Annual Assembly of Cjrewf Opens; Leaders Ask Checking of Uncoordinated Campaigns
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Annual Assembly of Cjrewf Opens; Leaders Ask Checking of Uncoordinated Campaigns

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An appeal to check multiple and uncoordinated campaigns for cash and materials for Israel and Europe was made here today by numerous Jewish leaders at the opening session of the 17th annual General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, attended by more than 1,000 representatives of Jewish communities from all parts of the country. The leaders urged communities to take Joint action to eliminate the “miscellaneous and uncoordinated” drives and to assure unified national fund-raising to meet overseas needs.

Pointing out that the “splinter campaigns” constitute a formidable threat the efforts of the United Jewish Appeal to raise funds on a national level, the speakers emphasized that unless the communities act jointly, through the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, the situation will deteriorate to an important extent. The call to eliminate these multiple “mushroom campaigns” was voiced by Daniel Shiman of Newark, chairman of the Council’s Committee on National-local relations; Harold Glasser, director of the Council’s Institute on Overseas Studies; and merman L. Woisman, national chairman of the United Palestine Appeal. “We are faced with several new or intensified campaigns for Europe and North Africa and with a much larger number of competing and uncoordinated drives for scores ?f individual projects in Israel,” Shiman declared. “This condition is morally indefensible and pathetically unworthy of the greatness of the Israeli cause. As a practical matter, it has reached the point where the, economic interests of Israel itself will be hurt, since the United Jewish Appeal, on which the basic program depends, must inevitably be harmed,” he stated.


Shiman warned that the “mere passage of helpful resolutions will not be enough.” He added that the communities must arrive at decisions which they can implement. He pointed out that discussion of this issue will continue throughout the Assembly, with delegates voting on the problem at the Sunday business session. A possible solution, he said, might be the establishment of an endorsement committee which would make recommendations to the communities as to the validity of the numerous independent campaigns, Special attention, he suggested, should be paid to those drives which have cease into existence since 1945.

Weisman told the delegates that the multiplicity of splinter campaigns, mostly motivated by the desire to help Israel, constitutes a serious threat to the U.J.A “These multiple fund-raising efforts, for relatively small goals, are nevertheless substantial, and in cumulative effect present a diversionary and competitive assault upon the 250,000,000 campaign of the U.J.A.”


There is no doubt that a misguided ambition by many groups to render independent service to the people of Israel in their manifold needs leads to a Justification of activities that are in “obvious derogation” of the priority to which the U.J.A. is entitled, Weisman said. “It is equally true that these multiple activities are mushrooming to create chaotic conditions because organizations and authorities in Israel have failed to exercise restraint in giving authorization for special campaigns which collectively work great prejudice to the U.J.A. effort to raise its full goal of $250,000,000,” he stated.

“As a national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, I am frank to say these multiple campaigns must be recognized as an abuse which officials of Israel in the government, in the Jewish Agency and in other organizations, must determine to curb by unequivocal and prompt action if they are to avert the calamity of weakening the primacy of the U.J.A.,” he stressed. I.R.O. Attacked for “Shameful Neglect” of Its Responsibilities to Jews

Glasser urged that the organizations raising money for Israel in the United States should combine their efforts “and thereby make available to Israel a larger proportion of the funds contributed.” Citing the tremendous sums of money required ? or world-wide Jewish needs in 1949, Glasser said that private philanthropy would be unable to provide the total sum. He urged increased efforts to secure additional services and funds from national and international government bodies.

Glasser bitterly attacked the International Refugee Organization for “shamefully neglecting” to carry out its “elementary responsibilities” for the care and resettlement of displaced Jews in Europe. He charged: “The food distribution was bad in quality and inadequate in quantity, so that the J.D.C. was forced to make major supplementations to keep the people nourished. The I.R.C. did not give them clothing. The J.D.C. did. The I.R.O. did not provide for vocational training or proper educational facilities; the American Jewish organizations did. And all this time, the I.B.O., financed in large part by American taxpayers, pleaded poverty but was piling up huge surpluses out of its available funds.” Glasser also charged that when the resettlement of displaced Jews in Israel began, the I.R.C. “held on to its money and stepped out of the picture.”

Dr. Joseph H. Schwartz, European chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, told the delegates that 1949 is the “critical year” in the J.D.C.’s program in behalf of the Jews of Europe. “Europe’s Jews are today at the threshold of a great, new era,” Dr. Schwartz asserted, “an era in which 1949 is a crucial year. This year the DP problem can be solved. This year the problem of Jews in Eastern Europe can be solved through immigration to Israel or through economic construction. And this year great strides can be made towards helping the Jewish communities in Europe to become strong enough to care for their own needs.”

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