Daily Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters
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Daily Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

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Fourteen reasons for the inauguration on the part of the Soviet government of the work of senuling the Jews in Russia on the land were given by Michael Kalenin. President of the Union of Soviet Republics. In a statement quoted by Waker Duranty the Moscow correspondent of the New York “Times.”

In Mr. Duranty’s despetch appearing in the “Times” of yesterday, we read:

“The settlement of the Jewish population on the land in the Crimea has caused grumbling among the peasants locally. and a young Communist named Oychinnikoff, whose work as a postman brings him in touch with many peasants, has written a letter to the President of the Soviet Union. Michael Kalenin, asking how he shall answer such complains.

“M. Ovchinikoff says the peasants declare:

“Ten thousand of our sons and brothers died to win the Crimea from Wranged. but if we want land we are forced to go to Siberia because it is being given to the Jews.’

“Mr. Kalenin replies in a four column article in the Isvestia. He says that although nearly ten thousand Jewish families have settled on land in White Russia and the Ukraine, it is only since they have been going to the Crimea hat compiaints have begun to reach him from various quarters.

“He declares the complains are due to the general impression that the Crimea is a land of milk and honey and sternal blue sky, amp;c., while the facts are different. There are actually 2,360000 dessiatines (a dessiatine is equal to 2.702 acres) of vacant land in the Crimea. of which the Jews received only 60,000 desiatines–a less amount than the former property of the rich Jewish landlord. Baron Gunsberg, which was confiscated by the Soviet and distributed among the Russian peasants.

“The reason for the Crimean land being unoccupied is the lack of water, and M. Kalenin quotes the figures of the Agronomic Commission showing that it costs an average of 200 rubles per destiatine to sink wells, which the Russians cannot afford but the Jewish colonists are able to provide through the help of co-religionists aboard.

“M. Kalenia puts emphasis on the following points:

1. “Anti Semitism is an evil of Czarist times deliberately fostered by the Imperial Government for political reasons.

2. “The position of the Jews in those days was so intolerable that with few exceptions they were practically without rights.

3. “This is contrary to the spirit and practice of the Soviet Government, which gives equal rights and autonomy to all nationalities in Russia.

4. “Though their numbers justify an autonomous States for the Jews, like other nationalities. this is now impossible, because they live in different areas.

5.” Therefore the committee formed in their case was only to supplement this lack of autonomy by helping them to settle on the land.

6. “The Jewish repulation was never allowed to work the land before the revolution, for then it was almost wholly composed of antisans or small traders.

7. “It occupies areas that suffered particularly from imperial and civil wars and fell prey to the most hideous pogronts during that period. Having no land, the Jews suffered worse than the Russians during the ‘hungry years.’

8. “The spread or cooperative and State business tends to take away the livelihood of the artisans and small traders.

9. “It is therefore necessary to settle the Jews on the land. to which they have a right no less than the other peoples of Russia.

10. “Although the Jews did good service in the Communist cause. because the larger proportion of them were driven into the revolation by the intolerable Czarist oppression, it is untrue–for the reasons given above–that the Soviet Government is ‘favoring’ them by granting Crimean land.

11. “The factories, buildings, money, etc., of rich Jews were confiscated by the revolution no less than such property of the rest of the bourgeois.

12.” Jewish Communists living among the Jewish population feel strongly that their people should be settled on the land in Russia rather than become ‘the tools for capitalist exploitation’ in Palestine.

13.”The Soviet Government shares this view.

14. “The reason why the Jews settled in South Russia rather than in Siberia, which is now being actively colonized by Russians is that they were used to a warmer climate and were unfitted for the rigors of the Siberian cold.”


An answer to the charge that the United Jewish Campaign has shifted its program was made by Louis Marshall in a letter to Charles H. Joseph, editor of the “Jewish Criterion” of Pittsburgh.

Replying to Mr. Joseph’s questions, Mr. Marshall gives a lengthy outline, in the “Jewish Criterion” of July 9, of the purposes of the United Jewish Campaign and the situation in Europe.

“It is not a fact that the appeal of the United Jewish Campaign has been in any manner shifted from one subject to another,” Mr. Marshall writes.

“Those in responsible management had a single purpose, from which they have not deviated from the begining. Being satisfied as a result of their own investigations and of information which came to them from the most reliable sources, that the condition of the Jews of Eastern Europe was with every day becoming more deplorable and critical and that withouth the assistance of American Jewry one half of all the Jews of the world were confronted not only with financial ruin but to a great extent with extincion, it was reluctantly decided to embark upon a campaign to raise $15,000,000 to deal with this complex problem. It was clearly understood that the affording of palliative relief would be unavoidable in order to enable those who were on the verge of starvation to bridge over the existing acute situation. The ultimate and principal object, however, was to afford constructive relief, to enable those who were without employment and without the means of earning a livelihood to become self-supporting. One phase of the subject, and that presenting a most hopeful outlook, was that of cooperating with the Jews of Russia who, of their own volition and on their own inititive, were seeking to settle upon land in the Ukraine and in the Crimea which was placed at their disposal.

“You speak of it as ‘a colonization plan. Names mean very little. Nevertheless the plan had nothing to do with colonization, but with the rendering of needed assistance to engage those who sought to engage in agriculture in thier own land to do so sucessfully. This subject was fully discussed in all of its phases, palliative and constructive, at the Conference held at Philadelphia in September 1925.

“You will, therefore, observe that far from shifting the program, it has been consistently followed.

“Your statement that what you call ‘the Ukraine farm-plan’ was the result of the initiative of the Soviet Government, is also incorrect.

“It was the Jews of Russia who clamored for an opportunity to go on the land, who sought the same privileges as were conferred upon other parts of the population of Russia, and who were thereupon accorded that same privilege. The Joint Distribution Committee, knowing of his demand, after thorough study by Dr. Rosen and others, recognized an opportunity to enable the Jews of Russia to rehabilitate themselves economically, and in the efforts thus far made to materialize this hope have met with gratifying success.

“You say: ‘We find the campaign being conducted with emphasis upon the giving of charity in its narrowest sense, with the same pictures of misery that are characteristic of such drives.

“We have been presenting to the American public a true picture of conditions. They are, indeed, pictures of misery without parallel. They have been inadequate, because of the inability of those those who are enjoying prosperity to imagine the dire realities with which our brethren are strugling. At the same time we are with equal emphasis, pointing out the ray of hope which we are seeking to bring into their lives by affording them opportunities for earning a livelihood in the manner indicated.

“You certainly cannot believe that the public is not entitled to know the reason which has impelled us to appeal to their generosity. Would not the request, conducted in scientific terms, that $15,000,000 should be contributed for economic rehabilitation. at once provoke inquiry for a complete and unreserved statement of the physical and material conditions under which those who are sought to be helped are living ? And how could that information be given without portraying those very pictures of misery which, to our sorrow exist, and which must necessarily constitute the basis both of the appeal and of the answer. In fact you admit as much, merely adding what the Joint Distribution Committee has always insisted upon as the great desiratum, that the sums entrusted to us ‘should be applied in a manner to effect a more permanent cure’s than that afforded by ‘a temporary palliative.’

“You say that ‘the information that filters through to the general Jewish public is of the forggiest and vaguest kind.’

“I must respectfully differ. The public has received the most complete statements, to such an extent that we have at times felt that much of the literature that we have sent out has not been generally read.”

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