Dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs in the administration of the Zionist Organization of America and sharp criticism directed against Dr. Chaim Weizmann and Louis Lipsky for the recent exchange of letters between Dr. Weizmann and Mr. Marshall, which it was alleged contained a rebuke to the previous policy of American Zionist leaders with regard to Russian colonization, was voiced at a meeting of Zionist workers held Wednesday night at the Hotel Pennsylvania.
The meeting was called by the Zionist Council of Greater New York and was presided over by Carl Sherman, president of the Council. The invitations sent out for the meeting stated that the subjects to be discussed by the leaders of the Zionist districts in Greater New York were: (a) the Marshall-Weizmann exchange of letters and agreement on the Jewish Agency, (b) the strengthening of the Zionist Organization of New York.
Sharp words against outstanding members of the Zionist administration and Dr. Weizmann were uttered in the heated and prolonged discussion.
Humbling of the Zionist movement by the steps which preceded the conclusion of the Weizmann-Marshall agreement and inadequacy in the administration were the charges made by the speakers. While some district leaders defended the administration and while the chairman was instructed to invite Mr. Lipsky to a forthcoming session to explain the situation, the meeting wound up with the election of a resolutions committee which was charged with the task of formulating a program of action to remedy the situation. Dr. A. J. Rongy was appointed chairman of the Resolutions Committee. The other members chosen are David Freiberger, M. A. Zeldin, Isidore Hassan, Dr. A. Coralnik, I. Schuster and J. Rudazsky.
M. A. Zeldin, director of the New York campaign of the United Palestine Appeal, Dr. A. Coralnik, Michael Salit, Bernard G. Richards, Mr. Marek, Charles Cowan and others participated in the discussion.
“I do not blame Dr. Weizmann so much,” Mr. Zeldin declared, “but our leaders who permitted Dr. Weizmann to conduct negotiations vitally affecting the situation in America without insisting on their right to be consulted. If we had to go through the humiliation to which Dr. Weizmann has subjected the Zionist movement by catering in the way he did to David A. Brown, why should we not humbly beg the men we drove from us, Brandeis and Mack, to return?
“When I came back from Palestine and heard that Judge Mack had not been chosen chairman of the United Palestine Appeal and that he was not even approached, I was shocked.”
One of the delegates made a charge against Emanuel Neumann concerning the appointment of the national chairmanship of the United Palestine Appeal. A heated discussion followed, in which it was declared that the original understanding was that the chairman of the United Palestine Appeal was not to be appointed at the Buffalo convention.
Mr. Zeldin then offered what he described as the inside story of how the exchange of letters between Dr. Weizmann and Mr. Marshall came about. “When I approached Weizmann, urging the necessity of electing a chairman for the New York campaign, Dr. Weizmann told me that a recent meeting at the home of Dr. Held, Judge Otto Rosalsky had been mentioned and that it seemed that Rosalsky was inclined to accept.
“Up to a very few days before the meeting in Mecca Temple, none of the leaders of the American Zionist administration were consulted by Dr. Weizmann on this subject. I understand that a few days earlier, Mr. Lipsky was informed by Dr. Weizmann of the text of the proposed letter to Mr. Marshall. Mr. Lipsky, following the example of Dr. Weizmann, did not consult Dr. Wise, who had rendered so much service to the last campaign or the other members of the administration. If our leadership is of this meek nature, Weizmann was, in my opinion, perfectly right in walking over their heads and ignoring them. We are here to discuss the question of how to strengthen the Zionist Organization in America. This is possible only when we have a strong leadership.
“At the time of the Brandeis administration, we had personalities who enhanced the prestige of the Zionist movement and made the influence of the Zionist movement felt. When the Lipsky administration came into power, the prestige was again enhanced by the principles and morale it represented. Today, because of the meek attitude they have taken, we have no more strength from either source,” Mr. Zeldin concluded.
