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Labor Action, 12 May 1947 1947


Gene Vaughn

UN Debate Will Not Benefit
Either Jew or Arab-Masses


From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 19, 12 May 1947, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


A special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, called for the purpose of discussing the Palestinian question, is at the time of this writing in its second week. Great Britain, forced by the impasse into which her Palestinian policy has led her, has come to the General Assembly with a request to appoint a committee of inquiry into the internal situation in Palestine. Once more the Jewish question and the Palestinian problem become the official chessboards upon which the imperialist struggle between the United States and Great Britain on one side and Russia on the other side, the Near East have-nations and the Near East have-not-nation, is played. The aspiration of peoples, the hopes and future of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, all these become the plaything of highly placed politicians and imperialist nations! Great Britain, the country which made the request that the United Nations take up the Palestine question, blesses the efforts of the United Nations in advance by informing the UN that it does not consider itself bound to abide by the findings of any committee of inquiry appointed by the General Assembly.

The big imperialist countries, Britain, Russia and the United States, face a dilemma for which they can discover, at the moment, no way out. Their problem is: How to guarantee for themselves the right of continuous exploitation of the Near East oil fields and at the same titrie remain On speaking terms with the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine; To them, the resolution of this dilemma appears to be an impossibility, for in their bid for the control of the Near East they look for support to the reactionary feudal Arab aristocracy, the Arab League, in order to assure themselves their supply of oil and military bases. It is through the Arab League, a creation of the British Foreign Office, that the British and now the Americans propose to rule.

To Great Britain and the United States, the Arab League is valued as insurance against the possible uprising of the native Arab masses against foreign imperialism. And the reactionary Arab Effendi refuses to be reconciled to a Jewish Yishuv in Palestine. Under the circumstances, Unless the imperialist policies toward the Arab League change, and this does not appear likely at the moment, all three imperialist nations must and will in the final instance choose not to antagonize the Arab reaction with which they work so well. They must therefore throw to the wind all consideration for the welfare of Europe’s remaining Jews. For those Jews who see Palestine as their only salvation, the future is indeed black.

Another Commission!

Great Britain requests that the United Nations appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate the Palestinian situation. And why not? What harm can it do? There have been so many inquiries since she first came into the mandate. Why not another inquiry? This proposal for an inquiry by the UN comes after Great Britain refused to accept the decision of an Anglo-American commission which called for the immediate entry of 100,000 Jews into Palestine. Britain, fighting the battle of “Disintegrating Empire,” needs Palestine very badly as a base for the protection of the Suez Canal and as an outlet for her oil supply. She refused to abide by the decision of her own commission, and now she informs the UN that she will not be bound by the decision of the new commission of inquiry. It must be Britain’s imperial policy to delay and delay the day of reckoning, the day when she must leave Palestine and the rest of the Near East bag and baggage. With tongue in cheek she comes to the United Nations for moral support. Britain shows her great concern for the Palestine problem. She requests the help of the United Nations.

At the second session of the General Assembly, once the procedural matter of electing Dr. Aranha of Brazil to the presidency of the session had been disposed of, the several Arab delegates introduced a resolution calling for a discussion of the Palestinian question on the floor of the General Assembly instead of merely appointing an investigation committee. Russia immediately jumped to the support of this resolution. Russia, which as yet is not a Mediterranean power, favors the greatest amount of open discussion and fact-finding on this question. Discussion can only serve to weaken the position of the United States and Great Britain in the Near East and Palestine. This was particularly so in this instance because of the fact that the Arab delegation soon coupled this demand with a more radical demand for a free and independent Arab Palestine.

In supporting this move, Russia first of all curried favor with the Arab League and secondly favored a resolution which weakened Great Britain’s position in Palestine. This was strongly opposed by the United States and Great Britain. Instead of this resolution, the United States offered a counter-resolution calling for the appointment of a commission of inquiry by the Political and Security Committee of the General Assembly, this motion by the United States was carried in the Assembly by a vast majority. It is an accepted fact in the Assembly chambers that the United States’ opinions on this problem of Palestine will prevail.

The next controversial issue to come before the General Assembly was the matter of representation of the parties involved in the dispute. The Jewish Agency for Palestine is recognized by the League mandate as the official representative of the Jews of Palestine. The Jewish Agency requested to be seated at the General Assembly without vote as the representative of the Jews. Again, flowing from its policy of favoring as much discussion as possible and in front of the largest and most important body as possible, Russia came out in support of the request of the Jewish Agency. By supporting the demand of the Jews in this procedural matter, Russia in no way committed herself, to supporting immigration to Palestine but attempted to put Britain on the spot by calling for the greatest exposure of conditions in Palestine. It must also be recalled that the Jewish Agency for Palestine likewise favors a free and independent state in Palestine, but only a Jewish state.

American Devotion!

Great Britain and the United States violently opposed the right of the Jewish Agency to represent the Jews upon the floor of the General Assembly. Mr. Austin, the American delegate to the United Nations, had the following to say: “The Assembly as possibly the greatest parliamentary body in the world could not lower its dignity by giving non-governmental organizations the right to speak on its floor whenever they wished. No parliamentary body extends such privileges.” What better example can there be of the hypocrisy and two-facedness of the American government on the problem of Palestine? The American government lays claim to being the great friend of the Jews. Its Congresses pass, and presidential administrations issue, resolutions regularly and religiously in support of Zionism and the struggle for a Jewish state in Palestine. Now, when the United States comes to grips with problems of imperialism and control of the Near East as part of the Truman Doctrine, the Hon. Warren R. Austin turns to the niceties of protocol in order to stifle discussion and retain an imperialist hold on Palestine. Says Delegate Austin: “We must not be impatient with one another. Claimants must not be impatient with the United Nations. We are engaged in the greatest cause which mankind has ever essayed?”

We must be patient, says this politician to the Arab and Jewish masses of Palestine who stand in danger of losing their lives as innocent bystanders under the waves of terror. And this is one quarter of a century since Great Britain acquired a mandate to “lead the people of Palestine on to the road of freedom and self-rule.” You must be patient, he says to the DPs who rot in European concentration camps two years after the great holocaust is over. Mr. Austin can well afford to be patient. He has nothing else to do but walk the corridors of the General Assembly and “engage in the greatest cause which mankind has ever essayed.”

A compromise resolution has finally been adopted. This resolution orders the Political and Security Committee of the General Assembly to call upon the Jewish Agency to report before it. The Agency is not to be given power to argue, debate, take part in discussion, and represent, but merely to report before the committee as a witness reports to a Congressional committee: The Jewish Agency is “bitter over this sell-out” by the United States. Apparently the Jewish Agency had taken the Congressional resolutions and the presidential statements seriously – and it is now bitterly disillusioned.

A commission of inquiry will be appointed, as there has been before. All sides Will in all probability be heard. A report will be issued as there has been before. And then what? Imperialist interests will prevail. The welfare of the Palestinian people can only be of secondary consideration to the imperialist powers who are now deliberating over the question of Palestine. For the people of Palestine the only way out of this impasse is not through the chambers of the United Nations but through united mass action against the English by both the Arabs and the Jews. The immediate goal must be a free and independent Palestine, based on constituent assembly power, with full political, economic and social rights for all its inhabitants.

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Last updated on 19 October 2022