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July 7, 1935
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To the Editor, Jewish Daily Bulletin:

It is told of Israel Zangwill, that just before his death, broken in heart and body, he declared: ‘I have wasted my life trying to unify the Jewish people.’

With the approach of the 19th Zionist Congress—when the thoughts of Zionists, all over the world, are directed towards Lucerne—the cardinal principle of unity must be considered.

For, if it be true that unity is the basis of all strength, then unity is greatly needed among our Zionists today. Was not Zionism the first real attempt to unify all lovers of Palestine for one purpose and one goal? And was not the Jewish Agency considered as the Messianic forerunner for a greater unity in Israel, a unity between Zionists and non-Zionists, all over the world? But now, seven years after the historic conference of the Jewish Agency, we are more divided than united, more hindered than helped. There seems to have sprung into sporadic existence many separate ‘Zionisms,’ far removed from one another, each group undermining the work of the other; thus, instead of one Zionism, uniting all—we have as many ‘Zionisms’ as there are groups interpreting differently the term ‘Zionism.’

Of course, it is to be expected that a diversity of opinion should arise on a subject as vital as Zionism is. Diversity of opinion helps, sometimes, to clear the goal and purpose of a cause, but when it becomes a ‘personal’ question, a battle not #shem shomayyim’—for the sake of the cause—but for some personal satisfaction of an individual or group—then it means suicide.

We can well understand that since the death of Theodor Herzl, on July 3, 1904, since that time the current of Jewish life has assumed a new direction. Momentous changes have transpired affecting every group and every point of view. Zionism, too, had to undergo many changes. But the goal of Zionism—the advancement of the Jewish renaissance movement, and the creation of a concrete basis in the form of the Zionist organization—has remained the same. ‘Personal’ questions must be left out at the annual American Zionist Convention and also at the Nineteenth Congress. The Zionist Convention and the Congress should have as their main question the life or death of the Zionist movement. The world, all Zionists should consider, is growing more and more antipathic towards Jews and Judaism, wherever and in whatever form Judaism may exist. It stands to reason, therefore, that instead of fighting one another, all Jews should fight the common enemy.

Rabbi A. I. Schechter, Ph.D. Providence, R. I.

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