As a future form of government for Palestine will undoubtedly be considered
by the approaching Peace Conference, we, the undersigned citizens of the
United States, unite in this satement, setting forth our objection to the
organization of a Jewish State in Palestine as proposed by the Zionist
Societies in this country and Europe and TO THE SEGREGATION OF THE JEWS AS A
NATIONALISTIC UNIT IN ANY COUNTRY.
We feel that in so doing we are voicing the opinion of the majority
American Jews born in this country and of those ...who have lived here long
enough to THOROUGHLY ASSIMILATE American political and social conditions.
The American Zionists represent only a small proportion of the Jews living
in this country, about one hundred fifty thousand out of three and a half
At the outset, we wish to indicate our entire sympathy with the efforts
Zionists which aim to secure for Jews at present living in lands of
oppression a refuge in Paletine or elsewhere, where they may freely develop
their capabilities and carry on their activities as free citizens.
BUT WE RAISE OUR VOICES IN WARNING AND PROTEST AGAINST THE DEMAND OF
ZIONISTS FOR THE REORGANIZATION OF THE JEWS AS A NATIONAL UNIT, to whom, now
or in the future, territorial sovereignty in Palestine shall be committed.
This demand not only misinterprets the trend in the history of the Jews,
who ceased to be a nation 2000 years ago, BUT INVOLVES THE LIMITATION AND
POSSIBLE ANNULMENT OF THE LARGER CLAIMS OF JEWS FOR FULL CITIZENSHIP AND
HUMAN RIGHTS IN ALL LANDS IN WHICH THOSE RIGHTS ARE NOT YET SECURE. For
the very reason that the new era upon which the world is entering aims to
establish GOVERNMENT EVERYWHERE ON PRINCIPLES OF TRUE DEMOCRACY, WE REJECT
THE ZIONISTIC PROJECT OF A "NATIONAL HOME FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN
Zionism arose as a result of intolerable conditions...in Russia and
Roumania. But it is evident that for the Jewish population of these
countries...Palestine can become no homeland...it's limited area can offer
no solution. The Jewish question...can be settled only within those
countries by the grant of full rights of citizenship to Jews.
We are all the more opposed to the Zionists, because they, themselves,
distinctly repudiate the solely ameliorative program. They demand and hail
with delight the "Balfour Declaration" to establish...i.e, a home not merely
for Jews living in countries in which they are oppressed, BUT FOR JEWS
UNIVERSALLY. NO JEW, WHEREVER HE MAY LIVE, CAN CONSIDER HIMSELF FREE FROM
THE IMPLICATION OF SUCH A GRANT. The willingness of Jews interested in the
welfare of their [religious] brethren...is no acceptance of the Zionist
project TO SEGREGATE JEWS AS A POLITICAL UNIT and to re-institute a section
of such a political unit in Palestine or elsewhere.
At the present juncture in the world's affairs...we rejoice in the avowed
proposal of the Peace Congress to put into practical application THE
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY. That principle which asserts EQUAL
RIGHTS FOR ALL CITIZENS OF A STATE, irrespective of creed or ethnic descent,
should be applied in such a manner as to exclude segregation of any kind, be
it nationalistic or other.
SUCH SEGREGATION MUSTS INEVITABLY CREATE DIFFERENCES AMONG THE SECTIONS
THE POPULATION OF A COUNTRY. ANY SUCH PLAN OF SEGREGATION IS NECESSARILY
REACTIONARY IN ITS TENDENCY, UNDEMOCRATIC IN SPIRIT AND TOTLLY CONTRARY TO
THE PRACTICES OF FREE GOVERNMENT, ESPECIALLY AS THEY ARE EXEMPLIFIED IN OUR
OWN COUNTRY. We therefore strongly urge the abandonment of such a basis for
the reorganization of any state.
We object to the political segregation also of those who might succeed
establishing themselves in Palestine. The proposition involves dangers
which, IT IS MANIFEST, HAVE NOT HAD THE SERIOUS CONSIDERATION OF THOSE WHO
ARE SO ZEALOUS IN ITS ADVOCACY... To subject the Jews to the POSSIBLE
RECURRENCE OF SUCH BITTER AND SANGUINARY CONFLICTS WHICH WOULD BE
INEVITABLE, would be a crime against the triumphs of their whole past
history and against the lofty and world-embracing visions of their great
prophets and leaders.
