Menu JTA Search

Jewish Press Criticizes Conference of Rabbi Glazer with Minsk Leaders; Says He Acted Without Authori

Criticism of the American Rabbi Glazer for taking it upon himself to confer with Minsk rabbis when he was in Russia last Summer and to promise them help from America, without first consulting other American-Jewish leaders, is contained in an editorial in last Saturday’s “Day” and in the weekly article of “Yiddische Interessen” by Zivion in the “Forward” of the same date.

“From the very first day that talk began about the arrests of the Minsk rabbis, there was persistent mention of an American rabbi in that connection,” says the “Day.” “This rabbi is supposed to have played the role of a busybody, and it is he who is alleged to have stirred up the whole uproar in Minsk, and because of Minsk, in the entire world as well.

“It is said that this rabbi was on a visit last Summer in Minsk. There he had a secret conference—no other one is possible—with the local rabbis and communal workers. One can be pretty certain that at this ‘secret conference’ no secret anti-Soviet plans were formulated, that nothing which would threaten the existence of the Soviet power was decided upon. There was talk there of the great Russian-Jewish poverty and of the spiritual suppression of Russian Jewry. The American rabbi naturally promised help, and thus the whole matter of the ‘secret conference’ would have been forgotten and the ‘promises’ together with dozens of other hopes would have vanished.

“But this rabbi loves to play the role of one who is influential in governmental circles and a great leader in Jewry. When he came to Poland, he led the rabbis there to the American ambassador in Warsaw and ‘influenced’ him to let ten or fifteen thousand deserted wives come to America. The next day of course everybody was talking about it. When he came to Lithuania he conferred with President Smetana and let him know that as soon as he returned to America, he would organize a 5-million dollar loan for Lithuania. Thus it isn’t difficult to imagine what promises he made to the unhappy Minsk rabbis.

“However, this in itself wouldn’t matter so much. But he came to Paris and there he spoke with a representative of the American embassy in France about the sad plight of the Minsk rabbis—according to information which he had gathered there. He did the same later on in Washington in his conversations with various representatives of the American government. He talked so long—in secret naturally—until it came to the ears of the Soviet representatives in America, and from here back to Minsk. Thus the whole rabbinical mess was stirred.

“In whose name did he allow himself such a dangerous thing as a secret conference? In whose name did he confer with the American governmental authorities? Of course we believe that in all his actions this American rabbi meant only to further the interests of Jewry, that he was as clean and innocent as a child; but a child is not allowed to play with fire. Mixing in Jewish politics in Russia is playing with fire, and it cannot be entrusted to anybody.

“The Minsk case must serve as an example of the harmfulness of this sort of communal activity. And if from now on the irresponsible private communal workers vanish from our midst, the Minsk rabbis and Jewish leaders will not have suffered in vain. It depends on us!”

Zivion in the “Forward” says:

“If this is the same Rabbi Glazer whom I saw and heard more than a year ago at the first convention of the Lithuanian Verband, then I can believe that he said things he shouldn’t have said. He created an uproar at that convention by saying things which shouldn’t have been said. Rabbi Glazer is a person who carrier around letters which he gets from senators, congressmen, vice-presidents and perhaps also from presidents. American politicians are police, especially to rabbis, and when a rabbi writes to them they answer him. At that convention Rabbi Glaser stated that he wanted to he could force the Lithuanian government to do what is desired of it, and if you don’t believe him, he can prove it to you black on white—here are the letters and paper which he has in his pocket.

“It is possible therefore that the same Rabbi Glazer spoke to the Minsk rabbis the way he spoke at the Lithuanian Verband convention here. Only the Verband convention didn’t take him seriously, and the Soviet secret police did take him seriously. This isn’t of course a compliment for the ‘Gepeu,’ but the secret political police of Russia was never noted for its wisdom.”

NEXT STORY