Menu JTA Search

Unfinished Business Prolongs Sessions of Zionist Congress into Next Week; Jewish Agency Group Starts

The Administrative committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine opened its sessions here today preliminary to the third ordinary meeting of the Council of the Jewish Agency which was scheduled to take place tomorrow and Friday.

The Jewish Agency is the body recognized by the League of Nations and by Great Britain, the mandatory power, as the representative of Jewry in all Palestine questions. It is composed half of Zionists and half of non-Zionist Jewish leaders. Strong dissatisfaction with the composition of the Agency and a demand for a reduction in the proportion of non-Zionists on it have been expressed at the Eighteenth World Zionist Congress, now in session here. Reform of the Agency will be one of the chief topics before the Agency sessions.

The non-Zionists on the Agency, it is learned, are willing to accede to an arrangement lessening their representation, provided that this revision be accomplished through friendly negotiations and that the Zionist Congress do not adopt any outspoken resolution on the question.

In the event that the Congress acts on the demand voiced by the spokesmen of every faction in the Congress to take action to revise the Agency, many of the non-Zionist members, it is understood, would prefer to withdraw from the Agency entirely.

CONGRESS SESSIONS CONTINUE

The Congress, which was officially scheduled to end August 29, will not end its sessions this week, it was reliably learned today. The Congress will probably continue until Sunday or Monday.

Negotiations on the formation of the executive of the Zionist Organization are proceeding. The General Zionists, acting as mediators, have proposed an executive of two Laborites, one Radical, three General Zionists and one Mizrachi representative. The Laborites, who hold 40 per cent of the seats, demand an executive of three Laborites, one Radical, two General Zionists, including Professor Selig Brodetzky, and one Mizrachi.

The inter-factional negotiations between the various Zionist groups now proceeding are for the purpose of forming an executive without the leadership of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, whose return to the leadership had been constantly rumored.

An executive of seven is being talked of by the negotiators. Aside from the question of party representation on the executive, the negotiations are further complicated by the question of the presidency of the World Zionist Organization.

The Laborites suggest an executive without any president but with Nahum Sokolow, present incumbent of the office, holding an honorary pensioned appointment.

REVISIONISTS ELIMINATED

The General Zionist fraction known as group B, which is opposed to Dr. Weizmann, insists on the reelection of Dr. Sokolow. The General Zionists hold the key position in the negotiations since they hold the balance of power in the Congress. Any coalition is entirely dependent on the votes of the General Zionists who, next to the Laborites, have the biggest group at the Congress.

However, all combinations thus far discussed completely eliminate the Revisionists and the possibility exists that the Mizrachi will not be included in the new executive.

Dr. Weizmann last night declared his readness to come to Prague to the Congress on condition that his visit would not be considered as meaning that he wishes to be reelected as president.

Dr. Weizmann’s declaration was made over the long-distance telephone, to Louis Lipsky, of New York, when the American Zionist leader tried to persuade Dr. Weizmann to attend the Congress. During the conversation Dr. Weizmann insisted he would not accept the presidency and that, if he came to Prague, it must be understood that he was willing only to cooperate with the Zionist executive body, and not assume its leadership except in activities in behalf of the Jews of Germany.

ASK FOR A NEW SET-UP

With efforts to form a coalition administration around Dr. Weizmann—the course which the Congress was generally expected to have followed—apparently doomed to failure by Dr. Weizmann’s decision not to accept reelection, the standing committee of the Congress last night appealed to Nahum Sokolow, president of the organization, to suggest the possible composition of a new executive body.

Dr. Weizmann’s availability and qualifications for leadership were dwelt on at length during the Congress session yesterday following sharp criticism of his stand and policies by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York.

Morris Myer, of London, a General Zionist (Centrist) and strong Weizmann proponent, appealed to the Congress tonight for the return of Weizmann to the presidency. Characterizing Weizmann as the most suitable leader, with considerable influence in non-Zionist and non-Jewish circles, Myer warned against restricting Weizmann’s activities to those in behalf of the German Jews. If this is to happen, he asserted, the remainder of Zionist activities would remain stagnant.

FOR UNITY AND STRENGTH

The debate continued throughout the evening with the speakers including Samuel Ussishkin, Robert Stricker of Austria and Barnett Janner, British member of parliament, all appealing to the various Zionist factions to sink their differences and fight for unity and Zionist strength.

Revelation that 650 German Jews who emigrated to Palestine had received permission from the German Government to export 1,000 pounds each, permitting them to enter Palestine in the “capitalist” immigration classification, was made last night at a closed session of the political committee to which was referred the report of the Zionist executive on the agreement for the import into Palestine of three million marks of German goods.

The executive’s statement, made Saturday night and repeated yesterday afternoon at the demand of Meer Grossman, head of the Jewish State party, formerly the Democratic Revisionists, that the executive was in no way connected with the negotiations, which were of a private character, was repeated to the political committee. The question of the agreement was referred to a special sub-committee for detailed discussion.

S. Hoofien, manager of the Anglo-Palestine Bank, appeared before the committee to relate his firm’s connection with the agreement. The bank, he said, would act as a liquidating and collection agency, collecting for the goods shipped to Palestine by the German Government and holding the funds until the German Jews for whose accounts the deals were transacted, would arrive in Palestine.

RABBI WISE ATTACKED

A bitter attack on Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York, a member of the bloc in the American delegation opposing the renaming of Dr. Weizmann as president of the Zionist Organization, was made last night.

Rabbi Wise, earlier in the day, had sharply criticized the Weizmann policies and had roundly scored the Zionist Laborite faction for seeking to make a “Utopia” of Palestine and for monopolizing immigration permits for those in accord with Laborite principles. The resentment against Rabbi Wise’s speech, expressed by vociferous interruptions of his address by Laborites, crystalized last night in a denunciation of the American Zionist leader by Berel Katzenelson, Palestine Laborite, who charged Rabbi Wise with being ignorant of labor conditions in Palestine. Rabbi Wise, said Katzenelson, was also

NEXT STORY