NEW YORK (Jan. 23)
Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, tonight struck back at critics of American Zionism, calling their recent demands for a dissolution of the Zionist movement “cavalier suggestions to dissolve tried and tested instrumentalities in favor of inchoate movements and mergers. “
Addressing a large gathering at the Hotel Roosevelt for a special “Report Meeting” on the 25th World Zionist Congress held in Israel, Rabbi Miller aimed his sharpest rhetorical barbs at Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, who last week advocated abandoning the Zionist movement in favor of a new merger of Jewish groups.
Singling out Dr. Prinz by name, Rabbi Miller declared that the Prinz plan has failed to attract the interests of any Jewish organization in existence, including the American Jewish Congress. “In other words, ” said Rabbi Miller acidly, “there is no guarantee that such an organization or movement as is contemplated by Dr. Prinz will actually emerge. The only guarantee offered is that the Zionist movement will be dissolved. “
Rabbi Miller scored as a “fatuous notion” the contention that replacement of Zionism with a new American-Jewish credo would open new lines of communication between American Jewry and Israel. He added that the idea-reminded him of the suggestion purportedly made to Premier David Ben-Gurion by a well-meaning American Jew that Israel would receive greater support if it changed its name to Irving.
“In the final analysis, ” Rabbi Miller said, “the problem facing Zionists and Jews today is not whether Zionism is necessary, but whether it is strong. The question is not whether Zionism should continue, but whether it can fulfill its tasks. To this problem and this question let us address ourselves. “
Dr, Emanuel Neumann, addressing the audience, similarly denounced as “irresponsible utterance” the suggestion by Dr. Prinz that the Zionist movement be dismantled and replaced by a new merger of “like-minded” Jewish groups. Accusing Rabbi Prinz of speaking without a mandate from the. American Jewish Congress, Dr. Neumann demanded to know by what authority the former called on the Zionist movement to become a “candidate for self liquidation” in favor of a “vague and nebulous idea in his own mind. ” He alluded to the possibility that the AJC president’s statements had been motivated by difficulties within his own organization.
MRS. HALPRIN PESSIMISTIC ON MASS MIGRATION OF U.S. JEWS TO ISRAEL
Mrs. Rose Halprin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency executive in New York, told the audience that mass migration of Jews to Israel could only take place when external pressures make conditions in their native land untenable. “Happily, ” she said, “this is not the situation in the countries of the free world where Jews live as citizens. “
Mrs, Halprin put the onus for lack of even an acceptable minimum of American-Jewish immigration to Israel squarely on the shoulders of Premier Ben-Gurion. She said that American Jews would come to Israel “from positive reasons or not at all. ” The Israel Government, she added, had dampened the enthusiasm of would-be immigrants by failing to consider their minimum standard of living requirements–especially in the field of housing.
Despite the situation, Mrs, Halprin called it “unthinkable” that American Jews would play no part in the rebuilding of the Jewish State. She maintained that future immigration would be confined to specialized groups of Jews “unafraid to think in terms of idealism and service and who will want to supply working hands” to the building of the State,
Describing the atmosphere of the World Zionist Congress recently concluded in Israel, Mrs. Halprin spoke deprecatingly of a “Congress behind the scenes where delegates met to bargain for place and portfolio. ” She termed this method of establishing World Zionist Organization policy “unworthy of a great movement” that would, if uncorrected, succeed in “corroding that movement. “
Other speakers at the meeting were Dr. Miriam Freund, Hadassah leader; Louis Segal, Labor Zionist leader; and Rabbi Mordecai Kirshblum, Mizrachi leader. Dr. Ereund contested the allegation that Israel Premier Ben-Gurion had, in his address at the World Zionist Congress, impugned the faith of Orthodox Jews in America. She said that, on the contrary, he had placed the emergence of the American-Jewish community as a positive element in Jewish life on a plane with the rebirth of Israel.