NEW YORK (Aug. 2)
Acting in unison on the Palestine question for the first time, representatives of 21 Zionist and non-Zionist labor groups met at the Hotel Astor last night, under the auspices of the Jewish Labor Committee, and adopted a declaration pledging to fight for free Jewish immigration into the Holy Land. (Briefly reported in yesterday’s JTA News)
The significance of the meeting, speakers pointed out, was that Socialists long opposed to Zionism were joining in the adoption of the resolution. It was stressed that the declaration did not represent any concession to Zionist ideology on the part of the non-Zionists, but only reflected their demand that Jews be given refuge in Palestine. Speakers said the meeting augured further cooperation on other issues.
Although it was stated that the resolution had been work out by a joint committee whose non-Zionist members were careful to see that no element of Zionism was allowed to enter, one delegate at last night’s meeting, Levin Shatzkes, secretary of the Jewish Socialist Verband, objected to two paragraphs of the resolution which, he said, might be interpreted as concessions to Zionism. He was the only one to express this opinion, however, and when Adolph Held, presiding, called for a vote, there was no objection to adoption by acclamation, Mr. Shatzkes stating that he was satisfied with the fact that he had expressed his reservations orally.
The declaration condemns Britain’s decree banning Jewish immigration for six months beginning Oct. 1, hails the Palestine Jewish community for its readiness to absorb refugees, expresses appreciation to British labor and the international labor movement for fighting the decree, urges that the forthcoming Intergovernmental Refugee Committee conference at the White House protest against the decree and concluded by declaring: “We pledge all our efforts to aid in the fight for free Jewish immigration to Palestine and we shall not give up the struggle until the goal is attained.”
The 60-odd delegates at the meeting represented seven trade unions in the garment and millinery industry, the Greater New York Bakers’ Joint Council, United Hebrew Trades, Workmen’s Circle, Forward Association, Jewish Socialist Verband, Left Poale-Zion, Jewish section of the Socialist Party, National Labor Committee for Palestine, Poale Zion-Zeire Zion, Jewish National Workers’ Alliance, Pioneer Women’s organization, League for Labor Palestine and young Poale-Zion Alliance.
Most of the speeches laid stress on the Jewish labor unity which the meeting indicated. Joseph Baskin spoke of the conference as bringing together “friendly enemies.” Alex Rose, secretary of the American Labor Party, declared that “this resolution is the ‘Aleph,’ after which will come the ‘Beth’ in united action.” Other speakers included Chaim Greenberg, Joseph Schlossberg, Isidore Nagler, David Wertheim, Alexander Kahn and Lousis Segal.
Mr. Kahn and Mr. Segal, who spoke after Mr. Shatzkes had voiced his objections to the declaration, stressed that there was “no Zionism in this document, “Mr. Kahn declared that the meeting represented an attempt to bring Zionists and non-Zionist together. “If we meet together more often perhaps we can develop a common language, ” he said. Mr. Segal said: “We did not come here to agitate for Zionism–it will come whether or not we agitate for it.”