Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State

By Martin Sicker | Go to book overview

8
The United Resistance

As World War II drew to a close, it became increasingly evident that the United States would have a major, perhaps the most important, voice in the future of Palestine, and both the Arabs and Zionists turned their focus on Washington. As the March 31, 1944, deadline for the cessation of Jewish immigration, in accordance with the provisions of the 1939 White Paper, drew near, Zionist lobbying reached a feverish pitch. It soon led to the introduction of identical resolutions in both houses of Congress calling upon the U.S. government to take appropriate measures to bring about the rescinding of the White Paper by Britain and the ultimate establishment of Palestine as a Jewish state.

The draft resolutions generated vociferous protests from the Arab governments in the Middle East. Because of their vehement opposition, the War Department convinced the Congress to defer consideration of the resolutions because "further action on them at this time would be prejudicial to the successful prosecution of the war." 1 President Franklin D. Roosevelt softened the blow to the Zionists with his assurance that "when future decisions are reached full justice will be done to those who seek a Jewish national home, for which our Government and the American people have always had the deepest sympathy and today more than ever in view of the tragic plight of hundreds of thousands of homeless Jewish refugees." 2 Facing a presidential election that year, the Democratic and Republican parties included statements in their respective platforms that called for the reconstitution of Palestine as a Jewish commonwealth.

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