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Congress Closes with Demand for Action from Britain

October 17, 1923
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A demand that Britain live up in full measure to all the terms of the Mandate under the League of Nations for the up building of Palestine was voiced by the American Jewish Congress in resolution adopted at the closing session.

The adoption of the resolution is in harmony with the suggestion made by Mr. Zangwill in his address before the Congress in which he severely arraigned Britain for the manner in which it was executing the Mandate.

Mr. Zangwill also assisted in the framing of the resolution which was unanimously adopted.

###n The resolution demands a more liberal immigration policy for Palestine, points out to Great Britain that much money would flow into the Keren Hayesod if it became perfectly clear that a genuine Jewish national home was being established, and calls upon the government to delay no longer the Palestine national loan.

“Taking grateful note”, says the resolution “of the magnanimous methods of President Coolidge to the American Jewish Congress through Dr. Stephen S. Wise, expressing his sympathy with the policy of up building in Palestine the Jewish national home:


“Taking note also of the resolutions of the recent Zionist World Congress at Carlsbad, stating that Jewish emigration to Palestine is too severely restricted, and demanding that the administration of Palestine shall carry out the obligation assumed under the mandate which provides that it shall encourage in co-operation with the Jewish agency, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State land and waste land not required for public purposes, and if there has been discrimination against Jewish schools in the matter of subsidization;

“This congress, with full recognition of the difficulties which hamper the noble task undertaken by the British Government. respectfully and gratefully asks it to do all that is possible to remedy the grievances expressed by to Carlsbad congress.

“The American Jewish Congress is convinced that far larger su sums will be poured into Palestine by Jews, both on a philanthropic basis, through the Keren Hayesod, and by way of other organized social and economic enterprises as soon as it will become clear that a Jewish national home will ultimately come into being in the Holy Land. The congress asks the Palestine Government no longer to delay the issue of its projected loan for the development of the resources of the country–a loan which, it is sure, will be generously taken up by the Jews of the world as soon as it is clear that the Jewish national home will profit by it no less than the rest of Palestine.

“At the same time the congress expresses to the Arabs its earnest desire for peace and good-will and brotherly co-operation in rebuilding for civilization the runined, neglected, half-empty, yet supremely historical land which both races inhabit. It asks them to recognize that for more than 1,850 years the dreams and hopes and prayers of the Jewish people have been centred upon this land, and that the return of large numbers of Jews to it would bring a blessing to all its inhabitants and would build a bridge of mutual understanding between the East and West.

“We further trust that the Arabs of Palestine will meet their Jewish kinsmen in a fraternal spirit, and will recognize the spirit of the Balfour declaration so that all sections of the population shall enjoy freedom together with a prospect of attaining ultimate autonomy and membership in the League of Nations.

“Finally the congress extends its fraternal greetings to all sections of Christianity and Islam interested in the Holy Land. We trust and pray that Jerusalem will be rebuilt in our day and become the centre of world peace for all nations, races and religions, as our this time threatens the extinction of civilization will pass away and we will work unitedly for the common good of all mankind.”

A heated debate arose following the presentation of the report of the Committee on Education. The report stated that less than 25 per cent of Jewish children between the ages of six and thirteen in the United States were receiving any kind of Jewish education. The report introduced a resolution urging American Jewry to support all undertakings aiming to promote opportunities for Jewish education.

Fearing that a proposal for a permanent committee on education might give the reform wing some voice or measure of control over the education of children reared in orthodoxy, a section of the delegates rebelled openly and threatened that adherence to such a policy would result in the secession of all orthodox Jews. Rabbi Saul Silber of Chicago and Rabbi Abraham Shapiro of Utica headed the opposition, and had much to do with the decision of the Congress to return the offending resolution to the committee on education, where, with their collaboration a new proposal was drafted limiting the activity of the committee of the gathering of statistics, their disseminating and advancing the cause of Jewish education. In this form the resolution was adopted Rabbi Stephen S. Wise was elected president of the Congress, Samuel Untermeyer, Judge Aaron J. Levy and Joseph Barondess, vice presidents. Bernard G. Richards was chosen executive secretary and Nathan Straus as honorary president.

In the course of an address before the congress, Reuben Brainin declared “Dr. Wise is the greatest Jew of our generation, although he is reformed.” The audience arose and cheered the remark.

“Lenounces as inhuman the attempts made in several European countries through boycotts and other abominable means to destroy the economic well-being of the Jews. It denounces the efforts made to limit the educational facilities of Jewish youth by means of so-called numerous clauses and other devices, and it hereby pledges itself to the Jews in those countries where discriminatory processes are in operation to give them a full measure of the moral force of the Jews in America in aid of their righteous struggles to obtain full and complete emancipation.”

