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News Brief

November 4, 1926
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That the organized labor movement in Palestine has been responsible for preventing disaster to the cause of national reconstruction during the present economic crisis in that country, is the conviction of Meyer W. Weisgal, editor of the “New Palestine,” who recently returned from a trip to Palestine. Mr. Weisgal finds, however, that the labor organization in Palestine constitutes a menace to the authority of the Zionist Executive. Writing in the “New Palestine” of Oct. 29, he declares:

“To take the present economic depression of the country as an index to the question, it is no exaggeration to say that the labor organization has stood between us and disaster during the present crisis. With marvelous discipline, foresight and courage, not to speak of sacrifice, it pointed the way to national responsibility of the highest order. Labor remained at its post, determined to carry on while others shirked or completely deserted their position.

“All this notwithstanding, there is a perilous tendency, perhaps unconscious, to bring under the control of the labor organization every artery of the Jewish organism in Palestine. I say perilous tendency because it endangers the future of the Zionist Organization, and its authority.

“The reasons are not far to seek: If the labor organization sprawls all over the map, is forever taking on to itself new functions and is the dominant factor in Jewish life in Palestine, it is so because our Zionist Executive is too weak to combat it. The Executive lacks authority because it has no well defined policy. And most of the decisions of the Executive, whether in the matter of the budget or of policy, are made directly or indirectly by Labor. There lies its strength and the corresponding weakness of the Executive.

“The labor organization in Palestine annexes positions unconsciously. This tendency manifests itself in the creation by the labor organization of institutions parallel to those of the Zionist Organization. The Zionist Organization has an immigration department; the labor organization has an immigration department. The Zionist Organization has a department of education; so has labor. The labor organization even has a political department. Not to speak of the inefficiency, duplication and dangerous muddle, can we, with our limited means, afford the luxury of playing at dual governments? Its immediate effect, of course, is that it cuts off the Executive from all contact with the most vital elements of the Jewish population of Palestine.

“What is the motive of all this? Does it spring from the desire on the part of labor to cooperate, or to dominate? Frankly, it is difficult to reconcile Labor’s profession with its actions. But while I may have some misgivings as to the motives of labor, I am firmly convinced that Palestine will be built up only by cooperation with Jewish labor. We must make peace with the idea that far from being prejudicial to the interest of capital in Palestine–a notion inadmissible and absurd–the road towards an orderly national development of Palestine conterminous with the highest national interest lies in cooperation with Labor, and that such cooperation will at the same time mitigate whatever evil may be inherent in Labor’s domination.”

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