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French Jews Oppose Zurich Conference on Jewish Rights, Says Berl

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

The French Jews are not generally in favor of the idea which moved the Committee of Jewish Delegations and the American Jewish Congress to convoke an International Jewish Conference for the Defense of Jewish Rights, Alfred Berl, the editor of “Paix et Droit,” the organ of the Alliance Isaselite Universelle, said in the course of a statement of the J. T. A. here today.

According to the idea of these two organizations. Mr. Berl said, this Conference is to draw up a scheme for an International Jewish Bureau. which would be charged with the co-ordination of the activity of the big Jewish organizations, such as the Alliance Israelite Universelle in France the Joint Foreign Committee in England the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden in Germany. etc. which have been working in this sphere till now. So far as the French Jews are concerned, such an organization would be contrary to our conception of the rights and duties of the Jews in their respective father lands. We hold that all Jews are united by the religious tie. but not by nationality.

“That is so far as the principle of the thing goes. But the scheme also seems to hold out few practical advantages and many dangers. Ten years experence of the work of the Jewish organizations I have mentioned has proved to us that each organization ought to act in accordanc with the interests of its own country. Whatever is done on these lines will be more effectual than the activity of a Jewish International. The Alliane Israelite Universelle, for instance, has frequently succeeded, with the aid of the French Government. In solving difficulties in the countries in which our co-religionists are oppressed, as in former Russia and in the post war period in Poland. Ronmama. etc., in regard to the question of the Numerus Clausus, for example.

“The work of the other organizations. like the Joint Foreign Committee has proved the same point.

“The discreet diplomatic action of these Jewish organizations seems to us preferable to the noisy discussions at the meetings of a Congress setting itself up as a Parliament.

“Besides, the Jews of each country have their own interests to defend. By taking part in such a conference and becoming absorhed in an international organization, they run the risk of compromising themselves with their Government.

“The idea of co-ordination too, which is put forward by the Committee or Jewish Delegations. does not mean anything really new. The big Jewish organizations never undertake anything without a preliminary agreement among themselves. Their interventions are not therefore chaotic as is asserted; they are paralleled and therefore much more efficacious.

“There is also the point that the proposed organization would have pretensions at playing the part of a large international organ. There is already in existence a large international organ, the League of Nations: which is under the influence of the representatives of the three Big Powers of Europe; that is to say, of the very statesmen through whom the Alliance and other similar societies can act effectively through personal relations with the high representatives of their Governments.”

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