Zionist Emergency Council Takes Issue with American Jewish Committee

Taking issue with the American Jewish Committee for its withdrawal from the American Jewish Conference, the American Zionist Emergency Council, which represents all Zionist groups in this country, today issued a statement declaring that “there is the danger of exaggerating the significance of the secession of the American Jewish Committee from the American Jewish Conference beyond all proportions in the light of the relative insignificance of the Committee in American Jewish life.”

“The American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Conference are not correlative bodies. The Committee is a self-constituted and self-perpetuating body representative of no one except a few individuals, and responsible to no one at all. On the other hand, the Conference is the democratically elected body of American Jewry consisting of 502 delegates, of whom 375 were elected from every major community and the remainder were designated by 65 national organizations of which the American Jewish Committee was one.

“The withdrawal of the Committee is nevertheless a calculated attack upon Jewish unity and it will be deeply resented by every American Jew who is eager to advance the Conference program of immediate rescue of the Jews of Europe, their post-war rehabilitation and the implementation of Jewish rights to Palestine.

“The Conference deliberations revealed the virtual unanimity of American Jewry on all major problems and the profound desire for unity in achieving their solution. On the Palestine resolution only four of the 502 delegates dissented, while less than 20 abstained. The mass enthusiasm for the Conference program was persuasive upon the chairman of the American Jewish Committee who announced at the time that the Palestine resolution was adopted that the Committee would remain within the Conference. But this now seems to have been only a temporary maneuver. The Committee now refuses to accept the will of the majority. It quits the Conference. It has always preached unity but evidently only on its own terms. The Committee must rule or ruin. It will do neither.

CALLS ARGUMENTS OF AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE “ABSURD”

“As an excuse for isolating itself from the overwhelming majority in American Jewish life, the American Jewish Committee complains that the Conference subordinated all other issues to the question of Palestine. This is absurd. Every major problem affecting Jewish interests was seriously and at great length considered by the Conference and its committees, and this in spite of the chairman of the American Jewish Committee who, it should be recalled, resisted the inclusion of the question of rescue in the Conference agenda. If Palestine’s future played a major role in the Conference, and absorbed in a large measure the interests of the delegates, it is precisely because they realized that Palestine offers the one great constructive solution both to the problem of immediate rescue and the problem of Jewish national homelessness.

“The American Jewish Committee wishes now to ignore not only the expressed wishes of American Jewry but also the facts of history and its own record on the subject of Palestine. It is clear that a new regime his come into control of the policies and attitudes of the Committee. In the past, the Committee approved of the Balfour Declaration and of the Palestine Mandate which recognizes the historic connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and its right to rebuild its national home there. Under the inspiration of the late Louis Marshall, who was president of the American Jewish Committee, an enlarged Jewish Agency for Palestine was achieved, which included both Zionists and non-Zionists and which was based upon the acceptance of the principle of the Jewish National Home. “But today the American Jewish Committee studiously and pointedly omits any reference to the Jewish National Home, the Balfour Declaration or the Mandate. These annoying facts of history it would like to erase. It speaks of a Commonwealth for Palestine but not of a Jewish Commonwealth. Its present position would liquidate the Jewish National Home.

“But today the American Jewish committee studiously and pointedly omits any reference to the Jewish National Home, the Balfour Declaration or the Mandate. These annoying facts of history it would like to erase. It speaks of a Commonwealth for Palestine but not of a Jewish Commonwealth. Its present position would liquidate the Jewish National Home. As the American Jewish Committee would have it, the Jewish National Home must not be Jewish and it must not be national. Inevitably, it would cease to be a home.

SEES RETREAT TO COMMITTEE’S 1916 STAND

“The American Jewish Committee has always represented itself as desirous of safeguarding Jewish rights all over the world. But as far as Jewish Palestine is concerned, where our people has obtained internationally accredited rights for the rebuilding of its national home, the Committee interposes compromises and reservations and would oppose every safeguard essential for the realization of that home.

“It generously allows that Jews should have the right to immigrate to Palestine as to other countries. This we are to regard as a tremendous concession! But it insists that the Jewish Agency must under no circumstances be vested with control over immigration, for that would mean that in the course of time, a Jewish majority would be established in Palestine and as a result the Jewish Commonwealth would be constituted. This must not be allowed to happen! Immigration is therefore to be entrusted to some international trusteeship which the American Jewish Committee now improvises out of thin air.

“This reversal on the part of the American Jewish Committee, representing a new and disruptive line in its policies, is clearly a retreat to 1916, when a small handful of Jews in this country and in England violently opposed the Balfour Declaration and attempted to arrest the march of the Jewish people to its rightful place in the world’s family of nations. They failed then. They will fail now!”

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