When the Labour Party Was Zionist

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When the Labour Party Was Zionist

Post by Guest on Sun May 29, 2016 11:20 pm

I’m currently reading Bruce Hoffman’s latest book Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle For Israel 1917-47. It’s a great book, one passage seemed to provide an almost incredible juxtaposition to the events of the modern day Corbyn Labour Party;
In December 1917, just weeks after the Balfour Declaration was issued, the [Labour] party had enthusiastically endorsed the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine. Ten successive party conferences, including the most recent one held in December 1944, had reaffirmed that pledge. That conference in fact had endorsed a geographically and politically expansive pro-Zionist platform that included monetary incentives to persuade Palestine’s Arab population to relocate elsewhere. Such proposals went beyond what even Ben-Gurion and the Jewish Agency were advocating. The Labour Party had also staunchly opposed the 1939 white paper, which it had previously denounced as both a regrettable “breach of faith” and a “breach of British honour.” Indeed, as the end of the war in Europe neared, its National Executive Committee had called for the gates of Palestine to be opened to the Jewish survivors of Hitler’s death camps. “There is surely neither hope nor meaning in a ‘Jewish National Home,’” a report of the executive’s 1944 meeting had proclaimed, “unless we are prepared to let Jews, if they wish, enter this land in such numbers as to become a majority. There was a strong case for this before the War. There is an irresistible case now, after the unspeakable atrocities of the…Nazi plan to kill all Jews in Europe.”

The passage can be found in the chapter entitled Wider Horizons, since I am reading the electronic version I’m unable to provide a page number.
I suppose this was back when the Labour Party actually was campaigning against racial hatred. I don’t know what the hell it is now.
I know, of course that HP readers will be leaping to their keyboards to talk about the disgraceful behaviour of the Labour government and particularly of Bevin at this point. I thought that it was precisely because of those actions, internment camps and forced repatriation back to concentration camps in Europe that this view of the party from just before they were in government was well worth noting.



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