NEW YORK (May. 22)
Leaders of the Zionist movement in this country today continued to criticize Israel Premier David Ben-Gurion for his latest attack on American Zionists, voiced in the Israel Parliament last week. Leading in today’s counter-attack against Mr. Ben-Gurion was the American Zionist Council, the central coordinating body of all Zionist groups in the United States. Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman of the Council, said in a statement:
“It is not news to read in the press that Mr. Ben-Gurion has indulged upon his favorite obsession of attacking Zionism and particularly the American Zionist. What is however shocking in his latest statement is his attempt to define an American and a Jew and the relationship of one to the other. It is difficult to imagine a more inaccurate or distorted statement on this subject. I prefer to accept as an authority on this subject the late Justice Brandeis, who understood infinitely better America and American Jews than does Ben-Gurion.
“Brandeis wrote: ‘There is no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry. The Jewish spirit, the product of our religion and experience, is essentially modern and essentially American. Indeed, loyalty to America demands rather that each American Jew becomes a Zionist. For only through the ennobling effect of its strivings can we develop the best that is in us and give to this country the full benefit of our inheritance.’
“The common loyalty which American Jews share with Israelis is a loyalty to the values, ideals and aspirations of the Jewish people, in other words, loyalty to Judaism in the broadest sense of the term. What is abundantly clear to anyone informed on the Israel scene is that Ben-Gurion is completely isolated in his opinions on Zionism and American Jews, not only in the Knesset and in the Government but in his own party as well. He speaks for himself and for himself only.”
BEN-GURION CALLED ‘SELF-STYLED’ SUPREME AUTHORITY ON JUDAISM
Max Bressler, president of the Zionist Organization of America, termed Mr.Ben-Gurion’s attack on the American Zionist movement as an “outburst against American Jewry” and called upon all ZOA members “to intensify their vigilance and consolidate their efforts for the security and economic stability of Israel” undeterred by Mr. Ben-Gurion’s latest blast. He characterized Mr. Ben-Gurion’s speech against the American Zionists in the Knesset as “part of the cold war which he has been waging against American Zionists for their refusal to accept his pose as a self-styled supreme authority on Judaism and Zionism. “
“It is a matter of sincere regret and distress that Mr. Ben-Gurion for some inexplicable reason, perhaps under the pressure of heavy burdens of office, chose to give vent to his hostility to the degree of obsession by defining who is an American, an area in which he has exhibited the same distorted and biased Judgment as in relation to Zionism, ” the ZOA president declared. “The political allegiance of American Jews is and will always be entirely and unequivocally to the United States of America and Mr. Ben-Gurion has committed a grave and dangerous injustice in casting aspersions upon the very texture of American democracy.
“I am confident that these aspersions will not endanger our position any more than the canards of the enemies of the Jewish people and of Israel and the infinitesimal group of escapist Jews among us, ” Mr. Bressler said . He also voiced confidence that “the American Jewish community and the American Zionists within it will not allow the rash outburst of Mr. David Ben-Gurion, which he made in his private and individual capacity to influence them in relaxing their vigilance and energy, and their unquestionable loyalties to our country, the U S.A., and our responsibilities on behalf of the State of Israel.”
The United Zionist-Revisionists of America issued a statement declaring: “Mr. Ben-Gurion’s statement gives aid and comfort to the American Council for Judaism and all the other enemies of Zion and the State of Israel, in the United States, and strikes a gratuitous blow at the Zionist movement. “
The B’nai Zion said in a statement: “The remarks of Mr. Ben-Gurion are a reckless and baseless attack not only upon the American Zionist movement, but on the entire American Jewish community. B’nai Zion, which was founded 53 years ago on the cardinal principles of Americanism and Zionism, and which has devoted itself to the contemporaneous development of those principles ever since, utterly rejects and Iabels false in theory that which implies that the devotion of American Jews to the creation of a Jewish homeland makes them any less good Americans, or that their devotion to America makes them any less good Zionists. Mr. Ben-Gurion is hardly an expert on America and now certainly shows himself to be no expert on either logic or Zionism. “