Formation of American Council for Israel Urged at ZOA Convention
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Formation of American Council for Israel Urged at ZOA Convention

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The establishment of an American Council for Israel “to promote concerted action on the part of all segments of American Jewry and the fostering of settlement in Israel not only from the lands of oppression but from all parts of the free world,” was urged today at the 56th annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America, now taking place here.

The proposal was presented by Dr. Emanuel Neumann, member of the Jewish Agency executive, who also called for a united front of all American Zionist groups. He also suggested the creation of a joint committee consisting of representatives of the Zionist movement and of Israel “to work steadily and systematically during the coming months, in an effort to reach full agreement on principles and policies and complete coordination of effort in the future with respect to the role and function of world. Zionism.”

Dr. Neumann said he did not exclude the possibility of the eventual unification of the World Jewish Congress with the World Zionist Organization “which had helped to create it, for today there are no longer overriding considerations requiring the existence of two separate world organizations.”

Disturbed by the many conflicting opinions on what the future role and character of the Zionist movement should be, Dr. Neumann told the assembled Zionist leaders from all parts of the country that “only if Israel and the Zionist movement are of one mind, speak with one voice and act in full accord can Zionism regain its full effectiveness.”

The strength and importance of the Zionist movement, he pointed out, rested not alone upon its own shoulders, but with the State of Israel, which is in some respects the decisive factor in the Zionist world. “It is essential that full agreement on a common policy and a common approach to Jewry outside of Israel be reached soon and certainly before the next Zionist Congress in 1954.”


Dr. Israel Goldstein, a member of the Jewish Agency executive and chairman of the World Confederation of General Zionists, called for fuller participation by the Zionist movement in the affairs of the American Jewish community. He placed on the debit side its failure to join “in the effort to safeguard American democracy and world-mindedness against the insidious attempts to undermine both.”

The former ZOA president also found the Zionist movement “lagging in the effort being made to organize the American Jewish community on a democratic basis.” He warned that failure to throw its full organizational strength into this program can only jeopardize the future of Zionism in this country.

The Zionist leader who is also president of the American Jewish Congress discussed such vital Zionist problem as the future structure of the Jewish Agency, the merger of all Zionist parties into one non-party unity and the influence of Zionism on Jewish education.

He favored the proposal to enlarge the Jewish Agency structure so as to include non-Zionists, who, he said, “have the moral right to be represented and to have a voice in the Jewish Agency program of immigration and settlement in Israel, in view of their splendid leadership and participation in the fund-raising.”

“Their participation in providing the material resources for Israel’s needs is an asset which must not be jeopardized by failure to make a reasonable offer of representation. Those who propose this formula assume that purely Zionist tasks such as Zionist education and chalutziut will continue to be the responsibility of the Zionist Organization.”

Benjamin G. Browdy, past president of the Zionist Organization of America and a member of the Jewish Agency executive, urged all Zionist members “to throw themselves into the work of Jewish education and Jewish community organization – the Jewish schools, Federations, the Welfare Funds and Jewish Community Councils – in all Jewish communities throughout the United States.”

Jacques Torczyner, chairman of the ZOA Committee on World Zionist Affairs and a vice-president of the ZOA, emphasized that “the function of the world Zionist movement is to help the Jewish people survive in a modern world where assimilation and foreign totalitarian ideas threaten to capture our youth and our intellectuals.”

The speaker further maintained that the Zionist movement can only regain its stature not by seeking structural changes but by reinvigorating its soul.” He further felt that “the Zionist movement is struggling because it cannot forget its historic achievement and adapt itself to the realities of the day.”


Avraham Harman, Consul General of Israel, addressing the convention, maintained that Israel’s relations with the Arab countries will be speedily solved “as soon as the illusion is removed that Israel’s existence as an integral part of the Middle East can be ignored.”

Emphasizing that “we are here to stay,” the Israel diplomat said: “We are ready for real peace at all times with our neighbors, but it must be quite clear that real peace means a mutual recognition of each other’s existence.” He warned that the supply of arms to the Middle East while this atmosphere of conflict exists and the unwillingness of the Arabs to negotiate peace continues would “inevitably result in the stimulation of the existing rancours and in a deflection of attention from the essential problems of the area which are fundamentally economic and social in character.”


Louis Lipsky, chairman of the American Zionist Council, reported at the convention on the efforts by anti-Israel elements in Washington to change the policy of friendship of the legislative and executive branches of the American Government towards Israel. Pointing out that their efforts had failed, Mr. Lipsky said:

“In spite of dangers overcome, it would be a mistake, however, to sit back and regard the situation with calm feelings and restful satisfaction. Democratic government is an instrument that responds to the will of its people. In the long run, often in a much shorter run, government is bound to reflect public opinion and to be shaped and directed by its pressures.

“It is quite possible by persistent and unscrupulous assault on emotions and self-interest, by use of the new techniques of public relations now being practiced on

radio and television, by occupying important outposts of public communication and using them for sinister purposes, by penetrating avenues of influence closed to us by religious or social barriers, by operating undisturbed among the grass roots of American life — so to accelerate the burgeoning of prejudices and passion as to cause precipitate change of policy.

“The propaganda which failed of its purpose this year will rally again for another trial of strength at the first opportunity. We must be prepared for it and rally all our friends and the instruments of public opinion that are friendly to us in order to react promptly, intelligently and tactfully to their carefully made plans to impair the status of the State of Israel in the sight of American public opinion and through it radically to influence government,” Mr. Lipsky stated.

Today’s session also heard reports and recommendations on economic aid to Israel given by American Jewry. Speakers included Abraham Goodman, Rudolf Sonneborn, Benjamin E. Gordon, Max Bressler, Herman L. Weisman and Robert Szold. Reviews on the work of the United Jewish Appeal, Israel bond drive. Jewish National Fund and the organizations engaged in stimulating private investments in Israel were also presented.

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