London (Jan. 6)
A heated controversy is developing in the Jewish Board of Deputiesâ€”the representative body of the Jews of the British Empireâ€”in connection with the election of a new president on January 15, following the resignation of D’Avigdor Goldsmid.
So far the only candidate standing for election is Neville Laski, a we# known Manchester lawyer and brother of Harold Laski, the famous writer on economics. But the fact that Neville Laski is a non-Zionist, and is by some regarded as even anti-Zionist has produced complications, for the Board is now overwhelmingly Zionist.
Although the retiring president was a non-Zionist and served as such as chairman of the British Section of the Jewish Agency, a determined attempt is being made by a powerful section of the Board to make the Board’s leadership more truly representative of
its membership. By some the effort to secure an avowed Zionist as head of the Board is interpreted as a step preparatory to the reform of the Jewish Agency, foreshadowed by a resolution of the last meeting of the Actions Committee.
It is explained that British Zionists are beginning to manoeuvre for position preliminary to future negotiations between Zionists and non-Zionists on the question of balance of power in the Agency.
Whatever the reason behind the opposition to a non-Zionist president, the Zionists have already taken steps to secure the assent of Major Nathan, the Liberal member of Parliament for one of the London constituencies, to stand for election. It is understood that following a private meeting last night between members the Board of Deputies and Major Nathan, the latter agreed to oppose Neville Laski and accepted candidature.
Apart from the question of the future president’s attitude to Zionism, his attitude to a Jewish world congress was also raised, as a considerable number of members are extremely dissatisfied with the Board’s abstention from the recent World Conference at Geneva, convened to discuss the question of a world congress. While Neville Laski is definitely in opposition to a Jewish world congress, Major Nathan, last night, expressed himself as definitely in favor of the project.
The fact that the deputies will have to choose between two such prominent personalities with such dissimilar views on fundamental problems has aroused considerable controversy and invests the election on January 15, with deep significance.