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Justice Brandeis Likens Zion Pioneers to Pilgrim Fathers

May 28, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

More than $200,000 was raised by the Palestine Development Council at the closing sessions of the second annual conference held at the Hotel Astory Sunday and today. The sum of half a million dollars has been spent in building and other forms of enterprise during the past half year in Palestine, it was announced, and the Council proposes to add another half million of investment before the end of the year. The Council adopted resolution authorizing the establishment throughout the country of a network of local Palestine Development Leagues, an intensive campaign having been authorized to establish branches of these Leagues throughout the United States.

“I have never left a Zionist meeting with more satisfaction with the work accomplished and the prospects in sight,” Justice Brandeis said at the concluding session. Justice Brandeis in particular referred to the cooperation of the Central Conference of Refrom Rabbis, which was represented at the conference by Rabbis Isaac Landman, Nathan Stern and Charles Levi.

The largest subscription at the conference came from Dr. Stephen S. Wise who pledged himself to personally raise $50,000. for the Council. Emanuel Hertz, of Washington Heights, brother of the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, pledged his congregation to raise $37,500, sufficient for 15 houses to be erected in Palestine by the Council. Rabbi Max Heller of New Orleans, and Rabbi Blau of New York, each personally subscribed $500. Providence, R.I. was pledged to raise $10,000 by Max Grant of that city. Allentown, Pa. was pledged to the extent of $10,000. Israel Nesson, Boston, subscribed $10,000, Henry Friend, Chicago, $4,000., F. J. Fahs, New York, $5,000. and Bernard Flexner and sister each subscribed $1,000.

The resolutions adopted for the establishment of local Palestine Development Leagues throughout the country provide that the leagues shall be organized on a dues paying basis. The resolutions provide that the “local leagues shall fix their own membership dues, provided a per capita tax of not less than $3.00 per head shall be sent to the central office in New York for its administrative fund.”

The Council want on record in favor of the establishment in the near future of an industrial bank as well as an agricultural bank for Palestine. The function of the industrial bank is to encourage cooperative industrial enterprise in Palestine, while the agricultural bank is to foster cooperative agricultural enterprise. It was also decided to create a fund which should care for the making of an economic survey of Palestine. Another resolution put the Council on record as favoring the early establishment of a Penny Savings Bank for the people of Palestine.

The Palestine Building Loan and Savings Association, it was announced, was now erecting 120 homes in Palestine andhad plans for the erection “of an ever increasing number. “Another resolution provides for the gathering at once of a total of “one million dollars necessary to meet the immediate housing and credit needs of Palestine.”

Professor Patrick Geddes, famous town-planner and designer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, addressed the conference and outlined a plan to establish a Palestine insurance company, the receipts of which would be used, after the expense of the business was subtracted, to reafforest Palestine.

“We are trying to build a new land,” said Justice Brandeis. “We Americans, when we think of the building of a new land, at least those of us who have been in New England, think always of the Pilgrim Fathers, what they did, what their adventure was and what they builded. If they were likely to be discouraged, I should think they would be discouraged by the loss of at least half their number before the first year was over. Disease, death, trial left behind what in a very short time became of the most prosperous regions on earth. But it was the spirit. And the spirit that they had in coming west is a spirit that we should show in going East.

“I have heard it said by some,” continued Mr. Brandeis, “How can you expect success in so small a country? To my mind, the smallness of the country presents the greatest possibility of our success.”

Reports appearing in the general press to the effect that there was a split in the Council over the question of the Council’s “sense of indebtedness to Great Britain as the author of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandatory for the League of Nations in Great Britain” were branded as erroneous by Dr. Wise. “It is most unfortunate that an inaccurate impression of the proceedings of yesterday’s conference should have gone out,” said Dr. Wise. “The question was whether the Palestine Development Council, in conference assembled, shall deal with any political implication of the Palestinian resettlement. As chairman of the session, I found myself under the necessity of ruling the resolution out of order, because the Palestine Development Council, by virtue of its spirit and purpose, must limit itself to the consideration and solution of the problems involved in the social-economic upbuilding of Palestine.”

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