Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

American Jewish Congress Replies to Zangwill

April 17, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In reply to the charge by Israel Zangwill in an article written for the Jewish Correspondence Bureau entitled the “Mexican Fiasco” that the American Jewish Congress “has never investigated the Mexican offer at all”, Bernard G. Richards, Executive Secretary of the Congress makes public a letter written Mr. Zangwill on the question, but which reached Mr. Zangwill only after his article had been dispatched to the United States.

Mr. Zangwill refers to a document reported to be filed in the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, to the effect that the American Jewish Congress telegraphed it would accept the offer, provided it was made officiall by President Obregon to the heads of the Organization. This, Bernard G. Richards says, the Congress is “sorry to have to deny categorically”. . . There never was and could not be any definite talk about acceptance as this Organization as such could not go into such an enterprise and we had never got beyond asking for an opportunity to investigate and to pronounce judgment”.

Explaining further its stand in the matter, the American Jewish Congress states in part as follows:-

“The Mexican proposal was first announced and even widely heralded as an immediate opening for immigration from Eastern Europe and soon reports appeared that Jewish refugees stranded in different capitals of Europe and seeking for a place of refuge were planning to embark upon the voyage to Mexico. It therefore became our duty to deal at once with the matter from the point of view of the possibilities of immediate immigration and we issued our first warning in June 1922, and published the present report on December 29, 1922, in order to prevent the calamitous results, which were bound to attend the entrance of any numbers of people into the cities or villages of Mexico.

“We have not pronounced a final judgment on the matter. After pointing out the difficulties to be considered, we have practically put the matter before the large Jewish organizations, especially interested in the subject. Our report sas says in part:-

‘Such a scheme of colonization is quite beyond the scope of the investigation as understood by the Committee of the American Jewish Congress, and would require the investiment of millions of dollars as well as the support and collective cooperation of the organized Jewries of this and other lands. It would, therefore, be a matter of consideration and decision on the part of the larger organizations here and abroad, and more particularly those which have heretofore taken part in the task of colonization’.

“Dealing with the difficult situation, which has been created by persons who without regard to the Jewish welfare have sought to create a sensation and give the impression that the proposal offers immediately a favorable place of refuge for our homeless brethern, we have as an organization that does not engage in immigration or colonization work, but seeks to protect Jewish rights and to crystalize and give weight to Jewish opinion on occasions requiring public pronouncement, endeavored to the best of our ability to judge impartially and to guide our people away from the path of danger.”

Recommended from JTA