Buffalo (Jun. 28)
(Jewish Daily Bulletin)
Questions of vital interest to American Jews, both Zionists and non-Zionists, were presented and the phases of a possible new course outlined at the twenty-ninth annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America, which was opened here yesterday following what was termed “the stormiest year in the history of Zionism in America,” when the largest sum ever obtained for Palestine purposes was raised.
Six hundred and eighty-one delegates from all parts of the country and several hundred guests listened to the addresses which dealt not only with the situation in Palestine but also with the state of affairs in American Jewry, as well as within the ranks of the Zionist movement. Additional interest was evident because of the question of Revisionism which was placed on the agenda of the convention by the recent action of the Order Sons of Zion, a body affiliated with the Zionist Organization of America, which had 41 delegates at the convention.
THE QUESTION OF THE O. S. OF Z.
The attitude of the Zionist Organization of America toward the Order Sons of Zion and the possible severing of the agreement between the two bodies was discussed at a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Zionist Organization of America held prior to the opening of the convention. It was learned that the Executive Committee voted to “empower the incoming Administrative Committee to deal with the situation resulting from the Order Sons of Zion invalidating the agreement with the Zionist Organization,” by accepting the Revisionist program. A motion presented by Mr. Jacob Ish-Kishor, secretary of the Order Sons of Zion, at the meeting of the Executive Committee to invite Vladimir Jabotinsky to appear before the convention was, following a debate, rejected by unanimous vote.
A report of the Organization Department showed that 386 delegates representing the Zionist districts, 254 representing the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization and 41 representing the Order Sons of Zion were present at the opening of the convention.
Following a recommendation received favorably by the delegates that the United Palestine Appeal set out to raise the amount of $7.500,000 next year, one of the first actions of the twenty-ninth annual convention was to accept unanimously and enthusiastically a resolution extending an invitation to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization. to come to visit the United States in the Fall in order to inaugurate the appeal at a special conference which is to be held in a mid-Western city. The resolution which was cabled to Dr. Weizmann urges him to invite on behalf of the convention Sir Herbert Samuel, former High Commissioner of Palestine, to come to America with him.
MR. LIPSKY SOUNDS THE KEYNOTE
The keynote of the convention was sounded by Louis Lipsky who, at the suggestion of Joseph Barondess, was unanimously elected Chairman of the convention. In Mr. Lipsky’s address the high spots of the situation in Palestine and the relation of the Zionist Organization to the non-Zionist group, as well as to the Oppositional tendencies in the Zionist movement were dwelt upon.
Great Britain as the mandatory power of Palestine, though accorded “universal appreciation of the sincerity of its intentions” and of its “establishment of law and order and efficient administrative service in Palestine” was censured by Mr. Lipsky for playing a passive role in the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine.
Urging a continuation of the friendship with the Arabs and pointing to the fact that as a result of this policy Arab-Jewish cooperation is beginning to develop and that the tone of hostility of the anti-Zionist Arab press is beginning to be modified, Mr. Lipsky stated that this policy is being injured by propaganda emanating from certain segments of the Zionist movement. Talk about expropriation and self-defense based upon exaggerated statements, create a false impression of Zionist ideals and undermine discipline, he stated. He recommended that “the convention protest against this harmful propaganda.”
REFERS TO QUESTION OF JEWISH AGENCY
Concerning the extension of the Jewish Agency, Mr. Lipsky expressed the intention of the Zionist Administration to proceed with the Organization of the Agency. He expressed regret, however, that the American group of non-Zionists has not shown the same interest in the Jewish Agency since the Zionist Congress adopted its resolution for the extension of the Agency. “The American group,” he charged, “has held itself wholly aloof from Palestine interests and they were conspicuous by their absence in the United Palestine Appeal,” in spite of the fact that the crisis in Palestine has imposed greater obligations on the American Jews.
URGES STAND AGAINST COLONIZATION PLAN
Mr. Lipsky in his address also referred to the question of Russian colonization and declared, “It is clear as day that the project has become the center of an organized anti-Zionist propaganda.” He urged the convention to take an emphatic stand against the plan.
