Palestine and American problems vitally affecting the Zionist movement in the United States were discussed and action taken at the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Zionist Organization of America held all day Sunday at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City. Elihu D. Stone, Assistant U. S. District Attorney of Boston, presided, and 115 members of the body which has legislative power between conventions were present.
The floating of a $500,000 bond issue to straighten out the affairs of the American Zion Commonwealth, a protest against the Wailing Wall incident, the adoption of a balanced budget, the raising of a special fund to wipe out the deficit of the Z. O. A. and the filling of vacancies were the major measures passed upon.
The $500,000 bond issue, according to the authorization given the Administrative Committee, is to be interest bearing, guaranteed. It is amortized over a period of ten years. The consent of the World Zionist Executive will be required before the issue may be floated. The resolution was proposed by David Freiberger. Harry Sacher of the Jerusalem Zionist Executive, Louis Lipsky and Morris Rothenberg urged the action to save the Zion Commonwealth holdings.
The resolution condemning the Wailing Wall incident and protesting aganist the Jerusalem police for permitting the outrage is to be forwarded to the League of Nations, the Palestine government and to the American Representative in Palestine.
A budget for the period of September 1, 1928 until August 31, 1929, calling for the expenditure by the Zionist Organization of America of $254,176.50 including periodicals, was adopted at the recommendation of Dr. I. M. Rubinow. National Executive Director of the Z. O. A. and U. P. A. The estimated income from all sources was set at $209,500. making a deficit of $44,676. This deficit will be made up by a general appropriation from the United Palestine Appeal of the amount of $40,000 for general propaganda work, in addition to the $60,000 paid by the United Palestine Appeal to the Zionist Organization of America for 30,000 copies of the “New Palestine,” which is sent to the U. P. A. contributors.
With these appropriations and with the conversion of “Dos Yiddishe Folk,” the Yiddish organ of the Zionist Organization, from a weekly into a monthly, the budget would show a possible surplus of $3,250 for the coming year, Dr. Rubinow explained.
The decision to convert “Dos Yiddishe Folk” into a monthly beginning January 1, was adopted following a very heated discussion, during which several votes were taken. In the first vote the proposal was defeated by a majority of thirty-eight to thirty-five. Following the vote, however, Dr. M. M. Kaplan, recently elected chairman of the Administrative Committee, protested against the procedure by leaving the hall in anger. A roll call was then taken and the recommendation of the Governing Council to convert the Yiddish organ into a monthly was adopted by a majority of fifty-five to forty-four. A heated discussion then ensued in connection with the demands made by some of the members that the subsidy to the “Hadoar,” Hebrew weekly, be increased and that a subsidy to the Avukah, Zionist student federation, in the amount of $3,000 be granted, Dr. Rubinow declaring that for the present it was necessary for the Zionist Organization to forego these subventions, despite their desirability, in order that the financial obligations of the Z. O. A. may be met.
In response to an appeal by Louis Lipsky, the members of the Executive Committee and others present contributed the amount of $15,000 toward a special fund for the wiping out of the deficit and for providing for the special appropriations for cultural work and the publications. This, it was declared, will be the nucleus for the nationwide effort to wipe out the deficit.
Following this response, the Committee voted to increase the subsidy to the “Hadoar” to $7,200. The matter of the Avukah was referred to the Governing Council for decision.
A nominations committee, appointed by Mr. Stone, to fill vacancies in the Executive Committee and to nominate a secretary of the Executive Committee, consisted of Harry Friedberg, Kansas City, chairman; J. Rudavsky, Fall River, Mass.; I. T. Feingold, Chicago; Louis Shapiro, Portsmouth and Edward Cohen. The committee proposed Meyer W. Weisgal for secretary. Mr. Weisgal declined the nomination, but a vote on the acceptance of the nomination committee’s report resulted in the unanimous election of Mr. Weisgal.
A report of the activities of the Organization since the Pittsburgh convenion was presented by Dr. Abraham J. Rongy, secretary of the Administrative Committee, who emphasized the various reforms instituted by the administration.
Although the referendum now being taken among the Hadassah chapters as to whether or not the Hadassah is to join the United Palestine Appeal this year is not yet completed, indications show that the decision will be in the affirmative, it was reported to the meeting.
Dr. Mordecai M. Kaplan in his address pointed out that his election to the office of Chairman of the Administrative Committee was an evidence that the leaders of the Organization were making every effort to secure harmony and peace within the Zionist movement in America. During his speech, he said: “In being exploited as a symbol of peace, I feel that I have been given authority to emphasize that the Administrative Committee has set its face toward whole-hearted cooperation with all individuals and existing institutions interested in the movement for upbuilding.
“First, to the Opposition group which is still trying to hamper the functioning of the present organization. So far as they are concerned, the policy of peace which the Organization now formally adopts means the following. The Organization not only recognizes its fallibility, a human trait which it has never denied, but also declares its willingness to go the limit in listening to suggestions for corrections and improvement. There is only one proviso attached to this, and this proviso is humanly inescapable; the leaders of the Organization do not care to be charged with placing personal ambition above the interests of the movement. The Organization cannot reasonably be expected to submit quietly to any such a charge, for it is not only the Organization that suffers, but the ideal itself is profaned. If it be true that the Zionist ideal has attracted to its service over a long period of time men interested only in self-aggrandizement, then the ideal itself must be inherently vicious and the Opposition ought logically abandon it.
“The Opposition can legitimately make the charge of inefficiency, but it must realize that inefficiency is not moral inferiority, and in its propaganda it must not identify the two. So far as the charge of inefficiency is itself concerned the subject of the charge constitutes a remediable thing. Our Organization realizes that like any public body it must continually justify itself, and committed to the policy of peace it will be sensible to any just claims on its attention and its conscience.”
Dr. Kaplan then pleaded for cooperation with such bodies as the Revisionists, the Poale Zion, the Mizrachi, the Jewish Agency pointing out that these groups are “dedicated to the task of upbuilding but committed to ideologies different from that of the Organization,” and saying that the Organization “will always endeavor to keep in mind the objective that it has in common with them.”
Referring to the Hadassah, Dr. Kaplan said: “The kind of cooperation that we plead for with the Hadassah is not merely cooperation for funds, but as far as possible for a closer integration of activities. I would deprecate any measure that might weaken the fine esprit de corns achieved by the Hadassah; nevertheless, a way must be found whereby the Zionist Organization and the Hadassah must capitalize their mutual interdependence. The Organization must realize, as part of its policy of peace, that women in this country are not the left hand of the movement but absolutely indispensable to the movement. Not, in fact, until American Jewish women are Zionists can Zionism be said to have taken root in American Jewish life.”
The Jewish community of Floral Park, L. I., is making plans for the organization and construction of a local Jewish center.