Basle (Dec. 29)
The Zionist Actions Committee early today elected a new executive of the World Zionist Organization, after defeating a proposal by the Palestine Labor Party that Dr. Weizmann be named president. No president was elected.
The vote, which came shortly before 4 a.m. this morning, climaxed fifteen days of deliberations by the Zionist Congress and a five-day meeting of the Actions Committee. It represented a compromise between the Palestine Laborites and the American General Zionists, which emerged as the two dominant groups in the world Zionist movement.
David Ben Gurion was named chairman of the executive, with Rabbi Judah L. Fishman, Mizrachi leader and Dr. Isaac Gruenbaum, General Zionist, as vice-chairman. Dr. Abba Hillel Silver will head the section of the executive in Washington. There will be a four-man executive in London, probably without a chairman.
NAME COMMITTEE TO DECIDE ON PARTICIPATION IN LONDON CONFERENCE
The decision as to when and if the Zionists should participate in the London Conference on Palestine was delegated to a special 15-man political committee which will have authority to define the Zionist attitude towards the London talks.
A 15-man praesidium of the Actions Committee was elected and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise was named “Senior Member” in lieu of a president. David Remez, Palestine labor leader, had proposed that Dr. Wise be named president of the praesidium, but his proposal was not voted upon. (See names of praesidium on page 3.)
The new executive will be composed of 19 members, eight of whom are General Zionists, seven Poale Zionists, four Mizrachi and a deputy member M.R. Kolodni, who is also a General Zionist, but who will have a vote only on immigration matters. They will be assigned to the Jerusalem, Washington and London executives on the following basis:
Jerusalem–Ben Gurion, Rabbi Fishman, Dr. Gruenbaum, Goldie Meirson, Eliahu Dobkin, Eliezer Kaplan, Moshe Sneh, Moshe Shapiro and Fritz Bernstein of the Aliya Hadasha, Washington–Dr Silver, Emanuel Neumann, Rose Halperin, Hayim Greenberg, Moshe Shertok and Rabbi Wolf Gold. London–Dr. Nahum Goldmann, Prof. Selig Brodetaky, Berl Locker and S.Z. Shragai.
WEIZMANN REJECTED BID TO HEAD ZIONIST DELEGATION AT LONDON
At least two-thirds of the members of the new executive are believed to favor participation in the London Conference. Under the coalition agreement which resulted in formation of the executive, the members will be obliged to support any decision adopted by a two-thirds vote. It is known that before the elections Dr. Weizmann, who is now in London, rejected a proposal, made by telephone by a former
Dr. Weizmann was stripped of leadership of the Zionist movement in a vote which preceded the election of the executive. The Actions Committee, by a vote of 47 to 32, approved a resolution introduced by Dr. Moshe Sneh, providing that no president be elected at present. Previously Weizmann’s name was presented to the Committee by the Palestine Laborites, despite clear-cut statements by the General Zionists, during inter-party negotiations, that they would refuse to serve in an executive under Weizmann’s leadership.
When Dr. Weizmann’s name was placed in nomination, Dr. Silver arose and said, on behalf of the Federation of General Zionists, that they would not participate in the executive if Dr. Weizmann were named president. The session then adjourned for intra-party discussions and resumed at 1 a.m. when Sneh’s motion was voted on.
ACTIONS COMMITTEE UNENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT NEW EXECUTIVE
The composition of the executive was received by the Actions Committee with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm, despite its approval of the coalition slate. It is felt that the executive represents merely a party reshuffle, with elimination of only two of its former members. Observers close to the bitter and protracted negotiations which preceded the elections were unable to point to any concrete modification in its set-up which could not have been achieved in negotiations during the normal course of the Congress.
The first meeting of the executive was held at the Three Kings Hotel here this morning with all members present, except Dr. Silver, who left Basle a few hours after conclusion of the Actions Committee meeting. Today’s session formally elected Ben Gurion chairman and Rabbi Fishman and Dr. Gruenbaum, vice-chairmen.