World Zionist Congress Votes Inquiry Commission for Palestine Terrorist Group
Menu JTA Search

World Zionist Congress Votes Inquiry Commission for Palestine Terrorist Group

Download PDF for this date

make their plea in a careful and orderly manner, but the motion was defeated, 179—70.


The committee resolution was carried in a tumultuous scene, by 179—62, after a counter resolution proposed by Jabotinsky had been shouted down and after his demand that evidence on which the inquiry commission had arrived at its recommendation to the Actions Committee, be submitted to the Congress, was soundly rejected.

Another demand by Jabotinsky, that he be permitted to make a declaration from the tribune, following the adoption of the majority resolution, was rejected by the presidium in an uproar of Revisionist shouts that “Justice is dead!” The tumult following this refusal lasted a quarter of an hour until the session was adjourned until ten o’clock this evening when the subject will be the peaceful one of the report of the national funds.

The tragic death of Professor Theodor Lessing at the hands of assassins this morning profoundly shocked the Congress. In announcing it to the Congress, Dr. Motzkin declared: “This act of terror best proves the tragic situation of the Jews and of those personalities who dare to fight for Jewish rights.”


The Palestine inquiry resolution, as adopted today by the Congress, follows:

“The Actions Committee has considered the accusations brought by the Labor group that in Palestine there are persons or a group of persons who are members of the Zionist Organization, who propose the adoption of measures of violence for political purposes.

“Such tendencies are in contradiction to the basic principles of Jewish morals and are a danger to the upbuilding of Palestine. Therefore, the Congress decides that the first session of the new Actions Committee which will be elected after the Congress, should appoint a commission to proceed to Palestine and carry out a thorough investigation and communicate its findings to the Actions Committee.

“The Actions Committee is empowered to adopt all measures and carry them out in the most effective manner if the investigation shall prove that such tendencies actually exist, and bring them to an end and remove from the Zionist Organization, those elements responsible for them.

“The Congress authorizes the commission to examine witnesses and documents and gives to the commission the same competence possessed by the Zionist court of honor.”

In adition to this, Dr. Motzkin declared in behalf of the original inquiry commission that heard the charges preferred by the Laborites, that the Palestine investigating body must not in any way intervene in the murder of Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff, Zionist labor leader, and that this must be taken as an authentic interpretation of the resolution.


In an impressive bid for support of the Laborite faction in the forthcoming election of the administration of the World Zionist Organization, Nahum Sokolow, seventy-two-year-old president of the organization, addressing the Eighteenth World Zionist Congress, last night defined his views on the position of labor in the upbuilding of a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

“In the center of the national upbuilding must stand the worker who has achieved more than any other section, forming the backbone of the movement and of the Palestine upbuilding,” he declared.

“The veteran Zionist leader deplored the discussion which has taken place at the congress on the murder of Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff, Zionist labor leader, and declared that this should not prejudice the investigation of the murder now proceeding in the Palestine courts. Three members of the Revisionist Party, the extreme right-wing Zionists, are accused of the crime.


Discussing the position of Jews in the Diaspora, Dr. Sokolow declared that the Zionist organization must cooperate with other central Jewish organizations throughout the world in combatting attempts to withdraw Jewish equality and rights.

“Hitlerism,” Dr. Sokolow stated, “enables us to convert all Jews to Zionism, which is a difficult, but not impossible task.”

He expressed the opinion that the Mizrachi, the orthodox Zionist group, was guilty of exaggeration in its complaints that the Sabbath was not being observed in Palestine. He declared that in no European section had he seen the Sabbath as devoutly observed as in Palestine.


Pessimism over the Jewish outlook during the next five or ten years was expressed by Professor Selig Brodetzky, British member of the Zionist executive, replying, on behalf of the executive, to participants in the two-day general debate.

Professor Brodetzky, declaring that the situation was one which Zionists must unite in facing, assailed Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, of New York, for the speech the American anti-Weizmann leader delivered on the congress floor Tuesday, attacking the politics of the Laborite faction.

Dr. Wise, who opened his speech with a strong appeal for unity among the various factions and then attacked the Laborites for barring Palestine to Jewish immigrants not in accord with Laborite principles, made a baseless accusation, Dr. Brodetzky declared. The same accusation, the administration spokesman asserted, had been made by Lord Passfield in the White Paper against which the entire Jewish world protested.

He scored Rabbi Wise for “the spirit of warfare he injected” with his address in which he flayed Dr. Chaim Weizmann, former president of the World Zionist Organization, and the Laborites, and praised the present executive.


He emphasized that he was far from sharing Dr. Wise’s optimism over the political situation of Zionism at the present time. “What the next five or ten years may bring may turn out to be very serious for Jewish work in Palestine,” the British leader warned. “The Jews should make no mistake that they are being accepted in Palestine with open arms.

“Changes,” he continued, “are taking place now in the world of politics which affect also those with whom the Jews are allied. Therefore, it is important not only to speak of unity but also, to create unity.

“Problems of the Zionist movement are more serious now than many think. The accusations brought by one fraction against the other are doing very great damage to the movement.”

Professor Brodetzky challenged many statements made in the course of the debate by Dr. Josef Schechtman of Esthonia, Revisionist spokesman, as being absolutely false.

He concluded his address with a warning that the Arab question in Palestine was not one to be toyed with, and that the problem of cooperation with the Arabs was one of the most important to be solved.


Concluding the reply of the executive to questions raised in the general debate, Berl Locker, of New York, member of the excutive, pointed out that the most serious problem of the organization department of the executive had been to keep the organization united in the face of an internal fight within Zionist organization ranks.

He declared that he was not surprised that the Revisionists almost completely abstained from criticizing the present executive because, he said, they feel they have destroyed the discipline of the organization. He attacked Vladimir Jabotinsky, Revisionist leader, and Meer Grossman, Jewish State Party (formerly the Democratic Revisionists) leader, because, he asserted, they had undermined the work of the national Zionist funds.

A petition was submitted to the congress by Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum, Polish Radical Zionist, demanding that all delegates to future congresses must have command of the Hebrew language. The petition, which was signed by 77 delegates, aroused a storm of protest from other delegates who demanded equal treatment for the Yiddish language.


How to prevent German diplomats and propagandists from utilizing the agreement for the export of German goods to Palestine to the value of three million marks in the liquidation of capital of German Jewish emigrants to Palestine for the purpose of breaking the anti-Nazi boycott was heatedly discussed all day yesterday by the political committee.

The American delegation to the congress, headed by Rabbi Wise, was insistent that the committee make this issue clear. As the committee continued to find a solution to the question it had for consideration Rabbi Wise’s ultimatum that unless the congress made its attitude clear towards the agreement, Rabbi Wise, in behalf of the American delegation, would issue a statement condemning the agreement.


With Dr. Weizmann apparently out of the picture, a bloc of the General Zionists with which Rabbi Wise is associated, was preparing for a vigorous fight to re-elect Dr. Sokolow. Dr. Sokolow’s bid for Laborite support last night is believed to have materially enhanced his chances for re-election.

Dr. Sokolow yesterday received representatives of all the Zionist parties for consultation on their opinions how to form a coalition executive without Revisionist members. With his speech this evening bidding for Labor support, it was generally understood that the veteran leader wishes re-election and it was generally considered that he was in a most favored position to obtain it.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund