“I am less concerned about British than Jewish cooperation in the upbuilding of Palestine,” Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and vice-chairman of the Zionist Actions Committee, declared in a statement to the press on his return from Europe Thursday on the “President Roosevelt.”
“Britain’s failure to cooperate may somewhat retard, but Jewish failure might postpone the desired end to a far-off day. As long as European lands remain under the prevalent economic blight, American Jewry must bear the largest share of an ennobling burden. Dr. Weizmann is to reach America in October. Who knows but that his coming may serve to make possible in one way or another the single-minded support on the part of all American Jews of the supreme purpose to recreate Jewish life in the Jewish land, offering peace to Jews physically or spiritually homeless.” Dr. Wise declared.
Dr. Wise spoke of the great loss America has sustained in the passing of the former president of Harvard University, Charles Eliot. “America has known no wiser and nobler counsel than came from his lips for half a century upon all great themes of American and world-interest. Truly there is no Eliot left to die,” Dr. Wise stated.
Dr. Wise spoke of the grief of Jews in all lands over the death of Israel Zangwill. “He was an unique genius, who dedicated his gifts to the highest ends of life. The humblest Jew of earth loved him as brother, for brother he was to all his fellow-Jews, ever-mindful of their needs, ever-zealous for their rights, ever-reverent touching their dreams.”
Dr. Wise has just returned after a two-month stay in Europe. He was in attendance at the London International Liberal Jewish Conference, which he said he fears may result in a schismatic movement away from the centre of Jewish life unless it is to be saved by the temper of its leader. Claude Montefiore of London. “I found little in common among the delegates from Germany, England, and America save the hardly liberal determination to make a last concerted stand against the Zionist conception. Not the courage of the leaders of a minority, but the insistence that their lot as Israelites shall be divorced from the lot of millions of homeless Jews! Up to this time, history has been on the side of completely loyal Jews, not on the side of the percentage Jews who limit their fellowship.”
Dr. Wise reported on the preliminary Conference held in London early in August, at the instance of the American Jewish Congress. This meeting, made up for the most part of Jewish members of European parliaments, resolved to call a Conference of democratically organized Jewish bodies to be held in August, 1917, on problems of Jewish minority rights in East European lands. Dr. Wise will make a special report on this Conference at an early meeting of the Administrative and Executive Committees of the American Jewish Congress.
Dr. Wise spoke with enthusiasm of the deliberations of the General Zionist Council in London in July. “It is a story of wise and steadfast progress, with the British Government about to fulfill the spirit as well as the letter of the Balfour Declaration,” he said.