CHICAGO (Apr. 16)
An extraordinary national conference of the Jewish National Fund of America, after hearing a message from Dr. Chaim Weizmann stressing the urgency of American Jewry’s aid and speeches by American Zionist leaders asking the Jews to “tighten their belts,” today adopted resolutions aimed at intensification of fund-raising.
The approximately 1,000 delegates from Zionist organizations and J.N.F. councils, gathered at the Hotel LaSalle, unanimously approved resolutions instructing the J.N.F.’s national administration to arrange a national conference biennially, extending the Palestine Flower Day into a Flower Week to be held in the middle of May and placing $75,000 at the disposal of Menachem M. Ussishkin, world president of the J.N.F., as a 75th birthday “gift” to buy land in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Dr. Solomon Goldman, president of the Zionist Organization of America, urged the Jews of America to “tighten their belts” as would a nation at war. Louis Lipsky, vice-president of the Z.O.A., declared that “the most discouraging factor in connection with the J.N.F. has been the policy of England….It believes that order can be restored by making concessions to the demands of the lawless. It has made appeasement of violence an integral part of administrative policy.”
Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the J.N.F., asserted that the strength and number of Jewish positions in the various sections of Palestine would play a large part in determining the issues of the present political struggle. “Zionism in the present world crisis has no time for wailing and weeping, but only time for building,” he said. He added that “it may very well be that the present period of political uncertainty and threatened government restrictions may prove to have been a transition period during which the gains of 20 years shall have been consolidated and a way shall have been paved for the next advance.”
Mendel Fischer, executive director of the J.N.F., reported that more than $7,000,000 has been raised since the organization’s formation. During 1938, he said, $1,036,000 had been collected, and $700,000 in the first four months of 1939. He declared that the J.N.F. now had support from 1,200 Jewish communities.
The two day conference concluded tonight with a banquet at which the scheduled speakers included Rabbi Meir Berlin, honorary president of the World Mizrachi Organization, and Chaim Greenberg, of the Poale Zion-Zeire Zion.
WEIZMANN STRESSES LAND PURCHASING
Dr. Weizmann’s message, which was read at last night’s session by Senator Weiss of Indianapolis and later broadcast by Dr. Goldstein over the Mutual Broadcasting Company’s facilities, made a deep impression on the delegates. The general feeling was that the present war scare in Europe would result in a more intensified fund-raising campaign and in bolstering the efforts of the J.N.F. Dr. Weizmann was scheduled to speak by short-wave radio from his home in Rehoboth, Palestine, but difficulties in transmission made this impossible.
The world Zionist leader declared that Zionism was not defeated, no matter what difficulties lay in store for the movement, emphasized the need of strengthening the Jewish position in Palestine by continuing the upbuilding and purchasing more land, and asserted that the aid of American Jewry was needed “more than ever in our recent history.”
Describing the continued upbuilding of the Jewish homeland despite terrorism, Dr. Weizmann said that “the terror has been broken and all over Palestine the peaceful Arab population is again breathing more freely. He warned, however, that “a united front has been formed of all forces working against our great effort of reconstruction” and “for over two months our political position and the rights we possess by virtue of international pledges and agreements have been subjected to an unprecedented assault.”
“The moral strength of our cause” kept the Jews united, he said, continuing: “We do not know what new difficulties will be in store for us, but we do know that we have not been defeated. Our enemies, with all their threats and all their cunning, could not break the spiritual force which held us together.”
He asserted: “The lesson which that London conference has taught us will not be lost on any one of those who took part in it. It is a clear and stirring lesson. We have to strengthen our position in Palestine with all our might and all the resources at our command, if we are to hold out against the forces that are opposing us. There can be no standstill which is retrogression, which spells defeat. We have to go on building the Jewish national home. We have to buy more land to establish more settlements, to set up more industries, to extend and intensify every branch of our material and spiritual effort in Palestine…..
“Without land there can be no settlement. Without settlement there can be no civilization. Without land we can offer no refuge for our suffering brethren in Central and Eastern Europe. It is for this reason that our friends all over the world are today being called upon to do what lies in their power to enable us to obtain new areas of land for Jewish settlement and productive development. A special loan is to be raised during the coming months in order to enable this great effort of reclamation to be expanded and speeded up.
“I know that American Jewry will do its duty in this new effort as it has done in the great efforts of the past. I need not tell you what part Providence has allocated to you in these critical days. More than ever in our recent history do we look to you. It is not merely material help that we are asking of you. The material help which you are rendering to our work of reconstruction is precious to us, preeminently because it reveals your sense of brotherhood and spiritual solidarity which is our strength and comfort in these hard eyes. If you, Jews of free America, will continue to be with us in spirit and action, then we can look to the future with confidence and serenity.”