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Wise Quits ZOA Leadership; Charges U.S. Zionists Misused Power at Basle Congress

January 5, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise tonight announced his resignation from “all offices in the Zionist Organization of America” as an aftermath to what he charged was the ZOA’s misuse of its power at the World Zionist Congress. Dr. Wise was the founder of the ZOA in 1898 and has held various high offices in the organization since then.

Stating that the Congress was “nothing less than tragic in its inadequacy in relation to a great hour,” Dr. Wise said that it was “a terrible defeat for the cause, nothing less than disaster. Measured by the Zionist Congress,” he continued, “the Zionist cause has fallen on evil days and ways. The heads of the Laborites and the Zionist Organization of America have succeeded in ousting Zionism’s greatest statesmen.” He described the new Zionist executive as “a Cabinet not of all talents, but of all ambitions, unholy and unlimited, a Cabinet representing a maximum of compromise and a minimum of conviction.”

Dr. Wise asserted that most of the issues before the Congress were not faced. “Little, if anything, was said in answer to the question: ‘For what should the Jewish Agency ask if it attend the (London) conference? Shall it be the State, Partition, Trusteeship, United Nations Control?’ Little, if any, consideration was given to the question: ‘What should and could be done to end the reign of violence and unreason?'”

He charged that “no little evil” resulted from the fact that the European and Palestinian delegates over-estimated the part played by the ZOA in raising the $100,000,000 relief fund of the United Jewish Appeal, and, therefore, bowed to the demands of the ZOA leaders. Concerning the ZOA’s role in hte UJA, Dr. Wise declared: “It may truly he said that it aided little, but it raided much.”

Announcing his resignation from the ZOA leadership, Dr. Wise said: “I do not, I cannot withdraw from Zionism, but I withdraw from all office in the Zionist Organization of America. I shall continue in every way to serve Zion and Zionism, but I refuse to substitute the Zionism of the present imperilling regime of the Zionist Organization of America for the Zionism of Weizmann and Brandeis, Nordau and Herzl.”

Dr. Wise stressed, however, that “nothing that happened at the Zionist Congress, however unworthy, must be permitted to affect the impression that we are on in our demands upon the British Government” for a Jewish state, free immigration and land purchases, fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate.

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