Berlin (Sep. 29)
The budget of the Keren Hayesod, the chief financial instrument of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, is more Socialistic than the budgets of the various Labor governments, Berl Katzenelson, editor of the Hebrew paper, Davar, organ of Palestine labor, told today’s session of the first World Congress for Palestine Workers. Mr. Katzenelson gave a detailed description of the activities of the Keren Hayesod and the Jewish National Fund and indicated their importance for Palestine Socialism.
Salman Rubashov, Palestine labor leader, outlined the growth and development of the Jewish labor movement since the Bialystock congress of 1900 when Zionists were ex-communicated from the party ranks and Zionist workers ousted from the Jewish unions. Now, he said, the unions contain a majority of workers who are in favor of the Palestine work and an insignificant number of Communists.
As a result of the intervention of Dr. Oscar Cohn and Ernst Toller of Germany, the disagreement between the Left Poale Zion delegation and the rest of the Congress was amicably settled. Having left the meeting hall on the opening day of the Congress when Nahum Sokolow began his address and having created a brief disturbance when David Ben Gurion, president of the General Federation of Jewish Labor in Palestine opened his speech in Hebrew, the Left Poale Zionists were not present at Sunday’s session because Ben Gurion ordered their delegate cards taken away.
EXPLAINS EXCLUSION OF LEFT POALE ZION
When asked by a delegate why the Left Poale Zionists were excluded, Ben Gurion said that they had broken their pledge not to obstruct the Congress. At a press conference of the Left Poale Zionists, M. Zerubovel declared that they had not undertaken to accept the basis of the Congress as prepared by the General Federation and hence their exclusion was not justified. After some negotiation Dr. Cohn and Toller announced that they were authorized to announce that the Left Poale Zion would do nothing to hinder the Congress and that it was prepared to cooperate loyally on the basis of the present agenda.
Ernst Toller, well-known German poet, greeting the Congress, said that the road to the upbuilding of Palestine leads not through the British Labor Party which “stopped Jewish immigration but through brotherly unity with the Arab workers.” Dr. Arthur Ruppin, of the Palestine Zionist Executive, outlined the social structure of the Jewish people.
Following a greeting to the Congress by M. Huysman, Belgian Socialist leader, M. Pierards, on behalf of the Palestine Committee of the Second International, declared that the League of Nations must impose upon England the duty of assisting the establishment of the Jewish National Home.
SCHLOSSBERG URGES UNITED LABOR FUND
Joseph Schlossberg, American labor leader, appealed to the Congress to create a united labor fund. “Seven years ago the word Palestine was a synonym for reactionary in America, but today it means labor and work for social progress,” he said, appealing for a postponement of the fight over whether Yiddish or Hebrew should be used in Palestine. He urged that those who are working for the upbuilding of Palestine should themselves choose the language. Morris Finestone then greeted the Congress in the name of 250,000 Jewish union members of America and also in the name of the American Federation of Labor.
M. Goudall, speaking for Albert Thomas, head of the International Labor Bureau, declared that the Labor Bureau had learned a lesson from Palestine. Speaking of the question of Arab-Jewish relations, M. Goudall pointed out that a unification of both groups is desirable or else each group should devote itself to the activities in which its specific abilities could be utilized. Noting that the Labor Bureau is represented on the Mandates Commission, M. Goudall said that the Bureau would see to it that Palestine would develop on a peaceful basis.
The Congress, which opened Saturday night, is being attended by 200 delegates from all parts of the world and by more than 1,000 visitors, including Jewish labor leaders from all countries and other labor and Socialist personages from Europe. Ben Gurion’s address outlined the aims of the Congress and reported on the program of Palestine labor.
KARL MARX’S GRANDSON SPEAKS
Jean Longuet, French Socialist leader and grandson of Karl Marx, told the Congress that “all champions of the progress of the Jews as well as other Christians sympathize with the work of Palestine labor because it is a Socialist experiment.” He welcomed the American delegation as the “bearers of Socialism in the country of Rockefeller and Ford.”
S. Kaplansky, a member of the Zionist Executive and leader of the Poale Zion, welcomed Professor Albert Einstein, Dr. Eduard Bernstein and other world-famous personages who were given a rising ovation by the Congress. Dr. Bernstein said that “seventy years ago I entered the Socialist party. Today I hope the work of Palestine labor will show Socialism new roads.” Johan Sassenbach, general secretary of the Trade Union International, praised the trade union efforts of the General Federation of Jewish Labor and called it a pioneer in the enlightenment of the Arab workers. The International fully supports the work of Palestine Labor, he declared.
Nahum Sokolow quoted a letter of the late Theodor Herzl in which the latter said that the Zionist Executive was sacrificing most for labor colonization. On behalf of 5,000,000 German trade unionists, their general secretary, M. Knoll, said, “We understand the martyr-like fight of the Jewish workers in Palestine because we too have our Arabs, viz., the Hitlerites who threaten that heads will roll in the sand. But Socialism will win in Palestine as it will in Germany.”
SNELL HOPEFUL OF SIMPSON REPORT
Messages were received by the Congress from Harry Snell, on behalf of the British Labor Party, from J. S. Middleton, acting-secretary of the British Labor Party, from Chaim Nachman Bialik, noted Hebrew poet, Prof. Simeon Dubnow, famous Jewish historian, Leon Blum, French Socialist leader and hundreds of others. Mr. Snell’s message concluded with the hope that the “recommendations of Sir John Simpson will inaugurate an epoch of prosperity in Palestine.” The Haifa Arab Labor Club cabled its thanks to the General Federation of Jewish Labor for unifying all Palestine workers. Abraham Shiplacoff, veteran American Socialist leader and a member of the American delegation, rendered an enthusiastic report of his recent visit to Palestine.
Professor Einstein, in his address welcoming the delegates at the opening session Saturday night, said:
“It is true that I am an old school-master, but today I can teach you nothing. On the contrary, I want to learn from you. The Palestine question is close to my heart. As a people we Jews would have perished long ago had we not been at the same time a cultural community. I believe Palestine can be to us what it should be, an expression of a high cultural community. It does not matter how many Jews are in Palestine, but it does matter what they produce there. That should be something that the Jews of the whole world can point to as ideal creative work and with which they can identify themselves.”