Czernowitz (Jul. 30)
In politics the greatest mistake a Government can commit is to show that it is weak, Deputy Dr. Meyer Ebner, President of the Club of Jewish Deputies in the Roumanian Parliament, writes in the Czernowitz “Ostjuedische Zeitung,” of which he is editor, dealing with the Government’s refusal to permit the Maccabiade to be held in Czernowitz. A Government that has no confidence in its own power and has to retreat from its own decision confesses its weakness, he says. The Maccabiade, the Jewish Olympic Games, will be held in Prague.
When the Government gave its permission for the Maccabiade to be held in Czernowitz, it was still its own master, he continues, and it could give or withhold permission. Had it withheld permission at that time, nothing more would have been heard about it. After all, any Government has the right to permit, or not to permit international gatherings to be held on its territory. But once a Government has given its permission, it cannot withdraw it, without its prestige suffering as a result.
“Some say that the Government has done this for anti-Semitic reasons. I think that the Democratic Roumanian Government would prefer to be accused of weakness rather than of anti-Semitism. I do not think that within the short time that has elapsed between giving permission and withdrawing it, our Government has turned anti-Semitic. Either it was that before, or it is not that now. The measures which our present Government has taken against Hitler’s Roumanian allies, the Cuzists, make us conclude that it is rather concerned to put down anti-Semitism.
“If anti-Semitism had been the reason for the prohibition, the Maccabiade would never have been permitted in the first place. It has been prohibited because the Government feels that it is not strong enough to take a stand against the menace of the United anti-Semitic groups, and fears that it would not be able to keep law and order during the Maccabiade.
“But this is where it went wrong. No Government may yield to threats. Public confidence in the State demands that. There must not be any other power in the State than the Constitutional power, and those who resist the Constitutional power must find that the State is able to deal with them.”
When the 1925 Zionist Congress was arranged to be held in Vienna, Deputy Ebner recalls, the local anti-Semites brought pressure to bear on the Austrian Government to get it to prohibit the Congress, but little Austria stood firm, the police were mobilized and order was kept.