Daily Jewish Courier -- October 28, 1920What Are Our Leaders Aiming At? (Editorial in English)
The general secretary of the American [Zionist] Organization, Mr. Jacob De Haas, who is known to be the mouthpiece of Justice Louis D. Brandeis, has come to Chicago to confer with the local leaders and active Zionists on the Zionist situation. Mr. Jacob De Haas, in a lengthy and detailed report to the representative of Chicago Zionism, made it clear that the much-discussed question of secession and separation is strange to the minds of the American Zionist leaders, and that they are determined to uphold the unity of the International Zionist Organization. This statement he corroborated by a number of facts known to all the Zionist leaders everywhere, but still the European Jewish press comes forward with another group of facts to disprove Mr. De Haas' statement and to convince European Jewry that the American Zionist leaders are aiming at secession and separation.2
The London Jewish Chronicle, the organ of the English Zionists, devotes a three-column editorial to the question of secession. The statements made by the London Jewish Chronicle seem to us to be of such importance that we deem it our duty to reprint the editorial in full.
It runs as follows:
"The resolutions come to by the executive of the Zionist Organization of America, which will be found set out in detail, together with a long memorandum by Mr. Justice Brandeis, elsewhere in our present issue, betoken, there can be no doubt, a grave and serious menace to the World Zionist Organization. We felt no hesitation in at once condemning the attitude taken up by American Zionists at the last Zionist Conference that was held in London, as disloyal to the Organization and dangerous to the Zionist cause. The view thus expressed (and 3otherwise than editorially likewise) has been canvassed, particularly by Mr. A. H. Fromenson, Publicity Director, Zionist Organization of America. The resolutions to which we refer, however, confirm our very worst fears upon this vital matter. They contain, to be sure, copious expressions of loyalty to the international movement and professions, doubtless sincere, of a desire to work in co-operation with that body. But these do not succeed in hiding the essential fact which underlies the resolutions, that the course which these American Zionists have thought fit to take, and to which they have bound themselves by their resolutions, is an act of secession. For there is a manifest henceforward to carry on Zionist work independently of the general Zionist Organization. The resolutions enunciate a definite policy which is to be pursued sectionally, whether the rest of the Zionist body agree or not. Those responsible for them have proclaimed their intention of henceforward working in Palestine as Zionists in their own way and on their own lines. They have, in short, raised the red flag of revolt, and have inscribed upon it "American Zionism," to which from now they are to bear allegiance, rather than to the 4national policy, as arrived at through a World Congress by the nationalist sentiment of the Jewish people.
"We do not wish to say anything that may appear to be unkind, and hence may exacerbate a situation that is surely serious enough in all conscience. But it does strike us as reaching within the ambit of mere make-believe, to use no harsher expression, for the Zionists of America, having come to such resolutions as they have, to interlard them with professions of amity and allegiance to the International Zionist Organization. How can they be loyal to the International Zionist Organization as well as to the resolutions that they have passed? The things are inconsistent; they are in diametrical opposition. The whole conception of the International Organization, the conception by which the never-to-be-forgotten Herzl showed more than in anything else his true Jewish statemanship was that work in Palestine, to be effectual, must be national work. Being national work, it cannot be the work of any section of Jewry, but must be labour undertaken in response to the expressed convictions of national needs which that work is to satisfy. That was, indeed, the meaning of the World Congress 5which Herzl instituted. That was the meaning of the International Organization which he brought together. Thus, this decision on the part of the American Zionists sets at naught the national idea in which Zionism has conceived the new return to our national home, and substitutes for it something which lacks the essential of national sentiment. It is to be merely the work of, at most, a segment of Jewry.
"It is clear that this secession of American Zionists from the International Organization must, if persisted in, prove a serious blow not only to the Organization, nor even only to the movement, but--most anxious thought of all--to the immediate future of Palestine also. It is, of course, impossible to say to what extent the disorganization rot has set in among American Zionists. We shall not be surprised to learn that when the enormity of the course adumbrated by these resolutions comes to be realized a halt will be called. When it is seen--as our shrewd brethren on the other side must quickly come to see--that the life and soul and being of the Zionist Movement is unity of effort on the part of Jewry, 6and that a policy of sectional effort must spell quick disintegration and ultimate collapse of Zionist world effort, American Zionists as a body will bethink themselves. They will hesitate about being dragged behind the triumphcar of one man who, however eminent he may be in American politics, is a mere novice in Jewish politics and indeed--as he would doubtless confess--an amateur in matters Jewish. They are not likely lightly to throw over the policy of Zionist leaders from the time of Herzl to the present day, who have made world organization of national effort, a fundamental, an irremovable plank in their platform. We fully understand the disposition at the root of these resolutions of the Executive Committee of the American Zionist Organization. Those responsible for them are, we do not doubt, honestly of opinion not alone that no good thing can come out of Galilee, but that no good thing can proceed elsewhere than from Washington. So sincerely are they enamoured of America and its capacities, of American ways and American methods, that they regard any efforts that come from any other quarter of the globe as utterly negligible, if not actually superfluous. It is in no prejudice to our own regard and admiration for the 7country of which these brethren of ours are citizens, when we say that this sort of thing of course does credit to their American loyalty, but is poor stuff to tender as an earnest of Jewish loyalty. And we shall be surprised, indeed, if the rank and file of the Zionists of America, by supporting the policy foreshadowed in these resolutions, determine to inflict a deep stab upon the brotherhood of Israel, and thus wound, it may be dangerously, the national sentiment of the Jewish people.
