Twenty-five thousand Jews gathered in Madison Square Garden, New York City, Thursday night, August 29, to express the horror and indignation of all American Jewry at the Arab outrages in Palestine. Sponsored by practically every Jewish organization, of a local and national character, in New York, the Madison Square Garden meeting witnessed an outpouring of representative Jewry.
The meeting was opened by Leo Wolfson, Chairman of the New York Zionist Region, who introduced Mr. Samuel Untermeyer, who presided. Mr. Herman Bernstein was then called upon to read a message from President Hoover expressing sympathy with the Jews in Palestine and the hope that the future of the Jewish Homeland would be made safe. A message of similar tone was then read by Mr. Untermeyer from Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York State. A cabled message from Louis Lipsky, President of the Zionist Organization of America was also read at the meeting, as well as a telegram from Nathan Straus.
The first speaker on the program was Mayor James J. Walker of New York, who expressed his indignation at the massacre of Jews in Palestine, and declared that he stood ready personally and officially to do everything in his power to relieve the distress. He praised the Jews of New York City for the fine contribution that they had made to its upbuilding in every field of endeavor. He was followed by Mr. Untermeyer who, in an extended address, called the Palestine administration to task for its laxity and inefficiency and declared that the Jews would be undeterred in their decision to proceed with reconstruction work in Palestine.
What was considered the principal address of the evening was delivered by Senator William E. Borah, who emphasized the need for a clearer understanding of the obligations of Great Britain in administering its Mandate over Palestine. Some of the other principal speakers were Lt. Governor Herbert H. Lehman, Dr. Samuel Schulman, Rabbi of Temple Emanu El, who urged patience and calmness, and declared that “in the presence of what has happened, we are united”; Mr. Baruch Zuckerman, noted Poale Zion leader; Mr. Emanuel Neumann, who read the resolution of protest against the Arab outrages in Palestine, and which placed certain demands on the Mandatory Power. The protest resolution also carried a message of condolence to the widow and mother of Major Best, a British officer who gave his life in Palestine in defense of our fellow Jews, and a message of appreciation to Oxford University in recognition of the gallant behavior of the young Oxford students who defended the rights of fellow citizens in Palestine. All resolutions were carried unanimously.
After the reading of a cabled message from Dr. Stephen S. Wise, now in Paris, the Chairman called upon Judge Bernard A. Rosenblatt, who expressed confidence in the MacDonald administration but said that the Mandatory Power would have to carry out the obligations involved in the Balfour Declaration, and placed faith in the sense of justice of the British people. He was followed by former Congressman Nathan D. Perlman, who condemned the Palestine administration for its blindness in not taking precautions for preventing the Arab outrages, and demanded that those officials in Palestine who are not in sympathy with the spirit of the Balfour Declaration be dismissed.
A report of the Palestine Emergency Fund of which he is chairman was rendered by Mr. David A. Brown, who appealled to all elements in American Jewry to contribute to the relief of the suffering in Palestine. The next speaker was Mrs. Zip F. Szold, President of Hadassah, Women’s Zionist Organization, who reported on the relief work that the Hadassah Medical Organization is doing in Palestine. Mr. S. Finestone then addressed the audience as a representative of the labor unions. Mr. Bernard Deutsch, President of the American Jewish Congress, the final speaker, demanded a restatement by Great Britain of its intention with regard to the Palestine Mandate, so that it might be carried out in letter and in spirit. The meeting was closed with a benediction by Dr. Israel Goldstein.
Lt. Gov. Herbert H. Lehman, who stated he does not speak in his official capacity, declared in his address: “The massacres of the past few days, which clearly have been organized and premeditated, have shocked me beyond expression. I grieve for those who have been ravished and hounded and killed, and for the destruction of the fruits of their toil, but it is not my disposition here tonight to attempt to place the blame for the failure to prevent the outbreaks, although error and great laxity there undoubtedly has been. We must, at this time, refrain from uninformed criticism, and maintain unshaken our confidence that Great Britain will fulfill its obligations with wisdom and firmness. No amount of recrimination can bring back to life the innocent dead, or make the survivors forget the horrors through which they have passed. The great work that lies before us is to make sure that there will never be a repetition of the present terrible situation, and to build up again, as rapidly as possible, the human structure that has been partly destroyed. That is a task that will not be accomplished by threats or loud shouting, or hatred or
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(Continued from Page 2) suspicion. Neither will promises that cannot be redeemed and misguided or irresponsible leadership get us anywhere at this time. Never was constructive effort, real sttaesmanship and temperate judgment, couple with firmness and determination, more needed.
“Although the provocation is almost overwhelming, hysteria and emotionalism will lead nowhere, and will be harmful, rather than helpful. There must continue to be leadership, which will make certain that steps be taken to prevent even the possibility of a recurrence of the present situation; that the guilty be punished and that justice be rendered those who have suffered. Until adequate protection has been afforded by constitutional authority, the unfortunate Jewish population must and will defend itself at all costs as best it can, but when the veil has lifted and the work of reconstruction resumed, there must be no spirit of reprisal or of vindictiveness remaining. That will inevitably poison the community as it does the individual. The work of reconstruction will require much effort and time and patience and good judgment. We must not permit our efforts and judgment to be warped by hate. We must at all times continue to practice that spirit of justice and forbearance and brotherly love we have claimed as part of the great spiritual heritage that has come to us through the ages.”
Bernard S. Deutsch, president of the American Jewish Congress, declared: “It was the first American Jewish Congress which, in the now historic session assembled on December 16, 1918, gave impressive utterance to the demand of American Jewry that Great Britain become the Mandatory Power over Palestine. The echo of this resolution went around the world, and men of light and leading in England acclaimed this decision with their satisfaction and joy.
“It is therefore most fitting that the organizations and communities now identified with the present American Jewish Congress, should, in this unlooked-for dark hour of sorrow and tribulation, utter their admonition to these who share responsibility in the calamity which has befallen the Jewish Community of Palestine. In voicing this protest and admonition, we feel sure that we have the assent and approval of all sections of Jewry in the United States, whether they be affiliated with our organization or not.
“Cherishing as we do the sacred ideal of the rebuilding of the Jewish Homeland in Palestine, a task which now has behind it the sympathy and pledged support of all groups in Jewish life, the American Jewish Congress wishes to endorse the demands which have been formulated by the leaders of the World Zionist Organization in London, and which demands, when presented to this memorable assembly, will, I feel certain, meet with the warm and whole-hearted support of all those present at and represented in this gathering.
“Only the acceptance of these just demands by Great Britain and the manifestation of a positive policy seeking to definitely facilitate the establishment of the Jewish homeland will satisfy the dictates of humanity and at least in some measure atone for the grievous wrong which has been committed against Israel. Despite all discouragement, we have not lost hope. Justice and righteousness will in the end prevail and a great cause can only be hurt but not destroyed by violence.”