Pittsburgh, Pa. (Jul. 3)
Louis Lipsky will most probably be re-elected president of the Zionist Organization of America, it became clear as the thrityfirst annual convention neared its end late Tuesday afternoon at the William Penn Hotel here.
The convention, after the most dramatic development in Jewish movements in the United States, voted by a two-thirds majority to amend the constitution of the organization to provide for the election of a president, three vice-presidents, a secretary, a Governing Council, an Administrative Committee of 40 and an Executive Committee. The office of the president, however, is to be relieved from the duties of the administration of financial affairs. The motion was adopted by a vote of 418 against 196.
The delegates, tired and exhausted from a sleepless night, accorded a mammoth demonstration to Louis Lipsky when the vote was announced. Four tellers, two representing the administration and two the opposition, counted the vote which was taken by roll. Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Judge Julian W. Mack voted against the motion.
This situation, though it appeared most unlikely Monday aftgernoon, was the result of a dramatic turn which occurred in the early hours Tuesday morning. As the session ended Monday evening, it was generally regarded as a foregone conclusion that the proposal formulated by the Peace Committee, in conjunction with the sub-committee of the administration but without the participation of the opposition recommending the elimination of the office of president and the election of a Board of Governors of 9 and a committee of 40, would be accepted, while Louis Lipsky would be chosen chairman of the Executive Committee which is the reviewing body of the organization between conventions.
TULIN’S ALLEGED CHARGES PRECIPITATE LIPSKY’S CONSENT TO RUN
Mr. Lipsky time and again appeared before the die-hards who insisted on drafting him for the presidency and declared that it is his wish and decision not to run for the office, At two o’clock Tuesday morning a caucus meeting held at the William Penn Hotel under the chairmanship of Judge Gustave Hartman, in which about 100 delegates participated, was thrown into consternation, resentment and grief when it was reported that Abraham Tulin, counsel of the opposition before the judges committee, had stated to Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland that the reason why Lipsky had declined to run again for president is because he “does not dare to run, for if the runs the judges will have the district attorney on his trail.”
This alleged statement was related by Rabbi Silver to Jacob Fishman. Tears were shed and lamentations filled the, hall. After a prolonged silence, a committee of three was delegated to Mr. Lipsky’s room to present the case to him and to ask him whether he would not, under these circumstances, run in order that the suspicion may be dispelled. A most dramatic scene was enacted when Lipsky gave his consent.
The rumor was quickly spread throughout the hotels in which the delegates are lodged. Until the opening of the Tuesday afternoon session, large groups of delegates were in hysterical excitement, discussing the matter.
When the session opened under Judge Lewis’s chairmanship, Judge Julian W. Mack took the floor and read a letter from Abraham Tulin, who had left for New York. Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver was also absent. In the letter read by Judge Mack, Mr. Tulin denied having made such a statement and declared that neither he nor any one of the opposition group has ever charged or intends to charge Louis Lipsky with personal dishonesty in financial matters or having stolen organization funds. Judge Mack further explained that Rabbi Silver most probably unintentionally misunderstood the statement made by Mr. Tulin. Mr Tulin refered, according to the explanation, to an opinion expressed by one of the judges, when the affairs of the Commodore Trading Corporation were discussed at the hearing, that the Attorney General of New York could look into the affairs and the books of the Corporation, which discounted the Lefkowitz note and which charges usurious rates of interest. “If I had a shadow of a doubt with regard to this matter, I would not be standing here before you,” Judge Mack declared.
Exception to this statement was taken by Jacob Fishman who declared that Rabbi Silver had quoted Mr. Tulin not only to him but to several other delegates. Several other delegates jumped to their feet, shouting that Mr. Tulin had made similar statements to them.
Mr. Fishman then read a despatch published in the New York ‘Day” of July 2, written by Miss Marion Weinstein, reporting a meeting of the opposition caucus, in which it is stated that Mr. Tulin had declared that only the minimum charges were presented at the hearing and that Judge Mack had personally requested the judges to withhold other facts so that the good repute of the organization and the good name of the Jews may not be harmed.
Judge Mack in an additional explanation declared that what he had said to the judges in an executive session referred only to two points: 1, that the opposition never charged Lipsky with personal dishonesty; 2, that the charges the opposition made affecting the moral integrity of the Zionist Organization of America under the Lipsky administration have been sustained on the basis of the evidence presented at that time. This is what Mr. Tulin referred to. Judge Mack stated.
FINANCE ADMINISTRATION ELIMINATED FROM PRESIDENT’S OFFICE
The majority of the delegates, although they listened in an orderly manner to the explanation and denial, without interrupting the speaker, urged the chairman to proceed immediately to the transaction of the business, which included a consideration and discussion of the report on constitutional amendments. This report, which embodied the original plan worked out with the peace committee, was submitted by David R. Radovsky. A substitute motion calling for retaining the presidential office and eliminating from it the administrative duties was presented by New York Deputy Police Commissioner Nelson Ruttenberg. This report embodied some of the recommendations of the peace committee and some advocated by the opposition for safeguarding the proper administration of the Zionist Organization of America. It deviated in the recommendation to retain the office of the president and the election of other officers by the convention. It also laid emphasis on relegating responsibility for specific departments of work to the various members of the Governing Council.
A full report of the final proceedings will be given in the next issue.