Few dissenting voices were heard among the many replies which continue to pur in responding to the inquiry of the “Jewish Daily Bulletin” sent out last week to prominent leaders in the Jewish communities throughout the United States.
The responses mainly contain further expressions of concurrence in the resolutions adopted by the Non-Zionist Conference on Palestine held in New York City on October 21, under the chairmanship of Louis Marshall. The expressions of opinion contain statements from many leaders who have heretofore kept aloof from the Palestine fund raising activities, carried on under the auspices of the Zionist Organization and the United Palestine Appeal.
RABBI SAMUEL J. ABRAMS Beacon Street Temple, Brookline, Mass.
“The Non-Zionist Conference held in New York under the chairmanship of Louis Marshall heralds the dawn of a new day in world Jewry. It could not be otherwise. For this day we have been waiting, and toward this God-given epoch our history has been pointing, Lo, these many centuries. With unconquerable hope and faith in the indestructibility of our people, we must now go forward together toward the goal set for us by the prophets and the spirit of Israel.”
RABBI DAVID ALEXANDER, Akron Hebrew Congregation, Akron, O.
“I want to congratulate you upon the very fine report of the sessions of the Non-Zionist Conference which appeared in the Jewish Daily Bulletin. I read it with the greatest interest. Personally I am very happy that the meeting was so successful. It certainly marks an outstanding event in the history of modern Israel. Palestine, as well as all Jewry, will reap untold benefits as a result of the great conference.”
RABBI DAVID ARONSON, Beth El Synagogue, Minneapolis, Minn.
“Jewry is to be congratulated upon the results of the Non-Zionist Conference. In union there is strength. That is true of all peoples. In the case of Israel, union means more than strength. It means life. The hysterical force of the Relief Campaigns united Israel temporarily. The historical force of Zion will reunite Israel permanently. Out of Zion comes this peace. Out of this peace will be generated forces for the advancement of the Torah of Israel for the happiness of the world. All honor to the promoters of the ‘Pact of Glory’.”
BERNARD J. BAMBERGER, Lafayette, Ind.
“The outcome of the Non-Zionist Conference must stir every Jewish heart to fervent gratitude. The action taken will no doubt mean much for the speedy upbuilding of Palestine. But aside from this, we must rejoice that the different bodies of world-Jewry, diverse and heterogeneous as they are, have been able to unite in brotherhood for the achievement of a great ideal. Let us hope, that when difficulties and disagreements arise regarding the carrying out of the program–as they undoubtedly will–the spirit of the New York Conference will prevail, insuring harmony, co-operation, and blessed results.”
RABBI HENRY BARNSTON, Congregation Beth Israel, Houston, Tex.
“Every well-wisher of his people will rejoice at the dignified and harmonious meeting of Zionists and non-Zionists, discussing dispassionately the future welfare of the Land of our Fathers. ‘Behold how good and how pleasing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.’”
SAM BEBER, Omaha, Neb.–”I have no hesitancy in venturing the assertion that the action of this Conference is of far greater moment to the cause of the rebuilding of Palestine than any other single event since the Balfour Declaration.
“I see as the direct result of this Conference the unprecedented acceleration of the acquisition of land in Palestine and of the development of every phase of Palestinian activity.
“Now that European Jewry has reached the stage where our efforts in its behalf may be relaxed in a measure, there is every reason to believe that all factions in Jewry will subscribe to what has so appropriately been referred to as the ‘Pact of Glory.’
“I sincerely hope that this latest and greatest achievement of that grand old man in Israel, Louis Marshall, will prove to be the clarion call which will bring unity to the ranks of Jewry.”
HERMAN BERNSTEIN, New York City–”That conference proved that sympathetic understanding transcends differences of opinion and removes the causes of friction and strife. Palestine, the traditional land of miracles in Biblical times, seems to have wrought a new miracle. Palestine has united the various factions of American Jewry as soon as its problems and significance became known through sympathetic investigation. The Marshall-Warburg group has displayed a most praisworthy spirit of broadmindedness and fairness, and Dr. Weizmann, as head of the Zionists, deserves the highest praise for his farsighted policy and painstaking efforts to bring together practically all American Jewry in order that the burden and the glory of rebuilding Palestine may be shared by all Israel.
