The 1933 effort to raise funds in the United States to maintain Jewish reconstruction activities in Palestine was launched Sunday at the National Conference on Palestine, which brought together at the Hotel Astor more than five hundred Jewish leaders from all parts of the United States. The drive will be known as the American Palestine Campaign and its receipts will go for the budget of the Palestine Foundation Fund, the financial instrument of the Jewish Agency for Palestine. The Conference appealed to American Jewry to give “primacy and priority” to the Palestine Foundation Fund.
Louis Lipsky was named Chairman of the Board of Directors and, active National Chairman of the American Palestine Campaign. The other National Chairmen are Judge William M. Lewis, Philadelphia; James Marshall, Morris Rothenberg and Nathan Straus, Jr., New York, and Elihu D. Stone, Boston.
The Honorary Chairmen are Dr. Cyrus Adler, President of the American Jewish Committee; Governer Herbert H. Lehman, Federal Judge Julian W. Mack, Felix M. Warburg and Dr. Stephen S. Wise.
The other officers of the American Palestine Campaign include Honorary Vice-Chairmen, a Board of Directors and a National Committee of Two Hundred. The Treasurers are Jacob M. Cohen, Abraham Liebovitz and Harry L. Glucksman.
The conference was addressed by leading Zionists and non-Zionists. Speakers included Felix M. Warburg, Louis Lipsky, Dr. Cyrus Adler, Morris Rothenberg, Nathan Straus, Jr., Rabbi Samuel Schulman, Judge William M. Lewis, and Dr. Stephen S. Wise.
Messages urging a united front of American Jewry in the interests of Palestine were received from Nahum Sokolow, president of the World Zionist Organization; Dr. Chaim Weizmann, former head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, who is coming to the United States shortly, and Governor Herbert H. Lehman.
In opening the conference, Mr. Lipsky, National Chairman of the American Palestine Campaign, announced that during 1932 the sum of $573,969.98 had been raised in cash for the Jewish Agency. Of this amount, Hadassah, Women’s Zionist Organization of America, has secured $208,670.54.
Governor Herbert H. Lehman, who was elected an Honorary Chairman of the American Palestine Campaign, and who said that he would “be very glad indeed to serve”, sent a massage to Mr. Lipsky in which he expressed regret that “the tremendous pressure of public work makes it absolutely necessary for me to remain in Albany over this weekend.”
“I have for many years been eager to see Palestine a place of security and inspiration for all those who want to live there in peace and amity â€” a place where they can with pride and satisfaction toil to build up and restore a country of wonderful and lasting traditions; a place where they may follow their religious convictions and aspirations without molestation, and with a fine regard for similar rights and aspirations of all their neighbors. That, I believe, is the spirit in which, as a rule, the Jewish pioneers have come to Palestine,” Governor Lehman declared.
In his opening address Mr. Lipsky said:
“If the present state of economic security in Palestine is to be turned into immediate advantage in the way of increased immigration, if we are to avoid the crystalization of the present Jewish population of Palestine, if we are to make possible, through our cellective endeavors, the enlargement of the base upon which private enterprises are to be built, the modest quota set for American Jewry for the 1933 Keren Hayesod budget should be contributed without fail, in spite of all the difficulties which admittedly exist in American Jewish affairs.
“At any rate, those who are members of the Zionist Organization, and the friends of Palestine who have joined in organizing the extended Jewish Agency, should appreciate the importance and urgency of making the Palestine interest as represented by the Keren Hayesod budget, that interest which is entitled to primacy and priority. It is our obvious duty to maintain the solvency, the integrity and the effectiveness of the Jewish Agency, upon which the credit of the whole Yishub is based. The obligations of the Jewish Agency should be regarded as sacred responsibilities that involve every person or party or organization that has been, directly or indirectly, responsible for the adoption of the Keren Hayesod budgets from year to year”, Mr. Lipsky said.
What Jews are doing today in Palestine is an “investment in the social stability of the world”, was the declaration made by Felix M. Warburg in an address in which he took occasion to defend the Jewish Agency for Palestine, which he helped to found in August, 1929. from criticisms that have special reference to the possibilities of a solution in Palestine.
Declaring his belief that the Jewish Agency for Palestine, “if strengthened, can become the official unifying force of world Jewry,” Rabbi Schulman said that “we cannot afford, at this critical time, to weaken the hands of the Jewish Agency. The Agency itself is an instrument of great value, not merely for the work in Palestine, but for the promotion of Jewish unity. To break down the Agency, despite the excellent private enterprises which are helping to develop Palestine, would be to undermine the foundation upon which the settlement (in Palestine) rests. By the work for Palestine, in which Zionists and non-Zionists are united, we hope to be led into an even greater influence for Jewish cooperation in the world than exists now.”
That the Jews must depend upon themselves for the rebuilding of Palestine and that they have no right to look to Great Britain, the Mandatory Power, as “the colonizing power,” was the warning given to the National Conference by Judge William M. Lewis of Philadelphia. He also urged that Jews should not “clamor for the impossible when so much that is possible remains undone for want of means and the will to do it.”
Nathan Straus, Jr., in his address, called the rebuilding of the Jewish National Home in Palestine “the only realistic attempt at self-emancipation that has a place in the immediate purposes of the Jewish people.
“I believe Palestine constitutes the one symbol of Jewish unity today. Palestine itself is becoming self-supporting. Funds are needed not chiefly to maintain the existing community. The funds are needed to enable the community to grow, to enable it ‘in our time’ to become the home of a large, self respecting people, living those ideals of social justice first given to the world by the Hebrew prophets.”
“A great many of the projects created and sponsored by the Palestine Foundation Fund have today become pivotal factors in the country’s development,” Morris Rothenberg said. “These enterprises have been responsible for the influx of private capital and the growth of an impressive economic structure. The entire project represents an enterprise which needs only temporary assistance to become a self-sustaining Jewish structure and a source of spiritual values of which the Jews the world over may be proud.
“It is to obtain the necessary funds toward the maintenance of this splendid constructive work as well as for the conduct of the health and sanitation activities of the Hadassah that the American Palestine Campaign of the Jewish Agency seeks to obtain in the United States what is an insignificant amount compared to the vast sums which are being raised for local purposes in this country at the present time.”
Rabbi Wise said that “all that youth has in Europe is the challenge of an utter hopelessness unless they fix their eyes on a land which is not a land for Jews in need, but a land which needs Jews, a land wherein Jews can meet needs and solve problems and create a new order of life just as the little surplus of Â£700,000 is, after all, a challenge to the fiscal systems and the economic order for life in Western lands. Another ten or twenty years there will be greater moral and spiritual deficits in many lands, but everything that we Zionists do, everything that you prepare to do, everything that the Jewish world will do in Palestine, will create a moral and spiritual surplus upon which Jewish life the world over can live.”