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Labor Action, 5 May 1947


Al Findley

Power Politics Dominates UN Palestine Discussion


From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 18, 5 May 1947, pp. 1 & 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The United Nations is meeting in special assembly to discuss the Palestinian problem. Of one result we can be sure – lots of talk.

Palestine is a small country – inhabited by two nations – Jews and Arabs. In addition to the inhabitants of the country, hundreds of thousands of Jews throughout the world – survivors of a ruthless extermination policy conducted against them by the Nazis through gas chambers, crematories, etc., look to that country for their hope of rebuilding their lives on a new basis – a free national existence and not a new place of refuge.

The entire Arab world is also interested in Palestine as a part of the general Arab struggle to achieve full independence from imperialist rule.

Britain, the largest imperialist power of modern times, has ruled Palestine for twenty-two years. During its reign it has encouraged the conflict of Arab versus Jew in order to maintain its rule in Palestine and the Near East. Originally England promised to encourage Jewish immigration to Palestine. The politicians of the Colonial Office hoped for a small Jewish immigration into Palestine which would create a small community, dependent on foreign support. But they miscalculated. The decay of capitalist society liberated the most barbaric tendencies. Modern capitalism revived and intensified medieval anti-Semitism. The immigration and industrialization of the country threatened British rule. The British therefore built up, financed and armed the Mufti and his feudal, reactionary nationalist group. The result was the pogroms of 1929, 1936 and 1939.

One of the favorite methods of British rule has been the use of investigating committees. Not less than seventeen different committees and royal commissions have been created to “investigate and solve” the problem.

The last plan of the British Labor Party imperialists, under a fake bi-national front, attempted a division of the country into small cantons with the British retaining complete rule of the country. Such a plan, of course, did not and could not satisfy either the Jews or the Arabs.

The submission of the Palestine problem to the United Nations is another attempt to. delay and procrastinate. The immediate cause of the submission of the problem to the UN is not the “terrorist” acts in Palestine, which have caused the deaths of 168 British soldiers in two years. It is rather the great pressure of the half million homeless and displaced Jews, most of whom are now living on charity in demoralizing atmosphere of displaced persons camps. Another cause is the continued decline of the power of the British Empire because of the encroachments of its Russian and American rivals.

For the past two years the problem of Palestine has been acute, but the British have been delaying. These tactics are designed to create hopelessness and despair among the displaced persons of Europe so they will not wish to go to Palestine. England hopes by further delay to destroy the desire and the possibility of emigration to Palestine.

Tactics of Delay

The delaying tactics have already had two results. Poland has closed its borders against any exodus of Jews. The United States has refused the admission of any more inmates to its displaced persons camps. The countries under Russian domination are expected to do the same soon. England is hoping that the coming depression in the United States will dry up the funds that finance the immigration to Palestine.

British politicians are building on vain hopes. The need of the displaced persons will not lessen since no other place of immigration exists and it can only increase their desperation. Post-war capitalism has been unable to stabilize itself and reduce anti-Semitism.

British imperialist leaders last week in the House of Lords declared that they will not accept any decision of the UN they do not agree with. Whatever Britain does, it will not get out of Palestine. The strategic importance of Palestine and the need to maintain a strong position in the struggle for control of the Near East force Britain to remain there in one way or another.

The British are now playing a pro-Arab League game to woo the reactionary governments of Egypt, etc., over to their side in order to maintain their grip on the entire Near East.

Russia too is playing the same pro-Arab game. It too wants the oil of Iran and the Near East. It too bases its game of power politics on winning over the Arab governments. The result is that it orders its stooges in Eastern Europe to prohibit emigration. The Communist Party of Palestine is against Jewish immigration and supports the anti-Jewish. boycott. The Daily Worker of New York hastens to support the Egyptian proposals for stopping immigration. The well-informed S. Itzchaki cables from Jerusalem that Molotov proposed a deal to the U.S. and England on the question of Palestine and the Balkans in which Russia would give England a free hand in Arabia and the Near East in return for a free hand in the Balkans. The needs of the displaced persons, the rights of Jews and Arabs in Palestine and the Near East mean as little to the Russian imperialists as they do to the empire builders of England and the Near East.

U.S. Double Game

The United States, with its expanding interests in the Near East, is playing a double game. Bartley Crum, in his book, The Silken Curtain, has shown.that for each pro-Jewish statement made, a pro-Arab document was issued at the same time. The U.S. attempts to satisfy the Arabs because of its desire for oil and influence in the Near East. At the same time the politicians want the Jewish votes and are afraid of strong demands to open the doors to the U.S. In addition, they want to reduce the expense of supporting the DPs in the American occupation zones of Europe. As a result, the U.S. will probably attempt some kind of compromise.

The leaders of the Jewish Agency, in their demands to the UN, base themselves not on the elementary democratic right of free immigration, but on the false “historical,” i.e., biblical, right and on the imperialist basis that England and the League of Nations promised them a national home in Palestine. As if England and the League of Nations ever had the right to dispose of someone else’s country!

The leaders of the Zionist parties, by demanding a Jewish state, are adopting a policy that takes into consideration the existence of only one people in Palestine, namely the Jews. There is no attempt to coordinate the interests of both nations inhabiting Palestine.

All the Zionist leaders – including the Irgunists – welcomed the fact of submission of the problem to the UN, and support the creation of an investigating commission. The moderate Zionists expect a compromise in the form of increased immigration and/or partition of Palestine into two states – the Jewish area comprising about 60 per cent of the present Palestine. In this they hope to get the support of the U.S. and possibly convince England that this would be the first step toward realizing the Colonial Office dream of a “Greater Syria” under King Abdullah, since the Palestine state would have to unite with Transjordania.

The Irgunists hope that they can play off Russia against England and the U.S. and convince one of the two (they don’t care which) that a Jewish state is a more efficient tool for the control of the Near East.

The Arabs too base their demands on the interests of only one nation in Palestine – the Arabs. Thus their demand for prohibition of immigration and immediate independence for an Arab state.

That neither the UN nor England will ever grant them independence does not enter their considerations. The Arab League considers “diplomatic maneuvers” as the only method of operation. However, Palestinian independence will not be accomplished that way. The only way it will be achieved is by struggle against the imperialist overlords. Such a struggle can succeed only if it rallies the entire population and above all its most decisive segments, the urban working class. In Palestine, this means that the Arabs must unite with the Jews to conduct a real fight. To do this they must raise slogans that will guarantee the rights of the other nations in a bi-national country.

The greatest need of the Jews is to save their brethren from the misery of the DP camps, i.e., free immigration.

Solomon Israeli, correspondent of the Jewish Forward and editor of the Bulletin of the Council for Jewish-Arab cooperation, reports that today, in contrast to 1929–38, there exists a great feeling of cordiality between Jews and Arabs. It expressed itself most dramatically in the joint Arab-Jewish strike of government employees and in the joint strike of oil workers, but it is also present in day-to-day relations between Jews and Arabs.

We warn both Jews and Arabs that whatever may result from the UN will be based on power politics and not on the interests of either Jews or Arabs. It will be tainted by the smell of oil.

It is on the basis of concretely proved facts that Jews and Arabs can work together that we urge the uniting of Jews and Arabs in the struggle against British imperialism. What is needed in Palestine is a revolutionary party that can rally the two nations in a struggle for a free and independent Palestine, based upon a democratic constituent assembly. A party that can give the slogan of a constituent assembly the concrete economic and political content that will satisfy both Jews and Arabs and make this slogan a real rallying point of struggle.

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