A Week’s Events in Review
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A Week’s Events in Review

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Although the “Protocols” trial in Berne occupied much attention the B’nai B’rith convention in Washington and the decision of the Soviet Government to admit 4,500 foreign Jews into Biro-Bidjan, were the outstanding events in Jewish life this week.

The extent to which anti-Jewish discrimination has grown in the United States was revealed at the B’nai B’rith convention, by Alfred M. Cohen, international president of the Order, by Sigmund Livingston, chairman and by R. E. Gutstadt, director of the Anti-Defamation League, and by Dr. A. L. Sachar, director of the B’nai B’rith Hillet Fundation.


Alfred M. Cohen, in his adress, spoke chiefly on anti-Jewish discrimination in employment. He warned of the growth of this menace and condemned especially Jewish employers who refused to employ Jews. Mr. Livingston devoted his address to the anti-Jewish propaganda conducted in America by Nazis and by other subversive forces, Dr. Sachar spoke of the growing anti-Jewish feeling in the universities. Mr. Gutstadt warned of a tendency to inject anti-Semitism into American politics.

The convention of the B’nai B’rith was greeted by President Roosevelt in a special message which was read by Mr. Cohen. Joseph W. Byrns, Speaker of the House of Representatives, addressed the delegates in person.

In his address Mr. Byrns pointed out the services which the Jews of America rendered to the economic and cultural development of the country. He condemned race prejudice as a heavy handicap to Democracy. He pointed out that the American spirit provides for tolerance. He emphasized that the anti-Semitic movement does not coincide with American ideals.


A number of important plans were adopted by the B’nai B’rith convention. A ten-point program to combat anti-Semitism was approved. The convention also resolved to move the headquarters of the Order to Washington.

The plight of the. Jews in Poland was described at the convention by the British delegate, Mr. Liverman, who is a member of the political committee of the Board of Jewish Deputies. Liverman spoke not only of the fact that a million Jews in Poland are now starving because of all kinds of economic discrimination, but also the political policy of the government to deprive the Jews of rights guaranteed them by international treaties. He pointed especially to the renunciation of the National Minority Rights and to the change in the electoral law which will deprive Jews of direct representation in the Polish Parliament.


The change in the electoral law, although not directed against the Jews, was also considered this week by Jewish leaders in Poland as a blow to Jewish interests. Having nine seats in the Parliament, the Jews of Poland under the new law will be left to the mercy of the government which may or may not appoint one or two individual Jews to the Parliament as members of the Government Party, but not as representatives of the Jewish population.

The growing Jewish misery in Poland was emphasized also this week in an appeal issued in London by the leaders of all representative Jewish bodies in Great Britain. This appeal gives a heartbreaking picture of the present plight of the Jews in Poland and asks for special relief funds for Jolish Jewry.


With the Jewish situation in Poland growing from bad to worse, the news from Soviet Russia that the Soviet government this week decided to permit the entry of the first 4,500 alien Jews into Biro-Bidjan was one of the most important news developments for the Jewish population of Poland. A movement to emigrate to Biro-Bidjan has long been noticed among the Jews of Poland. This movement has attracted the interest of responsible Jewish relief organizations in America and in Europe, since emigration is the only form of productive relief possible for Polish Jewry.

With the announcement of the Soviet government that 4,500 Jews will be admitted into the Bureya this year for settlement, there is no doubt that the Agro-Joint and other Jewish relief organizations will go into action to organize the settlement of Polish and other Jews in Biro-Bidjan. Dr. Joseph Rosen, head of the Agro-Joint, is now in Moscow making a concrete study of details for organizing the transportation of Jews from Poland to Biro-Bidjan and for settling them in this autonomous Jewish district in the Far East in the best possible manner.


The Voelkischer Beobachter, Hitler’s chief organ, this week published facts and figures about the number of Jews who left Germany. The Nazi paper disclosed that 90,000 Jews left the country since Hitler came into power. Ten thousand of them reentered the country when it was believed that the Jewish situation would improve somewhat in Germany. Many of these Jews upon their return to Germany were arrested and sent to special camps.

The most interesting fact disclosed by the Nazi paper in connection with the Jewish flight from Germany is that the Nazi government has collected not less than $35,000,000 in the so-called emigration tax levied on the Jews who left the country. Thi means that every German Jew who left for Palestine with a capital of at least $5,000, was compelled to pay the tax which approximates one-third of the entire property which the emigrant possessed.

To call the thing by its right name, it would mean that the Nazi government has confiscated $25,000,000 of Jewish capital, legally in addition to the many millions of Jewish money now still held in German banks which cannot be taken out of the country because of the existing exchange regulations. This open robbery is now cited by the Voelkischer Beobachter as an achievement of the Nazi rule.


To further the anti-Jewish propaganda abroad, the Nazis have this week established a special international organization under the name “Anti-Jewish World League”. This League is to be headed by a Frenchman and is to follow the same tactics as Julius Streicher is advocating in Germany.

A brief period of direct propaganda by Streicher in Bavaria has resulted in anti-Jewish riots there this week. The Nazi political police at first tried to suppress the news about the riots but later came out with a statement admitting that such outbreaks had taken place. The riots were directed especially against Jewish shopkeepers in order to force them to give up their business.


While the Nazi rulers in Germany are concentrating on more anti-Jewish measures, a split in German Jewry took place this week when the Zionists in Berlin demanded domination over the entire Jewish life in Germany. A conference of Zionists in Berlin adopted a resolution that all Jewish communities in Germany which are semi-official institutions recognized by the government, should be put entirely under Zionist control. The conference also demanded a full reorganization of all Jewish institutions in Germany in order to place them under complete Zionist influence.

Although the non-Zionist Jewish leaders in Germany recognize the right of the Zionists to be represented in German-Jewish life, they firmly oppose the efforts of the Zionists to capture control. Their argument is that the Zionists have always been contending that they are not interested in local Jewish affairs and that their entire interests lies in work for Palestine. The readjustment of the Jews in Germany is, however, an internal matter concerned with German Jewry and having nothing to do with Zionism or Palestine. In this direction, lie the functions of the Jewish communities and the existing German-Jewish institutions. The attempt of the Zionists to force their control upon the entire Jewish life in Germany is therefore considered by the non-Zionist Jewish elements in Germany as an invasion.

It would be deplorable if the Zionists’ attempt should lead to a serious breach in German-Jewish life at this time, when the Jews of Germany need unity more than ever before. Such unity has ben established since the Nazis came into power, and the Zionists have only benefitted by it.


The Zionist movement for the first time this week faced the results of the Agudah opposition, when it was compelled by the Palestine Government to assign a number of immigration certificates for Palestine to members of the Agudath Israel. The Agudah is the organization of extreme Orthodox Jews upon which the Colonial Office in London is looking very favorably. It is for this reason that the High Commissioner of Palestine invited to his office this week representatives of the Vaad Leumi, the Jewish National Council of Palestine, and the Agudah, in order to bring both sides to a friendly understanding.


The King’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated this week in Palestine by all central Jewish institutions and was marked by the establishment of a King George Forest, to consist of 1,200,000 trees, which will be planted on land belonging to the Jewish National Fund. The expenses for planting this forest will be covered by the Jews of England. A number of British Jews were decorated in Palestine in honor of the King’s Jubilee, and message of thanks was sent by the King to the Zionist Organization for the felicitations sent to him by the conference of the British Zionists held this week in London.

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