“I congratulate you on presenting in the Jewish Daily Bulletin a very adequate account of the historic conference.”
DR. L. B. BERNSTEIN, Executive Secretary, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Pittsburgh, Pa.–”That the Jewish Agency would become a reality within such a relatively short time is almost a miracle, but what is almost more than a miracle is the marvelous unanimity with which under the brilliant leadership of Louis Marshall American Jewry has at last buried all differences of opinion, differences of sentiment and worn-out prejudices in the common cause of a historic movement.
“Is there any Jew in America who can fail to be thrilled by this astounding event? Once again the great leaders of American Israel, Louis Marshall and Felix Warburg, have covered themselves with undying glory.”
RABBI EDWARD N. CALISCH, Richmond, Va.–”I am reserving final judgment until the personnel of the new Agency is announced, and that Agency makes known its platform and plan of procedure. If it shall make an announcement of its purpose and method of fulfillment, and of an interpretation of principle that shall be satisfactory to those who have hitherto opposed Zionism, not because of lack of love for the land of Israel, but because of the politico-nationalistic claims and purposes put forth by accredited Zionistic representatives, then it will enlist the sympathy and cooperation of all Israel. There was no tendency in that direction exhibited at the Conference. If there is to be that unity in Israel so loudly praised, and so ardently desired, there should be mutual advances and concessions, and not from one side only.”
CONGRESSMAN EMANUEL CELLER, New York City–”The two resolutions entitled ‘The Pact of Glory,’ adopted by the Non-Zionist Conference Concerning Palestine are as refreshing as cool winds in the heat of summer. After much wrangling and difficulty, we now have a stateman-like agreement which would benefit immeasurably the upbuilding of Palestine.”
NATHAN COHN, Nashville, Tenn.–”All seemed cager to cast aside the differences which have heretofore kept apart the various groups of Jewry upon this momentous matter, and to be willing to join hands with Zionists to bring to fruition the aspirations of all for the rebuilding of Palestine and the fostering of its economic and cultural welfare. An extended Jewish Agency for this purpose will be a ‘consummation devoutly to be wished.’
“The proceedings were conducted with masterly ability and tact by that loyal and devoted champion of all that pertains to the welfare of Jewry, Louis Marshall.”
CHARLES I. COOPER, St. Louis, Mo.–”As a student of Jewish history. I belong to the group which regards contemporary American Jewish life optimistically. The present quarter century will be known as the Golden Age in the present Jewish era and the virility of a generation may be judged by the type of leadership it produces.
“Marshall, Weizmann and Warburg have measured up to our highest ideals in spiritual and moral stature.”
RABBI DANIEL L. DAVIS, Congregation Shaarai Shomayim, Lancaster, Pa.–”No one can realize at the present how far-reaching this action of American Jewry will be. Certainly it is a manifestation of an inherent spirit of unity in Israel. It demonstrates that the Jew still is responsive to the appeals that call to great spiritual undertakings. The action of the Non-Zionist Conference in one grand sweep thrusts bickering out of the way and hails all Jewry, in America and throughout the world, to understand and appreciate the magnificence of the task of rebuilding Palestine. No Jew now will be able to turn his thoughts away from this great venture of modern Israel. May the fine spirit of harmony engendered by the actions of the Non-Zionist Conference become the abiding spirit of all who are called to work in the greater and wider task of the Jewish Agency in fulfilling the obligation of Israel towards the land of its birth.”
RABBI ABRAHAM J. FELDMAN, Congregation Beth Israel, Hartford, Conn.–”I am rather hopeful that as a result of this Conference there will be created not alone a unity for Palestinian work but that our Jewish communities which in the past have been driven by the enthusiasm of the Zionist group and the indifference of the non-Zionist group, the consequent friction and misunderstanding, the frequent retaliation, the undemocratic airs of condescension, of which both sides were guilty, will also become welded into a harmonious whole for effective Jewish work in all Jewish causes. I am hopeful, too, with the enthusiasm and example of the erstwhile non-Zionists, that the Palestine Appeal will receive hereafter a more enthusiastic support.”
