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Goldmann Charges ‘chaos’ in U.S. Jewish Life; Neumann Honored

November 29, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The charge that American Jewry is suffering from “over organized chaos, leading to overlapping, waste of manpower and efforts,” was voiced here tonight at a dinner of the Zionist Organization of America tendered in tribute to Dr. Emanuel Neumann, honorary president of the ZOA and member of the Jewish Agency executive, in recognition of his 50 years of leadership and dedicated service to the Zionist cause.

Dr. Neumann was presented with the ZOA Herzl Gold Medallion, awarded each year to an individual Judged to have rendered the most outstanding service to the cause of Zionism. Previous recipients of the awards since its creation. by the ZOA three years ago were Israel President Izhak Ben-Zvi, the Earl of Balfour, nephew and heir of the author of the Balfour Declaration, and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver. More than 1,000 Zionist leaders and key workers in the metropolitan area and other parts of the country attended the $100-a-plate dinner, the proceeds of which will go towards the American Zionist Fund to finance the expanded program of the activities of the ZOA.

Principal speakers at the dinner who joined in paying tribute to Dr. Neumann included Israel Foreign Minister Golda Meir; Michael S. Comay, Israel Ambassador to the United Nations; Professor Enrique Rodriguez-Fabregat, Ambassador of Uruguay to the United Nations; Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization; Max Bressler, president of the ZOA, who presided; Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council and of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Dr. Max Nussbaum, chairman of the National ZOA. Executive Council. Abraham Goodman, treasurer of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., made the presentation of the Herzl Award to Dr. Neumann.


In his address, Dr. Goldmann also said that “a dangerous bureaucratization” exists in American Jewish life. He described this situation as “one of the greatest weaknesses of American Jewry” adding that “it is the only Jewish community in the world lacking a representative body which does not mean the rule of majority over dissenting minorities but would at least bring about coordination, reasonable discussion of its vital problems and do away with the anarchy as it exists today.”

Dr. Goldmann made his charges in setting forth the major problems facing world Jewry, particularly American Jewry, in strengthening the ties with the State of Israel and the furtherance of Jewish education as “the main condition for Jewish survival.” He termed as “one of the most shortsighted and dangerous illusions” which he said is “entertained, unfortunately, by many both in Israel and in the diaspora who believe that the Zionist movement has fulfilled its major task by having brought about the creation of the State of Israel.”

The world Zionist leader emphasized that while “the State is established and flourishing, the two major problems which will determine its future and its historical destiny are far from solved.” He cited these problems as “the consolidation and survival of Israel both security-wise and economically” and secondly, “the forging of ties between the Jewish communities of the world and Israel which would make it the center of Jewish life and a new source of the spiritual and moral values which will safeguard Jewish survival.”

“To solve either of these two problems will require many years if not decades and both tasks can only be fulfilled if there will be a strong Zionist movement mobilizing the Jewish people and rallying around Israel, playing the same role Zionism has played in organizing the Jewish people in its fight for the emergence of the State, “Dr. Goldmann said.

Dr. Goldmann paid tribute to Dr. Neumann whom he described as “one of the most devoted and consistent Zionist leaders who, for decades, has greatly influenced Zionism in America in all its aspects and has played an important role in world Zionism.” He further stressed that “there are few Zionist leaders so fully familiar with all problems of Zionism and Jewish life as Dr. Neumann, few also so deeply convinced of the vital necessity of a strong Zionist movement as he.”

Dr. Neumann was also lauded by Israel Premier David Ben-Gurion, who said in a cable from Jerusalem: “There is no need to recount the valuable work you have done in many fields of Jewish life. It is known to us and appreciated. I esteem your true Zionist qualities and hope that you will be blessed with many years of fruitful continuation of this work. The presentation of the Theodor Herzl Gold Medal Award is seen by your friends not only as a recognition of the past but as a landmark pointing to the future.”


Dr. Neumann, in responding to the tributes, warned against the perils facing the Middle East as a result of the attempts by Arab states in the United Nations to impose an unjust solution for the Arab refugee problem. He emphasized that in the 14 years since the adoption of the UN resolution “Israel has brilliantly vindicated the hopes of its founders. It has given home and sanctuary to a million refugees and molded them into a flourishing free society with a strong, stable, democratic government.”

Further citing Israel’s achievements since its establishment, Dr. Neumann also emphasized that “above and beyond such monumental achievements at home, Israel is also serving as pilot-plant for emerging nations of Asia and Africa, in attacking most difficult problems of reclamation and development, and social reconstruction. Israel is demonstrating how these problems can be solved, not by the brutal, coercive methods of a police state, but by voluntary cooperation with elaborate safeguards for the human rights of the individual,” he said.

Speaking on the Arab refugee problem, which is under discussion at the United Nations, Dr. Neumann said: “What is being offered to the United Nations today is clearly not a formula to alleviate the lot of the refugees, but an invitation to undo the settlement of 1947-1948 and sweep away the entire structure of the status-quo. No such adventure can be undertaken without setting the whole Middle East aflame.

“As I see it, the Arab leaders are being pushed and dragged by their extremists into a diplomatic impasse by taking a further step away from the high road of negotiation and co-existence to a path that can only lead to more bitter frustration of war. It is to be hoped that in the form of the United Nations a more rational and constructive statesmanship will prevail,” the Zionist leader said.

Warm messages of tribute to Dr. Neumann were received at the dinner from Jewish leaders in this country, including Dr. Abba Hillel Silver; Irving Kane, president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds; Joseph Meyerhoff, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. Abraham Feinberg, president of the Israel Bond Organization; Mrs. Siegfried Kramarsky, president of Hadassah, and others. Cables were also received from numerous personalities in Israel and from the General Zionist organizations in Chile, Australia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, France, England and many other countries.

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