Britain has already declared its support for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Now leading Zionists address the Paris Conference in support of their plans, including the well-connected Chaim Weizmann and others from Eastern Europe, who remind delegates of the horrors being experienced by their fellow Jews there (where the massacres at Lemberg and more recently Proskurov have already shocked world opinion). In his presentation and his private discussions with world leaders, Weizmann is deliberately vague as to the political arrangements that will apply in this Jewish homeland; he is careful not to refer to a future Jewish state or even to the prospect of Jews becoming a majority in Palestine. American Zionists are more uncompromising in this regard, but their representatives have not arrived in Paris yet, so Weizmann’s more subtle approach carries the day.
Weizmann does not however have things completely his way. French Zionist André Spire also addresses the conference, suggesting that France’s ancient links to the Holy Land mean that it rather than Britain should be the mandated authority in Palestine. And to Weizmann’s chagrin, the French-Jewish scholar Sylvain Lévy affirms that, like the majority of French Jews, he is not a Zionist at all. He suggests that Palestine would not be able to support the Jewish population of Eastern Europe, should they all move there, and fears the consequences for diaspora Jews if, as some Zionists have suggested, they were to be given a share in the governance of Jewish Palestine. This all causes Weizmann to whisper to Lévy that he is a traitor.
No decision is reached today on Palestine. And, naturally, the people currently living there are not invited to send representatives to the conference.
Proposed borders of Jewish Palestine (MidEast Web GateWay: Statement of the Zionist Organization Regarding Palestine, Presented to the Paris Peace Conference (with proposed map of Zionist borders), February 3, 1919)