A rare photograph of the Round Table Conference held in London between February 7 and March 17, 1939. Around the table are seen David Ben Gurion, Chaim Weizmann, Moshe Sharet, Yitzhak Ben Zvi, Moshe Bloy, and others.
The Round Table Conference, or by its official name the St. James Conference (known as the London Conference), was a conference that took place between February 7 and March 17, 1939 and was the British government's last attempt to mediate the problem The Jewish-Arab conflict. The source of its official name is the name of the palace in London where it was held. The conference opened on February 7, 1939. From the very beginning, the Arab representatives refused to sit at the same table with the representatives of the Jewish settlement, therefore each of the delegations held a separate meeting of the conference with the British who became mediators. The representatives of the Jews, led by Chaim Weizmann, called, relying on the Balfour Declaration and the British mandate, to allow immigration to Israel, one that would contribute to solving the problem of Jewish refugees in Europe. They also appealed to the English not to leave the Jews "at the blackest hour in the history of the people of Israel". The Arab representatives insisted that there is no connection between the Arab state and the Jews living in the Land of Israel, and that they are ready to recognize the Jews who are already in the Land as a Jewish minority, but in no way approved the continuation of the immigration. On March 15, the British government submitted its plan to the two delegations. Weizmann was not present at this meeting and Ben-Gurion also refused to appear at it. They were not present at the closing meeting of the conference, after it became clear that in light of the British government's proposals, their presence would detract from their dignity. The next day, Weizmann left the Jewish delegation and said: "Everything that happened here was just a passing episode, another upheaval in the series of upheavals known to our people. They had great hopes, and they were partly shattered. They will return and rebuild them. They have waited thousands of years: they will be established in their way for another five years." On March 17, Weizmann sent a short letter to Malcolm MacDonald, in which he wrote: "The Jewish delegation, after carefully considering the proposals submitted to it by His Majesty's government on March 15, 1939, regrets that it is not qualified to accept as a basis for an agreement, and therefore has decided to disband."
Size: 30x19 cm. Crack in the center of the photo. Good condition.