BASLE (Jul. 10)
The creation of specially organized economic corporations to be established in every country of the world to stimulate investments in Palestine and to aid Palestine industry was approved at this morning’s plenary session of the Zionist Congress which adopted a resolution of the economic committee to this effect.
By approving this resolution the Congress voted for the separation of economic from political affairs and the removal of Palestine economic work from the control of the Zionist Executive, an idea first advanced ten years ago by Justice Louis D. Brandeis. The Congress passed the resolution after debating it all morning. An amendment offered by the Laborites, which proposes that the Jewish National Fund, the principal Zionist land-purchasing agency, and the Keren Hayesod, the chief financial instrument of the Jewish Agency, should be encouraged to intensify their national economic activities simultaneously with the establishment of the new economic corporations, was incorporated into the resolution.
One such corporation is already in existence in the United States, the Palestine Economic Corporation.
The resolution provides that in the future economic work in Palestine should not be conducted by the Zionist Executive but by specially organized economic corporations acting independently of the Zionist Executive, the latter being consulted only regarding the organization and personnel of these corporations.
The tasks of these corporations will be to stimulate safe and profitable private investment in Palestine, to assist small investors, to attract large capital for industrial enterprises and concessions, to organize the marketing of Palestine products and to study opportunities for opening up new fields for Palestine industry.
In the course of the debate, Isaac Naiditch, a member of the economic committee, outlined why the separation of economics from politics was necessary. He emphasized that the economic combinations practiced until now by the Executive had proved impractical, adding that economic affairs need authority and experts. He urged that the new corporations maintain contact with the Executive but that the Executive should have no control over them.
Israel Brodie, chairman of the economic committee of the Zionist Organization of America, presented the American point of view on the resolution which is in line with the pre-Congress decision of the Zionist Organization of America that a soundly conceived program of economic development in Palestine planned to attain definite objectives within a limited number of years can best be carried out by private or semi-private institutions such as the Palestine Electric Corporation, Palestine Potash, Ltd., and the Palestine Economic Corporation.
Mr. Brodie presented a detailed brochure entitled “A Program for the Acceleration of the Absorptive Capacity of Palestine.” In this pamphlet he urged the shifting of emphasis to the stimulation and rapid development of industry and commerce. Pointing out that Jewish agricultural colonization, while of the utmost importance, is limited by the amount of land and the fact that large public funds will not be forthcoming in the next few years, he said that Jewish urban immigration has practically limitless possibilities if industry and commerce can be developed to provide employment for the new comers.
Recommending the concentration of resources in a selected number of key industries which are likely to exercise the widest influence upon the whole economy of the country and which will vitally enlarge the capacity of Palestine to absorb the largest number of immigrants in the shortest possible time, he proposed the creation of the following organizations:
1. A citrus growers’ exchange. 2. A mortgage bank for urban loans. 3. An engineering and contracting corporation provided with modern equipment and a trained personnel so that Palestine construction contracts would not be awarded to foreign contractors. 4. A factoring corporation to furnish credit to manufacturers.
He also urged the development of small citrus plantation holdings by organizing an amply capitalized corporation which should acquire and develop adequate and suitable areas, steps to inform the Jews outside of Palestine that that country can now absorb capital and men with no greater risks than those which attend economic undertakings in other parts of the world, and the mobilization of American capital for Palestine investment by organizing corporations for specific undertakings, the creation of so-called Palestine corporations and the regulation of investment by the “capitalist” immigrant.