Monday, April 4, 2011


In a full page ad in The New York Times special Section on Fundraising, November 11,2010, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations" "Fund" placed a full page ad that promoted itself and sought contributions "[T]o help support our efforts and learn more about our programs..." sent readers to their fundraising website. Don't get me wrong, the Conference is our most critical Israel support and advocacy organization -- it is also a membership organization. Maybe the federations, which pay a steep membership cost to "belong" to the Conference, don't care that the Conference is now out there publicly and blindly fundraising, but maybe they should.

The ad itself could have been limited to the critical roles the Conference has been mandated to play. But, in the interests of donor solicitation, the Conference "Fund," in addition to properly claiming the mantle of enhancement of the US-Israel relationship and related matters, broadly claimed to be:
  • "Advancing freedom, justice and human rights at home and around the world...
  • Combating anti-Semitism and assisting endangered Jewish communities.."

All in pursuit of "UNITY. COMMITMENT. ACTION." Now, Alan Solow and Malcolm Hoenlein could convince me of almost anything but, given the real critical mandated focus of the Conference's work, why exaggerate?

I went to the Conference of Presidents website (linked in the ad) and not only found a better and more limited definition of the Conference's mandate but further exaggeration. I did not know, for example, that the Conference is engaged in "Rescuing Persecuted Jews." Maybe this hyperbole arises out of the Conference rental of office space from the Jewish Agency for Israel in New York. But...its own website describes the Conference well: "For over half a century, the Conference of Presidents has played a key role in American Jewish history. From mass public events to private diplomacy, the Conference has been at the forefront of mobilizing support for Israel and educating the public in times of conflict, and in the pursuit of peace." Dayeinu...or I guess not.

One can debate the propriety of a membership organization openly soliciting donations. One can recall how this activity might have been controlled had JFNA ever actively implemented the Guidelines its Board approved five years ago. One can certainly applaud the Conference's work on our behalf. But, one can also applaud truth in advertising.



Anonymous said...

The executive director of the Conference of Presidents is a good man who loves his people and Israel. However he does little to hide, and at times act on, his Bibi-centric right wing views, his public objections to the Clinton parameters for peace and his affinity for a Greater Land of Israel ZOA Zionism. This bias was even evident during the Rabin and Barak years of Labor led governments. Give the man a well deserved medal for his years of dedicated service and then hire a more balanced professional better able to tolerate and respect the diverse opinions current in the Jewish world.

Anonymous said...

True that he is a talented and dedicated professional, BUT. During the last Presidential election he acted like a buffoon - embarrasing the entire Jewish Community. For those of you who forgot - there was a Stop Iran Going Nuclear Rally - President For Life Hoenlein invited Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin to attend. In an attempt to seem even handed - he inovted Hillary Clinton - after she lost her bid for the nomination. When Hillary agreed - she thought she was representing her State of New York as Senator, When Hillary found out that she was pseudo Obama, providing "balance" during an election season balance for the republican Nominee -from Alaska - she cancelled her attendance. Embarrassed bt the error, Prez for Life Hoenlein pleaded for Obama to take Malkies tuches out of the fire and attend the event, when Obama demurred, Malcolem Hoenlein UNINVITED the republican Nominmee for Vice President - virtually slapping her in public, because now he looked bad.