A recently published discussion on "Zombie brands" caught my attention; seemed to me to capture the essence of JFNA. "Zombie brands," as Jerry surely knows a helluva lot better than I, are brands that live off their names after having relinquished the quality, the distinction, that made them well known. In 2011-2012, JFNA plans to invest even more than the $2,000,000 (+++) it has already wasted on establishing JFNA as the brand of the Federation system. Friends, I would wager that even today, over 11 years after the first iteration of JFNA leaders walked away from the power of the UJA brand, there is greater market recognition of UJA than of JFNA. And, of course, Jerry knows that.
So, the federations are asked to throw more money at a brand that will have no credibility until there is substance associated with it. JFNA's lay and professional leaders continue to confuse the message with substance, parties and events with substance; they seem to know not what substance is. And the drumbeat of form over substance is 24/5 at the least...and it is the very least. A Daily Media Guide that throws everything but the kitchen sink at the reader; without commentary (other than "observation"), it often cites to articles critical of the very federations it serves.
But, worse, on the critical issues, take the President's abandonment of Israel in an effort to curry favor with "the international community," JFNA has no voice whatsoever. With the IAI and the IAN, JFNA cannot bring itself to express the strong sense of our communities that Obama's position is just plain wrong, wrong-headed and dangerous. Are our leaders afraid that they won't be invited to White House Chanukah parties and briefings if they speak out? Or are they too busy with the GPT to have heard that President Obama has turned his back and worse on the only democracy, America's only friend in the Middle East. J Street doesn't speak for me, Abe Foxman (or is it ADL -- or are they one and the same) doesn't speak for me, Morton Klein doesn't speak for me either. But those who are supposed to be my, our, voice, are silent. And the silence is deafening. What did JFNA say (on May 20)? " [W]e believe it remains prudent to take a long view, beyond the moment, before making public comments." Ahhhh, the courage...the leadership...and just who is "we?"
So, JFNA continues to be the Zombie brand -- clueless, already outdated and by its own actions and silence...irrelevant.