NEW YORK (Oct. 31)
Resolutions calling for assistance to European Jewry in its “defensive war” and combating of anti-Semitism in the United States were adopted today at the closing session of the annual session of the American Jewish congress, attended by 550 delegates at the hotel Biltmore.
The delegates reelected Dr. Stephen S. Wise as president of the congress and Louis Lipsky, vice-president. They also named jacob Leichtman treasurer; judge Nathan D. Perlman, chairman of the executive committee, and elected four delegates to the general council for Jewish Rights and an administrative committee of 130.
In a declaration of policy on European problems, the congress asserted that “we are engaged in a defensive war not of our choice, and that until the attacks that are being levelled against us are stopped, we cannot and will not forego our natural right to fight back with all the means at our command.” The declaration denounced enforced Jewish emigration, but expressed willingness to participate in moves for orderly emigration, asking the World Jewish Congress particularly to survey possibilities for establishing Jewish collective settlements in countries willing to offer opportunities to new settlers.
A resolution was adopted regarding the joint distribution committee which called for the broadening of the base of its representation and its integration in “the organized life of American Jewry,” instructing the congress executive to enter into conference with the J.D.C. and the General Council for Jewish rights “for such action as may be required.” Another resolution asked delegates to seek welfare fund appropriations for congress work, and to launch independent campaigns in communities where such appropriations were not forthcoming
Other resolutions called for cooperation with democratic forces against anti-Semitism and reaction, establishment of a permanent inter-racial institute on group relations and a national committee to combat anti-Jewish defamation, expansion of the work in combating economic discrimination and the naming of a commission to study Jewish economic reorientation.
Resolutions on problems abroad provided for a survey of Jewish emigration possibilities, establishment of a permanent commission on refugees, extension of the anti-nazi boycott and an expression of gratitude to president Roosevelt for convening the Evian conference.
Before closing, the congress telegraphed the Mexican Minister of Interior urging reconsideration of the refusal to permit 21 german and Austrian refugees to land from the steamship Orinoco. The closing address was to be delivered by Dr. Wise.
While the resolutions were being considered, Dr. Wise received a telegram from Senator Vojta Benes, brother of Czechoslovakia’s ex-President, from Chicago, declaring it was impossible to convert Czechoslovakia “into a fascist, anti-Semitic nation by a mere stroke of the pen” and urging Czechs and Jews to fight together for liberation together with “all liberty loving democratic people.”
Dr. Wise sent a reply appealing to Czechoslovakia, “even though mutilated and shattered, to be true to the ideals of Masaryk, and benes.” he expressed the convention’s refusal to believe that anti-Semitic tendencies and mistreatment of refugees represented the “true spirit of Czechoslovakia.”