Among the proposals concerning the organizational structure of the Zionist movement was a recommendation that an American sub-committee of the Economic Council of the Zionist Organization be established with headquarters in New York.
The vice-chairmen of the convention, elected by acclamation, were Max Schulman, Chicago; Judge William Lewis, Philadelphia; Elihu D. Stone, Boston; Mrs. Archibald Silverman, Providence and Miss Pearl Franklin Chicago. Meyer W. Weisgal was elected secretary. The Chairman of the convention then appointed the Committee on Committee, consisting of Samuel Blitz, Ruth Cohen, A. H Fromenson, Harry J. Kahn and Dr S. M. Melamed, all of New York; S. J. Cohen, Philadelphia; Louis A. Freed Houston; Joseph Gabriely, Jersey City: K. Goldman, Charleston, S. C. Abraham Goldstein, Hartford, Conn.; Gustav Klausner, St. Louis; Israel Kurland, Baltimore; Simon Seegman and Mrs. A. H. Vixman, Pittsburgh; Arthur Shutkin, Milwaukee; Robert Silverman of Boston, and H. Steinberg, Chicago.
DR. STEPHEN S. WISE’S MESSAGE
Emanuel Neumann, general director of the United Palestine Appeal, read a message from Dr. Stephen S. Wise Chairman of the Appeal, expressing his regret at his inability to attend the convention because of his illness, following an operation on his tonsils. In his letter Dr. Wise declared that “the successful conclusion of the United Palestine Appeal has marked the conclusion of a triumphant year in the history of American Zionism” and expressed the hope that following this triumph “there will not be another need of establishing the priority of Palestine in the mind of the American Jewish public.”
Maurice Samuel in glowing terms moved that a resolution be adopted expressing the gratitude of the Convention to Dr. Wise for his leadership in the United Palestine Appeal. Joseph Barondess and Judge William Lewis of Philadelphia seconded the resolution which was unanimously adopted. On the suggestion of Mr. Lipsky, a similar resolution was adopted expressing the appreciation of the convention for the volunteer work of Emanuel Neumann. A resolution to establish through the Jewish National Fund, a Masliansky Grove in Palestine in honor of the seventieth birthday of Rev. Z. H. Masliansky, was moved by Bernard A. Rosenblatt and seconded by Rabbi Max Heller of New Orleans.
A message of greetings was received from the Honorable Alfred E. Smith, Governor of New York.
A report of the activities of the Hadassah was presented to the convention by Miss Pearl Franklin of Chicago, vice-chairman of the Organization.
HADASSAH REPORTS MEMBERSHIP OF 29,495
Miss Franklin said in her report:
“Hadassah had on June 1st, 244 Chapters in 37 states with a membership of 29,495 as compared with 23.436 at the 1925 Convention. Its membership is four times as large at is was four and a half years ago, when the organization became autonomous. Since the last Convention the organization of 35 new Chapters and six new groups in existing Chapters has been accomplished in addition to the reorganization and revitalization of five inactive Chapters. Many of the new Chapters were organized, without initiation from the national office, by regional units which have greatly intensified the scope of their activities.
“An augmented cultural committee has extended Hadassah’s educational program and has been encouraged in its work by a growing demand from Hadassah Chapters for material for study in Hebrew. Jewish History and Zionism. “The News Letter.” Hadassah’s official organ, has widened the field of its general activity. With a circulation of 40,000 it has immeasurably aided Hadassah’s cultural and propaganda work. The Educational Council continues to draw an increasing number of university trained women into Hadassah, many of whom serve as propagandists and educational advisors to Junior and Senior groups in New York.
