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This document features the statements of major Zionist leaders in the Jewish Agency, including David Ben-Gurion, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, in front of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry.

Statement of David Ben-Gurion, pp. 1-21
-Case for Jews in Palestine, pp. 2-18
“Sir, our case it seems to us rather simple and compelling and it rests on two elementary principles; one, that we Jews are just like other human beings, entitled to the same rights as every human being in the world and we Jewish people are just like any other people entitled to the same equality of treatment as any free and independent people in the world. The second principle is, this is and will remain our country. We are here as of right…our case is that of one who builds a house for his family to live there who was expelled forcibly and the house was given to somebody else. It changed hands and then the owner comes back and wants to get his house again.”
-Jews and Arabs, pp. 18-19, 21
-Q & A for Ben Gurion, pp. 22-42
Statement of Mr. Hoofien on Absorptive Capacity of Palestine, pp. 43-66
Statement of Mr. Horowitz on Economic Development in Palestine, pp. 66-84


Mr. David Ben Gurion- Chairman of the Executive, Jewish Agency.
Mr. S. Hoofien- (Continued from Friday, 8th March, 1946).
Mr. Horowitz- Director, Economic Department, Jewish Agency.

Mr. David Ben Gurion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Mr. S. Hoofien (Continued from 8th March) . . . . 43
Mr. D. Horowitz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66



Judge Hutcheson- The Committee is advised that instead of concluding Mr. Hoofien’s testimony this morning, Mr. Ben Gurion, chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency wishes to come on for his statement and that will be followed, I understand, by Mr. Hoofien. I would like to know exactly what time Mr. Ben Gurion expects to take in order to keep these proceedings moving without any unnecessary delay and so that Mr. Hoofien will be ready I would like to know what time you are asking for and what time you should be allowed.

A. (Mr. Ben Gurion) I am afraid the greater part of the morning, if not the whole morning.

Q. By morning you mean from now until 12 o’clock?

A. Perhaps.

Q. Then I think we should have Mr. Hoofien ready to proceed as soon as the previous one concludes, whether 12 o’clock or what time. Please proceed, Sir.

A. Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, I fully realise you have been on this enquiry for more than two months and you have already had a good deal of evidence, oral and in writing, and I cannot presume to tell you new things entirely. The reason for my statement is that up till now you have had only the view of Jews from abroad looking to this country. I will try to present to you the case as seen by those in their own country; by those who are no more American, British, Russian, Polish, German Jews, but just Jews.

I want first of all to tell you that there was considerable discussion whether to appear before the Commission or not both here and in America and many reasons were given for not co-operating. It was said that the appointment of the Commission was practically a means of putting off the request of the President of the United States for an immediate admission of 100,000 refugees from Germany. It was said that the setting up of this Commission is a means of silencing the voice of the Labour Party in England for the immediate repeal of the White Paper. It was said the statement made by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bevin, pre-judged many conclusions of the Commission. It was [2] said anyway the policy of the Mandatory Power will not be determined by the findings of the Commission on facts and figures, but on considerations of political expediency and it was specially urged that the only result of this enquiry will be the prolongation of the agony and sufferings of hundreds of thousands of Jewish victims of the Nazis, who meanwhile will be condemned to stay in that hell. We decided otherwise, not because we thought all these objections were entirely without foundation, but first of all we thought whatever may be the intention of those who set up this Commission, the Commission is in no way responsible for it or for the results. We appreciate the distinguished personalities from Great Britain and America on this complicated and not too pleasant enquiry have left their homes and their work and they are engaging to find out what is the truth of this complicated problem and we therefore considered it our moral duty to help you as far as we could to ascertain the truth and justice of the case. On behalf of our community I tell you you are invited to see how we are living, what we are doing and you will be welcome everywhere.

Sir, our case it seems to us rather simple and compelling and it rests on two elementary principles; one, that we Jews are just like other human beings, entitled to the same rights as every human being in the world and we Jewish people are just like any other people entitled to the same equality of treatment as any free and independent people in the world. The second principle is, this is and will remain our country. We are here as of right. We are not here on the strength of the Balfour Declaration or the Palestine Mandate. We were here long before. I myself was here before. Many thousands were here before me, but we were here long, long before that. The Mandatory Power is here on the strength of the Mandate speaking legally from the legal point of view. Our case, and I think you will meet many such cases now in Europe, our case is that of one who builds a house for his family to live there who was expelled forcibly and the house was given to somebody else. It changed hands and then the owner comes back and wants to get his house again. In many cases the Jew is being kept out, it is occupied by somebody else. To make it more exact I will say it this way. It is a large building, our building, of say 150 rooms. We were expelled from that house, our family was scattered, somebody else took it away and again it changed hands many times and then we had to come back and [3] we found some five rooms are occupied by other people, the other rooms from neglect are destroyed and uninhabitable. We said to these occupants we do not want to remove you, please stay where you are, we are going back to these uninhabitable rooms, we will repair them, and we did repair some of them and settled there. Then some other members of the family are coming back and they want to repair some other uninhabitable rooms, but then these occupants say “no, we are here, we do not want you; we do not live in them, these rooms are no good for any human beings but we do not want you to repair them, to make them better,” and again we do not say to them “leave, it is ours,” We say “You stay, you are there but from yesterday, you may slay please and we will help you to repair your rooms too if you want; if not you can do it yourself.” In the neighbourhood there are many big buildings half empty, we do not say to them “Please move over to that other big building.” No, we say “Please stay here, we will be good neighbours.” This is the case, this is what I say, it is simple and compelling, but I realise the intellectual difficulty of the case. There are other practical difficulties, but now I am talking of the intellectual difficulty of understanding our case because it is unique. There is no precedent, there is no example in the world’s history of this problem of the Jews and their country. There is no example or precedent of such a people. It is a people and it is not. There is no example of the history of the Jewish people. There is no example of the fate of this country, no precedent to the significance of this country, to the position of this country. There is no example of the relations between the people of the country. It is unique and people usually when they are faced with a new phenomenon, if they cannot understand it, they simply deny it, but here it is. There is the unique case of the Jewish people in this old country.

