Menu JTA Search

Ben-gurion Attacks Zionism at Public Meeting; is Refuted by Sharett

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion delivered a strong attack on Zionism, reiterating his previous statements on the subject including the concept that non-Zionists had built Israel. Speaking in one of his more belligerent moods, Mr. Ben-Gurion asked: “How many Moroccan Jews bought shekels and now many of their delegates participated in Zionist Congresses? Yet it is they who built Dimona,” he declared.

Speaking in Yiddish at an Ichud Olami meeting here devoted to the role and importance of the Zionist Organization, Mr. Ben-Gurion asserted that “today’s challenge for world Jewry is aliya” He urged that every Jewish community, even the smallest of towns, should send at least one person to live here. He called for a new approach to have youth from the free world come to Israel.

The Premier’s address was repeatedly interrupted by Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, who defended the Zionist movement. Fierce dialogues were exchanged by the two leaders. Mr. Sharett declared in his address that he “despaired” of convincing Mr. Ben-Gurion, who “never replies to arguments anyhow,” that his anti-Zionist conception was wrong and that the State was built not only by those who came to Israel, but also through the aid of the Zionist movement.

“If it were not for the Zionist organization, those Jews from Morocco would not have come here,” Mr. Sharett said. He noted that Zionist leaders like Herzl and others had not come to Israel but were still great Zionists.

At the meeting of the Zionist Actions committee, in Jerusalem, Mr. Ben-Gurion was also challenged on this point by Dr. Nahum Goldmann. Speaking as president of the World Zionist Organization, Dr. Goldmann alluded to last week’s letter sent by the Premier to the World Zionist Executive, seeking “clarification” on Goldmann’s meeting with a United States official in Washington. Dr. Goldmann said:

“Perhaps the Zionist executive ought to write a letter to the Israel Government, inquiring whether it had authorized him (Mr. Ben-Gurion) to make his speeches about the Zionist movement. To the Diaspora, Ben-Gurion is not only the Premier but the personification of the State; and, when Ben-Gurion tells them there is no need for the Zionist movement, they are ready to believe.”

NEXT STORY