Dr. Wise Stirs Cleveland Conference with Criticism of Zionist Leadership and Mandatory
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Dr. Wise Stirs Cleveland Conference with Criticism of Zionist Leadership and Mandatory

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“The Palestine Executive has been responsible for such mismanagement as has led to the grave breakdown we face in Zionist affairs today,” Dr. Wise declared. “Not the least of the causes of such breakdown and all its tragic results has been the constituting of an Executive in Palestine through political log-rolling and partisan compromise. This price has been paid for unity of action, without securing the abatement of factionalism and fragmentation in Zionist affairs. The breakdown has meant, from the economic point of view, the destruction of Zionist credits and an unworthy and even disastrous system of financial juggling. Even the breakdown of the American Zion Commonwealth has been due in part to the unwisdom of the Palestine Executive, which has coddled the labor group into intolerable and intolerant demands. The labor group, the heart of the Zionist movement, without which there can be no Palestine resettlement–for millions of dollars may be dispensable but men are never dispensable in the recreating of a land–the labor group must therefore be exempted from ultimate responsibility for the breakdown in Palestine,” Dr. Wise said.


“I declare today, in the hearing of my fellow-Zionists, as one who had a part in all the negotiations that led up to the Balfour Declaration and the support of the British Foreign Office by President Wilson and the American people that I am satisfied neither with the British Mandatory Government nor with our own political leadership. Grievous failure there has been, and responsibility for that failure must at last be fixed. I am neither anti-British nor anti-Weizmann. I am neither for Weizmann nor for Brandeis. I am for Palestine. It is not needful for me to prove that I am not anti-British. From the day the war began I was and throughout the war I remained the firmest of supporters of the British and the Allied Governments. In peace and in war, I have been a warmly admiring friend of the government of Great Britain. So that I speak not as a detractor nor foe of Great Britain, but as a life-long friend of the great English people. I am here to declare today that Great Britain has not adhered adequately to the spirit of the Balfour Declaration in that it has failed to facilitate the creation of a National Jewish Homeland in Palestine. I do not say that the British or Mandatory Government has been in opposition. I do not mean that Great Britain has not opened the door of Palestine to the Jewish immigrant. This is not enough! I hold that the settlers in Palestine have in the last ten years been treated as if they constituted a normal, prosperous, taxable Jewish settlement anywhere, rather than a struggling pioneering, daring few, who were entitled to the facilitation denied them by the British Government.

“It may be that the major responsibility for such failure or facilitation on the part of the British Government rests not so much upon Britain as upon the political leadership of the Zionist movement, which could not or would not make vis-a-vis the Mandatory Government those just demands which alone could facilitate the creation of a Jewish Homeland.” Dr. Wise continued. “No Government grants more to any people, whatsoever its contractual relations with them, than is demanded by them in the terms of complete self-respect. Given the attitude on the part of the leaders of the Zionist movement of the governorship of a Crown Colony, and into a Crown Colony Palestine would speedily and irretrieveably descend. The British Government is too great to ask to be exempted from the fulfillment of its responsibility to the Jewish people with whom, in the terms of the Balfour Declaration it has made a solemn and irrepealable compact.


“Because of the question whether the Mandatory Government or the political leadership is primarily responsible for England keeping the promise of the Balfour Declaration to our ear and breaking it to our hope, I concurred in the proposal to re-explore and restate the social economic bases of the relations of the Zionist movement and the Mandatory Government of Great Britain. My withdrawal from the leadership of the Political Commission at Basle, which was prepared with virtual unanimity to urge the adoption by the Congress of the resolution referred to became inevitable after the threat to the Commission on the part of the leader of the Zionist Organization that he would withdraw from the leadership if such a resolution were adopted. My considered act in resigning from the Commission was a protest against the attempt to stifle freedom of discussion and to destroy the rights of Zionists freely to criticize the Executive and Administration. That fight will be carried on.

