I watched the AIPAC Conference 2011 with great pride. Imagine a Conference of (mainly) Jewish leaders from across the land, standing in support of Israel, in numbers -- over 11,000 -- that not even in its wildest dreams could JFNA and, sadly, our federations -- conflate in their wildest dreams. A JFNA that to the date of this Post still has been unable to summon the koach, the strength, to speak out in opposition to President Obama's articulated formula for deconstructing the U.S.- Israeli relationship. JFNA instead, days after the fact, hid its statement in a Briefing applauding Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress, Here's what Jerry Silverman said (ostensibly on our behalf -- used the "we" quite often -- but maybe he meant just Kathy Manning, Michael Gelman and himself):
'We thank President Obama for his strong statements that Palestinian attempts to delegitimize Israel will fail, that attempts to isolate Israel internationally will not produce a Palestinian State, nor will attempts to achieve a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN; that Hamas must renounce terror, and that the Palestinians must accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State,' said JFNA President and CEO Jerry Silverman."
And, yes, the President said that -- but he also said so much more and so much worse, as noted in strong op-eds by, e.g., Steve Huntley in the Chicago Sun-Times and Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal. But my/your organization
parses the President's words in an apparent search for good.
One organization, AIPAC, its Mission clear; the other, JFNA, unfocused, with no priorities and lacking courage. One attracts over 11,000 to its Policy Conference; the other attracts 2,500, if that, to our GA. As one great professional who attended the AIPAC Conference concluded, "Imagine, Richard, 11,000 Jewish leaders meeting together with a sense of common purpose!!" I can hardly remember the time when in fact we did have common purpose. Guess we will keep our seats in the House gallery occupied by Kathy Manning and Susie Stern today on our behalf.