Friday, October 13, 2006

Jews Funding Arabs: On Civil Rights, Responsibilities & Liberties

On first glance, it's simple.

Arabs are citizens of the state of Israel and all monies donated to the state should also benefit them. Moreover, Arabs, too, suffered during the campaign in the North.

And on another first glance, it's simple.

The charity monies raised was done by Jewish charities and were advertised as going to Jewish needs.

So, what am I blogging about?

Well, read this release:-

In recent days you may have received emails criticizing the UJC/Federation Israel Emergency Campaign, which provided vital aid to the most vulnerable populations of Israel's north during this summer's war and continues to help Israelis recover and rebuild.

These allegations stated -- incorrectly -- that one-third of IEC funds are designated for non-Jewish residents of Israel. In fact, about 3 percent of all IEC monies raised to-date have gone to non-Jewish Israelis in the north.

So far, UJC/federations have raised more than $320 million for the IEC, with nearly $105 million in cash collections to UJC. The IEC has allocated $92 million to the federation system's main overseas funding partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Ethiopian National Project.

From its outset the IEC was aimed at helping all vulnerable Israelis under fire from Hezbollah terrorists, whether Arab, Druze or Jews. Israel, as a democratic state, and the Jewish Agency have always provided aid and benefits to all Israelis, including minorities, some of whom serve in the Israeli army. Israel has never applied an ethnic or political litmus test to those in need, and the government today follows the same principle in its own rebuilding efforts.


More info here and you e mail them here.

But Buddy Macy had received a previous notice to the one above and wrote the following after comparing the two (with abridging):

Mr. Rieger, you have a lot of explaining to do to your constituency -- about your organization's policies and practices of allocating donors' hard-earned money to non-Jews without clearly stating its intentions to do just that, and of not following through with your promises regarding announced allocations of EMERGENCY funds.

Please note that the text of the two updates...contains the identical information, with the exception of the following:

..."In fact, about 3 percent of all IEC monies raised to-date have gone to non-Jewish Israelis in the north." According to the first sentence of the third paragraph, "So far, UJC/federations have raised more than $320 million for the IEC..." 3% of $320 million is $9.6 million. I will be conservative and use the figure of $9 million, as it was mentioned later in the second version of the update. Dividing the $9 million that has "gone to non-Jewish Israelis" by the amount of the funds that have gone to all vulnerable populations (the amount they "...have so far spent") - "$50 million" - produces a figure of 18% -- SIX TIMES MORE than the 3% included in both versions of UJC's official IEC Update.

In the fourth paragraph, there is one minor addition and one major one. First, the phrase, "as well," was added to, "and the Jewish Agency." Second, and of major consequence, the following sentence was added in the revised version:
"Of all IEC funds raised to-date to help Israelis, nearly $9 million has helped non-Jewish populations." Here, UJC is comparing the amount of money that "HAS HELPED" (and thus, HAS SPENT) to the amount of funds "raised to-date" (pledges and donations received). That must be the case, because the UJC and its affiliates "...have so far spent $50 million on vulnerable populations..."

...In the sixth paragraph, "and providing trauma counseling to those who required it" was added to the last sentence.

...Why were certain words and numbers omitted, and why were others added, from and to the second version of the update? It should be clear that without the $50 million figure in the second version, it is impossible to determine the percentage of dollars that had been spent on non-Jews!

It should also be apparent to the readers of this email that one or more people felt the need to alter the original update. UJC obviously felt pressured to respond to the "emails criticizing the UJC/federation Israel Emergency Campaign;" specifically, to the issue of the percentage of money raised by UJC in its Israel Emergency Campaign that has gone and will be going to non-Jews. And, its reaction is more than a bit puzzling to me.

Why has UJC felt the need to defend its reputation, and why has it expressed such concern over the numbers, when it clearly states in its email that: "From its outset the IEC was aimed at assisting all vulnerable Israelis under fire from Hezbollah terrorists, whether Arab, Druze or Jews. Israel, as a democratic state, and the Jewish Agency as well, have always provided aid and benefits to all Israelis, including minorities, some of whom serve in the Israeli army. Israel has never applied an ethnic or political litmus test to those in need, and the government today follows the same principle in its own rebuilding efforts?"

Could it be, because the UJC is the United JEWISH Communities, and that most of its supporters believed or assumed that all monies going to IEC through UJC would be going exclusively to Jews? (In fact, my dad told me that he had contributed to the IEC and had assumed that 100% of his contribution would be going to the Jews who had suffered through the rocket attacks from Hezbollah during the recent war.)

