J. D. B. News Letter

(By our Geneva Correspondent)

As a community the Jews have no international organization, and nearly all the important Jewish societies which interest themselves in the work of the League of Nations are local and national in the sense that they are British or French or German, as the case may be, Mr. Lucien Wolf declared in a memorandum which he submitted here to Sir Eric Drummond, the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, on behalf of the Joint Foreign Committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Association, asking for the right of national societies to petition the Council in view of the special limitations recently imposed on the scope permitted petitions relating to the execution of the Minorities Treaties.

Previously to 1923, the memorandum says, national associations enjoyed precisely the same access to the Council as international associations and an examination of the use they made of this access shows that it was of substantial advantage to the Council; this was so far recognized that national societies were invited to become members of various standing commissions appointed to advise the Council on certain important branches of its work; the original intention of the rules as shown by the statement of the Secretary-General when the question was first brought before the Council in July 1923 was not to apply exclusion to national associations but only to international associations; the grounds on which exclusion was eventually voted has nothing to do with the relative merits of the two categories of associations, but related to a constitutional principle which applied equally to both and it was for this reason alone that both were excluded; it follows that when the exclusion was modified in favor of international associations the modifications should in fairness have been extended to the national associations: that this was not done can in the circumsances only be ascribed to an oversight; the disability thus created is a special source of embarrassment to the Jewish community.

The Joint Foreign Committee, the memorandum proceeds, trusts that the Council may see its way to restore the equality of international and national associations so far as their access to the Council is concerned.

If the Council, Mr. Lucien Wolf further says, resolves to adhere to the exclusion of national associations, my Committee ventures to suggest that a definition shall be adopted of the type of international association to which access may be granted under the rules, and, more particularly, it shall be stated whether the qualification “international” is intended to refer to the structure and organization of such associations, or to scope and character of their work. In this connection it should be borne in mind that there are many so-called international organization and very little concern with the work of the League of Nations, while on the other hand there are important private national associations which are exclusively engaged in international work and are consequently deeply interested in the proceedings of the League.

A point made in the memorandum relates to the modification of the original exclusion resolution of the Council under which minorities’ petitions were exempted from the operation of the exclusion rule. This has been interpreted, the memorandum says, to mean that only petitions dealing with “infraction, or danger of infraction” of the minorities’ treaties may be communicated to the Council under the existing procedure. The Joint Foreign Committee ventures to ask for a ruling of the Council establishing that petitions shall be at liberty to deal not only with “infractions and dangers of infraction” arising from oppressive action in the countries bound by minorities’ treaties, but also with the more renote, but perhaps not less real, dangers involved in interpretations and developments of the procedure for the execution of the guarantee of the treaties, the incidence of which in regard to the effective protection of minorities may not always have been exactly calculated.

Due to decreasing membership and inactivity which has resulted from the absence from Klmion of the younger Jews who are attending college, the Elmira Y. M. and W. H. A. building which was recently rebuilt at a large cost, will be converted into an educational and social center for the use of the Elmira Hebrew Free School and the members of the city’s two Orthodox synagogues.

The Y. M. and W. H. A. will not be dissolved. The directors of the association were prompted to abandon the ciubhouse and use it for more urgent needs.

The play “In the Balance,” by Miss Leah Zeve of Dallas, Texas, has been awarded the first prize in the play contest conducted by the National Council of Jewish Women, though it Department of Religion and Religious Education of which Mrs. A. S. Kohler of Savannah, Georgia, s national chairman. The second prize was awarded to Mrs. Samuel Mantel of Indianapolis for her play, “Rebecea Graetz.”

These plays will be produced by Council Sections during the coming year.

Mr. Rosenberg, when asked to make public the letter from Mr. Hoover to Mr. Rosenwald, to which reference is made in the correspondence, declared that he was waiting for Mr. Rosenwald’s consent before releasing that message for publication.

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