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Sokolow Eulogizes Harding As Zionism’s Friend

August 7, 1923
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The Thirteenth Congress of the World Zionist Organization at its first business session this morning paid solemn tribute to the memory of President Harding, when upon the mention of his name by Nahum Sokolow, who presided, the entire assembly arose and remained standing until he finished the eulogy.

“The Jewish people join the entire world in grieving for the less the American nation sustained through the death of President Harding.” Mr. Sokolow began. “He was out true friend. Borth Dr. Weizmann and I conferred with him upon Zionist matters, and he always gave us an unfailingly sympathetic and understanding hearing. The Zionist Congress is permeated with the sorrow of the American people.”

Morris Rothenberg of New York, speaking in behalf of the American Zionist delegates, said the news of President Harding’s death had “shocked and stunned” the Americans. President Harding’s acts in favor of Zionism are well-known, he said. The promises he made from time to time he discharged to the fullest. “The American President, our friend, was a stypical American. He has been stricken and died while engaged in the humanitarian work of seeking a way of saving Europe,” said Mr. Rothenberg, referring to President Harding’s western tour undertaken for the World Court.

Today’s morning session commenced with the announcement by Chief Rabbi Chajes of Vienna of the Vice-Presidents who have been chosen as representatives of countries or parties. Joseph Benzwi, the Palestine labor leaders, Rabbi Meyer Berlin, the leader of Orthodox Zionism in America, Dr. Schmarya Levin, famous Zionist crator, Louis Lipsky, Chairman of the Zionist Organization of America, Dr. Leo Motzkin, a member of the Zionist Executive Committee, and Rabbi Farbstein, leading rabbi and-Mizrachi leader of Poland are among the vice-chairmen. Mr. Sokolow has been elected chairman. The Polish delegation as such is not represented among the vice-chairmen, having failed so far to unite upon the choice of their representative. The Socialist Zionist fraction, called the Ziere Zion, announced they took no part in the election of the presiding officers.

The opening session Monday night, over which Dr. Weizmann presided, was featured by addresses of welcome by representatives of the Zcecho-Slovakian Government and of the Carlsbad municipality. President Masaryk and Prime Minister Benes, as well as the OzechoSlovakian Minister of Interior sent messages of welcome.

Acknowledgment of the assistance rendered by the Zionists of America towards the development of Palestine is contained in the message from Sir Herbert Samuel, British High Commissioner for Palestine, who is resting in Italy.

“I send you my greetings and best wishes,” Sir Herbert writes. “The assistance rendered to the development of Palestine during the year, from America especially, but also from elsewhere, in no small degree fostered the progress of the Jewish National Home and of the country in general. But it must be remembered that otoninued effort is imperatively needed. With faith in your purpose and energy in its pursuit, and with moderation and conciliation in your methods you may be sure that success will attend you, to the lasting advantage of the Jewish people and all sections of the inhabitants of Palestine.”

A picturesque figure then arose the deliver the greetings of the chief Rabbinical office in Jerusalem and of the Sephardic Jews of Palestine. This was Rabbi Jacob Meir, dressed in his traditional oriental garb, including the green turban, who uttered a prayer for the success of the congressional deliberations.

Rabbi Selzer delivered the greetings of the Orthodox rabbis in America. Dr. Jacob Thon of Jerusalem welcomed the Congress in the name of the National Council of Palestinian Jews.

A eulogy of the late Dr. Max Nordau, whose reviews of the Jewish situation before the Zionist Congress were for years the key-notes of these gatherings was delivered by Joseph Cowen of London, an old Herzlian Zionist, and friend of the dead leader. The entire conscious Jewish people were the friends of Dr. Nordau, Mr. Cowen said.

The opening addresses of the World Zionist leaders, Dr. Weizmann and Mr. Sokolow, who are both equally credited with the political success of the Zionist movement contained a strong plea for the extension of the Jewish Agency, to include representatives of non-Zionist Jewish organizations, willing to help in the up-building of the Jewish Homeland. Both leaders praised the efforts of the American Zionists and the heavy contributions the Jews of America made through the Palestine Foundation Fund toward the financing of the colonization and other works in Palestine.