Those these grave difficulties be met, STILL WE PROTEST AGAINST THE
POLITICAL SEGREGATIN OF THE JEWS, AND THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT IN PALESTINE OF A
DISTINCTLY JEWISH STATE AS UTTERLY OPPOSED TO THE PRINCIPLES OF DEOCRACY
WHICH IT IS THE AVOWED PURPOSE OF THE WORLD'S PEACE CONFERENCE TO ESTABLISH.
Whether the Jews be regarded as a "race" or as a "religion" it is contrary
to the democratic principles for which the world war was waged to found a
nation on either or both of these bases. The glory (of the most advanced
democracies in the world) lies in the freedom of conscience and worship, in
the liberty of thought and custom which binds the followers of many faiths
and varied civilizations in the common bonds of political union. A JEWISH
STATE INVOLVES FUNDAMENTAL LIMITATIONS AS TO RACE AND RELIGION, ELSE THE
TERM "JEWISH" MEANS NOTHING. TO UNITE CHURCH AND STATE, IN ANY FORM, AS
UNDER THE OLD JEWISH HIERARCHY, WOULD BE A LEAP BACKWARD OF TWO THOUSAND
"The rights of other creeds and races will be respected under Jewish
domiance," is the assurance of Zionism. But the keynotes of democracy are
neither CONDESCENSION nor TOLERANCE but JUSTICE and EQUALITY. All this
applies with special force to a country like Palestine. That land is filled
with associations sacred to the followers of three great religions and as a
result of migrating movements of many centuries contains an extraordinary
number of different ethnic groups far out of proportion to the small extent
of the country itself. SUCH A CONDITION POINTS CLEARLY TO A REORGANIZATION
OF PALESTINE ON THE BROADEST POSSIBLE BASIS.
We object to the poitical segregation of the Jews because it is an error
assume that the bond uniting them is of a NATIONAL CHARACTER. They are
bound by two factors: First, the bond of common religious beliefs...and
secondly, the bond of common traditions, customs and experiences, largely,
alas of common trials and sufferings. [but] nothing suggests they form in
any real sense a separate nationalistic unit.
.... If the basis of the reorganization of governments is henceforth
democratic, it cannot be contemplated TO EXCLUDE ANY GROUP OF PEOPLE FROM
THE ENJOYMENT OF FULL RIGHTS.
As to the future of Palestine it is our fervent hope that what was once
"promised land" for the Jews may become a "land of promise" for all races
and creeds, safeguarded by...the fruits of the peace conference to whose
deliberations the world now looks forward so anxiously and so full of hope.
WE ASK THAT PALESTINE BE CONSTITUTED AS A FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATE,
GOVERNED UNDER A DEMOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZING NO DISTINCTION OF
CREED OR RACE OR ETHNIC DESCENT, AND WITH ADEQUATE POWER TO PROTECT THE
COUNTRY AGAINST OPPRESSION OF ANY KIND. WE DO NOT WISH TO SEE PALESTINE,
EITHER NOW OR AT ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE, ORGANIZED AS A JEWISH STATE.
[ The full text of the document was published 5 March 1919 in The NY
under the headline,"Protest to 'Wilson against Zionist State: Representative
Jews Ask Him to Present it to the Peace Conferences."
There were 31 signatures affixed to the document in the NY Times. The
memorandum handed to Wilson was signed by over 300 prominent Jewish
Americans. What follows is the 31 plus a partial list of the 300]
1. Congressman Julius Kahn, R-Ca.
2. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau
3. Simon Rosendale, Attny.General , State of NY, founder of the Jewish
4. Simon Wolf, U.S. Consul in Egypt
5. Max Senior, 1st Pres. National Conference of Jewish Charities
6. Lee M. Friedman, attny, Boston Ma.
7. Judge Seligman J. Strauss, Wilkes-Barre Pa.
8. Dr. Morris Jastrow Jr., Professor of Semitic Languages, U.of Penn. &
Librarian of the University.
