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Jewish Minority Rights Council Created at Zurich Conference

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The creation of a Council on the Rights of Jewish Minorities, membership in which is to be open to all Jewish organizations dealing with the defense of Jewish rights, and Jewish parliamentary representatives, was decided upon at the Conference on Jewish Rights in session here.

The Conference acted on the report presented by Dr. Leon Reich of Lemberg in behalf of the Organization Committee which proposed that the Committee of Jewish Delegations, established in 1919 during the Peace Confere ice be reorganized and renamed.

The organization is to work through a biennial conference and will have headquarters in Geneva.

Before this plan was finally adopted a difference of opinion arose among the delegates as to the name of the organization. Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum of Warsaw insisted that the name Committee of Jewish Delegations, be retained. He was opposed by Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Bernard G. Richards and Rabbi Heller. The changing of the name was decided upon by a majority vote, mainly due to the support of the American delegates.

The charge that the clauses in the international peace treaties guaranteeing the rights of minorities are in no place observed and even elementary safety to life and property and the principle of equal rights are not secured was made in a resolution introduced at the conference by Deputy Gruenbaum on behalf of the Committee on National Rights.

The resolution proposed by Deputy Gruenbaum formulated the demand for internal autonomy of the Jewish communities in such countries where large Jewish masses dwell. The resolution urged that the organs of the Jewish communities be recognized by the respective governments as legal bodies created through election for the purpose of administering the internal affairs of the community, that the rights of Hebrew and Yiddish be recognized by the states, that the governments allocate a proportionate amount of the state school funds for the Jewish schools.

Closer cooperation between the Jewish communities in the West and the East was urged by Dr. Stephen S. Wise in his address during which he said:

“The safeguarding of rights is not a boon to be conferred but a responsibility to be shared. There are no bars, save timidity or pride, to consultation and cooperation between the Jews of the East and the West. Charity relief is not enough. We cannot rest satisfied with the low pragmatism of millions for distribution but not one hour for consultation.”

A rupture occurred at the conference when the language question was taken up. A resolution introduced by Mr. Hellmann urged the conference to emphasize that only Yiddish and Hebrew are to be employed in the Jewish schools. This resolution was defeated by a majority vote mainly due to the votes of the American delegates. When the result of the vote was announced, four delegates, H. D. Naumberg of Warsaw, Dr. Szabad of Vilna, Tchernichow and Finkelstein, left the conference. Dr. Simon Dubnow and Jeffroikin, who sided with the Voelkist group in the vote, did not leave the conference.

At the Friday afternoon session the conference, on the proposal of Leo Wolfson, president of the United Roumanian Jews of America, decided to send a telegram of protest to Premier Bratianu in connection with the out break of new anti-Jewish excesses in Bukowina. “The misdeeds of the anti-Semites in Roumania have not been punished,” Mr. Wolfson declared.

The Jewish situation in Roumania was also the subject of an address by Judge Gustave Hartman who urged the incoming executive to devote its attention to this problem.

A message of welcome from Judge Julian W. Mack was read to the conference. Judge Mack stated in his message that he regretted his inability to be present, being of the opinion that the work for the protection of Jewish rights is necessary.

“The time now has come,” Judge Mack’s message read. “to consider how quicker progress may be made in realizing minority rights. Many organizations are now engaged in making them real. It is necessary that such organizations be in continued contact with representatives of Jews in minority treaty countries. It is to be hoped that when the purpose of the Zurich conference is known there may be unity of action in the Jewish world as well as unity of purpose.”

Messages were also read from the Jewish novelist Sholom Ash, Senator Rubinstein of Vilna, Deputy Robinson and Mr. Rosoff. The conference is scheduled to conclude its sessions Saturday night.

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