NEW YORK (Nov. 2)
Leaders of Zionist groups affiliated with the United Palestine Appeal issued today for the first time public statements concerning the controversy which recently arose in the U.P.A. and which led to the acceptance by the U.P.A. executive committee of the resignation of Henry Montor, executive director of the organization. The resignation which was submitted on Sept. 10 was accepted on Oct. 21. (See Z.O.A. and J.N.F. statements on page 5.)
Prior to accepting Montor’s resignation, the U.P.A. executive committee adopted a resolution on Oct. 14, calling upon him to retract in writing certain allegations which he made in his letter of resignation and to apologize in writing to those “who have been the subject of his attacks” in terms satisfactory to the committee. The full text of Montor’s letter, which was addressed to Dr. Israel Goldstein, national chairman of the U.P.A., was not made available by Montor to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Part of his letter, however, was made public today and reads as follows:
“The growth of the state of Israel is vital for the survival of Jews and the Jewish people. Huge funds will be needed. The Jews of America should help to provide these funds. I am convinced, however, that the Jews of America do not want their funds to be used as a lever with which to change or dominate the social structure of Palestine. In their sincere desire to provide the maximum support for Israel and for the fulfillment of the opportunities it presents for the rehabilitation of persecuted and homeless Jews, the Jewish communities of the United States want the totality of their funds to flow freely to their destination, and want a direct relationship with the use of these funds.
“It is imperative, in the interests of Israel, that every encouragement be given to the Jews of the United States to contribute in fullest measure for the immigration and colonization program that must now be speeded. It should be an instrumentality governed by those who create the resources; it should provide a unified channel for aid to Israel; the community in Israel should share in the determination of the most effective use of the funds; it should, above all, invoke the leadership of those who give services. Through such an organization, Israel and the beneficiaries of the funds can be protected from political intrigue and partisan ambition. I want to be fully free to say these things. That is why I resign.”
DR. ISRAEL GOLDSTEIN ANSWERS MONTOR’S CHARGES
Dr. Goldstein, in a letter addressed to Montor on Sept. 27, said:
“1. You refer to the recent sessions of the World Zionist Actions Committee where you say certain things happened which you oppose. You complain that suggested changes in fund-raising made at the Actions Committee were defeated by the ZOA. You should know that whatever decisions were reached they were the common decisions of the Zionist movement as a whole in which all of the Zionist parties shared. The Labor Zionists, Hadassah and Mizrachi had just as much a part in the decisions as the ZOA. The same is true with regard to the election of the new executive and the assignment of the various portfolios. It takes more than an ordinary amount of self-confidence to set oneself up as better qualified than the entire Zionist movement to judge what is in the best interests of Israel and of the Jews who need Israel.
“2. You state that the ZOA tried to make it appear in Israel that they alone were responsible for the raising of the funds in the U.S.A., and that, therefore, the representatives of other parties and from other countries yielded financial control. Nothing could be further from the truth. The people in Israel and elsewhere are thoroughly aware of how funds are raised here. As for financial control, it is, as heretofore, in the hands of the Jewish Agency as a whole. You know as well as I the procedure which has been followed by the Keren Hayesod and Keren Kayemeth here, namely, that of remitting their funds to the accounts of their head offices in Jerusalem and submitting requests for special allocutions to the approval of Mr. Eliezer Kaplan for the Agency and Dr. Granovsky for the Jewish National Fund. You know as well as I that the large sums which have been raised in the U.S.A. for Palestine have done the job for which they were intended, witness Eliezer Kaplan, Golda Myerson and all who were and are responsible for the administration of the Jewish Agency program. It is strange indeed that no complaints have been heard from these responsible quarters.
DENIES U.J.A. FUNDS ARE CONTROLLED BY Z.O.A.
“3. You express alarm that the funds raised in the United Jewish Appeal are controlled by the Z.O.A. and will be used to the detriment of Israel. This is a shocking distortion. The funds from this point on will be used as heretofore for the purposes of the Jewish Agency program and of the Jewish National Fund land acquisition program. The Actions Committee has assigned to the Agency the functions of absorption of immigration, colonization, development of Jerusalem, public relations, organizations, economic work, etc. These departments operate according to budgets fined by a finance and budget committee in Israel representative of all the parties.
“The budgets are supported by the income from the United Palestine Appeal. These departments and activities are directed by more than twenty members of the Executive in Jerusalem and in New York, of whom three are members of the ZOA. This pattern of operation has gone on for many years long before the present ZOA administration came to power. To assert that such an operation spells ZOA control, affects the social-economic pattern of Israel, and is to Israel’s detriment, is a misrepresentation of the facts.
“4. You speak of the relationship of the communities who raise the funds, to the responsibility of expending the funds. The present pattern which has been maintained for many years, permits both the J.D.C. and the U.P.A. to carry the responsibility for the expenditure of the funds. In the case of the J.D.C., the expenditure abroad is under their direct auspices. In the case of the U.P.A., the funds are remitted to the Koren Hayesod and the Jewish National Fund in Jerusalem, by their offices here, and they are expended in Israel in the manner indicated above. As long as the leadership of the J.D.C. and the U.P.A. have the confidence of the contributing public, there seems to be good reason for this pattern to continue. In any event, this is a subject which to my knowledge you have not brought up during the 19 months that I have been chairman of the U.P.A. What you are now proposing is virtually that the communities enter the field of budgeting the expenditures of the U.J.A. It is strange indeed that such a proposal should come now from you who fought so vigorously and successfully against a similar proposal a few years ago.
“What is most incomprehensible to me is the premise of your letter, namely, that a fundamentally untoward change has taken place at the recent meeting of the Actions Committee. Do you refer to the fact of the separation of the functions of the Jewish Agency from those of the Government of Israel, and that out of eight members of the government who were in the Executive of the Jewish Agency only one has remained, namely, the former Treasurer of the Jewish Agency? This was the one fundamental change in pattern and structure which has taken place, and I am sure that the Z.O.A. which strongly urged it, has the unstinted support of the Jewish community in America, in its insistence upon the distinction of functions and of personnel as between the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Palestine,” Dr. Goldstein emphasized.
The entire controversy will be aired at the U.P.A. national conference scheduled to be held in Chicago this week-end. A cable from President Dr. Chain Weizmann of Israel addressed to Mr. Montor, which was made public today, reads: “Regret hearing your resignation. Feel confident Israel will continue to have benefit of your loyal, devoted, brilliant service. Warm regards.”