I have read a great deal of the evidence given to you in America and in England. I saw the real difficulty of getting at it. What is this Jewish people? Is it a people? Are they not citizens of Poland, Russia, America and England? Did we not treat them as brothers and as co-citizens, and people say it sincerely and I have the greatest admiration for the people saying it because they really think the Jew is just like themselves. It is true there is a Jewish people and there is a problem. They have been torn away from this country for many centuries, the greater part of them, and still it is their country, but it is not empty. There are people [4] there, part of them have been there for many centuries, a great part of them also newcomers, but a part of them for many centuries, and from afar it is not easy really to get at the core of the problem, but I believe when you see things here it will become a little more easy to understand.

What I am going to do is simply to tell you what we Jews in our own country, who we are, what we are doing, what we are aiming at. Why are we here, for what purpose are we here? Perhaps this will explain things.

There are here now some 600,000, more than one-third are born in this country, some of them living here for many centuries, not only in the towns. There are Jewish fellaheen, peasants who are living here for centuries. They are living in Ramleh and in Galilee, but the majority of us were not born in this country; I am one of them. We came from all parts of the world, from all countries, and we came not only from countries where Jews were persecuted physically, exterminated, repressed as in Nazi Germany, as in Poland, as in the Yemen, as in Morocco, as in Tzarist Russia, as in Persia, as in Fascist Italy. Many of us came from free countries where Jews were treated like citizens, where there was no persecution as from England, from the United States of America, from Canada, from the Argentine, from pre-war Germany, from Imperial Germany, from Soviet Russia, from France, Egypt and other countries. Why did they come? They did not come because they were persecuted; what is the common denominator which brought all these people whether from Nazi Germany or from England, whether from Yemen or from Egypt. That is what I want to tell you.

The first thing which brought them over, all of them, was to escape from dependence and discrimination. I do not mean from anti-Semitism. There was a great deal of talk in your Commission about anti-Semitism and many of our people were asked to explain why is it. It is not for us. It is your baby, it is a Christian baby. It is for you Gentiles to explain why it is. Perhaps it would be necessary to set up a Jewish Commission, to make an enquiry of the Gentiles or perhaps a joint Jewish-Gentile Commission, one Chairman Jewish, one Chairman Gentile, to make an enquiry among leaders of the Church, teachers, educators, journalists, political parties as to what disease this is, what is the reason for it in the gentile world. To me it seems it is part of a larger phenomenon which does not concern only Jews. It is a general human [5] phenomenon. Wherever you have two groups, one a strong group, powerful, and the other weak and helpless, there is bound to be mischief. The strong group will always take advantage of the weaker group, rightly or wrongly. You cannot expect human beings, human nature being what it is, people having power over other people, that they should not sometimes, not always, not necessarily always, abuse it. But I am not concerned with anti-Semitism, it is not our business. I am concerned with the question why Jews have to come to this country, and have come not only from countries where they were physically persecuted. They came because they felt it was unendurable for many of them that they are at the mercy of others. Sometimes the others are excellent people but not always, and there is a discrimination, not necessarily a legal one; or a political one or an economic one; sometimes merely a moral discrimination and they do not like it as human beings with human dignity, they do not like it, and they do not see how they can change the whole world.

I want to give you one example of moral discrimination. Gentlemen, I do not know in Europe a more tolerant, a more liberal, a more fairminded people than the English people in their country; perhaps the Scandinavian peoples are also like that, I do not know them as much as the British although I do not claim to know the British. I do not think anyone can claim that except the British themselves, even if they can. There was recently in the House of Lords, one of the noblest institutions in the world, whatever one thinks of it from democratic principles, there was a debate on the Jewish problem. I think only in England could you have such a debate, a debate on the Jewish problem. It was on 7th December and in that debate the Archbishop of York in very strong language condemned anti-Semitism as unchristian. Coming from His Grace it means a lot, antichristian. It may not help us practically very much, but we appreciate it very deeply as a moral help. He then began talking about the Jewish attack or criticism of the policy of His Majesty’s Government in Palestine, meaning the White Paper policy of 1939 and the attack being made by Jews on both sides of the Atlantic and he said these significant words-

“It (meaning this criticism) is being resented and may easily lead to a most dangerous reaction.”
Well, Jews are not the only people who are criticising or attacking the White Paper policy. In 1939 the White Paper policy was [6] described, not by a Jew, but by an Englishman, a pure Englishman, a Gentile, as a mortal blow to the Jewish people. The name of that Englishman, Gentlemen, is Winston Churchill.

