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Plebiscite on Jewish State to Mark A.J. Congress Elections in June

May 3, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

American Jews will be asked next month to register their approval or disapproval of creation of a Jewish State in Palestine in the first national referendum on that and three other questions affecting Jewish life here and throughout the world, it was announced today at a luncheon to representatives of the press by the American Jewish Congress.

The plebiscite will be held June 25, 26, 27, simultaneously with the national elections to select 400 delegates from 304 cities in the United States to an extraordinary session of the American Jewish Congress scheduled for September. Purchasers of the ten-cent certificates entitling them to vote for delegates will have the right to cast ballots in the plebiscite which, it was announced, will in all probability be conducted by mail.

The four questions to be put to registrants were announced as follows: 1) Shall the American Jewish Congress, established on a democratic basis in accordance with American deals be the representative agency of the Jews of America in defense of equal rights of Jews? 2) Do you favor the reorganization of American Jewish communities on a democratic, representative basis; and the management of all community activities (including federations and welfare funds) on the same democratic, representative principle? 3) Do you favor establishment of a free Jewish State in Palestine? 4) Do you favor the continuance of the boycott against Nazi Germany, including within the boycott the recently annexed province of Austria?

The question on the Jewish State, it was pointed out, constituted the first time it has ever been put to the American Jewish public in that form and the first time since 1918 that the Palestine issue has been put to a popular referendum in the United States. In 1918, it was stated, the then American Jewish Congress submitted to the public the question of approval of the Balfour Declaration with its pledge to facilitate establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Sixteen national organizations with a combined membership of 500,000, it was announced, have already signified their support of the plebiscite. They include Hadassah, Federation of Polish Jews in America, Hapoel Hamizrachi, Independent Order Brith Abraham, Independent Order Brith Sholom, Jewish National Workers Alliance, Masada, Mizrachi Organization, Order Sons of Zion, Pioneer Women’s Organization; Poale Zion-Ze:re Zion, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Rumanian Jews of America, Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress, Youth Division of the A.J.C. and the Zionist Organization of America.

Speakers at the luncheon included Louis Lipsky, chairman; Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, and M. Maldwin Fertig, chairman of the National Board of Elections. The luncheon marked formal launching of the elections campaign.

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