Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.--Editor.]

The attitude taken by the Chicago Conference on the question of Palestine is greeted by the President of the Zionist Organization of America, Louis Lipsky, as an indication that Palestine reconstruction will be given the support of all elements of American Jewry.

Writing editorially in the “New Palestine,” (Oct. 15) official organ of the Zionist Organization of America, Mr. Lipsky declares:

“We greet with satisfaction the goodwill and earnest appreciation of the place of Palestine in Jewish life to which expression was given at the Relief Conference held in Chicago this past week. We take the action recorded there as a token of an intention to give Palestine the united, cordial, sympathetic support of all classes and elements in American Jewry. The time to give support to the Palestine enterprise is now. The Zionist Organization claims no monopoly in the work for Palestine. Whoever feels a desire to be helpful in the establishment of the Jewish National Home is urged to give substantial form to that desire, and to come forward without delay.

“Palestine is attainable. The honor of the Jewish people is involved. It rests with us either to protect the Jewish honor, and to make a future for the Jewish people in the ancient land; or to betray our trust and responsibility, and let disintegrating influences, and partisan clashes, destroy the one great opportunity which has been given to this generation to realize the hopes and ideals of the Jewish people.”

The view that real peace and harmony on the question of Palestine and relief cannot be attained by American Jewry until there will be a general realization that the Jewish question is not one single question answerable through one single remedy, is voiced by S. Niger, in the “Day” (Oct. 16).

The Jews, Mr. Niger contends, are turning in “the vicious circle of an illusory Jewish question,” each group or party believing that there is one remedy for all the Jewish ills.

“So far as the purely practical purposes of the money collections are concerned, the situation is indeed more hopeful now than it was before that there will be a cessation of controversies and quarrels and an effort at mutual help will be made. But as a matter of fact, is the controversy merely a practical one?

“No,” Mr. Niger believes, “there are programatic and psychological differences which it is much more difficult to settle. Hence, if it really desired to attain a sure and definite peace, we cannot remain content with superficial results, with purely business points dealing with practical work. We must dig deeper. We must dig down to the root of all the differences of opinion.

“The disputes existing between the Zionists and the J. D. C. would cease,” the writer observes in conclusion, “and a mass effort would be aroused if we stopped turning in the vicious circle of the illusory ‘Jewish question’ and devoted ourselves more to the actual problems of the Jews. We would certainly find no one solution to all questions. But then we would realize that there is a possibility to utilize many different part solutions, we would heal each limb with its special remedy and gradually rehabilitate the whole organism.”

In the eyes of the “American Israelite,” (Oct. 14) the significance of the Chicago Conference lies in the fact that “it means the presenting of a solid front against all other projects, whatever their origin or objects, singly or in combination of any kind, who have hitherto sought or may seek in the future to embarrass or hamper the gathering of funds or their distribution through the J. D. C.,” and in the conclusion of the leaders “to determine and then concentrate on a single method of constructive effort, to have but one great well-considered objective, and to adhere rigidly to whatever plan is decided on, leaving any departure to the discretion of those on the ground as exigency may require.”

The historical significance of the Chicago Conference is dwelt on editorially by the “American Hebrew” of Oct. 15, wherein we read, in part:

“The Chicago Conference of the Joint Distribution Committee and the United Jewish Campaign will be remembered as one of the outstanding events in the philanthropic annals of the Jews in America. Masterful indeed were the reports submitted by Dr. Rosen and Dr. Kahn in presenting the fundamental facts regarding the remarkable development of the Jewish colonists in Russia, and the reconstruction and relief in the other East-European countries. Neither of these able men attempted eloquence. They confined themselves strictly to discussion of the practical side of their subjects. The most dramatic and inspiring moment of the Conference, however, was reached when Louis Marshall took the platform. His eloquent account and review of the great humanitarian service rendered by the Joint Distribution Committee since its inception thrilled every man and woman who heard him.”

THE CONTROVERSY BETWEEN THE ZIONISTS AND NON-ZIONISTS IN GERMANY

The “wrangle” between Zionists and non-Zionists in Germany, described by Michael Wurmbrand, in a letter from Berlin, published in the Jewish press, is the subject of comment in the “Philadelphia Jewish Times” of Oct. 15, which remarks:

“We say it is interesting because what he (Wurmbrand) says of Germany may apply with equal forces to a similar situation in other countries. The Zionists, who insist upon calling themselves the Jewish Nationalists, seem to encounter everywhere the objection of the native Jew. Everywhere they are being told that a man can have but one country. He can serve no other. The eastern Jews who meet the westerners in Germany, in England, or even in America are thus adjudged.

“We sometimes wonder whether that is not merely a convenient excuse for the native, who, as Mr. Wurmbrand points out, so often snubs the newcomer–whether the difference of opinion which many try to pretend is a difference of conviction is not merely due to a difference in social strata. There seems to be an inborn desire among Jews here and everywhere to set up social barriers and Zionism unhappily offers them the means of creating the very thing which we are apt to denounce in others, as we denounce the Gentile, for instance, who discriminates against the Jew. A little deeper analysis will probably disclose that it is not Zionism at all which is the cause of this ‘wrangle’–but the social differences which are unfortunately emphasized among our own.”

The “American Israelite,” discussing the same subject, takes a different view. The paper writes:

“He (Wurmbrand) complains that the native German Jew has always looked down upon the Eastern Jew, of whom there has been a large influx into Germany recently. This feeling has been intensified by the fact that the native German Jew is a non-Zionist and the immigrant into Germany is usually not only a Zionist, but a nationalistic Zionist. The German Jew naturally feels that this attitude of the Eastern Jew in view of the strong anti-Semitic movement is dangerous, and consequently he fights it. However, in modified form this wrangle exists in every country and is intensified by the Zionists’ intolerance exhibited towards those Jews who will not contribute to the support of the Zionist movement.”

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