We agree with his description. It was and is a mortal blow. Well, Gentlemen, when a people receives a mortal blow from somebody, would anybody ask them to lie down and take it silently, a mortal blow. Would anybody resent this criticism, this attack on that mortal blow. This was said by Mr. Churchill in 1939 when our people in Europe were still alive. Since then tens of thousands of human beings, of babies—after all, Jewish babies are also babies—have met their death because of that policy. Because of that policy they could not be saved. Not all of them found their death because of it, but tens of thousands could have been saved and were not because of that policy. Is it surprising that we as human beings should criticise or attack this policy. I am sure His Grace understands that. He is a great personality, but he knows the mind of these people and he said this may lead to a most dangerous reaction. This is what I call moral discrimination. We are receiving a mortal blow; we must be silent. If not, it may lead to a dangerous reaction. Where? Not in Poland, but in that most liberal and tolerant country, I say it with the greatest respect, England. Why this discrimination? There are many Jews who submitted; there are some Jews who refused and that is what brought them over here. There they were at the mercy of nice people, but nice people may sometimes become very nasty, when they have the power and are dealing with a minority. Why is there this discrimination. As I see it, it is for two reasons; because we happen to be different from others, and we happen to be a minority. We are not the only people who are different from others. In truth we are not different at all because difference is a term of relativity. If there was only one person in the world he would not be different. We are what we are. Others are different, but as they see us, we are different, but we are what we are and we like to be what we are. Is it a crime? Cannot a man be what he is? Cannot a people be what it is. I know on the Continent they consider British people very different and they are, but no Britisher will think he is different. He is, but he is not different, he is just what he is, but to the Continental people he looks different. He is just what he is and we are too; we are just what we are. We happen to be different because other people are different. For that our people suffer. The English people do not [7] suffer because they are different. On the contrary, it is a great compliment, it is a great strength. They have their own individuality and people are brought to respect it. But with us, not only are we different we are in a minority. We are at the mercy of others in that people do not like us being different. It becomes most dangerous sometimes for us because other people want us to be like them and they want us to renounce from time to time either for being a people or our religion or our country or our language, and many of us did renounce, not all, but some of us do and did. You have perhaps met some of them. The Jewish people as a whole defy superior material power when asked by this superior material power to renounce spiritual values which are dear to us and which are ours. And we pay the price, sometimes a very high price for that because we stick to our spiritual values. It is a long, long story. It goes back 2,300 years when the world became Hellenised, when Egypt, Syria, Persia became Hellenised. Judaea did not submit to that superior culture, and it was in many respects a superior culture, but the Jews preferred to be just what they were and they suffered. There was another clash when Rome became the dominant Power and we were asked to accept the divinity of the Caesars, and we refused; the most powerful rulers of the world, they were above all other people, recognised as divine persons but not by us and we suffered and fought and were defeated, but only materially, not spiritually. We defied that superior material power. Then it happened again with the rise of Christianity. I must be careful now in speaking. The whole of Europe was converted to Christianity many by force, we refused. We perhaps had more to do with it than other peoples; St. Paul was a Jew. We refused and we paid the price. We are still paying it, a very high price. I read some evidence of some Moslem people and I felt it was repeated again with the rise of another great religion. Here I prefer to be entirely silent. Then the French Revolution asked us to renounce our being a people. Some Jews did it. The Jewish people refused, and now the last phase, I am not going to speak about that. What has happened in the last few years, it is unspeakable, why should I burden you with Jewish feelings. It happened to us, not to anybody else. I will tell you only one feeling which I had, one of the feelings which I had when I knew of what happened, at least I am happy in my children that we belong to a people who is being slaughtered and not to those who are slaughtering us and not to those who are looking [8] at it indifferently. I know many Christians in France, in Holland, in Belgium and other countries who risked their lives to save a Jew or a Jewish baby. We will never forget that, never, but there were other things, not what happened in Nazi Europe, they are outside the pale of humanity, I am not discussing them, but there was a conspiracy of silence in the entire world. When we suffered and when we tried to tell you the answer was, it is Jewish propaganda, it is a press propaganda of the Jews. I merely ask myself would you suffer if a million Gentile babies were slaughtered in Europe? Why this discrimination? Just imagine such a thing that a British fighting division was captured by the Japanese, an entire division was slaughtered after being prisoners of war, only one platoon remained alive. Then the war is over and America got that concentration camp where this platoon was in captivity and they prevented them going back to England for some reason. Can you imagine the feelings of every Englishmen in the world; can you imagine our feelings when this remnant is being kept after the war is over and the country is liberated, when they want to get out and they cannot get back to their home. Is it not their home, the national home of the Jewish people and they are Jews. Why? Here was a people bleeding to death, a few remnants remain. Why are they tortured. It is a torture. Not a physical torture, no. I saw them there being treated physically nicely, very nicely in the American and the British camps. I have not seen the Russian camps. I have not seen the French camps, but it is torture. There is such a thing as spiritual torture. Not only they are being tortured. Every one of us in this country is because we are here for their sake. They are our blood) they are our brothers. Many of them are our brothers literally, but all of them are our brothers because they suffered for the same crime that we are guilty of, for being Jews. Why are we tortured? Why are attempts being made to lock up that unfortunate remnant of Polish Jewry, some 30,000 Jews remain out of three millions, who are still being massacred every day in Poland. Why are attempts made to lock them up there and not to let them out. They are human beings. Why this discrimination in your Christian world? Why must we wait, why cannot we escape from this dependence, this being at the mercy of others and this discrimination. That is one reason why we want to get back here and. there is another reason. It is love of Zion, a deep passionate love, the love of Zion. There is no parallel to that in the entire human history. It is unique, but [9] it is a fact; you will see it here. There are 600,000 of us here because of that deep undying love of Zion.

In evidence given to you in America, an American Arab, I believe it was John Hassan said there was never known any Palestine as a political and geographical entity and another American Arab, a great Arab historian, Dr. Hitti, he went even further and said, and I am quoting him “There is no such thing as Palestine in history,” absolutely not. And I agree with him. That is not the only thing in which I agree with Arabs. I agree with him entirely; there is no such thing in history as Palestine, absolutely, but when Dr. Hitti speaks of history it means Arab history, he is a specialist in Arab history and he knows his business. In Arab history there is no such thing as Palestine. Arab history was made in Arabia, Syria, Persia and in Spain and North Africa. You will not find Palestine in that history, nor was Arab history made in Palestine. There is not only however an Arab history; there is a world history and a Jewish history and in that history there is a country by name Judea or as we call it Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel. We have called it Israel since the days of Joshua the son of Nun. There was such a country in history, there was and it is still there. It is a little country, a very little country, but that little country made a very deep impression on world history and on our history because this country made us a people; our people made this country. No other people in the world made this country; this country made no other people in the world. Again they are beginning to make this country and again this country is beginning to make us. It is unique; it is a fact, and this country came into world history by many wars, Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and others, it gained a place in history and in world history for the same reason, because our people created here, perhaps a limited, but a very great civilisation, and shaped our people, the Jewish people, to make it as it is from then until today; a very exclusive people on one side and a universal people on the other; very national and very international. Exclusive in its internal life and its attachment to its history, to its national and religious tradition; very universal in its religious, social and ethical ideas. We were told there is one God in the entire world, that there is unity of the human race because every human being was created in the image of God, that there ought to be and will be brotherhood and social justice, peace between peoples. Those were our ideas; this [10] was our culture and this made history in this country and it took its place in world history. We created here a book, many books; many were lost, many remained only in translations, but a considerable number, some twenty four remain in their original language, Hebrew, in the same language, Mr. Chairman, in which I am thinking now when I am talking to you in English and which the Jews in this country are speaking now. We went into exile, we took that book with us and in that book which was more to us than a book, it was us, we took with us our country in our hearts, in our soul, and there is such a thing as a soul, as well as a body, and these three, the land, the book and the people are one for us for ever. It is an indissoluble bond. There is no material power which can dissolve it except by destroying us physically.
The distinguished British Chairman of this Commission Friday morning quoted something which was found in a book by Sir Ronald Storrs and another gentlemen I don’t remember. Sir, our rights and our attachment and our significance in this country you will find in that book, in that book alone. That book is binding upon us, only that book. It is binding on us. Whether or not it is on anyone else is not for me to say. I know many Christian people which believe it is binding upon them too, but it is binding upon us. You cannot conceive of our people without this book, either in the far away past or in the present, and it is my conviction in the future too.

