Weizmann Administration and British Government Severely Criticised in Zionist Congress Debate
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Weizmann Administration and British Government Severely Criticised in Zionist Congress Debate

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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The Weizmann administration, the Palestine government and the British government as the mandatory power were under fire of severe criticism on the second day of the Fifteenth Zionist Congress which is in session here.

Criticisms were heaped on Zionist leadership and on the British authorities for the present state of affairs in Palestine and in the international Zionist movement.

The demand that Dr. Weizmann, heading the Zionist Executive, resign his position and that instead an administrative board, a collegium, be elected by the Congress, was voiced during the general debate which followed immediately after Dr. Weizmann presented his statement of policy.

Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum, member of the Polish parliament and leader of a small group known as Radical Zionists, charged that the present Zionist leadership has proved itself a failure and is bankrupt in all fields of its activity. The present leadership is responsible for degrading the Zionist movement to its present status, he declared.

Deputy Gruenbaum’s center of attack was the Jewish Agency, the plan sponsored by Dr. Weizmann for enlisting the support of non-Zionist Jews for the upbuilding of Palestine by their entry into the Jewish Agency, recognized by the Palestine mandate, on a fifty-fifty basis with the Zionists. Deputy Gruenbaum referred to the recent agreement concluded between Dr. Weizmann and Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, calling for the creation of the Agency after the Non-Partisan Palestine Survey Commission, on which many prominent American experts are serving and are now carrying on the investigation in Palestine, will render its report.

Deputy Gruenbaum cited a precedent in the history of the Zionist movement for the creation of a collegium. Following the death of Dr. Theodor Herzl, the founder of the movement, a collegium headed by Wolfsohn was placed in charge of Zionist affairs.

The Palestine government was also strongly criticized by Dr. Stephen S. Wise who was the spokesman of the American Zionists in the debate.

“The fact that the Palestine government was able last year to show a surplus of $5,000,000 is discrediting to the government of a country whose population went through such a severe crisis as the one prevailing in Palestine,” Dr. Wise declared. “It is the duty of Zionist leadership to urge the mandatory power to take a greater part in facilitating the creation of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, a duty directly imposed upon this power by the provisions of the mandate granted to it by the League of Nations. The Zionist Executive must press strongly for this point,” he declared. “The opening of the door of Palestine for Jewish activity is not sufficient facilitation for the creation of the Jewish National Home.

“Let Great Britain take an example from another country,” Dr. Wise exclaimed, referring to the work of settling Jews on the land in Soviet Russia, “where the state grants wide facilities for the Jewish land settlers, although it is not under any mandate obligation.”

Dr. Wise expressed the confidence of American Zionists in present Zionist leadership. He warned against yielding to a spirit of defeatism and stated Zionist societies throughout he world will welcome the consolidation prgram proposed at the Congress.

In so far as American Jews are concerned, Dr. Wise stated that “The four million American Jews will continue to further and support the rebuilding of Palestine. American Jews will always strive to do more, but European Zionists must never do less,” he stated.

Dr. Wise concluded his address with an impassioned appeal for “a vigorous, courageous continuation of Z’onist work in Palestine.”

The view of the Mizrachi, the Orthodox wing of the Zionist movement, was expressed by Rabbi Meyer Berlin, president of the Mizrachi. Rabbi Berlin also took a critical attitude toward the Zionist Executive, charging it with failure to safeguard the observance of Jewish religious laws in the Palestine colonies. The orthodox spokesman also protested against the proposed curtailment of the Palestine budget and stated that the situation in Palestine and in the Zionist movement represents a vicious circle, the crisis in Palestine causing a crisis in the Zionist administration and vice versa.

Still stronger charges against the Palestine government were formulated at the evening session held under the chairmanship of M. M. Ussishkin, head of the Jewish National Fund of Jerusalem. At that session Berl Katznelson, Palestine labor leader and editor of the labor daily, “Davar,” published in Tel Aviv, charged the Palestine administration with open hostility to Zionist efforts. He stated that some of the officials in the administration are guilty of an anti-Semitic attitude.

