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Pro and Con of World Jewish Congress

Has the idea of creating of a World Jewish Congress any similarity with Nazism? James Marshall, the well-known leader, says “Yes.” Professor Jerome Michael of Columbia University, who is a member of the Administrative Committee of the American Jewish Congress, says “No.”

Discussing this question in the February issue of “Opinion,” Mr. Marshall writes:

The proposition for a Jewish World Congress is based upon the theory that the Jewish people, in whatever lands they may live, whatever language they may speak, whatever laws may guide and control their lives and their relations with their fellow-man, constitute a “nation.” A nation they may be in the sense in which the term is applied to cultural groups in Eastern Europe, but it is a perversion of the term to read into it the political connotations which the word “nation” bears in international law.

To base the idea or nationhood upon racial origin is to accept the basic Nazi philosophy. Thus the twenty-five points of the Nazi program contain the following:

I.—We demand the union of all Germans by the right of self-determination of peoples, in one great Germany.

IV.—Only a member of our own people (Volksgenosse) may be a citizen (Staatsbuerger). Our own people are only those of German blood without reference to confession. Therefore, no Jew may be a member of our people.

In explaining the twenty-five points the official program of the Nazi party said:

“A person who regards Jews as “German citizens of Jewish faith and not as a foreign race, . . . cannot understand the essential of our demands.”

Now nothing can be clearer than that the “conception of the Jewish people as a unified national organism” upon which, according to the resolution, the idea of the World Congress is based, is no different than the principle of the Nazi that Germans are only those of German blood and that Jews cannot be “German citizens of Jewish faith” but must be treated as a foreign race.

Here, then, we have the grim irony of group of well-meaning Jews in effect translating into Yiddish the Nazi-Fascist conception of nationalism based upon race.

PROF. MICHAEL’S REPLY

Replying to Mr. Marshall’s argument. Professor Michael states:

The conception of nationality embodied in the Congress resolution is not only not identical with but is the very antithesis of “the principle of the Nazi that Germans are only those of German blood and that Jews cannot ‘be German citizens of Jewish faith’ but must be treated as a foreign race.” The Nazi conception of nationality leads in theory and in practice to a denial to Jews of the rights of citizenship; the conception of nationality upon which the Congress resolution is based leads in theory and in practice to the affirmation and recognition of full rights of citizenship for the Jews and all other racial, religious, and linguistic minorities. The former abridges, the latter enlarges human rights.

REPORTS UNEMPLOYMENT IN BUSY PALESTINE

The Near East and India report from Palestine:

Although the country is flourishing and the Treasury is reporting a surplus far beyond its own estimates, there does appear to exist a certain amount of Jewish unemployment in the plantations settlement, where the practice of Jewish farmers of employing Arab workers has displaced Jewish laborers, so that in Kfar Saba, for instance, there are over a hundred jobless men and women daily. This situation is giving rise to considerable perturbation in Jewish circles and is likely to develop into a major issue: the Hebrew Press has published articles condemning the attitude of the intransigent Jewish farmers.

VOICES DISAPPOINTMENT WITH WELFARE PARLEY

The Reconstructionist, commenting on the national conference of Jewish welfare organizations, says:

The recent conference held at Temple Emanuel in New York City under the auspices of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds was a welcome occurrence in Jewish community life for it focused attention upon the multiplicity of Jewish group activities and upon the problem of Jewish responsibility for them.

But from the point of view of Jewish community reconstruction and group survival, the conference was decidedly disappointing. Although a voice was raised from time to time advocating cultural and character development activities, several of the most important lay leaders and professional executives found it necessary to caution the delegates against the possible impression that the Council believes in or is fostering any constructive integrated program of Jewish group life.

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