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Gruenbaum Calls Weizmann Wrecker of Cabinets

August 9, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In observance of the national day of mourning for the death of President Harding, the Daily News Bulletin will not be published tomorrow, Friday, August Tenth

The general debate which commenced at the Thirteenth Zionist Congress yesterday has developed a strong Opposition to the Weizmann-Sokolow leadership. The Opposition may be bulked under two heads: those like Deputy Gruenbaum of Poland who is opposed to Dr. Weizmann personally, and an opposition emanating from disappointment and dissatisfaction with Zionist progress.

The most impassioned attack on the Weizmann-Sokolow regime was delivered by Deputy Gruenbaum. At the end of it he received an ovation from those in agreement with him and was warmly congratulated by opponents. Characterizing the present conflict in the Zionist Organization as a “constitutional one”, Deputy Gruenbaum accused Dr. Weizmann of having precipitated a crisis in the Executive Committee which is threatening to wreck his Cabinet as it was wrecked at the Twelfth Congress. Dr. Weizmann wishes to create gods that he might destroy them, Gruenbaum asserted, referring to the President’s extension policy.

“We wish no expresionist politics; nor do we share in Dr. Weizmann’s defeatist feeling,” Deputy Gruenbaum hotly asserted. “We decline to surrender our principles or make illusory sacrifices. We refuse to say the mass movement will not build Palestine. We can cooperate with what bodies and under what conditions we wish, but there is no need for capitulation. We demand the Agency be responsible to a common body; otherwise, we shall have irresponsibility and chaos. We demand furthermore the Zionist leaders be responsible to Congress.”

Continuing, Deputy Gruenbaum said the reconstruction of the Jewish Homeland was a miracle and one does not tamper with miracles. The unemployment in Palestine, he said, was responsible for emigration from the country, an emigration which is causing chaluzim to grow afraid.

“All this which has its roots in economic depression need not depress us. The political situation has changed adversely. In the past, the Government in London was firm, but Jerusalem was bad. Now London is also bad.” All this being true, and the moment being unfavorable, he insisted it was time to grow in people, and not great salon Jews.

“I speak as the conscience of the former Democratic fraction to which Dr. Weizmann formerly belonged.” Deputy Gruenbaum said in pleading for the preservation of the movement as a people’s movement.

Deputy Gruenbaum replied also to Dr. Weizmann’s statement of the day before that the leader was not in accord with Gruenbaum on the policy of the Zionist Organization in the Diaspora. “The people and land have always been inseparable. We cannot surrender our national work in the Diaspora. Fortunately, Dr. Herzl received nothing from Baron Hirsch or Baron Rothschild. If he had, the Palestine task today would have been in the hands of the Ica, and not the Zionist Congress. We cannot and shall not surrender the principle of national self-deliverance. If this is the price we are to pay for the extension of the Agency, let Dr. Weizmann say so. There are two ways for us to follow: illusions or idols, or the way that leaders to God and people.” the speaker concluded his impassioned plea.

Dr. Hantke urged confidence in the Weizmann-Sokolow leadership, although he said in the course of his remarks ours was a “great people with little leaders.” The intensity of the Zionist work alone will decide to what extent the Balfour Declaration will be realized. Dr. Hantke insisted that the chaluzim spirit must pervade not only the hard pioneering work but should also permeate the economic endeavors. The Zionist Organization, he said, was strong; it was the central office that was weak. Dr. Hantke concluded with a glowing tribute to officials of the Zionist Organization.

Declaring that lack of enthusiasm was due to suspicion, Jacob Fishman of New York said he failed to account for this suspicion in Zionist ranks at a time when leaders like Louis Marshall were referring to Dr. Weizmann as “our leader.” The American proposals, he said, were misunderstood. “What we insist upon is the fulfillment of our contract with the Jewish masses. Through the Keren Hayesod new people have been discovered and gained for the Zionist movement. If the Zionist Organization has made no appreciable progress since the Balfour Declaration it is because there is an constant attempt to wreck our united leadership. The Left and the Right are fighting over the Kashruth question, and clear issues are made unclear. The American Jews expected that from this Congress a message would go out that the Zionist Organization is ready to accept all Jews who are ready to aid in the up-building of Palestine. Such a course will strengthen the Zionist authority; a contrary course will discourage it. American Zionists do not fear new elements. Coalition governments are being formed everywhere. If we find it is impossible to cooperate with the men we desire to join us we will return again to the Zionist party. The Americans, too, are anxious to see a World Congress, but years are necessary for its preparation. The extension of the Agency means a gradual World Congress.”

Morris Meyer of London spoke in defence of the Administration, calling upon the delegates “to follow Weizmann whose achievements were superhuman.”

A storm broke out at the Congress yesterday when Rabbi Meyer Berlin, head of the Mizrachi in America, and the left wing laborites engaged in an exchange of charges.

The verbal clash started when Rabbi Berlin charged that the “left wing” were putting obstacles in the by of orhtodox “chaluzim” who desired to settle in Palestine.

“The revival of Jewish life and culture in Palestine means more people and where there are people, there is also money,” said Rabbi Perlin. “The present depression in Palestine is due to the lack of enthusiasm. The Left Wing are hindering the entrance and employment of orhtodox chaluzim.”

Rabbi Berlin’s charge against the left wing was followed by numerous protests from the laborites. The Mizrachist leader continued undaunted, accusing the Zionist Organization of seeking to give the organized laborites a monopoly of the work of Palestine.

“Your chaluzim are strike breakers,” the laborites shouted at Rabbi Berlin, who hurled back, “Your left wing workers attack and beat our chaluzim.”

“It’s a lie,” volleyed back the labor delegates.

Ben Zvi, one of the vice presidents, who was occupying the chair during the debate was unable to restore order. Charges that Ben Zevi was partial in his rulings during the debate accentuated the confusion. Herman Struck, the distinguished Mizrachist and artist, demanded that Ben Zevi either maintain an impartial attitude or else relinquish the gavel. Defending Ben Zevi, S. Kaplanski declared that the Mizrachists should accustom themselves to endure Socialist chairmen at Zionist congresses. When order was finally restored, Rabbi Berlin continued his address, concluding with the demand that the Zionist Executive pay greater heed to the religious side of Zionism.

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