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Labor Action, 26 May 1947


[Al Findley]

Jews Will Gain Nothing
from Russian About-Face


From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 21, 26 May 1947, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The special Palestinian UN assembly having accomplished its mission of talking much and appointing still another investigating committee, has adjourned and gone home.

One thing none of the delegates suggested or took into consideration, was the immediate needs of the displaced persons. Despite the desperate situation of these hundreds of thousands, none of the great powers, the U.S., Britain or Russia, suggested the immediate opening of their own doors, or that of Palestine to relieve the sufferings of these people. The Big Three were interested only in playing their diplomatic game of gaining influence and position in the new struggle for world power.

Despite President Truman’s unserious and weakly repeated demands for the admission of 100,000 Jews to Palestine, the United States supported the creation of this delaying “investigating” committee.

The only surprise afforded by the UN meeting was Gromyko’s final speech in which he proposed that Palestine be neither wholly a Jewish nor Arab country, but a bi-national state. Should it be shown that the antagonism between Jews and Arabs makes such a state impossible, the next best solution, he continued, would be the partition of Palestine into two independent states – one Jewish and one Arab.

Russia’s About Face

In unofficial Zionist circles this has been hailed as a “Russian Balfour Declaration” – since this is the first time that a Russian spokesman has recognized that the Jews have any rights in Palestine.

This shift in line on Russia’s part, while a surprise, was foreshadowed. On February 10th, Labor Action reported that Russia had given Poland and Czechoslovakia freedom on the Palestine issue and that Poland would advocate a bi-national state. However, every other Russian action pointed in the opposite direction – that Russia was engaged in an attempt to win over the reactionary governments of the Arab League: Gromyko had voted for the Arab League motion that no immigration be allowed into Palestine without Arab consent. The Arab Stalinist parties continued their opposition to Jewish immigration. The Jewish Communist Party of Palestine changed its line after the British Empire Conference of Communist Parties, to opposition to Jewish immigration. In Palestine, the Arab Stalinists gave “critical” support to the Mufti, and the boycott of Jewish goods. The Moscow radio and the Stalinist parties all over the world-attacked the demand for admission of 100,000 Jews into Palestine.

The reversal of the Russian position has completely embarrassed Britain and the United States and exposed their own hypocrasy. The U.S. has officially been for free immigration and unofficially for partition. The U.S. and Britain have claimed until now that the reason they could not implement their promises to the Jews was because of their fear of what the Russian-backed Arabs would do. With one sentence Gromyko exposed these statements for the phony excused they are. Austin, the American UN delegate, had to hail Gromyko’s Statement on partition as “constructive.”

New Zionist Hopes

The Zionists hope that reversal of the Stalinist position wjll compel the U.S. and Britain to favor Jewish aspirations. For a long time the U.S. has unofficially been in favor of partition. England too, in the Peel report of 1937, proposed partition. The Zionist leaders hope that now at last the Big Three will agree on a partition acceptable to Zionism.

Officially the Jewish Agency is very cool to Gromyko’s statements. They clearly remember that Bevin is also in favor of bi-nationalism and/or partition. They know that much depends on the content put into the bi-nationalist concept. They know that certain Arab groups are willing to accept such a formula, provided Jewish immigration is limited, and Gromyko did not mention the right of Jewish immigration. As to partition, all depends on the size of the partitions. Some Zionist leaders are convinced that Stalin wants to make a new Korea out of Palestine, with a UN trusteeship in which Russia will play a part. Then, too, while Russia has granted a concession to Zionist philosophy, what it gave in May, it can take away in September.

The feeling of apprehension on the part of the Jewish Agency, seems to be well founded, according to an item in the Jewish Morning Journal, of May 20, which reports a visit on the part of the Polish Consul General in Palestine to the Arab Higher Committee, to inform them that Poland’s position in the UN should not be interpreted as Poland’s being against the Arab demands.

While all the Zionist groups, including the Revisionists and the Chief Rabbi Herzog, have hailed the statement of Gromyko, the Palestine Hashomer Hatzair has gained the most. To them, Gromyko’s statement is a vindication of both their pro-Stalinist line, as well as their advocacy of bi-nationalization with political parity for Jews and Arabs. They have won over a large group of the pro-Stalinist wing of the Achduth Avodah Party. This may lead to a disintegration of the Achduth Avodah Party, as another wing is going back to the Mapai (Jewish Labor Party).

The shift in Russian policy has caused a stir in the Communist parties of the world. Once again they are proving that they are not independent parties, that their policies are nothing but a reflection of Russian foreign policy. In the U.S., the Daily Worker for the first time since December, has come out for Jewish immigration, In Palestine, the Jewish Stalinists at first said that they-would not have to change their policy, but that the Arab Stalinists would have to change theirs. As Labor Action of February 3, 1947, reported, both the American CP and the Palestinian CP had an ambiguous slogan of Arab-Jewish state, but consistently interpreted that in a manner that could only mean an Arab state, at the same time leaving a door open for a possible shift of line. The Palestinian Jewish Stalinists are now stressing bi-nationalism and completely omitting any mention of partition, which Gromyko made an important part of his speech. The other Stalinist parties are “revising” their positions. For the coming summer the Stalinists will do their best to gain Jewish support without completely antagonizing the Arab leaders.

A Way Out

The Workers Party warns both the Arabs and Jews that none of the Big Three – Russia, Britain or the U.S., act in the interests of either people. Each of these imperialists maneuver for strategic bases and advantages in the oily game of power politics. The advocacy of a fake bi-nationalism by both Bovin and Gromyko should not, however, blind us to the fact of the existence of two nationalities in Palestine. The beginning of wisdom in the Palestine question is the recognition not only of the national rights of both Jews and Arabs, but above all independence of the country before any sound and lasting steps can be taken in Arab Jewish relations.

These rights can be achieved only in a joint struggle against all imperialisms – Anglo-American or Russian, when Jews and Arabs join forces in a fight for a free, independent Palestine, guaranteeing the national rights of both Jews and Arabs, only then will they win what each nationality needs.

At present in Palestine, there exists a cordiality of relations between Jews and Arabs that lays a foundation for joint action, not for separation. (Witness the strike of 40,000 Jewish and Arab Army Ordnance workers, reported in the Times of May 19th.) To bring about joint action, to further the unity of these people, an intelligent program is needed that will offer economic, political and social guarantees for both Jews and Arabs. The initial demand best calculated to bring this about is the democratic constituent assembly as part of the struggle for the independence of Palestine from imperialist rule.

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