Detroit (Dec. 27)
The question of forming a national federation of Zionist organizations in accordance with the resolution of the last World Zionist Congress occupied the thirtieth annual convention of the Poale Zion – Zeire-Zion at the Hotel Statler here today.
Following addresses by Berl Locker, labor Zionist leader, who urged adoption of the federation idea, and Samuel Segal of New York, who spoke against, the resolutions committee met to adopt a stand. Interest of the delegates was centered on the federation and 48 speakers registered for the general debate on the question.
The resolutions committee will formulate its attitude after the general debate, which began this afternoon and continued into the evening.
In his address, Mr. Locker urged the convention to adopt the Congress decision. He vigorously denied charges that the united front would mean the dissolution of independent parties.
“We want.” he declared, “in every land a Zionist organization such as exists on a world scale, in which will be united and controlled all the things which the various parties have in common, such as the Keren Kayemeth, the Keren Hayesod, the Palestine office and the Hechalutz. The activities conducted by each party for its specific purpose will remain independent of the general organization. National politics are not a part of the scheme.”
He stated that each Zionist could live socially and politically within his party group and that it was only necessary to gather together all the Zionists of a particular city for the election of officers to regulate the common Zionist activities.
He criticized the lack of Zionist organization in America, pointing out that only 150,000 shekolim were sold among 4,000,000 Jews before the Zionist Congress.
Sympathizers of Zionism not belonging to a party should be organized under the national federation, he said. He attacked the fear of change due to tradition as “the tragedy of a child prodigy always kept in knee pants.”
The labor forces, he declared, as the majority, should take the initiative in putting into effect the new set-up.
Mr. Segal opposed the Congress resolution as implying renunciation by the Poale Zion Party of its autonomy and making the Socialist Zionist movement subject to the control of non-laborite elements.
Earlier, Dr. S. Rabelsky delivered a paper on organizational problems, urging the party to organize English-speaking units, to take measures to adopt itself to American conditions and to attempt to double its membership next year.