Aid Urged for Vietnamese Refugees

Four major Jewish organizations announced support for Administration efforts to resettle refugees from Southeast Asia in the United States. The four groups are the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, the national executive board of B’nai B’rith Women, and the New York Board of Rabbis.

Elmer L, Winter, president of the AJCommittee, told some 1000 delegates attending the organization’s 69th annual meeting last weekend in New York that humanitarian aid to the Vietnamese refugees is an urgent issue. Noting that “as Jews who have benefitted from the generosity and welcome accorded our parents and grandparents when they came to these shores,” Winter declared: “We call upon all Americans to open their hearts to them (Vietnamese), as the people of this country have always opened their hearts to human beings in need.” A resolution to this effect was adopted.

In a letter to the White House supporting President Ford’s “humanitarian efforts” to resettle the refugees, AJCongress President Arthur Hertzberg proposed that the new government in Vietnam should be asked “to allow those who may wish to depart to do so freely and without restraint or fear of harm.” The letter noted that the organization’s National Governing Council had voted last Sunday to support Ford’s request for funds to pay for the Vietnamese resettlement program.

The B’nai B’rith Women said it “applauded the heroic rescue efforts which the U.S. has undertaken to save the lives of these refugees” and expressed its hopes that these efforts will be continued by providing assistance “to these people’s immediate needs as newcomers to this country.” Rabbi Sol Roth, president of the New York Board of Rabbis, said the Board “wishes to lend its full moral support” to the resettlement of the Vietnamese refugees, and also called on the U.S. government to provide adequate funds to assist in the resettling.

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