Eeny, Meeny, Minie, Mo, to Zion, to Crimea, Biro-bidjan I’ll Go!
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Eeny, Meeny, Minie, Mo, to Zion, to Crimea, Biro-bidjan I’ll Go!

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Shiver in frigid Biro-Bidjan (Bureya) or bask in sunny Palestine. You pay your money and take your choice and there’s always the Crimea if you can’t make up your mind.

B. Z. Goldberg, Leon Dennen and Maurice Samuel, in symposium assembled, tried to make up the minds of the Free Synagogue Men’s Club members Wednesday night and precipitated a lively discussion that sent many a member to consult his atlas.

Although no speaker in defending his chosen place for settlement of Jews disparaged the other two, heated discussion and questions after the symposium split on Communist—anti-Communist lines.

Mr. Goldberg, associate editor of The Day, Yiddish daily, spoke for Biro-Bidjan, although he stated he held “no brief for the Soviet system.”


“Biro-Bidjan is intended merely as a national home for the Jews of Soviet Russia,” he asserted, qualifying this statement by saying that other Jewish Communists might also migrate there.

“I am confident we are going to see a modern industrial state in Biro-Bidjan,” Mr. Goldberg predicted.

Mr. Dennen, who spoke for Crimea, described the “new deal” which the Soviet government is giving to the Jews. “Jewish culture in Russia has achieved great proportions,” he declared, pointing out that the Crimea is already fully settled.


Skeptical about the altruism of the Soviet government in settling up a Jewish state, although expressing his approval of the project “from the purely human point of view,” Mr. Samuel, lecturer and author, appealed for support of Palestine as a land which has evoked a “dynamic nationalism” in the Jewish people.

He gave two reasons for the success of the Palestine enterprise: the general pressure of Jewish exiles and the traditional element linking the Jew with Palestine.


Touching on the Communist philosophy, Mr. Samuel said, “I would like to see a Palestine in which Jews are not exploited. If I can’t, I would like to see the problem fought out as it is being fought out everywhere else—the problem of creating a stable society.”

A query by Mr. Samuel during the ensuing discussion elicited the statement from Mr. Dennen that instruction in the Bible and use of the Hebrew language is permitted in the Soviet Union. A person who called himself a Communist and otherwise remained unidentified submitted a list of questions to Mr. Samuel before he was halted by the chairman. To these, Mr. Samuel replied:


Yiddish is not forbidden in Palestine, although Hebrew is encouraged.

Palestine is being used as a buffer state by Great Britain and the Zionists know it, but the Zionists are bargaining on a basis of quid pro quo:

The transfer of German goods to Palestine is not in violation of the anti-Nazi boycott because the goods constitute the property of refugee Jews and no goods or money is returned to Germany. “The Jews in Palestine are supporting the boycott 500 per cent better than in America.”

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