Somebody may tell you, “All this is merely a mystical attachment to a mystical Zion, not of this physical Zion.” But now you will see 600,000 living human beings which the love of Zion has brought over and kept them here. They are attached to the living Zion. It has for them also a great and deep spiritual significance.

Then we are asked this question, which seems a very commonplace question- When the Arabs conquered Spain didn’t they create there a magnificent civilization? And they did. They created a magnificent civilization in Spain and then they were driven out. Can they claim Spain for the Arabs? Have they a right to Spain? I know of no other objection which proves so forcibly our case as this one, and I am taking it up. Is there a single Arab in the Iraq or in Egypt or anywhere who knows the rivers and mountains of Spain more than he knows this country? Is there an Arab in the world who will give his money to Spain? What is Spain to him? Does he care about Spain?

[11] There are many people who want to conquer countries and possess countries. I am speaking about love for their country. Is there a single Arab in the world who loves Spain? I know many peoples who would like to possess this country. They have tried it for many generations, not because of love for this country, but people who want power.

Here are Jews who are away for centuries, some of them many centuries, some of them thousands of years, as the Jews in Yemen, where they have always carried Zion in their hearts, and they came back and came back with love. You will find in no other country in the world people loving their country as the Jews love this country.

I wonder whether all the American members of this Commission know this fact- In the first World War thousands of Jewish boys from America, from the United States of America, came over to fight for the liberation of this country in a Jewish Legion in the British Army, in the Royal Fusiliers. I happened to be at that time in America and I had the privilege of taking part in that, and I, too, was a volunteer in the British Army and served under Allenby here in the 39th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers.

By the way, I know what happened then in Palestine? I don’t know what happened in Egypt. There were Semetic soldiers in this country, many thousands. Some of them fought on the other side, and I don’t blame them. It was their right and perhaps their duty.

What brought over these thousands of American Jewish boys with the consent and blessing of the President of the United States of America, the late Woodrow Wilson? What brought them over if not the love of Zion? Perhaps it can hardly be explained, but it is there.

Another thing, and it was mentioned to you, Jews tried to settle on the land in many other countries. It was tried in Russia. Czar Alexander Nicolai I tried to settle Jews on the land. The Soviet Government tried to settle Jews on the land. It is a powerful Government. Jews tried settling in Argentina; Jews tried to settle in the United States of America. It failed. It succeeded here. There was no love for the land there; there was love of the land here. As much as I love this country I must tell you that Argentina is a much richer and more fertile country than here. American certainly is more fertile, and Russia, and they failed there. They succeeded here. It is because of love of Zion.

[12] Why? What is it? A man can change many things, even his religion, even his wife, even his name. There is one thing which a man cannot change, his parents. There is no means of changing that. The parents of our people is this country. It is unique, but it is there.

More than 300 years ago a ship by the name of the Mayflower left Plymouth for the New World. It was a great event in American and English history. I wonder how many Englishmen or how many Americans know exactly the date when that ship left Plymouth, how many people were on the ship, and what was the kind of bread that people ate when they left Plymouth.

Well, more than 3,300 years ago the Jews left Egypt. It was more than 3,000 years ago and every Jew in the world knows exactly the date when we left. It was on the 15th of Nisan. The bread they ate was matzoth. Up to date all the Jews throughout the world on the 15th of Nisan eat the same matzoth, in America, in Russia, and tell the story of the exile from Egypt and tell what happened, all the sufferings that happened to the Jews since they went into exile. They finish by these two sentences- “This year we are slaves; next year we will be free. This year we are here; next year we will be in Zion, the land of Israel.” Jews are like that.

There was a third reason why we came, and this is the crux of the problem. We came over here with an urge for Jewish independence, what you call a Jewish State. I want to explain to you, since this is the center of the entire programme, what is meant by that. When people talk outside in the would about a state, it means power, it means domination. I want to tell you what it means for us.

We came here to be free Jews. I mean in the full sense of the word, 100 percent free and 100 percent Jews, which we couldn’t be anywhere, couldn’t be in the full sense Jews, we couldn’t be free, in no country in the world, and we believe we are entitled to be Jews, to live a full Jewish life as an Englishman lives an English life and an American lives an American life, and to be free from fear, from dependence, not to be an object of pity and sympathy, of philanthropy and justice by others. We believe we are entitled to that as human beings and as a people.

We are the freest Jews in the world. Not in a legal sense. On the contrary, here we are deprived even from equality before the law. We are living in a most arbitrary regime. I know no other [13] regime in the entire world as arbitrary as here, as the regime of the White Paper administration. But it is not what I want to emphasize here.

Freedom begins at home, it begins in the human mind and the human spirit, and here we built our Jewish freedom more than any Jew in the entire world. Why? Why do we feel freer than any Jew? Because we are self-made Jews, made by our country, making our country. We are a Jewish community which is, in fact, a Jewish commonwealth in the making.

I will tell you in a few words how we are making it. When we say “Jewish independence” and “a Jewish state” we mean Jewish country, and I will say what it is. We mean Jewish soil, we mean Jewish labour, we mean Jewish colony, Jewish agriculture, Jewish industry, Jewish seed. We mean Jewish language, schools, culture. We mean Jewish safely, security, independence, complete independence as for any other free people.