“The reign of the foes of criticism and the terrorization of the critics must end. Kill criticism, and you kill any moral and spiritual movement such as our own. I do not threaten to resign, nor have I threatened. I threaten to slay. As an illustration of the problem of the political conduct of our Zionist affairs, I cite the so-called “Dead Sea Concession” about which those of us entrusted with the responsibility of leadership in America are deeply disturbed. Whatever the nature or terms of the concession, we shall insist that the terms of the Mandate with regard to the control and utilization of the natural resources of the land be fulfilled, that the profits are to accrue neither to an individual Jew, nor to a company of non-Jews in England, and that the gains from this immeasurably valuable concession shall be safe-guarded for Palestine and all its people. And if we were prepared to be silent, the American government would not be. Neither would the League of Nations, by virtue of the Mandate of which the British Government operates in Palestine, assent to the exploitation of the chiefest asset of Palestine, in any interests whatever, save those of Palestine. Moreover would the British judgment and conscience approve of an act in violation of the spirit of the Declaration and the Mandate. I believe not even if the Zionist leadership, if the Zionist Organization, if the American Government, even if you my fellow Zionists, choose to remain silent,” Dr. Wise declared.

The delegates were gripped by the description of the Palestine situation presented by Miss Szold, member of the New Jerusalem Executive. Speaking of the new situation created at Basle and of the curtailed budget, Miss Szold decried these conditions which cut into the flesh of the educational work and of the Chalutzim movement, practically closing Palestine’s gates to the pioneers.

The speaker read a cablegram from Harry Sacher in which he declared that unless American Zionists meet their financial obligations in Palestine by the end of October, he will be compelled to resign. A cable was also read from Chaim Nacluman Bialik, urging the immediate raising of funds to continue the Hebrew schools left unsupported by the new educational budget. Miss Szold added that the London Executive’s inability to provide five thousand pounds to settle the claims of the small creditors of the Palestine labor contracting organization, Solel Boneh, compelled to go into bankruptcy.

Morris Rothenberg, who presided over the first session declared that faithful, ardent Zionists will never grow impatient with their task.

Samuel Rosenson, Chairman of the Finance Committee of the U. P. A. stated that during the past year the U. P. A. received in cash an amount of $3,257,849. Expenditures, including national and local, amounted to $816,774, or twenty five per cent, of the cash receipts. $75,000 was expended for propaganda and the publication of the “New Palestine” and “Dos Yiddishe Folk.”

The wide reach of the U. P. A. was ## in ## submitted by Council Stone. According to his report $10,000 American Jews ## the U. P. A. One hundreds and twenty thousands of these contributed less than twenty-five ## each.

Maurice Samuel in an enthusiastic athirst reserved Zionist conditions in Palestine for the past ten years since the ## of the Balfour Declaration. The Zionist achievement ## no precedent in the history of any colonial enterprise be it either in Africa, Australia, in America, he said. During its period the Jewish population of Palestine has trebled a sound foundation has been laid.

The conference applauded the Yabienner Rabbe who in welcoming the conference wished that in addition to money the hearts of American Jews be one for the Palestine work.

Cable messages were received from Dr. Weizmann, David Lloyd George, and Lord Balfour. A message was also received from Mathan Siraus who scored wealthy Jews who fail to do their duty toward Palestine. The “enemies of Zion” are now trying to magnify our difficulties in Palestine they are also endeavoring to minimize our achievement. Nothing is further from the truth than this sinister propaganda,” he declared.


The assurance that Dr. Wise does not stand alone in his searching attitude with regard to the present policies in Palestine was given by Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization in his address at the Sunday afternoon session of the conference. Mr. Lipsky, however, vigorously defended the Zionist achievements in the past and warned against over indulgence in self-criticism.

