Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Uproar over the Soviet Union Breaks out at Convention of World Jewish Congress

June 30, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A half-hour uproar broke out here this morning during the third day’s session of the World Jewish Congress when British delegate Dr. S. Levenberg, referring to a speech last night by Moshe Sneh, former member of the Jewish Agency, asked: “Do you really mean we should appear as an agency of Soviet propaganda?”

During the course of heated cross-discussion from the floor and the dais where the presidium was seated, presidium member Zerutavel and a number of delegates from the East European countries demanded that Dr. Levenberg withdraw his remarks. They were matched by the equally vociferous insistence of the British delegation that he be permitted to continue. After the intervention of Dr. Nahum Goldmann and a number of other delegates, Dr. Levenberg proceeded.

He explained that he fully recognized Russia’s sympathetic attitude toward Israel and the fact that there is no anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. He added that he sympathizes with the achievements of the Eastern European democracies. But, he questioned, “why is not Soviet Jewry represented here?” He also charged that there are Zionists imprisoned in the Soviet Union now, and asked why Jewish refugees were still fleeing Eastern European countries, including Rumania.

Joachim Prinz, chairman of the administrative committee of the American Jewish Congress and head of the American delegation, told the parley that American Jewry continuously fights for the “extension of freedom and democratic rights. Without these rights and the ability to criticize the government, it is possible that the U.S. recognition of Israel might not have come about, he asserted.

Other speakers included: Swedish Chief Rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis; Dr. J. Kavensky of Argentina, who reported on the development and activities of the Jewish community in his country; Dr. L. Benedek of Hungary; D. V. Winterstein of Slovakia who said that the Czechoslovak Government continues its traditional pro-Jewish attitude; S.Z. Shragai of Israel; Dr. Adolph Berman of Poland; Dr. Joseph Rosenzaft of the British zone of Germany; and J. Raisky of France.

A 24-man presidium was elected last night. It was chosen on the basis of the strength of various national delegations. Revisionist observers I. Yunichman and Joseph KLarman announced that they will recommend to their party that it affiliate with the Congress.

Recommended from JTA