I will begin from the foundation. You heard already from Dr. Hitti that there is no such thing as Palestine, absolutely nothing. We are not coming to Palestine; we are coming to a country which we are recreating. When we came here as newcomers, what you call immigrants, we found hundreds of Arab villages, Moslem Arabs and Christians. We didn’t take them away; we didn’t settle there. Not a single Jew settled in all these villages. We established hundreds of new Jewish villages on a new soil. We didn’t produce soil, it is made by God, but what nature left to people is not enough, they must work. We didn’t merely buy the land, we recreated the land. It was rocky hills. You will find a description in the Royal Commission’s report. In Hedera hundreds of Jews died, and they refused to leave that place because of love of Zion, because of the need to create their own soil. It was the sand dunes of Rishon-le-Zion, and with our toil, our sweat, and with our love and devotion we are remaking the soil to enable us to settle there, not at the expense of anybody else.

Now you are here and you may visit, and you are cordially invited to visit these villages. You will find the land was reclaimed by our own toil. It was uncultivable, it was certainly uncultivated. We made it cultivable and we cultivated it. Land for us is not an object of trade. We bought and sold. We considered it for the whole world, as the foundation for humanity; everything comes from there. It is a sacred trust to human beings. They [14] shouldn’t spoil it. We shouldn’t neglect it. We should fortify it, fertilize it, keep it. This is what we are trying to do to the best of our ability, and we did not entirely fail in our endeavours, although we are for many centuries living in the towns and we are told there is a law, this time not a legal law. It was not an illegal act in our sight, but it was a scientific law that people from the country go to the town, but not people in the town go to the country. We didn’t like that law because it was contrary to our existence, because we believed we had to go back to the land and we went back to the land and we brought that law. I hope it was not illegal. We did it and will continue to do it.

You heard the evidence presented from an Arab state about this country, that more than 60 percent of this country is uncultivable. It is certainly uncultivated. These lands which are uninhabitable, we want to make them cultivable, perhaps all of them, perhaps all of them, I don’t know. We will make an effort. Is there a crime in making this effort? We don’t consider manual work as a curse. It is a bitter necessity. It is a means of making a living. We consider it as a high human function, as the basis of human life, the most dignified thing in life of the human being which ought to be free, creative. Man ought to be proud of it.

Our boys and girls, middle-class boys and girls, before they finish high school they are encouraged to go out and work on the land, if they cannot find land to work somewhere else. The Jewish commonwealth means Jewish work. You cannot buy a commonwealth; you cannot conquer a commonwealth. You have to create it by your own work. We are trying to do it, and you will find Jews working here in such trades as you will find anywhere else in the entire world, in fields and factories, in quarries, and everywhere, I mean outside, in the country.

By Jewish commonwealth we mean the Jewish economy, Jewish agriculture, industry, seafaring trades, fishing. Independence means first of all you created yourself, you made yourself independent by your labour and by your economy and by your culture. We don’t want to say that this is our country because we conquered it, hut because we made it. We remade it; we recreated it. That is what we are trying to do, and you will see it wherever you go. You cannot have a Jewish commonwealth without a great, continuous, constructive effort on land, on sea, in [15] fields and factories, and a Jewish commonwealth means Jewish culture and Jewish language.

If you would come here, not now, but 40 years ago and I would tell you that we are going to revive the Hebrew language and make it a spoken language and a language of work and of trades and of industry and of schools, of universities and science and art, you would say we were mad, it couldn’t be done, it is a dead language, it is an old language, it hasn’t got all the modern words. Well, it was done, and those Jews came from America and England and Canada and Russia and Poland and Persia and Yemen. With all their many languages they speak now their Hebrew. We have educated their children in Hebrew, and this is now the modern tongue of our children and of our grandchildren.
We don’t believe that men live only on bread, and we are creating a Jewish society and we are trying to base it on high intellectual, scientific, cultural and artistic values.

There are two Hebrew theatres in this country. There is a Palestine orchestra; there is an opera; there are scientific institutes. I wonder whether anywhere else so many books are being published, original and translated, taking the size of our population. We happen to be a people who practiced for 2,500 years universal education, and we had all these needs and we satisfied them in our own language.

A Jewish state means Jewish security. If a Jew in the world lacks anything it is security, and he is entitled to the feeling of security. Why? Because even if he is safe he is not safe by himself. Somebody else provides for his security. Well, we want to provide for our own security, and we are doing it from the beginning of our time.

I came to Palestine 40 years ago and I went to work in Sejera, a little village in Galilee. I was never before a worker nor never before a farmer and I had to learn two things at once, to hold a plow in my hands and a rifle. I had to provide for my security, for the security of the village, and I went to work in the fields of Sejera with a rifle on my shoulders. We had a special organization to keep watch. It was called a Shomer. There were very few. They were attacked from time to time and when I stood watch in the long nights in Sejera and looked at the skies I understood the magnificence of the full meaning in the book of Solomon, that [16] the heavens are telling the glory of God, because I had never seen such glorious skies at night as when I was a watchman.

But when we provided for our own security I went out to work in the field with a rifle. We also tried to make friends with our neighbours. It wasn’t easy. I don’t know what the reasons were for attacking us. They sometimes attacked others too, but us a little more. They have a great contempt for people who are afraid. They learned to know we were not like that, that we could take care of ourselves and they respected us and we made an effort to win their friendship, and in many cases we succeeded, and we are making this effort all the time in all our settlements to maintain the best human relations with our neighbours, the Arabs. Even if sometimes they are attacking us we don’t remember. We want to remember the good things, not the bad. But we had to provide for our own security because we came here to take care of ourselves. We never gave up our defence weapons, and they were never used in our hands against anybody, only for our protection.

Judge Hutcheson- May I ask you about how much longer you will be?

A. I think it will take me another 15 minutes.

Judge Hutcheson- So we will know whether we will have time to ask you some questions.
A. I am sure you will have time to ask me questions.

