Monday, May 13, 2013
When Ben-Gurion Proudly Testified to Zionism
UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PALESTINE
REPORT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, VOLUME III, ANNEX A:ORAL EVIDENCE PRESENTED AT PUBLIC MEETING
Lake Success, New York
VERBATIM RECORD OF THE TWENTY-FIRST MEETING (PUBLIC)
Held at the Y.M.C.A. Building, Jerusalem,, Tuesday, 8 July 1947
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : Mr. BEN GURION, do you wish to make any comments on the following declarations or statements on behalf of the British Government: 1. General Allenby's declaration, soon after the Turks were defeated, to the effect that he "reminded the Emir Feisal that the Allies were in honour bound to endeavour to reach a settlement in accordance with the wishes of the "peoples concerned and urged him to place his trust wholeheartedly in their good faith"; 2. Commander Hogarth's statement to King Hussein in January 1918 to the effect that the British Government were determined that insofar as it was compatible with the freedom of the existing population, both economic and political, no obstacle should be put in the way of the return of the Jews to Palestine; 3. Bassett's letter dated 9 February 1918, to King Hussein, to the effect that His Majesty's Government has hitherto made it their policy to ensure the Arab's liberation and it remained the policy that they are determined unflinchingly to pursue by protecting such Arabs as already are liberated from all dangers and perils, and by assisting those who are still under the yoke of the tyrants to obtain their freedom; 4. the Anglo-French Declaration made on 7 November 1918 to the effect that the goal envisaged by France and Great Britain in prosecuting in the East the war was to secure the complete and final liberation of the people who have for so long been oppressed by the Turks and the setting up of national governments and administrations which should derive authority from the free exercise of the initiative and choice of the indigenous populations, and to further and assist in the setting up of indigenous Governments and administrations in Syria (from the Taurus range to the Egyptian frontier and Mesopotamia) which had already been liberated by the Allies, as well as in those territories which, they were endeavouring to liberate, and to recognize them as soon as they were actually set up?
Mr. BEN GURION: No, sir.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Do you know anything about the Haycraft Commission which had been appointed to inquire into the Palestine disturbances of 1921?
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes, sir.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Have you read their recommendations?
Mr. BEN GURION: I believe I read them at the time.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Did the Arabs ever raise any objections to the Jews visiting Palestine or even to moderate immigration arising out of religious zeal before 1917?
Mr. BEN GURION: Before that they had nothing to say in Palestine. It was the Turks.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : Was Jewish immigration the cause of Arab riots and bloodshed in Palestine?
Mr. BEN GURION: There was Jewish immigration, and there were riots. Maybe one was the cause of the other. It is a fact that there were both. Maybe there were other causes.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Could you give me any other cause?
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes, a very serious cause was the Axis powers who sent money and instructors to arrange for a terrorist campaign against Jews. This was one of the causes.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): When was this?
Mr. BEN GURION: 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): There were no riots before 1936?
Mr. BEN GURION: There were.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): What were they
due to? What was the cause of them?
Mr. BEN GURION: There were many causes. This was one of the causes. One cause, for instance, was that in 1929 there was a false accusation made against us by some people that we attacked the .Mosque of Omar, which was just as truthful as the accusation made against the Jews that they are drinking the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes. That was a very serious cause of disturbances in Damascus in 1940, where many Jews were murdered by the population for such an accusation. An accusation of that kind was made in 1929. This was the cause of serious riots when the entire Jewish community of Hebron, where there had been no immigration, was exterminated...
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...Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Palestine is sacred to Christians, it is sacred to Moslems; therefore would you permit all the Moslems and all the Christians to come and settle down in Palestine on the same basis on which you want to settle down in Palestine?
Mr. BEN GURION: There is a difference. Of course it is sacred to Christians. You are a Moslem and you say it is sacred to Moslems. I take your word for it.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): You do not know about it?
Mr. BEN GURION: Your authority is sufficient for that purpose. But Jews are coming to Palestine because it is our country, it has been our homeland for 3,500 years. In addition to that it is sacred to them because it is the centre of their religion. I know that Rome is sacred to Christians, and no Christian will ask the right to possess Rome. There is nothing like that here. We are here on the basis of the fact that it is the country of our people; we were dispossessed by force and we did not give it up. We are coming back to our home.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): I will come to that part a little later. I just wanted to know because you know that the Moslems used to turn to the holy area of Masjid Aqsa as their Kaaba until the Prophet ordered faces to be turned towards Mecca at the time of prayer.
