Asserting that the points of difference between those who style themselves “Administration Zionists,” and the so-called “Opposition” are not of such fundamental character as to preclude a rapprochement, Mr. Weisgal, Secretary of the Zionist Organization of America and Editor of “The New Palestine,” in a private letter to Dr. Louis I. Newman denies the allegation of the San Francisco Rabbi that the Zionist Administration is opposed to a welding of forces and that Louis Lipsky, President of the Zionist Organization of America, has “locked and barred” the Zionist doors to understanding with other groups.
Declaring that the situation is just the opposite from what Rabbi Newman asserts it to be, Mr. Weigal quotes Mr. Lipsky as having said to Rabbi Newman, “Find out from Judge Mack and his group what they think of your proposals. You will find us willing to meet them more than half way.”
The full text of Mr. Weisgal’s letters are as follows:
Since you have deemed it of sufficient importance to print Dr. Newman’s view of the Zionist situation, I am sending you herewith copy of a letter which I wrote the other day to Rabbi Newman in answer to his article although it was not intended for publication.
Meyer W. Weisgal.
January 28, 1930.
My dear Dr. Newman:
I have just read your interesting article, “Telling It in Gath,” in the “Seattle Transcript” for January 17. I have reference to that part of it which deals with the present Zionist situation. You have mentioned me as one with whom you discussed this problem. I need not repeat here what I told you in New York, that I am heartily in accord with your views on the subject. It has been my conviction for a long time that the points of difference between those who style themselves, “Administration Zionists,” and the so-called “Opposition” are not of such a fundamental character as to preclude a rapprochement. It depends, in my opinion, primarily on good will. That good will and a desire for conciliation exist among those who constitute the present Zionist Administration, I have no doubt. On the other hand, I regret to say, no such attitude has existed among the elements constituting the so-called “Brandeis-Mack group.” With the exception of Dr. Wise (who cannot be regarded as a member of that group) little indication was given of a desire to establish a united front of the Zionist forces in America. Many attempts have been made during the last few years by disinterested parties as well as by members of the Administration to arrive at an understanding and a common program of work so that those outside the present leadership may join with it in the tasks which confront the Zionist Organization. It was always met with a refusal to cooperate.
In view of all this, I think it was eminently unfair on your part to say: “But when I discussed the matter with Mr. Lipsky, I found the door barred and locked firmer than ever against the welcoming of the Brandeis-Mack group into the leadership of the Zionist Organization of America. Mr. Lipsky, though grayer and older by reason of his Zionist burdens was as masterful, unyielding and uncompromising as ever. ‘The Zionist Organization,’ he said, ‘will rise and fall with the rise and fall of the Zionist Movement.’ The key to Zionist reconstruction lies in the hands of Louis Lipsky at 111 Fifth Avenue.”
I was present at the conversation you had with Mr. Lipsky. I do not understand how you could have gathered the impression from what he said that the Zionist doors “are barred and locked.” On the contrary, what Mr. Lipsky said was an indication of the willingness which has always existed in the Zionist Administration to help create such conditions as would enable all groups, especially the Brandeis-Mack group, to give their cooperation. In factâ€”I quote the exact words of
Mr. Lipskyâ€”he said, “Find out from Judge Mack and his group what they think of your proposals. You will find us willing to meet them more than half way.” Can you interpret these lines as a lack of desire on the part of Mr. Lipsky to consolidate the Zionist forces? I venture to say, my dear Dr. Newman, that you are defeating your own attempts at a conciliation of Zionist forces when you place the situation before the public in a manner that is not in accordance with the facts, or is not likely to bring about a better understanding of the situation
I heartily underscore your words when you say, “Let the miserable warfare of the last ten years be forgotten; let us banish pride, fear and prejudice; let us trust each other; let us demonstrate how good and how pleasing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” But when you couple these fine sentiments with which I believe every true Zionist agrees, with a rhetorical insinuation, “It may well be asked whether the only power of the Zionist Organization of America at the present moment is to make trouble within and outside the Agency,” you are giving currency to gossip which is rife in New York and in certain sections of the press, and which you were quick to pick up on your brief visit to New York. Do you believe that such assertions serve the purpose which you say you desire to achieve?
It is not my purpose to defend the present Administration or to accuse any group of Zionists. It is not the way of peace. It would take me too far afield to recount here what the powers of the Zionist Organization are and have been for the past eight or nine years under the present leadership. These powers have been used not for making trouble but for raising millions of dollars for Palestine and for helping to create those economic props in the Jewish National Homeland which have rendered our position in Palestine unshakeable against any attack of our adversaries. These powers have been usedâ€”despite difficulties, despite opposition from the very group which you seem to absolve from all blameâ€”for the creation of the Jewish Agency of which you have been one of its most violent opponents and for which you now seem to plead. This Zionist Administration has been responsible for the creation of the Jewish Agency for which you condemned it in and out of season and called it treacherous to the Zionist cause. It has not changed its opinion regarding the value of the Jewish Agency in the upbuilding of Palestine. If there are differences of opinion with regard to work and method, they are honest differences of opinion which do not in the slightest endanger the position of the Jewish Agency. I will quote from a Zionist address of Justice Louis D. Brandeis. He said, “We want unity of action not uniformity of opinions.”
It was unfair, unjust and ungenerous, and hurtful to the cause of peace and understanding which you so eloquently plead for you to repeat and give credence to remarks of idle gossips.
The Zionist movement today, in my opinion, is stronger than it was ten years ago. But something happened in Palestine which makes it the paramount duty of every Zionist to think in terms of consolidation of forces to face the new situation that has arisen. We must learn from other peoples how to act selflessly and courageously in a time of danger. It becomes imperative to sink all differences and work together for the common good. This can be achieved not by bickering, not by a spirit of retaliation not by arrogance or rancor, but by understanding and good will, and a desire to forget past differences. The interests of the Movement demand such a sacrifice, if sacrifice indeed it be. That such good will and desire for mutual understanding exist among those who are at the helm of the Zionist Organization, I am profoundly convinced. It is for others to indicate by word or deed that they, too, are motivated by the same feeling. When this is done, there will be peace in the Zionist ranks out of which will come the consolidation of Zionist forces of which you speak and which is essential for the best interests of the Movement.
With kind personal regards, I am
Very sincerely yours,
Meyer M. Weisgal,