London (Apr. 17)
The Joint Foreign Committee has given careful consideration to the motion passed at the last Board Meeting “That the Joint Foreign Committee be requested to consider what steps can be taken to bring the facts regarding the outrage at Soroca to the notice of the League of Nations; and secondly, to secure from the Roumanian Government adequate compensation for the dependents of the deceased men”, the Joint Foreign Committee’s report presented at to-day’s meeting of the Jewish Board of Deputies states, but the Committee is of the opinion that it is inadvisable under present circumstances to take any action vis-a-vis the League of Nations.
It has, however, addressed a communication to the Roumanian Government, through its Ambassador in London, urging the early appointment of a public Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry.
The report refers also to the serious disturbances in Bucharest and Jassy on March 23rd, in which Jewish shops were attacked in Jassy and the interior of the synagogue wrecked and the Scrolls of the Law destroyed. The Government took energetic steps to put an end to the disturbances, it is stated, Bucharest University was immediately closed, and the notorious “Iron Guard” Organisation ordered to be suppressed.
The Committee is seeking further information with regard to the acts of sacrilege committed at Jassy, the report adds, with a view to making representations to the Roumanian Government.
Mr. Leonard G. Montefiore, Joint President of the Joint Foreign Committee, in moving the adoption of the Joint Foreign Committee’s report, explained the attitude of the Committee in regard to the Soroca incident.
I would like to remind the Board, he said, that the Committee in its work has two distinct objects; one is to promote good relations between Jewish minorities and the country to which they belong, and the other is to keep a vigilant watch on matters affecting Jewish minorities abroad, and when they are threatened to take adequate protective steps. We have kept such a watch, and when it was necessary we have not neglected to use the machinery regarding petitions to the League of Nations.
In regard to the Soroca incident, we had to consider how best to impress on the Roumanian Government the anxiety and the alarm which is felt by Jewish opinion not only in this country but in all the countries of Europe, as well as in America, at the recent events in Roumania, and we had to consider how to avoid giving ground, obviously unjustified, to a belief that the minorities in the country were seizing on the Soroca incident to lower the prestige of Roumania. It is always easy to inflame local opinion on a subject of this sort.
The Committee carefully considered the resolution passed at the last meeting, and it came to the conclusion that the best step we could take was to urge the Roumanian Government to set up the half-promised public and parliamentary enquiry.
With regard to the situation in Poland, the Joint Foreign Committee’s report says that it has given careful consideration to the terms of the Education Law recently passed by both fouses of the Polish Parliament. The Law has not yet been promulgated, and its provisions are still Liable to revision. With regard to the Minorities’ Schools the law merely legalises a situation which in fact already existed. Many of its provisions are expressed in vague terms, but the Committee is of the opinion that none of them can be said to be in clear violation of the Minorities Treaty. The law undoubtedly provides scope for arbitrary and varied interpretation, it states, but criticism in relation to the treaty rights of minorities must await experience of the manner in which it is administered.
The question of the economic boycott against Jews in Poland was raised by a Deputy, who gave instances of what he termed economic discrimination against Jews. The Government were taking away the tobacco licences from Jews, he said, and giving them to ex-servicemen. The result of this and other discriminations was that a large proportion of the Jewish population were deprived of their means of livelihood. ### considered that this economic boycott was a direct in fraction of the Minorities Treaties and that a petition should be presented to the Secretary of the League.
Mr. Leonard G. Hontefiore replied that the #inorities###ty in regard to Poland contained no clause dealing with economic status. Ever since the beginning of the League, he said, about 200 petitions have been accepted as receivable by the League’s Secretariat, and when you come to look still further you will find that the number of petitions actually found effective were eleven. I do not think that the petition suggested will have any possibility of succeeding.
Dr. Israel Feldman said that he hoped that the Joint Foreign Committee would seriously consider the advisability of dealing direct with the Polish Government in this matter. We have a very strong case, he claimed, in regard to this boycott, and we should lodge our protest.
The Board held its meeting to-day for the first time in the new Jewish Communal hall, and the President, Mr. ###vigdor Goldsmid, said: At last the Community has a permanent home. I can’t help feeling that this Communal Hall will mark the beginning of a new era in the history of the Community and of the Board.
### presentation of a portable noiseless typewriter, an address and a cheque for Â£50, which Mr. d’Avigdor Goldsmid said would be devoted to a Jewish charity at the express wish of Mr. Rich, was made during the proceedings to Mr. J. M. Rich, former Secretary of the Board, who is now Editor of the “Jewish Chronicle”.