And then there is Tennessee where at the initiative of the Nashville Federation, anti-BDS legislation was passed on April 24: "With strong bi-partisan support, the Tennessee General Assembly has passed a resolution condemning the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and the worldwide increase in anti-Semitism." Even earlier this year a similar Resolution was enacted in Nevada.
For those of you who would ask what role our JFNA played in the efforts here -- none. Nothing -- JFNA, beyond its constant references to aid to Nepal, did manage to publish a sentence on the the JUF initiative (!!) in its brand spanking new waste of time FedWorld on May 15. Meanwhile this JUF-Chicago effort and those in Tennessee and Nevada must...must...become part of a national federation movement and, certainly, with the expertise at the Israel Action Network, that's where the action will take place. State-by-state, federations, through their CRC network or through their legislative offices, will use the Illinois, Nevada and Tennessee examples as best practices and, ultimately, at the Congressional level as well where anti-BDS legislation is pending adoption as well.
The Playbook, including a grass roots letter-writing and phone calling effort, is right there for the doing...but not by JFNA.
2. Then there's the always stupefying CEO who on his travels continues to dissemble unlike anyone in his position anywhere/anytime. Clearly he will say anything to get him through the meeting in which he finds himself. Most recently, with the data set forth in our Post The End of the Collective fresh at hand, CEO Jerry I-Can't-Count-But-Watch-Me-Make-Stuff-Up has been telling audiences that "the range" of overseas allocations is from 10%-40% with a national average of 30% "on a campaign of $900 million." Not one...that's nary a one -- of those statistics is correct (unless one...that's ONE...federation allocating almost 38% including designated gifts creates a "range") and the national average allocation according to the most recent data available, sadly, is just over 20% rather than 30% -- the average allocation hasn't approached 30% since Jerry Silverman joined the disaster to which he has contributed so much. Specifically, and again according to the most recent figures provided by JFNA itself, core allocations for Large Cities average was 21.8% and for Large Intermediates, 21.2%.**
At one meeting, in response to a question about the sharp decline in donors during Jerry's 5+ years, he had the chutzpa to assert that "federations in the 1990s made a conscious decision that it was more expensive to focus on small donors rather than on major donors" as if (a) that were true (it wasn't/isn't) and (b) this would excuse the huge percentage decrease in donors during Silverman's years of negative leadership. All this answer evidences is how little Jerry Silverman, awarded a new CEO contract for no apparent reason other than convenience, knows about our system, its history or its present.
These misrepresentations are bad enough in the abstract; in context, they are even worse because Silverman probably believes them.
Everything about this most recent series of misstatements reminds me of what Cousin Vinnie said after cross-examining a particularly stupid witness in the classic My Cousin Vinnie: "I'm done wit' dis guy." Shouldn't we all be?
3. Then...there is this. The following is the complete statement of Michael Siegal and Dede Feinberg on May 13:
Remember -- this was the complete JFNA statement. Or, as some might ask: WTF? Was there supposed to be an opinion paragraph that was lost in translation? Or was this just like a newspaper story -- telling us something we already knew. As Tablet pointed out, before the JFNA WTF?: this "recognition" first took place in 2012."Dear Colleagues,Today, Vatican and Palestinian leaders met to advance a discussion that began in 2000 to produce a treaty that refers to a Palestinian state. The meeting, which has been reported by news outlets including The Washington Post and The New York Times, was met with “disappointment” by the Israeli government. “This move does not advance the peace process,” they said, “and further distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations.”At this time, the Obama Administration has not commented on the discussions. If a statement becomes available, we will distribute it.Sincerely,"
* For an insightful and full discussion of the Illinois effort, read Jay Tcath's, Jewish Federation of Chicago's Executive Vice-President and one of the point persons on this effort, op-ed in today's Chicago Tribune at http://eeditionmobile.chicagotribune.com/Olive/Tablet/ChicagoTribune/Default.aspx
** These are the results at year-end 2013 only because JFNA has released only 2013 allocations by community data. Trust me, the year-end 2014 results will only be worse given that total allocations to JAFI, JDC and World ORT reduced significantly once again in 2014.