Zionist Emergency Council Re-elects Dr. Wise As Chairman; Silver Resignation Accepted
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Zionist Emergency Council Re-elects Dr. Wise As Chairman; Silver Resignation Accepted

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The controversy within the American Zionist Emergency Council, which was precipitated by the differences of opinion between Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver over Zionist tactics in Washington, culminated last night in the formal acceptance by the Council of the resignations of the two co-chairmen of the organization and in the immediate re-election of Dr. Wise as the sole chairman.

The elimination of Dr. Silver from leadership resulted in a statement issued today by the Mizrachi expressing “disappointment” but declaring that the Mizrachi “does not as yet choose to officially withdraw from the American Zionist Emergency Council.” A statement was also issued by Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, supporting Dr. Wise.

The Zionist Emergency Council, in a statement issued after last night’s meeting, said: “The Council desires to make clear that the controversy referred to in the public press does not involve any difference with respect to fundamental Zionist policy or maximal or minimal Zionist program, but is rather one of procedure, methods of implementation and the authority of its officers. The American Zionist Emergency Council will go forward with continued vigor and determination for the realization of its objective – unrestricted Jewish immigration into Palestine, full opportunity for Jewish colonization and the reconstitution of Palestine as a free and democratic Jewish Commonwealth. For this it will seek the active support of the executive and legislative branches of the United States Government and the good will of the American people.”


Dr. Silver’s resignation was accepted with an expression of appreciation for his devoted services, and his pledge of continued membership and service in the Council was welcomed, it was officially announced. In addition to re-electing Dr. Wise as chairman, the Council recommended to the executive committee the establishment of a Committee on Implementation of Policy to be composed of a chairman, the heads or designees of the organizations represented in the Emergency Council, and the chairman of the Council and the chairman of its executive committee. In accordance with constitutional provisions, the executive committee will at its next meeting elect its own chairman and the chairman of the Committee on Implementation of Policy. Meanwhile, it elected Mrs. S. W. Halprin, Hadassah leader, as treasurer.


Dr. Goldstein, in his statement, said that “one redeeming circumstance of the entire situation,” is that Dr. Wise remains a friendly contact with President Roosevelt and the State Department. “To maintain this friendly contact is essential,” he emphasized. He disclosed that on Dec. 19, the executive of the ZOA, by a vote of 17 to 4, adopted the following resolution.

“It is the sense of this meeting that on the basis of the facts as presented to us, Dr. Wise’s resignation as a protect against Dr. Silver’s action in contravention of the decisions of the Emergency Council is justified. We believe that Dr. Wise’s resignation from the leadership of the Zionist movement in America would most seriously injure the interests of the movement and, therefore, conditions must be created to enable Dr. Wise to continue as chairman of the American Zionist Emergency Council. We leave it to our representatives on the Emergency Council to act in accordance with these views.”

This resolution was reaffirmed at a meeting of the Z.O.A. Executive held after Dr. Silver’s full report to the Emergency Council had been heard, Dr. Goldstein added. “The ZOA will continue to give the Emergency Council full cooperation,” he declared. “Its leaders and representatives, however, will retain the right to express honest, and conscientious judgement on questions as they arise, abiding, of course, by the will of the majority, and will also continue to insist on discipline as the fundamental basis of any democratically organized constituency.”


The statement issued by the Mizrachi representatives on the Zionist Emergency Council expressed “regret and intense disappointment at the disheartening fact that all efforts during recent weeks to bring about unity within the Council have completely failed due to the unyielding attitude of the majority within the Council, which in our opinion represents however a definite minority within the rank and file of American Zionists.” The statement emphasizes that the Mizrachi “considers the present decision, which forces the withdrawal of Dr. Silver from the official scene of political Zionism in America, as a serious blow to the vigorous policy which we have continually supported, and is regarding it as a concession to an approach of which we disapprove now as we have rejected it heretofore.”

“Approximately two years ago Mizrachi had initiated an independent political effort through a bureau in Washington, having been dissatisfied with the inactivity and disorganization of the Emergency Committee of the time,” the statement continues. “This effort, though it originally had even the encouragement of Dr. Weizmann, was given up in full submission to the reorganized and revitalized Emergency Council under the joint leadership of Dr. Silver and Dr. Wise. We declare that in our opinion the last 16 months of adequate, impressive and fruitful political effort, in which Dr. Silver played a leading role, more than compensated our comparatively small sacrifice in the giving up of our own partisan instrumentality.

“The glorious chapter of the American Zionist Emergency Council is now being ended, as we see it, by a small majority imposing its will and viewpoint to the hurt and even annulment of a policy in Zionism which we consider vital for the advance of Zionism’s political interests and the achievement of its objectives. Mizrachi registers herewith its intention to align with all forces in Zionism that are seeking the opportunity of recreating a front for aggressive Zionism, though it does not as yet choose to officially withdraw from the American Zionist Emergency Council,” the statement concludes.

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