Dr. Coralnick pointed out that it was unjustifiable to put all the blame on the American Zionist movement and charged Weizmann with ambiguity in the matter of Russian colonization. “When the Zionist leaders consulted Dr. Weizmann for his stand on this matter, he answered vaguely, colonization is perhaps all right, but you know with the Soviets and conditions in Russia, it cannot turn out well. On the other hand, we learned that he wrote altogether differently to Mr. Marshall. Before the Buffalo convention. Mr. Lipsky went to London to consult Dr. Weizmann. It is hardly likely that he did not take up this matter with Dr. Weizmann. What had happened in this country would have been impossible in any Zionist Federation in Europe. Only the leaders of the American Zionist Organization would permit themselves to be ignored and dealt with as they were. Such an organization must reap the consequences. We must demand of Lipsky that he resign.”
David Freiberger of the Bensonhurst district spoke against the Jewish Agency, saying that the Zionists are bound to be more influenced by the non-Zionists than vice versa.
Michael Salit also demanded the resignation of the Zionist administration, declaring that influential Jewish business men would refuse to work for Palestine if they will be asked to work with the present administration and it was therefore in the interests of the Zionist movement that these men resign. Mr. Salit further contended that the leaders of the Zionist movement should not be paid officials and that only the secretaries and other executive workers should receive salaries. He criticized the Zionist administration for having permitted the situation in the American Zion Commonwealth to become worse and worse during the past year and to reach the present critical stage. He criticized Lipsky for chosing as his intimate collaborator Mr. Abe Goldberg. “Does any Zionist ever know what opinion Mr. Goldberg holds on any subject?” he asked. He expressed his complete confidence in Marshall and Warburg and urged the delegates to take steps which would enable the carrying out of the agreement between Weizmann and Marshall by establishing a new administration.
Mr. Salit and Mr. Surdut, who spoke in a similar vein, declared that they were speaking in behalf of a business-men’s group.
Bernard G. Richards expressed his resentment at the letter of Dr. Weizmann in which the apology to Mr. Brown was made for what was believed to be the policy of Zionist leadership in the matter of Russian colonization. “Dr. Weizmann should not have listened to what the other party said of American Zionist leadership, because it lies in the nature of things that we should have to encounter the antagonism of the anti-Zionist group during our work of implanting the movement in this country. It is a fight for a sincere, earnest and truthful principle and belief. To be rebuked for this belief and for carrying out the policy of Zionist leadership is indeed humbling and unjustified.”
A letter was read from Rabbi Israel Levinthal in which he heartily endorsed the Marshall-Weizmann agreement.
A Business Men’s Council to cooperate with the United Palestine Appeal in New York, under the chairmanship of Judge Otto Rosalsky, has been organized, a statement issued by the head-quarters of the Appeal, at 114 Fifth Avenue, announced.
The Business Men’s Council which will assist in raising New York’s 1927 quota of $2,500,000 toward the national U.P.A. of $7,500,000, includes among its prominent members the following well known businessmen: Bernard Semel, Samuel Rothenberg, Albert Rosenblatt. Israel Unterberg, S. C. Lamport and others.
The organization of this Council is a result of the successful termination of the negotiations on the Jewish Agency between Dr. Weizmann and Louis Marshall, the statement of the United Palestine Appeal says.
Endorsement of the agreement arrived at by Dr. Weizmann and Mr. Marshall on the Jewish Agency was voted by the Executive Committee of the Down Town Zionist District of New York at its last meeting.
The Executive of the Down Town Zionist District also expressed approval of the action of the leaders of the Zionist Organization of America in connection with the consummation of the Weizmann Marshall agreement. The resolution adopted by the Executive Committee stated:
“The Executive Committee of the Down Town Zionist District greets with satisfaction the peace-agreement signed by the Zionists and the Marshall group, which leads to the realization of the Jewish Agency. Especially satisfying is the fact that the negotiations which brought about these results are in agreement and have the approval of the leaders of the Zionist Organization of America, with Louis Lipsky at its head.
“We reiterate and reaffirm our complete support to our president and leader of the Zionist Organization of America and to the World Zionist leadership and to their political direction in which we see the safeguarding of the higher interests of the Jewish Homeland in Palestine,” the resolution declared.