Geneva (Aug. 16)
With the majority of the delegates to the world Jewish conference now in progress here agreed in favor of a constitution of a world Jewish congress, the conference struck its first snag yesterday on the question of whether or not Zionism is to be included within its scope.
Deep rooted differences emerged between the representatives of various organizations and parties represented at the conference on the question of whether or not the solution of Jewish problems in the Diaspora can be separated from Zionism.
Noah Priluzki, of Warsaw and the chief exponent of the Volkspartei argued the futility of uniting all parties in a single Jewish body, since, if the Zionist problem is not excluded from the agenda, it will render the co-operation of these groups impossible.
He expressed the viewpoint that many of the organizations not participating in the conference, have absented themselves because of their fear that this conference will be converted into a Zionist movement for championing the cause of Palestine.
This opinion was challenged by Joseph Sprinzak and Meyer Dizengoff of Palestine who asserted that it is unthinkable that a world Jewish congress exclude such a driving force in Jewish life as the Palestine question.
Dr. Leo Motzkin of Paris, chairman of the General Council of the World Zionist Organization, maintained that this discussion has no immediate value since it is not known whether the Zionist movement will agree to make a world Jewish congress its mouthpiece.
At the same time Dr. Motzkin took occasion to express his opinion that German spokesmen at the conference have minimized the danger confronting the Jews of Germany. He pointed out that Russian Jewry never believed bloody pogroms against them were possible until they actually occurred.
The same opinion was reiterated by Rabbi Rubinstein of Vilna. At the same time, Rabbi Rubinstein challenged Hitler that should he attempt to carry out his program against the Jews he will find he will have to reckon with 15,000,000 Jews the world over and not with the comparatively small Jewish population in Germany.
Rabbi Rubinstein also pointed out that German anti-Semitism has resulted in the complete collapse of the assimilationist ideology.
A new note in the conference proceedings was struck by the Agudath Israel leader, Mazur, head of the Warsaw Jewish Community. While the majority of other speakers expressed themselves emphatically in favor of a world Jewish Congress, Mazur maintained that it is essential first to carefully weigh whether this proposed congress will help bring about a solution of Jewish hardship.
Opposition to this viewpoint was expressed by Baruch Zuckerman of New York, representing the Poale Zion, who contended that a world Jewish congress is not necessary for the primary purpose of solving the external problems of the Jews. It is vital, however, he stressed, in order to bring new life into the inner organism of the Jewish people and to unify potential Jewish forces.
To carry out this purpose, representatives to the congress must be elected on a democratic basis through general elections and not through elections by organizations, Mr. Zuckerman stated. This Jewish mass movement, he said, will result in an increase of Jewish consciousness.
The demand for democratic elections was voiced in even stronger form by Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum of Poland. In a formal declaration in behalf of Polish Zionists, Dr. Gruenbaum made democratic elections a primary condition of the participation of Polish Zionists in the congress.
He also demanded recognition of the principle that the solution of Jewish problems must be considered in the light of Zionist ideals.
Dr. Nahum Goldmann of Berlin, expressed the hope that it would be possible for a world Jewish congress to assemble within 18 months or two years. He stated that it ought not to convene next year as it would conflict with the Zionist Congress.
Dr. Goldmann stated that Geneva had been chosen as the meeting place for the present conference with the definite purpose of focusing as much attention as possible on the congress question, since its organizers do not believe silence or secrecy will help the Jewish cause. Under the present circumstances, the loudest outcry by Jews is justified, Dr. Goldmann stated.
Dr. Goldmann insisted that Palestine cannot be excluded from the scope of the Congress but that other parties will get a fair hearing.
Others participating in the debate included Isaac Neiditch of Paris; Dr. David Jochelman of London; Dr. Heinrich Rosmarin of Poland; Rabbi Mordecai Nurok of Latvia, as well as representatives of Jewish traders and Jewish artisans in Poland.
A variety of views on the time of the assembling of a world Jewish congress were voiced.
Speakers called for the convening of the congress within twelve months or within two or three years. Those who hold the view that the Congress should not aim to solve immediate Jewish difficulties prefer that a longer period elapse before the congress is convened so that the fullest democratic representation may be secured.
A presidium of seventeen was named and includes the following: Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, New York; Bernard S. Deutsch, New York; Oscar Cohn, Germany; M. Dizengoff, Palestine; Isaac Gruenbaum, Warsaw; I. Jefroykin, Paris; E. Margulis, Czechoslovakia.