ZOA Convention Wants World Zionist Congress to Be Held in U.s
Menu JTA Search

ZOA Convention Wants World Zionist Congress to Be Held in U.s

Download PDF for this date

The 56th annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America concluded here today with the re-election of Rabbi Irving Miller as president and with the adoption of a resolution urging that the next World Zionist Congress should, for the first time in Zionist history, be held in the United States.

In another resolution the convention took note of the fact that the executive of the Jewish Agency has before it several proposals looking toward its enlargement through the inclusion of non- Zionist individuals who are concerned with Israel’s welfare. The convention recommended that “in furtherance of its aims to draw these pro-Israel elements into its work, ” the Jewish Agency executive “should explore plans to that end apart from the enlargement of the Agency, through the appointment of a special committee consisting of representatives of all Zionist parties, which should be directed to submit its recommendations to the next World Zionist Congress.”

At the same time, the convention reaffirmed its support for the strengthening of the American Zionist Council and the expansion of its activities. It also expressed the view that the Assembly of American Zionists, which is to be convened on December 5 by the AZC, should not be invested with any legislative powers affecting the structure and autonomy of existing Zionist bodies.


In another resolution, the convention called upon the U.S. Government to urge the Arab states “to engage in direct peace negotiations with Israel.” The resolution emphasized that American Zionists “are unalterably opposed” to the supply of arms to any of the Arab states as long as they persist in their refusal to come to terms with Israel. “We urge our government to withhold such arms in accordance with the traditional American policy of refusing military assistance to nations in a state of belligerency with a country towards which the United States maintains friendly relations,” the resolution said.

The convention expressed appreciation of the “wise and constructive” program of economic aid which the Administration and the Congress of the United States have extended to the peoples of the Middle East, and of the “generous assistance” which Israel is receiving within the framework of the Mutual Security Program.

“We are in full accord with our government’s declared policy of economic aid to both Israel and the Arab states on a basis of genuine impartiality,” a resolution said. “The continuation of this program will serve the best interests of American democracy in a crucial area of the world.

In another resolution, the delegates recorded their “profound satisfaction” over the formation of the coalition government in Israel in which the Mapai and General Zionists are the major partners. They also hailed as a major achievement of the coalition government passage of the national education law unifying the school system.


The convention last night tendered a testimonial dinner to Dr. Emanuel Neumann, ZOA leader and member of the Jewish Agency executive, on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, Rabbi Irving Miller and Mortimer May were the principal speakers at the affair, which was attended by more than 1,000 guests. It was announced that the General Zionist Organization in Israel will establish a settlement there in Dr. Neumann’s name and that the Jewish National Fund of Mexico had decided to plant 1,000 trees in Israel in his honor.

Dr. Silver, in his address, dwelt on the attitude of the American Government towards Israel. He said he had reason to believe that it is friendly and sympathetic and eager to see Israel secure and prosperous. He also had reason to believe that the attitude of the U.S. Government on the status of Jerusalem is not remote from the position taken by the spokesmen of the State of Israel. “There is no occasion for apprehension or suspicion,” he stated.

Nevertheless, he urged upon Zionists not to relax their vigilance. Powerful forces, he said, are at work to undermine, to discredit, to confuse and to mislead. “The Zionist movement must continue to cultivate friends everywhere, the press, the pulpit, university circles and in government,” he declared.

On the subject of the future of the Zionist movement, Dr. Silver stated that the situation is still very nebulous and that the answer to the problem lies with the Government of Israel. “If it wishes, it is possible to have a strong Zionist movement, although much time has already been lost and considerable disintegration has set in,” he stated. He praised Dr. Neumann for his “sober, responsible and acholarly approach to the manifold problems of the Zionist movement.”


Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Jewish Agency, in a message cabled from London to the ZOA convention, said there “does not exist the slightest degree of conflict” between the efforts of U. S. Jews on behalf of Israel and their “continual contribution to American life generally, as citizens of a great democracy, who share equality of rights and equality of obligation with all their fellow citizens.” The efforts of American Jews on behalf of Israel supplement their contribution to American principles, he said.

“Any attempts to create the appearance of a conflict between these two strong and obvious devotions,” Dr. Goldmann said, “are artificial, detrimental to American Jewry and unworthy of a distinguished community enjoying mature and secure status.” He added that “Israel’s future is of legitimate and vital concern to all Jewish communities” and that “in fact it supplements the vigorous efforts of Jews everywhere to strengthen Jewish life outside Israel.”

He urged the Zionist Organization of America, and other Zionist groups, to “become increasingly more instrumental in uniting American Jewry so that this greatest Jewish community in the world may achieve its own fullest creative development.” He said that this unity would also facilitate American Jewry’s efforts “to make Israel firm and safe.” Israel, he stated, will need “not only material and moral help” but “also the intellectual and technical talents of American Jewish youth.”

Delegations from Jerusalem and Haifa are pleading for ZOA houses in their communities, similar to the one in Tel Aviv, which serve not only as a cultural, social and recreational center for American visitors but for Israeli citizens as well, it was reported by Jacob M. Alkow. Mr. Alkow spoke of the hunger for cultural and social institutions’ among Israelis and said: “It is at a time like this that our Israeli brothers feel most keely the need of fellowship with their fellow Jews not only of Israel but especially of America. They need more than ever the sympathetic understanding and the encouragement of their brothers from America. “


At a special session of the convention devoted to the activities of the Jewish National Fund, Dr. Harris J. Levine and Mendel Fisher, president and executive director of the JNF of America, respectively, reported on ZOA participation in the Huleh drainage project and in other reclamation and development projects in Israel. Mr. Fisher revealed that the Huleh drainage project has now entered the second phase to be carried out by the Construction Aggregates Corporation of Chicago.

Other enterprises include the reclamation project in the Judean Hills and in the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Corridor, linking Jerusalem with the new settlements on the Mediterranean, and the project for the establishment of settlements in the hill country of Western Galilee–a mark of great strategic as well as agricultural importance which the Jewish National Fund is conducting jointly with the Colonization Department of the Jewish Agency.

The building of an agricultural trade school in Israel in honor of Dr. Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, to be known as Kfar Silver, will be one of the major projects to be financed by the American Zionist Fund of the ZOA, it was announced by Dr. Sidney Marks, national secretary, in his annual report to the convention.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund