NEW YORK (Sep. 23)
The functions of the Zionist movement in the United States were defined here last night by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Jewish Agency, addressing a gathering of the American Zionist Council at the Hotel Astor.
Dr. Goldmann expressed dissatisfaction with “the nature of the public debate within the Zionist movement and press regarding the functions of the Zionist movement, and the ideological differences between Zionist leaders in Israel and America about the nature of Zionism in the United States and Israel’s need for immigrants from America.”
The manner in which this debate is being conducted “does not help solve the problem and only creates bitterness and antagonism,” he said. Undoubtedly, Zionists throughout the world must undergo “a searching of hearts and conscience, and this is something that affects Zionism in Western Europe and South America no less than in the United States, and is not limited to the question of providing Israel, with pioneering manpower from the West.”
“What is actually involved in this discussion is how each individual Zionist can most intensely participate in the process of upbuilding and securing the new Israel society. There can be no raison d’etre for a Zionist movement whose membership restricts itself to supporting Israel politically and economically, which is something all friends of Israel do, in large or small measure. Conversely, to say that to be a Zionist means that one must emigrate to Israel, as some leaders in Israel claim, is to narrow the problem and to be unrealistic.
URGES ZIONISTS TO TAKE LEAD IN LOCAL COMMUNAL EFFORTS
“Zionism implies a many-fold direct, personal relationship with Israel–through investment in its industries and agriculture–attendance at its institutions of learning, through lending one’s professional skills to Israel for a limited period, whatever sacrifice this might involve. This kind of diverse relationship must become the cornerstone and the touchstone of the individual Zionist and the Zionist movement and will culminate, for many, in their resettlement in Israel.”
Dr. Goldmann pointed out, however, that Zionism is not “a one way street. It is concerned with the overall survival of the Jewish people, and it is its obligation to secure a reciprocal relationship between the Jewish communities throughout the world and Israel.
“This obligates the Zionist movement to participate in all Jewish communal efforts everywhere, and to take the lead, especially in the field of Jewish education, ” he said. “The fact is that the survival of Jews as Jews outside Israel, especially in the smaller countries, is far more uncertain than most of us realize, and we may well lose for our faith and people, large portions of the future generations of Jews in Western Europe, in South America, and in other parts of the world.
“This process of intramural dissipation which Jews have resisted for 2, 000 years can and must be arrested, and it is the primary duty of the Zionist movement to see this responsibility through. To achieve these aims the movement must, in the future, exercise more unity than in the past. We must develop organizational forms and activities that will diminish party differences which, in most cases, have no basis in reality, and will force all Zionist groups to work united towards common ends.”