Satisfaction with the progress made at the recent sessions of the Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency in Berlin, reiterated confidence in the assurance given of sympathetic British governmental cooperation in the solution of the problems and the development of Palestine, and an appeal to continue the work of reconstruction in Eastern Europe were voiced by Felix M. Warburg, honorary chairman of the Allied Jewish Campaign, chairman of the Administrative Committee and also of the Joint Distribution Committee, in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on his return Monday from Europe.
Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the American Jewish Committee and a member of the Administrative Committee, who also returned from abroad on Monday, reported that the League of Nations will become an increasingly effective bulwark for the protection of minorities, that the situation in Roumania presents a problem most difficult to cope with, that the effect of the discipline brought into the Jewish Agency by the new forces associated with it was already noticeable and that the work of the Joint Distribution Committee must go on. Joseph C. Hyman, secretary of the Joint Distribution Committee, also returned home on Monday.
“When we left for Berlin we did so with many worries,” said Mr. Warburg. “We return encouraged by certain reassuring factors. Among these is the courageous statement of Dr. Weizmann that we are not concerned with political aims which should create any fears among the Arabs. His clear expression that the problem of Palestine is common to both Arabs and Jews, should make the road easier for the Mandatory Government to initiate and carry through a program of development and peaceful cooperation in Palestine.
SEES CONFIDENCE REESTABLISHED
“Further, the renewed intention of Max Warburg, Oscar Wasserman, Simon Marks and others abroad to provide the supplementary funds for the inauguration of the 1,000 Family Plantations Settlements, reestablishes confidence in a conservative and constructive extension of agricultural opportunity and employment for experienced farmers.
“The decision to adopt a budget within the realms of practical possibilities, coupled with the plan to fund the debts of the Agency, will, if carried out, commend itself to all who are interested in the future of Palestine, and will afford them a channel through which to provide for the next ten years for a limited series of land purchases which ought not to arouse any anxieties on the part of our neighbors.
“Again, the reduction of the number of the Executive and their present personnel, is most promising, Dr. Kahn of Berlin will devote his splendid capacities to the organization of the work in the social, civic and financial fields of administration, Dr. Ruppin in the sphere of agriculture and colonization should give satisfaction to all, especially the workers’ groups. Dr. Senator, as Treasurer and Financial Administrator, has shown marked ability, Dr. Hexter has established excellent relationships with members of the Government and Administration, and will serve both in Jerusalem and in London in simplifying our task. Col. Kisch will continue to devote himself to measures for the safety and the establishment of law and order in relation to our people in Palestine. Prof. Brodetsky will use his splendid equipment to advise with Dr. Weizmann and the Political Committee. Rabbi Berlin, we trust, will represent the views of the entire Orthodox element and minister to the peaceful religious development and philosophy so necessary if Palestine is to prosper as a land of neighborly love.
JEWS OF EAST EUROPE UNHAPPY LOT
“With reference to Jewish needs in Eastern Europe,” continued Mr. Warburg, “as chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, I had occasion, in conference with Dr. Cyrus Adler, Bernard Flexner, J. C. Hyman, and others associated with our work, to meet with the representatives of our organization with Dr. Kahn, with Dr. Rosen, with delegations from the lands of Eastern and Central Europe, and to consider the reports of Mr. Waldman, the Secretary of the American Jewish Committee who had just returned from Roumania. In this way and through the regular reports which have come to our offices, we have the latest information with respect to the Jewish situation in Roumania, in Poland, in Lithuania, and in other sections. Economic depression and political uncertainties render the lot of the Jews in these countries a most unhappy one. Disturbances and excesses in Roumania, increasing unemployment and lack of the very means of livelihood there and in the other countries, coupled with their proverbially unfavorable position and the burdensome taxes that fall upon the Jews as city dwellers, have combined to weaken the structure of self help which American Jewish generosity contributed so much to build up.
