Washington, D. C. (Oct. 19)
Great Britain will not break her promise to the Promised Land and will carry out the terms of her Mandate and the Balfour Declaration, under which the British Government has undertaken the obligation to help establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. This statement was made by the Rt. Hon. Harry Snell, distinguished British labor leader and member of Parliament, at a banquet of the American Jewish Congress this evening. Mr. Snell came to this country at the invitation of the American Jewish Congress, whose Eighth Session was opened at the New Willard Hotel today.
In a stirring address, the British visitor, who became widely known when, as a member of the Shaw Commission, appointed by Parliament to investigate the causes of the Arab riots in Palestine last summer, he took exception to the findings of his colleagues and affirmed his faith in the principle of the Balfour Declaration, presented to his audience the views of enlightened public opinion in England on the subject of Palestine.
“Great Britain is not in Palestine merely as the result of military conquest of Turkish territory, but is there by the orders of the League of Nations” and, because of the endorsement of her Mandate and the Balfour Declaration by the leading governments of the world “she has behind her greater authority than any previous trust in the history of mankind,” Mr. Snell stated.
DEMANDS OF ARAB NATIONALISTS
Referring to the demands of the group of Arab nationalists who resent Great Britain’s presence in Palestine and object to the establishment of a Jewish Homeland, Mr. Snell, while stating that he did not wish anything he said to be interpreted as hostile to the Arabs, declared that Great Britain will not treat the Balfour Declaration as a “scrap of paper.” He also deplored the action of the British Colonial Office some months ago, in suspending Jewish immigration into Palestine, which has been the cause of considerable criticism.
“There are already some 160,000 Jews in Palestine and the addition of 2,350, for whom certificates have been granted by the High Commissioner, would have saved all this criticism without substantially altering the problem to be considered. The Government made a general appeal to the Jews to await the issue of the report on Land and Immigration, which Sir John Hope Simpson had been instructed to make, and I cannot help feeling that it might, with advantage, have followed its own advice,” Mr. Snell said.
The delegates were welcomed by Leopold B. Freudberg, chairman of the American Jewish Congress Committee of Washington, who extended the greetings of the Jewish community of the city to the gathering. An address of welcome was delivered by Major General Herbert B. Crosby, Commissioner of the District of Columbia.
Following the message of the president of the organization, Bernard S. Deutsch, and the report of Samuel Blitz in behalf of the General Board of Elections, the morning session listened to an address by Congressman Nathan D. Perlman, Chairman of the National Executive Committee and the report of the Executive Director, Bernard G. Richards. At the afternoon session, which was presided over by Louis Lipsky, a report of the condition of the Jews in Roumania was presented by Professor Salo Baron, Miller professor of Jewish History and Literature at Columbia and Professor at the Jewish Institute of Religion. Professor Baron recently made a special tour of investigation in Roumania at the behest of the American Jewish Congress. Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum spoke on the Jewish situation in Poland and Leo. M. Glassman reported on conditions in Russia.
The barometer of Jewish life has fluctuated with the changing political de-
ment gained momentum with the election of Cuza and with the many congresses of the anti-Semitic leaders. This finally led to grave excesses, simultaneously breaking out in different parts of the country. It is generally being asserted, and I believe it to be true, that the government was able to quell the propaganda at the beginning and might even now suppress this subversive movement, if it sincerely wanted to do so. This becomes obvious in the case of the students, the chief anti-Semitic propagandists in the country. The students enjoy in Roumania much larger rights and are subjected to much lesser duties than anywhere else in the world.
GOVERNMENT MAINTAINS STUDENTS
“They do not work for a living, being practically maintained by the government. Thus they crowd the universities at public expense. A large part comes unsatisfactorily prepared, and having no interest in studies they spend their time and energy, in absence of university sports, on Jew-baiting or actual Jew-beating. The government of Maniu is being accused of not only having again legalized the most rabidly anti-Semitic fraternities, which had been suppressed by the previous liberal government, but of steadily maintaining with public funds the notorious Jew haters among them.
“2. In the economic field the government is being charged with the exclusion of the Jews from public offices, from the schools and from the trade with articles of state monopolies as well as with putting an excessive burden of taxation upon them. The National Bank, while granting relatively cheap credits (now at the rate of 9%) discriminates between banks under a purely Christian and those under a fully or partly Jewish management. The recent ‘cooperative law’ is said to threaten the very existence of the numerous Jewish cooperatives, that last stronghold of the large class of petty Jewish merchants and artisans.
“3. In the religious life of the Jews the ‘community law’ of 1929 represents the most serious interference with the Jewish autonomy in the history of the country. If carried out (for the time being the expected ordinance of the Ministry of cults has not yet appeared) it would mean, in progress of time, extreme disorganization of the Jewish religious life, at the time, when the Greek Orthodox Church, and even the minority church of the Roman Catholic (through a concordat with the Pope) remain strongly unified under the protection of Public Law.