WORK OF PALESTINE SUPPLIES BUREAU
“The Palestine Supplies Bureau sent material to Palestine valued at $227,-800.02,” declared Miss Franklin. “In addition to this undertaking. Hadassah raised for all its purposes since January, 1922, the sum of $1,320,538.34. To this must be added $248,617.90 raised through participation in United Palestine Appeal drives and not transmitted to the national Hadassah office. This brings the total of Hadassah’s income to $1,569,156.24. Even this sum total falls short of the actual total, as numbers of Chapters have not yet submitted their reports. The amount is, however, considerably in excess of the budget of $330,000, which was adopted at the last Convention for the Hadassah Medical Organization (a budget twice that of the preceding year) and the additional budgets of $20,000 for the Infant Welfare and $6,000 for the School Luncheons.”
Ab. Goldberg, president of the Histadruth Ivrith, in his address dwelt at length on the new turn in the policy of the Zionist Organization of America to lay greater emphasis on the value of Hebrew culture and language and its contemplated action in this field.
MR. NEUMANN’S REPORT ON UNITED PALESTINE APPEAL
The attention of the delegates was directed to the figures concerning the outcome of the United Palestine Appeal which were contained in the report of Emanuel Neumann. Mr. Neumann reported that the grand total raised by the United Palestine Appeal is in excess of five million dollars. Mr. Neumann reported that the various regions had raised a total of $4,361,101. Special gifts given through the United Palestine Appeal totalled $640,000 and campaigns in progress now until September 30th, would add an estimated total of $319,000, making a grand total of over $5,000,000 for the United Palestine Appeal for its first year. The number of contributors this year is 160,000 thus far. as compared with less than 100,000 last year. The total cash raised thus far is $2,740,000 and from reports received at Buffalo the cash total is expected to pass the $3,000,000 mark within two weeks. Mr. Neumann recommended a fifty percent increase for next year in view of the success of the campaign this year, making a national quo a of $7,500,000 for next year. He expressed appreication of the invaluable services of Dr. Stephen S. Wise as chairman, and of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, Nahum Sokolow, Dr. Schmarya Levin and Chaim Nachman Bialik. It was Mr. Neumann who recommended that the invitation be extended to Sir Herbert Samuel and Dr. Chaim Weizmann to visit the United States next fall in the interest of the Appeal.
ACHIEVEMENT DUE TO ZIONIST EFFORT ALONE
With only a few exceptions these sums have been raised solely through the efforts and within the ranks of the Zionist public in America. “With only a few exceptions including $2,500 recently contributed to the United Palestine Appeal by David A. Brown, no support came forward from the ranks of the non-Zionist group. These figures represent the real facts in the situation.” Mr. Neumann stated. “They tell a remarkable story of Zionist capability and devotion and constitute a testimony to the strength of the Zionist sentiment in the country. The time has come when our fellow Zionists are beginning to lose their inferiority complex and instead of looking for leadership outside of their own ranks, which seems to have failed them, they begin to look for guidance in the strength that lies within themselves,” he declared.
Quoting a despatch from Moscow to the Chicago Tribune which reported the correspondent’s interview with one of the American Jewish leaders of the work of the Jewish colonization in Russia, to the effect that “American Jews have decided to give preference to Russian colonization work over that of Palestine,” Mr. Neumann declared that if another attack were made on the priority of Palestine the Zionist public would rally to its defense with even greater strength than it did in the past year. He charged that, while previous to the last campaign, only five percent of the funds raised by the Keren Hayesod were contributed by non-Zionists this year, this year the percentage was almost nil.
DR. SCHMARYA LEVIN ADDRESSES CONVENTION
Dr. Schmarya Levin, in his address to the convention, attacked the Russian Colonization Plan. He stated that the argument forwarded by the adherents of the Russian Colonization plan that colonization in Russia is cheaper than in Palestine does not withstand the test in the light of Jewish history. “The values that are involved in such plans are not in the funds required but in the human lives involved and in the cultural, political and moral values connected with it,” he stated. “The advantage which Jews have reaped through the Zionist movement was that they have acquired a knowledge of the terms of international intercourse which rests not on temporary small successes, but on foresight and a far reaching policy,” he said.