WILLIAM FISCHMAN, New York City–”The Jewish Agency appears to me as a most excellent medium to unite all Israel in the cause of Eretz Israel.
“Let us hope that our people will rise to this occasion so that the dreams of Israel may be realized.”
ISAAC W. FRANK, Pittsburgh, Pa., Outstanding Leader and Philanthropist–”I have read with interest concerning the Non-Zionist Conference on Palestine, and I am pleased to note that the Zionists and non-Zionists have gotten together on satisfactory grounds. Personally, I have been a practical Zionist since my visit to new Palestine in 1912, and I am sympathetic with those Jews who wish to go to Palestine and make it a homeland, though I appreciate they will undergo more hardships there than in any other place in which they could settle.
“I have given to the cause of the upbuilding of Palestine, and expect to continue to do so, though I am not sympathetic in any way with Nationalistic Zionism.”
RABBI LEON M. FRANKLIN. Congregation Beth El, Detroit, Mich.–”The Non-Zionist Conference under the Chairmanship of Mr. Louis Marshall was nothing short of an cpoch-making occasion. It served to give concrete expression to the hope and the will of a vast majority of American Jews to work together for the rehabilitation of Palestine irrespective of their attitude toward Nationalism or political zionism. American Jewry should be congraulated that at last a basis for co-operation among all Jews has been found. It is a first step, we hope, in the direction of better understanding between Jew and Jew.”
RABBI WILLIAM S. FRIEDMAN, Donver, Colo.–”I heartily endorse the resolutions adopted at the conference of Non-Zionists concerning Palestine.”
HERMAN GAMSE, Baltimore, Md.–”With the establishment of the Jewish Agency, which these gentlemen are committed to support morally and financially, it will mean that the hope of the Jewish people in the establishment of a homeland in Palestine will be realized in our generation.”
MYRON M. GOLDMAN, New Orleans, La.–”I am always happy when the Jewish people without regard to their separate outlooks come together on a common ground for their benefit and uplift. In my opinion, that is the only way to solve Jewish problems.”
RABBI LOUIS J. HARRIS, Reading, Pa.–”Epoch-making and farreaching in its effects will be the proceedings of the Non-Zionist Conference. Assuredly this gathering is an augury of eventual unity in the ranks of K’lai Yisroel. What historic and never-to-be-forgotten words uttered by Louis Marshall, that indomitable and stalwart champion of Jewry: ‘We are no longer non-Zionists and Zionists, but we are Jews together, intent on bringing about united action for the purpose of making he Jewish people a great force for good wherever they may live.’ Honor to him and to Dr. Chaim Weizmann–leaders to whom great honor is due.”
RABBI A. M. HERSHMANN, Congregation Shaare Zedek, Detroit, Mich.–”The resolutions adopted by the Non-Zionist Conference held in New York on October 20 and 21 are fraught with far-reaching consequences. They augur well for the realization of our great ‘ask–the upbuilding of the Jewish Homeland in Palestine. At last we have the declaration of a United Israel to work with might and main for carrying out the Balfour Declaration.”
MRS. SIEGMUND HERZOG, Cleveland, O.–”I was very much impressed with the meeting in New York, because of the fact all differences seemed to have been forgotten and that one purpose unites the foreces of Israel in the upbuilding of Palestine.”
RABBI JACOB KATZ. Montefiore Congregation, New York City–”To my mind the Non-Zionist Conference under Louis Marshall is the greatest event in contemporary Jewish life. The chimera of dreaders will now become a reality of statesman and the vision of prophets will be turned into practical policy.”
A. RAY KATZ, Baltimore, Md.–”Palestinian reconstruction is a work that should appeal to every American Jew, and the Non-Zionist Conference recently held was, in my opinion, a very important step toward bringing this about.”
J. J. KISER, Indianapolis, Ind.–”Frankly, I have practically no interest in the matter. I am not only a Non-Zionist, but also a Non-Palestinian, if there is such a term.
