NEW YORK (Dec. 10)
The Joint Distribution Committee, at its 45th annual meeting today, adopted a budget of $29,142,000 for its aid programs in 1960 which provide assistance to 250,000 Jews in 25 countries, including Israel. More than 400 delegates from all parts of the country attended the gathering.
The delegates unanimously voted a resolution pledging full support for UJA’s 1960 campaigns and urged American Jews “to demonstrate their continued support by responding with heightened generosity to the campaign for funds vitally needed for live-saving efforts in Israel and elsewhere.”
Edward M.M. Warburg, chairman of the JDC, addressing the delegates, lauded the United Jewish Appeal of which the JDC is a major partner. He said that the UJA has helped make possible the physical survival of the great flood of Jewish refugees escaping from dictatorship, anti-Senitism and hunger in post-war years. “The reality of today–for hundreds of thousands of men and women–is that the solidity of the UJA represents the only hope of a decent future,” he stressed.
Recalling the Nazi era when six million people died “because there was no place to escape to” and the post-war days “when hundreds of thousands in the DP camps pleaded with an unhearing world for a place to live,” Mr. Warburg declared that today the world has changed. “Not that the refugees have disappeared–we know only too well that there have been refugees every year. But the world has indeed changed. For now there is an answer to terror, an answer to fear.”
Mr. Warburg, who was re-elected JDC chairman for the 15th successive year, is a founder and honorary chairman of the UJA. He told the delegates that the establishment of the State of Israel had meant “new hope” for hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees. Because Israel exists, he declared, and because Americans through the United Jewish Appeal have given large-scale help in transporting and settling refugees, both in Israel and in other countries of asylum, “the thousands of Jews who surged over the Hungarian border to freedom, the other thousands set into flight by the Egyptian dictator, the tens of thousands who poured out of North Africa, were not faced with 1946 again–or with 1938.
“I am grateful,” he added, “to the UJA and to the American Jewish community which established it, because before UJA, when thousands raised their voices in agony, in our helplessness we could only echo this agony. Today we are not helpless.”
WARBURG AND KLUTZNICK PRAISE U.S. GOVERNMENT AID POLICY
Mr. Warburg praised the U.S. Government policy of extending aid to the needy of many lands “without insisting that the price they pay be acceptance of our system of government or our way of life.”
“As Americans, we are happy that our government has in the past given generous aid to Israel’s Government–and we would like to see this aid continued and extended. It seems to me that any rational person must see how the mere fact of Israel’s existence–a 20th Century democracy in a sea of medieval autocracies–the mere fact that Israel is, and grows stronger, must strengthen the cause of peace and democracy everywhere.”
He pointed out that the “fundamental approach” of the U.S. Government and of the American people is that there must be a supplement–in times of need–to government-to-government giving–that supplement being the aid people give to people. “And I would add that the kind and the extent of the people-to-people assistance which the UJA has given to the people of Israel, and to the needy Jews of other countries, has not been surpassed by any voluntary agency in the history of mankind.”
Philip M. Klutznick of Chicago, chairman of the International Council of B’nai B’rith, praised the U.S. Government’s foreign aid policy as an “unprecedented outpouring of American resources springing from a deep-rooted belief in the concept of ‘one world.'” He warned, however, that three current factors were tending “to turn the American community inward at this time.” He cited the improved economic position of many of America’s Western allies; the adverse trend in the United States balance of international payments, and “the concern that our foreign aid programs have not always been wisely administered.”
“While I agree that there may be much merit in introducing greater discrimination and judgment into the handling of foreign aid policy,” Mr. Klutznick, a former U.S. delegate to the UN General Assembly, said, “it would be tragic if, under the guise of economy, cuts so drastic were made that they destroyed the results of our multi-billion dollar investment in raising living standards, in bringing the twentieth century to underdeveloped countries, and in creating a climate for the democratic way of life throughout the world.”
Moses A. Leavitt, JDC executive vice-chairman, reported on the agency’s world-wide welfare services for 1959, for which over $28,000,000 was spent. “In 1959, a year of no great crises, no terrible emergencies–the men, women and children who needed JDC’s aid still numbered well over 200,000,” Mr. Leavitt pointed out.
The 1960 JDC budget was adopted after a report by Charles H. Jordan, director-general for the agency’s overseas operations. Mr. Jordan pointed out that “deteriorating political and economic conditions in North Africa,” particularly in Morocco and Tunisia, had increased need among the Jewish population–and reduced the contributions of local governments and communities–resulting in heavier demands for JDC help.
Because the Jews of Moslem lands had “the double misfortune of being an underprivileged minority living in underdeveloped countries,” he said, JDC aid is absorbing an increased share of JDC’s annual expenditure. Some 100,000 of the approximately 500,000 Jews in these countries are regularly receiving some assistance, he reported.