The thirty-fifth annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America which held its sessions in Philadelphia last week is the subject of wide-spread editorial comment in leading organs of opinion in Jewish centers throughout the country.
The papers agree that the last convention was the most harmonious in recent years and greet the results of the deliberations and the election of a new administration as paving the way to real peace within the movement.
In such papers as the Chicago "Jewish Courier," the New York "Day," the Cleveland "Jewish World," the "Jewish Exponent" of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia "Jewish World," emphasis is laid on the serious attention which the convention gave to creating the basis for accelerated activity in Palestine as a primary objective.
The election of Morris Rothenberg is cited as a hopeful sign that the factionalism current in the movement for a number of years, will now be ended.
Mr. Rothenberg’s long record of devoted service to the Zionist cause is recalled and the fact that he has maintained friendly relationships with the various groups in the movement as well as with the non-Zionist groups is pointed out.
"COURIER" SAYS ROTHENBERG IS LOGICAL CHOICE
The Chicago "Jewish Courier" writes that Mr. Rothenberg is by temperament and conviction a man who has steered a middle course between the Lipsky and the Brandeis groups and he was therefore the logical person to be named head of the Zionist Organization of America at this time.
Mr. Rothenberg, the "Courier" says, "is an East European Jew with many of the virtues of an Eastern Jew. Should he devote sufficient time to the affairs of the organization, he can accomplish much inasmuch as he has both executive and organization ability.
"It would have been illogical and not fitting," the paper writes, "for Louis Lipsky to undertake the leadership of the organization again at this time. An organization such as the Zionist Organization cannot go from one extreme to the other.
"Morris Rothenberg has assumed leadership at a very critical and very sorrowful moment. Should he fail to receive the co-operation of both the Brandeis and the Lipsky groups, he will be able to accomplish nothing," the editorial warns.
"DAY" GREETS ROTHENBERG CHOICE
Zionists everywhere in America greet the election of Morris Rothenberg to the high post of president of the Zionist Organization of America, writes the "Day."
"Morris Rothenberg," the editorial continues, "is a man of the people. For twenty years now, he has been with the masses in his service to the Jewish people. Folk movements have always beckoned to him whether they be the People’s Relief Committee of the Congress movement or the Zionist Organization. Rothenberg was always to be found on the side of the masses.
At the same time, he did not lose sight of the outstanding personalities in the leadership of American Jewry. Speaking in the name of the masses, he did not forget the classes. From the People’s Relief Committee to the Joint Distribution Committee-from the Zionist Organization to the Jewish Agency-that has been the path he marked out for himself, which he trod upon, which he prevailed upon the masses to march with him.
"Thus he became a bridge between the East European Jews and the West European Jews, between the masses and the classes, between the Zionists and the non-Zionists, between the workers and employers.
"Lipsky adherent and Brandeis adherent have confidence in him. And in a time like this this is the greatest quality that a leader can possess."
"EXPONENT" STRESSES HARMONY MANIFEST
The "Jewish Exponent" writes:
"In size, in earnestness and in achievement, the thirty-fifth annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America, held in this city last Sunday and Monday, was one of the most satisfactory in the history of the Zionist body in this country. With economic depression hanging like a pall, and darkness on the horizon of men and movements everywhere, the Zionist ideal appears to be on the road to a gratifying realization. The convention in this city demonstrated inspirational qualities. Were it not for these qualities men and women would not willingly and cheerfully incur the expenditure and the discomfort involved in traveling great distances to participate in these deliberations.
"Despite the moot questions on the Agenda, the convention was one of the most harmonious in American Zionist history. Minor difficulties were subordinated to the task of laying the foundation for accelerated effort in the reclaiming and reconstruction of Palestine as the National Homeland. The note of optimism struck by Robert Szold in his presidential message, re-enforced by the concrete evidence of Emanuel Neumann’s last minute reports from the Holy Land, stirred the imagination of the delegates, augmented their faith and gave them added determination to plan for a year of greater and more fruitful activity. There was an absence of petty politics and the usual complaints relative to the so-called political aspects of the movement. Instead, the sessions were devoted to a consideration of plans and projects for developing the country, regardless of political manipulation.
"The election of Morris Rothenberg to the Presidency is expected to put an end to the factionalism which had wrought so much havoc in recent years. Mr. Rothenberg enjoys a record of fine service, extending over a period of almost twenty years. During the crying war days and later, Mr. Rothenberg was a pillar of strength to the cause of Zionist rebuilding. Always maintaining a friendly relationship with the various groups within the Zionist family, it was only natural that he should have become their unaniomus choice. Mr. Rothenberg enjoys the added privilege of being persona grata with those non-Zionist forces in American Jewish life interested in Palestine activity. His elevation to the presidency of the Zionist Organization of America is expected to bring about a friendlier relationship between the parties constituting the American branch of the Jewish Agency."
SEES END OF GROUP DIVISIONS
The Cleveland "Jewish World" declares:
"The thirty-fifth annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America, which has just concluded has at last brought peace into the ranks of the American Zionist Organization.
"The convention has brought to an end the division of groups and has elected an administration which will have the right to speak in the name of all Zionists throughout the country, and not in the name of one or another group.
"The Philadelphia convention has elected a leadership which represents not one group but American Zionism. At the helm stands an administration lauded and elected by the convention as fitting and able to lead American Zionism out of its present difficult position.
"The convention also rectified mistakes made at last year’s World Zionist Congress in that it expressed its recognition of the services of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, and invited him to come to the United States in the interests of Zionist activities.
"We believe that the convention made a good choice when it elected Morris Rothenberg as president. Mr. Rothenberg is an outstanding personality. He evinced his talents in the United Palestine Appeal and in other Zionist undertakings. He is respected by Zionists throughout the country and is certain to enlist their co-operation.
"The convention did not devote itself to pettiness and trivialities. In this fashion it evinced the appreciation of American Zionists of the seriousness of the moment. It remains only for us to say that we wish for the present administration that it may place the organization on a firm basis and increase tis activities in the interests of our rebuilding ideal."
"JEWISH WORLD" LAUDS PEACE
The Philadelphia "Jewish World" states that in the annals of Zionist history the recently concluded convention must be recorded as the setting for a new peace pact enacted not merely through words but through deeds.
The election of Morris Rothenberg is hailed as the symbol of that peace pact while Mr. Rothenberg is praised as the logical man for the logical place.
"The entire composition of the new Zionist administration," says the paper, is based on a conception aimed at forgetting the past and to create anew and accomplish the great tasks connected with Zionist work."
Of Mr. Rothenberg, the paper says, that "he is permeated with the love of Zion."