Unity Seen Achieved at Convention of World Jewish Congress; Delegates Display Restraint
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Unity Seen Achieved at Convention of World Jewish Congress; Delegates Display Restraint

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As the general debate at the second convention of the World Jewish Congress here draws to a close most of the delegates and observers are of the opinion that no serious split will develop on major issues after political resolutions have been drafted. It is felt that despite the fireworks which featured the first two days of the general debate all delegations displayed a great deal of restraint and that all seem to want the Congress to present a united Jewish front to the world.

A great impression was made by the representatives of the displaced Jews of Germany and Austria who repeatedly told the convention that they were through with the Diaspora, “once and for all.” Dr. Z. Straunch, Dr. Joseph Rosenzaft and M. Gerstehfeld, representing respectively the Jewish DP’s of the American, British and French zones of Germany, declared that the Jews now in Israel are the vanguard of the Jewish people and that the Jewish masses elsewhere should consider themselves a reserve of the Jewish nation.

William Haber, advisor on Jewish affairs to the American military command in Europe, who is attending the parley to advise various commissions which deal with the DP problem, declared that the DP’s are “looking eagerly, impatiently to the day when they will leave the camps.” This “vegetating,” he insisted, must end as soon as possible. He expressed thanks to the American Government for “providing security” for the DP’s while they remain in the U.S. zones.

Rabbi Morton M. Barman, head of the American Jewish Congress division in Chicago, speaking for the American delegation, urged the W.J.C. to reaffirm the “democratic right of every Jewish community to foster the collective identity of the Jewish people, and preserve and develop its cultural and spiritual values and cultivate its sense of continuity and belonging to a great tradition.


David Cohen of India stressed the importance of fostering friendship between Israel and the Moslem world. He urged the Israeli Government to give the Arabs within their territory complete equality and land reforms, asserting that such progress and friendship would form a bridge between the two peoples and be the “greatest contribution to the safety of the Jews in the Moslem world.”

Raffaele Cantoni, head of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Italy, described some of the confusion rampant among Jewish organizations in his country. He reported that an Italian minister had recently told him that so many different people claim to represent the Jews in official visits to government offices that the minister no longer “knows who is who.” Cantoni attacked the neo-fascist Italian. Social Movement for attempting to spread the “germs of fascism” among the Italian masses who, Dr. Cantoni declared, are friendly to the Jews.

Ignacy Sehwartzbart, organizational director of the Congress, in his report to the plenary session, suggested a new line of development for the Congress in the light of the establishment of Israel. The W.J.C. must be converted into a movement based on a “synthesis” of those who desire to immigrate to Israel and those who wish to remain in other countries.

Among the other speakers at today’s session were Dr. David Schapira, president of the Vienna Jewish Community, Marc Jarblum and Henri Adan of France, Isaac Bernstein of Uruguay, Dr. J. Machower of Australia and Hersh Liebovici, secretary-general of the Rumanian Federation of Jewish Communities.

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