It was laid down by the Zionist Congress that the extended Jewish Agency cannot function until Jewish communities other than those of Great Britain and America are brought in, Leonard Stein, Political Secretary of the Zionist World Organization, said in addressing a public meeting of Zionists held to give expression to Zionist views on the decisions of the Anglo-Jewish Conference on the Jewish Agency. The meeting unanimously resolved to welcome the decision of the Coference in favor of the representation of the Anglo-Jewish community on the enlarged Jewish Agency and to note with satisfaction the pledge of the Conference to use its best endeavors to promote the Jewish work of reconstruction in Palestine. It further resolved to express to Mr. O. E. d’ Avigdor Goldsmid its cordial appreciation of the high minded manner in which he has brought to a successful issue the object of uniting the Anglo-Jewish community in effective support of the Jewish Agency under the British Mandate for Palestine.
Mr. Stein said that the idea of cooperation between Zionists and non-Zionists was not new. The idea went back to the time before the War and he thought it was inherent in the writings of Dr. Herzl. In any case it was mentioned in communications to the British Government by the Zionist leaders before 1917. The idea of that co-operation was proposed to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. And here he would correct a prevalent error – that the Government forced on the Zionists the last part of Article 4 of the Mandate that refers to the cooperation of the Zionist Organization with other Jews. He could assure them that that part of Article 4 was suggested to the Government by the Zionist Organization itself. There had never been any compulsion at any time. There was another widespread mistake that he would also like to correct, and that was the belief that the non-Zionists had asked the Zionist Organization if they might cooperate without coming into the Organization. The Zionist Organization had taken the initiative and pressed an offer on the non-Zionists and happily they had accepted. He would make it quite clear: the offer made to the non-Zionists was their (the Zionists’) offer and the acceptance, the non-Zionist acceptance.
Speaking of the non-Zionists, he would like to say that the term non-Zionist was not a happy one. Asked a little while ago by a non-Jew to define the term “non-Zionist” he had experienced much difficulty. Perhaps the real difference between Zionist and non-Zionist was historical and not philosophical. The non-Zionist did not necessarily represent an entirely different standpoint and outlook from the
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Zionist. A non-Zionist was not an anti-Zionist and he therefore did not visualize any friction when the enlarged Jewish Agency was set up. Rather, the prospect of mutual toleration and cordiality was extremely promising. If they were wise and statesmanlike they would attach little importance to metaphysical differences, neither the Zionists nor the non-Zionists had the power to say what Palestine would look like in 25 years time. The task was to enable Jews to be placed in Palestine and live their lives in a free atmosphere and the rest would settle itself for the best.
Speaking of the machinery of the enlarged Jewish Agency when set up, Mr. Stein said that the delegates appointed by the Jewish Board of Deputies to serve on the Council of the enlarged Jewish Agency would be part of the 50 per cent of the representatives of the Jewish communities throughout the world, whether their individual views were Zionist or non-Zionist. So far the American and the Anglo-Jewish community were the only two communities which had agreed to come into the Agency. It should not be supposed, however, that the Jewish Agency was in reality only an alliance between the Zionist Organization and an Anglo-American group. It was true that without that cooperation, which was invaluable, they could not build, but it was laid down by Congress that other communities must be brought in before the enlarged Agency can function. The Zionist Executive realized the importance of bringing in the other Jewish communities and was endeavoring to secure their cooperation. The whole scheme, of course, was subject to the ratification of Congress and he felt that the Congress would want assurances as to the position of the Zionist Organization under the new conditions. It would be a disaster if the Zionist Organization were to be submerged and disappear, but he could not visualize such a possibility. He did not regard Palestine as a ground for Jewish philanthropy and that was a danger, which, however remote, they might have to consider. But if they kept the Zionist flag flying, that danger could never arise.
Leopold Schen, Chairman of the Jewish National Fund, said that the non-Zionists had not come into take the burden of upbuilding Palestine from the shoulders of the Zionists. They had come in to cooperate and it therefore behooved every Zionist to redouble his efforts. The question of the Agency could be looked upon as settled, for only a small number were opposed to the scheme: the last Congress had shown that the Zionist masses were for it.
The Rev. M. L. Perlzweig spoke of the notable part played by Mr. d’Avigdor Goldsmid in bringing about the consummation of the negotiations in connection with the Jewish Agency Conference. The object of the Zionists was “the land of Israel for the People of Israel” and they were working in consonance with that idea, when they in the Jewish National Movement sought to bring in the whole Jewish world.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.