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PARTNERS AND PURSESTRINGS

מאת:
הוצאה: | 1987 | 256 עמ'
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רכשו ספר זה:

"Written with beautiful lucidity… will hold the readers."

– Philip Bernstein, Executive Vice President Emeritus, Council of Jewish Federations

 

"Partners and Pursestrings is a must for anyone wishing to understand more about Israel's relations with American Jewry,"

– Yuval Elitzur, Ma'ariv

 

"Details… the UIA's rich history, one in which some of the great ideological and political struggles of American Jewish communal life and of the relationship between the American Jewish community and its counterpart in the land of Israel have been played out over the years…. Enormous value… eminently worth reading."

– Dr. Jonathan Woocher, Executive Vice President, Jewish Education Service of North America (review in American Jewish History)

 

"Finally we have a clear and authoritative book about the greatest of Jewish philanthropies…. Essential for the understanding of the American Jewish community's dynamics."

– Prof. Lloyd P. Gartner, Dept. of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University.

 

"The first serious academic history of the Zionist and pro-Israel fund-raising apparatus in the United States…. Fascinating."

– Prof. Daniel J. Elazar, Dept. of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University

 

"Fascinating probe into the history of American Jewish fund-raising for Israel."

– Charles Hoffman in The Jerusalem Post

 

And more recently:

 

"A rich but highly readable and accessible narrative… a feat of brilliance.

I and anyone else who produces any work on American Jewish philanthropy in Israel will forever be indebted to you…."

  – From a 2014 letter to the author by Dr. Eric Fleisch, Lecturer in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University

מקט: 001-2160-002
מסת"ב: 978-965-565-106-5
 הורד/י דוגמה חינם לאייבוקס    הורד/י דוגמה חינם לקינדל

כדי לקרוא אנא התקן תוכנת קריאה המתאימה למכשירך כמפורט במדריך לקורא

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1. World War I – “All Would Have Been Lost…”

IF A specific date had to be chosen to mark the beginning of the enduring partnership between the Jews of America and the modern Jewish community in the Land of Israel, it might well be October 6, 1914, some two months after the roar of the “Guns of August” first signaled the outbreak of the World War, and just three weeks before the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of Germany. On that day, an American warship, the U.S.S. North Carolina, cast anchor off the port of Jaffa. Among those rowed ashore was an emissary from the American Ambassador to Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire of which Palestine was a part. Having previously visited Palestine, the Ambassador, Henry Morgenthau, had become aware of the precarious situation of the country’s Jewish population which the war threatened to cut off from all sources of outside help. He immediately cabled his friend, the banker and philanthropist Jacob H. Schiff in New York, that “the Jews of Palestine were facing a terrible crisis” and that $50,000 was needed immediately.

Schiff went with the request to his colleagues at the American Jewish Committee, the organization dedicated to the protection of the civil and religious rights of Jews all over the world. The American Jewish Committee in turn consulted with the Provisional Committee for General Zionist Affairs, newly-established and headed by Louis D. Brandeis; its purpose to “save the Zionist Organization and its Palestinian institutions.”[1]

Within days, the sum requested was collected, a rather substantial amount by prevailing standards. The AJC allocated half from its own funds; another $12,500 was contributed by Mr. Schiff personally; and the remaining $12,500 was given by the Zionist Committee.[2]

An official report[3] later described the arrival of the American vessel at Jaffa port and the debarkation of the Ambassador’s emissary with the money as an extraordinary event. “It raised the morale of the Jews, who now realized that they were not forsaken but could count on the help of their brothers overseas.”

The ship’s arrival, the report went on, also enhanced the status of the Jewish community in the eyes of the rest of the population and of the authorities, who now realized that the Jews, through their connections with the outside world, were a more influential community than their mere numbers would indicate. Moreover, American vessels not only continued to deliver assistance to the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine); but also evacuated Jews who were being ordered to leave and those who left voluntarily for fear of hunger and persecution. Thus, in May 1915, a special shipment of food supplies paid for from diverse Jewish sources including Zionist ones arrived on the U.S.S Vulcan at a most critical moment. “The situation in Palestine was such that, in spite of all the efforts made locally to overcome it, all would have been lost in a very short time if it had not been for the financial help from America. America was then the only country whose political and economic situation permitted it to save the Yishuv from ruin.”

