A report from Palestine announces that M. M. Ussishkin, the venerable Zionist leader and head of the Jewish National Fund, has given his consent to lead the General Zionist Group “B” at the forthcoming World Zionist Congress.
This actually means that Ussishkin agreed to be the leader of the forces at the Zionist Congress which are opposed to the domination of the Histadruth and to the election of Dr. Chaim Weizmann as president of the World Zionist Organization.
Mr. Ussishkin has long been known for his opposition to Dr. Weizmann. He never, however, entered with him into an open fight as will be the case now. Interested chiefly in the growth of the Jewish National Fund, Mr. Ussishkin has permitted himself on many occasions to criticize the present Zionist administration but always kept himself in the background when the administration was openly attacked by the group of General Zionists of which he is the leader.
SUPPORTING THE WEAK
The present decision of Mr. Ussishkin openly to lead the General Zionist forces which are opposed to the present administration is no doubt a result of the breach among the General Zionists at their recent world convention in Cracow. This breach has weakened the General Zionists of Group “B.” Hence Mr. Ussishkin is now coming to strengthen this group by lending his leadership to it.
Though Mr. Ussishkin is not running as candidate for the presidency of the World Zionist Organization, his marshalling of the groups which are known to be in opposition to Dr. Weizmann may create a situation at the Congress in Lucerne where the election of Dr. Weizmann as president of the World Zionist Organization will not be as unanimous as expected.
With the Laborites in control of the present Zionist Congress and with their favoring the election of Dr. Weizmann, the Congress might have been expected this time not to develop into a stormy affair. Those who are well informed on Zionist internal matters had reason to believe that the Congress would quietly elect a World Zionist Executive consisting of three Laborites, two General Zionists and one Mizrachi, with Dr. Weizmann as president.
If any difficulties were expected at the Congress in Lucerne they were expected chiefly from the side of the Mizrachi. Anxious as the present Zionist administration is to create a coalitionary executive with Mizrachi representatives in it, it is known that the Mizrachi are not so keen about joining an executive in which they know they will be a very unimportant minority.
The bargaining at the Zionist Congress, was therefore expected to have taken place between the Laborites and the Mizrachi only. It seems, however, that now there will be other groups to bargain with if Ussishkin leads these groups.
The popularity of Mr. Ussishkin in Palestine as well as in the lands of the Diaspora is such that it cannot be challenged. The colossal work done by Mr. Ussishkin in building up the Jewish National Fund and administrating it makes him today one of the most outstanding figures in the Zionist movement. His veteran services for Zionism provokes nothing but great respect for him in the entire Jewish world.
The mobilization of the opposing forces in General Zionism under the leadership of Mr. Ussishkin means therefore that the next Zionist Congress will not pass as quietly as expected. Mr. Ussishkin’s leadership of the opposition is the first surprise in this respect. Who knows what other surprises may follow before the Congress opens.