Former Chairman, Zionist Organization of America
The deliberations of the Convention were hampered by the spectacle of Jewish Dayâ€”in itself an artistic and moral success, for which its organizers deserve every creditâ€”and by the Chicago #air. There was little attempt to transact business at the Convention until the closing hours.
The campaign in support of the Weizmann candidacy, upon which so much effort had been expended, was singularly unsuccessful. Weizmann’s principal speech, delivered Sunday night, disappointed most of his audience and alienated many of his former adherents who had not recently been brought face to face with his opportunism and talent for defeatist utterance. His remarks on the progress in Palestine were infelicitous. He took full credit for the improved conditions, but had no word to say for the present Executive, which had worked hard, loyally and successfully to carry out the mandate of the last Congress, and which has been severely handicapped by serious financial difficulties inherited from the previous Weizmann administration.
His negative remarks on Trans-Jordania were in a class with his famous utterances at Berlin three years ago and with his address to the Congress and his interview given out at Basle in 1931. These remarks, made at a Zionist Convention, are likely to prejudice the serious efforts which are being made by the Executive with regard to Trans-Jordan.
The manner in which the vote on the Weizmann candidacy was maneuvered was unfortunate. The resolution of the Resolutions Committee adopted by the Convention on Tuesday afternoon carefully avoided suggesting the return of Weizmann to the presidency, but called for the creation of a coalition Executive in which Weizmann would have a place. In the evening, after half of the delegates had left, an attempt was made to bind the delegates to the next Congress to support Weizmann’s candidacy. On the motion to table it, the vote was so close that the show of hands was counted twice. There was no debate. Despite all the excitement which had been generated, the number of delegates who voted against Weizmann was surprisingly large.
Despite the construction which will undoubtedly be put upon the Convention by Weizmann adherents in the press and otherwise, the facts are:
(a)â€”the American delegates to the Congress are going uninstructedâ€”
(b)â€”of those who have been nominated as delegates, about half are avowed supporters of the present Executive and some of the others will in all probability refuse to support Weizmann for the Presidency.
Although no real discussion on issues was afforded, I was glad to see the delegates taking genuine interest in the facts of Palestine, in the actual concrete forging ahead of Jewish development and in the great opportunities that lie ahead for increased Jewish immigration, particularly from Germany.