The first indication of the clash which is expected to occur at the World Zionist Congress was given at yesterday’s session, when Dr. Richard Lichtheim of Berlin, himself a member of the Executive Committee, attacked the leadership of Dr. Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow in a report he presented of the Organization’s activities.
Dr. Lichtheim many times departed from his official report to launch forth into criticism of his colleagues “for the many things that were left undone”. Leo Motzkin, of Paris, one of the vice-Presidents who was in the chairm was forced to call him to order several times.
The criticisms were not unexpected as Dr. Lichheim, Dr. Sokoweitcheck of Lithuania and M. Ussishkin of Palestine had warned in advance that they would attack the present Administration.
Another incident that occasioned excitement occurred when Dr. S. Ros enbaum, Minister for Jewish Affairs in Lithuania, was assailed by a labor delegate for not speaking in Yiddish.
Part of the session was devoted to tributes to distinguished Zionists who have passed away during the year. Among those remembered in the tributes was Peter Schweitzer of New York, the late head of the Keren Hayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) in America. “Schweitzer’s death”, said Mr. Sokolow,” is a great loss. He gave without stint of his idealism, his energy and his money to the movement. He may well serve as pattern of a self-sacrificing practical idealist”. The widow of Mr. Schweitzer was present as Sokolow voiced the tribute.
Other Americans who were eulogized were the Jewish poet Morris Rosenfeld, and Dr. Baer Epstein, American representative of the Jewish National Fund. A glowing eulogy was paid to Dr. Alexander Marmorek of Paris, noted physician and Zionist, who died recently. “He was the beloved of his people, a noble,
active idealist whom war, its aftermath and its sorrows killed”, said Mr. Sokolow.
Official figures show that 292 recognized delegates are present. Of this number 171 are affiliated with the regular Zionist organization, 90 are Mizrachist (Orthodox Zionists). The Labor wing is composed of 51 delegates. Only 11 Americans have been officially recognized as delegates of the Zionist Organization, and two representing the Mizrachi.
The Young Socialist Zionists today made clear their stand against the extensive Jewish Agency by coopting non-Zionist forces. They declare that they are not opposed to the enlisting of non-Zionist groups, but that these outside forces can be brought to help without including them in the Jewish Agency which the Palestine Mandate provides shall be erected by the Zionist Organization.
Until such time as a world Jewish Congress meets and elects the Agency, the Zionist Organization, already recognized as such, should continue to function in that capacity, inviting the non-Zionists to enter advisory bodies.
The virtual threat that he would lay down his office if the Congress fails to adopt his policy of coopting leading non-Zionist forces for the reconstruction task in Palestine was delivered by Dr. Weizmann, at a meeting last night attendence only by delegates who belong to none of the opposing factions.
After outlinging his policy, Dr. Weizmann said, “This is my system. There are other systems, but they require other people to carry them through”. His grounds for wishing to extend the Agency were “political as well as financial”, Dr. Weizmann said. The British Government may ask the Zionists tomorrow, “What have you done about the extension of the Agency?”. The fourth article of the Palestine Mandate, which recognizes the Zionist Organization as the Agency and directs it to invite all forces willing to help in the upbuilding of the Jewish Palestine, was the chief object for attack, he said.
“I can guarantee the growth of the Keren Hayesod if the Agency is extended” he declared. “We are all united on the Palestine question. We may not all agree on questions affecting the Disspora. For myself. I am not in agreement with Deputy Gruenbaum (of Poland) upon these questions. The Agency affords the desired opportunity of gaining the cooperation of world Jewry. I am confident we can win the aid of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in America, as well as of the American Jewish Committee, and finally of organized Jewish labor in America. Against this need of co-opting new forces there is offered as a panacea the Jewish World Congress. A real World Congress demands an effort extending through years, which we have not, and could ill afford if we had them.
Following Dr. Weizmann’s plea, a personal dispute arose between him and Dr. Soloweitchik of Lithuania, who supported Dr. Lichtheim, an avowed opponent of the Weizmann Administration,
although himself a member of the Executive Committee. Dr. Soloweit-chik’s desertion of the “middle of the road” between a World Jewish Congress and an interim Agency is said here to show a weakening in the adherence of the Weizmann-Sokolow extension policy.