“Why so severs and relentless?” Mr. Lipsky asked. “Why speak with so much bitterness? They gave all they possessed. They alone answered the call. When the large majority stood afar nor even knowing of their sacrifices, it was they standing knee-deep in the swamps of the Emek who suffered cruel privation. Our Jewish engineers were building bridges elsewhere. Our realty promoters were developing other cities while teachers, journalists, ## were making a lopsided Tel-Aviv. Our financiers were concerned with a much more incentive marker. Zion received those who came and made place for them. It was in Zion that they learned for the first time, how to handle a spade or trowel or chisel. In was in Zion that they learned to make a road. In Zion they first established contact with self, what it may produce, how to will it.

“When we speak of waste, for us asks who is guilty of the waste of their lives, funguided and unrestricted, the excess of their theories, the ## which are charged against them with sadistic fury? Palestine and ## represent the salvation of the ## Jewish people. Sixteen million Jews live in Galudz. These sixteen million need the converting influence of a new national life, recreated–a land conquered and a people reborn. But of these sixteen million, millions umpire provide with resources, with capacities and talents for individual self-preservation unlimited, only a handful reckless of their own individual lives, have given themselves without ## to become slaves of the national cause.

“Out of the prevailing criticism (maybe because of in), we are arriving at a realization of the right course of action. Faults on flaws revealed in the foundations are not to be minimized. A proper measure of castration is due Zionist policy and method. But there is also to be a measure of justice to our workers and their work. The way to the recovery of good health lies not in continued emphasis upon the cause or fault or dawn or in casting unmitigated blame on class or group alleged to be responsible for in it. It is to be found in the work of reconstruction itself, the removal of useless activities and their substitution by ## to be done that have proven to be produced. It is to be found in the creation of new values, along new lines, without hesitation or regrets, armed with the experience of the past, (chastened by it), and strengthened by the national spirit which grows from year to year.


“We are strong enough to alter policy and plan to wait for the preparation of plans to call a halt to action, (if necessary), to abandon the unproductive and the work that is wasteful of money or men. We are strong enough to face the whole truth of our conditions, but it must be the whole truth and {SPAN}##{/SPAN} but that. The fear that full knowledge of what is being done in Palestine will discourage financial support is disappearing from the Zionist movement. The fear that a frank statement of the difficulties Government places in the way of the establishment of the Jewish National Home will be harmful to our national interests no longer restrains us. We declare–it has been declared–that had the Mandatory Government actively co-operated with the Zionist enterprise instead of clinging to absolute fiscal methods, without policy with regard to commerce and industry without policy toward the hand question and large scale colonization, we would have made greater progress and there would have been less cause for regress, Mr. Lipsky declared.

The conference Estened with great attention to the address of Dr. Judah I. Magnes on the work of the Hebrew University. The spiritual and the ineffectual was the deepest really in the life of Jewry in the lands of the Diaspora Dr. Magnes stated. The Hebrew University is the most practical single thing Jewry has in Palestine.

Speaking of the general situation in the country Dr. Magnes stated the although these were days of economic crisis there is no need of giving way despair, Jewish achievement in Palestine are possible, he declared.

Before the appeal for immediate cash for the Jerusalem Executive. Judge Mack left a deep impression on the delegates. “We must be in deadly earnest. Things are in a desperately had condition. Zionists are now on the threshold of the Jewish Agency. Can the Zionists come to the non-Zionist Jews as beggars who have hailed at their task?” Judge Mack asked.

Judge Mack was followed by Louis Lipsky who made the appeal declaring that unless the U. P. A. is enabled to furnish the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem with funds, it will be in insurmountable difficulties within sixty days.

The first to respond to this appeal was Louis Topkis, who guaranteed $10,000 for the city of Wilmington. Delaware. Judge Mack was among those who gave their subscriptions in advance, presenting his subscription of $1,500.

The conference decided to send a cable message to Lord Balfour on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the issuance of the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1927.

The speakers at the banquet included Mrs. Irma, Lindheim Dr. Joseph Krimsky, Rabbi Baruers ## Gedaliah ##, Mortis Rothenberg, Berl Locker, Max, Schulman and Maurice Samuel.

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