[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does indicate approval.–Editor.]
The controversy raging between the Joint Distribution Committee and the Zionist Organization of America bringing forth charges and counter charges has found a wide echo throughout the Anglo-Jewish press in the country.
Says the Philadelphia “Jewish Times”:
“What apparently was smoldering has come to the surface. A conflict in Jewish life in America is imminent. A truce which was no truce, as sometimes a peace which is no peace, became evident in the attack and the counter-attack made by the J. D. C. and the Zionist Organization of America respectively. Each side seems to attempt to convince us that it is very much concerned with the other’s interest. The J. D. C. tells us how they love Palestine, just as the Zionists assert that they are truly anxious that the Jews in Russia be helped.
“Then they proceed to do the thing which helps neither, but is bound to harm both. The best that can be said for the Zionist Organization is that its president has grievously blundered by disturbing a situation which might best have been left alone. If an antagonism existed which, in some instances, created a position somewhat harmful, even then the Zionists could have fared better by permitting time to heal it rather than to bring on an open rupture which will eventually create mistrust in the organizations in which they taught us to believe, and which will lead to serious consequences.
“We might have hoped that the J. D. C. could have risen above noticing the attack made at Buffalo. It would, of course, not have been natural that they should, yet here was an opportunity for employing tact and diplomacy which would have done much to raise them in the estimation of American Jewry. If an answer had to be made, why could it not have been written in a more conciliatory language than calling it a ‘charge of sabotage’?”
That there is no fundamental difference of principle involved in the controversy is the opinion of the “Chicago Chronicle.” The paper writes:
“The feud which has broken out between the Joint Distribution Committee and the Zionist Organization of America, and which seems every day to be growing more bitter, is not based on a fundamental opposition in principles. It is true that many Jews who contribute to the campaigns conducted by the J. D. C. because of charitable motives refuse to contribute to Zionist funds because Zionism is a nationalist movement and they are unalterably opposed to Jewish nationalism. Nevertheless even the colonization scheme which the J. D. C. is promoting, does not ipso facto, as some have tried to make out, establish it as a competitor of the Zionist organization and its colonization projects in Palestine. One may with absolute consistency, and many have, contributed both to the J. D. C. colonization fund and the Keren Hayesod, or Zionist colonization fund.
“Many Zionists, of course, feel that it is almost a sacrilege to spend any money on Jewish colonization anywhere outside of Palestine, but on the other hand plenty of Zionists will grant you that it is impossible, for the present at any rate, to settle in the Palestinian colonies all the Jews who want to and should be established on the land. The only alternative is to colonize thousands of Jewish families on land which seems suitable for the purpose and to which we have access, wherever it may be. There is no denying that it would be much more acceptable to the great majority of us if conditions were such that all colonization projects could be concentrated in Palestine. But since that is not the case, we should be realists enough to face the facts and do the best we can under the circumstances.
“Men will be boys, however, and allow personal matters to stand between them and their duties to the public which they are serving. If personal ambitions and personal animosities were shelved we would be rid of the root of the matter in this feud between the Zionist Organization of America and the J. D. C.”
A critical view is also taken by the “Canadian Jewish Chronicle” of Montreal. Writing in that paper, Rabbi J. L. Zlotnik, secretary of the Zionist Organization of Canada, says:
“There is something fundamentally wrong with our American friends, that they cannot keep their peace. On the eve of the United Palestine Appeal, we had the Wise Controversy and now Mr. Lipsky had to get into the limelight in such an inauspicious moment by a most unpardonable quarrel. In the face of such a situation, inexplicable and fraught with calamitous possibilities as it is, one must involuntarily recall the words of the prophet: ‘For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall vanish.’
“One feels all the bitterness of these words still more keenly while recalling the undignified phrases and the abusive language which leaders in Israel, the heads of the Joint Distribution Committee, resorted to in their anger while condescending to answer the Zionists. It is also astonishing to see how little these great men of our generation know of Palestine, as they can speak of ‘hardy agriculturists of Tel-Aviv.’ Are they so surprisingly ignorant as not even to know that Tel-Aviv is a big industrial, commercial and educational centre without any hardy or feeble agriculturists as citizens?
“For a moment these gentlemen admitted that Palestine has to receive the lion’s share from our funds, because of wholesome sentiment and the desire to open a place of refuge for the Jews of Eastern Europe.’ but before they arrived at the end of their lengthy reply they forgot all this and started to deny, may even to dispute and ridicule the priority right of Palestine.
“It is amazing indeed to see how for them the work in Palestine seems to be work for so many individuals who live on a given date in Palestine, without comprehending that the whole work of Zionists in Palestine is for Jews the world over and for generations to come.”