It means Jewish independence to be our own masters, not to depend, to make our own laws, to live according to our own needs, desires, and ideas of life, and we have ideals of life. We have Jewish ideals and we have human ideals. They are not contrary; they are complementing each other.
We are trying to build up a new society, a free society based on justice, and human justice, and based on the highest human intellectual and moral endeavour. If you will have time to visit our agricultural settlement you will find some of that spirit there. Therefore, and for another reason which I will give you, we want Jewish independence. We don’t conceive of being independent and being ruled by somebody else. We are building a Jewish state for these two reasons. I will be brief. One is in order to enable us to live our own lives, and the other is to help the solution of their tragic problem, the great tragic historic problem of the Jewish people in the world. Because, sir, only a Jewish state will be able to build a Jewish National Home. We need the state [17] in order to continue building the National Home for the Jewish people, for those Jews who for one reason or another will have need, even if his fate is death, to come out here just as we come out here, and only the Jewish state can do it.

We began building the Jewish National Home under the Turkish regime. I am not going to describe it. We continued it under the British Mandate, and I am not going to describe the British Mandate nor to make any complaints. But we learned from experience, I wouldn’t say bitter experience, but from experience, that no foreign administration, even of the best friends of the Jews and of the National Home, is able to fulfill that function of building up a National Home for the Jewish people and bringing of those Jews who want and have a right to come to it, is unable to develop the country, is unable to rise to the general level for the benefit of all the people and those who have to come, because it is a function that is difficult and it requires a full identity with the purpose of that function, and you cannot expect the same devotion and love from the best of the peoples—and I don’t consider the British to be the worst—which is required to build up a Jewish National Home. This can be done only by Jews. Not that we are more able. Oh, no. I know what the British people have done in many countries, in Canada and New Zealand and Australia and others.

Even then I am afraid that some English people in America some 150 years ago revolted against the British administration. They made war on them. It was their own people. They thought that this administration which is coming from London—I don’t know whether at that time it was vital or not, but coming from London they cannot satisfy the needs of the English settlers in America and they made war on King George. Well, really it would be too much to expect then that what they couldn’t do for their own kin in America that they would be able to do for the Jew. It is not a general function of a colonial administration of which they are very able. It is a dynamic function; it is a constructive function, a creative one which is beset with great difficulties.

Perhaps we are not more difficult than anybody else. They are our own difficulties, and require not only knowledge but it requires something more. It requires devotion and love. Not every woman can educate a child, but you can trust every child to a mother. You can trust every woman. It is more difficult [18] bringing up a child than to bring up a Jewish National Home under these conditions.
Therefore, we ask that the Jewish Agency, which means the Jewish people themselves, the Jewish Agency be authorized to conduct this business of immigration. They know the needs and the possibilities and they will do it. They should be authorized according to the Mandate, I think Article II of the Mandate, to develop the country to its full possibilities, agriculture and industry for the benefit of all the people here and for those Jews who want and are entitled to come to their home. Only we are able to do it.

Our aim is not a majority, sir. A majority is not a solution of our problem. It isn’t the numerical relations between ourselves and the number of non-Jews in Palestine. This is an accidental thing. The number of Jews who have the need to come back is much, much bigger. The majority is a stage, a very important one but not final. You need that to establish efficiently the commonwealth, but then we will have to continue because we need then to build a National Home and the state will have two functions, one the function to care for the welfare of the people of this country, all of them, without any difference, to work for their welfare and to raise them higher and higher economically and socially, intellectually.

Another function is to build a National Home. We will have to treat our Arab neighbours as if they were Jews, but make every effort that they should preserve their Arab characteristics, their language, their Arab culture, their Arab religion, their Arab way of life, but making every effort to make them equal socially, economically, politically, intellectually by raising up everyone, Jews and others.

We are not afraid of the present tragic conflict between us and the Arabs. It is a passing thing. We are now people and we see many, many changes in the world, small and big, and we never accept a position if it is bad; it will change. I know the Arabs, at least some of them, don’t want us to return and I understand it. I merely am convinced that their position is futile, but it is natural.
I heard two reasons given against the Jewish state by our Arab neighbours. One was given, I believe, in London by the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Faris Bey el Khoury. I believe it was Dr. Aydelotte asked him, “Why are you afraid of having this [19] little Jewish state?” He said, “Is this a threat to security of the Arab big states and of the Arab people?” And this is what he answered, “Yes, a state like that is small in its place, but it would depend upon 15 or 16 millions of rich, qualified, able people outside who would always help in everything. It will be sufficiently strong to threaten peace and security.”

Then in Cairo another representative of the Arab states said just the opposite. “You cannot have a Jewish state. We will destroy it.” Something like that. I haven’t got the actual words. “We will destroy it.”

It will have to depend on British bayonets. I think both arguments are not very serious. I don’t attach great importance either to the threat or to the fear, that both are without foundation. As to the threat, we will take care of ourselves. We did it when we were few and I could tell you many, many stories from 60 years ago and 40 years ago and 20 years ago. Perhaps you heard about Tel Hai. I am not going to take your time now. We will take care of ourselves, but still less is there any foundation for fear the Jewish state will threaten the mighty Arab nations some 40 millions or more, these big states of Arabia, which is one million, Syria, Iraq. I have more respect, more faith in the Arabs than I find in that answer by that gentleman. They, too, will take care of themselves. There is nothing to be feared and there is nothing to be threatened, and we certainly will not be affected by either threats or by fear.

There is now a tension, perhaps a little more, between us and the Arabs. It is very unfortunate. It is a passing thing. It is not a danger. We may be a great help as they may be of great help to us. I believe we need each other. We have something to offer each other as equals, only as equals. We are not going here to be choosy, neither the British nor the Americans nor the United Nations Organization, nor the Arabs nor anybody else.

No people in the world can stand alone, neither a small people nor even big powers. There is an interdependence and in that sense we also need dependence, as Belgium, as Sweden, as Norway. Norway is the best example for us in many, many ways. They have something in common there, in human sight, in social sight. There will be not only peace between us and Arabs, there will be an alliance between us and Arabs, there will be friendship. It is a historical necessity, just as the Jewish state is a historical necessity. It is a moral, political and economic necessity.

[20] We are here as of right. We will not renounce Zion, as we never renounced Jewish necessities, whatever the price may be, and we will not renounce a Jewish commonwealth,

But just as I am convinced there will be a Jewish Commonwealth, so I am convinced there will be not only peace but friendship—permanent, true friendship.

