American Delegates Express Their Views at World Zionist Congress
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American Delegates Express Their Views at World Zionist Congress

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The views of American Zionists with regard to various aspects of the Zionist movement were expressed at today’s session of the World Zionist Congress during the general debate following the main addresses.

Dr. Israel Goldstein outlined four criteria for determining “the present realities and the future prospects” of American Zionism. He listed them as 1. Financial support of Israel; 2. Moral support of Israel; 3. Jewish education; 4 Immigration to Israel.

Declaring that most of the fund-raising now is in the hands of non-Zionists, Dr. Goldstein stated that “a share of the blame” for that fact must be allocated to the Government of Israel. He warned that, with the establishment of the new Jewish Agency, Inc. administered by a non-Zionist majority, the spending of the monies will also be in the jurisdiction of non-Zionists. However, he stated, this is a development that cannot be reversed.

“When it comes to moral support for Israel, ” he said, “the Zionist movement in America plays a role more important than surface appearances indicate. ” As for the possibilities of American Jewish emigration to Israel, Dr. Goldstein expressed the belief that “the potential is greater than most people think.”

Rabbi Irving Miller, president of the American Zionist Council, told the Congress that American Zionism was a “precious treasure” for Israel, for the Zionist movement and for the Jewish community of America. He warned leaders both in Israel and in the United States neither to tamper with nor to underestimate this potential.

Citing the recent decision of the Jewish Agency to transfer many functions to the American Zionist Council, Rabbi Miller expressed the hope that the transfer would be one of depth and not merely a technical one. He said that, for these functions, the Zionist movement in the United States would require large sums which would undoubtedly be mobilized. To do this, he added, a sympathetic atmosphere must be created, so that the potential of American Zionism would not be destroyed.


Ezra Shapiro, of Cleveland, proposed the disbanding of all Zionist parties outside of Israel because “they are nothing but stumbling blocks” to the expansion and unity of the Zionist movement. He added that it was wrong to constantly bear down on non-Israeli Jewry while stating simultaneously that a full understanding between all parts of the Jewish people was being sincerely sought.

Judge Louis Levinthal, of Philadelphia, declared that many American Jews who have settled in Israel did so in a quest for a different kind of Jewish life. He challenged the suggestion that American Jews emigrated to Israel out of fear of anti-Semitism in the United States.

Judge Levinthal said it was not fair to evaluate Aliyah from the United States as disappointing, or to consider it as having come to an end. Israel, however, must strive to create a way of life that will serve as a challenge to every young man and woman to be impelled to settle in Israel, he added.

Rabbi Joseph Shubow, of Boston, scored Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for criticism of American Zionists on the Aliyah issue. Recalling that many Jews stayed behind in ancient Babylon, Rabbi Shubow said: “If American Jews work side by side with you, are they to be blamed because, due to historical causes, they are not in Israel?”

Rabbi Max Nussbaum, of Los Angeles, said that the Jewish State was an essential instrumentality for the continuity of Jewish life throughout the world. Galut no longer exists in the traditional sense, he added, and it was “absurd” to adopt the same approach toward Western countries as was taken in regard to East European countries. Citing the large number of returnees from Israel in the United States, Rabbi Nussbaum said the absorption methods needed overhauling.


Dr. Joseph Tennenbaum, of New York, said that just as Israel was preoccupied with internal security, so American Jewry was preoccupied with the struggle against assimilation. He said more instructors from Israel were needed and added that Hebrew should become the second language of American Jewry.

Rabbi Joseph Lookstein, American Mizrachi leader, speaking as a member of a group “which regards Hebrew first as a Holy tongue,” said that he Hebrew language, important as it was, would not in itself bring about the redemption. He said Hebrew was no more than a by-product of the process of national awakening, a process which he said must be based on a return to sources. He said only a full observant Jewish life could guarantee a link with the people.

Mrs. Bert Goldstein, former Pioneer Women president, asked whether Israel was making a real effort to understand non-Israeli Jewish. She said that to the non-Zionist abroad Zionism was a matter of philanthropy and she called on the Congress to provide an agency for education and training to achieve a large aliyah. Youth in the dispersion should be oriented toward Israel, she said.

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