The Congress settled down to business with the delivery of a speech by M. Usishkin, head of the Zionist World in Palestine. Mr. Usishkin covered the major activities of the Zionist Organization in Palestine, many of which, he said, were interfered with by the British Administration. He deplored particularly the limitation placed upon Jewish immigraion, which he characterized as “unnecessary”. He insisted the Zionists must increase their land holdings and extend the network of Jewish colonies. He regretted to report, he said, that in these last two years Sir Herbert Samuel’s Administration showed no noteworthy zeal to facilitate the Zionist task. Financially, he said, the past year was very difficult, Zionist officials always having had to struggle with a deficit and compelled to curtail many essential enterprises. Nevertheless, Mr. Usishkin said, what the Zionists had achieved was considerably more than what was attained through the combined efforts of Baron Rothschild, with whose money the Jewish Colonization Association was operating, the Joint Distribution Committee of America, and the Palestine Development Council, under the beadership of Justice Brandeis.
M. Usishkin said that considerable progress had been made in the acquisition by the Jewish National Fund of greater stretches of land, and similar expansion on the part of the Palestine Land Development Company which is responsible for the creation of the new settlements. He reviewed the activities of the Zionist Mortgage Bank and of the Anglo-Palestine Company. He again reverted to the urgency of acquiring increasingly large land tracts and attracting ever greater numbers of men to Palestine. In spite of all obstacles, 20,000 Jews entered Palestine during the past two years. Of these, about 15% left the country, their departure being due to the “political situation in the country and the inadequate sadrifices” on the part of the Jewish people outside the country. Jewish immigration has undergone a change within the period under review. Instead of individuals, immigrants now come in family groups and were naturally more susceptible to permanent settlement.
“Pioneers have come from all countries of the globe, but there have been very few from America”, Mr. Usishkin asserted. “We appeal to the Jewish youth of America not only to send money but to come themselves.”
Continuing, Mr. Usishkin regretted the reduction in the budget for the Hebrew language schools in Palestine, which the Government still declines to subsidize having given only 2379 pounds last year towards a budget in excess of 100,000 pounds which the Zionists are providing.
Asked by a delegate what had been accomplished in Palestine in the last two years, Mr. Usishkin said that compared to the great expectations Zionists entertained upon the ratification of the Palestine Mandate, very little had been done. “Considering our very limited means, a splendid, though difficult, stride forward has been made”, he added.
Georg Halpern, of London, Treasurer of the Zionist Organization, reviewed at length the character and activities of the economic institutions in Palestine, emphasizing that the financial slump in 1922 notwithstanding, and thanks to the Zionist banks, there were no bankruptcies in Palestine. The hydro-electrical concession obtained by Engineer Pinhas Rutenberg for the utilization of the water power of the Jordan was in operation, a company having been formed to which Mr. Rutenberg had transferred the concession rights. Companies were being constituted outside Jaffa for the erection of electrical stations. The question of the port as between Jaffa and Haifa, which is a natural harbor, constitutes a serous political problem. At any rate, he declared, he saw no chance of the Government financing the construction of the harbor and that ultimately it would have to be built by private initiative. It is imperative, he said, to overcome the weakness in the Palestine economic situation, rendering even more adverse by the passive trading balance as shown by the import and export returns. Even if it involves financial risk, industry must be developed as quickly and widely as possible, Dr. Halpern urged
Reporting on the receipt of the keren Hayesod since its organization in 1921, Dr. Berthold Feiwel announced a million pounds had been received from Jews all over the world. Of this, more than 60% had been contributed by the Jews of the United States. This Fund finances immigration, colonization, and educational work.
The prospects of acceptance of the proposals favored by the delegation of American Zionisrs are considered to have rather rather weakened in consequence of a compromise which is contemplated between the Opposition, headed by Deputy Gruenbaum of Poland, and the Weizmann group. Realizing their proposals were in danger, the American delegation sent representatives to demand of Dr. Weizmann that their resolutions be carried through “at least in spirit”, and that the economic reforms in Palestine which the Americans are urging, shall hot be lost sight of.
The deputation to Dr. Weizmann was composed of Morris Rothenberg, Bernard A. Roserblatt, Ab Goldberg, Emanuel Neumann and Israel Matz, all of New York.
The Americans have asked Sir Alfred Mond to enter the Zionist Executive, it is leaned, counting on his sound economic views to have their proposals accepted.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.