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December 03, 1982 - Image 88

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Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-12-03

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88 Friday, December 3, 1982

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

A Chronology of Zionist Congresses, 1897-1978

World Zionist Press Service

The First Congress -
Basle 1897. Theodor Herzl
founded the World Zionist
Organization and the First
Basle Program stated:
"Zionism seeks to establish
a home for the Jewish
people in Palestine secured
under public law." The
means of obtaining this goal
were also defined. The Con-
gress represents the initia-
tion of political Zionism, a
landmark in the history of
the Jewish people and Eretz
Yisrael.
The Second Congress
- Basle 1898. Herzl called
on the Zionists to conquer
the communities" - i.e. to
intensify work in the Dias-
; pora. With the establish-
: ment of the Jewish Colonial
Trust, the struggle between
"political" and "practical"
Zionists was narrowed.
• The Third Congress -
Basle 1899. Herzl's at-
tempts to gain a "charter" of
international recognition
clashed with the demands of
the practical Zionists for
immediate settlement ac-
tivities: Herzl concentrated
almost exclusively on polit-
ical activities.
The Fourth Congress -
London 1900. Herzl chose
London because he believed
that England "will under-
stand our aspirations." The
persecution of Jews in
• Romania emphasized the
need for an urgent Zionist
solution to the Jewish ques-
tion.
The Fifth Congress -
Basle 1901. Younger dele-
gates opposed Herzl's con-
centration on political ac-
tivities. The Congress es-
tablished the Jewish Na-
tional Fund (Keren
Kayemet Lelsrael) for the
redemption of land in Eretz
Yisrael.
The Sixth Congress -
Basle 1903. Herzl's last
Congress was stormy and
tragic. The Kishinev pog-
rom in Russia gave rise to
suggestions for temporary
solutions, including
Uganda in East Africa. The
proposal was overwhelm-
ingly rejected but Herzl suc-
ceeded in maintaining the
•unity of the WZO. A year
later Herzl died.
The Seventh Congress
- Basle 1905. Under the
presidency of Max Nordau
the Uganda scheme was fi-
nally rejected in favor of set-
tlement in Eretz Yisrael
and its immediate vicinity.
The Eighth Congress
The Hague 1907. The keyn-
ote was set by Chaim Weiz-
mann who proposed a
"synthetic Zionism" merg-
ing political work with
practical efforts in Eretz
• Yisrael. The WZO's Pales-
tine office under Arthur

Th

Ruppin was founded in
Jaffa in 1908.
The Ninth Congress -
Hamburg 1909. Figures
like Ussishkin, Weizmann
and Sokolow opposed the
leadership of Wolffsohn who
had replaced Nordau. They
objected to the "commer-
cial" approach to settlement
activities, evaluating them
only by the economic effi-
ciency. They were sup-
ported by representatives of
the workers, appearing at
Congress for the first time.
The 10th Congress --
Basle 1911. Brought total
victory to "synthetic
Zionism." A whole session,
led by Ussishkin, was con-
ducted entirely in Hebrew
and relations with the
Arabs were raised by S.
Kaplansky.
The 11th Congress -
Vienna 1913. Practical
Zionism in Eretz Yisrael
was discussed in some de-
tail. Weizmann and Us-
sishkin suggested the estab-
lishment of a Hebrew Uni-
versity in Jerusalem. Bialik
made an impressive ape-
pearance at Congress.
The 12th Congress -
Carlsbad 1921. Following
crucial developments like
the Balfour Declaration, the
proposed British Mandate
and the Bolshevik Revolu-
tion, the Zionist center had
been transferred to England
and Weizmann was elected
president of the Zionist
Organization. He called
upon the Jewish people to
assist in building Eretz Yis-
rael, and the Keren
Hayesod had been founded
in 1920. American Zionists
came to the fore. Represen-
tatives of the workers in
Eretz Yisrael were elected
to the Executive which was
now situated in London and
in Jerusalem.
The 13th Congress -
Carlsbad 1923. With the
Mandate established, the
Zionist Organization be-
came officially the Jewish
Agency for Palestine
charged with "assisting in
the establishment of the
Jewish National Home."
The proposal to include
non-Zionists in the Agency
caused a bitter debate and
the idea was implemented
only in 1929. It was resolved
to open the Hebrew Univer-
sity in Jerusalem.
The 14th Congress -
Vienna 1925. There was a
great deal of discussion on
the correct way to build
Eretz Yisrael with much
support for private
enterprise as against Labor
settlement. David Ben-
Gurion spoke on the role of
the workers in Eretz Yis-
rael.
The 15th Congress -
Basle 1927. Economic crisis