It was Mr. Crossman who asked in London a Jewish witness a rather difficult question-

If you had the choice of getting 100,000 refugees from Germany to Palestine or giving up the Jewish State, which would you do?

That gentlemen couldn’t answer that question for his personal reasons. I want to answer it. It is my belief that every human being is a man in himself, who has ideals which he cherishes. I will not sacrifice another fellow; I will do it myself. And I will go together with the other fellow, but I will sacrifice nobody else for my ideal. If that question were put to the 100,000 refugees in Germany, well, they are there, and you know how anxiously they are waiting to go home. If you would ask whether they are willing to buy the certificates to Palestine, as you call it, by renouncing Jewish independence and a Jewish Commonwealth, they would give you a reply. If you will excuse me, it will take another five minutes to answer the question by a question. I hope you will allow me to do it.

Suppose Hitler had in his hand a hundred thousand Englishmen—prisoners—and he told Mr. Churchill, either you give me the British Navy or we will slaughter all these 100,000 Englishmen. Would you ask Mr. Churchill this question?

I know what those hundred thousand Englishmen would answer. Wouldn’t they die gladly rather than renounce the British Navy?

I was in England, sir, in the darkest hour of this war, when France collapsed, when there was a real danger of invasion, when there was only a small British Army in England. I was there in the blitz when Nazi planes were raiding England. They fired every night, and the British people took it. I saw the common people in the underground. I saw the taxi drivers; I saw the workers. They were not afraid. Many of them were bombed and were killed. But I saw people for whom their country and their freedom is dearer than their life.

[21] Why do you think and have reason to suppose that we are different? There are things to us that are dearer than our lives, and we love life. The Jewish religion was never an ascetic religion; we don’t despise life; we cherish life. We are not going to renounce, even if we have to pay a price, and there are hundreds of thousands of Jews, Mr. Crossman, both in this country and in others, who will give up their lives, if necessary, for Jewish independence—for Zion.

Now, sir, for one minute or two I want to say a few words to the Arabs who are here and who are not here. What I want to say to them is this-

The conflict between us today is the most tragic for it is in a way a family conflict. But it will not last long. The work of our generation, we shall carry out even if the obstacles in our path increase, for it is to us a matter of life and death. We are returning to our country as of right. It is your wish that this land, too, should be Arab. Perhaps it is a natural desire. Many of you prefer a poor Arab country to a prosperous Jewish country. That does you honour, but we are not strangers to this land. It always has been and remains forever a historic hamlet. History has decreed that we should return to our country and re-establish here a Jewish State, and a Jewish State will be established. Many of you know it as well as we.

In the name of the Jewish people, I say to you- Even though you are still opposing us, we want you to know that you have not throughout the entire world a more loyal and useful friend than the Jewish people. We will build our country on the foundations of Jewish prosperity and peace. The closer and more quickly we draw together, the better it will be both for us and for you. The Jewish people and the Arab people need each other in the fashioning of their future as free peoples in this part of the world.

We are convinced with the revival of the Jewish State on the one hand and independent Arab unity on the other, we shall be able to cooperate closely in a spirit of mutual aid, in a true covenant of brothers.

I am finished, sir, and I thank you for your attention.

Judge Hutcheson- Thank you for your speech and for your finish! For myself, I don’t wish at this time to ask any questions. Unless something is suggested by other Members of the Committee, I will not ask any questions.

[22] Mr. Justice Singleton- I did not know until late last night, Mr. Ben Gurion, about this change in plans for your presentation this morning. Is it that you are going away?

A. No, it isn’t that I am going away. It was intended that I should follow Doctor Weizmann, but unfortunately, I couldn’t do it on Friday. I wasn’t well. I couldn’t even be here on Friday afternoon. So we requested the Committee that I should do it this morning. It was necessary that this morning should be given to me.

Q. I wish I had known of the change in plans. You are going to be available, I gather, for some time. Do you live here?

A. I will be available, yes.

Q. You live here, do you?

A, Not far from here.

Q. So that if there are questions which any of us desire to put to you later, you will be available?

A. Oh, yes, sir.

Q. I would rather postpone any questions I have to ask. I confess, I should like to read the transcript of some of your remarks before I ask you a question at all.

A. As you please, sir.

Judge Hutcheson- Mr. Phillips.

Mr. Phillips- I have no questions at the present time.

Mr. Manningham-Buller- I would like to ask Mr. Ben Gurion a few questions about the Jewish Agency itself. There is a chapter in the Peel Report on the Jewish Agency, and I should certainly be interested to know whether the position of that Agency in its constitution has altered materially since that date. For instance, with regard to the Council of the Jewish Agency, does that still consist of 112 representatives of the Zionist Organizations elected by the Zionist Congress?

A. Sir, the constitution didn’t change, but the position changed because for seven years there were no elections. According to our constitution, the Executive ought to be elected every two years. He is now in his seventh year. We are now making preparation to hold world elections next summer.

Q. And of the 112 representatives of Jews on the Council of Jews in various countries, appointed in each country in the manner best suited to local conditions, can you tell me how many of those 112 are, in fact, Zionists?

A. Sir, things change, and you know it changed. Many of them are not anymore.

[23] Q. Of those 112?

A. Yes, sir, and their constituency isn’t anymore.

Q. I come now to the Administrative Committee that consists of 40, not?

A. Yes.

Q. Twenty are appointed by Zionists and 20 by non-Zionist members of the Council?

A. Yes, the same thing applies here. The war played havoc with us.

Q. But you still have 40 on the Administrative Committee?

A. Yes, sir, the constitution is still the same.

Q. And the number on the Committee?

A. Whether they are still alive, I don’t know.

Q. What is the number alive on the Administrative Committee?

A. We have had no meeting of the Administrative Committee since 1939.

Q. With regard to the Executive Committee, I see here it says the Executive of the Jewish Agency is appointed by the Council, consisting of Zionist and non-Zionist members. Is that still the case?

