Sunday, July 25, 2010


I was taken with The Fundermentalist's lengthy interview with the old/new Chair of JCPA about, among many matters, the JFNA "commitment of millions of dollars" to a JCPA advocacy program promoting Israel. Huh?? Is this some secret allocation out of JFNA's $30.3 million budget? Or is it all in this new/old Chair's head -- a dream of involvement and self-promotion? Or, is it real -- real involvement and self-promotion?

Perhaps, those in JCPA leadership who thought JFNA was their "partner" in the Israel Advocacy Initiative in the prior administration only to see the current CEO's predecessor first reach out to federations for a special (and unauthorized) multi-million dollar grant for the IAI and, having wholly failed, told JCPA to go out and fund raise in the federations directly -- another flop. Perhaps those at JFNA -- who have no history (as the new/old Chair has) and no sense of history never learned the difference between the federations' responsibilities and those of its agencies -- certainly, my friend, The Fundermentalist doesn't know.

But, one of my friends knows. Reading this inanity, he wrote: "I remember not so many years ago that one of the strongest advocacy arguments federations could make was that together we received 800,000 plus donations (voters) and provided hundreds of millions of dollars 'for Israel' (1 billion in the early 90's including the loan guarantees for aliya from the FSU). We used this argument in our Washington visits, with donors, and elsewhere. Now they (JFNA) seem to be relying on JCPA and local CRCs to be the source of advocacy when JFNA should be the one speaking for the thousands of donors in local communities. Am I missing something? While advocacy is very important, how does advocacy by JCPA or a JCRC translate back to the prospective donors in federations to raise more funds? This is especially a relevant question when we look at the statement below (that appeared in The Fundermentalist): 'We spend so much time here talking about the federation's overseas partners, sometimes we forget that it also has significant domestic partners, too, including the JCRCs and the JCPA.'"
(That last quote appears to be attributed to Berkman, the Fundermentalist himself.)

But, the most preposterous of the preposterous is the following: "During my talk with (this new/old Chair)...he mentioned that the Jewish Federations of North America could be committing several million dollars over the next few years to working with the JCPA on an intense Israel advocacy program and to fight the growing international movement to deligitimize Israel." (emphasis added) Folks, that's SEVERAL MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!!

As ridiculous as it sounds, let's assume that this new/old Chair was at some secret meeting with JFNA, learned the secret handshake and the password and heard the words "millions for JCPA and the CRCs" from someone other than himself. But, probably not. By now, perhaps, someone from JFNA (or JCPA) has whispered to this new/old Chair that he really needs to shut up about this if he wants it to happen inasmuch as everything and almost every one at JFNA is being cut. Yeah, sure.

OK, now the cat is surely out of the bag. I would strongly recommend that JCPA not go out borrowing against the "commitment" this new/old Chair thought he heard. The only thing for which our system can be grateful is that Hannah Rosenthal is no longer JCPA CEO.

(Just as an aside, this same new/old JCPA Chair, moderating a recent conference call featuring the Kadima Party's leader, Tzipi Livni, kept calling her "Snippy." [I guess that was better than "Tipsy."])

At least one thing is perfectly clear -- we have a system out of all control.


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