Although some interest was displayed by the delegates in the Revisionist issue, the question did not come before the session except in the ruling of Mr. Lipsky that resolutions concerning substantial issues cannot be brought from the floor but must be signed by twenty delegates and submitted through the convention secretary to the resolutions committee.
MR. LIPSKY DISCUSSES COMPLICATIONS
In his address Mr. Lipsky declared: “The economic situation had its effect upon political conditions. The sharpness of political negotiation was due in a measure, to the economic pressure which sought relief from the Mandatory government. Life forced issues that had been dormant. The steady increase in the price of land forced the issue of the waste and government domains, the rise of industry and its difficulties in its incipient stages forced the consideration of export and import duties. The plight of the fourth Aliyah deprived of anticipated resources, provoked administrative restrictions on immigration. Discussion attended every one of these issues, pessimism found expression, dissatisfaction with government became rampant, glib solutions were born, and all of this mass of arid controversy — this seething challenge of the success of our effort — found its way over to America and complicated our work,” Mr. Lipsky stated.
THE EFFECT OF POLISH JEWRY’S PLIGHT
“The plight of Polish Jewry had a direct effect upon us in Palestine, but it also seriously affected us in that it made inevitable the revival of the general Jewish relief movement, aiming to cope with the tragic developments in Eastern Europe. Relief, as such, would have been accepted by us without complaint. We would have taken it as one of the chronic accidents of the Galuth that turns attention away from creative effort to Palliative measures. But this relief action, under the ingratiating mask of relief was coupled with a propaganda to displace Palestine from the focal point of Jewish attention. The Russian Colonization project began to sprawl over the American map, disturbing the placid waters.
REVIEWS FIGHT FOR PALESTINE PRIORITY
“Like a giant, careless of the smaller creatures, this project was pushed into the very center of American Jewish activity. The ideals we had fostered, the position we had acquired, were to be crushed under its heavy boots. Every Jewish instinct dictated cooperation in relief, but to give free play to this instinct meant, to most of us, closing our eyes to a propaganda calculated to undermine the Zionist position, to place a rival in the field against Palestine and Zionism. Just when we had expected our Palestine work to receive the unanimous support of the Jews of America we were compelled to give our time and thought to the reduction and possible elimination of the Russian Colonization menace, which was a threat not only against Palestine, but against the unity which had been established in American Jewry. For our part, we steadfastly refused to be lured into action that would place the responsibility for the breaking of that unity upon us. We consolidated our interests, proclaimed the Zionist ideal, the priority of Palestine and, by the exercise of self-restraint and tact and the unification of all our forces, succeeded in maintaining Palestine, throughout the year, as the one ideal entitled to the repsect and attention of every right-thinking Jew.
“The Russian colonization project has become a pigmy. It blusters and brags and shouts its exaggerations from the house-tops but there is no body to the sounds that emanate from it. It has been forced to the side lines, where it awaits another opportunity to interfere with the national revival. It is a menace that lurks in the rear of our effort.
THE CONTROVERSIES WITHIN THE MOVEMENT
“Added to these external intrusions must be placed the effect upon our constructive work of the factional controversies and propaganda within the Zionist movement which are carried on from one congress to another, and the separatistic activities of factions and parties that hamper our work. It is generally agreed that the Vienna Congress was not a good one. But even such a Congress, followed by a reasonable cooperation of all elements in the Zionist Organization, would not have seriously handicapped us. Some of our best Zionists, for whom we have the greatest respect, have been absorbed in legislative discussions, in the framing of policies and in the debating of theories since the closing of the doors of the Congress, in making issues for the Congress of next year, in undermining the effect of administrative policies that do not agree with their partisan views when, for the success of the movement, laboring as it was during the year under such advense circumstances, there was imperative need for closer cooperation, for the suppression of petty differences, for simple-minded devotion to administrative policy, and for the creation of good-will and good-fellowship between all Zionists,” Mr. Lipsky said.
