U.J.A. Parley Urges U.S. Jews to Postpone Local Drives, Concentrate on Aid to Israel
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U.J.A. Parley Urges U.S. Jews to Postpone Local Drives, Concentrate on Aid to Israel

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Appeals to the Jewish community in the United States to postpone for a year or two the raising of capital funds for new buildings for local Jewish institutions and concentrate instead on helping the United Jewish Appeal to achieve its goals in order to strengthen the position of Israel were voiced here today by leading speakers at the two-day Emergency National Conference of the U.J.A., which concluded tonight.

Henry Montor, director of the United Jewish Appeal, revealed that while the U.J.A. raised $120,000,000 in the first eight months of 1948, only $84,000,000 was received in cash in the same period this year. Other speakers described the financial situation in Israel as “very grave.” The conference adopted an emergency program to meet the “cash crisis” and voted to reduce the allocation for local community needs to overcome the substantial drop in cash receipts for the U.J.A.

Henry Morgenthau Jr., general chairman of the U.J.A., who was scheduled to preside at the conference suddenly took ill with pneumonia and is now in New York Hospital, in New York City, where his wife, who is also hospitalized, is reported to be “seriously ill.”

The parley decided to hold the National Conference of the U.J.A. in Atlantic City on Nov. 25 at which decisions will be made regarding the scope of the 1950 U.J.A. campaign.

Other decisions adopted by the more than 800 delegates from all parts of the country attending the conference provide for 1. The immediate dispatch of “flying squads” of U.J.A. leaders to strategic parts of the country to speed the remittance of all possible cash as quickly as possible; 2. The launching of extraordinary efforts within the communities to speed the collection of all funds pledged to the U.J.A.; 3. The initiation wherever possible of supplementary campaigns to provide additional funds for the U.J.A.; 4. The establishment of a formula to assure the allocation of maximum funds and the request that communities suspend all allotments until U.J.A. requirements are met; and, 5. That communities make local bank loans at once to assure a substantial flow of cash.

In a resolution covering plans for the 1950 U.J.A. campaign, communities were urged to make no commitments locally relating to 1950 drives until after the Atlantic City National Conference.


In a stirring address which concluded the extraordinary meeting, Dr. Naham Goldmann, chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency, appealing to delegates to ask their communities to wait a year or two on local Jewish projects because such a “diversion of funds from the U.J.A. might prove fatal to Israel,” declared that Israel is in “a state of war interrupted by armistice,” and warned that the Arabs were anxiously watching for the U.J.A. to fail. He asked that rather than support “100 local projects which can be postponed” all available money be poured at once into Israel–“the thing really decisive” to the fate of all Jews.

Dr. Goldmann warned that a Jewish state of 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 will not survive unless the Jewish people everywhere identify themselves with and “shake off the present symptoms of apathy which are beginning to appear. If world Jewry stops its help and loses the sense of equal responsibility for the Jewish state, it will collapse and the greatest historic venture in Jewish history will end in a shameful episode of Jewish immaturity and irresponsibility,” he declared, adding that while the stature of Jews has grown with Israel, the collapse of Israel would adversely affect the prestige and security of Jews everywhere.

He said that “the collective responsibility of all Jews of the world for the future and fate of Israel is an established fact from which one cannot run away. If anything should happen to this state, it would be a defeat not only for its citizens, but would be a catastrophe for every Jew in the world.” Dr. Goldmann emphasized that “more or less help for Israel may mean its survival or collapse, while more or less help this year for hospitals, epagoges, old people’s homes, or even schools, will not determine the survival or collapse of Jewish communities…for American Jews to diminish greatly their help to Israel, and to decide that now, since the state has been established, it can take care of itself, would be as if parents were to abandon a newly-born child.” He asserted that Jews in Israel felt as if they had the “unqualified support of American Jewry when they undertook to declare independence and absorb the immigration of homeless Jews throughout the world.”


Dr. Israel Goldstein, retired treasurer of the Jewish Agency, who returned last week from Israel, warned that failure of the U.J.A. might mean the spread of Communism in Israel. He said that while there is now but one Jewish Communist in the Knesset “there is no telling what may happen if Israel will be compelled unaided to cops with its economic problems.”

Dr. Goldstein said that it was “unreasonable to expect this infant state, surrounded by hostile neighbors, to fend for itself in these crucial formative years of its life. If American Jews relax their support they will give encouragement to the enemies of Israel who would like to smother this infant and they will forfeit the moral right to ask the Christian world for political and economic help to Israel.”

Judge Morris Rothenberg, national chairman of the U.J.A. who presided at last night’s session, declared that it is not the intention of U.J.A. loaders to underestimate local needs in American communities, adding; “But all of us know that the great Jewish communities of the United States will not go under if building programs are delayed awhile.” Comparing the plight of England to the developing crisis in Israel, Judge Rothenberg said: “The collapse of Israel would be as disastrous for the Jewish people as the collapse of Britain would be for the democratic world.”

Edward M.M. Warburg, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, told delegates that the job of rehabilitation and resettlement of European Jewry is not yet finished and additional funds were needed to complete operations. He said, however, that as a result of substantial achievements, two-thirds of the job had been completed and the work of the J.D.C. and U.J.A. in Europe “is definitely in its final stages.”

Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman of the J.D.C., reported that the immigration crisis in Israel is having repercussions in the remaining displaced persons camps in Europe and other areas where Jews await transportation to the new state. “In the remaining DP camps of Germany, Austria, and Italy, and in the nearly 20 emigration camps the J.D.C. maintains in Marseilles, North Africa and Aden, tens of thousands of people are waiting, miserable and uncertain, fearful of making the journey to which they once looked forward with hope and enthusiasm,” he asserted. In North Africa and Moslem lands “hundreds of thousands of Jews are living under conditions which are incomparably worse than that of Jews in the DP camps or even the reception centers of Israel,” he added.

Eliahu Elath, Israel Ambassador to the United States, said his presence at the meeting “is evidence of the deep concern of my government with the purposes of this emergency conference.” He said Israel has strained its economy to the utmost to absorb 285,000 immigrants since the new state was established. About 190,000 of the new arrivals, or 70 percent, have found gainful employment, he said. In addition there are 70,000 persons still in reception camps for whom both jobs and homes must be found.

Aubrey S. Eban, Israel’s delegate to the U.N., hailed the U.N. economic survey mission in the Middle East. “Israel attaches high hopes to the new approach upon which the Conciliation Commission has now embarked in search of development projects which may unite the governments and peoples of the whole area in the cause of regional welfare and advancement,” he said.

Berl Locker, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, in a cable from Israel, said that “refugees in came in Israel in such large numbers are a disgraceful blot on the good name of the Jews of the world.” Former Gov. Herbert H. Lehman, honorary chairman of the U.J.A., in a message to the conference said that “the relationship of the American Jewish community to Israel and to Jews who need help everywhere must now be reconsidered and reevaluated in the light of last year’s developments. Our action in the coming weeks will demonstrate whether we are worthy of the opportunity which we ourselves helped to create,” he added.

Other speakers at the conference included William Rosenwald, a U.J.A. national chairman, who also presided, Rep. Jacob Javits, who reviewed the work of the United Service for New Americans, and Jewish community leaders from Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, St. Louis, Detroit and other cities.

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