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Labor Action, 16 June 1947


Al Findely

Commission Doesn’t Bring Promise
of Peace to Palestine


From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 26, 30 June 1947, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The UN Commission has arrived in Palestine and is touring the country, but it has not brought the promised temporary peace. Twenty thousand Jews still suffer in the concentration camps of Cyprus. The British military courts continue their oppressive “judicial” work. The terrorists of the Irgun and the Stern group continue their activities, their latest act being the kidnapping of two British policemen whom they were forced to free under the pressure of official Zionist leadership of the Haganah and of the British army.

The people of Palestine expect nothing from the UN Commission, have no confidence in it. All reports from both Jewish and Arab sources indicate this. The leaders of the Arab Higher Committee have decided to boycott all the activities and investigations of the Commission; it called a general strike on the day of its arrival.

While the Jewish masses have no confidence in the Commission, the bourgeois Zionist leaders have learned nothing. They just continue to hope, as though they learned nothing from the failure of any of the so-called imperialist friends, of the Jews to do anything or say anything to relieve the suffering of 25.0,000 of their displaced fellowmen. Exactly the contrary has happened – all countries from Romania and Poland of the so-called “new democracies” in the Russian sphere, to France, England and Italy of the “old democracies” ruled by Social Democratic parties, have placed the greatest obstacles in the path of immigration of the Jews. After this experience they continue and intensify their attempts to woo and compromise with one or another of the imperialist powers.

Cowardly Act

The most glaring and cowardly act in this wooing of the imperialists, has been the suspension of “illegal” immigration into Palestine. The New York Times of June 12 reports: “Another placatory Haganah move was indicated tonight in reports that unauthorized Jewish immigration was, being suspended during the next few weeks. Reports claiming the authority of Haganah’s High Command said the British Government’s representation to the French, Italian and Greek governments had caused difficulties in victualizing chartered ships and also that Zionist bodies did not want to embarrass the United Nations inquiry.” (Emphasis mine – A.F.)

It is little wonder then that with the Zionist leaders following a pro-imperialist policy, and the labor officials tail-ending them, that the semi-fascist Irgun and Stern group assume a so-called “revolutionary” leadership of the youth in the struggle against British imperialism. The Stern group or FFI (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), has grown from 400 to 2,000 in the past year, and the Irgun has grown from 5,000 to 9,000 in the same period. S. Israeli, of the Jewish Forward, from whom these figures are taken, also reports that the “palmach,” the active combat units of the Haganah, have circulated a document denouncing the present policy of capitulation. The Jewish Morning Journal reports another group within the Haganah, calling itself “Ne Ehmoonai Hameree” (meaning Believers in Resistance), this week issued a statement decrying reliance on the UN Commission, and pointing out that only a real resistance struggle can influence the situation. This group at the same time, correctly attacked the Irgun and Stern groups for their reactionary politics.

On March 31, 1947, Labor Action warned against the victory of the elements in the Haganah who wanted to narrow the concept of resistance to the smuggling of immigrants: “Victory of such a narrow concept of resistance will destroy any possibility that the Haganah and the working class forces that it represents, will be able to lead the struggle against the British.” Unfortunately, this seems, to have happened, with the result that the Irgun and the Stern groups are growing. The complete cessation of resistance, even in the limited form of illegal immigration, can lead only to a greater loss of leadership by the Haganah. It is the duty of the labor movement, the Hashomer Hatzair and especially the Mapai, to reconsider their do-nothing policy, and to launch a “real mass resistance on a scale that will insure the anti-imperialist leadership to the only socially progressive class – the workers” – where it belongs.

Imperialist Jockeying

The imperialist jockeying for position continues. The Arab Higher Committee of Palestine demands a puppet state of independence as similar to the status England gave to Transjordania. They threaten war if they do not obtain it. Not war against the British – the oppressors of the country, but war against the Jews in the style of 1929 and 1936. The reactionary feudal leaders of. the Arab movement are willing to make many concessions to British imperialism, but none to the Jewish’ workers and to Jewish immigration.

The bourgeois leaders of Zionism too are willing to make concessions to imperialism, but none to further . Arab-Jewish unity. The Palestinian Jewish National Council, at the insistence of the Aliyah Chadoshah Party and the Hashomir Hatzair, will put forward as Its representative, Dr. Weitzman, who advocates a pro-British policy and supports partition. The Hashomer Hatzair is thus placing itself in the most ridiculous position of being opposed to partition and in favor of pro-Russian orientation, while at the same time vigorously supporting Dr. Weitzman, strongest advocate of partition and a pro-British policy.

Moishe Shertok of the Jewish Agency, in his testimony before the UN Commission, denied any possibility of Jewish-Arab cooperation in an independent Palestine. Ben-Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency, in a speech before the Jewish National Council, attacked the bi-national solution for Palestine and opposed a UN trusteeship. He correctly pointed out that a UN trusteeship would only result in one or another of the powers playing the Jews and Arabs against each other. He personally advocated a Jewish State in those sections of Palestine where the Jews have the majority and in the Negev (the sparsely populated semi-desert Southern Palestine). For the rest of Palestine he advocated a continuation of the British Mandate.

His reason for favoring partition was that the U.S. Government is unofficially committed to partition, as are elements in the British cabinet, and that Gromyko in his UN speech was also in favor of partition. Dr. Wise of the U.S. went so far as to predict the certain establishment of a Jewish state in 1947.

Stalinist Intrigue

This hope in aid of the Big Three to establish an independent partitioned Jewish Palestine is a very slim one. The United States government is already shifting its position. An inspired report in the New York Times says the United States government has asked the Jewish Agency to clarify its demands, as if these were not well known. Major George Fielding Elliot in an article in the New York Post of Friday, June 13, said that the War Department was convinced that Palestine was too small a country to be able to be properly defended if further divided or partitioned.

Russian diplomats in the Near East are engaged in a diplomatic campaign to convince the Arab leaders that Russia is on their side despite Gromyko’s speech. The Kremlin rulers are now playing a double game attempting to win the sympathy of both Jews and Arabs. It therefore allows its stooges, the Arab and Jewish Communist parties of Palestine, to have two distinct and mutually contradictory policies. The Arab Stalinists have negotiated an agreement with the Mufti’s Arab Higher Committee and have joined the boycott against the UN Investigating Committee.

The Arabian Stalinists continue their opposition to Jewish immigration. They claim that the Russian diplomacy still supports all the anti-Zionist positions. In confirmation they point to the support that the Arabian delegation at the world trade union conference in Prague has received from the Russian representatives.

Joint Struggle Possible

That there are concrete and practical possibilities of joint Jewish-Arab struggle in Palestine at present, is shown by the recent strike of 40,000 Jewish and Arab workers against British Army Ordnance. Henry Nassar, leader of the Palestine-Arabian League, speaking at the World Federation of Trade Unions in Prague, pointed to the similar problems confronting the Jewish and Arab workers in Palestine. He also declared in favor of Jewish immigration, and decried the talk about a “minority” and “majority” in Palestine.

This is sufficient evidence to prove that Jewish-Arab unity is not a utopia visible only to the Workers Party, but, can become a dominant factor in Palestinian politics. All that is needed is a correct class policy on the part of both Jewish and Arab trade unions.

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