London (Dec. 20)
This Board strongly condemns the recent attacks by students in Polish Universities against their Jewish comrades, the Jewish Board of Deputies says in a resolution adopted at its meeting held to-day, but notes with satisfaction that the outbreaks are deprecated by the vast majority of the population of the country, and that the Government has used its endeavours to suppress them.
The Board furthermore places on record its view that the threatened anti-Jewish boycott is incompatible with the historic traditions of culture and civilisation of the Polish Nation, and feels confident that the Polish Government will take firm action against a movement which would jeopardise not only the security of a large section of the population, but the well-being of the whole State.
In presenting the resolution, Mr. Leonard G. Montefiore said that it had been carefully formulated after consideration of the public pronouncements by Jewish bodies in Poland.
Mr. Montefiore referred to the danger of words spoken at the Board being wrenched from their contents and used abroad by antisemites. It behoves us, therefore, he said, to speak with restraint.
After characterising the situation as a difficult one, Mr. Montefiore went on:
We have this difficulty. Unless some resolution of this character is passed by the Board there is a danger that the Polish Jewish Community may think themselves neglected and that we are indifferent to their fate. It would be a very grievous error to believe that the fortunes or misfortunes of any Jewish community are not echoed in London.
It would be unjust and unfair, he added, not to recognise that the Polish Government has fulfilled the elementary duty of maintaining law and order.
As to the facts contained in the resolution, Mr. Montefiore said that not only Jewish opinion but non-Jewish opinion had been consulted for them.
I DON’T REMEMBER ANY PERIOD GRAVER OR MORE ANXIOUS FOR JEWS OF CENTRAL EUROPE THAN THE PRESENT MR. MONTEFIORE SAYS: OUR TASK IN ENGLAND IS TO BRING HOME TO CIVILISATION AND ENLIGHTENED OPINION WHAT RETURN TO MEDIEVAL BARBARITY WOULD MEAN: MUST GO OUTSIDE OUR OWN CIRCLES AND OUR OWN COMMUNITY AND APPEAL TO EVERY MAN OF GOODWILL
Mr. Montefiore went on to refer to the position of Jews in Central Europe, particularly Germany, and after mentioning that his knowledge of Jewish foreign affairs dated from 1905, he said:
In my memory I don’t remember any period graver or more anxious than the present one. Our task in England is to bring the situation home to civilised and enlightened opinion. We have to present a plain and unvarnished tale of what is happening in Central Europe. We must go outside our own circles and our own community and tell every man of goodwill what a menace to our civilisation a return to medieval barbarity would mean.
A strong protest is also made in the course of the Joint Foreign Committee’s report against the continuance of the bloodlibel case in Czecho-Slovakia, “against the continuance” as the resolution says, “in an enlightened and civilised State of the protracted proceedings in connection with this fantastic accusation”.
After referring to the grievances of the Staatenlose in Czecho-Slovakia, the report proceeds: “Despite the foregoing grievances, and certain other recent incidents, Czecho-Slovakia still remains, as it has been aptly termed, a classic land of philo-Semitism and the Committee has no doubt that a State, the head of which is so renowned a champion of the cause of liberty and freedom as Professor Masaryk, can be trusted to take the necessary steps to remedy well-founded grievances”.
JEWISH WORLD CONFERENCE WOULD NOT ADVANCE MATTERS AT ALL MR. D’AVIGDOR GOLDSMID SAYS
Mr. Bollotton urged that having regard to the grave and serious position of our people in Poland something must be done and done quickly. The situation is becoming more dangerous day by day, he said, and why should not a world Jewish Congress be convened?
Mr. Morris Myer spoke of the danger of delay in matters of this character. He thought the Joint Foreign Committee should have been equipped with greater powers so that it could act more speedily.
Mr. E. A. Silverberg said that there were practical things that could be done over and above the “academic character of the resolution”. Has an effective word been said, he asked, at the League of Nations on behalf of the Jews in Central Europe. The Polish Foreign Minister had been in London the other day. Was an opportunity taken of raising this matter with him? Something real ought to be done quickly, he said.
Mr. d’Avigdor Goldsmid, the President of the Board, in replying to the debate, said that as Mr. Dontefiore had stressed, the Polish Government has done its duty so far as the student riots go. The troubles had been stopped, and the Government had held the balance equally between sections of the population.
As to the threatened boycott, it derives, he said, from agitation, and we, in the resolution emphasise the disastrous effect it can have on the economic condition of the whole of the population of Poland and the unfair economic advantage that can accrue to its neighbours.
Mr. Goldsmid added that the resolution would be presented through the usual channels. He did not think, he concluded, that a World Jewish Conference would advance matters at all.