What might appear as the beginning of a “Back to Herzl” movement among American Zionists was made at a gathering held Thursday night at the Hotel Martinique.
About 25 New York Zionists were present at the meeting presided over by Robert Szold. The meeting was called to order by B. Cassel who, with B. Eisenstadt, sent out the invitations to the meeting. Almost all of those present participated in a wide discussion on the present state of affairs in the Zionist movement and in Palestine.
The tenor of the remarks concerned itself with the crisis in Palestine and in the Zionist movement, giving expression to a feeling of dissatisfaction. Among those who participated in the discussion were Jacob de Haas, Mr. Szold, Mr. Cassel, Mr. Eisenstadt. M. Danzis, B. Epstein Dalidansky and others.
In introductory remarks prior to the discussion, Mr. de Haas developed his views as to the causes of the present crisis in the Zionist movement. He stated that the apparent deadlock and setbacks of the movement are due to the fundamental deviation from the original Herzlian conception of Zionism. He asserted that the present Zionist leadership headed by Dr. Weizmann is thoroughly imbued with the Achad Ha’amic conception of Zionism as aiming not at the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine but at the establishment of a “spiritual center.” This conception, which is only a continuation of the old Chovevei Zion theory was the main motive power of the movement under the present leadership and is not intrinsically capable of bringing Zionism to an economic and full political success.
The Balfour Declaration, particularly since its later interpretation through the Churchill White Paper, did not change the aspect. The present Zionist leadership, which got into control of the movement by an accident due to the world war conditions, compromised, not with the Herzlian conception, but with the Achad Ha’amic conception, Mr. de Haas stated.
S. Z. Zetzer and another speaker voiced their doubts as to the advisability of starting another oppositional group within the Zionist movement.
The meeting took no definite action but a temporary committee was appointed, charged with the task of calling a large meeting at which time the program is to be presented and a call issued for the creation of a “back to Herzl” movement.
Charles A. Levine and his pilot, Captain Walter Hinchliffe, hopped off at 8:06 o’clock Friday morning on their long-distance flight to India in the monoplane Columbia.