Z.O.A. Convention Decides to Strengthen General Zionism in Israel; Re-elects Browdy
Menu JTA Search

Z.O.A. Convention Decides to Strengthen General Zionism in Israel; Re-elects Browdy

Download PDF for this date

After an exhaustive debate, the convention of the Zionist Organization of America, by a vote of 329 to 127, today adopted a resolution affirming its resolve to do all in its power ” to strengthen General Zionism throughout the world.” A substitute motion presented by J.M. Alkow of the South Pacific Zionist Region recording its disapproval ” of any effort of any party outside of Israel to interfere in the internal affairs of the state of Israel was defeated. Benjamin G. Browdy was re-elected president. The resolution which was approved follows:

“In pursuing its activities on the world Zionist scene, the Zionist Organization of America has throughout the years played a major role as a General Zionist organization and has maintained close relations with fellow General Zionists in other lands, particularly with the organization of General Zionists in Israel (Histadruth Nazionim Haklalim). We believe that a reinvigorated Zionist movement, capable of providing effective service to Israel and moral leadership in the Diaspora, can best be achieved through the realization of the principles of General Zionism, and are therefore resolved to do what lies in our power to strengthen General Zionism throughout the world.

“We affirm the position taken by our national executive committee in October, 1950, in hailing the remarkable growth and increasing strength of the organization of General Zionists in Israel and in pledging the continuation of our fraternal relations with it, to the end that it will fulfill its role as the great center party in the interest of stability and the harmonious collaboration of all constructive elements. We continue to deplore the rift in the ranks of General Zionism in Israel brought about by the formation of the Progressive Party, and commend the recent action of our administration in associating itself with the General Zionist Organizations of nine other countries for the purpose of renewing our appeal for unity, we shall continue to urge and press for the complete unification of the two groups.


A declaration on the World Zionist Organization adopted by the convention called attention to the unabated need for a strong and independent World Zionist Organization. “We hold that the World Zionist Organization must continue to possess special status and retain freedom of action in its own proper spheres,” the declaration said. It emphasized that the world Zionist Organization must possess constitutional independence and autonomy in the administration of its activities. “We urge the government of Israel to embark on a policy of reciprocal relations and mutuality of obligations with the Zionist movement to recognize the movement’s unique role,” the declaration stated.

In another resolution the Z.O.A. convention called upon President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson “to use their good offices to the end that the U.S. delegation to the United Nations take the initiative in ensuring that the United Nations machinery in the area use its authority to remove the obstacles in the way of the full immediate implementation of the Huleh reclamation project. Backing up Israel’s claim for $1,500,000,000 reparations from Germany, another resolution asked that the American Government do not hand over full powers to any German Government without express reservations having been made for the payment of reparations to Israel.


Louis Lipsky, chairman of the American Zionist Council, addressing the convention declared ” there is no question now that the Zionist movement is forced by historical necessity to continue its role for at least another decade” although, he added, the form of the Zionist organization may have to be changed and adapted to new conditions. Commenting on the resolution adopted by the convention commiting the Z.O.A. to aid the General Zionist party, Mr. Lipsky said: “It will be disconcerting for many members of the Zionist organization to discover this morning that they are now the partners of one of the Israel political parties generally and that specifically they are now participating in the current election campaign to defeat Mr. David Ben Gurion and the forces associated with him. In fact this convention by discussion, debate and decision has given the impression of being an opening campaign rally.”

Dr. Nahum Goldman in a telegram sent to the convention before leaving for Israel, expressed his personal conviction that “the World Zionist Organization requires recognized status in Israel as the representative of the whole Jewish people in its self-imposed task of cooperation with the Israeli government in the upbuilding of the Jewish state. He said that in the campaigns which preceded elections in Israel last Wednesday for delegates to the forthcoming World Zionist Congress, all parties, including the Mapai emphasized the belief that the Israel parliament should grant such status by legislative action.

Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, in a cablegram from Jerusalem called upon the convention to ” pave a way for a unifying and United Zionist movement which will stand at the head of American Jewry. Mr. Ben. Gurion, in his message, defined the tasks of the Zionist movement at this hour, as follows: the fulfillment of the ingathering of exiles; the enhancement of the pioneering movement; the Hebrew culture and education. He called for the unity of all parts of the Zionist movement into an organization of the Jewish people as a whole. “All parts of the movement, irrespective of social and spiritual tendencies, are now called upon to unite for common action,” he stated.

“The establishment of the State of Israel,” the Premier said, “has created the possibility for full realization of the Zionist vision, but we have still a long way to go, and the continuous effort of our entire people directed by the Zionist idea in its full history significance is still needed to reach our final goal. The Zionist movement in American is now standing at the crossroads and a care opportunity has been given to your organization to pave a way for a unifying and united Zionist movement which will stand at the head of American Jewry in the great era opened to the Jewish people with the establishment of the state and the beginning of the ingathering of exiles.”

Dr. Emanuel Neumann took sharp issue with recent statements by Ben Gurion. He declared that Mr. Ben Gurion had avoided any mention of Zionism or the Zionist movement in his public appearances through the U.S. He insisted on the indispensable ability of a special status to be given officially by the Israeli Parliament to the Zionist movement.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund