Zionist Congress Adjourns for Hour in Uproar Between Revisionists and Laborites
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Zionist Congress Adjourns for Hour in Uproar Between Revisionists and Laborites

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The most tumultous session of the 17th Zionist Congress closed late last night in Mustermesse Hall after bitter verbal clashes between the Revisionists, the official opposition to the Weizmann regime, and the Laborites, which had become so serious as to result in an hour’s adjournment of the Congress, were finally settled amicably by one of the Laborite delegates apologizing to the Revisionists from the rostrum.

The trouble began when Berl Locker, an American delegate representing the Jewish Socialist Labor Party (Poale Zion) charged the Revisionists with following the teachings of Adolf Hitler, Germany’s arch anti-Semite. This accusation was immediately answered by Revisionist delegates from all parts of the hall who shouted, “we shall not let this traitor speak.” Dr. Wolfgang von Weisl, leader of the Palestine Revisionists, led in the counter attack on Locker, while David Ben Gurion, president of the Jewish Labor Federation of Palestine, supported Locker.

This clash, potentially serious in itself, was further aggravated by another clash at the press table between Dr. von Weisl, an Ullstein correspondent, and Julius Becker, also an Ullstein representative. The tumult grew as the Revisionists insisted on ejecting Becker from the hall which Moses Waldman, Congress press chief, prevented.


The uproar then spread to the presidium and when the Revisionist members of the presidium left the tribune bedlam threatened the Congress, and the chairman, despairing of restoring order, adjourned the Congress for an hour while the presidium went into a conference in an endeavor to adjust the conflict. The dispute was finally settled when the presidium, together with representatives of those involved, decided that Locker should apologize from the tribune which he did, saying that he had not meant to insult any Congress group.

The Congress then returned to its session and Locker resumed his speech. In the course of his remarks he sounded a warning to the General Zionists and to the Mizrachi or Orthodox Zionists not to accept the program of the American Brandeis group. He also appealed to the General Zionists and the Mizrachi to unite with the Laborites in order not to weaken the Zionist movement.

The program of the present American Zionist administration, which is generally referred to as the Brandeis group, among other things, calls for a reaffirmation of Zionist principles, urges striving for the complete realization of the Jewish National Home within the historic boundaries of Palestine, demands the removal of the arbitrary separation of Transjordania from Palestine, asks for Arab-Jewish conciliation along the lines of cultivating along the lines of cultivating a Jewish-Arab understanding within and beyond the confines of Palestine, and the growing identification of the economic interests of Arabs and Jews, proposes the creation of a special board for economic development, and favors turning the Zionist leadership over to a collegium.


Apart from the disturbance, the evening session of the Congress’ third day was entirely devoted to replies to Vladimir Jabotinsky, Revisionist leader, whose address during the general debate in the afternoon had stirred the Congress to great enthusiasm. Dr. M. D. Eder, spokesman for the British General Zionists, said it would have been a mistake if Premier MacDonald’s letter to Dr. Weizmann had not been accepted because it spells neutrality between Great Britain and the Zionists. Praising Dr. Weizmann’s address, he cautioned against any demand for modifications of the letter as desired by Jabotinsky, saying that the Arabs are also seeking modification.

Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum of Warsaw, leader of the Radicals, declared that Dr. Weizmann’s political policy was dead but that his policy of cooperation with the Laborites should be followed by the new Zionist Executive to be elected by the Congress. Deputy Gruenbaum’s remarks were largely devoted to taking issue with Jabotinsky. Georg Halpern appealed for a coalition of all paries but criticized Dr. Weizmann for not expressing how deeply the faith in Great Britain had been shaken.

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