Berlin (Jul. 30)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
The resignation of the Weizmann Executive and the almost uanimous decision to draft him were the two dramatic events which occured during the week-end at the sessions of the General Council of the World Zionist Organization, following the adoption by the Council of its resolution concerning the report of the Jewish Agency Commission.
For almost twenty-four hours the Zionist movement was without an Executive and the leaders of the various factions, assembled at the Berlin meeting of the General Council, feverishly sought a solution to the latest crisis which had resulted in the selfelimination of Dr. Weizmann from the leaderhip.
At two o’clock Monday morning the matter appeared to be settled by an almost unanimous vote of the General Council to request the entire Zionist Executive, including Harry Sacher. British attorney who is a member of the Jerusalem Executive and around whom the crisis centered, to remain in office.
The combined forces of the Laborites and the Orthodox Zionists, twenty-two strong, were unable to form an Executive of their own, although they were offered the opportunity to do so. Various lists of a proposed Executive for London and Jerusalem were under consideration, but the leaders of the oppositional factions finally declared that “because of lack of time” they were unable to assume the responsiblity for the conduct of Zionist affairs by the formation of their own Executive.
The drama was enacted at the late Saturday night session, when the General Council was engrossed in a heated discussion of the criticism levelled against Harry Sacher for his administration of Zionist affairs in Palestine. In the political commission, the delegates representing the Poale Zion, the Hitachduth and the Mizrachi, expressed their intention to propose a resolution of lack of confidence in Harry Sacher at the general session. The Sacher opponents made it clear that their move was intended only against Mr. Sacher and requested Dr. Weizmann to permit Sacher’s elimination. Weizmann, however, declared that the Executive would stand or fall with Mr. Sacher.
At 1:30 A.M. the members of the Zionist Executive and the members of the political commission appeared in the hall. Dr. Motzkin, who presided, declared the session to be of an executive nature. The opposition proceeded to introduce its resolution of lack of confidence in Sacher. The General Zionists protested against the procedure, maintaining that it is not within the jurisdiction of the General Council to entertain such a motion. The question of procedure was then put to a vote. It was decided by a majority of twenty-four to eighteen that the General Council has the power to consider a motion of lack of confidence. The opinion of experts on the statutes was then invoked by the Executive adherents. Dr. Groenemann, chairman of the Congress Court, and Oscar Cohn, declared that the statutes concerning this matter are not very clear. Mr. Kaplan then read a declaration signed by eight delegates of the Mizrachi, six of the Poale Zion and six of the Hitachduth, as well as Mr. M. Supraski of Tel Aviv and Dr. Ben Zion Mossinsohn, in which lack of confidence in Sacher was expressed.
Because of the ambiguity in the statutes., Mr. Kaplan declared that the signed of the declaration will forfeit the privilege of submitting it to a vote. Harry Sacher then left the hall. He was immediately followed by Dr. Weizmann, who tendered the resignation of himself and the entire Executive.
Consternation prevailed. M. Grossman, for the Revisionists, urged the Sacher opponents to undertake the creation of a new Executive. As members of the Executive he proposed M. M. Ussishkin, Dr. Arthur Ruppin. Sprinzak, Kaplanski, Isaac Gruenbaum. This proposal was discussed until dawn. It was then decided to adjourn and to resume the discussion at the forenoon session Sunday.
At the Sunday morning session the General Council adopted a motion introduced by Jacob Fishman, declaring that the Council does not take into cognizance the resignation of Dr. Weizmann’s executive. This decision was communicated to Dr. Weizmann at the Esplanade Hotel by the Council praesidium consisting of Motzkin. Sprinzak and Kaplanski, who asked him to continue in office. Weizmann replied that he will withdraw his resignation only if the anti-Sacher declaration would be withdrawn by the twenty-two delegates. A meeting of the political commission was then held, where the Weizmannists proposed to the 22 oppositionists to withdraw their declaration, create their own Executive or declare their inability to do so. The 22 in a separate caucus then formulated a proposal to create an Executive consisting of Ussishkin, Ruppin, Sprinzak, Kish for Jerusalem and Dr. Soloveitchik. M. Kaplanski for London. Another proposal was to the ffect that the Jerusalem Executive consist of Ussishkin. Gruenbaum. Ruppin. Kish, Rabbi Berlin, Pick and Kaplanski and that the London political representation be left to Mr. Greenberg, editor of the London “Jewish Chronicle.’,
In that case it was stated that Dr. Weizmann would agree to continue the negotiations concerning the extension of the Jewish Agency in behalf of the new Executive until the next Congress.
The twenty-two oppositionists, proving unable to form a new Executive, consistently declined, however, to withdraw their anti-Sacher declaration. At a meeting of the political commission, Dr. Motzkin proposed that the solution to the problem be sought in expunging from the record the minutes of the plenary Saturday night session, as the procedure had been unconstitutional.
The negotiations continued all day Sunday and at 2 o’clock Monday morning, in the presence of Dr. Weizmann and the other members of the Executive, the political commission reported that the twenty-two signatories to the anti-Sacher declaration declared it was impossible for them to create a new Executive in view of the short time. The political commission then proposed that the General Council decide to request the entire Weizmann Executive to remain in office. The proposal was accepted by all votes against R. Lichtheim and M. Grossman. Isaac Gruenbaum and Dr. Soloveitchik refrained from voting. The adoption of this proposal was considered to have ended the crisis.