Monday, December 7, 2009


One Anonymous correspondent sent the Comment below in response t6o the HIGH ROAD, LOW ROAD AND NO ROAD Post. I reprint it here in the hope that JDC leaders will respond to the factual allegations raised in this Comment.

"Oh! ye'll take the high road and
I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love
Will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Steve Schwager of JDC Says:

“Specifically in the absence of adequate resources, we have been forced to curtail or eliminate food, medicine, and other material needs to 60,000 poor elderly Jews.”

The Facts Say:

2009 JDC FSU Budget $113,501,969
2010 JDC FSU Budget $111,231,014

$2,270,955 reduction to feed 60,000?? Must be feeding 3.3 million??

Steve Schwager of JDC Says:

“In addition, we have no resources to serve 20,000 poor Jewish children and their families. We would be derelict in our responsibilities to our constituents if we did not seek more resources for them.”

The Facts Say:

2010 JDC Africa Budget $7, 248,113

Does “dereliction of duty” include slandering JAFI and JFNA??

Steve Schwager of JDC Says:

“The current split of 75 percent for JAFI and 25 percent for JDC came into being in 1952 when Israel was ready to accept large numbers of immigrants and JDC had declining welfare roles in Europe as a result of the closing of the DP camps. The world has changed significantly and the funding formula must reflect this new reality.”

The Facts Say:

JAFI has resettled over 3 million Olim. Need to check with the JDC Center for International Migration and Integration as experts on such issues.

Does JDC need to find a mission??

Steve Schwager of JDC Says:

“I refer to the other Jews - those who do not live in Israel or North America… I am not trying to be a party spoiler, but 20 percent - one fifth! -of the Jewish people today live outside of the US and Israel. “

“We know them well: For us they are not statistics, but rather Jewish men, women and children who are struggling to live Jewish lives in their historic communities. JDC is often their only guardian, their daily lifeline, their friend and support. We help them in Mumbai and in Buenos Aires, in Warsaw and Riga, in Djerba and Bucharest.

The elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union today are the poorest Jews in the world, and their situation is painfully serious. We struggle to feed them, to keep them warm, to supply their vital medicines - paid for in part by declining American Jewish charitable funds.“
“… Can we - the more comfortable, more secure 80% of the Jewish people - cut off the neediest 20% of our brethren? “

The Facts Say:

JDC 2010 FSU Budget $111,231,014
JDC 2010 Israel Budget $130,117,391

Apparently for JDC - Israel is more important than the “neediest 20% of our brethren”

The following JDC Israel programs appear to be more important to JDC than feeding poor Jews:

Rebuilding the Galilee
Responding to Crisis
Supporting Communities in the Southern Conflict Zone
Programs for Children and Youth At Risk JDC-ESHEL:

Services for the Elderly Employment and Entrepreneurship Immigrant Integration

Israelis with Disabilities Volunteerism and Philanthropy in IsraelNew Galilee Initiative

Is it appropriate to ask that JDC re-set it own priorities before it slams every other organization in the system??

To quote Jonah Goldberg:

“…if moral hypocrisy is saying what values people should live by while failing to follow them yourself, intellectual hypocrisy is believing you are smart enough to run other peoples' lives when you can barely run your own.”

At the very moment that Jewish Federations of North America (UJC) is working assiduously to rebuild its overseas engagement through its traditional partners, just at the moment when JFNA has brought the partners together at the same table to talk and work out their issues, just as new leadership works to bring back to life a damaged national system, along comes JDC and throws a stumbling block in JFNA’s path. Blind siding JFNA, with no warning, after sitting in the same room meeting cooperatively, JDC sends out its missive of triumphant, self righteous, factually incoherent cry for help.

JDC does wonderful work. JDC needs to be proud of its budget and partners. But I have a news flash – Jews are not starving to death anywhere on this planet. JDC will have to find its real mission and stop touting hunger as its raison d’ĂȘtre.

But me and my true love Will never meet again"


Another Anonymous commentator raised the following issues:

"Anonymous said...

While both JAFI and JDC do amazing work for the Jewish people, worthy of our Federation dollars, JDC has a better track record/image in working well and playing with others both in terms of NGO's in Israel, where their footprints grows from year to year, and individual Federations in the US. JAFI has been downright shoot in the foot bad at its organizational relationship building. This is not a comment on the quality or priority of either agency's work but the frustration many have felt over the years in regards to JAFI's "political" obtuseness and JDC's "political" smarts. You might want to address that issue as well Richard at some point."


Both of these insightful writers raise critical questions. The Jewish Agency has, for years, been painted with a broad brush of criticism for "being politicized." That may have been true when I first began my service on its Board, but over the past 20 years, a succession of JAFI Chairs have worked assiduously to reduce and, in most places, assure that politicization be minimized and eliminated. Under Chairs from Mendel Kaplan, z'l, Corky Goodman, Alex Grass, z'l, Carole Solomon and Richie Pearlstone, the Agency's work has been professionalized, centered in the Ofifce of Directors General from Shimshon Shoshani to Giora Romm to, today, Moshe Vigdor. There remain those who use the "politics" argument as a sledgehammer to isolate JAFI -- they are unwilling or unable to see the change that has taken place and the rality that JAFI leaders today are prepared to move to even greater change.

If "politicized" means "dealing with the Government of Israel" as a partner, leveraging dollars, then JAFI must plead guilty -- and so must JDC, Birthright, and on an on.

As to JDC, the Commentators reflect upon the opaque nature of the Joint's Budget. To the extent that the analysis above is accurate, then in light of recent attacks on the federation system from JDC's leaders, there must be answers. If the analysis is incorrect, then JFNA is owed the courtesy of that explanation as well.



RWEX said...

Sorry "Anonymous" -- your incoherent "Comment" will not be published. Two days ago I suggested that you..or another of your ilk...are in desperate need of a reading comprehension course. You really need one if you failed to comprehend that the Post to which you "commented" consisted of two coherent Comments from readers.

Get professional help immediately.

Anonymous said...

Touche, Richard. But, unfortunately, it is the considered opinion of many of our mutual acquaintances that you are beyond help.