Berlin (Jul. 23)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
Intimating that he will withdraw from the Presidency of the World Zionist Organization in case the General Council, now considering the recommendations of the Jewish Agency Commission, rejects its report, Dr. Chaim Weizmann threw the weight of his personal record in the Zionist movement into the discussion which may decide the fate of the Jewish Agency, the medium for cooperation between Zionists and non-Zionists in the upbuilding of Palestine.
Following the two days’ discussion on the proposal of the Zionist Executive to accept the report of the Jewish Agency Commission, with a suggestion that some of its recommendations be amended. Dr. Weizmann took the floor late Sunday evening, and in grave, solemn words urged the leaders of the various Zionist factions in Palestine and in Europe “not to destroy the cause.”
The proposal of the Zionist Executive to sustain the Jewish Agency Commission’s report, has the support of the representatives of the American, German and some of the Polish Zionists. With an apparently small majority for the report, the adherents of the Weizmann Agency policy pressed hard for securing a large majority when the vote is taken, it being repeatedly stated that the Zionist Executive “stands or falls with the Jewish Agency policy”.
No session took place on Saturday following the interruption late Friday afternoon on account of the Sabbath. The day was taken up with meeting of the various opposition groups who sought to unite to defeat the Weizmann Executive. The Agency party was also in session, seeking to strengthen its ranks and devising methods by which opponents of some particular recommendations of the Jewish Agency Commission although in principle for the Agency, may be won over.
Dr. Weizmann’s plea bore the character of a heart-to heart talk with the leaders of the Zionist groups. “For years the cahrge of treason was brought against me. It was asserted that I surrendered the ideals of the Zionist movement to the non-Zionists. Now, after five years of difficult work to carry out the policy of extending the Jewish Agency, I advise you to do as I did,” he exclaimed.
Turning to the representatives of the Labor groups who are the most bitter opponents of the Jewish Agency recommendations, Dr. Weizmann exclaimed: “I have entered many compromises so that you may be in a position to remain in accord with your views. The rejection of the Jewish Agency Commission’s report will liberate me from the chains of my soul. I am, however, driven by a holy restlessness to continue the work. At this decisive hour, when the vote will decide as to whether our Palestine upbuilding work is to go forward or whether the stagnation of the past six years is to continue, you, my opponents, come forward with dry, legalistic formulae. If you destroy the Jewish Agency, the Jewish masses will destroy you.” When interrupted by Isaac Gruenbaum of Warsaw with the exclamation, “Come to Warsaw, Dr. Weizmann,” the speaker continued: “For six years I have been bleeding in the trenches of the fund collections. Now, ask the people of the Palestine Foundation Fund whether it can continue this way. If the principle of Jewish labor in Palestine were in any way endagered, I would have broken up the negotiations with the non-Zionists. The fact is however, that the report of the Jewish Agency Commission recognizes the principle of Jewish labor. My desire is to see the creation of a permanent Jewish Agency with representatives from at least six countries. With a small majority however, it will be impossible for me to continue the negotiations. I will ask my non-Zionist friends, who are interested in the Agnecy project, to accept the decision of the Zionist Congress concerning the creation of a provisional Jewish Agency for a period of three years. Should they reject this condition. I will propose to the Congress to revise it. My last warning to you is: Do not destroy the great cause,” Dr. Weizmann declared.
Dr. Lee K. Frankel. one of the American Commissioners of the Jewish Agency who arrived here Sunday, conferred with Dr. Weizmann. It was stated that Dr. Frankel will appear on Monday before the Political Commission of the General Council where the question of accepting the Agency report will be discussed.
Nahum Sokolow, Chairman of the Zionist Executive, pleaded for the acceptance of the Jewish Agency report by a large majority of the General Council. “I assure you that the Jewish National Fund is an institution holy to us as the Holy of Holies. Were I a young man I would myself enter a Kvuzah. We will do everything to guard the political, social, national and cultural foundation of our upbuilding work in Palestine,” he stated.
Harry Sacher, member of the Jerusalem Zionist Executive, declared that the Experts’ report was a piece of work done in a hurry and the Commission itself does not believe that it is the last word on the subject. The Executiv stands or falls with the Jewish Agency, he declared.
Louis Lipsky, President of the Zionist Organization of America, spoke for the acceptance of the report. The Zionist Organization of America has been strengthened after the Pittsburgh convention, he stated. To reject the Jewish Agency report now would be a destructive crime, he stated.
At the Sunday afternoon session, Mr. Goldbloom, speaking in behalf of the Zionist Federation of England, praised the leadership of Dr. Weizmann and Mr. Sokolow and urged that the resolution adopted by the recent convention of English Zionists recommending the adoption of the report with amendments, constitutes the basis for negotiations. On the basis of this resolution, Lord Melchett agreed to become the President of the English Zionist Federation.
Rabbi Meyer Berlin, leader of the Orthodox Zionist Mizrachi Organization, criticised the Agency report, terming it “a spiritual Uganda of the Western notables.” He declared however, that with certain safeguards, his group will vote for the adoption of the report.
Meir Grossman, speaking in behalf of the League of Zionist Revisionist, charged that “Weizmann’s leadership has degraded Zionism.” The Weizmann Executive must go, he exclaimed. The speaker demanded that the General Council be told of the alleged protest of Louis Marshall against the decision of the Zionist Congress calling for the establishment of a provisional Jewish Agency for a limited period of three years.
Mr. J. L. Naiditch defended the Weizmann policy. The speaker declared that he met Mr. Marshall in Paris and discussed with him the Jewish Agency. He was convinced that Mr. Marshall was earnestly and sincerely interested in the upbuilding of Palestine.
Jacob Fishman of New York, speaking for the American Zionists, declared that the future work for Palestine in the United States is closely connected with the Jewish Agency idea. Even the recent Opposition at the Pittsburgh convention asserted that it would, when in power, recognize the Agency and would continue negotiations The report of the Experts Commission is not a constitution but an expression of opinion. Even the Kellogg treaty was not adopted when it was proposed. It is therefore desirable that the negotiations be continued and that the propects for the Jewish Agency budget be strengthened. Eternal strife ruins the movement, he stated.
Mr. Kaplan of Jerusalem, speaking in behalf of the Socialist party Hitachduth urged the rejection of the report which, he stated, was influenced by the “Sacher ideas”. Mr. Harry Sacher energetically protested the assertion that he had influenced the members of the Experts Commission during their visit to Palestine.
Dr. Selig Brodetsky of Leeds defended the principles of the Agency Commission’s report. The General Council is in duty bound to accept the report, he stated, with the reservations made by the English Federation.
Kurt Blurnenfeld, Berlin, argued that the prestige of the Zionist movement demands the acceptance., of the report, which will realize the program of extending the Jewish Agency. “The anti-Zionist front is united, while we alone are split. Wintness the World Conference of Liberal Jews which is about to meet in Berlin. We must realize the limits of our own possibilities. The report is not an ultimatum but an experts’ opinion, which is subject to changes. Realize the grave importance of the hour and accept the report with a large majority,” he appealed.
A sharp clash occurrd between Dr. M. Soloveitchick, former Minister of Jewish Affairs in the Lithuanian Government, and Dr. Weizmann. Dr. Soloveitchick asked whether the Zionist Executive has agreed to the report in order to “place the General Council before an accomplished fact”, “Dr. Weizmann has already once, without consulting the Executive, written to the British Government concerning a change in the fourth paragraph of Article IV of the Mandate.” “This is untrue,” Dr. Weizmann interrupted the speaker. “You destroy the Zionist Organization and the Mandate.” Dr. Soloveitchick retorted.