Washington (May. 22)
It appeared likely here this afternoon that delegates to the sessions of the American Jewish Congress, now in progress here, would have an opportunity to register their views on the use of a boycott by the Jews of America against German goods, as a weapon to wring better treatment for the Jews of Germany from the Nazi regime. The sentiment of the delegates seemed in favor of employment of the boycott weapon.
No formal sessions were held this morning. Many of the delegates utilized the opportunity to visit their Congressmen to urge adoption of a strong stand on the part of the American Government on the question of persecutions.
Acceptance by Professor Albert Einstein of the honorary chairmanship of the World Jewish Congress; unanimous decision to raise a fund of one million dollars to combat Hitlerism wherever it may manifest itself; determination “to continue to focus the attention of the world on the inhumanities and indignities which Hitler is inflicting upon the Jewish people” were some of the salient features of the first two sessions of the convention.
The plea for a union of all forces in American Israel was answered by Rabbi Wise in his message when he declared: “There has not been a moment in years which has not fo#nd the American Jewish Congress prepared to enter into a union of the forces of American Israel.” Continuing he said: “There is a real danger lest in American Israel slogans concerning unity come to mean more than the fact of effort on behalf of the interests of the Jewish people. Unity which paralyzes and may even be designed to paralyze the effective member within the bond of unity is not unity at all but a reduction to the lowest common denominator of impotence in Jewish life. The American Jewish Congress is prepared to cooperateâ€”in the field of action. It cannot surrender its convictions and it will not forego action in the interests of so-called unity. When I say the American Jewish Congress will not surrender its convictions, I am thinking primarily of those so-called Jewish leaders who think of the Jewish religion as the only bond of unity among the Jewish people.”
CONGRESS LEAGUE PETITION
Dr. Wise also pointed to the fact that the American Jewish Congress made representations to the League of Nations and in this way helped to place the problem on the agenda of the League. His address lasted forty-five minutes and was listened to by upwards of one thousand people who crowded the ballroom of the Willard Hotel. When the applause following his conclusion subsided, he remarked facetiously “those who do not agree with the chairman are in New York City.”
Declaring “that the Congress movement is the heir of the Zionist movement,” Prof. Horace Kallen expressed the thought that henceforth the Congress should carry on this work. The Zionist movement as such, he said, has accomplished its task.
Referring to the American Jewish Committee, Prof, Kallen said: “This Committee is the organization which raises today the loudest dissentient voice in American Israel. It is the chief obstruction to unity. Its status is paradoxical. No one can doubt or challenge the goodwill and strong wish to help the Jews of Germany and of the world, of most of the members of the American Jewish Committee. One can only doubt their courage and intelligence. They began well, and with the sympathy and goodwill of the masses of American Israel behind. They began with an endeavor after democracy. They made one attempt. It failed and they lacked the will and courage to try again and the patience to wait.”
Resolutions expressing gratitude of American Jewry to the countries adjacent to Germany for courtesy and hospitality extended to German refugees were introduced by Jacob de Haas and passed unanimously.
Resolutions introduced by Dr. S. Margoshes and unanimously adopted, called for continuation of protest until:
1. An immediate cessation of all anti-Semitic activities and propaganda in Germany.
2. The abandonment of the policy of racial discrimination against, and of economic exclusion of Jews from the life of Germany.
3. The protection of Jewish life and property.
4. There shall not be an expulsion of Ost-Juden, of Jews who have come into Germany since 1914.
The resolution calling for the raising of one million dollars with which to fight Hitlerism, was introduced by Judge Mitchell May of New York. The fund is to be known as the “Emergency Defense of One Million Dollars and more to protect the Jewish rights in Germany and the rest of the world.”
An eloquent plea for peace was made towards the close of the second session by Rabbi Wolf Gold, who speaking on behalf of the Mizrachi; criticized the present Congress for differing in policy and procedure from its predecessor. The Mizrachi organization, he said, is for the World Congress, but said the first need is for unity in the immediate family.
Rabbi Eliezer Silver, president of the Agudath Harabonim, spoke in a similar vein, adding that his organization addressed letters to both the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress, asking them to make peace. The former, he said, declared their readiness: the latter merely acknowledged the letter with thanks.
A resolution introduced by Israel Thurman, of New York, approved the convening of the World Jewish Congress, August 1934, at Geneva. It also empowered the American Jewish Congress to designate seventeen representatives to membership on the World Council for the World Jewish Congress, “for the purpose of outlining the program of the World Jewish Congress and for the further purpose of organizing and developing the preparations for the World Jewish Congress.”
The morning session was given over to an address by Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, chairman of the executive committee, who reviewed the history of German anti-Semitism and called upon the concerted effort of World Jewry to combat it.