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Chief Rabbi of France Opposes Conference on Jewish Rights

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The projected Conference on Jewish Rights convoked by the Committee of Jewish Delegations in Paris in association with the American Jewish Congress is inopportune and ill-advised, the Chief Rabbi of France, M. Israel Levi, said in the course of a statement he made to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here.

“The Peace Conference of 1919,” he said, “might have justified the existence at that time of the Committee of Jewish Delegations, but no more then than today did it represent the totality of Jews. It was never given a mandate to speak for all the Jews.”

The Chief Rabbi expressed himself in agreement with Mr. Louis Marshall on this question.

“Mr. Leo Motzkin, who is at the head of this Committee,” he said, “has never made a secret of the fact that he clams the right of national minorities for the Jews. If such a demand is brought before the League of Nations, it will cause much difficulty. Such claims are contrary to the spirit and the letter of the Peace Treaties, which nowhere acknowledge the character of ‘national’ for the Jewish minorities.

“There are in various countries,” the Chief Rabbi went on, “organizations like the Alliance Israelite in Paris, the Joint Foreign Committee in London and the American Jewish Committee in New York, which have for many years engaged in questions of general Jewish interest.” He did not know whether these organizations had been invited to take part in the Congress, he said. They certainly had a right to express their views on the question, and if they were to take part he did not believe that they would agree with the Committee of Jewish Delegations on the matter of national rights. The result would be that a cleavage would become apparent between the Jewish organizations and there would be justification for the League of Nations in taking no action at all on Jewish matters, pointing to the dissension existing between the Jewish representatives themselves.

“Such a state of things could not benefit the Zionists either,” the Chief Rabbi concluded. “They have just entered into an agreement with Mr Louis Marshall for the purpose of extending the Jewish Agency provided for in the Palestine Mandate by including non-Zionists. What would happen if the Zionists at the same time raised the issue of Jewish national rights in the European countries?”

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