Jewish Agency Ends Debate on Future of Zionist Movement
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Jewish Agency Ends Debate on Future of Zionist Movement

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The debate within the Jewish Agency plenary session on the future structure and functions of the World Zionist Organization concluded here last night after more than a day of exhaustive discussion in which virtually all speakers agreed on the need for some change in the organization to meet changing conditions.

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, co-chairman of the Agency executive, who is the principal proponent of the idea of enlarging the Agency to include outstanding non-Zionist leaders, told the meeting that if the situation remains unchanged the Zionist Organization will not be able to reach its fullest value. Pointing out that movements are not valued by their deeds but by the tasks which they must fulfill in the future, Dr. Goldmann stated that Jews are not coming in masses to the Zionist Organization.

He insisted that the Jewish nation must be organized to fulfill its role in the consolidation of the Jewish State and that the Zionist Organization must remain in existence to complete that portion of its program which has not yet been achieved. Therefore, Dr. Goldmann continued, there must be two organizations, one to organize Jewish life in each country separately and the other to conduct general Zionist activity.


Dr. Goldmann took issue with Premier David Ben Gurion’s proposal that the Zionist Organization deal only with educational and cultural activities. This, he asserted, is only one function of the Zionist Organization, there are other functions for it in constructive fields. Dr. Goldmann added that nobody had suggested the disbandment of the Zionist parties, but emphasized that they must not be a decisive element in solving every problem. He pointed out that there was need for harnessing the energies of Zionists who do not fit in with any party. Finally, he stressed that the state cannot take upon itself the task of organizing Jews throughout the world, that this must remain the responsibility of the Zionist Organization.

Berl Locker, the other co-chairman of the Agency executive, also rejected the idea of disbanding the Zionist parties. He insisted upon the need for strengthening the Zionist Organization by including in its ranks not only those who buy the official token of membership, the Shekel, but also those who contribute to Israeli campaigns.

In concluding, Mr. Locker stated that the debate in the enlarged executive — in which the presidents of all Zionist parties in the United States had participated — had made an important contribution to the job of clarifying the problems currently facing the Zionist Organization. Everybody, he added, was agreed on the necessity of finding means of harnessing non-Zionist support for Israel.

Mrs. Rose Halprin, president of Hadassah, who reported on the activities of the American Zionist Council, opposed the enlargement of the Agency. She demanded that the Zionist Organization be strengthened.

Dr. Emanuel Neumann asserted that it was impossible to suddenly change the character of the 50-year-old Zionist Organization, insisting that it must continue its work as hitherto. He said that if it were engaged only in cultural and educational work it would “shrink. ” He also opposed the Ben Gurion suggestion for organizing territorial federations. Earlier, Dr. Neumann outlined his plan for the creation of an “American Council for Israel” to embrace both Zionists and non-Zionists to aid the Jewish State.

(In London it was reported today that in response to a protest by the Mizrachi organization that the invitations to the American Zionist leaders to attend the plenary session of the Jewish Agency coupled with a failure to invite Zionist leaders from Europe was discriminatory, Berl Locker had sent the following message to the Mizrachi:

(“The leadership of the American Zionist Council was invited to the Jerusalem meeting for consideration of purely American affairs connected with public relations and fund-raising problems. No representatives of other countries were invited and no discrimination was intended.”)

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