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Jewish Deputies Clash in Polish National Council over Palestine Issue

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The differences existing between the two Jewish representatives in the Polish National Council were brought out in the open today when Samuel Zygelbaum, Jewish Socialist Bund representative, delivered his maiden speech before the Council.

Declaring that he was speaking for the “majority of Polish Jews,” Zygelbaum stated that “Polish Jews are tied to the country by blood and toil and do not look to a new fatherland, be it Palestine or any other place.” Dr. Ignacy Schwartzbart, Zionist representative in the Council, arose following Zygelbaum’s address and challenged the latter’s claim to speak for the “majority of Polish Jews.” He stated that the Jewish Socialist Bund was not entitled to speak even for all Jewish workers since important Jewish labor parties are included in the Representation of Polish Jewry, whose headquarters are in Palestine. Taking issue with Zygelbaum’s reference to Palestine, Schwartzbart said that “speeches like Zygelbaum’s were made in Poland for fifteen years and he apparently has learned nothing since.”

The Bundist deputy devoted the major portion of his address to voicing three demands of Polish Jews in a post-war Poland: Firstly, full rights for Jews in all spheres of political, social, economic and cultural life; Secondly, guarantees for the national development of Jews by the introducing of national and cultural autonomy and the recognition of Yiddish by the government and the right to use Yiddish in public institutions, thirdly, eradication of anti-Semitism from government policy and public life by making anti-Jewish agitation a criminal offense.

Dr. Schwartzbart, while approving the Government’s policy to achieve the liberation of Poland, declared that the weak point of this policy was lack of confidence in the Government’s declarations of democratic principles, because of the present composition of the Council, where the right wing is predominant. He demanded the appointment of a third Jewish deputy and additional Socialist and Peasant Party deputies.

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