Dr. Rongy’s article in your paper is a conspicuous indication of the confusion of thought which prevails in our community with regard to the most vital problem with which we are confronted. His statement is a conglomoration of inconsistencies and shows a complete lack of compreshenion of what is essential in the Jewish situation. None of th opponents of the Jewish World Comprehension of what is essential in the jewish situation. None of the opponents of the Jewish World Congress has offered such absurd arguments against hat movement as presented by Dr. Rongy, at one time ardent adherent to the congress idea.
Let us analyze his argumants one by one. Dr. Rongy claims that unity in Jewish life is not obtainable unless under dictatoriship, an as dictatorship in our community, bound together by purely voluntary and moral forces, cannot be enforced, unity is therefore out of the question.
I beg to differ with Dr. Rongy. I do believe that unity can be achieved, if the Jewish masses throughout the world, by means of democratic elections would bring into being a truly representaive World Congress, and if every delcgate would be imbued with a sense of discipline and the imperative neen of united action at this most craucial time in Jewish history.
The Zionist movement is split into many warring factiosn and if nevertheless the Zionists have thousands of Jews under their banner in service to the Zionist ideal, why should it be impossible to unite still larger numbers for the sake of defense against the most ruthless attack on our rights and existence?
Dr. Rongy says there has been from time to time effective unity, such as at the peace conference and at the recent London conferenc in behalf of the German Jewish refugees. Dr. Rongy states that in these cases a specific goal was to be reached on which unity could be and was attained. Let me ask Dr. Rongy whether maintaining ouzstatus as equal citizens in every part of the world is not such a spectific goal on which unity can be attained. As a matter of fact, the examples stated by Dr. Rongy are rather ill chosen. No real unity prevailed among the Jewish delegates at the peace conferences nor at the recent London conference. Louis Marshall, for example, and other delegates, were not in favor of the nationalistic demands raised by the representatives of Eastern European Jewry. They were not even heartily in favor of the minority rights, for which they put up a valiant fight. But they felt that they should help the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe to obtain those rights which corresponded with the wishes of the large Jewish the Alliance Israelite Universelle refused to join the Committee of Jewsih Delegations.
At the recent London conference the delegates agreed to disagree. The autonomous status was recognized, and Jewish unity was not one bit advanced by the deliberations in London.
The World Jewish Congress, Dr. Rongy further states, connot drown opposition or cover conflicts of divergent theories and ideologies of Jewish life. It was possible to achieve unity of action between Zionosts and non-Zionists with regard to the upbuilding of Palestine, with regard to the question around which the most serious ideological, differences prevail, but according to Dr. Rongy, unity is not attainable with regard to the fight aganist anti-Semitism. No ideaological differences whatever exist among Jews with ragard to the necessity to combat the anti-Semitice menace. This statement of Dr. Rongy is proof of the peculiar logi which attaches to his entire argument, which tries to simplify the complicated and to complicate the simple. At no time were the Jewish people so ready and cager for united action as at present. I am earger to learn from Dr. Rongy what are the ideological differeces which divede the Jewish people with regard to combatting the present crisis, which has reached an upprecedented scope.
Dr. Rongy is worried that the World Jewish Congress will assume the right to guide the policies of the Jews in the various countries in which they live, and that such a “parliament” could determine not only for the Polish Jews, but also for the Amcerican Jews what their relations shall be to their governments. It is obvious that Dr. Rongy has made it very easy for himself to argue against the Congress idea, by choosing the most extreme and absurd statements that one or other of the Congress proponents may have made in order to oppose them effectively.
The obvious purpose of a World Jewish Congress is to unite the Jews in the fight against the grouing anti-Semitic menace and not to shape the internal relations of each community to its government. None of the Jewish world conferences has ever attempted such an absurd task. It is clear that Dr. Rongy deliberately chooses the term “parliament” in order to create the impression that it will be the pupose of the World Congress to legistate for all Jewish communities. It hardly requires any argument that a volumtary assembly can and will never impose laws on the participating communities. The task of the World Congress is to help each community in tis fight for the maintenance of their legal, political and economic position. To obtain the aid of world Jewry for those measures each fo them consider as serving their best nterests and not to complicate matters for them.
Dr. Rongy anticipates the diecisions of the Wold Congress by contending that it will attempt to obtain a special minoritv status for the Jews. It is again obvious that the World Congress will never try to impse minority rights upon the Jews of the Unites States, France or England, where minority rights are not desired by the Jewish population. The Congress proponents have at no time proclaimed such a goal. Dr. Rongy further enlightens us by stating that minority rights mean special disabilities. For whenever there are minority rights, he claims, there are also minority disabilities, numerus clausus in political life, irr the professions, in general schools, etc. Dr. Rongy displays an amazing ignorance with regard to the meaning of minority rights. Minority rights are not minor rights. To declare minority rights to be identical with numberus clauses and other disabilities is an upardonable error. Minority rights, as a matter of fact, mean full equal status for every Jews as an individual citizen, with the addition of guaranteeing him own language, culture, etc. Dr. Rongy is afriad that minority rights might hasten the coming of caste society and he urges the Jewish would to continue its struggle for the retention of democratic traditions. It is true and genuine democracy not to permit the major part of the population to suppress the minority. The attempt of Dr. Rongy to discredit the minority groups by erming them castes is neither reasonable nor logical. Are the Jews in Poland or in Lithuania a caste? Dr. Rongy should know that in eastern European countries conditions prevail which are very different from ours. In the proving of Galicia it depends on the 800,000 Jews whether Galicia should be termed a Ukrainian or Polish province. If at the census they declare themselves to be Poles, the Ukrainians might revenge themselve with pogroms, and vice vers. To adop a neutral or Jewish position is for them a command of wisdom and necessity. The same conditon prevails in a city like Wilno with regard to the Lithuanians and the Poles, and I could enumerate any number of similar examples. And once more Dr. Rongy reiterates this claim that the Congress desires minority rights for the Jews of the United States, Great Britain and France, a claim too preposterous ot justify serious attention.
Let me say in conclusion that we are lost if the Jewish community in every country has to fight singlehanded. Aided by world Jewry, the Jewish position in Austria might still be saved. But left to them selves, Austrian Jewry is unquestionably doomed. The 17.,000,000 Jews throughout the world, if united, are a material maral and political force of considerable strength. Disunited, divided and scattered, we are bound to be the defenseless object of attack and contempt. Only in unity and organization lies our future.
If the representatives of American Jewry could join with the representatives of othere communities in 1919 in order to obtain minority rights, they certainly would be justified today once more in combining in order to defend their hard-wonrights, and the Jewish position in Germany from destruction, and to help them in their battle against the sinister medieval forces which threaten hteir very existence.