While the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee pleaded with JFNA to advocate for their collective funding needs over the past six years, JFNA leaders looked at them as if they were crazy. While allocations to JAFI and JDC core allocations dropped by over $100 million over the same timeframe, JFNA leaders shrugged their shoulders -- "not out problem." But now, with JAFI, the Joint and even ORT actively engaged in financial resource development activities -- much like Birthright Israel -- and gearing up for more, JFNA in the guise of the federations' national organization is threatening the partners with so-called draconian "Guidelines" that JFNA wants to impose -- er, make that "discuss" with JAFI and JDC -- and, let's be clear, only with JDC and JAFI -- not with ORT, not with Birthright, not even with itself (for, you will recall, JFNA proposes to fund raise to supplement its own budget).
Arrogance? How's this....The IEF, the Israel Education Fund, was the tri-party creation of the Jewish Agency, the Government of Israel and the United Jewish Appeal. It served those interests by attracting donors to projects in Israel -- it was professionally led for the last two decades-plus by Yitzchak Shavit, z"l. Shavit ran the IEF as a one-person shop, more or less, from within JFNA post-merger, while he also professionally directed the UIA and, at the end, the Network. It has taken JFNA, with no capacity...none...to serve the interests of donors or JAFI, less than two months since Itzik's death, to begin to push the IEF into a new direction -- toward the non-existent Global Planning Table -- vu den? Those who would control all things couldn't pass up this chance could they? My suggestion, the Agency, having no interest in maintaining the IEF within JFNA, should pull it out, staff it and expand it under JAID.
Then, this Keystone Kops operation that is our national organization has promulgated a Position Paper -- JFNA Relationship with JAFI and JDC: Fundraising and Co-Branding. If it weren't for the chutzpah, it would be laughable...actually it is laughable anyway. In a White Paper emanating from 25 Broadway, never discussed with the Agency or Joint, JFNA demands adherence to a set of JFNA-dictated yet undefined "guidelines," the violation of which will result in sanctions upon the partner found to be in violation. (Oh, there may also be sanctions imposed on federations which fail to meet an undefined minimum unrestricted core allocation [with all kinds of "prior conditions" and reasoning together]. Not surprising, but this has never been discussed with the federations -- at least we have consistency to go with the arrogance.)
It's impossible for the Keysone Kops to remember that but five years ago Itzik and I, working with Michelle Tycher Stein, and Barbara Promislow and Dvora Blum in Israel, developed fund raising Guidelines which were accepted by the Agency and Joint. Never implemented by JFNA, that was before JFNA's leaders stood on the sidelines for the past six years with a "tsk tsk" and watched the core allocations to the partners drop by over $100,000,000. And, now...now...these same leaders want to control all. One can only express awe at their unbridled chutzpah.
One can only speculate as to what could possibly be JFNA leaders' intent in promulgating a White Paper that could not possibly be accepted by those for whom it is intended. My conclusion: JFNA wants to blame the Jewish Agency and Joint for the entire JFNA/Jewish Agency/Joint contract falling apart. What better way, in the minds of the Keystone Kops, then to publish a Paper the terms of which had to be known to them to be totally beyond the pale. But, these Klever Keystone Kops should know better -- JFNA bears all of the blame here. Their "straw man," their "White Paper," fails the good faith smell test in every way.