In the last few months, JFNA and the federations determined to create the Israel Action Network (the "IAN") to confront issues of anti-Israel activity -- boycotts, divestment and sanctions. JFNA beat the marketing drums heavily in announcing its new partnership with JCPA, one the investment for which would exceed that for the continuing IAI -- the Israel Advocacy Initiative -- JFNA's other "partnership" with JCPA. In the past few weeks, something called the Seattle Mideast Awareness Initiative, for the paltry sum of a little over $1,500 determined to plaster twelve buses in Seattle with vicious anti-Israel screed, "Israeli War Crimes -- Your Tax Dollars at Work" -- among other ugly accusations. The County Commission banned the effort on December 23.
And where, in response, was the IAN (not yet really "up and running"), and where was the IAI (no where), where was JCPA (apparently holding conference calls), and where was our national "voice," JFNA (a rhetorical question -- issuing a belated Leadership Briefing)? So, into this void, the Seattle "chapter" of JStreet spoke up. How can our institutional voices be silent? These "voices" for which we pay so much, silent. The Seattle Metro Transit claims it must rent the sides of its buses because that's what free speech in this country demands; our national system couldn't bring itself to respond even while the Seattle Federation did. A poll on this subject indicated that those favoring the ads far outnumbered those opposed, and our communal institutions remain silent. From JFNA not even the now "traditional" response -- yes, not even a letter.
And, in the aftermath, upon the announcement that the ads would not appear, the Federation thanked the Seattle Jewish community, the ADL, the AJC and StandWithUs(!). Noticeably absent -- well, you can easily figure it out.
So I went to the JFNA website. And I did find, at the very top of the home page -- Tribefest, of course. And on aiding the Seattle Jewish community, on aiding ourselves -- not...a...word.