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Zionist Congress, 300 to 158, Backs Parleys on Partition; Vote Climaxes Bitter Fight

THE BITTEREST BATTLE IN THE 40-YEAR HISTORY OF THE WORLD ZIONIST ORGANIZATION ENDED THIS MORNING WHEN ITS CONGRESS VOTED OVERWHELMINGLY TO AUTHORIZE NEGOTIATIONS WITH GREAT BRITAIN ON ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE THROUGH THE TRIPARTITION OF PALESTINE.

THE ROLL-CALL VOTE, SHOWING 300 FOR THE MAJORITY RESOLUTION FAVORING NEGOTIATIONS TO 158 FOR THE MINORITY RESOLUTION REJECTING PARTITION, WITH 27 ABSTAINING, WAS TAKEN AMID UPROAR AS LEADERS OF BOTH SIDES, EMBITTERED BY THE SIX-DAY DEBATE ON THE ISSUE, SHOUTED ATTACKS AND RECRIMINATIONS.

THE TWENTIETH CONGRESS, WHICH MAY BE THE LAST IN ITS PRESENT FORM IF A JEWISH STATE SHOULD ARISE OUT OF THE NEGOTIATIONS, EMPOWERED ITS INCOMING EXECUTIVE TO NEGOTIATE WITH SPECIAL CONGRESS IF A PLAN FOR A STATE ARISES FROM THE PARLEYS.

THE RESOLUTION REJECTS THE CONCLUSION OF THE BRITISH ROYAL COMMISSION THAT THE MANDATE IS UNWORKABLE AND HOLDS THE PARTITION SCHEME PROPOSED BY THE COMMISSION “UNACCEPTABLE. IT DIRECTS THE EXECUTIVE TO RESIST INFRINGEMENT OF JEWISH RIGHTS “INTERNATIONALLY GUARANTEED BY THE BALFOUR DECLARATION AND THE MANDATE.” (FULL TEXT OF THE WINNING RESOLUTION WAS PUBLISHED IN WEDNESDAY’S, AUG. 11, J.T.A. NEWS.)

THE MINORITY RESOLUTION, INTRODUCED BY DR. STEPHEN S. WISE OF NEW YORK, SPEARHEAD OF THE OPPOSITION TO PARTITION, CALLED ON THE CONGRESS TO OPPOSE THE DISMEMBERMENT OF PALESTINE AND TO SEEK FULFILLMENT OF THE MANDATE. IT CHARGED THE PALESTINE ADMINISTRATION, NOT THE MANDATE, HAD FAILED.

THE UPROAR CONTINUED EVEN AFTER THE BALLOTING HAD ENDED AS DAVID BEN-GURION, PALESTINIAN MEMBER OF THE ZIONIST EXECUTIVE, AROSE IN THE INTERIM BEFORE THE RESULT WAS ANNOUNCED TO ANSWER DR. WISE, WHO HAD ATTACKED HIM AND DR. CHAIM WEIZMANN, ZIONIST PRESIDENT, WHOSE VIEWS ARE EMBODIED IN THE MAJORITY RESOLUTION.

WISE ASSAILS WEIZMANN, BEN-GURION

IN A PASSIONATE LAST-MINUTE PLEA FOR REJECTION OF PARTITION JUST BEFORE THE VOTE, DR. WISE, FREQUENTLY INTERRUPTED BY BOTH CHEERS AND CRIES OF PROTEST, HAD ACCUSED DR. WEIZMANN OF SMOTHERING CRITICISM OF BRITAIN AND MR. BEN-GURION OF COMING AROUND TO SUPPORT PARTITION AS A RESULT OF THE 1936 PALESTINE DISORDERS.

THE LABOR LEADERS REJECTED DR. WISE’S IMPLICATION THAT HE HAD CHANGED HIS VIEWS SINCE THE DISORDERS AND SAID THE RIOTS HAD NOT COME UNEXPECTEDLY TO HIM SINCE THE PALESTINE GOVERNMENT HAD NOT BEEN EXACTLY FRIENDLY TO JEWISH ASPIRATIONS.

