ZIONIST FLAG, 1942.
Welcome Zionists. English-language flag used at an international Zionist meeting at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City, May 6-11, 1942.
Blue silk-screened lettering on white cotton, 35 1/2 x 36 inches, some rubbing of letters and frayed along edges.
Provenance: purchased by a previous owner directly from a conference attendee, most likely Dr. Emanuel Neumann (1893-1980).
RARE ZIONIST FLAG FROM WORLD WAR II. Held in New York City at the Biltmore Hotel from May 6 to May 11, 1942, the Biltmore Conference (also called the Extraordinary Zionist Conference) was a major event in modern Jewish history. Because the Zionist Congress could not be held that year due to the war, the New York meeting drew 586 delegates and Zionist leaders from 18 countries. Its political platform differed crucially from earlier Zionist policy in its demand for the creation of a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine. Offering "a message of hope and encouragement to their fellow Jews in the Ghettos and concentration camps of Hitler-dominated Europe" and prayers that "their hour of liberation may not be far distant," they agreed to the resolution that "the Jewish people in its own work of national redemption welcomes the economic, agricultural and national development of the Arab peoples and states"; and they reaffirmed "the stand previously adopted at Congresses of the World Zionist Organization, expressing the readiness and the desire of the Jewish people for full cooperation with their Arab neighbors." (For the full transcription of the conference proceedings, see http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/biltmore.html.) Among those who attended were David Ben-Gurion as Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, Nahum Goldmann as a member of the Executive of the Zionist Organization of America and Chaim Weizmann as President of the World Zionist Organization. Hannah Arendt covered the conference for the German-language paper Aufbau. Not everyone including Arendt and the pro-British Weitzmann agreed with its position. Martin Buber, Judah Leon Magnes, Ernst Simon and Henrietta Szold broke away to form Ichud (Unification), which promoted an Arab-Jewish Federation; and a group of Reform rabbis created the American Council for Judaism that opposed Zionism. It was not until the end of the war that the full horror of The Holocaust became public. On May 14, 1948, Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of a Jewish homeland as the State of Israel.