New York (Oct. 29)
Before a gathering of 400 men and women at a dinner of the Judeans in the Hotel Pennsylvania last night Israel Zangwill explained his declaration that political Zionism was dead as meaning that the Balfour declaration. favoring a British mandate over Palestine for the Jews, was merely a substitute and had been whittled down to mean only that the Jews may have their national home there.
He proposed a conference between him and leaders of Zionism and anti-Zionism, asserting that their differences could be adjusted. He said he would lecture and give the proceeds to the Palestine Foundation Fund (Keren Hayesod), of which Samuel Untermyer, who vigorously attacked him, is President. He said that because of the quarrel with Mr. Untermyer he would forego his return to England for the time and remain to fight it out.
“I find I have gotten into a fight.” said the speaker. “It is a fight I didn’t expect and I’m going to remain and see it through. I have sent as S O S for my wife.
“Many attempts were made to censor my Carnegie Hall address before it was made. The American Jewish Congress invited me to say what I liked. I said I had sent out an article attacking the congress for its handling of the proposal of lands for Jews in Mexico. I refused to sail unless I could speak unhampered. Dr. Stephen S. Wise cabled that they yearned for that. They got what they yearned for. Even the British Government did not succeed in censoring me during the war.”
Mr. Zangwill referred to a row with Lord Rothschild when he was a youth as evidence of his determination not to be censored.
“Lloyd George had the kindness to say I was a good friend of his. I wouldn’t venture to claim friendship with him. When he was Chancellor of the Exchequer I said to him. ‘If there is a possibility of a Jewish autonomous state it will have your sympathy.’ He said, ‘Certainly.’
“When the war began the Government summoned the leading authors.
“In a dark moment of the war they got the idea of the Balfour declaration. Dr. Chaim Weizmann had all the trumps in his hand. He played a very bad game. He asked me at the beginning of the war, before he became leader, to take the Zionist leadership. I told him to take counsel, that many Zionists did not like my ideas and it might split the organization further instead of fusing it. I never heard from him further.
“A week before the Balfour declaration I got a copy. It was too late. It was a fait accompli. After my speech the other night. Weizmann said it was a betrayal of the Jewish people. The fact-is
I am the only one who guarded the interests of the Jewish people. The Balfour declaration took no account of Jews of enemy countries. I brought out that point. Who betrayed the Jewish people, Weizmann or I? Then they said that all that was meant by the Balfour declaration was that there is a Jewish nationality.
“When I said political Zionism was dead, it was because with the Balfour declaration, Weizmann, as a chemist, gave us not Zionism, but ‘and ersatz.’ The present Zionism reminds me of those melancholy menus with ‘cocktail type’ and ‘beer type.’ That’s what I meant.
“Confusion is so great that President Coolidge sent the American Jewish Congress a message of sympathy with Palestine as a Jewish homeland.”
Taking up his controversy with Louis Marshall, Mr. Zangwill said Mr. Marshall misunderstood what he meant by his reference to the Jewish vote. “I said there may be a time when the Jews may need the vote to protect themselves in persecution and for self-expression in religion.” explained Zangwill. “You have the Ku Klux Klan against you. Have you not the right to vote against them? Haven’t the Jews the right to vote against Henry Ford if he runs for President?”
Louis Marshall, the following speaker, drew continued applause in opposing Mr. Zangwill’s demand for a Jewish vote. After a tribute to Zangwill’s personality and achievements, Mr. Marshall said: “We Jews are happy here and contented with conditions. We don’t care for Ford and the Ku Kluxers. We don’t notice them. If we did notice them we would commit a great mistake. We rely on our fellow Americans to protect their honor. We require no Jewish vote for any purpose. We don’t require it to protect ourselves because we vote according to party lines and not religious lines. To form a Jewish political party, to segregate any section and call it the Jewish or Irish or German or Catholic vote is to be guilty of treason against this republic.”
Marshall said he welcomed the suggestion for a conference. “We require in American Jewry and in world Jewry harmony and union.” he said. “That is the great desideratum. Disharmony and disputes will work harm to the cause of Judaism. Zionism is a theory and anti-Zionism is a folly.”
Other speakers were Simeon Strunsky, editor, and Judge Horace Stern of Philadelphia. President Samson Lachman presided.