Saturday, July 28, 2012


As discussed below, I was recently reminded that five years ago, the Jewish Agency was under assault from a number of North American Jewish leaders, ironically "led" in a semi-coordinated way by leaders of the JDC, among others, with allegations of self-dealing, politicization,  violations of the IRS Revenue Rulings which allowed our donations through the federation to JAFI to be tax deductible, among other things. The then JFNA CFO, Board Chair and Treasurer (currently the JFNA Chair of the Executive) immediately recognized what was at stake not alone for the Jewish Agency but for our system and, to their credit, they sprang to JAFI's defense. As the then UIA Chair, I was enlisted in the effort. JFNA engaged among the most prestigious outside counsel to review the records, the Jewish Agency in another act of transparency further opened its books and counsel totally refuted the allegations directly.

What brought this to mind is the circulation of a 15 page single-spaced anonymous "indictment," for lack of a better word, of the Joint's practices in Russia in an internet attack titled The Fall of the House of Asher, JDC, Quo Vadis. (The "Asher" of the title references Asher Ostrin, the former Director of JDC-FSU.) The allegations are severe, accusatory of even criminal conduct, but that's not my point.

In today's JFNA, there is only silence from 25 Broadway (of course, there has been public silence from JDC, as well). No leaping to JDC's defense, not even, to my knowledge, the offer of assistance; no "independent investigation" by JFNA as was the case with JAFI five years ago. Yes, while JFNA continues to offer constant lip service to its "historic partners," there can't be a lay person or professional leader at JDC or JAFI who believes that JFNA has any interest in delivering on the promises of its "leaders'" supportive words. And in parallel, the JDC Board, one of the most supportive of its organization's goals to a person, is, at one and the same time, one of the most quiescent (you know, the kind of Board that JFNA's apparently aspires to be) -- "where never is heard a discouraging word, and the sky is not cloudy all day."

In fact, had the attacks on JAFI of five years ago occurred today, there can be no doubt that JFNA's leaders' support then would not be mirrored in support now. Today is the time of the Emperor's New Clothes and Humpty Dumpty and. of course, Alice in Wonderland and 1984.

Hello...any one home?


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