BASLE (Jul. 13)
At the stormiest session of the Zionist Congress since it opened here on June 30, the fight between the supporters and opponents of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, reached a dramatic climax early this morning when the Congress adopted by a vote of 123 to 103 a resolution of the political commission which in effect amounts to a vote of non-confidence in Dr. Weizmann.
However, the adoption of what is interpreted as an expression of censure of Dr. Weizmann’s leadership after being at the Zionist helm for 14 years, brought no comfort to the Revisionists, his most outspoken critics and opponents, who a little later carried out their threat to leave the Congress Hall when the delegates refused even to permit their minority resolution with regard to the ultimate aims of Zionism to be put to a vote.
The resolution criticizing Dr. Weizmann declared that “the Congress expresses regret at the views uttered by Dr. Weizmann in his interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and regards his reply to the interpellation on this interview as inadequate”. In his interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on July 3, Dr. Weizmann said that he had no sympathy or understanding with the demand for a Jewish majority in Palestine because the world will construe this demand only in one sense, that the Jews want to acquire a majority at the expense of the Arabs.
AMERICANS BACK CENSURE
All of the 52 Revisionist delegates, 30 of the 34 Mizrachi (Orthodox Zionists) and a great number of the General Zionists (Centrists), including almost the entire American delegation, voted for the resolution.
The withdrawal of the Revisionist delegation was preceded by tumultuous scenes in the course of which Meer Grossman, British Revisionist leader, sought to justify the Revisionists’ action by a declaration from the platform while Vladimir Jabotinsky, Revisionist chieftain, in dramatic fashion jumped on a table, tore his delegate’s card into shreds and called on his followers to do likewise.
The Revisionists’ action followed the refusal of the Congress, by a vote of 125 to 62, to put to a vote their minority resolution on the ultimate Zionist aims. The minority resolution said “the Congress declares that the establishment of a publicly recognized and legally secured home in Palestine for the Jewish people which is demanded in the Basle program, and the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, which is assured in the Palestine Mandate, means the transformation of the entire mandated territory of Palestine on both sides of the Jordan River into a Jewish state, namely into a commonwealth with its population being a Jewish majority.”
ULTIMATE AIMS RESOLUTION
The actual resolution brought in by the political commission on ultimate Zionist aims and adopted by a vote of 152 for it and none against it, read as follows:
“Zionism is a national movement to secure the freedom of the Jewish people. It adheres firmly and unalterable to its aims as laid down in the Basle program (to create for the Jewish people in Palestine a publicly recognized and legally secured home) and to bring about in Eretz Israel a solution of the Jewish problem. The homeless and landless Jewish people which is compelled to migrate strives to overcome its abnormal political, economic and spiritual conditions by reestablishing itself in its historic homeland through large and uninterrupted immigration and settlement and by re-creating in Eretz Israel its national life with all the essential features of a people’s normal existence. The Congress emphatically rejects any attempt to minimize this fundamental aim of Zionism.”
At the height of the excitement resulting from the Congress’ refusal to entertain the Revisionist resolution a group of young Revisionists made a dash for the blue and white Zionist flag, shouting “Herzl’s flag no longer has any place at this Congress.” A number of nearby delegates battled with the Revisionists from whom they recaptured the emblem and replaced it amidst great acclaim from the Congress.
CALLS LABORITES TRAITORS
In the meantime Grossman was making frantic efforts to make himself heard above the uproar and to explain why the Revisionists could no longer continue to collaborate with other delegates at the Congress. Failing to make himself heard, he screamed at the delegates that they were traitors to the cause, and then joined the procession of the Revisionists who were marching from the hall to the strains of the Zionist hymn, Hatikvah, the very same hymn that the Laborites as a group sang in an effort to drown out Grossman’s words.
After the left the hall, the Revisionists reassembled in their party room to lay plans for future action. On behalf of the entire party, and especially in the name of the 65,000 Zionist voters whom the Revisionists claim to represent, Dr. Robert Stricker, Austrian leader, later issued a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the course of which he said “after the Congress rejected the resolution for a Jewish state (Juedenstaat) the continued participation of the Revisionists can no longer be considered.”
LEADERSHIP ISSUE STILL PARAMOUNT
When the tumult subsided the presidium adjourned the Congress until tomorrow afternoon at 4 P.M. The delegates, however, did not give any intention of suspending activity, but on the contrary adjourned in small groups for further discussion of the one problem still agitating everyone, namely, the question of future leadership and the still existing possibility that this leadership will once more be entrusted to Dr. Weizmann.
Dr. Weizmann’s supporters saw a measure of victory for him in the fact that the resolution on the ultimate aims of Zionism brought in by the political commission and adopted by the Congress omitted all mention of the term “Jewish majority,” against the inclusion of which Dr. Weizmann made a special plea last night before the commission.
While Dr. Weizmann absented himself from the hall while the Congress was adopting the resolution criticizing his stand on the issue of a Jewish majority, the hall itself, together with the galleries, was as thronged as on the opening night of the Congress, the visitors fully sharing the tensity of the dramatic proceedings of the session.
HEADING FOR MIDDLE COURSE
The general impression tonight was that the Congress was heading for what a spokesman for the Centrists called the “golden” middle course which in effect means the elimination of both Dr. Weizmann and the Revisionists.
A last minute effort to prevent the Congress from going on record as supporting the resolution against Dr. Weizmann was made by Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff who charged that the resolution was a camouflaged attempt to oust Dr. Weizmann. Speaking on behalf of the political commission, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, German Radical, denied the charge and incidentally brought to light the fact that Dr. Arlosoroff himself was the actual author of the resolution.
HEEDS WEIZMANN, KISCH WARNINGS
The action of the political commission in eliminating the controversial term “Jewish majority” followed soon after Dr. Weizmann had appeared before the commission shortly after midnight and made a stirring plea for the substitution of the word “parity” for the term “Jewish majority.” The commission was also prompted to modify its resolution by cabled warnings received from the Palestine Jewish National Council and from Col. Frederick Kisch, chairman of the Palestine Zionist Executive.
Colonel Kisch cabled that he deemed it is his duty “to warn the Congress against a fresh definition of Zionism’s aims. The Basle program that satisfied Herzl should satisfy us. I am convinced that an overwhelming majority of the Palestine Jewish community shares this view.” The Basle program, adopted at the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, declares that the aim of Zionism “is to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.” The Jewish National Council cabled a recommendation to the Congress to be careful in formulating the aims of the movement.
While the political commission was still busily engaged in re-drafting its resolution in line with the above warnings, the plenary session of the Congress went ahead with its regular business and adopted resolutions dealing with immigration, colonization, finance and administration.
PROTESTS IMMIGRATION BANS
By unanimous vote the Congress approved the resolution of its immigration committee protesting against the Palestine government for its limitations in the matter of age, sex and various categories of Palestine immigrants seeking admission on certificates granted to the Jewish Agency, for limiting the right of Palestine Jews to bring in their relatives, and for ignoring the demand of the Jewish Agency for the admission of immigrants for whom the Agency is willing to assume full responsibility.
The Congress also took action that will change the composition of the administration of the immigration offices of the Zionist Executive in the countries outside of Palestine. In the future these administrations will consist of representatives of the various Zionist parties in the same proportion as these parties are represented at the present Congress. This replaces the present policy by which the Laborites had 50 percent of the representation and the remaining 50 percent was divided among the other parties.
ACTIONS COMMITTEE REDUCED
A resolution submitted by the organization committee proposing the reduction of the number of members of the Actions Committee from 55 to 35 plus 70 alternates was also approved. The 35 members plus the alternates will constitute the Zionist representation on the Council of the Jewish Agency. A resolution calling for the rebuilding of Hebron which was seriously damaged during the riots of 1929 also found favor.
Before the political commission’s resolution on the ultimate aims of Zionism was put to a vote a rumor became current that Dr. Cyrus Adler would leave Basle and not preside over the meeting of the Council of the Jewish Agency, scheduled to begin its sessions tomorrow night, in the event that the Congress adopted the resolution as originally formulated. When he heard of this rumor, Dr. Adler, in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, authorized its categorical denial.