Quotes Wise Address of 1927 Favoring Agency; Strange Reversal, Paper Says
The ratification by the Zionist General Council in Berlin of the Marshall-Weizmann pact on the Jewish Agency is enthusiastically welcomed by the organ of the Zionist Organization of America, “The New Palestine,” of which Meyer W. Weisgal is editor.
“The New Palestine” in its current issue quotes in full an address delivered by Dr. Stephen S. Wise in New York on January 17, 1927, when he stated his reasons why he was in favor of the Jewish Agency. The paper contrasts it with the cabled excerpts of Dr. Wise’s address at the Berlin session last week when he vigorously opposed the ratification and warned the Zionist body against the Jewish Agency plan. It is a strange reversal of position, the paper says.
“It is small wonder then that the attempt made by the opposition, this time re-inforced by Dr. Wise’s belated reversal of position, to obstruct action, met the same fate that has befallen all similar attempts at Congresses and previous meetings of the Actions Committee during the past five or six years,” “The New Palestine” states editorially. “The vote of the Actions Committee, 39 to 5, is significant not so much from the point of view of the overwhelming majority with which the Jewish Agency policy is being supported by Zionist opinion, as it is a revelation of the inability of the Radical and Revisionist groups to gain a single adherent in the Actions Committee to its point of view. What is the cause? Is it to be ascribed to obtuseness or lack of loyalty to Zionist principles on the part of the members of the Actions Committee or to the wilfulness and untenable position of the few die-hards? We must conclude that the latter is the case.
“The attitude of mistrust is the more painful coming as it does from Dr. Stephen S. Wise who for years has been a supporter of the extension policy. Nothing has occurred in the Agency negotiations during the last year to warrant a recession from his previous position. We cannot therefore escape the conclusion that his present opposition to the Agency–his charge of ‘betrayal,’ ‘surrender,’ and ‘unconstitutionality’–is based not on newly discovered evidence but on his antagonism to Dr. Weizmann and his political leadership. It is regrettable that Dr. Wise should have allowed his differences with Dr. Weizmann to influence his judgment on Zionist policy.”
The paper further writes: “In the light of the historic necessity of this partnership which has its roots in the commonalty of the Zionist idea, the opposition to the extension of the Jewish Agency has shown itself singularly inept in its policy of obstruction. It is as absurd to question the motives of the non-Zionists in entering the Agency as it is to regard the extension policy as a surrender of Zionism. It is equally absurd to assume that the non-Zionists, motivated by anti-nationalistic tendencies, will endeavor to give such character to the work in Palestine as will be injurious to the interests of the Jewish National Home. All the negotiations for the extension of the Jewish Agency, the spirit of cordiality and goodwill that has characterized the dealings with the Marshall group in this country, their acceptance of the reservations of the Actions Committee, not only belie such an attitude but, on the contrary, confirm the Zionist view that while the non-Zionists do not share all the implications of the Zionist program, they enter the Jewish Agency with a genuine desire to serve Palestine. It is a partnership based on mutual faith and mutual responsibility, anchored in the common aim to build up in our ancestral home a Jewish life that will give lustre to the Jewish name and radiate spiritual influence to the Jewry of the world.”