BASLE (Jul. 6)
A warning to the Zionist Congress to take no steps that would antagonize the Arabs was made today in an official message from Geneva addressed to the Congress by Sheik Emir Arslan, representing the Palestine-Syrian delegation in Geneva. The message emphasizes that Palestine has been an Arab country for fourteen generatios.
At the afternoon session, Louis Lipsky, former president of the Zionist Organization of America, defended Dr. Chaim Weizmann but criticized the British government in an address outlining what his group in the America delegation feels represents the present situation.
“The Mandatory Power has contributed nothing substantial to ease Dr. Weizmann’s unenviable position,” Mr. Lipsky said. “It allowed hostility to grow in the Jewish masses as if indifferent to the consequences. It insured a policy of denial with stolid indifference to the effect of British Jewish relations. If anything it has become more rigid and more rigorous in the last few months after the Donald letter which led the Jews to assume that a chane in attitude might be expected.”
DISOWNS WISE’S ADDRESS
Turning to Dr. Stephen S. Wise’s address of last Friday, Mr. Lipsky said that his group did not share Dr. Wise’s adverse criticism of Dr. Weizmann’s policy. However, he did not deny that Dr. Wise spoke for the majority of the American delegation.
Analyzing the MacDonald letter, Mr. Lipsky declared “even if the MacDonald letter were worse the reply of the Congress should be the concentration of all efforts on strengthening the Jewish position in Palestine. The British government is not only responsible for the position in which Dr. Weizmann now finds himself but also for the aggressive forces in the party.” Mr. Lipsky concluded his address with an appeal for unity within the Zionist Organization despite whatever differences there may be regarding political methods.
Considerable excitement took place when Dr. Robert Stricker, former leader of the Austrian Radicals, now a Revisionist, quoted from the platform Dr. Weizmann’s interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week in which he said that he does not sympathize with the demands for a Jewish majority in Palestine because the world may construe this as a wish to drive out the Arabs. Many delegates shouted their protest as Dr. Stricker read the interview.
Dr. Stricker pointed out that within ten years the Jews had colonized 7,000 people in Palestine which was equivalent to the Arab birthrate in seven months. He attacked the high salaries of Zionist officials, pointing out that one-third of the Jewish population in Palestine was obtaining its livelihood from industry and trade for which the Zionist Executive had not done anything while the colonies were not yet independent.
SAYS WEIZMANN MUST GO
“Weizmann must go because he is responsible for all failures and also because of his negative attitude to the Jewish state idea which he confirmed in his interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency,” Dr. Stricker declared. “Every Zionist will now be considered a provocator and an extremist if he advocates a Jewish majority. The Congress has to choose between the spirit of Herzl, who demanded a Jewish State and the spirit of Weizmann.”
The afternoon session opened with a statement by David Ben Gurion, president of the Jewish Federation of Labor of Palestine, who declared that the Laborites consider it a breach of tradition that they, the largest group in the Congress, were not given the chairmanship of the committee on committees, and hence they were withdrawing from all committees.
Nathan Gesang, president of the Argentine Zionist Federation, who also spoke at the afternoon session, demanded that Dr. Weizmann should resign, saying that this would save the unity of the Organization. He also urged the recognition of the tactics of the Revisionists.
AGENCY FACES LARGE DEFICIT
The entire morning was devoted to meetings of the various committees. The finacial committee reported that the Jewish Agency for Palestine is facing a deficit of $4,000,000. Hope was expressed that American Jewry will be able to raise immediately $800,000 which is necessary to meet obligations until September. At a meeting of the financial commission and the American delegates under the chairmanship of Judge Julian W. Mack, practical financial plans were discussed and it is possible that the entire American delegation will return to the United States immediately after the Congress for the special purpose of raising funds.
In the meantime, the committee on committees has organized itself with Georg Halpern, General Zionist as chairman. Richard Lichtheim, German Revisionist; Heschel Farbstein, Polish Mizrachist; Berl Locker, American Laborite and M. Loofeisen, General Zionist, remained vice-presidents. Following the defeat of the Laborite candidates for the chairmanship of the most important committees-Chaim Arlosoroff was defeated for the chairmanship of the political committee as the result of a united anti-labor vote-the Laborites declared that they would not participate in the chairmanship or vice-chairmanship of any committees. Dr. Michael Ringel, General Zionist of East Galicia, was named chairman of the political committee.
While committee consultations are now in progress, none of the Zionist parties have yet outspokenly defined their attitude regarding the question of the future leadership, avoiding the direct issue. The Revisionists have announced that they cannot state their attitude regarding the leadership until the ultimate aims are agreed upon, at least in committee.