The proposals advocated by American Zionists leading in the direction of a curtailment of the Palestine budget and minimizing the influence of the labor group in Palestine, met with strong opposition on the part of the labor representatives. Dr. Chaim Arlarsoroff leader of the Zeiri Zion labor group, warned against embarking upon such a course.

“A campaign against labor in Palestine would mean the destruction of the foundations for the upbuilding of Palestine. Without the idealism of the workers, the rebuilding of Palestine would be impossible,” he said.

Formulating the group’s attitude toward the Weizmann administration, the speaker stated that the Zionist Executive has to its credit a number of political successes in the period under review but it also has failures to charge against it.

Mr. Katznelson traced the present crisis in Palestine to the condition prevailing in the international Zionist movement. “The crisis in Palestine is nothing but a reflection of the crisis in the international Zionist movement. It would be a criminal mistake to make the labor group in Palestine the scapegoat for the crisis,” he stated.

The first skirmishes between the oppositional groups and the majority occurred at the the afternoon session prior to the opening of the discussion. Vladimir Jabotinsky, leader of the League of Zionist Revisionists and Dr. Nahum Goldman of Berlin, one of the leaders of the Radical Zionists, demanded that the chairman grant the spokesmen of the oppositional groups whose delegates number less than fifteen the same length of speaking time as is granted to the spokesmen of the groups who number more than fifteen. This demand was at first rejected by the chairman, calling forth a tumultuous protest against the opposition. The Congress finally adopted a resolution sponsored by Deputy Gruenbaum to the effect that all groups which have a program of their own should be granted equal right with the majority groups and that their spokesmen be allowed the customary hour speaking time in the general debate.

The secretariat of the Congress then announced the appointment of the following committees, political, colonization, budget, labor, organization, education immigration, health and resolutions. The American members of these committees are: Political Committee: Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Chairman; Abraham Tulin, Bernard Shelvin, Bernard G. Richards and Charles Cowen all of New York; Immigration Committee, Rabbi Joseph Silverman and Dr. S. Bernstein of New York, Miss Fanny Smith of Providence, R. I. and Miss Gertrude Oppenheim of Boston, Mass; Budget Committee, S. J. Rosensohn, Miss Henrietta Szold, Mrs. Irma Lindheim, Harry Fierst, New York and Robert Silverman of Boston.

Education Committee, Rabbi Barnett Briekner, Cleveland, Max Klein, Philadelphia, Miss Kitay, Paterson, N. J., Mrs. Nina Adlerblum of New York and Rabbi Max Heller of New Orleans; Colonization Committee, E. Hackner of Chicago, Mrs. Archibald Silverman, Providence, Mrs. Cyrus Leventhal, Brooklyn, Benjamin Rabalsky of Boston; Finance Committee, S. J. Rosensohn. Judge Gustave Hartman, Harry P. Fierst, New York, Miss Pearl Franklin, Chicago, Nathan Kaplan, Chicago.

Health Committee: Abraham Tulin, Dr. S. W. Boorstein, and Miss Henrietta Szold of New York and Mrs. Archibald Silverman of Providence; Organization Committee: Samuel Blitz, Dr. S. Bernstein, Mrs. Richard Gottheil, Mrs. Rose Blondheim, New York and Rabbi Simon Greenberg of Philadelphia.

Six American delegates attending the Congress were elected to the Committee on Committees, the committee which has within its power the decision on the major problems facing the congress.

The Americans elected are Gedaliah Bublick, Jacob Fishman, Dr. A. Coralnick, Maurice Samuel, Abraham Goldberg and Samuel Blitz, all of New York City.

All accredited representatives of European powers in Berne attended the Congress session. Messages of welcome were read at the Congress from the International Labor Office at Geneva, the Federation of League of Nation Societies, the International Peace Office, the government of

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