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Dissatisfied with Vote, Weizmann May Quit

August 15, 1923
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The lobbies of the Thirteenth Zionist Congress are alive with rumors that Dr. Chaim Weizmann will resign as President of the World Organization. Despite the vote of confidence which the Assembly gave him Tuesday, Dr. Weizmann is said to be dissatisfied with the vote.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns that Dr. Weizmann approved in advance the formula which M. Katzenelson, the labor leader, proposed and upon which the vote was based. The formula read that in view of the Administration’s achievements its report is to be placed on record, obviously a very niggardly expression of confidence. Dr. Weizmann, it is understood, expected that all factions would unite on this formula and that the vote would be unanimous. The actual vote, however, was 146 against 67 who voted no confidence. These were delegates of the orthodox (“Mizrachi) group. In addition, some 50 delegates, including about 18 laborites, and followers of Deputy Gruenbaum, the Opposition leader, altogether abstained from voting. Dr. Weizmann is known to be displeased that nearly half the Congress failed to express its confidence in his leadership and his statement before the standing committee today is impatiently awaited.

Another cause of friction is the slating of the members of the new Executive. A variety of lists is being circulated in the lobbies. It is learned, however, that Dr. Weizmann insists on what he calls a “homogeneous” Executive and that his program having been approved, albeit not overwhelmingly, he will demand that the new leadership should be in thorough accord with his system. He is accordingly determined to drop M. Ussishkin, the present director of Zionist activities in Palestine, Dr. Soloweitchick, former Minister for Jewish Affairs in Lithuania and since last Congress a member of the Executive, and Dr. M. Lichtheim of Berlin, all three of whom publicly opposed him.

Amid an atmosphere of general tenseness, Chief Rabbi Chajes of Vienna on behalf of all the Landsmannshaften who voted confidence in the present leadership, paid a glowing tribute to Dr. Weizmann.

Rabbi Chajes declared he desired to express their profound gratitude and complete appreciation of the services of the Zionist leader and to assure Dr. Weizmann that full support would be accorded him.

All of the European war cabinets have fallen, Chajes added, only the Zionists remains under the leadership of the same persons. The disoussion of the last few months, the rabbi-delegate said, had been useful to point out clearly the conflicting opinions, but unfortunately personalities had been intruded.

At this point, Deputy Gruenbaum interjected “No.” In answer, Rabbi Chajes replied that he was very pleased that Gruenbaum should disavow the idea that personalities were involved.

At any rate, there had been misunderstanding, Chajes continued, and since Dr. Weizmann had been the center of them, it was only proper that the Congress should give Dr. Weizmann an indication of its good will.

Dr. Chajes’ remarks were greeted with much cheering and Dr. Weizmann was the recipient of another ovation, in the midst of which he was presented with a bouquet.

Reporting on the chaluzim question, Rubaschow, a labor delegate, urged that the training for chaluzim should start in Galuth lands and that Palestine should receive the chaluzim only after they have been spiritually and occupationally prepared for the labors in other lands.

He also reported that the world Confederation of the “Heholuz” had spread in various countries and thirty training stations had been established. He urged greater support for the Chaluzim on the part of the Zionist organization. A resolution by Schachtel of Germany on behalf of the Jewish National Fund proposing support for that fund was enthusiastically received.

Professor Otto Warburg on behalf of the Hebrew University commission reported that at least the Judaica, Oriental and some of the science faculties of the University would be opened in 1924. The whole available land of Mt. Scopus has been obtained for the present and future needs of the University, he announced amidst great cheering. Support for the Jerusalem library was pleaded for by Herr Loewe.

A joint meeting of the political and permanent committees was held to consider the political situation. Mr. Ussishkin: sharply criticized the “yielding policy” which, he charged, had produced the present adverse political situation there. The Mizrachi and the Gruenbaum faction supported Ussishkin in his demand for a more radical policy.

An impression gaining currency here is that Dr. Weizmann is approaching the so-called Brandeis-Mack attitude of laying chief stress on the rapid economic upbuilding of Palestine in the belief that such a development will “automatically result in improved political situation there. The opposition to Weizmann favors the policy of the late

Doctors Nordau and Marmorek for the stressing of the political policy, believing that better political conditions will induce the natural flow of Jewry to Palestine and the consequent upbuilding of the country.

An interpellation on the British mandate policy was presented at the Congress by Senator Ringle of Poland.

Ringel declared that a section of British public opinion was urging the withdrawl from Palestine, forgetting its international pledges and the reasons for its maintaining the mandate. The Jewish people of the world, he said, are alarmed, and the flow of Jewish funds to Palestine was being hindered by Britain.

He asked the Executive whether it was prepared to submit to the Congress the exchange of documents between the Executive and Britain respecting violations of the mandate. It was necessary, he said, to prevent British practices from becoming an unwritten law, “emptying the mandate of all content.”

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