Basle (Dec. 18)
A proposal that Dr. Chaim Weizmann and the entire world Zionist executive be re-elected for a period of three or more months until the London Conference on Palestine is over and its results are known, was advanced at the World Zionist Congress here today by the leadership of the Mapai, the Palestine Labor Party, in an effort to bring about a compromise on the question of whether Dr. Weizmann should be re-elected to active leadership.
The proposal provides that after the conclusion of the London parley, the Zionist Actions Committee, which is the supreme Zionist body next to the Zionist Congress, should decide whether Weizmann and his colleagues are to remain in office, or whether another president and executive should be elected.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns from circles close to Dr. Weizmann that he would be ready to accept this compromise, in the belief that he could succeed at the London talks in achieving the establishment of a Jewish state even in a partitioned Palestine, resulting in the Actions Committee re-electing him president, which in turn would open the possibility of his becoming the first president of the Jewish state.
If, on the other hand, the London talks are a failure, Dr. Weizmann will then be in a position to tell the British Government publicly that it has turned him down after he had persuaded a reluctant Zionist congress to authorize his participation in the parley. He could then resign, and the effect of his resignation would be much greater and more effective than were he now to leave the executive of the Jewish Agency.
Dr. Weizmann’s supporters are fully in favor of the Mapai proposal. In private conversations they emphasize that this is “the last appeal” to the Congress to accept a compromise and re-elect the aged leader of the world Zionist movement.
CRISIS OVER LEADERSHIP OVERSHADOWS ALL POLITICAL ISSUES
The crisis over the future leadership of the world Zionist Organization has taken precedence over all other political issues which the Congress has been discussing. Despite the Mapai’s compromise plan, there is a group within the World Zionist-Laborite movement which is urging the election of Dr. Weizmann to the honorary presidency, leaving the presidency vacant.
Unlike the American General Zionists, who went on record as favoring the election of Dr. Weizmann to the honorary office as a move in their opposition to participation in the London parley, the Zionist Laborite group largely supports participation. Most of them believe that Dr. Weizmann would be a good man to head the Jewish delegation at the London conference. However, they are not – at least a large number of them – sanguine as to the outcome of the London talks.
They believe that the failure of the London conference to bring forth a proposal on Palestine favorable to Jewish aspirations will make necessary a strengthened and determined program of resistance to the present British policy in Palestine by such means as the intensification of “uncertificated” immigration and other measures. Such a policy, they point out, would also mean the end of the traditional Zionist orientation towards Britain, a step which Dr. Weizmann personally would not approve and therefore, he would have to step down from a position of leadership.
“Dr. Weizmann still has a valuable contribution to make to the Zionist movement,” one of the labor leaders told the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “and we feel that he can best make it in the position of honorary president of the movement. But if the London conference fails to bring forth an acceptable solution of the Palestine question, then we feel that he could not serve as a leader of the movement and director of a program that would have to follow.”
Without the support of the laborites Dr. Weizmann cannot be re-elected president. One of the strongest arguments his adherents are using in fighting new proposals is that such proposals can only result in a deadlock. Meanwhile, inter-party conferences are proceeding incessantly and leaders bitterly opposed to each other politically are to be seen in “consultation” at all hours. (See later developments on page 4.)
NEUMANN EXPLAINS WHY HE SHOUTED “DEMAGOGUE” AT DR. WEIZMANN
Emanuel Neumann today told a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent that he had shouted “this is demagogy” during Dr. Weizmann’s speech closing the political debate Monday night because Dr. Weizmann had misrepresented the position of the American Zionists on the question of resistance.
Neumann pointed out that in his own speech earlier that evening he had defined the Z.O.A. position stating that if a struggle had to be waged “it will have to proceed in Palestine, Europe, the Mediterranean area, America and elsewhere taking different forms in accordance to the circumstances, time and place, but inspired by the same spirit of resolute resistance to injustice, illegality and brutal suppression of our rights.”
He stressed that the American Zionists had not presumed to dictate, not even to suggest, to the Palestine Jewish community the forms its resistance should take or at what point to implement it. He insisted that all sections of the Yishuv had to maintain a common discipline and that the American Zionists rejected a policy “leading to submission” as strongly as it rejected the “philosophy of Masada.”