By a unanimous decision of the delegates at the emergency session of the executive committee of the American Jewish Congress at the Hotel New Yorker, Sunday, the American Jewish Congress is called upon to promote a nation-wide boycott movement in the United States; coordinate under a unified leadership all existing agencies, engaged in boycott against German manufacturers and shipping, and create the broadest possible front of all elements in the American nation irrespective of race, creed and partisanship in the promotion of boycott.
At the same time the many speakers who addressed the gathering, which included representatives of organizations and communities throughout the country, demanded the economic and diplomatic isolation of Germany by the American people and the government of the United States until such a time as Germany rescinds its policy of persecution and guarantees the equality rights of all its inhabitants.
This decision climaxed months of deliberation and resistance to pressure from the masses of American Jews who have demanded a boycott of the Hitler regime ever since Hitler came into power, and who have been boycotting Germany.
BOYCOTT RESOLUTION INTRODUCED
The boycott resolution introduced by Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, chairman of the executive committee, explained that the Congress in the past had refused to embark on the boycott in the hope that representations on the part of the American Government might bring Germany to her senses. As these representations have not been forthcoming and the persecutions by the Hitlerites have daily taken on a sharper edge, it is compelled to take decisive action against Germany. The boycott, the resolution makes clear, is a measure of self-defense against the barbarism of the Hitler persecution.
Coupled with the decision to take an active part in the boycott movement, was the criticism of the United States Government for its continuance of unimpaired diplomatic relations with the Hitler regime.
This criticism was voiced in the address of Bernard S. Deutsch, president of the American Jewish Congress, and reiterated in speeches by Dr. Max Winkler, economist, and Dr. Tenenbaum.
Mr. Deutsch declared:
“We recall that for fifteen years, successive United States governments have refused to recognize the Soviet Unionâ€”presumably on the ground that its government was not regarded as stable and that its policy was believed to threaten the existing order. In the face of this, we venture to ask if it is the intention of the United States government to continue to maintain unimpaired its diplomatic relations with a government which, for no reasons of social philosophy, embroils its country in fraternal strife, the repercussions of which have plunged the world into a state in which international peace is no longer assured.
“We venture to ask why the United States government which has relentlessly deported so-called Communists and other agitators from this country, in conformity with its long-established policy, permits the undisturbed entry and residence of propagandists for the regime of Hitler. Every steamer arriving from Germany brings new propagandists. Nazi cells, despite denials from Berlin, continue to operate under various names in this country.”
The chief place on the agenda of the conference was devoted to a discussion of the advisability and feasibility of promoting a nationwide boycott in the United States against the German regime.
Introduced by Mr. Deutsch in his speech opening the conference the boycott theme was broadly developed by the chairman, Dr. Tenenbaum, and emphasized in speeches by Dr. Winkler, Mr. Hirschman, Samuel Untermyer, president of the World Jewish Economic Federation, Rabbi Jacob Sonderling, formerly of Hamburg; Alexander Kahn, Deputy Attorney-General N. Padgug, Rabbi Max Raisin, Robert Silverman, Richard Neuburger and many others.
Dr. Samuel Margoshes, vice-president of the Congress and editor of The Day, submitted a plan to rescue at least 20,000 German Jewish children and place them in American homes. The plan was unanimously adopted by the conference.
The proposal by Dr. Margoshes is based on a report made by a confidential investigator who has just returned from Germany, and the recommendation of Dr. Alice Hamilton, noted American woman physician who spent three months in Germany.
When Mr. Untermyer appeared at the conference in response to a resolution asking him to address it, he was cheered loudly and the entire assemblage rose as he entered the hall.
Mr. Untermyer thanked the committee for inviting him to speak and congratulated the meeting on the adoption of the boycott resolution. He declared that he had been hoping and wishing for it and was very pleased to see the boycott backed by the Congress.
“The boycott is the only weapon that we have left. It is true that the Hitler Government made some overtures and pretended a desire to compromise. But they were insincere and the offer was not made in good faith.
“People seem afraid of the word boycott but even such an organization as the League of Nations expressly provided for boycotts in its constitution. You may remember the effect of the Jewish boycott of Henry Ford by the Jews. Well what we did there on a small scale, we can accomplish on a large scale as far as Germany is concerned.
“I acclaim with the greatest joy the cooperation of the American Jewish Congress. If you do your share, Germany will crack this winter. This is not a subject for oratory. This is a subject for work. Good hard practical work and I invite you to go to work.”