Goldmann Demands Israel Look Upon Jews in Diaspora As “partners”
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Goldmann Demands Israel Look Upon Jews in Diaspora As “partners”

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With a dramatic call for a revolutionary reversal of the present relationship between Israel and the Jewish people, as the only means of solving the unprecedented problems which will face both in the coming decade, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, opened the Zionist Actions Committee meeting here tonight. The Actions Committee is the policy-making body of the Zionist movement between world congresses.

Reviewing the Middle East situation and briefly sketching the position of the Jewish communities on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Dr. Goldmann called for a basic change from the present position of Jews outside Israel as mere “helpers” of Israel to a “joint partnership” as the only possible way to solve material and spiritual problems.

Listing Israel’s three main outside sources of income as the Jewish people, American aid and German reparations, Dr. Goldmann warned that the American and German funds “will disappear or nearly disappear” in the next decade. “This means. ” he went on, “that the Jewish people will become the most important source of Israel’s income in the next decade.”

Dr. Goldmann warned that without success in “raising the level and form of Jewish participation in upbuilding Israel in a substantial and radical way, there is no chance whatsoever that we will be able to cope with the tasks which the second ten-year period will put before Israel and the Jewish people in making Israel secure, in enabling the development of the country–and especially of the Negev–in making possible large immigration of those who still have to come to Israel, and especially in view of the prospects wherein I fully believe that in the coming ten-year period Eastern Europe will open up for Jewish immigration to Israel.

“None of these problems will be solved even sketchily if Jewish support for Israel remains what it is today, seen from the viewpoint of donations, of bond buying, of private investment and least, but certainly not last, of providing manpower for Israel,” he added.


“We have started to move in the wrong direction, making the upbuilding of Israel nearly exclusively the responsibility of its citizens and regarding the other Jews of the world as helpers and friends,” the World Zionist president pointed out. “If we regard them as givers and helpers, there is no limit to the gratitude we owe them. If we look upon them as partners in the crucial and historic task of Jewish life, we have the right and duty to blame the Jewish people for the insufficiency of its efforts.”

The consequence of the separation between Israel and Jews abroad in the upbuilding of Israel was not less negative for Israel, Dr. Goldmann maintained. “Israel has got used to the notion it could do it more or less by itself. Its self-confidence became over-exaggerated and it began to regard the Jews of the world purely as helpers. It became indifferent, even contemptuous, of Zionism.

“It began to feel that it could fulfill its destiny without the Jews of the world. It became jealous of any intervention from Jews outside of Israel and began to develop with regard to the Jewish communities the nonsensical feeling of sovereignty, with the result that it has had more and more to go on its knees to the Jews of the world begging for help instead of approaching the Jewish communities as partners in one piece of work.”

“In order not to be misunderstood,” Dr. Goldmann continued, “I am not demanding for the Jews of the world the right to determine Israel’s foreign policy, nor the right to mix in internal policies. I am against identification of Zionist parties with political parties in Israel. But I do think that the great, real partnership of the Jewish people with Israel will require their becoming familiar with the problems of upbuilding Israel and their right and duty to advise and influence the way their contributions–be it donations or investments–are being used.


“I know how difficult it will be to change this approach,” he avowed. “The Jewish communities feel much easier in the position they have been for the last ten years. They and

First, the Zionist movement must re-educate itself, admit newcomers, do away with petty party politicking and make chalutiziut one of the essential parts of its program. At this point Dr. Goldmann severely criticized both Zionist leaders abroad and Zionist party leaders in Israel who had not implemented the last Zionist congress resolutions aimed at achieving the above aims.

The second condition for a new partnership between Israel and the Jewish people, Dr. Goldmann continued, is more essential than the first–namely, the proper attitude and willingness of Israel. A partnership cannot be imposed. One cannot run permanently after Israel trying to be even a junior partner. It is not a question of privilege. “Partnership has to be willed by both partners and even if the Jewish people realize it needs Israel desperately for its own future, it cannot impose joint responsibility and joint partnership on the major partner called the State of Israel.”

Dr. Goldmann emphasized that “much more important than whether Israel should be Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European or Asiatic, is the decision about which, in my opinion, there can be no possible doubt that Israel must be Jewish–the joint creation, the joint venture based on the joint responsibility of the Jewish people, as its instrument for its survival and its future.”


In the beginning of his speech, Dr. Goldmann reviewed Middle East developments, listing Soviet penetration and the beginning of Arab unification as the most important and as creating a situation “most perilous for Israel.” The only hope for Israel, he said, “is some agreement between the two blocs–some armistice–regarding the Middle East” increasing the area’s stability.

In this connection, Dr. Goldmann clarified his views on his right to speak on Israel foreign policy matters. He said he had reached full agreement with Premier David Ben Gurion that while nobody can make a political statement in behalf of the Zionist Organization every Zionist including the president of the Zionist Organization, has the right to express political views in his personal, individual capacity.

Continuing his review of the world scene, Dr. Goldmann said “Eastern European Jewry, especially that of the Soviet Union, is still deprived de facto, although not legally, of its rights and facilities to live a Jewish life and maintain its identity as part of the Jewish people. We are as determined today as we were a year ago to continue to press that these rights and facilities be granted to the Jewish community in the USSR. We demand for these Jews no more, nor less than is granted all other minorities in the Soviet Union.

“If there has been any progress in this respect,” he continued, “it has been the fact that world public opinion is becoming increasingly aware of the problem. Even groups and personalities who cannot be suspected of antagonism or hostility toward the Soviet Union or the Communist world are beginning to comprehend the justice of our demands which are not to be confounded with any position regarding the Soviet Union or its ideology. We ask of every state in the world that the Jews be granted the right of equal citizenship and the right for the Jewish community to collectively maintain its Jewish character and remain an inseparable part of the Jewish people.

“The right to emigrate to Israel for those who so desire is only a self-evident part of our general demand and is based on the Magna Carta of Human Rights. I hope I am not mistaken in feeling that the leaders of the Soviet Union are also beginning to become slightly aware of this problem. Therefore we may hope that in pursuance of the policy of co-existence, relaxation of tensions and mutual good will and tolerance which the Soviet Union proclaims to be the basis of its foreign policy, the time will come when these justified demands will be given consideration and Jewish communities in the Soviet orbit will be allowed, within the social and political structure of their countries, to develop their national character and culture, re-establish contacts with Jewish communities in other parts of the world, and emigrate to Israel.”

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