Berlin (Nov. 16)
“It would be wrong to overlook the fact that the London Conference for the relief of German Jews unfortunately did not fulfil the purpose for which it was called”, says the Juedische Rundschau, Berlin organ of the German Zionists, in an editorial entitled “The Heavy Cares of the Future”.
The London Conference was called, says the Rundschau, as the first step in the evaluation of the situation, which touches not only the German Jew but Jews the world over, to introduce system into the relief work and to attain the measures within reach. The Conference gained in importance by the appointment of the League of Nationes Refugee High Commissioner, James MacDonald, and could have done a great deal of preparatory work on the Jewish angle of the problems which the High Commissioner will handle.
The Conference did, the Rundschau admits, indicate that necessity and a sense of realities forced upon all the participants, Zionist and non-Zionist, the acceptance of principles long championed by the Zionist element in Jewry. Among the questions agreed upon are the support of Palestine as the place where Jewish emigrants would be most apt to find permanent residence, the chalutz movement and the policy that young Jews be settled in Palestine and elsewhere in preference to older persons, who tend to be so much less adaptable to new conditions. Such people are to be helped wherever they are and urged to remain there.
“The London Conference”, the article says, “undoubtedly marks a turning-point in the conception of Jewish social work. The harmonious co-operation of Zionists at this conference and the unity with regard to the status of Palestine makes the Conference appear a promising first step in the direction of the unification of all Jewry….”
The great American Jewish relief organizations failed, the editorial says, in criticizing the achievements of the Conference, to co-operate completely, especially in the matter of the central administration of relief funds, with the result that on the whole the practical relief work remains unchanged. The reason for the lack of co-operation, the Rundschau intimates, is the “human weakness of philanthropists, and, even more frequently, of the administrators of philanthropic funds, to consider the disposition of their funds a matter of personal power.” This tendency, the Rundschau continues, is detrimental to both the dispenser and the recipient of the money.
The article further criticizes the conference for deciding to “study” and “work out” projects without having made provision for carrying these out. The tendency on the part of various organizations to send delegates who are mere “observers” and non-participants in the responsible work of the various committees is also scored, and the hope expressed that the London Conference will not be world Jewry’s last word on the problem, of reorganizing Jewish social policy.