Palestine Emphasized As Home
Menu JTA Search

Palestine Emphasized As Home

Download PDF for this date

dissenting Zionists had been beaten.

While the centrist group had been deeply aroused by the two attacks on the Revisionists, feeling that the discussion was harmful to the cause of peace within Zionist ranks, much sentiment favorable to the point of view expressed by Fishman was evident in the lobby discussion and later, in the convention proper.

With this resolution, the crucial and most stirring moments of the convention were reached. The general discussion was enlivened by Lipsky and others who identified the Revisionists by name as the group against which the resolution was directed. While a number of delegates present were of the opinion that the Z.O.A. should stand aside from both extremes within the world organization, acting according to given situations, and not endorsing any specific group, the administration seemed committed to support of the anti-Revisionist view on the basis of Revisionist opposition to the world executive and breaches of discipline and violence which every administration leader and Locker stressed.

The administration leaders declared repeatedly that they were not taking sides with the Laborites but were opposed to the Revisionists who, Lipsky charged, were “trying to wipe out the work of thirty-five years in the creation of the World Zionist Movement.”

The session was the liveliest of the convention.

Among the resolutions adopted this afternoon was one expressing approval of acts of the World Zionist Executive; approving unanimously the boycott of Nazi Germany until persecution of the Jews is ended; emphasizing the priority of Palestine over temporary relief measures in appeals and asking the opening of Transjordania for Jewish settlement.

A surprise resolution was introduced, asking the incoming Z.O.A. administration to initiate steps leading to granting Russian Jewry the right to carry on Zionist work.

In the course of debate it was revealed that Rothenberg had been carrying on unofficial conversations with Soviet representatives here and was encouraged. United States Ambassador Bullitt, envoy to the Soviet, was present at the conversations and promised an investigation into the Russian-Jewish situation.

The resolution was adopted unanimously.

The organization committee presented a series of resolutions implementing Rothenberg’s report of Zionist activities by enabling the enrollment of Zionist endorsers who do not desire to join the organization, easing group entrance into the Z. O. A. and reorganizing the regional units.

Another resolution that brought forth a vigorous display of feeling was one calling for aid for Abraham Stavsky without expressing opinion as to his guilt or innocence in the Arlosoroff murder.

The resolution was attacked by Lipsky who asked why an international defense was being created in a matter of plain law. Such action, he said, attacked the fairness of British courts of justice.

He was constantly interrupted from the floor by delegates holding a different opinion. After a prolonged debate, the resolution was carried unanimously.


Morris Rothenberg was reelected president of the Zionist Organization of America by acclamation. Mr. Rothenberg was unopposed for reelection and it was understood he agreed to accept the election only upon the acceptance of certain internal reforms in the organization, including representation of all groups in the administration.

Mr. Rothenberg received a warm ovation.

Morris Margulies was reelected secretary; Harry P. Fierst, treasurer; Louis Rocker, chairman of the finance committee. Vice-presidents elected were Judge William Lewis, Philadelphia; Nathan Straus Jr.; Elihu D. Stone, of Boston; Robert Szold and Harry Friedberg.

A governing council composed of Louis Lipsky, Abraham Goldberg, Carl Sherman, B. G. Richards, Jacob de Haas, Stephen S. Wise, Jacob Fishman, Rabbi Israel Goldstein, Dr. S. Margoshes, Charles Cowan and Leo Wolfson was also named.


Berl Locker, speaking last night in the name of the World Zionist Executive, greeted the Zionist Organization of America, extolled success of Zionism and warned against the dangers facing the movement in immigration restriction and land speculation in Palestine.

He foresaw the greatest danger in Revisionism, attacking it for “political hysteria and threat to democratic principles of Zionism.”

“The democratic character of the Zionist organization,” Mr. Locker declared, “must be carefully guarded and strengthened. Any attempt of a minority to challenge the authority of the Zionist organization and to violate its rules of discipline must be met with prompt and vigorous action. Every element of violence and every act of disturbance must be eliminated by constructive organization. The World Zionist Executive maintains a policy of cooperation with the mandatory power and is opposed to any political hysteria.


