When most people think of the refugee ship “Exodus,” the Paul Newman movie and Leon Uris novel on which it was based come to mind. But not many people know that one of the heroes behind the real-life Exodus was American businessman Dewey D. Stone.
Stone’s role in purchasing ships and weapons—under the nose of the FBI—and helping to orchestrate the founding of Israel is the subject of a new documentary, “The Dewey Stone Connection: From Exodus to Independence.”
The documentary opens with a 1970 speech given by then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in honor of Stone, who is from Brockton, Mass., and fellow Massachusetts businessman Harry Levine of Leominster. “I can think of no two other American Jews who have done more for the State of Israel—before and after its establishment,” the Prime Minister says.
...but just a few months before Israel was to declare independence, the U.S. State Department persuaded President Harry S. Truman to reject its recognition. Truman went so far as to shut the White House doors to Zionists. Weizmann, who was waiting anxiously in New York, expressed his frustration to Stone in a meeting on March 12, 1948. That night a visibly shaken Stone returned to Boston, where he was honored at a B’nai B’rith dinner along with Frank Goldman, the national head of the organization.
Goldman asked Stone what was the matter. Hearing about Weizmann’s predicament, Goldman said he might have a solution. He had just attended a Kansas City B’nai B’rith event recognizing Eddie Jacobson, who had been Truman’s partner in a clothing store business. Why not see if Jacobson would intervene with his old pal, Goldman suggested...more.
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