Abraham Tulin Replies to Eder’s Statement on Basle Congress Incident
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Abraham Tulin Replies to Eder’s Statement on Basle Congress Incident

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Gives More Details on Political Commission Proposal

The controversy over the Wise-Weizmann incident at the last Zionist Congress in Basle, resulting from the proposal to create a temporary political commission under the chairmanship of Dr. Weizmann to negotiate with the British Government concerning the reforms necessary, was continued yesterday by Abraham Tulin, member of the American Zionist delegation and one of the sponsors of the proposal.

In a statement issued to the Jewish Daily Bulletin in reply to the statement of Dr. M. D. Eder, member of the London Zionist Executive, Mr. Tulin gave more fully the details of the matter which caused Dr. Wise’s resignation from the chairmanship of the Congress political commission.

“Dr. Eder’s statement, published in the Jewish Daily Bulletin of November 4th, shows unfortunate defects of memory on his part as to what really occurred in the Political Commission at Basle in his own presence; but this, after all, is not important,” Mr. Tulin declared in his statement.

“The resolution to which Dr. Eder refers was introduced because its proponents, and also the overwhelming majority of the members of the Political Commission, regardless of party, as was amply demonstrated in Dr. Eder’s presence, had become convinced by the tragic and indisputable facts that the present critical situation of the Yishub in Palestine was due in large part to the economically oppressive regulations and policies of the British Administration, and that this vitally important side of our political work had not been and could not be properly and adequately handled by the Executive of the Zionist Organization alone as at present constituted. Before the resolution was introduced, and, indeed, before I made the statement to which Dr. Eder refers, fourteen other members of the Political Commission, taking no account of the representatives of the several parties openly opposed to Dr. Weizmann, had pointed out the glaring failures of our political work, with a directness and bitterness and wealth of detail which were startling. It was partly to forestall a still more drastic and bitter resolution, which would certainly have been introduced in and adopted by the Political Commission, that Mr. Guedalla, with some help from Dr. Wise, drafted the resolution which I afterwards introduced with their express approval, and which Mr. Guedalla seconded. The central idea of this resolution was that a special and temporary Political Committee to be composed of representatives from America, England, Continental Europe and Palestine, should, under the chairmanship of Dr. Weizmann, take up with the British Government in London the very grave political-economic problems in Palestine. This idea had been put forward by me as well as several of my colleagues of the Commission in the course of its deliberations.

“The statements made by the Executive at the Congress confirmed the general conviction that, as Dr. Wise phrased it at the Cleveland Conference, there had been “a breakdown” in our political work in relation to the Mandatory Power. In its official, published report to the Congress, the Executive gave the British Government a clean bill of health and ignored the oppressive and discriminatory tax and license burdens imposed on our struggling pioneers in Palestine–burdens which have effectually and inevitably frustrated the efforts of these pioneers to establish themselves on an economic basis, and forced them to fall back on a new form of Halukah in order to live. Before the Congress and its Commissions, the members of the Executive plainly showed that they did not even comprehend the very grave and, as was made cleare, impossible economic handicaps which the British Administration had imposed and imposes on the establishment of the Jewish National Home,–handicaps which seem to be timidly assented to by the Zionist Executive. Furthermore, the efforts of the Executive to defend its own admitted political failures before the Congress constituted a slander on the honor and integrity of the British nation, whose Government had solemnly undertaken to carry out the pledges and provisions of the Mandate; since the defense consisted largely of the hardly veiled suggestion that, if the British Government were pressed to fulfill these pledges, it might repudiate them altogether. This suggestion, however, was not in reality a defence of the Executive but an unwarranted aspersion upon the honor of the British Government.

“The explanations and defenses of the Executive were so contradictory and unsound as to lead to the conclusion that the Executive by itself would not and could not secure from the British Government the desperately needed reforms, and that its efforts must be supplemented by a Committee which the Congress should elect for that purpose of which Dr. Weizmann should be the Chairman, as proposed in my statement and provided in the subsequent resolution.

“It was for this reason that the much discussed resolution was introduced. Its purpose was not to super? the Executive in its political work, but for a time to strengthen and support the Executive in those things in which the Executive had shown that it needed to be strengthened and supported. The resolution was not the unconsidered product of a moment. Its substance was thoroughly discussed with and approved by Dr. Wise and others before we had been appointed on the Political Commission; and Dr. Wise stated to the Political Commission in Dr. Eder’s presence that the resolution had his full sanction and approval, as he again stated in his recent address at Cleveland. Indeed, Dr. Wise had farsightedly urged on Dr. Weizmann and the entire American Delegation, the necessity of a functioning and effective Political Committee as far back as the Fourteenth Congress in Vienna, in 1925. Dr. Weizmann then nonunally approved, but two years passed without anything being done to supply this defiency.

“Dr. Eder’s statement that Jabotinsky expressed satisfaction with my speech is quite true; but that does not impugn the accuracy or detract from the importance of what I said. I know of no law which required one to refrain from stating the truth at Basle, lest Jabotinsky approve!

“The Zionist Congress is responsible for the proper administration of Zionist affairs. Where defects in administration appear, it is the duty of the Congress through its Commissions to consider ways and means for their remedy. Where through lack of understanding of the principles of economics and finance or for orther reasons, affairs are mismanaged, it is the duty of the Congress to provide for their reform. The Congress duty adopted resolutions aiming to remedy the shattered financial condition of the Zionist Organization, and elected a new Executive in Palestine to carry such resolutions into effect. The Political Commission sought by the resolution which was offered to accomplish the same end with regard to the mismanagement of our political affairs. Its adoption was blocked solely by the threat of Dr. Weizmann to resign.” Mr. Tulin’s statement concluded.

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