The Jewish National Fund will shortly undertake a great money-raising campaign for the purpose of furthering its work and buying more land in Palestine, it was announced today. The campaign will reach its peak coincident with the coming of Mendel Menachim Ussishkin, head of the Jewish National Fund, and known as the “grand old man of Zionism,” to America.
The convening of a national conference on the Palestine land problem, to be held under the auspices of the Jewish National Fund of America, was also urged.
Plans for the campaign, which is to be by far the greatest ever undertaken for the Fund, were discussed Thursday evening at a meeting in the Pennsylvania Hotel. Emanuel Neumann. American president of the Jewish National Fund, was chairman. The executive committee of the organization, augmented by representatives from all other Jewish groups interested in Palestine participated.
The meeting was addressed by Rabbi Nachman H. Ebin of the Mizrachi, who declared that the coming of Ussishkin to America should be celebrated by the purchase of large sections of Palestine land. Rabbi Maliansky compared the present situation to that in the time of Jeremiah. When Nebuchadnezzar stormed at the walls of Jerusalem, and Jeremiah himself sat up to his neck imprisoned in a well of slime, Jeremiah’s cousin came to him to sell him a parcel of land. “And Jeremiah bought land,” said Rabbi Masliansky, “and he bought that land on that day as a protest against Lord Passfield. That was the beginning of the Jewish National Fund.”
Elias Epstein, general secretary of the Jewish National Fund in Jerusalem, who has just arrived in New York, refuted point by point many of the arguments presented in the Simpson report. He emphasized the possibility of developing seven million dunams of land now waste in the south of Palestine. And he said “The Jews altogether own only 5.6% of Palestine. The Jewish National Fund owns only 1.25% of Palestine. Does that sound like we are driving out the Arab? The Simpson report regards our work in Palestine only as a colonization movement. Yet when Sir John Hope Simpson was in Jerusalem he visited our office and spoke then as though he understood our ideal. He said, ‘I understand now that the Jewish National Fund is a prophylactic against the Jewish national disease of homelessness.’ He seems to have forgotten that Of course we insist that Jews do their own work on the land. The inmost part of our ideal is to build a self-respecting Jewish peasantry, not a group of little landlords building their homes on the backs of Arabs.”
Isaac Hamlin, secretary of the National Labor Committee on Palestine, also just returned from there, said “There are at this moment a million
dunams of land for sale in Palestine. It is a good land, but waste land. No Arab would be dispossessed off that land.” He further pictured the condition of the Jewish settler in Palestine as no longer that of the “hungry chalutz” of ten years ago.
“Our colonies are literally flowing with milk,” said Mr. Hamlin. “There is a surplus of Jewish produce. The Jews have made a success of colonization, and the work must be expanded.”
The meeting passed a resolution demanding that the doors of Transjordania be opened to Jews or Arabs for colonization and settlement.
The “action resolution” called upon “the chairmen of all Zionist districts, Haddassah chapters, camps of the Order Sons of Zion, branches of the Mizrachi, Poale Zion, Zeire Zion, and other Jewish groups to aid the Palestine Land Fund campaign by adopting suitable quotas and vigorously participating in raising them at dates as early as possible.”
A statement repudiating “as utterly absurd” the charges in the White Paper was also adopted. A resolution to welcome Ussishkin was acclaimed. The text reads: “This Conference has heard with gratification the report of a forthcoming visit to the country of M. M Ussishkin, the President of the Keren Kayemeth le Israel, indefatigable champion of the Zionist movement and the practical application of its ideals in the up-building work in Palestine through the medium of the Jewish National Fund. This Conference looks forward with joy to the wider understanding of the ideals of Zionism and to the greater inspiration for extending the upbuilding work, which will result from his presence among us. This Conference requests the leaders of the Jewish National Fund of America to immediately take steps for the organization of the nation-wide Ussishkin Reception Committee.”
Others addressing the meeting were Mrs. Irma Lindheim, Hadassah leader, Miss Judith Elkind, of Hadassah, and Ephraim Kaplain.
On the same evening many protest meeting were held. Senator Kean addressed 1500 Jews in the Temple B’nai Abraham of Newark, New Jersey. Messages were received from Felix M. Warburg, Rabbi Stephen Wise, Governor Larson, Senator Baird, and Mayor Congleton of Newark. Rabbi Wolf Gold of Brooklyn, and Judge Wm. M. Lewis of Philadelphia were among the speakers. Judge Newcorn of Plainfield presided. A meeting was also held in Union City.
On Wednesday, protest mass meetings were held at the Jewish Community Center in Jersey City, with Rabbi Leon Spitz and Judge Morris E. Barison presiding, and in the community center at Atlantic City, where Rabbi Abraham Neumann of Philadelphia and Rev. Henry Merle Mellen of the First Presbyterian Church were among the speakers.