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Detroit Bond Conflict Widens; Local Bond Committee Dissolved

February 25, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The fight between the leaders of the Israel Bond executive in Detroit and national headquarters of the Israel Bond Organization reached a point today where the Detuoit executive committee dissolved itself after the national headquarters proceeded with its plans to hold a dinner here on March 1st at which bonds will be sold.

The Israel Bond executive committee in Detroit requested that this dinner be cancelled because all public fund-raising functions in the city during the months of March, April and May are traditionally dedicated to the Allied Jewish Campaign. However, national headquarters of the Israel Bond drive ignored the request and sent a number of its staff members from New York to make all necessary arrangements for the dinner at which Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon will be the principal speaker and Mischa Elman, famous violinist, will give an after-dinner recital.

The text of a protest sent by the Detroit group to Henry Montor, executive head of the American Financial Development Corporation for Israel, which is conducting the sale of bonds, will be made public tomorrow in the Detroit Jewish News with an announcement that copies of the text have also been forwarded to Israel Ambassador Abba Eban to Israel Finance Minister Levi Eshkol. The text reads:

“Despite a vote of the Detroit Committee for Israel Bonds requesting a postponement of a projected Bond Dinner March 1st, the Detroit and national representatives of AFDCI announced that the dinner would take place.

“The Detroit Committee for Israel Bonds views such actions by the local manager and of members of the AFDCI from the National office as forcing its dissolution. If we interpret this action correctly, our decision, by an overwhelming vote, at a meeting at the Jewish Center in Detroit, on Sunday afternoon, February 13, is to accept the verdict with saddened hearts, and we declare our committee dissolved, while reaffirming our dedication to Israel’s needs as they are fulfilled by philanthropy as well as through investments.


“If we are incorrect in our interpretation, and if our services as volunteers are to be respected, we must have positive assurance. 1. That the action taken here by AFDCI officers should be reversed; 2. That all decisions on Bond functions are to be finalized only by decisions of the local committee.

“Without the Planned Dinner, and permitted to work for Israel in a democratic fashion, we hope in the next three weeks to raise $150,000 through new bond sales and collections. We request assurances as outlined.”

The communication was signed by Phillip Stollman, David Safran, William Isenberg. Mrs. William Isenberg, Carl Schiller, Mrs. Carl Schiller, Mrs. Joseph Ehrlich, Tom Borman, Sydney Shevitz, Philip Slomovitz, Mrs. Samuel Rubiner, Samuel Belkin, Max Stollman, Abe Nussbaum and Irving Schlussel. Mr. Stollman is chairman of Detroit’s Israel bond drive.

Meanwhile, the augmented staff of the Israel bond office here, in advertisements in Detroit’s daily newspapers to popularize the March I dinner, used the name “Committee for the Economic Defense of Israel” as the sponsor of the protested event, and in announcing the installation of what was hitherto considered the Women’s Division of the Israel Bond Organization the name “Women’s Leadership for Israel” was used. The terms “Israel bonds” were out in the ads announcing the March 1 dinner in the daily newspapers.

The Jewish News of Detroit will carry an editorial tomorrow appealing for peace emphasizing that “a serious crisis” faces the Detroit Jewish community. The editorial will stress the fact that “Detroit Jewry, for more than two decades the model of American Jewry as a community that has shown the way in generosity and in cooperation by all elements, is threatened with disruption as a result of the unfortunate flouting of democratic decisions of the duly recognized Detroit Israel Bond Executive Committee by the national officers of the Israel bond drive.”

The editorial points out that “there is a basic principle involved in the present conflict: that only Detroiters can plan campaigns for Detroit, and that intrusions from the outside can not possibly enhance our position as a generous people. Since the dispute is not over the sale of bonds but rather over that of timing, the incident that was imposed upon us should have been avoided. Anyone who forces us into a controversy must be considered an interloper, in view of the enviable record set by the Detroit volunteer workers and leaders for the Israel bond drive. Take away the volunteers, and you take the heart out of a movement.

“We have faith that this community will not permit such a division in our ranks. There still is time to cancel the March 1 dinner; but if it is held as planned, let that dinner, in itself, mark an end to the flouting of democratic principles and let us return, at once, to the standards of unified efforts for action by Jewry in the best interests of our people,” the editorial concludes.

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