Saturday, March 3, 2012


Friends, last month your Federation received the following letter -- only with a large number in it -- an invoice, a bill. As you will recall, this is JFNA's version of FRD.

"TO: __________________________________

FROM: Kathy E. Manning, Chair, Board of Trustees

Jerry Silverman, President & CEO

DATE: February 13, 2012

RE: Israel Action Network (IAN)

As you know, at the close of 2010 the JFNA Board of Trustees voted overwhelmingly to fund and launch the Israel Action Network (IAN), an initiative of the JFNA in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, to address the urgency of responding to a growing assault on Israel's legitimacy by foreign governments, NGOs and others in the BDS movement.

With your generous support, IAN has successfully ramped up its efforts, and implementation of the approved three year strategic plan is underway. Attached you will find the IAN 2011 Year End Report; 2012 Goals, Objectives and Deliverables that details the critical work that has been accomplished in the first year. Due to the time needed to recruit and hire staff and put an infrastructure in place, JFNA extended the first year budget (originally prorated for a 10 month start up year) to cover the first 18 months of operation that will conclude on March 31, 2011. IAN has carefully marshaled the funding to ensure achievement of our collective goals over this extended period.

As determined by the Board of Trustees vote, the first year of this initiative was funded exclusively by special federation allocations. In years two and three, 50% will be incorporated into the JFNA budget as a core function. Federation funding for this initiative was originally budgeted at $1.76 million for the first year, and then prorated to a 10-month year at $1.5 million as noted above. Federation funding is budgeted at $900,000 for each of years 2 and 3. We thank you for your support for the first year. We now respectfully request $           for year two of IAN’s operations.

We want to thank you for your ongoing support of this exciting new initiative, which we believe effectively represents our movement’s critically important response to an ongoing and insidious challenge to the legitimacy of the State of Israel.

When your federation does take action or you have any questions or concerns, please contact William Daroff at; 202-736-5868. Also, please make checks payable to the Jewish Federations of North America and send to the attention of:

Sonia Santos

The Jewish Federations of North America

25 Broadway, Suite 1700

New York, NY 10004-1010

Thank you for joining our movement in this vital effort."

Yes, "thank you for joining our movement in this vital effort." And fighting with all we have the efforts at the delegitimization of Israel is vital. You may remember that when the IAN was created, this leadership sent out another letter, expecting federations to respond unanimously in support of the IAN. They didn't; we didn't. So, at the insistence of the federations, JFNA agreed to fund the IAN out of its budget -- out of the $30.3 million budget you/we provide. I could have sworn that JFNA was mandated to assume the total federation share of the IAN Budget but, perhaps, I misheard both the demand and the acceptance...maybe it was just half (obviously, JFNA needs the balance of those funds for Tables and TribeFest and stuff like that.

But, how are the funds being spent. Well, not to worry. The JCPA is monitoring the expenditures and, I suppose, reporting to JFNA on the revenues and expenses. The potential problem -- some insiders have told me that they believe that JCPA has used some of the IAN funds to support its own staff and budget. So, if true, we've got the classic fox guarding the hen house. We aren't talking about pennies here -- we're talking about "$900,000 (in) federation funding." Shouldn't we expect our JFNA to monitor the expenditure of our funds? Or should we rely on JCPA, a beneficiary, in whole or in part, of those funds? Rhetorical questions, of course.

It's a damn shame that JFNA continues to rely on letters for its internal fund raising efforts -- the same format was followed in its ask (wholly inappropriate in this writer's opinion) for additional funds for the ENP and for funding the effort to "Complete the Journey" of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. And, of course, the preposterous JFNA initiative, long forgotten, to bring Yemenite Jews to Monsey (and how's that "monitoring" going?). And, on and on. Never is there any priority-setting, just the "asks"...always the "asks."

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