Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Rosenwald Charges James Warburg with Distorting Facts on U. J.a.

December 7, 1959
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

All the money that the United Jewish Appeal raises is given only to welfare organizations for humanitarian needs, and “none of it is given anywhere else,” William Rosenwald, noted American Jewish leader and national chairman of the UJA, declared here this week-end.

Mr. Rosenwald spoke here at Congregation Mishkan Israel from the same pulpit where a week ago James P. Warburg, publicist and former banker, attacked the United Jewish Appeal, and urged American Jews not to contribute to it. Mr. Rosenwald told his audience.

“The support which American Jews give to the UJA carries with it no endorsement of the policies of Israel’s Government, foreign and domestic. What this support does say in the most eloquent and meaningful terms is that the Jews of America underwrite the human needs which the UJA was founded to meet. Stressing that UJA funds have been used to save and rebuild the lives of Jews in need or danger throughout the world, Mr. Rosenwald commented that Mr. Warburg “could not have been more reckless of the facts as they apply to the UJA, than he was in his address last Friday night.”

The United Jewish Appeal has raised funds in annual drives since 1939, when it was brought into being to aid Jews persecuted by Hitler. In more than two decades it has provided monies for the feeding, shelter, migration and re-establishment of oppressed and distressed Jewish populations throughout the world. UJA funds have aided 2,700,000 persons, helping to resettle 1,300,000 of these in free lands throughout the world, including Israel and the United States.

Mr. Rosenwald, who from 1955 to 1957 was the general chairman of the UJA campaign, named the four agencies which receive funds raised by the UJA. He said these included first, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the “philanthropic organization which has the responsibility for the transportation and absorption of newcomers in Israel.” He stressed “this is a vast job involving housing, farm settlements, social service and other forms of aid to the refugees who have streamed in.”

Second, Mr. Rosenwald said, UJA funds go to “The American Joint Distribution Committee, which has relief and rehabilitation programs in 25 countries outside of Israel.” He added that the JDC also conducts a special welfare program in Israel known as Malben “in behalf of the sick, the aged and the handicapped immigrants to Israel.”

The third recipient of UJA funds, he noted, “is the New York Association for New Americans, which has the responsibility for Jewish refugees who come to America and who settle in the New York metropolitan area.” The fourth UJA beneficiary in recent years has been the United Hias Service which resettles Jews who are able to immigrate to countries other than Israel.


The UJA leader declared, “when one contributes to the UJA he does so with he under standing that his money will be used for humanitarian purposes–for rescuing lives, for providing the homeless with a home, for restoring health to the sick, for giving hope to the aged and the handicapped, for providing the untrained with vocational skills and for giving fellow Jews in need the basic necessities of life.”

Mr. Rosenwald stressed that the philanthropic efforts of the United Jewish Appeal were in accord with United States policy “to help others less fortunate than ourselves, both by the expenditure of governmental funds and by private philanthropy. Such help, “he pointed out,” has not carried the implication that we necessarily support the governments of the countries in which those people who receive this help live. For example, when the United States gave the Russian people help through the Hoover Relief Program no one suggested that this constituted endorsement of Communism in Russia.”

The UJA national chairman said also that any suggestion by American Jews to instruct Israel to close its doors to further immigration would be an outright invasion of that country’s sovereignty. “It is Israel’s right to open or close its doors as it chooses,” he added. He stressed, however, that the major force responsible for the mass influx of refugees from European and Moslem lands into Israel “has been the inner urge on the part of Jews, living in fear under degrading disabilities, in an atmosphere charged with danger to their physical security, or under conditions which make it impossible for them to live as Jews.”

The UJA leader stressed that it was the policy of the organization to aid Jews to go wherever they have a free choice to go. He pointed out that UJA funds had helped tens of thousands of Jewish refugees and displaced persons to come to the United States, Canada, Australia and other areas. He added, however, that “Israel has been the only haven to which Jews can go in large numbers. In fact, it stands unique as the only haven in the world for large numbers of refugees.”

Mr. Rosenwald pointed out that the burden of receiving nearly 1,000,000 Jewish refugees into Israel since 1948 has not been borne by American Jews alone. He declared that Israel “itself has been called upon every year during the past decade to pour millions and millions of pounds obtained from Israel’s own heavily taxed people into helping absorb the newcomers.”

He told his audience “for Israel to have barred its doors to these people and for the United Jewish Appeal to have withheld its help in transporting these Jews to Israel would have violated every decent instinct that we, as Jews, possess.”

Recommended from JTA