Dr. Goldmann Rebukes Ben-gurion for Attacks on Zionist Movement
Menu JTA Search

Dr. Goldmann Rebukes Ben-gurion for Attacks on Zionist Movement

Download PDF for this date

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, in a lecture on the 25th World Zionist Congress, strongly rebuked today Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for his criticisms of the present Zionist movement and of plans for a new “roof organization” for world Jewry.

Dr. Goldmann said the Zionist movement still had a two-fold mission–to bring to Israel the many Jews who need sanctuary or wish to go to Israel and to bring those Jews remaining in other countries closer to Israel so that they would regard Israel as a “center and basis” for the life of the entire Jewish people.

The world Zionist leader argued that while the Prime Minister had not said so openly, he intended that the Israel Government would take over the functions of promoting settlement in Israel and Hebrew education in Jewish communities in other countries. Dr. Goldmann said this would not be accepted by any Government abroad and least of all by Jews in other countries.

He added that even if one were to accept the contention that the present form of the Zionist organization was not ideal, any attempt to create a new organization would cause chaos and leave a vacuum in Zionist activity. Not only could Israel not prevail in such a vacuum. Dr. Goldmann said, but the Jewish people as such could not continue in view of the relaxation of religious ties.


He contended that the Zionist movement could carry out these and other tasks if two conditions were arranged–unreserved backing by the Israel Government and an end to the difficulties deriving from “present conditions of party divisions.” Given those conditions, he said, the Zionist movement could carry out required changes and expand the scope of representation of Jewish communities either through full membership in the World Zionist movement, or as affiliates or fraternal members.

Dr. Goldmann devoted almost 60 minutes of the lecture, which was sponsored by the Israel Government Information Office, to a description of what the Zionist movement could have done and would do if given the opportunity by the Israel Government and if “a man representing the Israel Government” had not made statements that caused “confusion in several Jewish communities”–an obvious reference to the Prime Minister.

Dr. Goldmann expressed the hope that cooperation between the Government and the Jewish Agency would be improved when the first regular meeting of the Agency-Government coordinating committee is held on December 4.

Remarking that he hoped the majority of Israelis did not share the Prime Minister’s views about the Zionist movement, Dr. Goldmann accused the Israel Government of non-cooperation with the Jewish Agency on development and absorption plans. However, he added that there was a measure of cooperation between the Israel Foreign Ministry and the Jewish Agency’s immigration department.

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