London (Dec. 29)
What was regarded as the most encouraging news received by the English Zionist Conference, which closed here today, was the declaration by Prof. Selig Brodetsky, member of the executive of the World Zionist Organization, that the present negotiations between the Jewish Agency and the British Government are a discussion of the whole policy toward the Jewish National Home, and in no way a discussion of modifications of the White Paper. Prof. Brodetsky stated that the conference would not consider the MacDonald government’s White Paper as even a basis for discussions, and that no agreement would be reached unless that paper was set aside.
Prof. Brodetsky emphasized the fact that the negotiations were the result of the government’s invitation to the Jewish Agency, and not the result of a Zionist appeal to the government. “The numerous protests which the Zionist executive has received against the negotiations cannot be directed against the executive,” he said, “because both the Zionist actions committee and the Agency political committee at their meetings at that time authorized Dr. Weizmann to negotiate.”
Prof. Brodetsky said he was personally very optimistic as regards the outcome of the negotiations, pointing out that this is the first time the Agency has been invited to negotiate directly with the government, and not through the colonial office. “Under no circumstances will the Agency accept corrections to the White Paper,” said the speaker, “for that would mean that the document itself remains. The negotiations are not being carried forward on those matters contained in the White Paper but upon the whole policy of the Jewish National Home.”
PROTESTS SUNDAY BAN
Prof. Brodetsky raised a vigorous protest against the Palestine government’s prohibiting Jewish laborers from working on Sunday at the Athlit works, pointing out that this is a restriction of Jewish rights incompatible with the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
An endeavor was made by Simon Marks and others to divert the attention of the conference from political to economic work, but even Dr. Weizmann’s appeal in this same spirit failed to influence the conference, which insisted on giving utmost attention to political matters, agreeing with Prof. Brodetsky’s contention that “we cannot achieve any useful economic work without a proper political foundation.”
The change of the attitude of Palestine officialdom toward the Palestine Mandate was stressed.
The conference in its resolutions expressed indignation at the government, and associated itself with the worldwide protest against the White Paper, calling it a “flagrant violation of the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate.”
The English Zionists through a resolution demanded that the Executive oppose any proposals based on the White Paper, and withdraw from negotiotions should the government uphold its policy as announced therein.
“Jewish confidence in Great Britain will be restored only if the hostility exemplified in the White Paper is definitely eliminated. The basic principle of the Mandate was the recognition of the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine. Facilitating the establishment of a Jewish National Home is possible only with the largest Jewish immigration and full facilities for the close settlement of the land. No basis for Jewish cooperation can exist that does not secure these fundamental conditions,” said the resolutions.
“The Zionist ideal is not inconsistent with safeguarding the rights of the non-Jewish inhabitants,” the English Zionists aver. They call upon the Agency to continue neighborly relations with the Arabs, and to cultivate common interests. “We regret Dr. Weizmann’s resignation, while recognizing his action as the only way compatible with the dignity of the Jewish people,” another resolution stated.
Dr. Weizmann was unanimously elected honorary president of the English Zionist Federation. Dr. M. D. Eder was elected president, succeeding the late Lord Melchett, news of whose death was received as a shock as the convention opened.
Dr. Weizmann said, “Only a fortnight ago Lord Melchett discussed with me plans for a Palestine trip, for he considered it unfair to himself that he should not see the house that had been built for him near Tiberius.” Dr. Weizmann deplored Lord Melchett’s death, as the taking away of a third Zionist pillar while Zionism is passing a severe crisis.
“Only a few days ago,” said Dr. Weizmann, “Lord Melchett remembered that the workers at Tel Mond, (a settlement in the orange plantation district being founded by Lord Melchett’s estate) had no library, and from his death bed he sent money for the establishment of a library there.”
Two years ago, when Lord Melchett was carrying out his great nickel merger, he said to Dr. Weizmann, “I promise to do more than any living man for Palestine. Dr. Weizmann said, “I am sure he would have carried out his promise, because after that he began to develop his Palestine work, which I hope will be continued as an ever-living monument to the man who did so much for Zionism. The living must carry on.”
Rabbi J. K. Goldbloom, presiding at the conference, called for three minutes of silence as news of the death of Lord Melchett came. Simon Marks, vice-president of the English Zionist Federation, then said, “Lord Melchett was a real prince of Israel, who found in Zionism an ideal for inner spiritual satisfaction. Lord Melchett was a Zionist before the Balfour Declaration, for he had formed an intimate friendship with Dr. Weizmann when he was Minister of Works. We lost one of the greatest Zionist supporters at a time when we can least afford to lose so dynamic a being.”
Dr. Weizmann had previously written to the conference of the present Zionist problems, saying, “Whatever are the results of the Agency’s negotiations with the Government, it will be for the World Congress to decide the future policy of the Jewish Agency.” He expressed the hope that as a result of the negotiations the Agency might be enabled to carry out its work in Palestine “free of the tremendous obstacles which have so obviously handicapped the establishment of a Jewish National home.” Dr. Weizmann stressed the importance of improved financial means, because “political achievements will be nullified if economic means are not available for the carrying out of the work.”
The conference passed a resolution wishing M. M. Ussishkin success in his mission to America for the Jewish National Fund.
Lloyd George greeted the conference as being “in a critical moment in the history of the Jewish race.” Premier Bennett of Canada wired his greetings; and Felix Warburg cabled calling for “an undivided loyalty and devotion of Jewry to the cause of upbuilding Palestine as the only way to strengthen our position before the bar of public opinion.”
Greetings were received from D. Avigdor Goldsmidt, Col. Kisch, Oskar Wasserman, Robert Szold, and from the Canadian Zionists.
Over three hundred delegates were in attendance.