"We do not hide from ourselves that much of the trouble that must inevitably ensue to the Zionist Organization, if these resolutions and the policy they reveal are persisted in, could have been avoided by more adequate leadership. In particular, the lack of confidence which Dr. Weizmann and his colleagues have shown, not alone in the Jewish people, but in their Zionist followers, and which has induced them to an undue secrecy concerning the progress of the movement, preferring to feed the public with wide and well-sounding generalities, instead of with concrete facts even though unpalatable, has bred quite naturally 8a certain lack of confidence in the leaders. This we unhesitatingly hasten to add, having regard to the service they have rendered to Jewry and all they have accomplished, ought not to be their reward. But, unhappily, the evil which politicians do is of infinitely greater influence with the public than the good they accomplish; and there is much in recent Zionist leadership open to severe questioning. We know that the prevalence of war conditions prevented the summoning of a World Congress and the necessity of doing many things which, according to the Zionist code, were unconstitutional and illegal. But many unconstitutional and illegal things (judged by that code) have been done, which cannot be attributed to war conditions. We have no need to detail them. We need only refer to much of the proceedings of the last Zionist Conference, or even to the conferment upon Mr. Justice Brandeis of a position constituted ad hoc unheard of hitherto in the Zionist Organization. But beyond this, many of those who lead the movement today are merely self-appointed, some of them actually, more of them virtually. That sort of thing is bound to lead to disruption such as is manifested in the Zionist Organization by the American 9resolutions. We are, however, for the moment thinking most of the reticence which has characterized Dr. Weizmann in respect to his dealings with the British Government and with the Powers. We have persistently--and, we hope, consistently--drawn attention to this in our columns, and have warned Zionists of the terrible danger they were courting by running a democratice movement, such as Zionism must necessarily be, by autocratic means. To this day, however, no definite explanation has been given as to what the British Government meant, or what even Dr. Weizmann conceived the British Government to mean, when by the hand of Mr. Balfour they assigned Palestine to become the 'National Home' for the Jewish people. What is the National Home which was contemplated? What was its true meaning as between Dr. Weizmann and the British Government in London, or the Powers at San Remo? Again, we have pressed Dr. Weizmann to explain how the mandate to Great Britain, under which this country administers Palestine, is going to provide for the transformation of Palestine into Eretz Yisrael, and what provisions it is to contain so that, in Dr. Weizmann's own language, Palestine may ultimately become as Jewish as England is English. A striking 10letter on this subject, which we have the pleasure of publishing from the able pen of Mr. Vladimir Jabotinsky, amply supports us in our view as to the critical importance to the Jewish national future of the terms of the mandate. Yet it is quite easy to see from Mr. Jabotinsky's letter that some of the lurid and encouraging promises which the Government made, passively or actively, made by the mouth of their own representatives, or, without demur, allowed to be made by others, have somewhat 'pie crusted' in the process of reduction to the documentary form under which alone they would be any guarantee of performance. Dr. Weizmann, at the last London Conference, allured his audience by announcing that 'the labours of the great Herzl were concluded at San Remo. He lived and died,' said Dr. Weizmann, 'for a publicly recognized Jewish Homeland in Palestine,' and he assured his audience that 'that recognition the nations of the world have accorded'. Dr. Weizmann was only partially right, and therefore substantially wrong. 'The great Herzl' lived and died not merely for a publicly recognized Jewish Homeland in Palestine, but also for 'a legally secured' Homeland. The Jewish cause, has won. The legal security is to be 11found, if found at all, in the mandate. Yet about that mandate Dr. Weizmann has never, up till now, taken either the Jewish people or even his fellow Zionists into his confidence. Indeed he ignores the matter, or at last affects to treat it as one of trivial consequence.
"All this may to some extent account for, though we confess it by no means excuses, the American secession. That secession, if persisted in, as we hope it may not be, and if supported by the general body of Zionists in America, which we forbear from thinking is possible, will mean that just at the very moment when the national Jewish cause was brightest and the hope of Israel after two thousand years was at last dawning athwart the horizon, American Jews have determined to do what in them lies to deprive the Jewish people of its one bright hope amid the plethora of sorrow and pain, of agony and strife, which today surrounds the Jew on all hands. That is not, we are sure, in the remotest the purpose of our brethren in the United States. But we are equally sure that it will be the certain result of the policy which Judge Brandeis and his Executive Committee are proposing as the policy of American Zionists."
III H, III B 2
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