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Future of Jewish Agency Plan Discussed at Zionist Convention in Buffalo

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

During the discussion on the Jewish Agency at the twenty-ninth annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America Mr. Emanuel Neumann, general director of the United Palestine Appeal, urging the adoption of the resolution stated:

“The Zionist Convention has devoted considerable time annually to the discussion of the Jewish Agency. This resolution might be made more emphatic, but whatever resolution we adopt here with regard to the Jewish Agency we ought not to leave this Convention under any misapprehension as to what the situation really is, and what our relation to the efforts taking place have been. There has been a great deal of loose talk, irresponsible patter, irresponsible outpourings with regard to the Zionist Organization of America and its administration on the matter of the Jewish Agency. I believe that this discussion with us and them ((the Agency group) should remain on a high level.

“The responsibility or failure of the Jewish Agency plan to be completely achieved or realized does not rest exclusively or entirely upon the gentlemen of that group. Some Zionists have also had a great deal to do with the failure of the Agency to be achieved, and those Zionists are not those who are addressing you here or sitting on the platform, but others. This discussion has been going on for three years or more, and there has been in our midst a group of people, not here but abroad, who have consistently and persistently fought the attempt to extend the Jewish Agency without due regard to the actual situation. If this had not been the case, the conjuncture of events which took place this year might have been averted. Before we pass on to criticism of this American group, we have the right and duty to say that they have hampered the attempts of the Zionist Organization to bring about the realization of the Agency.

“The question of the Agency is not a question of contracts. The social world is governed by understandings, faith, mutual confidence, If this Agency is to be materialized, it must rest on a basis of mutual confidence and trust on the part of the Zionists and non-Zionists. Something has happened during the past year to seriously impair that confidence-our confidence in them, and perhaps I might say their confidence in us.

“We must bear in mind that the resolution adopted at the Congress specifies only the general lines along which the Jewish Agency should be formed. Those resolutions do not say that we must enter into a partnership with this or that particular group of non-affiliated Jews, non-Zionists. That question is left broadly and widely open under those resolutions. Under the same Congress resolutions we could have a non-Zionist representation in Poland or Latvia on an entirely different basis. The hands of the Executive Committee were left free, subject to the control of the Actions Committee with regard to the application of these Congress resolutions, and in matters of this kind what is important, above all, is the understandings between the parties, and secondly, the application of the Congress resolutions. What has transpired-I want to say, for myself, my confidence in the Jewish Agency plan began to weaken long before the Crimean plan developed. It has been my duties to assist in the preliminary efforts in the calling of the non-partisan Conferences A and B, and I must say that from the start I was impressed, rather adversely, by the slow process in which the negotiations were proceeding. I laid this at first entirely to the fact that this was the method of approach of the people with whom were dealing. As time advanced, as the negotiations progressed, or did not progress I should say, it became increasingly clear that the group with whom we were negotiating were not yet fully alive to, fully cognizant of the responsibilities that were involved in the Jewish Agency.

“The question before us today is not, whether or not Mr. Marshall had good or bad motives or intentions-I say this with regard to the Jewish Agency and not Crimea-it seemed increasingly clear to us that those gentlemen with whom we were negotiating with regard to the Jewish Agency were not in a position to influence the minds of their followers with the responsibility involved in the Jewish Agency. I am in favor, substantially, of the resolution presented, that we urge upon the World Zionist Executive that they bring these negotiations to a head.

“We the Zionists of America, are entitled to know, and to know soon, what is the status of this matter. Our policies depend on it. Our work is hampered by the situation and we cannot allow the Agency to remain in this country in a state of suspended animation-either we influence it with life or get it out of the way. Furthermore, we must express to the World Zionist Organization that we have a right to know what the adoption of the Jewish Agency resolution will actually mean, what it will mean to Palestine and what it will mean in the furtherance of the Jewish colonization work in Palestine. We have a right to state that in the application of the Congress resolution, the World Zionist Executive and the Actions Committee shall so deal with it as to insure the Zionist Organization that measure of cooperation under the Jewish Agency to which we are entitled. If, for one reason or another, these negotiations should not be concluded, the Executive, of course, has the right and may seek such other methods of carrying out the intent of the Congress resolutions as may be deemed fit. The Palestine Mandate leaves the Zionist Organization perfectly free, the Palestine Mandate merely suggests that the Zionist Organization take such steps as to insure the cooperation of all sections and classes of the Jewish people, and there are many ways that can be devised for cooperation. I hope that in expressing ourselves we bear in mind that we are not dealing with a question of a personal breach of faith by this or that individual, but that a situation has arisen which we could not foretell before, but we must call attention that in our negotiations now this condition must be taken into consideration,” Mr. Neumann stated.

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