“This executive has shown that when the time demands it, it can speak frankly and forcefully against the mandatory attitude in order to strengthen our position and the mandatory power, as a strong and more universally active Zionist organization or Histadruth, and the Revisionist party is one to which the General Zionists cannot remain indifferent. We must not at any time confuse the indifference that is sometimes labeled neutrality with the neutrality that impartially examines both sides of the question and makes its decisions on the basis of its findings.

“An element of violence and double dealing has been introduced in Revisionist tactics that seeks to undermine the progress of the upbuilding of Palestine. There is no leading man in Zionism, whether it be Dr. Weizmann or Sokolow or Ussishkin, that has not been subjected to attacks of a vicious and scurrilous nature.


“It is untrue that the Histadruth does not permit non-members of its organization to obtain employment. Our struggle has been solely that of preventing disorder in labor. The Histadruth has always cooperated with other labor groups and has always manifested a sincere willingness to work in harmony with them.

“Many Americans who understand the recognition of labor for America do not understand it for Palestine. It is not because of our labor regulations, but because we do not follow the Revisionist political policies that they seek to destroy the Histadruth organization.”

Jacob Fishman’s speech yesterday aroused much controversy, but Louis Lipsky explained that the views expressed were merely Fishman’s views, and there was no motion on the subject before the convention. Tonight the delegates were allowed to take the floor.


The chief function of the Zionist Organization of America was conceived by Rabbi Louis I. Newman of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, New York, to be the building of “a bridge between the new Palestine and American Jewry.” Referring to party strife, Rabbi Newman declared it the duty of the Z. O. A. “not to duplicate in the United States the quarrels and dissension of Palestine, but to be above the battle, in the interest of the entire Yishub and of All-Israel.”

Emphasizing the necessity of a link between Palestine and the Diaspora communities, Rabbi Newman declared: “The mere collection of sums of money in the United Jewish Appeal is in itself a form of activity which interests large numbers of men and women in the particular causes, including Palestine, which are aided. But the Z. O. A. must be more than a collection society, or an appendage to the Jewish Agency, speaking in time of political crisis.


“It must discover avenues of cultural, educational and economic communication between Eretz Yisrael and the communities of Galuth. It must Hebraize the Jewish life of the Diaspora; it must, through a knowledge and imitation of the aesthetic musical, religious and intellectual interests of Palestine, reopen and broaden the current of Jewish activity throughout the world.

“The late Professor Friedlander declared that it was not a question of Palestine versus, but Pallestine plus the Diaspora. To make this motto effective for Jewry of today and tomorrow, the Zionist organization must bend its every effort.”


The Rev. Benjamin Parker of Texas, a Christian minister, received a tremendous ovation when he told the delegates in simple language and with frequent Biblical allusions why he favored Zionism.

The Histadruth Ivrith is holding four sessions here, which will close Sunday. Fifty delegates are attending. Menachem Ribalow, editor of Hadoar, reported striking progress in the growth of the organization in the United States. Dr. Solomon Goldman was reelected president of the group.


Isaac Imber, president of Masada, reported the existence of fifty-two chapters in thirty-nine cities at the opening meeting. The adoption of a resolution calling for a strong policy of Zionist education of Jewish youth was hailed as a complete acceptance of the Rothenberg program. The resolution was passed unanimously by the test vote, after a short discussion in which de Haas opposed the administration.


Principles which underly the NRA could be well applied in Palestine, declared Nathan Straus Jr., New York State director of the National Emergency Council and treasurer of the United Jewish Appeal, in advocating a liberal economic program in Palestine. He said:

“As one who is officially identified with and personally sympathetic to the program and the purpose of the New Deal in America, I can have no patience with any effort in Palestine to follow practices which we are rapidly discarding in this country.


“Under the New Deal these outworn practices are being displaced by principles of cooperative effort, in which the importance and the dignity of labor have very first consideration. There is no place in the Jewish national home either for the chauvinist or the economic and social reactionary. All that must be left behind by those who go to Palestine to create the ‘New Deal’ for the Jewish people.”

Jews should learn to recognize, he said, that non-liberal governments sow the seeds of every type of intolerance. He pointed out that other religious groups besides Jews are being persecuted by Nazi Germany. Mr. Straus made known that $1,500,000 has already been raised in this country toward the quota of $3,000,000 set for the United States in the United Jewish Appeal drive to aid German Jews.

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