MENACHEM M. USSISHKIN, VETERAN ZIONIST AND FOE OF PARTITION, SHOUTED THAT IT WAS AN ACT OF PROVOCATION TO ALLOW MR. BEN-GURION TO SPEAK AS SHOUTS DIRECTED AT THE LATTER CAME FROM THE ANTI-PARTITION DELEGATES:

“YOU ENTHUSIAST! YOU’LL ACCEPT PARTITION WITH ENTHUSIASM.” THE REFERENCE WAS TO A STATEMENT MR. BEN-GURION HAD MADE EARLIER IN THE MORNING WHEN DR. WISE ASKED:

“SUPPOSE BRITAIN HAD OFFERED PARTITION BEFORE THE ATTACKS IN 1936, WOULD YOU HAVE ACCEPTED IT?”

MR. BEN-GURION LEAPED TO HIS FEET AND REPLIED IN HEBREW:

“YES, WITH THE GREATEST ENTHUSIASM.”

DR. WISE RETORTED:

“IF HE HAD ACCEPTED THIS IN 1935 HE WOULD HAVE STOOD ALMOST ALONE EVEN IN THE HISTADRUTH” (PALESTINE JEWISH LABOR FEDERATION OF WHICH MR. BEN-GURION IS A LEADER.)

DR. WISE BEGAN HIS ADDRESS BY READING THE MINORITY RESOLUTION WHICH HE HAD INTRODUCED LAST NIGHT AND THEN DECLARED:

“IF WEIZMANN IN 1929 AND 1927 (THE YEARS OF PREVIOUS CONGRESSES) HAD NOT DELIBERATELY SET OUT TO NEUTRALIZE AND CANCEL MY INDICTMENT OF THE MANDATORY POWER, IT COULD HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED TODAY AS THE JUDGMENT OF THE CONGRESS, NOT AN ARRAIGNMENT BY AN INDIVIDUAL.

“WE ARE RESOLVED TO SAVE PALESTINE FROM THOSE WHO WOULD SMOTHER AND DESTROY IT MORALLY. WE ARE AGAINST PARTITION, NOT AGAINST A JEWISH STATE. WE ARE FOR AN UNDIVIDED, UNBROKEN, UN SHATTERED, UNPARTITIONED LAND OF ISRAEL.”

DR. WISE DECLARED THAT HE, RATHER THAT THE FIFTEEN ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA DELEGATES SUPPORTING THE PARTITION PRINCIPLE, REPRESENTED THE SENTIMENTS OF THE JEWISH MASSES ON THE ISSUE.

ANTI-PARTITIONISTS’ BOLT FEARED

OTHER LAST-MINUTE APPEALS WERE MADE BY LOUIS LIPSKY OF NEW YORK, WHO URGED PASSAGE OF THE MAJORITY RESOLUTION, AND BY RABBI MEIR BERLIN OF JERUSALEM WHO ATTACKED PARTITION.

“I IMPLORE YOU NOT TO EMPOWER THE EXECUTIVE TO ACT,” RABBI BERLIN PLEADED. “DO NOT SLICE THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT. DO NOT SLICE THE JEWISH PEOPLE.”

THE ALLUSION TO A POSSIBLE SPLIT AMONG THE ZIONISTS RECALLED MR. USSISHKIN’S STATEMENT LAST NIGHT THAT “BY VOTING FOR PARTITION THE CONGRESS IS ALSO VOTING IN FAVOR OF SPLITTING OUR UNITED ZIONIST LIFE.” THESE STATEMENTS, ON TOP OF THE EXACERBATED FEELINGS BETWEEN THE OPPOSING FACTIONS, GAVE POINT TO FEARS THAT ANTI-PARTITIONISTS MIGHT BE CONSIDERING A BOLT IN PROTEST AGAINST ACCEPTANCE OF PARTITION.

OTHERS WHO SPOKE BEFORE THE VOTING BEGAN WERE CHAIM GREENBERG, AMERICAN LABOR ZIONISTS, AND DAVID REMEZ, PALESTINE LABORITE, FAVORING PARTITION, AND ROBERT STRICKER OF VIENNA, OPPOSING THE DIVISION OF THE HOLY LAND.

THE RESULT OF THE VOTE WAS ANNOUNCED BY DR. NAHUM GOLDMANN, MEMBER OF THE ZIONIST EXECUTIVE, AND CHAIRMAN OF THIS MORNING’S SESSION.

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