Louis Lipsky, President of the Zionist Organization of America, on the eve of his departure on Monday for Basle, to attend the Fifteenth Zionist Congress issued a statement in which he declared that the British Government, by taxing the settlers right and left, has placed “an intolerable burden upon the pioneers,” and said that Great Britain “must meet us half-ways, at least.”
“We shall have forty-eight American delegates at the Basle Congress out of a total of probably not more than 250,” Mr. Lipsky stated. “It is a representative delegation conscious of its grave responsibilities. Our comrades in Europe and Palestine see in us the only fresh, creative, hopeful element in the Movement, upon whom reliance may be placed for continuous and ever-increasing support, and also for unbiased counsel We are free from prejudice. The party spirit has not taken hold of us. Our outlook is practical. The stabilizing value of our influence cannot be over-estimated in view of conditions that prevail in Palestine and in Europe.
“Notwithstanding the atmosphere of criticism which envelops us, and the detailed scrutiny which is given every particle of Zionist work done in Palestine the fact is that a sound foundation has been laid in Palestine for the building of the Jewish National Home. But better methods are imperative. A movement cannot allow itself to be pushed forward regardless of its reserves and possibilities in finances and man-power. Such influences unchecked are bound to plunge us into serious trouble. The more insistent the push of enthusiasm and optimism the greater the trouble. The Movement must be provided with effective brakes. The Congress will have to forge these brakes as a matter of self-protection. An administration should be set up in Palestine that can control the stuation.
“We have learned a great deal during the past six or eight years. It was a period of experimentation. By not daring to do the new thing we should not have created that fine national, self-sacrificing spirit which to-day characterizes the Yishub. We should not have established the Hebrew National School system. We should not have created an agricultural class. We should not have brought 100,000 Jews into the country. We should not have built up the Keren Hayesod Agency for the gathering of funds.
“But in those fields in which ample experiment has been made. it is time to consolidate results and to build upon the certain and known and not to pursue the doubtful and the unknown,” Mr. Lipsky declared. “Especially is this true in the field of agriculture in which better economic methods are imperative. The Agricultural Unit of the Non-Partisan Experts’ Commission now in Palestine will, no doubt, report authoritatively on the important aspect of our work. This report should be awaited with patience and before going any further along the old ways, the old colonies we have set up should be consolidated and completed. There is a vast amount of improvement that rests with us Zionists; that is conceded. But we should be blind if we did not see that an important factor in the creation of conditions that will allow for normal progress is government.
“At present, taxation is not imposed from an economic point of view, but almost exclusively from the fiscal or revenue point of view. Taxation handicaps industry and commerce. Taxation is a burden upon agriculture. It is monstrously unfair that in addition to the high prices we have to pay for the purchase of land, the Government should impose an immediate oppressive tax upon cultivated land, thus placing an intolerable burden upon the pioneers,” he said. “We cannot go on pouring money into the country and having the Government tax us right and left in order to balance its budget. It is not giving adequate attention to the problems of a government of a developing country. The permanent solution of our present difficulties is impossible without governmental cooperation. The government must meet us halfways, at least. The natural difficulties in Palestine are amply onerous without adding governmental obstacles. This is a matter on which the Congress will have to take determined action.
“The good-will and sympathy of all American Jews should accompany the deliberations of the Basle Congress. We hope that credence will not be given to wild rumor. The caucus, the preliminary conference, the general debate are not to be taken as indicative of the policies the Congress in plenary sittings will adopt. All parties in Zionism are anxious to further the national aim. They never differ as to how this is to be done. The good-will of the Jewish world will help a great deal in arriving at beneficial conclusions. We hope that out of the deliberations of the Congress will come the material for making possible a prosperous New Year’s work for Zionism,” he stated.
Harry Kalisch, former City Attorney of Newark, N. J., has been appointed a commissioner of the Essex County Tax Board by Governor Moore. Mr. Kalisch is a nephew of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Kalisch of New Jersey.