A. That is still the case in the Constitution.

Q. Are all the members of the Zionist Executive living in Palestine?

A. Not all of them. Most of them are living here. There are two in England, there are six in America, and the President of the Jewish Agency is living sometimes in England, sometimes here, and sometimes in America.

Q. Are the three non-Zionist members here?

A. No, sir, the three non-Zionist members are in the United States of America. One of them died.

Q. I don’t want to take up time asking questions about finances, but I see in the Peel Report it does give the total expenditures of the Palestine Foundation Fund, Which has been transferred to the Jewish Agency, for the years 1921 to 1936, on various projects. Would it be possible for you to supply me with details of the expenditures since that date?

A. I am sure we can supply any details, but I myself am ignorant about finances more so than anything else. I am ignorant in many things, too.

Q. There is a little bit more information I should be glad to have if you will give it to me, in view of what you said. Could [24] you say what number of Jews now in Palestine who have been here more than a year retain American nationality?

A. I cannot give you offhand the figures, but we will supply you with them. We will supply you with figures as far as they are available, and we will do it gladly.

Q. The Jewish Agency, before the war, was responsible to some degree with regard to immigration, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. It had representatives in different countries?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Since the war, have you been able to send representatives to those countries?

A. Now, we are trying to re-establish them again in Europe. We are trying to do it. We succeeded in some places, and in some places I am afraid we have failed so far.

Q. In which countries have you got representatives?

A. Well, we have representatives in all the Western countries, in France, Belgium, Holland, and we have representatives now also in Poland. We will supply you with full details on that, sir.

Q. Thank you very much. Then there are one or two other questions I would like to ask you. You said something about attempts being made to lock up 30,000 Jews in Poland at the present time.

A. Yes, sir.

Q. I didn’t get what you meant by that.

A. I will tell you. I was in Germany recently, and I met Jews fleeing from Poland, and they told me that attempts are being made by different Administrations not to let them flee from Poland.
Q. By which Administrations?

A. You know what is going on in Europe now. You cannot tell whether it is one Government or the other. There are administrations which I would prefer not to mention.

Q. Is the Polish Government making any attempt?

A. I wouldn’t say the Polish Government. I had talks with representatives of the Polish Government, and they told me while they are trying to insure the lives of the Jews there, they understand their position, and they understand there is an increase in the feeling that they would like them out, but they have to cross a great number of frontiers there, and there are difficulties.

Q. Your general thesis is this- That throughout Europe, at [25] least, where there are two groups and the Jews are a minority group, that is bound to lead to oppression of the Jews, is that right?

A. To oppression?

Q. Yes.

A. It may lead; I don’t say it must or it will; it may anywhere in the world.

Q. But if you have two groups in Palestine, with a Jewish majority, it would not happen with a Jewish State?

A. That would not.

Q. And what about oppression of the Arab majority?

A. I can answer this by yes and no, and I will explain why. Because happily, that minority is in such a position that it can never be a minority. It is a part, a small fraction of a great people who are here, who are independent, and who have in the neighbouring states such a support that it cannot be, even if you suppose Jews to be the worst people in the world—perhaps they are and perhaps they are not, I don’t know; I certainly don’t claim any special virtue for the Jew; he has all the vices and virtues of other people. But in the presence of the changes given by history that if the Arabs would be a minority and we will become a majority, they will remain as they are. All the Arabs will stay here. But here they are surrounded and they are independent, and there cannot be such a thing for the Jews because they were never in such a position.

If the Jews in Poland had decided Russia would be a Jewish State and 180,000,000 would be Jews, the Jews in Poland would not be persecuted; they would be perhaps in a preferred position. I am sure the Arabs will be in such a preferred position here.

Q. The Peel Report contains this sentence, referring to the Jewish Agency.

“The Agency is obviously not a governing body; it can only advise and cooperate in a certain wide field. But, allied as it is with the Va’ad Leumi, and commanding the allegiance of the great majority of Jews in Palestine, it unquestionably exercises, both in Jerusalem and in London, a considerable influence on the conduct of the Government.”

It would be equally true to say, would it not, today, that as it was in 1936, you are allied with the Va’ad Leumi and you command the allegiance of the great majority of Jews in Palestine?

A. Yes, sir.

[26] Q. I also assume that you entirely agreed with the expressions of Doctor Weizmann when he said to us the other day that he hated political violence and that he was uncompromisingly against it.

A. Yes, sir; I heard him and I associate myself fully.

Q. And it could only do us harm; it can never do us any good; and whatever is in my power to stop it should be done and will be done.

A. I associate myself fully.

Q. Can you tell me, in view of the allegiance of the great majority of Jews in Palestine to the Jewish Agency and in view of your association with Doctor Weizmann’s remarks, what active steps the Jewish Agency have taken in that direction?

A. Yes, sir, a great number of steps, until we unfortunately had to give it up, because it is futile. I would like you to get the facts from the Administration in Palestine. I have no reason to put special confidence in the White Paper and the Administration, but you will get from them all the facts of how we cooperated until, unfortunately, it became useless.

Q. When did it become useless, in your view?

A. It became useless in our view when the war was over and when we had every reason to believe that that mortal blow would be removed and that our tortured people would be able to go home and this will be done by the Government who condemned in the most violent terms the White Paper as a discrimination and a breach of faith—Mr. Morrison, President of the Council, and Mr. Attlee, the Prime Minister, and the other members of the Government. They use such violence and then we believe that this White Paper has no real validity.

Q. I don’t want to go into any discussion about the White Paper, but rather, I want to get my mind clear, perhaps, as to what you are now saying. Do I understand—and correct me if I’m wrong—that since the war ended, the Jewish Agency have given up the task of seeking to cooperate with the Administration here in preventing political violence?

A. We cannot do it because I told you it is futile, sir. It is futile.

Q. What active steps did the Jewish Agency take before the war ended to prevent political violence?
A. Well, I told you that you can get these facts from the Administration. I am sure they can give you the facts.

[27] Q. Couldn’t you give us them?

A. Perhaps I don’t know them fully, but I have a reason.

Judge Hutcheson- Just a moment. I think the Chairman is entitled to rule that he has referred to the Government. He didn’t te