“While the American Joint Reconstruction Foundation, organized by the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Colonization Association, has developed into an instrument of great constructive usefulness, and through its 700 loan societies extends small credits to hundreds of thousands of Jewish families, the other branches of vital self help activity in these countries cannot rely for their continued existence solely on the impoverished local peoples. They are already carrying a heavy load, with great effort and with genuine sacrifice. For instance, the work of the hospitals and medical sanitary service. The care of orphans, the training of the youth in crafts and manual vocations, the readjustment of thousands of young men and women from handwork to skilled factory operation and to the new requirements of the industrial current, these and other such, religious and lay, which are not supported by the state, are not within the present ability of the people in these lands to do alone.
“Despite our depression in the United States, we are infinitely better off in this blessed country than the distressed and overburdened peoples of Eastern Europe.
“If Louis Marshall, whose death we commemorated a few days ago were with us now, he would bid us go forth and send the word to every Jewish community in this land that we must rally to the support of these two great causesâ€”the upbuilding of Palestine and, in Eastern Europe, the restoration of the lives of millions of our people.
“He would feel gratified at the clarification of the goal of the Jewish Agency in Palestine; at the renewed assurances of Great Britain at the meeting of the Council of the League of Nations that it purposed actively to fulfill the terms of the Mandate and was already taking practical steps to lay the foundation for such a program of development and peaceful co-operation.
“He would urge us to continue the work of reconstruction in Eastern Europe, and, for some time to come, supplement the heroic efforts of our people overseas to help themselves.”
ADLER DISCUSSES ROUMANIAN SITUATION
After pointing out that he had spent a good deal of time in familiarizing himself with the machinery of the League of Nations, particularly with that section of its work dealing with the Minorities Treaties and saying that the personnel of this section is made up of idealists actuated by a high sense of obligation who pursue their difficult task steadily, Dr. Adler turned to the Roumanian situation. He said, in that connection, “It is an unhappy state of affairs which, even allowing for press exaggerations of the Jewish situation, presents a problem most difficult to cope with, for while it appears that the enemies of the Jews are also the foes of the present government, the government itself has some officials who sympathize with the anti-Semites, a condition of weakness bound to result in disorder.”
Tracing the gloomy events immediately preceding the recent meeting of the Administrative Committee, Dr. Adler found that these were offset by the report of the Mandates Commission and by the fact that in Palestine economic conditions were more nearly normal than in most countries of the world. Dr. Adler saw a good omen in the Commission’s report in that the Mandatory Power is “held as a trustee whose acts may be reviewed before the opinion of the world.”
The prevailing note in the Agency’s meeting was the need of understanding and cooperation among all the sections of the population of Palestine, Dr. Adler said, adding that “a more sober view has come to be taken of the possibilities of the development of the Jewish population of Palestine in the near future. The approaching of the Rutenberg hydro-electric plant gives promise of an early development of industry. Budgets were carefully pruned, overhead cut down and there is an assurance that a larger percentage of every dollar actually given to the cause will go to work in Palestine.”
WALL COMMISSIONERS URGE COMPROMISE
As the author of the Jewish memorandum on the Wailing Wall which was submitted to the Wailing Wall Commission, Dr. Adler said that no decision had been reached on the issue of the Wall because the commissioners “feel that a decision superimposed may hold within itself the seeds of future dissension and they have urged the Jews and the Moslems to come to an agreement; such an effort is being promoted by the Palestine government. One thing is certainâ€”both sides will have to yield on some points, and the pity is that all this might have been done ten years ago and much strife and bloodshed avoided.”
Turning to East European Jewry. Dr. Adler praised the work of the Joint Distribution and noted that the Jews of Eastern Europe are making heroic efforts to carry on their educational work but without a “supplement from us it will gradually fall back. So intent are they upon this work . . . that I feel convinced that if we do not continue our organized efforts America will be overrun with hundreds of small collections for individual institutions which will cost American Jews in the long run more than they are now giving, with a greatly diminished result.”
All in all Dr. Adler said he returned with renewed confidence in the future of the Jewish people, a confidence based largely “on the courage of their leadership and of the rank and file, a courage evident not only in the steadfastness with which we pursue our aims in the presence of hardship and disaster but also in the recognition of our own mistakes and the endeavor to rectify them.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.