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Cjfwf Says Middle East Countries Must Be Principal Parties to Resolution of Conflict

November 17, 1969
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Two thousand delegates representing the Jewish communities of more than 200 American cities declared today that “it is not the function of the United States or any Government outside of the Middle East to draw a new map, determine boundaries, or otherwise attempt to resolve the issues of a peace settlement without the participation and approval of the states involved.” The delegates, attending the 38th General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds (CJFWF)unanimously affirmed that “a genuine and durable peace, with secure and agreed boundaries, will come only from direct negotiations by the states of the Middle East followed by their binding agreements.”

The resolution noted that “this has been the position consistently declared by our Government and we urge that there be no deviation from it.” The resolution further welcomed Nixon Administration actions in the past year to strengthen Israel’s defensive capacity and urged “that this assistance be broadened further to assure also the economic requirements of Israel’s security.”

Max M. Fisher, newly elected (CJFWF) president, and chairman of President’ Richard M. Nixon’s National Center for Voluntary Action, told the Assembly that the resolution would be “personally delivered” to the Administration next week. Canadian delegates to the Assembly joined in “applauding such actions by the U.S. Government” and agreed to “do all in their power to influence and shape a similar policy by the Canadian Government.”


In a precedent-making action, the General Assembly voted unanimously to “involve the participation and membership of college groups and faculty on boards and committees of federations and agencies in the determination of policies, programs and priorities.” The resolution called for “more intensive federation planning” and programs to service and involve college youth and faculty in community activities. It urged federations to “seek out emerging campus Jewish groups and give full consideration to support of programs initiated and conducted by students or faculty” and “to provide leadership, staff and funds required to achieve this effectively.”

An attempt by student groups to amend the resolution to involve rabbis, teachers and Jewish school principals on federation boards and committees determining policies, programs and allocations failed of adoption after the student spokesman Hillel Levine, a Harvard graduate student, was given the plenary session floor to ask for the amendment. The Assembly adopted an overall resolution calling upon all federations to make “a greater commitment to improve the quality and effectiveness of Jewish education on all levels and to enhance the growth of Jewish cultural life generally.”. The resolution put stress on the need to “encourage and make possible imaginative experiments and innovations to strengthen Jewish education.”

The Assembly unanimously adopted an amendment to the resolution, proposed by Gordon Zacks, of Columbus, Ohio, chairman of the Young Leadership Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal, calling for establishment of a “task force of the foremost minds in the American Jewish community” to make proposals to the board of the CJFWF on establishment of an independent national to foundation for developing Jewish identity–its structure, functioning, relationship with existing organizations and financing– in the appropriate dimensions.” Mr. Zacks had proposed at an earlier session of the Assembly establishment of a $100 million foundation for these purposes. Mr. Fisher announced that the task force would be appointed soon.

The several hundred Jewish students from a score of Eastern universities who came to the General Assembly to demand greater support for Jewish education, communal financing of their campus activities and a greater recognition and role for students in the decision-making and allocation processes of the community, won promise of further support from the young leadership. In meetings here with a group headed by Mr. Zacks, the student groups were invited to submit projects to the young leadership group of the CJFWF, members of which will sponsor their presentation to the local federations involved.

Participation of the Jewish students was welcomed in a statement by Philip Bernstein, CJFWF executive vice-president, early in the convention. Mr. Bernstein said that the students, “have done us a service by posing the issues they are bringing to us. We are already committed to many of the programs they are pressing for, and they have helped dramatize the urgency of these needs. This includes greatly enriching the quality of Jewish education in our communities, with a strong emphasis on innovation. They have properly stressed the importance of upgrading incentives to attract the ablest teachers to the religious schools, strengthening Jewish teachers colleges, creating more chairs and departments of Judaica on college campuses, scholarship and fellowship programs for students in Jewish studies, adult education and other essential programs.

At a convention plenary session, Mr. Levine, representing the Concerned Jewish Students, told the delegates that a “vague sense of Jewishness cannot compete in an open market of identities for Jews three or four generations removed from a substantive Jewish experience.” Jewish organizations, he charged, were deficient in Jewish content at the expense of Jewish education. “The priorities of organized Jewish philanthropies,” he charged, “favor a greater mobilization of resources to combat crackpot anti-Semites than to deal with the Jewish illiteracy of millions of Jews.” He called for greater representation in the direction of the Federations, a reallocation of funds and measures to “overcome institutional inertia which has made the community stagnant.”


In a preamble to a wide-ranging series of resolutions on the world and domestic scenes, the Assembly noted that “as we move into the decade of the 1970s, we are faced by conditions of unparalleled urgency requiring federation leadership and action beyond anything yet achieved.” A resolution on fund-raising noted that needs in 1970 will be “far more” than the $263 million raised in community federated campaigns in 1969.

In a resolution dealing with the plight of Soviet Jewry, the Assembly called upon the U.S. and Canada “to do all in their power within and outside the United Nations” to secure removal of restrictions suffered by Soviet Jewry, to assure Soviet Jews of their full rights, and to permit their emigration.” On the domestic scene, the Assembly warned that the “deepening crisis” in the cities, “unless resolved, presents a serious threat to America’s democratic institutions.” It called on the Government to deal with the “root causes” stressing that “there is no more pressing priority for our nation than the crisis in our cities.” It approved President Nixon’s new welfare program guidelines. The Assembly also criticized the “harmful effects” of tax proposals adopted by Congress and urged the adoption of tax reforms safeguarding the principle of charitable tax deductions and providing greater incentives to giving.

The concluding session of the Assembly heard a warning from Morris Glasser of Chicago, named to his third term as chairman of the Large City Budgeting Conference, that “demands on the philanthropic dollar “will greatly increase in the 1970s’.He pointed out that ” this will require greater exercise of priorities by federations and continuing reappraisal of programs and needs.”


Mr. Fisher, Detroit industrialist and advisor to President Nixon, was elected president, of the CJFWF, succeeding Louis J, Fox of Baltimore, retiring after three one-year terms. In his acceptance speech, delivered Saturday night at the Assembly’s banquet, Mr. Fisher stressed the need for support of Israel. “The first of our problems is critical and pressing. It is to give our fullest support–by the means open to us–to the people of Israel now in the 18th month of their Six-Day War for survival.” He said that “we, with other free Jews, must take over as much as possible of Israel’s $500 million budget of humanitarian, welfare needs” Mr. Fisher also called for “quality ” in American Jewish life in all its social welfare activities, and stressed that “survival depends too, in very great degree, upon achieving the highest quality in Jewish education and the facilities for such education.” He called for full Jewish commitment in the war against poverty.”

Addressing a luncheon session, Robert H. Finch, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, praised the role of voluntary agencies in the building and preserving of human resources and declared that the 223 federations comprising the CJFWF reaffirmed “a distinctive mark of the entire American experience.” The range of the Council’s experiences, he told the delegates, “puts you in the very forefront of that Legion of volunteers–the human component of social activism.” He added that “there is no way to put a dollar sign on the value of the services contributed.”

Mr. Finch presented the broad outlines of the Government social welfare program and stressed that the Government could not do the job alone. What the Nixon Administration is seeking to do, he said, is to “maximize those forms of action that do lie within our capabilities to do well what public authority does Best.”

Addressing a dinner session of the General Assembly, Daniel P. Moynihan, counselor to the President, made a plea to all seeking legislation to abolish poverty to support President Nixon’s family assistance program now pending in Congress. He expressed concern that the “slowness of some of our reactions” stemming from both liberal and conservative elements might “jeopardize” the opportunity to abolish poverty in America.

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