I started the week writing of the Tower of Babel spinning out of the minds of those foisting the Global Planning Table on us. And, we have written before about the Rube Goldberg-like structure of the Global Planning Table, where ultimate decision-making after a labyrinthian set of Committees and Task Forces makes accountability almost impossible and puts the ultimate power in the hands of very few -- but not in the hands of JFNA's Chairs. And as we have observed, since the "Planning Table" was "conceived" five years ago, that the GPT was the tail wagging the JFNA dog to the exclusion of the vast number of federations large and small alike -- except when money is needed. And, we have called the GPT "leadership" on their misrepresentations -- from the now GPT Executive Chair's dismissal of "Zionism" when she chaired JFNA to the most recent confusion by the GPT Chair of real vs. "tentative" financial commitments for Strategic Initiatives allowing these to move forward with nothing more than the latter. "See, if we wait for firm, real financial commitments, we might not ever get these Initiatives off the ground, so we'll take the 'soft commitments' so we can move forward even though we at GPT resolved to await 'firm commitments.'" Friends, this is your GPT at its best and most cynical. So, I'll end the week observing the helpings of hypocrisy that the Global Planning Table is serving in larger and larger portions.
Now, as the rubber hits the road, the Global Planning Table Committee at its meeting on January 28 and in the Executive Committee of that Committee meeting thereafter evidenced the basic cynicism and hypocrisy that have characterized this out of control "thing" from its inception. In the recent past, we have discussed the inherent conflict between the GPT leaders arrogation of JFNA's responsibility to advocate for the core needs of the Joint, the Jewish Agency and World ORT -- while, for all intents and purposes, the leaders of those organizations and the leaders of JFNA itself stood silent. I mean, after all, there is an inherent conflict, isn't there, between the pursuit of dollars for "Signature Initiatives" and the advocacy for increased core allocations when the former are not restricted at all to new money?
And, it gets worse. As we have reported CEO Jerry Silverman, in meetings with JA and JDC leadership, demanded that these two organizations commit to funding JQuest and The Children's Zone -- as we called it "JFNA's/GPT's version of fund raising."
This GPT hypocrisy is picking up speed. Chair Butler reported that the GPT is in the process of appointing a "special advocacy subcommittee on core allocations" that will eventually get on with the task -- probably after studying the self-evident data for months -- got to be careful, don't you know. Meanwhile, the GPT leaders see the Government of Israel/World Jewry Initiative as, among other things, its opportunity to access a new pool of money -- apparently referring to Israeli tax dollars. (I'm not making this up.) Oh, there's also hortatory language of "how important it is" that funding for Signature Initiatives not be merely a reallocation of dollars from overseas core, but these "hopes" are clearly nothing more than the same language offered during the debacle that ONAD had become by the end of its sad history. GPT plans to contact your donors, your prospects, your foundation donors and your federations. (CEO Jerry has already talked to foundations, "some of which are interested in investing" in the Signature Initiatives. Uh huh.) While some GPT Committee members actually raised questions about the obvious conflict in simultaneous approaches to federations to both increase core and fund these Strategic Initiatives, there was no response.
So what about the Jewish Agency and Joint? Their representatives told the Global Planning Table Committee that neither has sufficient funds to contribute financially to these Initiatives -- citing the precipitous drop in core allocation funding by the federations under JFNA. When the Global Planning Table Committee went into its "Executive Session," those allowed to be present, I am told, concluded that while it's too bad that core allocations have been reduced, the GPT expects the Jewish Agency and Joint (and presumably World ORT) to financially support the GPT priorities. You see, the Global Planning Table has now determined not only the priorities of the GPT, but those of JFNA and those of the Jewish Agency and the Joint (and, presumably World ORT). Oh, they'll set up a meeting of GPT leaders with JA and JDC to tell them so.
Get ready for an Education and Engagement Campaign, soon to come to a meeting place near you. And JFNA lay leaders sit idly by.