Menu JTA Search

Dr. Stephen S. Wise Resigns from Zionist Organization Committees

Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, resigned from the Administrative and the Executive Committees of the Zionist Organization of America, it was learned following the meeting on Wednesday night of the Administrative Committee of the Zionist Organization of Americt.

The Jewish Daily Bulletin learns that the resignation was accepted by the Committee with regret.

It was also dsclosed that upon the arrival of Dr. Weizmann in the United States, the president of the World Zionist Organization attempted to confer with Dr. Wise and that a tentative appointment had been made for a meeting between them. The appointment, however, was cancelled after several days when Dr. Wise, in a letter to Dr. Weizmann declared that a conference at the present moment would serve no purpose.

When asked yesterday by the representative of the Jewish Daily Bulletin, Dr. Wise declined to comment on his step, but stated that he will make a statement “at the proper time and the proper place.”

The office of the Free Synagogue made public the following text of Dr. Wise’s letter of resignation addressed to Mr. Lipsky:

“It is with the deepest regret that I find myself under the necessity of withdrawing from membership in the Executive and Administrative Committees of the Zionist Organization of America. I need hardly add that I take this step after the fullest consideration of its meaning and consequences.

“The responsibility for the conduct of Zionist affairs ought to rest altogether in the hands of those in London and New York who have insisted that such responsibility must be borne as they see fit to bear it and that it cannot be shared on any other terms.

“I continue to remain ready to cooperate in every way with the United Palestine Appeal.

“I am, my dear Mr. Lipsky, faithfully yours,

Stephen S. Wise.”

A statement issued by Louis Lipsky, President of the Zionist Organization of

America, read:

“The resignation of Dr. Wise came to us as a surprise. He had given no intimation of his intention to resign. On the contrary, Dr. Wise has been serving the cause with his usual devotion during the entire winter, having appeared at many banquets in the interest of the United Palestine Appeal. A number of the leading problems of the Zionist movement have been dealt with in accordance with what we assumed to be Dr. Wise’s views. It is true that Dr. Wise has frequently expressed his opposition to the Jewish Agency in the interest of which Dr. Chaim Weizmann is now in the United States. But with regard to the Jewish Agency Dr. Wise had given his consent to the policy of support for the Jewish Agency, for which the American Zionist Organization stands.

“Dr. Wise has taken occasion recently to criticize the British Government for its lack of co-operation in the upbuilding of the Jewish National Home. The American Zionist Administration has backed up Dr. Wise’s position in this connection. When I was in Ottawa recently and met Colonial Secretary Amery, I presented a detailed statement of the objections that we had to a number of things that were being done in Palestine by the government. Dr. Wise had agreed to go with me to Ottawa in order to present his grievances, but subsequently wrote a letter in which he declined to take part in such a conference, although the date of the conference had been fixed at his suggestion.

“We regret exceedingly that after several years of active co-operation with the present American Zionist administration, Dr. Wise has seen fit, without discussion and without an attempt to adjust differences to tender his resignation at this difficult time through which we are emerging with gratifying success. There was nothing for our Administrative Committee to do but accept his resignation with regret.”

The Zionist Organization also made public an excerpt from the minutes of the Administrative Committee containing the remarks of Isidore D. Morrison, who moved the acceptance of Dr. Wise’s resignation. Mr. Morrison was quoted as follows:

“I move that the resignation of Dr. Wise be accepted with regret. In making this motion, I confess that I am deeply pained, both personally and as a member of the present Zionist administration, that a situation has arisen which impels Dr. Wise to sever his official relations with the Zionist Administration. Dr. Wise and I have collaborated in Zionist work for nearly thirty years. Neither of us has at all times been in entire agreement with the policies of the various subdivisions of Zionist activities for it is in the nature of things that a movement conducted on a democratic basis the way our movement is conducted, cannot always conform to the ideas of individuals no matter how salutary and sound these ideas may be, but I have always felt, and I hoped that Dr. Wise agreed with me, that if changes and reforms are needed, the way to bring these results about is by agitating and arguing from within the organization and not criticizing from without. For many years Dr. Wise has been one of the pillars of organized Zionism in this country; his advice was listened to with respect and his suggestions were always carried out whenever possible. Dr. Wise gives no clear or succinct reason for his resignation and we have no right to inquire into his motives, since he does not choose to reveal them. I can say for myself and for my colleagues on this Board that we gratefully appreciate the invaluable services which Dr. Wise has rendered to the cause of upbuilding the Jewish National Home and that we deeply regret that at this crucial stage of Zionist history he sees fit to sever his relations with an organization which he worked so hard to build up.”

NEXT STORY