Mr. BEN GURION: I am really afraid to contradict you, but the history which I know regarding Moslems is that at the beginning the Prophet of the Moslems called them to turn to Jerusalem and there were other things which he accepted in Jerusalem, but later on, when the Jews were living in Arabia, they refused to accept it, and many of them, especially Jews of the Medina died for it, because they refused to accept him as a prophet. He told his people to turn to Mecca, but so far as I know it has nothing to do with the reconstruction of Mecca.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : That was the Kaaba in Mecca. . .
Mr. BEN GURION: This is a discussion which does not concern me as it is a religious matter.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): I just wanted to know. How many synagogues were there in Palestine before 1939?
Mr. BEN GURION: I have not the information.
CHAIRMAN: I repeat my request to the public to keep silent.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : Did the President of the Tenth Zionist Congress, held in June 1931, make the following speech: "Only those suffering from gross ignorance or actuated: by malice, could accuse us of the desire of establishing an independent Jewish kingdom. The people who allege this seem, so far as they are honest, to confuse Zionism with the Messianic belief. Our boundless love for Palestine owed its origin also to this belief, but it has never occurred to us modern practical Zionists to introduce Messianic tendencies into our movement."
Mr. BEN GURION: Well, the President was here just now. I think you should have referred to him this question.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): No, I did not know that Dr. Weizmann was actually presiding at that congress.
Mr. BEN GURION: He was not the President of that congress. So far as I know, no such statement was made by the President who presided at the time.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Was it made by anyone else?
Mr. BEN GURION: I do not know. You asked me if the President made such a statement. As far as I remember, the President at that congress made no such statement.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : You cannot say whether anyone else made that statement? I am just trying to be clear in my mind about the question, but it may have been someone else.
Mr. BEN GURION: All kinds of persons made all kinds of statements, and I really cannot be requested to remember everyone of them.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Apart from the Zionist's attempts, have any other Jews made attempts to gain political sovereignty in Palestine? Have any other persons made any attempt to create a sovereign State in Palestine?
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes, Jews throughout history before the Crusades, during the Crusades-all the Jews were exterminated in Palestine. After that, in the time of the Turks, they made these attempts by going back to Palestine and trying to build it up, because they believed that by building up they were r&establishing, as they called it in their language, a Jewish kingdom. We do not now use the word kingdom, but what they meant was a State. There was a time when a kind of chapter was written by one of the Turkish soldiers, a high official in Turkey, on the movement to build a part of Palestine as a Jewish province...
...Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Who was in possession and occupation of Palestine as it is known today before the Israelites?
Mr. BEN GURION: There were a large number of people who came here; there are many names.
CHAIRMAN: Before whom?
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : Before the Israelites.
Mr. BEN GURION: The names are supplied in our Bible.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): All of them have died out?
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes, all of them.
Sir, ABDUR RAHMAN (India): All of them and their descendants have died out?
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes, they disappeared.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): And the fellaheen who exist in Palestine today, are they descendants?
Mr. BEN GURION: I do not think so.
Sir. ABDUR RAHMAN (India): Do you know that Abraham had two wives-at least, two wives with whom we are concerned-Hagar and Sarah. Sarah was the first and Hagar was the second. Ishmael was the son of Hagar; Isaac was the son of Sarah. Is that correct?
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : Now it was predicted in the Bible-when I refer to the Bible I mean the Old Testament, I do not refer to the New Testament at all-it was predicted in the Old Testament that twelve tribes would spring from Israel.
Mr. BEN GURION: No, it is not true.
CHAIRMAN: Sir Abdur, will you please direct your questions this way?
Mr. BEN GURION: It is said in the Bible, with, regard to these two children that to "Isaac and " the seed of Isaac I will give this land."
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): When did the Jews leaves Palestine?
Mr. BEN GURION: They never left it.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): They have always been here?
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes, except in the period of the Crusades, when all Jews were entirely exterminated.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : When was that?
Mr. BEN GURION: You know it was the 10, 11 and 12 centuries.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): How many Jews did Titus deal very cruelly with the Jews?
Mr. BEN GURION: You can rely on the historical documents which are there. I mean that he was cruel. He destroyed the Temple, expelled their leaders, put them to death in circuses in Rome, sold them as slaves.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India): And that also was first century A. D.?
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes, but he did not expel all the Jews-130 years after that the Jews made war on the Romans, and 600,000 Jews, according to the Apostles, were killed by the Roman legions.
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN (India) : When was that?
Mr. BEN GURION: That was 130 A. D. ...