Zurich (Aug. 3)
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Halting the proceedings Friday afternoon as an expression of the Zionists’ concern and anxiety over the Jerusalem situation endangering the right of the Jews to worship at the Western Wall commonly known as the Wailing Wall, the ancient remnant of The Temple, the Sixteenth Zionist Congress rested on the Sabbath.
No plenary session was scheduled for Saturday night or Sunday morning. The proceedings will be reopened on Sunday afternoon when the general debate is expected to come to an end and the vote on the extension of the Jewish Agency will be taken as the American non-Zionist delegation, headed by Louis Marshall and Felix M. Warburg of New York, are on the high seas, bound for Zurich to arrive in time for the opening session of the Jewish Agency constitution meeting on August 11.
At the short Friday afternoon session the general debate was continued. Harry Sacher, in a spirited retort to his many critics made a vigorous defense of the Jerusalem Zionist Executive.
SACHER DEFENDS EXECUTIVE
“The theory was widely held that this Executive was without feeling or enthusiasm. This is possibly true, partly true, or untrue, but we want to make it clear that at no time did the Executive or I fail to appreciate the character, the devotion and the sacrifices of the people who give their lives to Palestine,” he declared.
“Did Mr. Berl Katzenelson speak for the party or for himself?” he asked. When interrupted by a voice from the Left benches declaring, “For the party,” Mr. Sacher continued: “If this is so, then be consistent. The same applies to Jabotinsky, who on Tuesday honored me by selecting me as a type of person undesirable on the Executive, while on Monday another Revisionist leader honored me with an invitation to join the future Revisionist cabinet There is a disease in Zionism of saying more in public than in private. There are a great many people in the labor parties who are closer to me than to Katzenelson. (Voice from the Left: Only on details.”) “No, not on details, but regarding the system. Our principal trouble lies in the fact that we overspeak and overwrite instead of helping to educate our followers politically. This Executive has set its face against future demonstrations. Noth- (Continued on Page 3)
“It is distasteful to seek credit for oneself, but I ask any observer whether there has been a decline, as was alleged here, or an increase of political power with the government. Any honest man is bound to admit that the power of the Executive and its prestige has not declined during the last two years. (The speaker was interrupted by a question from the labor delegate Mereminsky as to whom the credit is due, the Executive or those who forced the Executive to take the measures. The speaker declined to reply to the question.)
“This improvement has been noticeable within the life of this Executive. Immigration depends on economic conditions and also on the way the government is approached. I can say that when this Executive submits a request or a memorandum, it is believed that the Executive is entitled to claim credit for the immigration certificates.
“Regarding the employment of Jewish labor, I must admit that the position is still unsatisfactory, but we succeeded in breaking the principle that Jews are not entitled to their share in the public works. Regarding the finances, no one can seriously dispute the fact that our financial position has measurably improved. We can claim credit not only for ending the financial embarrassment which threatened to lead to bankruptcy but for changing the system. It was not easy to change the system because it meant breaking a tradition and it imposed a constant daily duty on the Executive to reject claims for money. When we are accused of ‘Geistlosigkeit’ (without spirituality) the people really mean ‘Geltlosigkeit’ (without money). Here in the Congress we discuss ‘Geist’ (spirit); in Jerusalem every demand for ‘Geist’ means money. My predecessors had much ‘Geist,’ giving money freely, leaving it to me to pay.” (The speaker was interrupted by a voice from the Left saying: “This is a question of goodwill.”) “No, I am sure there is an equal measure of goodwill with all Zionists, but there is no good judgment. I may admit that the Left has better judgment, but I will not admit that their will is better.
“SPEND LARGELY AND PEOPLE WILL GIVE GENEROUSLY,”-MYTH
“We have reduced the debts from Â£398,000 to Â£253,000. Therefore, I take credit for refusing the demands. It is a common theory that if you spend largely, people will give generously. We tested this theory when the renewal of immigration began. When we needed Â£20,000 for 2,400 immigrants and hadn’t a farthing within the budget, we appealed to wealthy Zionists, but we received only Â£5,000 from England, the ‘Ceistlos’ country.
“The campaign against the Executive starts before its first meeting. It is unfair to claim that all improvements are achieved despite the Executive. I don’t wish to discuss here the administration of the Keren Kayemeth, as I doubt whether this is helpful, but the members of the Board are not chosen because they are best qualified, but because they represent groups holding party views. They are not working according to a land policy plan, but to satisfy the petty demands of groups. For example, five years before the National Fund acquired one inch of the Haifa Bay area, 5,000 dunams were promised to the labor group.
“The Executive must be recognized as the supreme organ for colonization. It, therefore, must lay down the land purchasing policy, as both questions are inseparable. Naturally, we must consult, and if we cannot agree, must submit the questions to the Congress. The board of the Jewish National Fund, however, does not recognize this principle and is treating the Executive as an outside body,” Mr. Sacher stated.
