Chapter 23 – Solomon Lever’s final TUC speech in 1958

by Jason Lever

Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 17:49:25 GMT

Peace in the Middle East

The Labour government finally officially recognised Israel in 1950, a year in which its parliamentary majority was slashed from 145 to just 5 seats in the general election.

Solomon moved a motion on ‘The Middle East’ in 1958 to relax tensions in the region for the cause of world peace – with ‘an international guarantee for existing frontiers...’, including those of Israel, and to ‘transform the existing armistice agreements between the Arab States and Israel into a peace treaty...’ He presented this as Labour Party policy.

He referred back to speaking in conference debate in 1956, when he made the case for nascent Arab, nationalist states to take their cue from Israel: ‘as a method of government, then there is no finer example they can take from Israel’.

Two years later, he refers to propaganda directed against Israel (TUC History Online, 3):

Such a torrent of hate has rarely been heard, even from the Nazis in their heydey.

Under a democratic government, the Israelis have transformed the desert into fertile lands... without the immense revenues the Arabs are getting from oil. [He contrasts this with Nasser’s ambition] to put an Egyptian dictatorship over the whole of the Middle East.

The region needs technical aid... irrigation, tractors and educational facilities far more than it needs arms. There is no reason at all why the Arab states should not utilise to the full their rich natural resources. Israel has shown the world what people can do when they are imbued with the idea of social reconstruction’.

He concludes by making the links between Israel’s developmental success and its socialist and unionist credentials, mindful of his audience:

What has Israel had in return? – a tiny bit of a vast territory, a tiny bit not much bigger than an English county... It must surely be a source of satisfaction to all of us that in a tiny corner of that vast territory known as “the Middle East”, in Israel, there exists and thrives a strong and virile Labour and Trade Union Movement, based on the same ideals as this Congress as ours’.

The full speech can be read at TUC History Online

TUC Trades-Unions Labour-Party State-Of-Israel

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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