Almost as significant as the relief shipments themselves was the way their distribution was organized. Maurice Wertheim, Morgenthau’s son-in-law, who brought that first $50,000 in October, turned the money over to a committee consisting of three prominent community leaders who, in consultation with Wertheim and the American Consul in Jerusalem, decided on a mode of distribution. They divided Palestine into three districts for the purpose – District A: Jerusalem, Hebron, and Motza (an early Jewish agricultural colony near Jerusalem); District B: Jaffa and the surrounding Jewish colonies; and District C: Haifa, Safad, Tiberias, and the colonies of the Galilee and Samaria. Each member of the central committee was in charge of a District, but the funds were actually distributed by specially appointed local committees chaired by the respective central committee member. The percentages received by each District were determined by the Central Committee (on what basis the report does not say): District A, 47 per cent; B, 26 per cent; C, 27 per cent. The local groups were given wide discretion in choosing the beneficiaries within guidelines established by the central committee:

twenty per cent of the funds to be used for the purchase of food products, which would be resold at cost;

forty per cent for food to be given away to those without means or to public kitchens (this category to include Muslims in a percentage to be determined by the local committee);

forty per cent to constitute a loan fund, to enable private employers or public bodies to employ Jewish workers.[4]

The members of the central committee were to send monthly financial reports to Dr. Arthur Ruppin, the committee’s chairman, who in turn was to forward these reports to Louis Marshall, the President of the American Jewish Committee in New York.

Though far from Zionist, the AJC had responded promptly to the emergency in Palestine. But as the war gathered momentum, its concerns would soon extend to other areas as well. Before long it found itself swamped by appeals for help from Jewish communities and organizations all over Europe. The Antwerp Jewish community, overwhelmed by the needs of refugees who flocked to it, appealed for help. The Alliance Israelite Universelle and the Anglo-Jewish Association asked for the AJC’s assistance in caring for the thousands of immigrants on their way to America when the outbreak of war left them stranded in Western Europe. Austria’s Israelitische Allianz pleaded on behalf of masses of Jews who, having fled from Galicia on the approach of the Russian troops, were crowding the cities of Vienna, Prague and Budapest. The Chief Rabbi of Salonica described the critical condition of the Jews of his city.

Fraternal organizations, such as B’nai B’rith, received urgent calls for help from their brother lodges in Europe. Landsmannschaften (Associations) of Rumanian Jews, Bessarabian and Polish Jews, were faced with desperate appeals from their kinsmen back home. Unions of Jewish workers in Europe turned to their fellow unionists in the United States. And finally, private persons and rabbis in America were flooded with messages of woe from individuals and groups caught in the first tide of misery and starvation.

As the ceaseless stream of cables brought about feverish and somewhat anarchic activity on many fronts, the AJC saw itself as the logical body to take the initiative toward some form of united action. Early in October 1914, Louis Marshall called upon all national Jewish organizations to send representatives to a conference “to consider the organization of a general committee and the formulation of plans to accomplish the largest measure of relief,” with no division in counsel or in sentiment. “All differences should be laid aside and forgotten. Nothing counts now but harmonious and effective action.”.”[5]

Marshall’s appeal met with a positive response, and on October 25th, delegates of 38 organizations gathered at Temple Emanuel in New York City to lay the foundations for the American Jewish Relief Committee. Among them was a delegation of the Federation of American Zionists, headed by Louis Brandeis. The officers they elected were among the foremost leaders of American Jewry: Louis Marshall, President; Cyrus L. Sulzberger and Oscar S. Straus, Secretaries; Felix M. Warburg, Treasurer; and an executive committee including Louis D. Brandeis, Julian W. Mack, Jacob H. Schiff, Dr. Judah L. Magnes and Dr. Cyrus Adler.

A statement issued after the conference announced that “representatives of the leading national Jewish organizations and of the important Jewish communities of America have formed a general committee for the relief of the Jews of the several European nations and of Palestine who now or may hereafter require aid in direct or indirect consequences of the war…. The fund collected is to be administered through such agencies as shall best accomplish an effective and equitable distribution among those individuals and institutions whom it is sought to help.”[6]

The American Jewish Relief Committee may be described as an early prototype for the United Jewish Appeal. It embodied the principle of a single nationwide campaign for overseas causes (Europe and Palestine), even though its structure was different from the model that was to evolve in the 30s. While the United Jewish Appeal was established as a campaign instrument by its constituents (the Joint Distribution Committee and the United Palestine Appeal), the prototype was created by an outside organization (the American Jewish Committee). Its main “beneficiary” was organized later, as a distributing arm for funds already raised. Together with an Orthodox relief committee and a third, labor-socialist fundraising group called the People’s Relief Committee, the ARJC founded the Joint Distribution Committee of the American Funds for Jewish War Sufferers, soon to be known as the JDC, or the “Joint.” Only after the War did the three component groups fade from view, while the “Joint” remained on the scene.[7]