9. Rabbi Henry Berkowitz, 1st Sec. of the Central Conference of American
Rabbis (CCAR - Reform Mvmt.)
10. Rabbi David Philipson, founder and past pres. CCAR
11. Edward Max Baker, Pres. Cleveland Stock Exchange
12. Mayor L.H. Kempner, Galveston, Tx
13. Jesse Isidor Strauss, Pres. Macy's, Ambassador to France
14. E. Robert A. Seligman, Prof. Political Economy and Finance, Columbia U.
15. Jacob H. Hollander, Prof. Economics Johns Hopkins U., Special
Commissioner to Dom.Rep.(TR Roos.)
16. Adolph Simon Ochs, publisher The New York Times
17. Lessing Rosenthal, esq. trustee - Brookings Inst., Johns Hopkins U.
18. Abraham Kochland, Boston Ma.
19. Jacob R. Morse, esq. Boston Ma.
20. Daniel Peixotto Hays esq., head of the NYC Municipal Civil Service
Commission, member exec. committee UAHC, President of YMHA
21. Louis Stern, Pres. Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds,
Pres. National Jewish Welfare Board
22. Rabbi William Rosenau, Pres. CCAR, member board of governors HUC
23. Rabbi Willaim Landsberg, Rochester, NY
24. Judge M.C. Shloss, SF, Ca.
25. Dr. Julius Rosenstein, Mt.Zion Hspt. SF. Ca
26. Isiah Wolf Hellman, founder Union Trust Co., LA, Ca.
27. Judge Josiah Cohen, Pittsburgh Pa.
28. Judge Horace Stern, Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Pennsylvania.
29. Julius Walter Freiberg, Past President UAHC
30. Rabbi Abraham Simon, organizer of Nat.Conf. of Christians and Jews, past
pres CCAR, founder Synagogue Council of America.
31. Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, Distillery Owner, Louisville Kentucky and noted
other signatories: Rabbi Tobias Schanfarber, Kehilath Ansche Mayrin
Rabbi Felix Levy, Temple Emanuel, NY; Abraham Cohen, PhD. Prof. Mathmatics,
Johns Hopkins U.; Rabbi Richard M. Stern, Temple Israel, New Rochelle NY;
Rabbi Max Landsberg, Cong. B'rith Kodesh, Rochester; Rabbi Eli Mayer, PhD,
Temple Beth Emeth, Albany NY; Rabbi Max Schlesinger, emeritus, Temple Beth
Emeth, Albany, NY; Charles Stern, dep. attny General, NYS; Rabbi Samuel H.
Goldenson, Temple Rodef Shalom, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Rabbi David Lefkowitz,
Cong. B'nai Yeshurin, Dayton Ohio; Rabbi Aaron Weinstein, Fort Wayne
Indiana; Rabbi Louis Witt, Cong. B'nai Israel, Little Rock Ark.; Leon L.
Solomon, M.D. U. of Louisville Medical School; Rabbi Morris Newfield, Temple
Emanu-el, Birmingham, Ala.; Rabbi Louis Bernstein, Temple Adath Joseph St.
Joseph Mo.; Rabbi William Friedan, Temple Emanuel, Denver Colo.; Lea
Goodman, commisioner of public utilities, Memphis Tenn; M.H. Rosenthal,
director American Red Cross;
Rabbi William Gineshrevber, Cong. Children of Israel, Memphis; Mrs. Henry
Morgenthau, NY; Abraham S. Isaacs, professor of semetic languages NYU; Dr.
K. Kohler, pres. HUC, Cincinatti; Henry Englander, professor HUC; Ralph W.
Mach, board of governors, HUC; Leo Wise, editor, American Israelite; Joseph
Raushoff, MD prof. of surgery U. of Cincinatti Medical School; G.J. Brown,
vp Cincinatti Chamber of Commerce; Eli Winkler, vp board of governors HUC;
Leopold Roth, Roth Shoe Company; Henry Berkowitz, DD chancellor of Jewish
Chautauqua Soc. Philadelphia; Louis Leftwich, prof. medical jurisprudence,
Vanderbilt University, Nashville;
P.S. May 22, 2013: Read the full article as it appeared in the New York Times on May 4, 1919: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10816FE355D147A93C7A91788D85F4D8185F9