Rosenwald, Wolsey Attack Political Zionism in Cincinnati; Neumann, Hellier Reply
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Rosenwald, Wolsey Attack Political Zionism in Cincinnati; Neumann, Hellier Reply

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Political Zionism was opposed and defended here by Lessing J. Rosenwald and Rabbi Louis Wolsey, founder of the American Council for Judaism, on one hand, and Dr. James Heller and Emanuel Neumann of the American Zionist Emergency Council on the other.

Jews of America are at a vital moment in their history, wherein each must decide if he or she is for or against Jewish statehood, Mr. Rosenwald and Rabbi Wolsey told several hundred Cincinnatians at the Hotel Alms, speaking under the auspices of the American Council for Judaism. Both speakers charged that the official Zionist policy today holds that Jews are homeless everywhere save in Palestine. Both speakers rejected that idea and insisted that Jews are Jews by religion and are citizens of the particular land in which they reside.

“I have tried repeatedly to persuade Zionists to debate with me the issue of political Zionism, the idea of Jewish statehood,” Rabbi Wolsey said. “But to no avail. They refuse to debate the matter.” An American of very high position told Dr. Wolsey that he fears continuance of the current Zionist pressure can only result in increase of anti-Semitic manifestations, he said. A Briton of very high position was equally outspoken with regard to the same matter, he added.

Stating that “the Zionists consider utilization of Palestine, as a haven of refuge, as of only secondary importance as compared with establishment of a Palestine commonwealth,” Mr. Rosenwald said that “the American Council for Judaism believes that the basis of unity among Jews is religion; Jews consider themselves nationals of those countries in which they live and those lands their homelands; numerous localities must be found throughout the world where resettlement can be effected under favorable auspices and Palestine should continue to be one of the places for resettlement; any hopeful future for Jews in Palestine depends upon establishment of a democracy in which Jews, Moslems and Christians shall be justly represented in the effort to establish a Jewish national state in Palestine or elsewhere is a prospect that has been and will be deleterious to the welfare of the Jews in Palestine and throughout the world; all philosophies that stress the racialism, nationalism and homelessness of the Jews are injurious to their interests.”

Mr. Rosenwald questioned whether or not the present standard of living among Jews in Palestine could be maintained if all outside aid were withdrawn. “The impression has gained ground, though utterly erroneous, that the overwhelming majority of Jews in this country are national Zionists. It is our belief that nothing could be further from the fact. It therefore seems to us that there is a definite place in the picture for such an organization as the American Council for Judaism,” he declared.

Addressing a mass-meeting at Wise Center called by the Committee on Unity for Palestine, Mr. Neumann said that the Council for Judaism takes a self-contradictory position when it declares opposition to the White Paper and, at the same time, declares itself opposed to a Jewish commonwealth. To stand for the principle of unrestricted immigration, he stressed, is to lay the foundation for a commonwealth led by a Jewish majority. He set forth his position on the immigration versus Jewish commonwealth issue in this manner. “If I had the choice between accepting from the United Nations, on the one hand, a political formulation that when the Jews constitute a majority in Palestine they may form a Jewish commonwealth, and I was offered on the other hand, the right to place 1,000,000 Jews in Palestine – but guaranteed – I would say, ‘Give me the 1,000,000 Jews and we will see about the political future of Palestine.”

The accusation that the Zionists wish to establish a “theocracy, to create a union of church and state, or oppress the Arabs and create a racist state,” the speaker called “a red herring without foundation in fact.”

Rabbi Heller in a brief address urged a special effort to reach understanding. “We should not be divided on this issue at such a perilous time,” he said.

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