A Great Servant of the Movement and His People: Dr. Weizmann’s Tribute to Joseph Cowen at London Mem
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A Great Servant of the Movement and His People: Dr. Weizmann’s Tribute to Joseph Cowen at London Mem

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Joseph Cowen was a product of the heroic times of Zionism. He was a comrade and collaborator and a loyal friend, Dr. Weizmann said, speaking last night at a memorial meeting arranged by the English Zionist Federation at the Jewish Communal Hall.

Joseph Cowen had been connected with every phase of the Zionist movement since Herzl came and organised the aspirations of the Jews in the form that is known to-day as the Zionist Organisation, Dr. Weizmann went on. He belonged to the select band of people who were privileged to co-operate with Herzl. He was so intimately connected with all the aspects of Herzl’s work that Herzl, when he made his plans and when he dreamt of the realisation which he hoped would come soon, allotted to Cowen the central place in the scheme of things.

It was my great privilege, Dr. Weizmann continued, to work with Cowenepractically from the first time of my arrival in this country, and in particular to co-operate with him most intimately during the period of the war, when the Zionist Organisation was broken up. He was a great servant of the movement and of his people.

Dr. Weizmann recalled how Cowen had gone to Palestine shortly before he died and had sent a telegram to him in South Africa in which he said that he was delight with everything he saw in Palestine, and added that he was hoping to settle in Palestine. We are happy in the thought, Dr. Weizmann said, that the last weeks of his life were made more happy, that the thing for which he had lived and worked for so many years, was really alive and beautiful and giving satisfaction.

That is the only satisfaction that a Zionist worker can expect. It is the highest and the deepest satisfaction that one could desire.


Dr. M. D. Eder recalled how Joseph Cowen, Israel Zang-will, and he (all three cousins) were fast friends. It is not easy for me, he said, to speak of one now dead who was a close and intimate friend for 50 years. Joseph Cowen and I met at school, and from the day of our first meeting a close friendship remained. Later he married my sister.

Dr. Eder went on to speak of how Joseph Cowen came into the Zionist movement after the first Congress, of his meeting with Herzl, and how Joseph Cowen had brought him (Dr. Eder) into the movement.

Joseph Cowen is no more, he pursued, but the spirit that was his lives on; it inspires to-day many in our movement. These will in their turn hand on the torch to others yet unborn. This is the immortality I crave for my friend.

Herzl has made his name famous in Joe Levy, he said, but Joseph Cowen’s immortality does not rest upon portraiture, but upon what was noble and great and enduring in himself his passion for justice, for freedom for the Jewish people to lead their life, a passion that communicated itself to all who came in contact with him.

Dr. Eder recalled almost the last Zionist conversation he had with Joseph Cowen. I had said to him, said Dr. Eder, that the attitude of Jabotinsky was wrong, but not unjustified by the treatment meted out to the Revisionists at the last Congress. Joe agreed they had been unfairly treated by the majority, but he was vehement in his indignation at the attempt to separate the Organisation and to split it. The Revisionists must, he said, remain in the Organisation, and fight there for their views.

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