Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
We take it as a sure sign of the times that the recent stunning news that the Claims Conference had negotiated a four-year $1 billion infusion of funds from the German government to aid Holocaust survivors has been largely overshadowed by criticism that those leading the conference mishandled an internal investigation into the embezzlement of $57 million by some employees over a fifteen-year period.
This is not to suggest that the theft of $57 million is an insignificant thing or that those who have been key to the conference’s achievements should be exempt from criticism or inquiry. It is to lament, though, that public discourse seems more and more driven by those with narrow perspectives and a penchant for “gotcha” journalism.
A bit of history is instructive.
Since 1952 the Claims Conference (its full name is the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany) has served as the principal Jewish community liaison with the German government and, in fact, was established to officially negotiate on behalf of Jews around the world who were victims of Nazi persecution. In that capacity, it has negotiated agreements for German aid in a broad array of critical categories for survivors.
In recent years the Claims Conference has also negotiated the establishment of several special programs including monthly payments to approximately 47,000 survivors worldwide, including some 9,800 in the United States. There is also the hardship fund, which provides for one-time payments to certain Holocaust victims not eligible for other compensation. There is a welfare services program to help survivors with homecare (in the countries of the former Soviet Union, the Claims Conference is the sole provider of homecare services to Holocaust survivors). A Claims Conference program makes grants to institutions working in Holocaust research and education in order to ensure that the world never forgets.
All the money in the world will not adequately compensate for what was visited on even one person. Still, agreements negotiated by the Claims Conference with German and Austrian government officials and industry leaders in its six decades have resulted in compensation for more that 500,000 Holocaust survivors and today approximately 97,000 survivors continue to receive payments. The conference has brought a staggering total of $70 billion into the everyday lives of survivors.
With this huge infrastructure of assistance as context, particularly the newly negotiated $1 billion, it is hard to understand why some are focusing exclusively on accusations of mismanagement – particularly when several conference employees went to jail for embezzlement following a federal investigation materially aided by the assistance of the very conference leadership now being attacked.
Further, the Claims Conference has initiated a new internal investigation into how the embezzlers were able to conceal their crimes. All the more reason for not allowing the thefts to unfairly define one of our more important communal efforts.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
How and when is it appropriate for pulpit rabbis to comment publicly on the Iran issue?
David was many things: Brother, son, grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin, talmid, comrade, AND a WARRIOR
Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.
“Isn’t it enough that the whole world hates us? WHy do we have to hate each other?”
Who said Kerry won no concessions from Iran? He secured pistachios and Beluga caviar for America!
In 2015, Israel’s fertility rate (3+ births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries except 3
The New Israel Fund, as usual, condemns the State of Israel rather than condemning a horrible act.
I sought a Muslim group that claims to preach a peaceful and accepting posture of Islam, Ahmadiyya
While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not
Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison
Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.
“The fear of being exposed publicly is the only thing that will stop people,” observed Seewald.
“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”
The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.
The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.
Mr. Silver’s legislation changed the primary date to April 19, which avoids any conflict. And, we are happy to say, he received the support of Republicans in the legislature for changing the date.
The issue of the Chief Rabbinate’s control over conversions and other life-cycle matters has long been a contentious one.
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
The court’s finding that the president has exclusive jurisdiction in recognizing foreign countries might have been be apt if the issue at hand were a congressional attempt to grant recognition to “Palestine” as a state.
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-claims-conference-controversy-in-context/2013/06/12/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: