Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Zionist Executive Authorized to Establish Jewish Agency

June 18, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

After a stormy debate which lasted for three hours the Zionist Convention at 1:30 Monday morning adopted, 154 against 10, the proposal introduced in behalf of the Administration recommending that the coming Zionist Congress give to the Zionist Executive power to establish immediately a Jewish Agency by inviting into its membership representatives of Jewish organizations interested in the upbuilding of Palestine.

A counter proposal fathered by Abraham S. Schomer, urging the early convening of the World Congress, in the meantime having the Zionists act as the Agency, was defeated, William Edlin, Abraham S. Schome, Bernard G. Richards, and A. M. Seddin stoutly defended the Schomer resolution while Morris Rothenberg and Ab Goldberg advocated cooperation with those notables who were willing to assist in the Palestine task.

Dr. Weizmann refrained from expressing any opinion until the vote was cast. He then spoke for one hour and forty-five minutes. He said that the resolution adopted coincided with his opinion and he explained why it was impossible to call the World Congress immediately and how essential it was to have the Palestine task borne by additional men. Zionists hoped, he said, that the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Decision and the ratification of the Mandate would sweep Jewry. Instead of that one crisis after another arose which necessitated his coming to America in order to raise money for the balance of the budget. "Another such year as last", he said, "would break the backbone of the Zionist Organization. God only knows what would have happened of Palestine last Easter had been in the same position as in January. Man elements", he continued, "are unprepared to come to the World Congress. Jewish workmen of America whom we need are not ready. If certain circles who were formerly hostile are coming around, it is because 30,000 chaluzim came to Palestine. The call for a world Congress will come from Jewish Palestine when we double Jewish population there". In speaking of notables Dr. Weizmann said that Baron de Rothschild is a Zionist par-excellence although he does not share the Zionist phraseology. "I am as much of a democrat as anybody", said Dr. Weizmann, "but democracy often is the refuge of incompetence. We must strengthen our position", Turning to opponents in Palestine and Europe Dr. Weizmann charged them with interfering. with his labors towards a reconciliation with the Arabs. "Palestine," Dr. Weizmann said, "even if predominately Jewish is still an island in the Arab sea. We must have peace and understanding and yet while engaged in conversations with Arab leaders one is stabbed in the back." "We must have our backs covered", he exclaimed.

Weizmann is leaving the country Tuesday. This is his last speech to American Zionists and it stirred the delegates profoundly, especially when he promised to fight like a lion for the resolution this convention adopted.

Recommended from JTA