In an excellent article in today's JTA (although the by-line is dated February 16), Jacob Berkman gets to the basic facts underlying UJC's leaders apparent turn-about at the FLI on the issue of JAFI/JDC exclusivity as to core allocations. And, unbelievably, it turns out that's what Kanfer, Manning and Rieger intended all along. Berkman confirmed that federation leaders including Steven Nasatir, Chicago's top professional, met with UJC's leaders and seemed to persuade them after "vigorous debate" that it would be in the federations' interests and UJC's to retain exclusivity as to core funding.
Joe was quoted as saying it was all a misunderstanding on the part of JAFI leaders: "Some people saw the straw models, seeing the food before it was put on the plate, and jumped to conclusions that were off by 99 to 100 percent." I admit that I was one of those who didn't realize the proposals were straw men (I assume that's what Kanfer meant) and saw the food before it was put on the plate. I also admit I haven't got a clue what the hell that phrase means -- but if Joe says it, it must mean something. But a "straw man" is something intended to be knocked down by something more substantial. Apparently that's how Kanfer envisioned the Strategic Planning Work Group Recommendations were to be considered? All of them? Or just the ones that caused controversy? Do you believe it? Does Kanfer even believe himself?
Anyway, just to remind the Board Chair -- after the controversy over the "straw men" erupted, he gave an interview to Maariv. In the interview, exactly on point, Kanfer said: "For decades the contributors were prepared to raise money and transfer it to the Jewish Agency and the Joint and allow them to do with the money whatever they wished. (ed, this statement in itself is patently ridiculous)...We are no longer prepared to transfer the money and let them decide what to do with it..." Joe clearly forgot, in his interview with JTA's Berkman his own earlier statements now wholly inconsistent with the results and his current statements. Reminds me of A-Rod.
Do you think it will ever be possible for UJC's leaders to acknowledge that they may have been wrong, they may have over-reached, they may have been persuaded by the federations that their proposed actions would divide rather than unite us? Ever?
It's a rhetorical question.