WARNS AGAINST PARTISAN SPIRIT
“The partisan spirit is a menace to the serious discussion of Zionist questions. It closes men’s minds before they have heard all the evidence. It makes them obstinate in pride, which prevents sober judgement. Its frictions consume energy that could be employed in constructive work. It separates the workers and never unites them; it creates prejudices that are hard to overcome. It prevents the facing of the common enemy with all our strength by absorbing the larger part of our strength and interest in factional disputes that lead to bitterness and mental fatigue. And the same partisan spirit makes impossible a free consideration of administrative policies in connection with our work in Palestine. The American shores have been invaded by this spirit during the year to an extent that makes us anxious for the future of our union, and against that spirit we should lift our voices in the name of the ideal which we, for our part, have ever been ready to serve without partisan pride or reservations.
SAYS ZIONIST CONFIDENCE RESTS ON FACTS
“In spite of these conditions that have beset us during the year, and not overlooking the adverse balance we carry over into the New Year–facing, as we do, an unusual deficit in our Palestine operations, one thing strangely reveals itself. With all these difficulties in mind, Zionist confidence waxes stronger, and it is a confidence that sinks its roots in realities. It is no longer based on blind optimism, but on facts which include struggle and realization. Time was when it was permissible, under the theory that optimism was the badge of every true Zionist, to indulge in hope unrestrained. Whatever could be formulated as hope became dogma, and to doubt was treason. But today our confidence rests upon a mass of facts that give sanction to it. We feel the tingle of life underneath our confidence. In the midst of our doubts, belief in the success of our venture pushes its way into the center of our work. Our plans, our complaints, our set-backs, our victories have to do with a struggle in in which are involved every muscle and nerve of the redeemers of Palestine. The land question becomes an issue and we have trouble with it, but it grows into an issue because of the hunger of Jews for land which is to be their own. The question of import and export duties becomes the subject of complaint and dissatisfaction but it has become a question because of the transformation of a feeble, industrial life-seeking air–into an industrial life that has healthy demands and insists upon having them satisfied. The question of roads is not a platonic interest, for it involves essentials of life for the Jewish colonies. The question of freight charges has to do with Jewish products that must be transported to market, and must be given facilities to meet an actual competition. The delay in the building of the dock at Haifa is a tangible injury to the actual requirements of Jewish industrial life. These are the pains of growth, and while we may complain of the pain, we should rejoice that what we have planted has come out of the ground and is making place for itself.
NO ABANDONMENT OF PRINCIPLE
“Out of this struggle and the development of our strength, has also come the healthy impulse to review what we have done in Palestine. That impulse is not an exclusive possession of any one group or party or faction. It represents the rock-bottom conviction of every reasonable Zionist. This does not involve repudiation of the past, or criticism or abandonment of principle. It is obvious that we dare not let the first layer of creative effort congeal and become a mould or pattern for what is to come after.
“It is a Palestine that looks out upon the East, which is to be opened up to new influence.
MR. LIPSKY SUBMITS FOUR PROPOSALS
“The greatest menace to a reasonable discussion of the future is factional pressure. It is important that an effort be made to bring together all earnest elements in our movement that are uncommitted or unpledged to partisan programs to consider how to establish a new and better order in Palestine in the administration of Zionist affairs. The four proposals I submit are conceived in the thought that we are not a party or faction called upon to formulate programs. We are not a group that starts out with a special ideology, based upon general considerations, with the hope that thru abstract thoughts the reality will be created.
“We simply want to see our way clear to the next station. We are not inclined to leap ahead of time or to commit ourselves in advance and to base policies upon prophesies. We are conscious of only one aim, and that is, so to organize our effort as to enable us to move along as speedily as possible in order to establish, within as short a time as possible, a predominant majority of nationally inspired Jews in Palestine, “Mr. Lipsky stated.
