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Neumann Outlines Views on Relations Between Israel and Jews Abroad

With delegates attending from the United States, Latin American countries, Canada, Holland, Australia, and Jewish youth organizations from all over the free world, the World Confederation of General Zionists, headed by Dr. Emanuel Neumann, opened its sessions here last night.

Initiators of the conference said the confederation now embraces two-thirds of the General Zionists in the world, and are planning to change the title of the organization to the World Union of General Zionists, instead of “confederation.” They expressed hope that, in the next World Zionist Congress, “there will be a sort of joint seating of all General Zionist delegates,” including the Hadassah and other dissident groups.

Dr, Neumann, in his address to the opening session, told the delegates: “We look upon all Zionist groups and parties as brothers. We want to promote a sense of collective responsibility in the movement. We want to have its leadership, the World Lionist Executive, include representatives of all groups and parties, including the entire spectrum of Zionist life. But we must also conceive our central role as being a centrist element, a balance, a stabilizing factor between the contending forces and ideologies on the right and on the left. In that capacity, we seek to rise above parties and relationships. This is our historic role.”

Discussing the relations between Israel and Jews living outside the Jewish State, Dr. Neumann stressed the “interdependence” of Jews in Israel and abroad. “Jews in the Diaspora,” he said, “have the right to express opinions about Israel, though it is clear that Israel is sovereign in its actions and decisions. But it is well to point out that, however sincerely Israel disclaims any intention to represent Diaspora Jewry or speaks or act in its name, it is impossible in the nature of things to draw a sharp line of demarcation because Israel is and should be, morally and spiritually, the center of the Jewish world.

“We General Zionists have no intention or desire to intervene in the internal politics of Israel. Indeed, this conference, and the union we propose, must and will rest on the ground that we are a Zionist group in the framework of a world organization, concerned with Zionist problems and affairs exclusively. This is a cardinal principle from which we shall not depart,” Dr. Neumann stated.

“But no Zionist, no Jew in the world, can possibly be denied the moral right to have opinions regarding Israeli affairs,” he pointed out. “To suppress this perfectly natural and normal tendency is to actually deny the basic premise of the oneness of the Jewish people, and would be a disservice to Israel’s cause, encouraging a merely platonic or philanthropic attitude rather than the sense of involvement and partnership. The more deeply Diaspora Jews are concerned with Israel’s problems the better Zionists are they — and the better Jews.”

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