President Zalman Shazar of Israel, at left, is
shown speaking at the 28th Zionist Congress in 1972.
Seated next to him is Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek,
and at right are Prime Ministers Golda Meir and
David Ben-Gurion.
and unemployment in final decision was held in
Palestine occupied the dele- abeyance.
gates. Harry Sacher
The 21st Congress -
emerged as a forceful per- Geneva 1939. The British
sonality.
anti-Zionist White Paper
The 16th Congress - imposed the harshest possi-
Zurich 1929. Herzl was ble restrictions on immigra-
eulogized on the 25th an- tion and land purchase. Re-
niversary of his death. Per-
solving the fight the White
sonalities like Albert Eins- Paper and with the World
tein, Leon Blum and War impending, Weizmann
Sholem Asch joined the closed the Congress with
new, enlarged Jewish the words, "I have no prayer
Agency. Two Mizrachi and but this: that we will all
two Labor representatives meet again alive."
were elected to the Zionist
The 22nd Congress -
Executive.
The 17th Congress - Basle 1946. Following the
Basle 1931. Weizmann's war and the Holocaust,
policy of maximum coopera- Congress resolved "to estab-
tion with the British was at- lish a Jewish Common-
tacked following the 1929 wealth integrated into the
Arab disturbances and the world democratic
negative attitude to structure," rejecting the
Zionism of the Mandatory cantonization of Palestine
authorities. The re- and the British proposal for
visionists demanded defin- a London conference on the
ing the final aim of Zionism future of Palestine (the lat-
as a Jewish majority and a ter led to Weizmann's res-
Jewish state. The rejection ignation from the
of this concept led presidency). The Re-
Jabotinsky to leave the visionists returned to the
Zionist Organization in WZO.
1935.
The 23rd Congress -
The 18th Congress - Jerusalem 1951. Following
Prague 1933. The Nazis had
won power in Germany. The
Congress saw the continua-
tion of the bitter debate be-
By DR. DAVID GEFFEN
tween the Revisionists and
World Zionist Press Service
Labor, with the latter win-
JERUSALEM - "We
ning increasing strength on
shall be very stupid to shut
the Executive.
The 19th Congress - our eyes to the fact that un-
Lucerne 1935. Ben-Gurion less something unforeseen
increasingly became the occurs Zionism is a force
central figure in the Zionist with which We shthl have to
Executive and Weizmann reckon. We may regret it
resuming the presidency. and undoubtedly it will re-
Discussions centered on tard our progress as a world
Diaspora Jewry, the build- religion, but there it is and
ing of Palestine, Hebrew it will require our attention
culture, the JNF and Youth for some time to come."
In this fashion Clifton
Aliya.
Harby Levy concluded his
The 20th Congress - evaluation of the first
Zurich 1937. The British Zionist Congress in an
Peel Commission proposed editorial written in Sep-
partition. This was not offi- tember 1897 in the Jewish
cially rejected by the Con- Comment of Baltimore.
gress, though opinions dif- Editor of that newspaper,
fered between the Zionist and a Reform rabbi by
parties and within them. A training, Levy was never
very pro-Zionist during
his lifetime, which even
encompassed the estab-
lishment of Israel. Yet in
1897, in ari almost prophetic
manner, he sensed that the
Congress marked a turning
point.
Levy's views opposed
most of the reports which
appeared in the American
Jewish press.