“The proposals are, first, the political situation: We believe it to be of practical, immediate importance to give expression to our thoughts with regard to the political situation. It is needless for us to say that there is universal appreciation of the sincerity of the intentions of the Mandatory Power, and of the establishment by it of law and order and efficient administrative service in Palestine. At the same time it must be declared that the Mandatory Power seems to resist the importunities of the Zionist Organization for an active participation in the establishment of the Jewish National Home. It seems to consider its position as that of an arbiter between contending racial groups. It does not go forward to meet enterprise. It waits to be coerced into action. In our opinion it thus misinterprets the intent of the Mandate which, we submit, involved an active going out in advance of growing needs in the Jewish National Home. The Mandatory was expected to take the lead and not falteringly to give in to pressure, or to resist it. This passitivity of government tends to produce irritation which consumes energy. It has an adverse effect upon the tempo of Jewish development. It is the duty of the convention to formulate its opinion and to give expression to its criticism of the situation.
FRIENDSHIP WITH ARABS UNABATED
“Second, friendship with Arabs. Time and again, expression has been given to the desire of the Jewish people to work in harmony and accord with all the inhabitants of Palestine, who are beginning to realize this and are coming forward and establishing business relations with Jewish firms. Arab young men are entering Jewish schools and there is a general modification of the tone of hostility of even the anti-Zionist Arabic press. Only under conditions of peace and friendship can the Jewish National Home be established. The brotherhood we are looking to see established is, however, being wantonly injured by the propaganda emanating from certain segments of the Zionist movement, that shouts reckless terms of expropriation and self-defence based upon exaggerated misleading and mischievous statements, and employs the jargon of militarism to spread distrust of the safety of Jewish life in Palestine. These utterances are damaging to Zionist interests. They tend to create a false impression of Zionist ideals and intentions. They undermine the discipline of the Zionist Organization and tend to discredit the Zionist membership in the midst of its arduous labors. We submit that this convention should protest against this harmful propaganda.
SEES DANGER OF “FALSE ALTERNATIVE”
“Third, the Russian Colonization project. At our convention in Washington last year, when the question of Russian Colonization was placed on the agenda, there was hesitation to express a premature opinion with regard to the implications of that enterprise. Hesitation and compromise, for whatever purpose, would not be justified now. This convention should state its position with regard to the Russian Colonization project freely and frankly in view of the developments of the past year. It is clear as day that the project has become the center of an organized anti-Zionist propaganda. It has developed into a serious political movement which gathers about it all elements in Jewish life that have hitherto opposed Zionism. It presents a false alternative to Palestine and is being used to undermine the influence of the Zionist movement. We cannot sit quietly by and allow this threat to grow. We should express our well considered views on the whole movement in order that the American Jewish public may be informed of the character of this enterprise which seeks to gain sympathy under the appearance of an appeal for the relief of suffering Jewry.
CHARGES NON-ZIONISTS HAVE REMAINED ALOOF
“Fourth, the Jewish Agency. The Congress at Vienna gave full authority to the Zionist Executive in cooperation with the Actions Committee, to proceed with the organization of the Jewish Agency, with equal representation for non-Zionist groups throughout the world. In the adoption of that piece of legislation the influence of American Zionists was considerable. The hope was that through the extension of the Jewish Agency, a union of all Jewish forces would be created, based upon the acceptance of conditions in the Mandate, and that this union would produce a larger support of our work in Palestine and enhance our prestige and strengthen our political position. We are loyal to the decision of the Vienna Congress. We regret to state, however, that the American group interested by Dr. Weizmann, has not shown the same interest in the Jewish Agency since it has been sanctioned by a Zionist Congress, as it expressed before that action was taken. On the contrary, in spite of the crisis, in Palestine during the past year, which made such unusual demands upon us, and to which the attention of the members of the American group was called, they have held wholly aloof from Palestine interest. They were conspicuous by their absence in the United Palestine Appeal. No action was taken by them to indicate that they felt any sort of responsibility for the fuure of Palestine.
“We therefore feel it our duty to urge the Zionist Executive to pursue the negotiations with vigor in order that definite action may result as speedily as possible. We submit that it is important, for the progress of our cause, that we know whether we shall have the support of non-Zionist elements in Palestine work, or whether we shall be compelled to proceed with our task under the usual conditions of organization and propaganda,” Mr. Lipsky declared.