Ambition should be made of sterner stuff
In response to my Post on JFNA as the Potemkin Village of Jewish organizations, some alert readers offered Comments that suggested, well, read on...
With a resume of multiple titles but no successes, the immediate past Board Chair is making a typically overly-ambitious and overly-aggressive run at the Chairmanship of the Conference of Presidents. Those participants in the February Conference of Presidents Mission saw this unbridled ambition in full flower -- what some would call a "charm offensive." (Others might limit their comments to "offensive.")
I am conflicted in urging you to urge national agency Chairs whom you may know whose organizations are members of the Conference to oppose this further quest for power, glory and a microphone by one who cannot cite a single achievement over 6 years as, first, Chair of the JFNA Executive and, then, its Board, other than that she ran meetings with efficiency (unless you consider hiring CEO Silverman and micromanagement achievements) and that she sings (even Gilbert and Sullivan) beautifully. For, after all, if she gains this new position maybe...maybe...JFNA will be rid of her interference with JFNA's new Board and Executive Chairs and, maybe, the GPT will finally be fairly evaluated without the nefarious and constant dictation of outcomes by the Past Board Chair .
It might be wise for someone to warn Malcolm Hoenlein of the continuous interference in JFNA's professional administration by this professional volunteer; it might be appropriate for the Conference of Presidents' Nominating Committee to reflect upon the history of its Chairs, almost all of whom left the organizations they chaired in a far better place than this self-appointed "nominee" left hers.
Then, there is Manning's opinion, expressed at a small Subcommittee meeting of the JFNA Global Planning Table, that the word "zionism" is "too controversial" to appear in a JFNA document, or words to that effect. She denied saying these words...but she did. While this report led to strong condemnations (of me), denials all around and JFNA's public reaffirmation of its commitment to Zionism...yes, she did. This was not JFNA's or the federations' position, it was hers but, as Chair... Can an organization dedicated to Israel, and dedicated to Zionism even consider Manning for its Chair when its members include every Zionist organization in America, every organization which unequivocally supports Zionism? Rhetorical question.
It was Oscar Wilde who observed that "ambition is the last refuge of failure." As one of the FOBs would write: "Yup."