JEWISH CULT PROTESTED LAW
“Furthermore, this law of 1929 was resolved upon against the vigorous protests of the official representative of the Jewish cult in the Senate as well as of almost all responsible Jewish leaders in and outside of Parliament, and was intended to replace the law of 1927, then adopted in conformity with the wishes of a special Jewish congress. Also the contribution of the treasury to the expenses for the Jewish cult falls far behind the contributions to the other churches. Instead of at least 70,000,000 Leiâ€”an amount pledged by the previous government for the near futureâ€”the Jewish communities receive altogether 10,000,000 Lei (about $60,000 annually.)
“4. In the field of education the Jews are often being excluded from the professional and other schools by illegal administrative measures. At times the terror of the anti-Semitic students succeeded in maintaining in Cluj not a numerus clausus, but a numerus nullus. Where the Jews are admitted, They cannot in reality enjoy the privileges of the student houses, etc. They have to go to their own Jewish institutions, such as exist in Bucharest, maintained exclusively with Jewish money. Without government subsidies these foundations, however inexpensively run, are a heavy burden on the Jewish community.
JEWISH SCHOOL SYSTEM
“Equally grave is the situation of the specific Jewish school system which had made fine progress during the first post-war years. A recent law declared Hebrew to be a foreign tongue, while prohibiting the simultaneous teaching of more than one foreign language in the primary schools. A prohibition against the maintenance of private training schools for teachers, without any provision for the training of Hebrew teachers in state institutions, rendered on a sudden all such instructions illegal.”
The economic distress of the Jewish population in Poland and the disabilities under which the Jews live, were depicted by Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum.
“In Poland the Jew has been dispossessed, victimized and made economically unstable for the sake of fiscal stabilization,” Dr. Tenenbaum stated, “The Jews who form eleven per cent of the population of the country, pay forty per cent of the taxes collected by the government. Tax allocation and execution has been confided to the hands of ruthless and prejudiced officers of the law who look at the Jews as the service cameras, who have the privilege of supplying the means for an expensive government machine in which they have no share. The taxation system has become the guillotine of the Jewish people. The tax collector is feared as much as were the agents of the Inquisition. The last shirt is taken away and there are cases where a few quarts of milk or an overcoat are regarded as a luxury and snatched away as taxes in kind.
“The result of this dispoliation is appalling. According to the census of 1921, the Jews were employed thirty four per cent in industry and handicraft, and forty-five per cent on commerce. Today, these figures are obsolete. In Vienna alone this year, three hundred and fifty-two Jewish stores have not renewed their licenses, being unable to pay taxes. Thirty-five per cent of all Jewish establishments were closed down in one single year.
“But taxation is not the only menace to the Jewish population. Contrary to all accepted rules of economics, the government has adopted an extensive program of economic etatism, taking over whole branches of industry and commerce into its own hands. The government has invested in the last few years eight and one quarter billion zloty (over one billion dollars) in various enterprises, for which practically no compensation is received.”
Referring to the Good-will Committee between Poles and Jews living in the United States, which was organized during the past year, Dr. Tenenbaum said: “We have found a willing response not only among the enlightened Poles living here, but also among the liberal Poles in Poland, including some of the representatives of the present government. We have asked the Polish Government to call a conference of Jews and non-Jews with the cooperation of the delegates of our Good-will Committee and of the American-Jewish Congress to discuss the whole situation, dispassionately and frankly. Such a conference was decided upon in principle by the Polish Government and we sincerely hope that when this conference takes place, it will mark a new era in Polish relationships.”
POSITION OF THE JEWS IN SOVIET RUSSIA
Leo M. Glassman, newspaperman, spoke on the present condition of the Jews in Soviet Russia.
“The economic position of the Jews under the Bolshevik regime, while it is still of a most deplorable nature, is slightly better than it was last year,” Mr. Glassman declared. “The modification of policy announced by Stalin on March 2, 1930, has, to some degree, relieved the distress of the Jews along with the rest of the population in Soviet Russia. Whereas in 1929 the number of declassed Jews in Russia was around 900,000, their number has now been reduced approximately by half. A recent decree of the Soviet Government has officially abolished the category of declasses, except for members of the Jewish Ministry and others who are connected with Jewish religious or cultural activity. Members of the bourgeoisie who are willing to be ‘proletarianized’ are permitted to apply for work at the Soviet Employment Bureaus and are allowed to become workers in factories, cooperatives, and governmental departments. This new policy is due primarily to the shortage of labor that is required by the Soviet Government to fill the ranks that are engaged in the Soviet Five-Year Plan. Unfortunately, this has so far not brought the full benefit to the Jewish masses, owing to the fact that few Jews are trained for factory and other specialized work and also because of the hostile attitude on the part of many Soviet officials to members of the bourgeoise class and to Jews particularly.”
