Wednesday, March 20, 2013


David Butler didn't set up a card table at the Global Planning Table Committee meeting on March 13 and put three bent cards on it in front of the gathered few; and he didn't roll out the old shell game with three cups and a pea, either. But it was sure the next best thing to that hoaried street scam. For that is what the Global Planning Table has become.

And G-d knows how many forests have been cut down to the stumps to produce the volumes of paper wasted in this first year effort "celebrated" at this first year "anniversary." But, Three Card Monte is what the GPT always was, only it has become even worse. It began even before Butler signed on in a disingenuous claim that it was designed to raise more funds for the core work of JDC and the Jewish Agency; then it morphed into "this will really help the Small Cities;" and, now, as we have written, it is the mantra that "JFNA will self-destruct if the Global Planning Table isn't implemented" -- apparently "implemented as we dictate."

So it is that about 100 pages of "Confidential" drafts and "Confidential" power points were distributed to the GPT Committee (you know, the one that lacks any power other than to "recommend" to a "Partnership [they love that word, don't they?] Steering Committee" tightly controlled by Manning and CEO Jerry) for the March 13 meeting. Several folks forwarded these documents to me -- and, I read them. I see no reason that they are "Confidential" other than the fact that the GPT leaders may rightly believe they would be embarrassed were they to be more freely distributed. After all, wouldn't you be embarrassed if a Report, preliminary or final, included something like this:
  • Out of 157 federations, 23 participated in providing "community input" -- that's all of 15% -- but, don't worry, best I can tell from reading the "survey input" (in another document of course), your issues -- every one of them -- were ignored in their entirety. Did anyone at JFNA reflect on the fact that only 23 federations cared enough about this GPT -- the "saviour" of JFNA itself -- to even respond to the fervent pleas of JFNA and GPT staff and lay leaders? After all, this thing is being "sold" today as bringing down the Temple if it isn't implemented. (Oh, and also 85 -- of a "market" in the 1,000s -- individuals completed on-line Surveys.) I am not making this up;
  • And, there was also ample space for total gibberish. For example, in describing "How the GPT Does Its Work," the First Year "Report" suggests, in pertinent part -- Successful partnerships central to our ability to deliver collective solutions to important issues within the global Jewish community. Uh huh.
  • All of this culminates in Three Commissions and 14...that's right, 14..."Areas of Work."Nothing manageable, of course; nothing within the capacity of JFNA as proved over these past 12+ years;
  • And there are going to be some "Signature Initiatives" on top of this Tower of Babel.
The documents are filled with the concept of "we" -- "we" doing this, "we" doing that. Yet, "we" is never defined. Is it seriously contemplated that "we" is JFNA which, to date, has delivered little if anything that would qualify it to deliver here; is "we" the federations; is "we," the Joint or Jewish Agency (World ORT seems left out)?

And, without breaching confidentiality, I think I can tell you that JFNA's commitment to "Zionism" is well-stated.

So, friends, let me assure you that you should be able to find the pea under the cup marked "all things to all people" -- as in, "if you don't know where you're going, any/every road will take you there.

Welcome to Year 2 of the Global Planning Table. OK, is the pea under Cup 1, 2 or 3?



Anonymous said...

"JFNA will self-destruct if the Global Planning Table isn't implemented."

Good. Because the next incarnation can't be worse than the emptiness that exists now.

As for the CEO, apparently Dockers has 221 positions open as of today. Surely Jerry must be qualified for at least 1.

Miriam's younger brother said...

The Four Sons of JFNA

The Wise Son: Caught up in the minutia of marketing and GPT press releases

The Bad Son: Who denies the very essence of community building and collective responsibility

The Simple son: Who thinks that #ish came from Sinai

The Son who cannot ask: You know, like soliciting donors for the annunal campaign?