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United Palestine Appeal Says Joint Distribution Committee Has Rejected Arbitration

The United Palestine Appeal today made public the text of its reply to Sidney Hollander, president of the Couneil of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, who had urged the leaders of the U.P.A. and of the J.D.C. to arbitrate their differences in order to reconstitute the dissolved United Jewish Appeal, The reply, signed by Rudolf G. Sonneborn, chairman of the U.P.A. National Council, reviews the negotiations which the agencies carried on prior to the dissolution of the United Jewish Appeal, and charges the J.D.C. with “rejecting anything resembling arbitration.” The full text reads as follows:

“Your telegram urging arbitration of differences between the JDC and the UPA ‘by matually acceptable procedure’ which arrived on February 23rd, some two weeks after public announcement of our inability to persuade the JDC to accept any reasonable compromise, merits a full and considered reply. It is a source of regret to us that our suggestions for the continuation of the UJA on an equitable basis did not materialize because of the attitude from the very beginning of the JDC against the submission of the differences between the two organizations to impartial outside persons.

“The belated acceptance” by the JDC of your proposal has attached to it a condition which is tantamount to another rejection of arbitration by the JDC. The condition stated in the JDC’S reply to your telegram limits the question to be arbitrated merely to the degree to which the UPA and the interests of palestine shall be subordinated in joint fund-raising appeals. The record of the negotiations indicates that it was the continually intransigeant attitude of the JDC with regard to the differences between the two agencies which made an agreement impossible.

“(1) The UPA proposed arbitration as early as December 29, 1944 when Dr, James G. Heller wrote as follows to Mr. Paul Baerwald, Chairman of the JDC, ‘It is my proposal to the Joint Distribution Committee that the UPA and the JDC accept the services of the three outside persons, who, because of their objectivity and their acquaintance with the facts of both organizations, are in the best position to serve as friendly medfactors. I have in mind the three representatives of Welfare Fund communities who are serving on the Allotment Committee of the 1944 United Jewish Appeal.

“This proposal was rejected by the JDC. On January 8th, 1945, the JDC replied as follows, ‘We cannot delegate to others the responsibility that we owo to the work entrusted to us. No one who has not had to do with the day to day emergencies that have confronted the JDC can possibly be put in a position to evaluate our needs and our obligations. In the negotiation of the Agreement we must assume full responsibility.’

“(2) On January 11th, Dr. Heller wrote to you, as president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, asking for any panel of mediators mutually agrecable to the JDC and the UPA.” About the same time you wrote independently suggesting such mediation to the JDC and the UPA. In its reply to you the JDC said that ‘mediation must not become arbitration in any aspect but should at all stages remain friendly intervention. If final agreement does not result, mediation should not eventuate into any judgment or decision.” Once again in the JDC protected its demand for priority position by rejecting anything resembling arbitration.

“(3) When your committee of mediators met with the JDC and UPA on January 25, 1945, the JDC rejected every suggestion for compromises. On that occasion the JDC turned down a UPA proposal, which found favor in the eyes of your committee, to give each organization the right to draw equally against the first few million dollars and that all funds including these drawings be subject to final distribution by an Allotment Committee consisting of representatives of the two agencies concerned and of the Jewish communities at large.

“The insistance by the JDC that palestine, in 1945, remain in a subordinate position, reflected an unyielding refusal to understand the importance of palestine ever in terms of pure saving of life, to say nothing of the dynamics of rehabilitation in palestine which has given security to over 300,000 refugees – virtually as many as the rest of the world combined.

“In order that justice be done in meeting the needs of the JDC and the UPA, the UPA believes that it is eminently desirable that American Jewry, through its various communities, examine the requirements of Jewish life and act an them through the distribution of funds in accordance with procedures determined locally, after ten weeks of negotiation the UPA reluctantly came to a decision with respect to its campaign for 1945 as a result of the unwillingness of the JDC to modify its position. While we appreciate the spirit which moved you, even long after the breakdown of negotiations, to send your telegram, the answer of the JDC of February 26th is a rejection of arbitration and in view of this we do not believe that any fruitful purpose can be served by continuing a process that can only result in confusing the American Jewish public.”

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