up a lynch spirit. The Arabian reactionaries can point to the paragraph stating that Arabs are incapable of ruling themselves. The British colonial office, for all its genius, could not have written a more provocative paragraph.

Though the Zionists are pleased with the prospect of another 100,000 Jews in Palestine, they are bitter about the committee’s denunciation of a Jewish state in Palestine and they are worried lest the report cancel the promise contained in the Balfour mandate.

Situation Changes for the Worse

The British army newspaper, Mid-East Mail, reflects official British opinion when it says that Truman’s approval of the report is a vote-catching plan. Arab sources intimate that the Grand Mufti, now under house arrest for his pro-Hitler alliance, is about to be returned to Palestine. If the British government can do this favor for the Arab reactionaries without going too far out on a limb, they will be glad to do it. Even the invitation which the Arab Higher Committee is extending to Russia to ally itself with the Arab cause, looks like a phony British gesture to frighten American imperialism.

Palestine has been kept in a state of virtual martial law for many months, with six o’clock curfews, arrests without cause, searches without warrants, abrogation of civil rights, deportation to Africa, etc. British colonial agents are adept at keeping up the war of nerves. Nevertheless they were not successful in whipping up Arab-Jewish riots. Until now the guerrilla warfare or terrorist acts of the Jewish bands have been directed against the British army.

Though the Arab masses genuinely fear Jewish domination in Palestine, they were not too sold on the Arab Higher Committee because it had no program for the masses except anti-Semitism.

With the issuance of the report, the situation on both sides has changed for the worse. The small Arab parties that formerly refused to go along with the Arab League on a number of issues are now united in the call for a war against the Jews. The Hagana (Jewish underground), formerly cautious in its attitude toward the Arabs, now issues a warning:

“If the instigators succeed in their attempts to rouse the Arabs, they will learn that the upper hand will be ours. Beware! We have warned you.”

It is the tendency of most liberals and even radicals to over-simplify the Jewish-Arab problem. The tragedy that has overtaken the Jews in Europe is so overwhelming that colonial independence for the Arabs is ignored in favor of Jewish immigration. The role played by British and American imperialism is under-emphasized. But even viewing the problem from the Jewish angle alone, thorough analysis of the Jewish-Arab conflict must convince any sincere thinker that there can be no solution while imperialism has the upper hand.

Arabs and Jews Have Same Interest

If there is to be mass Jewish immigration to Palestine, and there is no doubt that hundreds of thousands of Jews in Europe regard that as their only salvation, it can be achieved only after a “holy war” is waged in which Jews and Arabs fight side by side against British and American imperialism. IN TWO RECENT AND SIGNIFICANT STRIKES, RAILWAY AND CIVIL WORKERS, JEW AND ARAB WORKED SIDE BY SIDE.

Such an Arab-Jewish rapprochement is not utopian or far-fetched. Both groups have a great deal to offer one another. The Jewish left-wing militants are more mature politically. They understand that the misery and poverty of the Arab masses can only be ended in a Palestine that is free of British troops as well as free of Arab feudal lords. The Jewish labor movement in Palestine is one of the most militant and socialistically-minded in the world. If it were not so blinded by Jewish nationalism and so fettered by its own right-wing leadership, it would long ago have inspired the development of an Arab mass party that would be a powerful lever of opposition to the Arab League, which is nothing more than the creation of a British-feudal coalition. Basic socialist thought requires that the Jews be champions of Arab freedom as well as Jewish freedom.

In return for their support, the Jews could logically expect guarantees from the Arabs. Palestine is a tiny section of the Arab world. Were the Jewish resistance fighters and left-wing elements to offer friendship to the Arab masses and give leadership in a fight against imperialism, they could logically demand that Jewish rights and interests be respected.

Unfortunately, the labor movement and socialist parties throughout the world have sided with the Zionists and have failed to extend a helping hand to the Arab masses. Thus the cleavage grows wider between two forces which could logically become welded in an anti-imperialist union. Too little thought has been given to formulating an Arab-Jewish program by the advanced elements outside of Palestine. International solidarity could be a powerful factor in this situation.

But in order to convince the Jews of Europe and of Palestine of their sincere interest, the unions and labor parties of the United States, Great Britain and other countries would have to put up a vigorous fight for a policy of open immigration within their own countries; they would have to support the Arab desire for independence; and they would have to bring pressure on the Jewish labor movement and the militants in Palestine for a break with its super-nationalistic leadership.

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