RELIGIOUS, CULTURAL REPRESSIONS
As for the question of religious and
The Central Committee of the Zionists-Revisionists of America is calling a national conference in New York for December 13, 14 and 15, the beginning of the Hanukah week. This is the first national conference of Revisionists in America. velopments in various countries, Mr. Deutsch declared in his presidential message, which gave a bird’s-eye-view of the Jewish situation throughout the world during the past year. His address in part follows:
“The advent of a new regime in Roumania, two years ago, under the leadership of Premier Maniu, awakened in the hearts of the Jews a new hope that at last there had come an end to the policy of duplicity, evasiveness and outright abuse which had, unfortunately, been pursued by previous Roumanian governments in regard to the Jewish question. Of no people can it be said so aptly as of ours, that hope springs eternal in the human breast, and with the fall of the reactionary regime, we looked forward to a new period of freedom and equality for our brethren in Roumania. And, indeed, for a number of months there was quiet on the Roumanian front.
RESPITE FOR ROUMANIAN JEWS
“The Jews in Roumania found respite from the marauding hand of the anti-Semites, and our contention that with a determined effort the anti-Semitic excesses could be suppressed, if the government only wished to do so, was borne out. However, we were doomed to bitter disillusionment, for it was not long before the anti-Semitic manifestations broke out again.
“After much waiting and hoping, we came to believe that the government was not making any real effort to stop the renewed hostilities against the Jews, and what distressed us particularly was the fact that the Minister of the Interior in the Maniu Cabinet, Voyda Voevod, had legalized the Anti-Semitic Students Organization and granted it subsidy from the government treasury. That was something which even the governments known as reactionary and hostile in Roumania had not done. Small wonder that the followers of the notorious Cuza found new courage and revised their nefarious work.
“We were not passive in the face of these developments in Roumania, and I think we are justified in saying that the negotiations with the representatives of the Roumanian Government carried on jointly, particularly with His Excellency, M. Davila, Roumanian Ambassador in Washington, have not been altogether fruitless.
SOVIET CAMPAIGN AGAINST RELIGION
“The Soviet Government made no denial of its renewed campaign in the fall and winter of 1929 against culture and religion, in which the Jews suffered more than other elements in the population, owing to the special zeal of the Jewish Communists who were bent on proving their Soviet loyalty. But the Soviet authorities did make an effort to deny the practice of ruthless and inhuman methods by the officials and Communist zealots who were entrusted with the execution of the anti-religion campaign.
“The question was, should we remain silent or should we speak up against the inhuman persecutions? In certain quarters we were counselled to refrain from action. It was pointed out that a protest would serve only to harden the Soviets in their determination to exterminate religion and all the old forms of culture. It was said that the whole matter was merely an internal Russian affair.
“We, for our part, however, could not give heed to such counsel. Our primary concern was to ascertain the authenticity of the reports. Once we did that we felt that it would constitute a betrayal of our brethren in Russia to leave them to their fate without at least making an effort to intercede in their behalf.
CONVICTION ACTUATED PROTEST
“It was this conviction that actuated our decision to inaugurate a protest movement against the repression of Judaism in Soviet Russia, and subsequent developments have proven the justice of our position. There has been some measure of relentment in the persecutions of the Jewish religion and Zionism, and we have reason to feel convinced that the protest movement which we organized in this country and which had its reverberations in Europe did not go unnoticed by the Soviets.
“Right here in America there is a problem that has caused us deep concern and apprehension, a problem which in former years it was thought best to ignore tactfully in the hope that it would disappear of itself without interference. But now we have come to realize that this matter will not die of itself and has to be brought out in the light and fought openly. I am referring to the evil of discrimination against Jews in employment and in the colleges and universities, a growing menace which, unfortunately, can no longer be ignored. During the past year, we have had a preliminary survey made by two committee,â€”one on discrimination in employment, the other on discrimination in colleges,â€”who findings are referred to in the report of the Administrative Committee. The Congress intends to pursue this task further with the purpose of ascertaining the exact nature and the methods of anti-Jewish discrimination in this country and to assemble a sufficient amount of data to enable us to combat the spreading virus of this evil.
“The Palestine situation was of a different nature. Tragic and painful as the manifestations against our people in other lands may have been, the Arab riots in Palestine were in certain respects not only of a different, but also of a more momentous character. Those were not pogroms and massacres in the ordinary sense of the word, those were the result of a deliberately organized attempt on the part of elements