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Urgency of Jewish Needs Made World Congress Inevitable

Every aspect of Jewish life will be reviewed and every Jewish problem will be included in the program of the World Jewish Congress to be called in 1934, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, the initiator of the movement for a Jewish world gathering, declared yesterday upon his return from Geneva, where the decision for a World Congress was made.

Dr. Wise returned on the S. S. Leviathan together with Bernard S. Deutsch, president of the American Jewish Congress and in the course of a joint statement issued upon arrival, said:

“Let us say at once that the chief value of the preliminary Geneva Conference lies in the better understanding it brought to the Delegates through authoritative information and subsequent consultation. Not since the Paris meeting of the committees of Jewish Delegates of the American Jewish Congress, under the leadership of Messrs. Mack and Marshall, Motzkin and Sokolow, has there been a gathering of Jews from many lands bent upon considering Jewish problems, which has been comparable in significance and inclusivness to the Geneva Conference.

“The high calibre of the Delegates, especially from Central and Eastern Europe, was a joy, though not a surprise to those responsible for the convening of the Conference. We felt we were in the presence of some of the finest Jewish minds in Europe. It may be that the Conference was no more than a human sounding-board for those who drew up stern and unforgettable indictments of their countries. In any event we who were present were satisfied with that humble part. Every expenditure of time and effort and means seemed abundantly justified as we heard the German Delegates pour forth their hearts in proud condemnation of present-day things in Germany. These declared that in those dark hours the Conference gave them a sense of solidarity with and sympathy from their fellow-Jews, which they had not known before, which above all, ‘will strengthen us for the difficult days that may lie before us.’

“Something unusual happened. The representatives of the Press, themselves for the most part non-Jews, were visibly moved and did their work with enthusiasm. Christian bodies, such as the Baptist Union of England, telegraphed their good wishes. The reception of the Praesidium at the League of Nations was hearteningly sympathetic rather than merely formal. Geneva correspondents of the European Press declared that it was fine for Jews at last publicly to meet and consider their problems and that it was good for the Nations to learn just what and how wide-spread and grave Jewish problems were.

“Soon after the Conference began, the convening of the World Jewish Congress loomed as inevitable. In the end the decision to call the Congress was reached not because of formal resolution but by reason of the urgency and gravity of Jewish needs as unmistakably revealed by the Conference. The impatient, if so they may be called, fought for a Congress at the earliest possible moment, but the moderate and conciliatory prevailed, apart from the factor of time needed for adequate preparation.

“The World Jewish Congress that is to be will thus be the first Jewish Assembly in history of representatives of all lands to face and seek to solve Jewish questions. Its Executive Committee and the larger Council made up of representatives from the leading World Jewries may be counted upon to act in the interim as trustees of a United Jewry in the making.

“At the Congress, when summoned, every aspect of Jewish life will come under review and all Jewish problems will be embraced within the Agenda.

We envision the Congress as a forum in which there shall be a unifying of Jewish life for the public and forthright discussion of all Jewish problems external and internal. If the hopes of its founders and the will of its conveners are to prevail, all parties and groups and factions in Jewish life from Agudist (strictly orthodox) to radical reform, from Zionist to non-Zionist, are to find place within the wide and undogmatic area of this democratic Jewish Parliament. No Jewish problem will be shut out from the Congress tribunal. No Jewry will be shut out save by themselves.

“Concretely we may sum up that out of this conference came the recognition of the truth that any Jewish body in order to deal effectively with Jewish questions must be chosen directly by the people; again, the need for the establishment of a permanent tribunal that shall be fully representative of World Jewry; the regime must end under which Jewish leaders in any land felt free to decide or leave without decision the problems of Jews in other lands; the Conference made a brave beginning in helping to awaken the conscience of the Christian nations to their solemn duty to the Jewish people; above all it behooves Jewries in all lands, putting aside parties and strife and divisiveness, to unite in the presence of wide-spread menace for the safeguarding of the life, rights and well-being of the Jewish people.

“Two years lie before us in which to prepare for the World Jewish Congress during which the Jewries of the world will be expected and as far as may be necessary enabled to organize, for participation in the Congress. Whatever their views may have been up to this time, we call upon American Jews in every community to organize and prepare for this epochal event in the history of World Jewry.”

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