NEW YORK (Nov. 23)
A nationwide committee made up of leaders of Jewish communities in cities throughout the country has been organized to oppose a blueprint for fund-raising machinery as a possible replacement of the United Jewish Appeal and a proposal for a central Israel fund, it was announced here today. The group, which has been named “The Committee of Community Leaders to Safeguard the United Jewish Appeal,” is headed by Alex Lowenthal of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Lowenthal charged in a statement today that these plans, formulated by the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds for presentation at its General Assembly in Washington on Dec. 1, were designed to “capture control of the major fund-raising effort in this country.” He asserted that adoption of the Council’s proposals could “create a dangerously split and disorganized Jewish community in this country and at the same time drastically curtail the flow of vitally needed funds to Israel.”
The Council’s protests, Mr. Lowenthal declared, that its blueprint was prepared only in the event that the United Jewish Appeal might be dissolved, “bears all the earmarks of wishful thinking, particularly since the partners in the U.J.A. campaign, that is, the United Palostine Appeal and the Joint Distribution Committee, are on the verge of successfully completing negotiations for reconstituting the 1951 U.J.A.”
With regard to the proposal for a central Israel fund, Mr. Lowenthal termed it “an unfeasible project which the Council had neither the facilities nor the power to implement.” The abolition of such campaigns as Hadassah, Histadrut, American Fund for Israel Institutions and their merging into one “catch-all drive” as proposed by the C.J.F.W.E can mean only a drastic reduction in funds available to Israel, Mr. Lowenthal stated. He pointed out that these supplementary funds raise about $20,000,000 a year of which more than 75 percent is derived from sources outside of the local welfare fund campaigns.
The Committee to Safegumrd the United Jewish Appeal, which Mr. Lowenthal stated includes leading communal representatives, Zionist and Board members of the Council itself who are critical of its current activities, “strongly urges that the C.J.F.W.F. withdraw immediately the proposed blueprint for a national campaign organization since any effort to shake the confidene in the U.J.A. must be viewed as a threat to the interests of Israel as well as an affront to the wishes of American Jewry.”
Mr. Lowenthal stated that “the Committee is currently circulating to communities throughout the country a program of action aimed at mobilizing public sentiment against the proposals.” The program urges that active members of local welfare funds or community councils who are concerned with the needs of Israel come to the General Assembly, as delegates, where they can vote in opposition to the proposals. The program also recomends that public discussion, in every possible media, be initiated “to make clear that the C.J.F.W.F. plans are divisive and will injure Israel itself” and that delegations of people interested in Israel be organized to call on their local welfare fund for explicit assurances that the fund will oppose those propositions. It also urges starting of an individual letter campaign to presidents and executive directors of local welfare funds stating opposition to the C.J.F.W.F. projects.