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News Brief

December 26, 1928
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The arrival Saturday at 9 P. M. of Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, at the Kaiserhof Hotel, having come directly from New York accompanied by Samuel Rosensohn, New York attorney and member of the Zionist opposition group in the United States, caused the interruption of the proceedings of the Zionist General Council, which was about to take a vote on the Marshall-Weizmann plan for the extension of the Jewish Agency. Prior to his arrival, in a telegram to Dr. Leo Motzkin, chairman of the session, he urged postponement of the vote until his arrival.

After the session was resumed, following an hour’s intermission, Dr. Wise, in an address which lasted for over an hour, attempted to persuade the members of the Zionist legislative body to reject the plan on the ground that it contains danger to the Zionist movement and the ideal of establishing a Jewish National Home in Palestine. He protested against the fact that the session of the General Council was held behind closed doors, the press not being admitted.

“I know that the Jewish Agency is a settled matter; nonetheless, I warn you at the last moment of the degradation which will result for the Zionist movement from the consummation of the plan,” he exclaimed. The Zionist Congress, he contended, never gave its consent to change the main principle of the Palestine Mandate. Any decision taken by the Zionist General Council, a subsidiary body to the Zionist Congress, would be illegal. The General Council cannot usurp the rights of the Congress which has laid down the two principles of the unchangeability of the Mandate and that, at all events, the Zionist Organization remains the Jewish Agency recognized in that Mandate. It would be self-deception on the part of the Zionists to believe that the Zionist Organization enters as a full-fledged partner. Under the present plan, the Zionist Organization is a yielding party. “The Marshall group has never uttered the words ‘Jewish National Home.’ All they speak of is the upbuilding of Palestine,” Dr. Wise asserted.

“The Churchill paper has not conceded to the anti-Zionist Arabs as much as we, the Zionists, are conceding to the non-Zionists. If we are to give up the idea of the Jewish National Home, we could obtain just as much from the Arabs,” he stated. “As long as we remain faithful to the ideal of a Jewish state in Palestine, the Marshall group will distrust us,” he further declared. “Under the present plan, Palestine will become a Joint Distribution Committee province and the Zionist Organization will cease to be the factor which fulfills the will of the Jewish people to live as a people. Be warned” he exclaimed.

Dr. Weizmann rose to answer Dr. Wise before the vote was taken. He took the floor, Dr. Weizmann stated, although he did not find any new arguments in Dr. Wise’s presentation, which is at least five years old. He replied because he did not want the impression created that he underestimated his opponent. As to the arguments, they have been answered. Concerning Dr. Wise’s prophecy for the future, it can safely be left to the future, he concluded.

RESOLUTION EXPRESSES APPROVAL

The vote was then taken. Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum of Warsaw and Dr. M. Soloweitschik of Berlin, representing the Radical Zionists; Meer Grossman of London and Richard Lichtheim of Berlin, representing the Zionist Revisionists, and Dr. Stephen S. Wise were the five members of the Council who voted against the plan. The vote was taken on the following resolution which was adopted:

“The Zionist General Council expresses its satisfaction with the proceedings of the Non-Zionist Conference held in New York City on the 20th and 21st of October, when American Jews expressed their willingness to enter the Jewish Agency for the purpose of cooperating, in accordance with the Palestine Mandate, in the establishment of the Jewish National Home.

“Whereas the negotiations conducted by Dr. Chaim Weizmann in accordance with the decision of the General Council adopted in July, 1928 have been concluded.

“Whereas these New York negotiations have to a large measure been in accord with the decisions of the General Council, and

“Whereas, the result of these New York negotiations signify a definite step towards uniting all Jewry for the upbuilding of Eretz Israel within an extended Jewish Agency, and

“Whereas, the contents of the memorandum attached to the letter of Mr. Louis Marshall addressed to Dr. Weizmann and dated New York, November 20, are taken cognizance of,

“Therefore, the General Council authorizes the Executive of the Zionist Organization to communicate to Mr. Louis Marshall that the Zionist Organization is ready to proceed, in accordance with the proposals contained in the memorandum.

“The General Council expects that the Zionist Executive will take all measures necessary for securing the creation of the Council of the extended Jewish Agency for the establishment of the Jewish National Home and towards convening the Council after the Sixteenth Zionist Congress meeting, at the earliest possible date.”

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