In addition to a resolution introduced by the Resolutions Committee pointing cut that “religious, political and economic disabilities of the Jewish people … have led to an enforced Jewish emigration, which deserves the special consideration of the civilized world and the American Government,” the congress adopted a resolution by the Committee on Immigration asking the Congress of the United States to repeal the 3 per cent. Immigration law on the ground that it has unfairly affected immigration by Jews into the United States.

Satisfaction with the civil, political and religious rights guaranteed to Jews in the United States was declared in another resolution adopted.

The American Jewish Congress records with satisfaction the steps taken toward the emancipation of the Jews of Roumania, by the terms of the constitution recently adopted by the Roumanian parliament. It expresses the hope that this act may effect the complete emancipation of the Jews of the old kingdom as well as in the new territories, and that the Jews there will hereafter enjoy complete civil, religious and political rights including the minority rights secures to them by treaty to which Roumanian as a party. With sorrow and compassion the Congress listens to reports of disturbances, agitations, and devastations to which the Jews have been subjected during the last year, as a result of vicious anti-Semitic propaganda carried on in that land. Particularly distressing are the facts touching the Jewish students of the Roumanian Universities, who by such force and violent means, have been prevented from attending the courses at the various faculties that it became necessary for the government to close the universities. This Congress, though cognizant of the steps taken by the Roumanian Government to hinder these anti-Jewish outrages still entertains fear of their repetition at the opening of the universities this year and the possibilities of their being close again. This Congress unqualifiedly denounces the propaganda carried on in favor of the principle of “numerous clauses”; and expresses hope that the Roumanian government will continue the necessary measures to protect Jewish rights as secured to them by the fundamental law of that country, and treaties in force.

BE IT RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to His Excellency Prince Antoine Bibesco, the Roumanian Minister at Washington with the request to transmit a copy of this statement to the Premier of Roumania.

The following resolutions were adopted:

The American Jewish Congress rejoices in the fact that one of the first steps taken in the up building of the Jewish homeland in Palestine was the founding of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It commends the Jewish physicians of America through whose generosity the foundations for a Medical School were laid last year.

The Congress is confident that all parties and shades of opinion in Jewish life will unhesitatingly unite upon this project and urges upon the Jewry of America to hasten the completion of the University to the end that it may be in a position in the near future to radiate its cultural influence upon the Jews throughout the world and may become a significant stimulus for the scientific and spiritual progress.

The condition of Jewish refugees in the several countries of Central and Eastern Europe of Cuba and Mexico has been repeatedly described to us as pitiable beyond description. We regard action tending toward amelioration of these conditions, as the most urgent need of the Jews of the world. Lack of proper information prevents the suggestion at this time of a. definite solution, but we recommend that this Congress appoint a Commmssion to make a full and complete study of the entire problem; and that the Executive Committee of this Congress be directed, in conjunction with other agencies dealing with this perturbed problem, to act on any plan or plans that might be devised which would tend to lessen the sufferings of these unfortunate homeless people.

Conscious of the enjoyment of the blessings of civil, political and religious rights guaranteed to the Jews in Common with all the citizens of the United States virtue of which we freely pursue our happiness and are permitted to contribute to the general prosperity and welfare of our country, the American Jewish Congress takes occasion to record its determination to aid the Jews in other lands in their struggles to obtain the equal enjoyment of human rights.

This Congress denounces as inhuman, the attempts made in several European countries through boycotts, and other abominable means to destroy the economic well-being of the Jews. It denounces the efforts made to limit the educational facilities of the Jewish youth by means of so-called numerous clauses and other devices, and it HEREBY pledges itself to the Jews in those countries, where discriminatory processes are in operation, to give to them a full measure of the moral force of the Jews of America in aid of their righteous struggles to obtain full and complete emancipation.

THIS CONGRESS REAFFIRMS its determination to insist upon the full enforcement by the European countries of the right guaranteed to the Jews along with other minorities by the various treaties enforced, including the guarantee of minority rights in countries where that principle of government is accepted, or by the treaties required.

WHEREAS THE AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS BELIEVES that the 3% quota RESTRICTIVE IMMIGRATION LAW was aimed in part at the immigration of Jews in the United States. Therefore,

###E IT RESOLVEL that the American Jewish Congress condemns the 3% quota RESTRICTIVE IMMIGRATION LAW as discriminatory and un-American.

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