Declaring that none had greater misgivings than he about entrusting the Zionist task to outsiders, Dr. Weizmann said the British Mandate for Palestine names the Zionist Organization as the Agency. There are quarters outside the Zionist Organization who are inclined to help and who may, in the course of time, become Zionists. It is therefore necessary to co-opt these elements, Dr. Weizmann said. There is no question of giving honors to notables, but of courage to extend the Agency until it becomes as representative as possible. “Do not forget that in dealing with others we deal as a strong and not a weak party,” he added. “The exact form of co-opting or electing the representatives who we wish shall share in our work, will be determined by this Congress, but any method must necessarily be predicated on these hypotheses:

One, that the Zionist Organization lives and continues its activities;

Two, that acceptance of righs and privileges means proportionate assumption of responsibilities;

Three, the new forces we wish to share in our work are not important as invididuals but as representatives of organizations; and

Four, it must be clearly understood that the national character of our colonization scheme must remain unalterable.

That the success of the Palestine Foundation Fund was due mostly to the Jews of America was declared by Mr. Sokolow. “Zionism in America has advanced with gigantic strides,” Mr. Sokolow declares. “The numbers of those who are working and fighting there have not only increased but achieved concentration and depth of feeling, which justifies the hope that the Zionist idea is destined to unite all American Jews under its banner,” Mr Sokolow declared.

“The period since the last Congress two years ago has been one of success and disappointments and severe struggles,” Mr. Sokolow continued. “New Problems arose, yet the Organization’s internal work has advanced and its propaganda extended. Local organizations have become numerically active, new federations have been developed. This development is best reflected in the Keren Hayesod. Although the material results achieved are only a fraction of what was aimed, considering the world-wide crisis, it has been a success. The Keren Hayesod is now the most popular Jewish institution. It is uniting the whole of the Diaspora and its success is due mostly to our brethren in America.”

Mr. Sokolow then referred to the progress made in England with the Jewish Board of Deputies, composed or prominent Anglo-Jewish leader who recently expressed themselves as favoring the reconstruction of the Jewish Palestine. He stressed the political success of Polish Jewry and the idealism of the Chaluzim (Palestine pioneers.) who, he said, were “the meynote of the Jewish hope.” He surveyed the cultural work in Palestine through which “a cultural link” was being established with the Diaspora. The Technical high school of Haifa will soon be opened, Mr. Sokolow announced. The raculty for Arts and Letters of the Jerusalem University is being established.

Mr. Sokolow pointed to the success of the many colonization enterprises in Palestine, emphasizing also the headway made by the hydro-eledtrical project of Engineer Pinhas Rutenberg. Credits for useful institutions are being facilitated through the Zionist Mortgage Bank, he said. A large scale building activity was witnessed during the preceding year. The scale of the cost of living is rapidly being reduced to pre-war level.

Mr. Sokolow laded the work of Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris, the founder of scores of Jewish colonies in Palestine. “In connection with Palestine’s development, we must mention one whose name is dear to Jewry, Edmond de Rothschild. This notable friend stands loyally and actively under the banner of Palestine reconstruction.”

“The world must understand that Zionism is an elemental force animating Jewry,” he said in closing. “No noble-minded and freedom-loving people can help sympathize with Zionism. We are convinced that in Palestine we are carrying out a cultural mission for humanity. We invoke God’s blessing on this “Bar Mitzvah” (‘thirteenth) Congress.” he said in conclusion.

A “guaranty” that he will bring back a million pounds from America where he intends spending seven months next year, was given by Dr. Weizmann at a meeting of the Action’s Committee. “I will glad-relinquish my Presidency in order to create astronger Jewish Palestine,” Dr. Weizmann is reported to have said.

At this meeting of leaders, Dr. Weizmann reported in detail on the financial situation of the movement, declaring that the old debts have been wiped out and that the current budget is covered for the next few months. Dr. Weizmann reported also that the proposed Arab Federation was in an uncertain state because the British Government has notified King Hussein it would withdraw from the British Arab accord if the Arabs insisted on having Palestine included in the Federation.

Sir Alfred Mond, a former Minister in the Lloyd George Cabinet, who, although not an official Zionist, has dome much for Jewish Palestine, will most likely enter the new Zionist Executive, in the opinion of many delegates.

Prospects of an understanding between the Opposition leaders and the Weizmann adherents have greatly improved since the opening of the Congress. The antagonism of the Mizrachi, the Orthdox Zionists, to the extension scheme is weakening. The only ones who remain consistently adamant in their opposition is the union of “Ziere Zion” or Young Zionists, one of the Labor groups.

Ubiquitous anti-Semitism raised its head at Carlsbad yesterday with the publication in the anti-Semtiic paper “Deutsch Wer” of an article in which Zionists were attacked as Bolshevists, and Zionism, it was said, was only “a mask for the Jewish movement for world domination. The paper was confiscated by the Czecho Slovakian authorities.

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