“I feel that much better results could be obtained by promoting Jewish colonization in Russia or other more suitable countries of the world, than by throwing money away in Palestine.”
DR. NATHAN KRASS, Congregation Emanu-El, New York City–”I believe that all Jews should unite for the upbuilding of Palestine, and I am pleased that the desire for unity was so emphatically expressed at the Non-Zionist Conference. Former Zionists and Non-Zionists, through the Agency, will, I hope, do great work for the Jews in Palestine.”
RABBI A. LINCOLN KROHN, Temple Sholom, Plainfield, N. J.–”I have already set in motion the machinery for uniting the Zionist and Non-Zionist elements of this community in the spirit of the acord which grew out of the Conference in New York, to the end that the upbuilding of Palestine as contemplated by the Jewish Agency may become the sacred obligation of every Jew in Plainfield.
“In so doing I feel that I have best expressed my reaction to the proceedings of the Conference.”
SIDNEY G. KUSWORM, Dayton, O.–”With a common idealism, under one banner, and with all lines of demarcation thrown to the four winds, the success of the Palestinian program of rehabilitation is assured.”
OSCAR LEONARD, St. Louis, Mo.–”The Jewish Agency will be not only an agency for Palestine but an agency for Jewish solidarity, so that at last brethren can sit together in harmony and work together in the joy of their hearts.”
SAMSON LACHMAN, New York City–”The unanimity of opinion and feeling in the Non-Zionist Conference was most unusual and refreshing. The recognition of the years of research and investigation was inspiring and I can see no reason why the endorsement of the carefully considered plan for harmony and joint action should not result in practical advancement of what has been largely sentimental and emotional in the past.”
RABBI MORRIS S. LAZARON, Baltimore, Md.–”At last American Jewry has formally accepted the challenge of Palestine. There can be no question as to the bona fides of the New York meeting. It appears to have been a thrilling and historic gathering.
“But let no one imagine the work has been done and the goal reached. The Jewish Agency as conceived by Weizmann and Marshall has enemies within the Zionist ranks. They must be won over. It yet remains to be seen whether the representative men who so splendidly answered the call of Palestine can swing their constituents into line.
“This much is certain: that never before has so broad a backing been given to Jewish effort in Palestine. Never before has the goal seemed so possible of accomplishment. This should hearten every friend of Palestine; it should sober those whose programs may differ; it should move to greater interest them who have been lukewarm in the past.
“Our people has been resurrected from a thousand funeral pyres because it willed to live. The ancient glories of Eretz Yisroel will be revived by the indestructible will of our Eternal People.”
RABBI DANIEL LEFKOWITZ, Dailas, Tex.–”A number of details whose importance it would be foolish to minimize still remain to be settled, not the least of these being the difference between the recommendations of the commission which had carefully studied the Palestinian situation and the reservations to these recommendations made by the Zionist Council at its Summer session in Berlin. But the great step toward unity in Israel has been taken, and we hail this consummation with rejoicing. Let every Zionist and non-Zionist give evidence in good faith by word and act that behind the four hundred who took the first official step toward unity in that conference at the Biltmore Hotel, and behind Dr. Weizmann and the other leading Zionists who acclaimed that action, are the millions of American Jews coucurring gladly in this reunion of Israel.”
AARON LEVINSTONE, Newark, N. J.–”The Conference was a revelation to me. As I watched the march of one dignitary after the other, of the reform movement, as well as of the aristocracy of American Jewry, appearing on the platform and declaring their faith in Palestine and the Jewish Renaissance, I began to realize the power and invincibility of an ideal.”
I. MONTEFIORE LEVY, New York City–”The decisions of the Conference were momentous, but the Conference itself and the spirit it injected were the epoch making events that will radiate its influence over the whole of Jewry.”
RABBI THEODORE N. LEWIS, Mount Sinai Congregation, Sioux City, Iowa–”In my opinion the success of a Non-Zionist Convention marks the greatest achievement for unity and harmony of purpose in the history of American Israel. The result of the conference will not only prove a boon to Palestine, but will radiate many blessings to other American Jewish undertakings, of spiritual and cultural nature.”
