?.o.a. Convention Demands Territorial Autonomy; Decides to Sponsor Chalutz Work in U.S.
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?.o.a. Convention Demands Territorial Autonomy; Decides to Sponsor Chalutz Work in U.S.

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A declaration demanding autonomy for local Zionist organizations in countries outside of Israel, and a special status for the World ##ionist Organization in Israel was adopted here today at the 53rd annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America.The 1,2000 delegates at the parley also voted acceptance of a program which calls for: sponsorship of the chalutz movement in the United States; establishment of an American-Israel information service; promotion of activities through which Israel students will be able to come to the U.S. for special studies; sponsoring of work vacations in Israel for American Jewish college students; and, establishment of chairs for the study of the Hebrow language in American colleges.

The declaration on local autonomy reads in part: “We reaffirm the special status of the World Zionist Organization and urge such reaffirmation upon all Zionists and upon the Government of Israel. The World Zionist Organization should continue to be possessed of special functions in conducting its activities in the field of immigration, chalutzioth, economic investment, and public relations and education in the Diaspora.

“Similarly the local territorial units of the World Zionit Organization should be accorded exclusive status in their communities with respect to activities conducted in behalf of Israel, which should be channolled through local bodies or coordinated by such bodies.”


Arthur Lourie, New York consul-general of Israel, in his address to the convention, declared that events in Korea have far-reaching implications for Israel. “While any suggestions of peace with Israel is rejected, the accumulation of jet plances and heavy tanks continues apace. It is because of this that we follow, with keen anxiety, the developments in Korea, for if the resort to naked force can succeed in the Far East, why not also in the Near East,” he said.

An indication that the United States Government is ready to support Israel against aggression and to strongthen its economic position was given yesterday by Vice President Alben Barkley, addressing the convention. “Nothing could happen that could give greater discredit to the United States than to have people hear that the state of Israel has collapsed, either because of outside aggression or because of its inability to support a people who have come and will continue to come,” Vice President Barkley stated.

He expressed his “deep pleasure” in being named honorary chairman of the Jewish National Fund project to establish Kfar Truman, an agricultural sottlement in Israel, as a permanent tribute to the help that Preisent Truman and the help which the United States Government gave to the creation of the Jewish state.

A plea for more free enterprise in Israel was made by Dr. Peretz Bernstein, member of the Israel Knesset and president of the General Zionist Organization in Israel. Admitting that certain government controls were necessary at the present time, Dr. Bornstoin said they should be loosened as far as possible, declaring that Israel “cannot attract the necessary investment capital unless the regime of the country is favorable to its workings.”

Dr. Israel Goldstoin, president of the World Confederation of Gerneral Zionists, in an address called talk of Communism in Israel “a phobia,” and declared that “Communism is as remote in Israel as it is in England, France or Italy, no more and no less. “Dr. Goldstein made three major criticisms of Israel: the extreme partisanship in the educational system, the lag in industrial efficiency, and the factionalism and fragmentation among the people.


The view of those who hold that with the establishment of Israel there is no longer any need for a strong Zionist movement in countries outside of the Jewish state was challenged at the convention by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency, and Dr. Emanuel Neumann, former President of the Zionist Organization of America. Dr. Goldmann said:

“The experience of these two years has shown that dospite the colossal impact of the creation of the state on the wast majority of Jows in the world and the initial enthusiams, indifference with regard to the Jewish state and the lessening of interest in it, the preference for local needs of Jewish communities is gaining in strongth. The experience in Israel on the other hand shows a similar development — a tondoncy of losing sight of the problems of the Jewish people outside of the state, of regarding the Diaspora only as a resource of financial help and manpower for Israel and of indifference or ignorance with regard to vital problems and Jewish life in the Diaspora.

“It is just as necessary to ‘Zionize’ Jews in the Diaspora as those in Israel in order to overcome the division of the people into two parts,” the Jewish Agency leader argued. “A Zionist today is a Jew who thinks about Israel in terms of ‘we.’ A non-Zionist, even if he is a great friend of Israel, thinks in terms of ‘I and you.'”

Dr. Goldmann suggested the following tasks for the Zionist movement: 1. To coordinate and centralize Zionist activities in the Diaspora more than ever before with the relegation of parties within the movement to the background since the largest part of the task is common to all; 2. To pay much more attention to Jewish community life; 3. To influence Jewish develement and activities in every sphore always from the point of view of strengthening the unity of the people and its solidarity with Israel.

Dr. Neumann emphasized that Israel is far too young, too weak and isolated, to stand alone without the organized and powerful support of its tried and true friends. “The future of the Zionist movement,” he declared, “is largely dependent upon the precise charactor of the new relationship to be established between itself and the state of Israel. The leaders of Israel are becoming increasingly aware of the crisis through which Diaspora Zionism is passing, but thus far, they have not realized the full gravity and urgency of this problem, nor given it the attention it requires.

“Too many of our friends in Israel, either take the continued existence and activity of Diaspora Zionism too much for granted, or else underrate the importance of organized Zionism, now that the Jewish state is an accomplished fact,” Dr. Neumann stated.

The delegates elected Benjamin G. Browdy as president of the organization for his first full term. Rudelf G. Sonneborn of New York was re-elected chairman of the Administrative Council, and Mortimer May of Nashville, Tenn., was re-elected chairman of the National Executive Committee.

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