DETROIT (Jul. 4)
The 41st annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America yesterday adopted by acclamation, at its opening session, a resolution urging that the Evian refugee-aid conference establish a commission to deal with the task of facilitating Jewish settlement in Palestine in view of the availability of Palestine as a major center of immigration.
The more than 500 delegates from 40 states paid tribute to President Roosevelt for convening the conference, and pledged the aid of American Jewry to furnish the necessary financial and moral support to effect a large-scale settlement program in Palestine. The resolution was introduced by Abraham Goldberg, of New York.
President Roosevelt, from the temporary White House at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., telegraphed the following message to Dr. Stephen S. Wise: “It gives me pleasure to renew and reiterate all the friendly sentiments which I have expressed to the Zionist Organization of America. I have watched the rehabilitation of the Jewish homeland with deep interest through many years and trust that the forthcoming convention of your organization will be fruitful of wise counsels and constructive action toward the realization of a noble ideal.”
Dr. Wise, in his address opening the convention, emphatically opposed the proposed partition of Palestine, but pledged to abide by the decision of the world Zionist Organization.
With the convention seething with excitement over the contest for the presidency, Dr. Wise felt impelled to condemn rumors regarding his administration. He declared that during his two years as president there had never been a moment of unpleasantness on his personal relations with his fellow workers, and said his only moment of unhappiness had come as a result of an editorial in a Jewish weekly, which he did not name, which charged he had been too busy to give to the presidency the close attention it deserved. The reference was evidently to an editorial in the boston Jewish Advocate which had supported Dr. Israel Goldstein for president.
Dr. Wise condemned the editorial as falsely charging that professional workers had administered the office in his name. He declared it was unnecessary to resort to such tactics in order to promote any man’s candidacy, and expressed regret if his unbroken record of joyous comradeship was marred by the convention election contest. Demanding wholehearted support for whatever administration was elected, dr. wise asked that he be given no honorary presidency and that as long as he lived he continue in some capacity in the service of the Z.O.A.
Dr. Wise denounced the hanging of Shlomo Ben Josef in Palestine, and declared that the British Government had indicted itself by this act. He added that a thousand muftis would not move the Jews to follow the exiled ex-Mufti’s ways of murder, and demanded that the Jews be given a chance to defend themselves. Dr. Wise also made an appeal for the Palestine Pavilion to be built at the New York World’s Fair, and urged every Jew to visit it next year. He lauded president Roosevelt for initiating the Evian refugee-aid conference.
An all-time high in U.S. contributions to the Jewish National Fund between June I, 1937, and June 1, 1938, was reported by Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the J.N.F. The income for the period amounted to $846,984.30, derived from the “traditional” popular fund-raising methods of the Jewish National Fund and from the organization’s share in the proceeds of the united Palestine appeal. The former amounted to $347,416.71 while the latter represented a total of $499,567.59. During the same period the fund remitted to its Jerusalem headquarters for new land acquisition a total of $811,166.68.
Election of officers was scheduled for tonight, before which there was a discussion of the constitutional provisions governing elections. The new constitution provides that no president may serve consecutively for more than two terms.
Prior to the opening of the convention yesterday morning, a meeting of the Z.O.A. administrative committee was held saturday evening. Last evening Dr. Wise, Dr. Solomon Goldman, Dr. Israel Goldstein, Dr. Israel Levinthal, Judge Morris Rothenberg and Louis Lipsky Addressed a convention banquet at the Statler Hotel. This morning Independence Day exercises were held with Dr. Barnett Brickner, Ludwig Lewisohn and Elihu D. Stone as speakers.
This afternoon Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, chairman of the United Palestine Appeal, reported that the U.P.A. had raised a total of $2,279,833, including $1,920,382 raised through its own efforts, $233,104 made available by the J.N.F. and $126,345 raised by Hadassah for the Youth Aliyah and sent directly to Palestine.
The administration report, submitted by Secretary Morris Margulies, foresees a membership of 50,000 or 60,000 in 1941, and urges decentralization and formation of new Zionist districts in order to achieve this membership increase. The report says that districts have been formed in 25 new communities in the past year.
The finance committee report proposes a budget of $140,000, including $15,000 payments on past liabilities, for the coming year. It states that the Z.O.A.’s deficit was reduced in the past year from $41,000 to less than $20,000. The Palestine committee reports that it assisted 1,919 travelers and immigrants to Palestine in the past year.