RABBI M. LICHTENSTEIN, Congregation B’nai Israel, Toledo, O.–”The so-called Non-Zionist Conference, which declare itself unanimously in favor of joining the Jewish Agency for the upbuilding of Palestine, rose to a height of Jewish duty and dignity that will inscribe its name indelibly in the history of our people.
“Not only will the rebuilding of the Homeland be speeded by its action, but it will be instrumental in rallying all Israel in behalf of the Holy Cause. Such a union will be of far-reaching benefit not alone in Palestine but for all Jews wherever they are found.”
WILLIAM LIEBERMANN, Brooklyn, N. Y.–”Never for a moment did we hesitate to answer the call of our peerless leader, Louis Marshall. I am frank to admit that we entered the conference hall with greatly perturbed minds and with many misgivings. We asked ourselves has the new day dawned for Palestine–for world Jewry? Has stiff-necked Israel at last seen the light?
“We found that Louis Marshall and Chaim Weizmann, the torch-bearers, had blazed the trail that led us to the light. We learned that even as of old Lord Melchett, Felix Warburg, Dr. Lee K. Frankel and Dr. Wasserman with their staff of experts had searched out the land.”
SIMON LYON, Washington, D. C.–”While I have regarded myself as a Non-Zionist this term or expression should be no longer regarded seriously for all fair-minded Jews should give their unstinted support in all matters relating to Palestine.
“Unlimited praise is due Mr. Marshall, Dr. Weizmann and the Commission which made a very complete report to the Conference and I express a sincere wish that American Jewry will continue to give this fine cause their everlasting support which it so justly deserves.”
RABBI ISAAC E. MARCUSON, Recording Secretary, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Macon, Ga.–”I desire to say that I believe that the time has come when all forward-looking Jews can rejoice that at last a platform has been found on which all Jews can unite so that the work of the upbuilding of Palestine can proceed. There were many of us who felt that so long as nationalism was emphasized as the basis of the work in Palestine that we could not conscientiously cooperate. Now that this element has been removed from the foreground of reconstruction and the cultural elements will be stressed all are ready to do their best to help in the work.
“May this union be but the beginning of a real unity in Israel.”
RABBI HARRY S. MARGOLIS, St. Paul, Minn.–”The recent Non-Zionist Conference marks a new chapter in the history of Palestine Reconstruction Work. The extension of the Jewish Agency to include Jewish representatives of all classes in Jewry regardless of their affiliation with the Zionist Organization, lifts the entire problem of Palestine out of the mire of partisanship onto the heights of unified purpose and action. History will record this recent Conference as monumental in importance–along-side the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo Conference. Palestine now becomes the concern of everyone.”
RABBI C. DAVID MATT, Temple Beth David, Buffalo, N. Y.–”The agreement concerning the Jewish Agency is a momentous, historic event. Now that Jews have proved they can unite in the Diaspora for Palestine, they will be able to work in harmonious cooperation in Palestine. Once again, though in a new sense, Palestine is to be the center of the Jewish world and the means of consolidating Jewry. Mr. Marshall and Dr. Weizmann deserve the thankful admiration of all Jews for their achievement.”
ARMAND MAY, Atlanta, Ga.–”I have never been able to satisfy myself that a project founded upon forces that tend to make its very existence a drain upon the balance of the Jewish world as a homeland, whether such an undertaking, where the field of personal activity and ambition is limited, is practical or not.
“Knowing something regarding the imagination and the ambition of the average Jews, and knowing that he is by nature, individualistic, I believe that there are many possibilities of failure, and in comparing the general improvement of the Jewish standing throughout the world, I can’t see any reason for this great experiment, for I believe that with equal expenditures in other fields, greater good can come to a greater number, and as far as the spiritual and cultural effects are concerned, I believe they would come where there is opportunity for individual development.”
