Consideration should be given to the Jewish Agency as a possible instrument of Jewish politics such as the present moment demands, declares “Die Juedische Rundschau” of Berlin, in an exhaustive editorial analysis of the Geneva conference.
A new era in Jewish life has arrived the paper says, but the correct expression for the new actuality which exists has not yet been found, according to the paper which is the organ of the German Zionist Federation.
At a time of change and of dissolution of worn out forms, the existing energies of the Jewish people should be adopted to the protection of Jewish people should be adapted to the protection of Jewish life and the security of the Jewish future must be carefully studied, says the paper. It favors a world Jewish congress to the extent that it is the symbol of the concentration of these energies.
It warns, however, against letting the idea of a world Jewish congress achieve its only reality in words.
Of the convenors of the Geneva conference, the editorial states that they took their task too lightly. The elections to the congress proclaimed as planned “on the broadest possible basis,” it terms a fiction. Further, it says, the world Jewish conference and the World Jewish Congress are identical as far as expansibility is concerned.
The Jewish Agency as the possible instrument for leadership of world Jewry is proposed by the “Juedische Rundschau” because in the of the Agency “the thing has defeated the word.”
Whether or not even the Jewish Agency can be effective depends in the last analysis upon whether or not the proper leader can be found, says the paper.
The editorial in its full text follows:
“The Geneva Conference has come to an end with the adoption of several resolutions; one of its elected committees is now to prepare for a Jewish World Congress; the future will show which of the plans of the conference can be effectuated. On previous occasions, when the idea of a Jewish world congress cropped out here and there, we expressed our opinion that a new era requires also new methods of conducting Jewish politics, and that the question that, in a time of change and of the dissolution of worn out forms, the existing energies of the Jewish people can be adapted to the protection of Jewish life and the security of the Jewish future must be studied with the greatest care. A Jewish World Congress is certainly a symbol of the concentration of these energies, but just because this idea is admitted everything depends on how the idea is realized. For it would be in the highest degree harmful to the cause which we desire to serve if nothing should remain of the idea but words,â€”words that would become a prey to every attack and thereby easily lose all their value.
“In analyzing the Geneva discussions, their preliminary preparations and their results, one criticism appears to us to stand out most vividly: the convenors of the Geneva Conference took their job too lightly. They succumbed to the danger which flows from the customary political procedure with its apparatus, its routine and its methodology. During the past 15 years this methodology has lost much of its significance and its effectiveness, but large groups have taken no notice of these changes and thus tend to increase the evils which they are endeavoring to check. Right after the war, a word, a speech, a resolution still had the power of causing the world to hearken, especially, when those who spoke were known to enjoy respect and confidence. Very soon, however, there came about what, in another connection at a Zionist Congress Arlosoroff referred to as the ‘inflation of protests and resolutions.’ All along the lineâ€”and this doesn’t apply only to the Jewish campâ€”we lived through manifesto uponmanifesto on all possible questions and at every possible occasion, the organizing of committees, sub-committees and associations with ostentatious names, and the consequence of this was that gradually the words and the protests, even of spiritually and morally eminent persons became quite commonplace and lost every resonance. Soon this devaluation spread to parliamentary life which is supposed to be remote from realities; before the war parliamentary speeches were still regarded as events,â€”today they too are only a routine matter, which interests scarcely anyone but the speaker himself. This situation must be taken into account by everyone who wishes to tread new paths in Jewish politics. Speeches alone will no longer do; there must also be a reality, a political will power, and above all, a legitimate accredited leadership, to set the masses in motion. The action itself must be conducted with political astuteness always having in view the desired goal; it is not enough to find formulas which will satisfy the restricted circle of the organizers themselves and their followers. In former times when life was not so hectic, it was possible to estimate whether a performance of this kind was a promising beginning of a work of organization; today, however,only the political effectiveness counts, and there is the danger that good ideas may go up in smoke because of premature action.
“The Geneva Conference referred to itself as a ‘provisional’ affair. It was supposed only to give the initiative which was then to be followed in the various countries. It might have been presumed that this conference was to be staged from the beginning as a nationalist Jewish affair. If that were the case the convenors should never have invited outspoken non-nationalist or anti-nationalist organizations, since, by so doing, they diminished the value of the conference by affording those organizations the opportunity of declining the invitations and publicly expressing their opposition to the Conference. This opposition was subsequently justified by the nationalist character of the resolution adopted by the Conference. Having invited these organizations, the convenors should have left open the way to their participation. Now, the impression has been created that insofar as its expansibility is concerned the World Conference is identical with the World Congress which the Conference is supposed to call into being. In our opinion, this will never do. The proclamation of the broadest, most far-reaching “democratic” suffrage, as the basis of the truly representative character of the Congress, is a fiction. Dr. Nahum Goldmann in his concluding speech ably pointed out that we have entered upon a new world epoch. But if this is the case, then the new Jewish politics should not rake up old, discarded methods. But nothing else is being done by giving a new coat of paint to the obsolete Eastern Jewish party machinery. Even at this conference, which was quite informal and somewhat fortuitiously assembled, there broke out party conflicts regarding seats in the presidium and in several committees,â€” conflicts which were settled by, for example, electing a presidium of 18 members in order to satisfy every claim to prestige. In our opinion there can be only a slight result from the resolution adopted by the conference that the World Congress must be constituted by ‘universal, secret, and proportional elections,’ at which every 18 year old person would be given the right to vote.
“On the basis of previous experience, we question whether any practical results can be expected from such straining after formal democratic principles. If the Congress should, for instance from the beginning stick to proportional elections, then we shall have nothing else than the perpetuation of the old party structure within nationalist Jewry; for there is no doubt that only Nationalist Jewry is concerned and that the non-Nationalists are out of the