Sunday, April 2, 2017

Columbia University's Barnard College Dean Gildersleeve: Supported Palestinian Rights in 20th Century--Part 7

In her 1954 autobiography, Many A Good Crusade: Memoirs of Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve, the Dean of Barnard College of Columbia University between 1911 and 1947, Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve, wrote the following: 

"...In 1952 I resigned the Chairmanship of the Board of Directors of Reid Hall, which I had held for over 30 years...

"...I have spoken of the rise of the Zionist movement and the forcing into the small country of Palestine of many thousands of Jewish immigrants, against the will of the Arab majority of the population, whose ancestors had held and tilled the land for over a thousand years. The long and intricate history of this movement reached one of its culminating points in the autumn of 1947 when the General Assembly of the United Nations considered a report from a special U.N. committee recommending that on the ending of the British Mandate Palestine be divided into two states,--one Arab and the other Jewish, with economic union between them and Jerusalem internationalized. The Jewish state was to contain the greater part of the fertile land of that arid country and the only first-class deep-water ports. The proposal aroused a storm of protest from all the member nations in the Middle East who objected to it vehemently; but the Delegation of the United States of America, that country which of all the West the peoples of the Middle East had looked upon as their best friend, was ordered by President Truman to support the partition plan, and every resource of propaganda was used by the American Zionists to present the idea favorably to the people of America and to prevent the opponents of it, whether they were Christian, Moslem, or Jew, from being heard...

"...Unhappily, this delicate and difficult question had become a kind of football in American politics. Perhaps there is a `Jewish vote' in New York which might determine the casting of the state's 45 electoral votes in a presidential election, though I doubt it. At all events the Zionists succeeded in convincing both the Democratic and the Republican politicians that they did control a Jewish vote, especially in the state of New York, and they urged upon the party leaders the necessity of coming out strongly in favor of the partition plan. When President Truman had insisted that the British, under the Mandate, admit immediately 100,000 more Jews, Governor Dewey of the State of New York, his Republican opponent, had promptly urged the admission of 200,000. I do not doubt that President Truman and Governor Dewey, besides political motives, were animated also by humanitarian concern for the Jewish refugees and, having probably heard only one side of the question, believed that they were pursuing a humane and generous course. It is easy to imagine, however, with what bitterness the Arabs saw the fate of their people being sacrificed by American political leaders who insisted that American foreign policy must be determined by the needs of local politics..."

(end of part 7) 

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