JUSTICE MITCHELL MAY, New York Supreme Court, Brooklyn, N. Y.–”The action of the Non-Zionist Conference must be a source of great inspiration and a heartening to all of Israel. It marks the most forward-looking step towards the complete spiritual reunion of Jewry and constitutes the greatest achievement in our history. As Jews, laying aside whatever difference in one phase or another of religious approach, we have rededicated ourselves to the restoration of Palestine to the former glorious position it occupied in history, and have thereby signalized an achievement which gives bright promise for a happier day for the peoples of the earth. Palestine, the birthplace of true religion, where first was given to the world the one omnipotent and only God, is again to be reconsecrated to the doctrine of peace, love and brotherhood.”
RABBI SAMUEL S. MAYERBERG, Congregation B’nai Jehudah, Kansas City, Mo.–”The Non-Zionist Conference, recently held under the chairmanship of America’s great Jew, Louis Marshall, was epoch-making.
“To this Conference came the recognized Jewish leaders representing every phase of American Jewish life. That in itself is a harbinger of joy to American Jewry. It is rare that a divided Israel has found any one platform upon which to unite. That such a platform has been found is an omen of a strengthened Israel in America.
“No Jew of average intelligence can find objection to the agreements entered; every Jew has every good reason to support them. The Non-Zionist Conference will ultimately prove not only a marvelous means of bringing aid to Palestine, but it will serve also as a unifier of American Israel,”
EMILE MAYER, St. Louis, Mo.–”As a Non-Zionist, but as one in sympathy with many Zionist aims and purposes, I express the hope that the harmonious proceedings of this Convention may find a responsive echo in the hearts and minds of our Zionist brethren and that their Conventions in the future may reveal a similar spirit. May we all realize, Zionist and non-Zionist, that the success of a great undertaking means sacrifice and tolerance, that petty differences and unworthy ambitions must give way to an earnest desire for real accomplishment.
“In the beginning God said, ‘Let there be Light!’ I believe that the beginning has been made. I believe that the light of reason and understanding has begun to shine. I believe that a better understanding between Jew and Jews and a more sympathetic co-operation in our common cause, will be the result of this memorable Conference.”
CHARLES MORRIS, Louisville, Ky.–”I am impressed with the by-product: the beneficial result with relation to the Jews of America. I feel that every great inspirational achievement of this character is a factor in welding together the diverse elements of American Jewry and in making for a more cohesive and effective Jewish consciousness in the United States.”
N. MUROV, Shreveport, La.–”The Non-Zionists will help not only materially, which to me seems very important, but it would be more important if they would take the responsibility at once on the political situation and in a diplomatic way, to help Dr. Weizmann to lighten the burden in dealing with England. It seems to me that it will have a good deal more weight on the English government with the non-Zionists taking share in diplomatic affairs.”
RABBI MORRIS NEWFIELD, Temple Emanu-El, Birmingham, Ala.–”The recent meeting of non-Zionist leaders is a historic event in American Jewry. The sponsors of the movement to find a method of cooperation between the hitherto conflicting groups in the matter of rebuilding Palestine merit the lasting gratitude of American Jews. Without abandoning their respective principles, both Zionists and non-Zionists should henceforth heartily work together in a common endeavor to enlarge the opportunities offered to oppressed Jews seeking refuge and a home in Palestine. This cooperation of a united American Jewry should make itself felt even before the establishment of the proposed Jewish Agency.”
RABBI ABRAHAM NOWAK, Cleveland Heights, O.–”I have always felt that Palestine would absorb all differences of opinion in Israel. Union has ever been the dominant ideal of Israel. The Non-Zionist Conference held in New York gives us all good cause to rejoice and exclaim: ‘Hear, O God, Israel thy people, Israel is one’.”
RABBI HYMAN R.RABINOWITZ, Shaare Zion Congregation, Sioux City, Lowa–”Indisputably, October 21 will enter the Jewish calendar as one of the historic and momentous days of our era. It will eventually be celebrated as Jewish Armistice Day in the American Jewish camps. This Conference with its inspiring “Confessions” and its outburst of suppressed loyalties to Palestine,” marks the end of even tacit hostilities which were so detrimental to the best interests of World Jewry.”
RABBI MAX RAISIN, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Paterson, N. J.–”In regard to the Non-Zionist Conference on the Jewish Agency, I will say that my reaction is that the Conference was the most noteworthy event in the struggle for the upbuilding of Palestine in the last three decades.