It was understood that the new body would operate both in Europe and Palestine; no distinction was to be made on the basis of geography, the only criterion being need. The Zionist leader, Louis D. Brandeis, was also among the founders of the American Jewish Relief Committee and of the JDC. There was at first no conflict between the programs of these groups and that of the emergency fund established by the Zionist Federation. On the contrary, Brandeis and his Zionist associates had reason to be gratified that the JDC assigned such a prominent place in its relief efforts to Palestine, and that its action there helped prevent worse disaster than befell the Yishuv. In June 1915, Brandeis cabled Ambassador Morgenthau in Constantinople, “to express to you the very high appreciation of the Zionists, and generally of the Jews in America, for the devoted and efficient aid which you are giving to our brethren in Palestine.”[8]

Until the outbreak of World War I, American financial aid reached Palestine almost exclusively through religious channels: the system known as chalukka (distribution) by which Jews in the diaspora supported the Orthodox Old Yishuv and its institutions of learning and of charity. Donations to the pious emissaries of the Yishuv were considered a mitzva, a fulfillment of a religious duty, and little attention was paid to follow up regarding the use of the money. The agricultural colonies which constituted the heart of the modern Zionist settlement until the turn of the century were dependent in large measure for both capital investment and the covering of current deficits on the generosity of Baron Edmond de Rothschild of France, the man who is sometimes called the father of modern Jewish settlement in Palestine. When the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers, with France as the main enemy, the colonies were not only subjected to harassment by the Turkish overlords; they were also cut off from their financial lifeline.

The Zionist Organization had, in 1904, founded its own subsidiary for collecting voluntary donations which it called the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet LeIsrael); its income, some $100,000 by 1918, was intended mainly for the purchase of land for Jewish settlement. The Organization collected additional funds for the Palestine community and channelled them through the Palestine Office it had established in Jerusalem in 1908 under the direction of Dr. Arthur Ruppin. Until the war, these sums had been anything but significant (about $12,000 annually from the U.S.)[9] and, with the outbreak of hostilities, even this small amount could no longer be counted on. Still another source of funds, the annual membership dues payment to the Zionist Organization called the Shekel, intended to finance the administrative expenses of the Zionist Organization, was also subject to wartime disruptions.

The Zionists’ wartime emergency fund initiated by Brandeis had managed to raise $170,000 by 1915, but, during the same period, the American Jewish Relief Committee collected almost ten times as much – $1,500,000 for distribution overseas by the JDC. Before long, Brandeis pleaded that more of these funds be directed to Palestine, and the first signs of friction between the Zionists and the JDC made their appearance.[10] By the time the war ended, the AJRC had collected over $16,500,000[11], having developed an effective campaign organization headed by a resourceful professional staff and based on local volunteer branches. These branches raised respectable amounts even by today’s standards. Pace-setting gifts were obtained from such men as Julius Rosenwald, Felix Warburg, Herbert Lehman, Jacob Schiff, Nathan Straus, and others. In addition to these leading Jewish personalities, local groups were often able to enlist the aid and sympathy of non-Jewish circles. An example was set by President Woodrow Wilson himself, who proclaimed January 27, 1916 as a special day for public contributions to the Jewish Relief Fund. The President’s noble gesture also had its drawbacks, as described in this contemporary report:

A million dollars was collected throughout the country on the streets, in hotels and other public places. In the light of the intense interest manifested everywhere and the splendid publicity given by the press, it is fair to say that with an effective organization as we now understand the term, at least ten million dollars might have been obtained through this appeal of President Wilson. Men and women who should and would have been willing to subscribe substantial amounts if properly approached, dropped a coin in the box, necessarily not more than a dollar, and oft times a fraction of that amount.

But in terms of the future, there was a lesson to be learned from the event. As the same account puts it:

The Wilson Day campaign marked an important step in the progress of national fundraising. It pointed out the weakness of street collection, and the vital necessity of a carefully planned effort, which laid special stress upon the wealthy, who in fairness should bear the greater part of the burden, instead of the wage earners who generously gave their nickels and dimes, many times at a great personal sacrifice.[12]

The JDC’s expenditures in Palestine during the period from November 1914, when it began operating, until June 30, 1921, amounted to $5,200,000, out of a total of $38,000,000 spent in the same seven-year period. It was the third largest amount for any country (Poland being first with $11,500,000, followed by Rumania with $5,400,000) even though the Jewish population of Palestine could hardly compare in size with those vast centers of Jewry. As against barely 70,000 in Palestine after the war, there were some 3,000,000 Jews in Poland alone.

