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U.S. Zionist Leaders Demand Special Privileges in Israel for the Zionist Movement

Ranking Zionist leaders, headed by Benjamin G. Browdy, president of the Zionist Organization of America, and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver tonight here took issue with Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, over the status of the Zionist movement. The Zionist Leaders emphasized that the World Zionist Organization must continue to play its important role with special privileges in the upbuilding of Israel.

As the Zionist Organization of America officially opened its 54th annual convention, Mr. Browdy asserted that the “Zionist movement in the United States must have a special standing as the most important agency concerned with Israel’s interests in the United States.” He warned that the “whole Israeli aid program throughout the world would be in jeopardy without the Zionists and their active leadership.” Recently, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion had asserted at a dinner of the Jewish Agency in New York, just prior to his departure for Israel, that the Zionist movement must not seek a privileged status with reference to Israel.

Mr. Browdy pointedly asserted that “only by investing American Zionism with special recognition will American Zionists be placed in a position that will enable them to carry the whole American Jewish community with them, in the great enterprise of rebuilding the Jewish homeland.” In a similar stand, Dr. Abba Hillel Silver asserted that only a strong Zionist movement” can insure for Israel that strength and support which the long hard pull ahead will require.”

“The Zionist movement,” Dr. Silver said “which was responsible for the creation of the State of Israel, in the face of violent opposition and large scale indifference, can alone be trusted to carry through the second part of its essential program–the ingathering and the integration of Jews who have to go to Israel or who may wish to go there.”

DR. SILVER WARNS ISRAEL AGAINST “UNDERMINING” THE ZIONIST ORGANIZATION

Criticizing those in the Israel Government who refuse to grant a special status to the World Zionist Organization, Dr. Silver declared: “If the State of Israel will, in the future, regard the World Zionist Organization as the authentic instrument of the Jewish people, endowed with status and authority to speak for and implement the remaining phase of the Zionist program, the organization will be in a position to meet the challenge of the hour and to bring maximum support to Israel. There is no other competent agency or organization in the field, now existing or which can be created, which can take its place.”

Dr. Silver underscored the fact that “the issue is not whether the sovereignty of the State of Israel should be interfered with, but whether the government of Israel should undermine the authority, prestige and affectiveness of the World Zionist Organization in the fond hope of finding some other bodies in world Jewry which will contribute more politically and economically to it.”

Mr. Browdy criticized the view held by a segment of Israeli leaders that any status afforded the Zionist movement “would only constitute a wall between the whole community as such and the State of Israel.” The head of the Z.O.A. emphasized that the Zionist movement has been responsible for enlisting the support of non-Zionist bodies for Israel.

POSSIBILITY OF COOPERATION BETWEEN ZIONISTS AND NON-ZIONISTS CITED

“It is our profound conviction,” Mr. Browdy said, “that the Zionists alone can be depended upon to serve as the chief factor in mobilizing the resources, material, moral, political, of the whole Jewish people throughout the world in support of the State of Israel. It is our firm belief that without the Zionists and their active leadership, the whole Israel aid program throughout the world would be in jeopardy.”

Mr. Browdy stressed that the only method of brining close cooperation between Zionists and non-Zionists is through the granting of special status to the Zionist Organization by the Israeli government. He characterized as “absurd” the argument that “we can leave it to American Jewry as a whole to come to the aid of Israel,” maintaining at the same time that the Zionist Organization is the main instrument for soliciting all kinds of support for the new state.

Abraham Redelheim of New York, national convention chairman, also took issue with Prime Minister Ben Gurion’s statement that “non-Zionists have become an important factor in the development of the state of Israel.” In formally opening the convention, Mr. Redelheim declared that “it was only because of the dogged persistence of the Zionist movement and its never ending appeal to the hearts and minds of the Jews of America over a period of years and years that some response was elicited from non-Zionist quarters.”

Dr. Sidney Marks, national secretary and executive director of the Z.O.A., submitted to the convention a far-flung economic, cultural, and public relations program in behalf of Israel and Jewish life in America.

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