“The Non-Zionist Conference has demonstrated that there is room in the movement for Palestine for all classes of Jews; nay, that Palestine is indeed the concern of all Jews, who must be encouraged to lend a hand in the work of rehabilitation. A Jewish political state may be a beautiful ideal, but its realization must perforce be deferred to a much later stage. Supremely important for our day is the turning of Palestine into a land that can receive a large number of Jewish immigrants. We must create the conditions that will make possible the settlement of half a million Jews in the shortest possible time. An economically sound Palestine will also create a sound cultural life in which the Hebraic ideal–by which I mean not merely the revival of Hebrew, but Judaism at its best–will predominate. The political phase of the movement will then also find a likelihood for its realization.”
RABBI MAX REICHLER, Beth Sholom-Peoples Temple, Brooklyn, N. Y.–”Every Jew must rejoice at this manifestation of unity in Israel. Let us hope that unity about Palestine will lead to unity in other directions. The American Jew is destined to show the way to achievement and spiritual strength.”
DR. SAMUEL SCHULMAN, Congregation Emanu-El, New York City–”It was quite correct to characterize the Non-Zionist Conference of October 21, 1928, and the resolutions adopted, as of historic importance for the Jews of the world. The action taken at this conference was a fine expression of the unity of Israel.
“For a generation, a great controversy had been going on in this country, as all over the world, between two philosophies of Jewish life. The Zionist or Nationalist interpretation of Jewish life, and that view which looks upon Israel as primarily and essentially a religious community, whose destiny it is to be scattered all over the world in order to bear witness to God, and which does not see in a national existence of the Jew as such, as the realization of Israel’s ideals. The building up of Palestine was therefore connected, in the minds of many who opposed Zionism, with the philosophy of Jewish life for which Zionism stands.
“While Zionism, however, is a nationalist movement in Jewry, there is also another side to it. It is an enterprise which aims at availing itself of the opportunities offered in Palestine for the transplanting of a number of Jews from lands in which conditions of life are made hard for them, to a country in which they may lead freer and happier lives. Non-Zionists have necessarily sympathized with the practical side of Zionism, while they opposed the ideals which inspired it.
“The controversy has by no means been ended by this conference. Intellectual freedom is left to both sides to that controversy. The Zionist will continue to teach nationalism, and the Non-Zionist will continue to uphold his ideals. Both groups will face facts and problems as they will be presented by the conditions of life which confront the Jews in Palestine, and the relation of Palestine to the Mandatory Power. There is no doubt in my mind that when the new Agency shall have been constituted, an entirely new situation will have been created. The Zionist organization will cease to be the Agency which is to act as an Advisory Board to the Government in Palestine. The new Agency will represent all Israel for the purpose of practical work in Palestine, and this practical work will take its place as part of the larger work which has to be done for Jews all over the world, who may need the help of their coreligionists.
“The Palestine Survey Commission, whose report was adopted, made a very impartial and objective investigation of conditions in Palestine. It concludes its report by recommending the support of the building up of Palestine for Jews who wish to go there. American Jewry has this report now before it. It can utelligently study it. And it is the duty of American Jews in accordance with the report, and in accordance with the recommendations of the new Agency, when it shall have been constituted, to contribute of their means to the work in Palestine. American Jews alone can not assure the creation of the new Agency. Non-Zionists in other lands, if the new Agency is to be a success, will have to join it. If they join it, and the Agency is created, a new stage will have been reached in the development of the Palestinian problem.
“I hope that the new Agency will be established, and will be a success, and if a sufficient number of Jews are settled in Palestine, then there will develop a new center of Jewish spiritual life in Palestine, which cannot but exert great influence upon the Jews in the world.
“History was thus made for the Jews by the Non-Zionist Conference. It established the fact that the brotherhood of Israel is superior to differences of opinion amongst Jews, even upon the most vital questions. And these vital questions will continue to be discussed, and contrasting ideals will continue to be preached, even in Palestine, as they are all over the world.”