the establishment of the
state, all Zionist Congresses
were to meet in Jerusalem's
Binyanei HaOoma (Con-
vention Hall). The main
theme was the status of the
Zionist movement after the
establishment of the Jewish
state. The essential clause
in the Jerusalem Program,
accepted in 1951, was that
"the task of Zionism is the
consolidation of the state of
Israel, the ingathering of
the exiles in Eretz Yisrael
and the fostering of the
unity of the Jewish people."
In 1952, the Knesset ac-
cepted the special status of
the WZO and afforded it of-
ficial recognition.
The 24th Congress -
Jerusalem 1956. Aliya, set-
tlement and fund-raising
were discussed, as well as
Israel's security situation.
Nahum Goldmann was
elected president of the
Zionist Organization, an
office vacant since 1946.
The 25th Congress -
Jerusalem 196.0. Ben-
Gurion's sharp criticism of
the WZO was discussed as
well as aliyg, absorption
and Jewish culture and
education in the Diaspora.
The 26th Congress -
Jerusalem 1964. Goldmann
coined the phrase "facing
the Diaspora," believing
that the aims of Zionism
were to assure the survival
of the Jewish nation in the
Diaspora with the assis-
tance of the state. The reso-
lution spoke of the unity of
the nation, the mutual
commitment of all its parts,
their common responsibil-
ity for its historic fate and
the decisive mission of the
state of Israel in assuring its
future. Moshe Sharett, who
was chairman of the
Jerusalem Executive, died
shortly after the Congress.
The 27th Congress -
Jerusalem 1968. The first

Congress held in reunited
Jerusalem after the. Six-
Day War concentrated on
aliya and absorption. The
1968 Jerusalem Program,
which is the official pro-
gram of the WZO to this
day, was accepted. Louis
Pincus was re-elected
chairman of the Executive.
The 28th Congress -
Jerusalem 1972. The mem-
bership drive preceding the
Congress elections revealed
that there were nearly
900,000 organized Zionists
all over the world. Israeli
delegates represented the
strength of the various
Zionist parties in the Knes-
set. The Sephardi and
Oriental communities had
about 90 delegates and ob-
servers and Jewish students
and Zionist youth move-
ments were also well repre-
sented. The problems dis-
cussed were Jewish educa-
tion, youth work, aliya, so-
cial and ethnic gaps in Is-
rael and the housing prob-
lem and the struggle of
Soviet Jewry for aliya. A
resolution stating that
Zionist leaders who failed to
settle in Israel after two
terms of office should not be
re-elected was declared un-
constitutional.
The 29th Congress -
Jerusalem 1.978. Partici-
pants included non-voting
representatives 'of the var-
ious streams in Judaism,
like the Conservative and
Reform Jews. Once again
the Sephardim were active
in the Congress work. The
debates revolved around the
obligations of Zionist organ-
izations and individuals,
with the resolutions defin-
ing the Zionist commitment
including aliya and educa-
tion. Another resolution
was passed on religious
pluralism. The peace plan
with Egypt was also
endorsed.

American Press React ion in 1897

The Jewish Messenger of
New York stressed, "Herzl
had failed to elicit the coop-
eration of more than a cor-
poral guard . . . and the
movement had no chance."
Herzl himself was "off the
track" and Nordau guilty of
"degeneracy." The Israelite
of Chicago opined that the
Zionist were followers of
hypocrisy in that"they belie
their entire history."
The Yiddish Tegeblatt
emphasized that both Or-
thodox and Reform rabbis
opposed the movement so it
had to fail. "A Zion," the
paper wrote, "restored by
purchase or force, would be
in opposition to the spirit of
Judaism. Zion will be given
to us by Him who deprived
us."
Heading its stor, "A
Jewish State Impossible,"
the New York Times
reacted on Sept. 10, 1897 to
the Congress by printing
excerpts from a paper by
Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise,
founder of the Reform
movement. In his presenta-
tion, Wise had made the
point that the "Judaic na-
tion and Judaic nationality

had been extinct for 1800
years."

He stressed that "though
hope to return to Israel was
in the soul of the Jews there
never has been an earnest
will manifested in people to
return to Palestine and es-
tablish a government of
their own." His conclusion
was that all the various
19th Century revolutions
had freed the Jews and
"cured them of their
homesickness for Judea."

A Portrait of
THEODOR HERZL

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