ADVOCATES AGENCY EXTENSION
Mr. Sacher declared himself a convinced adherent of the Agency and appealed to the Congress not to make a decision which would render the operation of the Agency difficult. “1, you wish the Agency to be a success, you must enter it without distrust,” he concluded.
REGRETS REVISIONISTS’ ABSENCE
Dr. Selig Brodetsky, member of the London Zionist Executive, likewise entered a defense of the leadership. He was frequently interrupted by the Revisionists, when he polemized with their contentions. Declaring that ninety per cent of the Congress is with the Executive, he expressed his regret at the decision of the Zionist Revisionists not to enter the Council of the Jewish Agency.
Nahum Sokolow likewise responded to the criticisms.
Dr. Leo Motzkin, presiding chairman, announced that the Zionist Executive and the Congress decided to inscribe the name of the late Dr. Thedor Herzl, founder and first leader of the Zionist Organization, in the Golden Book of the Jewish National Fund on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death. Dr. Motzkin urged a popular, generous subscription for this purpose.
ARGUMENTS PRO AND CON HEARD DURING DEBATE
Interesting arguments pro and con on the policy of the present leadership were heard in the debate during the various sessions.
Meer Grossman, Revisionist leader, London, contended that the Revisionist movement has grown in recent years, proof of which is seen in the (Continued on Page 4)
The speaker reminded the delegates of the Revisionists’ pleas against the extension of the Jewish Agency. “We proposed the creation of an Agency for economic problems only, but the Executive rushed in with its adventure,” he said, being warned by the chairman to confine himself to parliamentary language.
PLACED BEFORE ACCOMPLISHED FACT, GROSSMAN SAYS
“Now the Zionist Congress was placed before an accomplished fact. The Executive has entered into an agreement with partners who declare publicly that they do not desire to have a Jewish State. The Zionist Revisionists, impelled by their patriotism, have decided to stay away from the Agency, but to remain within the Zionist Organization, hoping for a possibility of saving the Zionist Organization and maintaining it. We are ready to place our energies at the disposal of the effort to revive the Zionist Organization, at a time when there will be a return of the disappointed. Simultaneously, however, we sound a warning against the last step. We sound this warning in the name of Zionist interests. You go to the Jewish Agency. You find it right. But maintain the Zionist Organization so that there should be a place to come back to,” he concluded amidst applause.
RELY ON WEIZMANN’S INTUITION, DR. LEVIN SAYS DEFENDING AGENCY PLAN
One of the outstanding features in the general debate was the spirited defense of the Jewish Agency plan and of the policies of the Zionist Executive, delivered by Dr. Schmarya Levin at the Wednesday evening session.
In an impassioned plea, Dr. Levin mustered arguments to show that historically and socially Zionism has emerged victorious as the central power in Jewish life. It conquered even the peripheries of that life. It penetrated important circles which stood far away from Judaism. Now the circles are drawing near as “Baale Tshuvah” (repentants). “These people are making greater concessions than we. We have penetrated into the Reform synagogue, just as we entered the circles of the Bund and the Forward Building of New York. When the Zionist center will become stronger, it will later attract still more distant peripheries, but it is a psychological impossibility that they should come flocking in, beating their chests and saying. ‘We have sinned.’ It is therefore necessary to seek a milder form, an all-Jewish union, a temporary measure, the present form of the Jewish Agency,” Dr. Levin said.
“We have nothing to fear, we have nothing to be anxious about. A living Jewish Palestine is the strongest Zionist center. Our fifty plus Palestine is stronger than anything.”
Speaking of the political situation, Dr. Levin stated that no obstacles will stand in the way of Jewish courage for the rebuilding of Palestine. The courage of Elijah on Mount Carmel is ever present in the Jewish mind. “We were not afraid in the times of Abdul Hamid, nor were we afraid of the pre-war great power of Germany,” he said.
URGES ACCEPTANCE OF AGENCY WITHOUT MISGIVINGS
Expressing his conviction that the Zionist Congress will ratify the Agency pact, the speaker urged the delegates to celebrate the new epoch and not to fall into a mood of depression and misgivings. A well-known Hamburg capitalist, following a short stay in Palestine, a non-Zionist, told him that he would prefer to live in Palestine, expressing his regret that his obligations in the Diaspora compel him to leave the country. “There is much criticism being voiced about the fifty-fifty principle. We have nothing to lose from this. The value of shares in enterprises in which Morgan has no more than twelve per cent rise. Many of the non-Zionists will become Zionists. Remember the case of Samuel Untermyer. Besides, fifty per cent of the non-Zionist fifty is Zionistic, for instance, Bialik and Sholom Asch,” he said.
“The creation of the Jewish Agency will result in transforming the Zionist Organization into a Zionist movement. I envy Weizmann’s intuition and ‘Ruach Ha’kodesh’. I am convinced that the future historian will record the Zionist Congress at Zurich as opening a new epoch in Jewish history, an epoch started by Weizmann, his assistants and those who cooperate with him,” Dr. Levin stated.
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