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Dr Weizmann Urges All Jewish Groups to Join Agency

December 10, 1923
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Declaring that the Jews of America have been dedicated by Providence to the mission of rebuilding the Jewish Homeland, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, appealed at the formal reception in his at the Hotel Astor Monday night, to every class and section of American Jewry to join the Jewish Agency.

He appealed to the Jewish workmen, to the leaders of Jewish philanthropy and to the Jewish middle classes, through their fraternal organizations. Dr. Weizmann reported that the Jews of Great Britain had indicated their intention of joining, and Sir Alfred Mond and Professor Albert Einstein had both expressed their willingness to join the Jewish Agency.

“The last Zionist Congress by a great majority adopted a resolution giving the leaders the right and laying upon them the duty to interest wide Jewish circles in the work of rebuilding Palestine, not merely by rebuilding Palestine, not merely by imposing the duty upon them, but also by giving them a share in all the privileges and rights involved, “said Dr. Weizmann. “The Zionists have not demanded a National Home for themselves, but for the Jewish people. The work in Palestine is not the work of one party, or one group, but of the whole Jewish people.

“The Jewish Agency must truly represent Jewry. It must express all living Jewish forces; it must embrace the whole people from left to right; and it must leave out no section. The Mandate and the Jewish Agency gives each group the opportunity of co-operating and each group must do its share.

“In Europe many important Jewish bodies are prepared to cooperate with us. We have had very little time to negotiate since the Congress, but I am happy to inform you that the Jews of Britain are prepared to work with us whole-heartedly. The same is true of Italy, Holland and other countries. Sir Alfred Liond, whom some of you know and who is one of Great Britain’s outstanding personalities has expressed his willingness to join the Jewish Agency. So also has Prof. Einstein. The most important part, however, must be assumed by the Jews of the United States. It is obvious that American Jewry is destined to play a leading part in the work of creating the Jewish Homeland. America now holds the greatest aggregation of Jews in the world. American Jews live under free conditions. You are free from entanglements and from the tyranny of old shibboleths. You are accustomed to the successful execution of large projects. It seems as if by special dispensation of Providence it was ordained that you should be saved under the wing of a free, just and strong people and Government, from the tragic fate which has befallen the majority of your brothers in Europe. You have been saved for a high purpose. You have been dedicated to a great mission, the mission of rebuiling the Jewish Homeland.

“The prospect is encouraging. Our negotiations in the early part of this year with some of your prominent representatives in this country entitle us to look forward to the successful conclusion of our efforts. The true representatives of the Jewish people will work with us.

“My friends, the Zionist Congress has imposed upon us the heavy task of upbuilding the Agency. We are living in stirring times. Eight millions of our people are living under a dark cloud, but a ray of light now pierces the darkness, a light which brings consolation and hope. You, the American Jews, I call upon to make this hope a reality. I address myself to every class and section of American Jewry; to the Jewish workmen who have demonstrated such a splendid capacity for organization and great enterprise, blazing new trails in the upward march of organized labor; I address myself to the leaders of Jewish philanthropy in America who have met in so masterly a fashion the unprecedented demand for relief in the crisis of the great war; I call upon the great numbers of the Jewish middle classes organized in their powerful fraternal associations-there is a place of honor and usefulness awaiting all of you in this great enterprise.”

Dr. Weizmann depicted the tragic plight of the Jewish people in Europe to whom Palestine is the only “consolation and hope”. The Jewish people had become Europe’s shock absorber, he declared. He cited the case of Germany where there had been outbursts of anti-Semitism and the expulsion of the Jews from Bavaria. “Before the war”, he said,” before this new adjustment of Europe was precipitated, it was known that in general the river Vistual was the line of demarkation in the treatment, or rather the ill-treatment of the Jews. Today that line has shifted from the Vistual to the Rhine. And who knows whether that line will stop there.

“The Jews have been caught in the cogs of Europe’s complicated machinery. Every movement of the machine grinds them between its merciless wheels. If there existed in Europe the possibility of free movement, we should be faced today with the spectacle of masses of Jews roaming hopelessly and aimlessly.”

Turning to Palestine, which, Dr. Weizmann declared, can become capable of absorbing considerable numbers of refugees, he said the Zionist effort which has been thrown into overcoming of obstacles can now be thrown undividedly into positive work. He indicated that the raising of the immigration quote for Palestine is entirely in Jewish hands; that if the Jews willed it, immigration of Jews could be increased much over what it is at present. The Zionist leader cited Professor Ellwood Mead of California as the last of a long line of authorities to assert that Palestine could absorb large numbers of people.

Dr. Weizmann used this opportunity to reaffirm his faith in the British people and the British Government.

“The work of building up the Jewish homeland is governed by one fundamental political consideration, that is, by the Mandate which has been accepted by Great Britain, and which was ratified recently by the League of Nations.”

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