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Jewish Settlers in Argentina Demand More Land from Jewish Colonization Association

Serious differences of opinion have developed here between the Jewish Colonization Association and the Jewish settlers in Moisesville, a Jewish colony in the province of Santa Fe, which was founded in 189O during the first years of the Baron Hirsch colonization project in Argentina, and to-day has a population of more than 5,000 which is almost entirely Jewish.

The Fraternidad Agrarian, a cooperative of Jewish colonists, published a statement asserting that the situation in Moisesville is precarious. The statement charges that the Jewish Colonization Association takes no interest in the welfare of the settlers. It reported that due to a drought in the province of Santa Fe, the small landholders in Moisesville are in a difficult position. Although they negotiated with representatives of the Jewish Colonization Association for more soil in order to alleviate their situation, their appeal remains unanswered, the statement asserts. It blames the J.C.A. administration for the fact that the colonies’ youths are abandoning the project and are moving to urban centers.

The statement of the Fraternidad reveals that the organization of Jewish colonists sent an investigating committee to Moisesville to institute an inquiry into the situation there. As a result, the organization sent a cable to London to Lord’ Reading, president of the Jewish Colonization Association, asking for urgent intervention with a view to partitioning the J.C.A. land reserves among the suffering colonists. The reply received by the Fraternidad from Lord Reading is considered “not satisfactory.”

The Jewish press here is supporting the colonists in their request and calls upon the representative Jewish bodies to intervene in the conflict. The “Yiddishe Zeitung,” leading Jewish newspaper in Argentina, pays tribute to the historic role played by the J.C.A. in the development of Jewish community life in Argentina, but demands that the Jewish community be represented on the administration of the J.C.A.

Commenting on the statement of the Fraternidad and the request of the Yiddishe Zeitung, the J.C.A. here issued a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency declaring:

1. The drought which is responsible for the grave situation in Moisesville affects also those Jewish colonists who have large tracts of land; it would therefore be unfair to associate the plight of the colonists with the demand for more land.

2. The Jewish Colonization Association asked the Fraternidad to submit complete proposals but no such proposals were submitted.

3. The J.C.A. sent a commission to Moisesville study the situation, but the work of this commission was hampered by the local cooperative of the settlers.

4. The colonies have violated their contracts with the J.C.A. and consider themselves owners of land which they have only rented.

5. The J.C.A. is ready to give to the colonists an additional 4,500 hectares of land but only after the contracts between the J.C.A. and the tenants have expired.

6. The J.C.A. cannot submit the conflict to a decision of any Argentine Jewish body because it is a foreign private organization. It considers it necessary that the colonies should send a delegation to London to solve the problem with the headquarters of the J.C.A. there.

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