[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 announcement made by Soviet President Kalinin that an autonomous Jewish territory, or Republic, would be established in Russia, has evoked various comments from a number of well known American Jews.
In response to an inquiry of the “N. Y. American.” Mr. Louis Marshall declared:
“I do not think there is any intention on the part of the Russian Government to establish an independent nation in the sense that we would mean by those words. Neither is there any desire on the part of the Jews to have such a settlement in Russia. All that the Jews want there is a chance to live. The proposal is more in the nature of local self-government. That is, the Jews may pick their local officers in sections where they are in the majority. It’s a great deal better, of course, than the tyranny and starvation under the czars.”
Dr. E. L. Solomon said: “The proposed establishment of an independent Jewish nation in Russia is very interesting, and I would like to see a large and significant group of our people under their own rule, particularly for the spiritual advantages.”
An adverse opinion was voiced by Dr. Stephen Wise and Carl Sherman.
“I am not interested in the establishment of a Jewish Republic in the Crimea,” Dr. Wise stated, “and I assume that a certain group of American Jews will be horrified at the proposal to create an independent or semi-independent national life for Jews in Russia. I am interested in the establishment of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine.”
Carl Sherman expressed his opinion thus:
“I am very much opposed to such an idea, particularly to having a Jewish nation as part of the Soviet Government under Communist rule. The history of the Jews in Russia does not augur well for such a project and although conditions are somewhat better now, I think it is dangerous to deal with a known historical animosity that is liable to break out anew at any time.”
MR. ROCKEFELLER’S GIFT
Mr. Rockefeller’s gift of $50,000 to the Federation drive is seen by the N. Y. “Times” as “in itself substantial testimony to the efficiency of the methods of the Jewish philanthropic agencies.”
The “Times” takes occasion to say that Mr. Rockefeller’s gift carries with it the suggestion that an even wider cooperation might be employed, and expresses its support for the idea of a common philanthropy chest to include Jews and non-Jews.
“When the Christian gives generously to the support of Jewish philanthropy and the Jew gives with like generosity for non-Jewish relief,” the paper writes, “why should there not be a common effort to help all, without regard to creed or race? A step in that direction is the cooperation which has come about through the Welfare Council. A further step will be taken if and when the major agencies come together under one roof, as is proposed, and so make working together more easily practicable and effectual.”
THE PETITION TO QUEEN MARIE
The appeal addressed to Queen Marie over the signature of a number of distinguished representatives of various religious faiths in America asking for greater consideration on the part of the rulers of Roumania for the religious minorities in that country, is commented on by the New York “Telegram” of Nov. 22.
“If Roumania,” writes the paper, “is seriously desirous of taking a place among the enlightened nations of the earth, the forward looking free lands, one sure way to prove to the outsider that she is sincere is to write into her fundamental law the provision that religious freedom shall exist from one end of the land to the other. And Queen Marie is quite too well versed in statecraft not to perceive the cogency of the petitioners’ arguments.”
The subject of the oppression of religious minorities in Roumania is discussed at length in the N. Y. “Times” of Sunday by the Rev. E. Y. Mullins, president of the Baptist World Alliance and of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville.
Asserting that “Roumania, whose Queen is now our guest, is one of the most reactionary, if not the most reactionary and medieval of European countries in its treatment of religious minorities,” Dr. Mullins marshalls an array of facts to substantiate his statement.
“What can be done to bring about a change in Roumania?” Dr. Mullins asks.
“For one thing,” he urges, “the League of Nations could very well raise the question with Roumania whether she is observing her treaty obligations. But some member of the League would have to raise the question. An effort is being made to secure the consent of some member of the League to do this. It remains to be seen what may be accomplished thus.
“But secondly, and probably more effective as a method is the creation of a public sentiment against what is going on in Roumania. Roumania has great respect for the opinion of mankind at large. Government officials in Roumania would be much more disposed to enforce the rights of religious minorities but for the influence of the State Church. Outside pressure is needed to counteract this pressure from within.”