Chapter 19 – Short-lived Labour-Zionist honeymoon

by Jason Lever

Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 17:39:45 GMT

Testing Solomon Lever’s party loyalty

The Liberal Party’s eclipse as a national political force by the mid-1920s aided ‘new Jewish voters, gravitat[ing] towards Labour’ (ref: Alderman 1983).

Zionist support for Labour reached its apogee when a 1939 Conservative Government White Paper abandoned the Balfour Declaration and supported Palestine becoming an independent state within ten years, but with Jews in a minority. Its terms restricted Jewish purchase of Arab land and property and put a restriction on Jewish immigration to ensure that Jews would make up no more than one-third of the total population.

Opposition to this White Paper became Labour policy, and as late as the 1940 Labour Party conference motions were carried backing unlimited Jewish immigration to Palestine.

However, this changed after the Second World War. Once in power and forming a majority government, the Labour Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, announced in November 1945 that the Government stood by the White Paper. This followed the wartime Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, stating at the end of the War that Jewish refugees should now be returned to Europe, ‘lest they become an explosive element in the country’ (ref: Srebnik).

Only six out of those 34 Jewish Labour MPs expressed opposition to Bevin’s policy. This was followed by the 1946 party conference’s rejection of a proposal to outlaw anti-Semitism, giving more cause for a rift between Anglo-Jewry and Labour (ref: Alderman 1983).

Some Jewish Labour Party supporters felt that that ‘Zionism was exploited by the Labour Party in the mid-twentieth century in order to win the allegiance of Jewish voters’, and had now served its purpose (ref: Alderman 1983).

This policy reversal on Zionism may have reinforced Solomon Lever’s resolve to resist regular overtures to him to stand as a Labour parliamentary candidate. As a Labour councillor and local community leader, he could progress the municipal socialist path while retaining the independence to criticise those government policies on issues of profound belief and conscience.

This thesis will be argued by examining his four main speeches made at Trades Union Congress (TUC) conferences between 1938 and 1958.

Labour-Party Municipal-Socialism Zionism Balfour-Declaration Anti-Semitism

comments powered by Disqus


Chapter 1 - Introducing Solomon Lever and his l...Chapter 2 - The Jewish East EndChapter 3 - A family history of Solomon LeverChapter 4 - A Jewish East End education for Sol...Chapter 5 - Joining East End cultural and commu...Chapter 6 - Solomon as a cabinet makerChapter 7 – From cabinet maker to trade union g...Chapter 8 – Rise of the London Jewish Bakers UnionChapter 9 – Dealing with the challenges of a de...Chapter 10 – Solomon’s journey to Jewish trade ...Chapter 11 – Interlude of anarchism’s appeal to...Chapter 12 – Solomon Lever finds his home in th...Chapter 13 – The Liberal and Conservative partiesChapter 14 – The Labour Party consolidates its ...Chapter 15 – The appeal of East End councils’ s...Chapter 16 – The rise and fall of communist sup...Chapter 17 – Surging Labourism after the warChapter 18 – The Labour Party’s support for Zio...Chapter 19 – Short-lived Labour-Zionist honeymoonChapter 20 – Solomon Lever’s 1947 broadcast spe...Chapter 21 – Solomon Lever’s 1948 speech from t...Chapter 22 – Solomon Lever’s 1954 speech from t...Chapter 23 – Solomon Lever’s final TUC speech i...Chapter 24 – His Worshipful The Mayor and Mayor...Chapter 25 – Family connections in the Mayor’s ...Chapter 26 – Important social issues raised wit...Chapter 27 – The adbuction of Solomon LeverChapter 28 – Discovery of Solomon’s bodyChapter 29 – InquestChapter 30 – The death of Solomon LeverChapter 31 – Solomon’s funeral and obituaryChapter 32 – The death knell of the London Jewi...Chapter 33 – An appraisalChapter 34 – Bibliography