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By Dalia Ofer

Unlawful Jewish immigration to Palestine ahead of the founding of the country of Israel kinds probably the most interesting chapters within the historical past of Zionism and smooth Jewish background. Bringing Jews from Europe to Palestine via land and through sea in defiance of restrictive British immigration regulations was once partially an project of nationwide rescue and in part a calculated technique of political brinksmanship. during this compelling research, Ofer examines numerous unlawful immigration and rescue efforts geared up through the Palestinian Jewish neighborhood in either the start and latter levels of the battle. Making exhaustive use of archival resources, Ofer presents beneficial perception into the struggles of the immigrants, the activists and supporters of the circulate, the logistical stumbling blocks, and the political forces operating to halt or take advantage of the move of refugees.

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Additional info for Escaping the Holocaust: Illegal Immigration to the Land of Israel, 1939-1944

Sample text

In Kaplan's opinion Ben-Gurion's policy, "with Britain against Hitler, against Britain on the White Paper," had failed to prove itself. The war had convinced him that unqualified cooperation with Britain was called for. The arrival of two thousand illegal immigrants did not dissuade him from this conviction. Other members of the Jewish Agency executive joined Kaplan in calling for complete cooperation with the British and opposed any act of public defiance, such as the proposed strike, or other demonstrative act.

It had been in an economic recession since the end of 1937, and income per capita had decreased since then at a rate of ten percent per year. 4 The Jewish Agency's treasury was quite limited. It depended primarily on contributions given to the national funds and on special fund-raising drives in the Diaspora. It had no authority to tax the Yishuv population; sales tax and other forms of taxation went to the Mandate government. The Jewish Agency could propose voluntary taxation of the Jewish community, which it had done since the summer of 1938, and it could also ask the government to support it in special loans.

Within the Zionist leadership, there were those who championed the idea of militancy and mass actions as a means of resisting British policy. Yitzhak Grucnbaum, head of the Agency's settlement department, thought that the Agency should pledge itself to a full-scale anti-British campaign to prevent the deportation. The most extreme position was taken by Eliyahu Golomb, the head of the Haganah. Golomb called for firm action—not just diplomacy— to stop the deportation and expressed his views both in meetings of the Mapai political committee and in telegrams to his colleagues in London.

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