But the JDC in that initial period saw its role as confined to relief of wartime suffering and the reconstruction of lives and communities damaged by the war. No matter how effective its fundraising machinery, and how generous its appropriations for the Yishuv in Palestine, it could not take the place of a fund designed to finance the new immigration and settlement opportunities opened up by the Mandate. Moreover, since its main purpose was relief of war-induced suffering, the leadership of the JDC still thought of their organization as transitory, to be wound up as soon as its most urgent war-imposed tasks were behind it.

The Zionist Organization, on the other hand, needed an effective fundraising mechanism of its own to nurture its enterprise. This became an imperative after Britain’s Balfour Declaration in November 1917 had put a great power’s stamp of approval on the idea of the Jewish National Home. Two months after the issuance of the Declaration, Chaim Weizmann and his fellow Zionist leaders proclaimed an interim Preparation Fund, Keren Hakhana in Hebrew, with a worldwide goal of $1,000,000. But the total amount collected did not exceed $650,000, of which 40 per cent came from America.[13] The money was put at the disposal of the Zionist Commission, established by the Zionist Organization in April 1918 “to act as an advisory body to the British Authorities in Palestine in all matters relating to Jews, or which may affect the establishment of a National Home for the Jewish people in accordance with the Declaration of His Majesty’s Government.” The Commission, chaired by Dr. Weizmann, took over the functions of the former Palestine Office as the representative on the spot of the World Zionist Organization, implementing its programs. It remained active until the first post-war Zionist Congress convened in Carlsbad in September 1921 and created a Jerusalem section of the Zionist Executive, to become known as the Palestine Executive, to replace the Zionist Commission as the operating arm of the WZO in Palestine.

To quote from the Organization Department’s Report to the 12th Zionist Congress on the need for funds in those years:

As the war continued, the problems in Palestine multiplied. To the unavoidable calamities of war were added other evils, such as the locust plague in 1915 and the messirah [charge] lodged with the Turkish Government against the Zionists by certain Jewish traitors which was aimed at the expulsion of all leading Zionists and the destruction of the Zionist institutions in Palestine. In the autumn of 1917 began the British conquest of Palestine, leading to the capture of Jerusalem early in December of that year. In their retreat the Turks evacuated large numbers of the Jewish population, whose great distress intensified the problems of eleemosynary relief. The addition of the war epidemics of typhus and cholera to the endemic diseases of malaria and trachoma, and, furthermore, a dearth of physicians and a depletion of medical stores, rendered the health conditions exceedingly precarious and made imperative a large-scale action in medical relief.[14]

In 1919 the Preparation Fund was renamed the Restoration Fund (Keren Geulah), its income continuing to be used by the Zionist Commission to support the settlements, assist immigrants and subsidize the cost of education and health. The sum collected in the following two years – $3,770,000, half of which came from the U.S. – was sorely inadequate, not only in relation to actual needs but especially in light of the challenges for the future posed by the Balfour Declaration.

The Balfour Declaration, issued by the British Government on November 2, 1917, had merely held out the prospect of a National Home in Palestine; but when the Peace Conference in 1919 incorporated the Declaration in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine its implementation became a practical possibility. As a further step toward realization of the dream, the Allied Powers, meeting at San Remo in April 1920, conferred the Mandate on Great Britain.

Chaim Weizmann was anxiously waiting in the lobby of the hotel where the conference took place when David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, approached him. “Now it’s up to you,” Lloyd George said to the Zionist leader. “You have no time to waste. Today the world is like the Baltic before a frost. For the moment it is still in motion. But if it gets set, you will have to batter your heads against the ice blocks and wait for a second thaw.”[15]

The challenge before the Zionist Organization was urgent and clear. To confront it, Weizmann convened a special conference of delegates of Zionist bodies in London that summer – the first such meeting since the outbreak of the war – where the question of how to secure the necessary funds was high on the agenda. Two Russian Zionists living in Paris, Isaac Naiditsch and Hillel Zlotopolsky, brought in a proposal for a $100,000,000 endowment fund. The name they chose for their project was Keren Hayesod – in English, “Foundation Fund.” In their optimistic concept, the pledges for the entire amount were to be obtained in the first year and to be paid off in instalments over a five-year period. The proposal was adopted by the Conference, but before the Fund became operative, considerable controversy arose as to its future mode of operation.[16] At one point the two “founders” resigned in protest from the Fund’s Executive Committee and were persuaded to return only with some difficulty. And within a year, Justice Brandeis, who headed the American delegation to the London Conference, would resign his leadership position in the American and World Zionist movements.

אין עדיין תגובות

היו הראשונים לכתוב תגובה למוצר: “PARTNERS AND PURSESTRINGS”