Rules Bialik Justified in Attacking Brainin, but Expressions Too Sharp
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Rules Bialik Justified in Attacking Brainin, but Expressions Too Sharp

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Chaim Nachman Bialik, famous Hebrew poet, was justified in his attack against Reuben Brainin in connection with the latter’s attitude toward the Russian Jewish question, but he used too sharp expressions in the statement he signed on May 21 in behalf of a group of Hebrew writers in Tel Aviv.

This was the verdict handed down by the Zionist Congress Court acting as a court of honor, under the chairmanship of Dr. S. Gronemann. The trial, in which Brainin was the plaintiff and Bialik the defendant, lasted all night Monday. Mr. Brainin is to pay nine-tenths and Mr. Bialik one-tenth of the court expenses.

The trial grew out of the issuance of a statement by Mr. Bialik in which Mr. Brainin was charged with being “a traitor” to the Zionist cause and “a falsifier” because he allegedly kept quiet, following his visit to Soviet Russia two years ago, about the persecutions of the Hebrew language and Zionism in Soviet Russia. Instead, the declaration asserted. Mr. Brainin praised the policy of the Soviet government in regard to Jewish questions.

The proceedings were public and a large number of Berlin Zionists were present during the all night session, during which the tragedy of Russian (Continued on Page 4)

Mr. Bialik, turning his defense plea into an accusation stated that Russian Zionists handed over to Mr. Brainin material concerning the martyrdom of Russian Zionists for transmission to the proper Zionist bodies but Mr. Brainin failed to deliver the material. On the other hand, Mr. Brainin praised in the most laudatory terms the Russian Jewish colonization although the Jewish colonies there are nothing but Marrano colonies, Mr. Bialik stated. Mr. Bialik further charged that Mr. Brainin accepted praise from the Soviet press and failed to deny reports published in the Yiddish Communist daily, “Freiheit,” of New York wherein he was quoted as having made anti-Zionist references at a public mass meeting. He therefore felt that the reproach against Mr. Brainin was justified. He wished to add, however, that there occurred an error in the published text of the declaration. Instead of “Boged” (traitor) “Moel” (one who abuses confidence placed in him), the correct version was that Mr. Brainin was guilty of a “Beged Maal” (faithless treason), Mr. Bialik stated.

Dr. Seadiah Mase and Mr. Jehudi were heard as witnesses supporting Mr. Bialik’s description of the persecutions of the Zionists and the Hebrew language in Russia.

Mr. Brainin, in a moving address, referred to his forty-five years of work in Hebrew literature and in the Zionist movement to which he has always maintained a hundred per cent loyalty and devotion. He found it necessary, however, to say that the body of Russian Jewry must be saved from starvation so that the Jewish spirit may survive. He therefore thought that the colonization work, being an action to save large masses of Russian Jews, was in accordance with the meaning of Zionism. On the other hand, he realized that protests would be of no avail. He has submitted the material given him by Russian Zionists to competent Jewish bodies. The reports in the “Izvestia” and the “Freiheit” concerning his alleged addresses at public meetings were false, but he found it unimportant to issue denials. “I am weak and at the decline of my life. How could Bialik dare hurl at me the term of traitor? I demand justice!” Mr. Brainin exclaimed.

The verdict, issued at five o’clock in the morning and read by Dr. Gronemann, stated that Bialik’s attack was to the point and justified, since a great Hebraist and old Zionist as Mr. Brainin has kept quiet on the persecutions of Zionism and the Hebrew language in Russia and, on the other hand, has ascribed an exaggerated importance to the advantages of the Jewish policy of the Soviet government. In so acting Mr. Brainin has created dangers for Russian Jews. Nonetheless, the court disapproves of Bialik’s sharp words.

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