Hadassah Debates Motion to Table National Board’s Platform

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The most stormy session of the Hadassah convention took place this morning when Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America, entered the convention hall of the William Penn Hotel. The assembly was thrown into a state of chaos as the delegates rose to sing Hatikvah in spite of the insistence of the chairman for order.

A roll call was taken on a vote for an executive session and the motion passed. Thereupon, Lipsky was given the chair.

In his address, Mr. Lipsky pleaded for the women members of Hadassah to remember the true cause and spirit of Zion, rather than personal rancor and personalities. "Zionism is not to be made the football of the political convention," he declared, terming himself the most neutral delegate to the convention.

Mrs. Robert Szold, honorary secretary of Hadassah, read the report of the judges committee to Dr. Weizmann on its probe into the Zionist opposition charges. The report had been received by telegram by the Hadassah convention.

As this issue goes to press, the delegates are in executive session to determine whether or not to table the platform of the National Board of Hadassah.

A sharp conflict between the two groups in the Hadassah, the supporters of the National Board and those who criticise its action, occurred at the fourth session yesterday afternoon.

Mrs. Robert Szold, honorary secretary of Hadassah, presented the report for the National Board of Zionist interrelations. The convention hall was filled to capacity with delegates and visitors. In her report Mrs. Szold presented charges revolving about Hadassah’s contention that no due progress was made in Palestine and that dissatisfaction among American Zionists is becoming more apparent.

The report charged that "The New Palestine" published leading editorials attacking the Hadassah. One of the two spokesmen of the Zionist Organization of America at the Basle Congress last year, Mrs. Szold’s report said, was a man in whom American Zionists had no confidence and was not selected with their approval. Although at the last convention in Atlantic City, one prominent member of the Administrative, Committee was defeated, he was taken in again.

In public addresses, Mr. Lipsky accussed the Hadassah of lack of Zionist ideals and always questioned their loyalty to Zionist affairs. The Hadassah National Board charges further that the Administrative Committee and Mr. Lipsky were the first to introduce misunderstandings between Hadassah and the Z. O. A. to the English press; that the Administrative Committee and Mr. Lipsky overrode the autonomy of the Hadassah by communicating with chapters of Hadassah directly, that they spread the false impression that the Hadassah leadership is against Dr. Weizmann and the leadership of the World Zionist Organization; the Administration and Mr. Lipsky are responsibe for rumors that the Hadassah and its leadership are opposed to the Jewish Agency; that Mr. Lipsky stated that Hadassah advocates that its chapters give their funds to Hadassah, when they are intended for the United Palestine Appeal and that Mr. Lipsky sent a letter to prominent Zionists, declaring that the Hadassah aims at the destruction of the Z. O. A.

The culmination of the charges came when Mrs. Szold stated that through the manipulation of the Zionist Organization, the membership of Hadassah is losing 104 representatives to the Zionist convention. Through the incapability and failings of the administration of the Z. O. A., Mrs. Szold declared, the membership of the Zionist Organization has dropped from 150,000 to 24,000 since 1921.

Immediately on the conclusion of Mrs. Szold’s report, Mrs. Archibald Silverman of Providence, former vice-president of Hadassah, who resigned two months ago in protest against the action of the National Board, came forward with a counter attack.

Charges that the national leaders of Hadassah are conducting political intrigues against the Zionist Organization of America and making for moral disruption of the Zionist movement, Mrs. Silverman declared:

"Since the National Board has been crying over and deploring what they term ‘waste of money’ in the Zionist administration, would it not be wise for them to take account of stock and do a little housecleaning of their own before they criticise the Z. O. A. as they have been doing?" Declaring that national leaders of Hadassah went around the country spreading "pernicious slanders" and "undermining the confidence of the Zionists themselves in the Z. O. A. administration," Mrs. Silverman said that Mrs. Lindheim, president of Hadassah, "had gone around the country telling women that the organization is inefficient, it is bankrupt, monies were misapplied and misappropriated. I, who was trying to raise funds for the U. P. A. and the Z. O. A. life membership along the way, found my work blocked because of these pernicious slanders."

Referring to the charge that the Zionist Organization of America carried a large deficit because of incompetence and inefficiency, Mrs. Silverman said: "You speak of deficit. Why not tell that the supposedly ‘inefficient administration’ of Mr. Lipsky inherited a $60,000 deficit from the Brandeis ‘efficient administration.’"

Predicting that the Hadassah would be wrecked if it "should secede from the Z. O. A." Mrs. Silverman urged harmony within the women’s organization. "I condemn the national leaders of Hadassah for efforts which will disrupt and destroy the beautiful morale of the masses of Hadassah women," she concluded.

The Jewish National Fund Council of Hadassah, which includes both junior and senior groups, showed that a budget of $12,000 for the year was exceeded. Resolutions were adopted that Hadassah take the responsibility for a specific piece of land and raise the sum of $60,000 for its development. The sum will be raised by apportionment among chapters according to dunams.

Some discussion occurred at yesterday morning’s session when a motion was introduced to invite Louis Lipsky or another representative of the Zionist organization to greet the Hadassah delegates and be present at the session on inter-Zionist relations. It was stated that no reply had been received to a previous invitation. By a decision of the convention, another telegram was despatched to Mr. Lipsky, inviting him to attend the session.

NEXT STORY