WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jun. 14)
In a speech alive with invective and sensational charges, Dr. Stephen S. Wise today voiced the determination of the 1,100 delegates at the national electoral conference for the World Jewish Congress to go ahead with plans for the Geneva congress and assured its opponents he was willing to accept whatever consequences arose from the holding of it.
Following his address, which was punctuated by stormy applause at frequent intervals, the conference selected seventy delegates to represent the United States at the congress. It also adopted resolutions instructing them and outlining a proposed course of action for the world parley.
The delegates, coming from 99 cities and said to represent two million Jews, met under the auspices of the American Jewish Congress in a two-day session at the Hotel Willard.
Dr. Wise’s address, which created a sensation, was delivered at this morning’s business session. He charged that his opponents had resorted to “coercion and intimidation” to gain their ends. Without naming the source, he said he had received a letter from a Jewish leader of “a middle western city” threatening that there would “probably be no money for Palestine next year” if Dr. Wise and his associates continued with their plans for the congress.
To this Dr. Wise replied: “If you dare to threaten or dare to punish Palestine, we will go to the Jews and to the whole American people in protest against these tactics of coercion and intimidation.”
Referring to opponents of the congress as “cowardly Jews” and a “little group of nice Jewish gentlemen” who “have no respect for the Jewish masses,” he countered the contention that convocation of the congress would do irreparable harm to world Jewry with the question: “What wrong against the Jews have they averted by not having a world Jewish congress?”
Dr. Wise denounced an editorial attack on the congress in the current issue of The Nation, which characterized it as a potential “wailing wall.” He charged that the article was inspired by “the Park Avenue Jews” of the American Jewish Committee.
A flurry was created in the lobby of the hotel when representatives of radical labor organizations, who were barred from the conference, distributed leaflets announcing their determination to send a delegation to Geneva, for which purpose they will hold a conference in New York City July 12.
The conference concluded tonight with a farewell banquet to Dr. Wise, who will leave Tuesday for Europe to complete preparations for the Geneva congress. The Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress tendered a luncheon to Mrs. Wise at which Max Brauer, exiled former mayor of Altona, Germany, was the principal speaker.
Other speakers at today’s session included Dr. S. Margoshes, editor of The Day; Joseph Schlossberg, secretary of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union of America; Rabbi I.M. Ashinsky, vice-president of Mizrachi, and Charles Edward Russell, writer.
The conference at its opening session last night went on record in favor of immediate collective action to protect the Jews from progressive deterioration of their rights.
Dr. Georg Bernhard, guest of honor and principal speaker, warned the Jews of the United States to avoid the mistake of German Jewry, whom he charged with refusing to face the facts and with preventing adequate steps from being taken before it was too late.
He attacked the leadership of the rich and while not denying that they have made a contribution to Jewish relief efforts, emphasized that this did not qualify them for leadership.
Warning that the Jews must create a united defense before it is too late, he presented a program of action for the agenda of the world congress including:
(1) Establishment of a permanent committee as the standing representative of the Jews of the world, (2) An economic commission and an economic institute “to study the great revolution which has taken place in all aspects of economic life in order to enable the Jews to adapt themselves to the new world conditions” (3) A Jewish credit association to create credit facilities for displaced Jews in various lands.
Louis Lipsky, who presided, read messages in favor of the congress from European statesmen and eight governors in the United States. Conspicuously unrepresented at the conference were the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Labor Committee, B’nai B’rith and other important groups.