In a separate but related issue: "The IEC [Israel Emergency Campaign of UJC] work group also allocated $400,000 for trauma relief for those evacuated from the Gaza Strip during the disengagement, to help these Israelis adjust to new homes and communities and rebuild their lives." (Source: Howard's View from June 23, 2006/27 Sivan 5766), Howard's View is the weekly online newsletter written by Howard Rieger, president of UJC - the Jewish Federation network in North America) ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE GUSH KATIF COMMITTEE, NOT ONE DIME OF THE $400,000 HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY THOSE EVACUATED FROM THE GAZA STRIP DURING THE DISENGAGEMENT! (Source: gkatif@netvision.net.il)


Based on this and other analyses of what is happening, this story appeared:-


A broad swath of center-right American Jewish groups is expressing shock and outrage that millions of dollars being raised by Jewish federations in North America for the post-war recovery effort in Israel is being used in part to help Israeli Arabs.

"To placate Israeli Arabs in the north who were celebrating Israel's defeat is totally absurd," fumed Helen Freedman, former director of the Americans for a Safe Israel. "Let the Arab countries take care of them. They are a fifth column that is working to support Hezbollah and Hamas, and we foolish Jews are saying there is no difference between Israeli Arabs and Jews who were victims of this war."

Stephen Savitsky, president of the Orthodox Union whose own Israel emergency campaign merged with that of the United Jewish Communities, said he was unaware that the UJC money went to help Israeli Arabs. Told it does, Savitsky said he plans to ask the UJC to "segment the money" raised from OU members "to make sure it goes to the places we want."

He said that before the campaigns were merged, the money the OU raised was designed to "help Jews in need." He said it went to provide entertainment and food to those in bomb shelters and that "whoever was in the shelter we serviced; we didn't discriminate."

But the idea of the campaign, Savitsky said, was to "raise money to help Jews in need."

"If we help in Haifa and there are non-Jews there, we should not discriminate. But we would not go to an Arab village or town to give services."

...Howard Rieger, the UJC's president and CEO,...defended the decision to use the money to help Israeli Arabs and Druze.

"About one-third to one-half of those killed [by Hezbollah rockets] were Israeli Arabs, as well as Druze who serve in the Israel Defense Forces and died in the IDF," he said. "We were getting kids out of harm's way [in the north], and we think it is a fair and valid use of the funds" to help Israeli Jewish and Arab youngsters.

...Freedman said, however, that she finds it distressing that the decision to use part of the money for Israeli Arabs was not widely known. "I am sure that most people who give to the UJC have no clue that a percentage of their money is going to Arabs," she said.

...Steven Mostofsky, president of the National Council of Young Israel, said he was "really surprised" to learn that Israeli Arabs were benefiting from the Israel Emergency Campaign, which was launched shortly after the outbreak of the Israel-Hezbollah War in July.

"It's not that I want to seem harsh or that this is an anti-Arab statement, but money raised from Jews because of a war against Jews should only be used for Jews," he said. "There are plenty of Arab not-for-profits in the United States. They should be supporting the Arabs. … Any money that is raised because of the recent war should go to benefit the Jews who suffered in the war — those whose houses and businesses were destroyed and hospitalized soldiers whose families need support."...



Many liberal-minded persons, myself included, may feel a bit nervous and uneasy over this. On the face of it, the Arabs are citizens, the country was attacked, all population sectors suffered, including civilian fatalities, so why get all upset?

Well, in the first place, if they do considere themselves as citizens, with full rights, full responsibilities then should follow. NO?

Full pament of taxes.
Army or national security service.
Lack of identification with Israel's enemies.
Halt of subversive activities.
Withholding electoral support for MKs who incite and fulminate.
No dancing on the roofs.

Little things that would make them really appear to be Israeli citizens and not "Palestinian Arabs residing in Israel", as they at times refer to themselves.

I am not denying insitutional discrimination or other forms of illegal, and so unnecessary, actions. But in comparison to what the Arabs of israel could do for themselves, they still have a long way to go to integrate and to receive before the UJC can do what is is now doing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jewish Bloggers: Free Speech Alert

Apparently the UJC is PISSED and they are going to try to pressure the Jewish Week, about a story written in this week's edition. Last Thursday, many bloggers covered this story reported by the NY Jewish week that funds donated to the UJC to help war victims in northern Israel was given to Israeli Arabs as well as Jews. See http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=13108

Apparently up to 10 percent of the funds went to Arabs (the UJC says it was 3% but the based their percentage on funds that were pledged vs. what was collected and distributed)

The issue is not the way the funds were distributed but whether the UJC should have been candid about their distribution plans upfront. Apparently they think not. I just heard from one of my contacts within the UJC org that they are livid that the Jewish Week reported the story. In fact that they have a meeting with the head of the Jewish Week Gary Rosenblatt tomorrow, to tell him what they think of the paper's honesty. Word is that they won’t even allow the article's reporter in the meeting.

I think that it’s important for the UJC to be open with the Jewish Community, thank goodness that papers such as the Jewish Week risk UJC anger to lay out the facts for us. Let’s support the Jewish Week for telling the truth. Gary Rosenblatt's email is Gary@jewishweek.org please send him an email to give him support.