American Reform Jewry may understand the reasons which prompted the liberal Jews in Germany to decline as a body to accept the invitation to participate in the extended Jewish Agency, but they will not adopt the same attitude in relation to the Jewish Agency for Palestine, says an editorial in “The American Isaelite.” which was founded by Isaac M. Wise, father of Reform Jewry in the United States.
American Jews feel that it is a distinct advance that they can approach the problem of Palestine, “Its settlement and modernization with some degree of charity toward the country and toward each other,” the editorial says.
“The ‘liberal’ Jews of Germany have declined to enter into the Jewish Agency. They do so on the basis that they are utterly opposed to Jewish nationalism, and that any alliance with Zionism is at least a concession to its central idea. There can be no Zionism without nationalism is the assumption of that group,” the editorial states.
“One cannot but feel that the position they have taken is commendable. There is no doubt that many of them will support the Palestinian project personally, but at the same time, as a body they will be unable to endorse Zionism.
“A great many persons find themselves in that position. They are sympathetic with Palestinian necessities and have a deep sense of obligation to assist in the development of that country. At the same time they know that any assistance given it, will be a placing of the Zionist movement in a position to press all its theories and all its demands the more insistently on the rest of Jewry.
“Official American Reform Judaism has not passed on the subject except through the Central Conference of
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American Rabbis, which has endorsed the assistance of the Palestinian project.
“American Jewry has less cause to be tender about nationalism than have our German brethren. Political anti-Semitism as well as the struggle of German Jewry for civil and political recognition, has created an attitude of mind and a condition which is quite characteristic. While the liberal Jews of Germany might find it advisable to oppose any assistance of Palestine, those in America might find the question an open one.
“Palestine is after all a classical country. It has suffered more from the sort of controversy which we Jews are now having, than has almost any other land.
“That we can approach the problem of its settlement and modernization with some degree of charity toward the country, and toward each other, is for us American Jews a distinct advance.
“It therefore is unlikely that there will ever be an official attitude toward the problem here, such as the liberal Jews of Germany have taken.”
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.