Monday, August 17, 2015


I have often suggested that JFNA is the reality show equivalent of Seinfeld -- all about nothing. Here's the latest proof:

1. The Government of Israel/World Jewry Joint Initiative. The last time we wrote about this fiasco:

  • JFNA had raised bubkus to support the millions committed from Diaspora Jewry for the Initiative -- funds JFNA agreed to raise but hasn't/didn't/can't/won't;
  • The Israel Government's Diaspora Affairs Ministry was in the midst of coopting the role of the Jewish Agency, the originator of the Initiative (a cooption that  UIA Chair Richard Bernstein took upon himself [unilaterally] to reverse); and
  • Jewish Agency leaders were in open verbal warfare with Dvir Kahana, the Director General of the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, one with no apparent previous engagement with Diaspora Jewry.
Well, it's not a "World Jewry Joint Initiative" any longer. Fast forward to two weeks ago when ejewishphilanthropy disclosed in a lengthy analysis that that cooption was now complete. JAFI -- evicted from its organizing and management role in its entirety. Then on August 10, Haaretz disclosed that JAFI had formally and publicly (and angrily) withdrawn from what will now be an expensive GOI Initiative without, apparently, Diaspora Jewry or JAFI involvement.

One day after the ejp story, JFNA announced a Board teleconference for Monday, August 10 (the same date as it happened that the Haaretz story appeared [also reprinted in ejp]) with the following Agenda:

      "Campaign / Missions / Events
-          Government of Israel Initiative – Recent Developments*
-          Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Address to Jewish Federations
-          President Obama’s Meeting with Leaders of Jewish Organizations"
(Perhaps JFNA leaders don't even read ejp or Haaretz...just FedWorld.)  The Report was to the point -- however the suggestion was made that JFNA sent a letter to the Prime Minister joining JAFI, the WZO and KH in withdrawing. It turned out that the letter was from JAFI alone to the Prime Minister announcing that none of the Diaspora organizations would participate.

2. Then there's "Campaign." First, it should be noted that one Anonymous Comment suggested that JFNA was headed "Back to the Future" with Max Kleinman doing...what exactly(?) during his two day a week consultancy; Bob Aronson on board (he's not, trust me); and Vicki Agron brought back two weeks ago, one guesses, to plan an FRD approach by a JFNA that is devoid of staff, Jerry having cleaned out a Department of professionals never allowed to do their Silverman. (It was no coincidence that Vicki was asked to return in time to attend JFNA's Fundraising University apparently to "show" that the organization is not devoid of FRD professionals -- even though Vicki is only a consultant.) Harold Gernsbacher, a leader of integrity, should know by now, months after Silverman and Siegal promised him the earth, the moon and the stars to induce Harold to take the position (after others turned them down, knowing that whatever they were promised was purely fiction), that he is drowning in bullshit. There is no "campaign;" how can there be when there is no campaign staff but for lonely Beverly Woznica out there in Los Angeles.

3. The Iran Deal. If the infantile FedWorld is to be believed, JFNA is all over the "Iran Deal." JFNA leaders, including New York UJA-Federation's President Elisa Doctoroff, and, of course, the ubiquitous CEO Jerry (who never misses a chance to be at the White House), attend and report on meetings of Jewish leaders with the President.  It has offered its Board members access to Conference of Presidents' teleconferences with the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister, the U.S. Energy Secretary**; it publishes links to some, but not all, of the federation statements on the "Deal," most (and more and more) if not all in opposition to the "Deal." 

JFNA has determined to "collect data" on federation positions on the "Deal" while "standing behind its Statement" determined to monitor the federations'  positions while JFNA's own Board has not even discussed the possibility of an organizational position. After all, the Federation leaders, most of whose communities have discussed the "Deal," even if not voted upon, can't be trusted now can they to have a reasoned debate? Barry Shrage has suggested just such a discussion; and JFNA leaders promise to "follow-up" with him "directly." It's all so infantile -- an organization unworthy of trust has no trust in its own Board. As a further example of that lack of trust, it was clear that in the Conference Call convened by JFNA with the respected analyst Robert Satloff, that Satloff had been instructed by someone(s) at JFNA that he should offer no opinion on the deal...none. Satloff, so constrained, was clearly uncomfortable presenting the Deal but he complied. Now, read his true opinion The Atlantic On-Line, August 13. 

HEY, Michael, you can trust 'em, they're harmless. It's Jerry (not Seinfeld, Silverman) who has proved to be dangerous.


* Interesting that JFNA leaders consider the "Initiative" to be a Fund Raising matter, when JFNA at a time that its successful FRD for this Initiative might have made a difference...failed...failed badly.
** When the eminent political analyst Robert Satloff presented an analysis of the "Deal" on a JFNA Conference Call was he directed by JFNA to not offer his personal opinion on the "Deal?" Just asking...


Anonymous said...

Satloff is hardly a neutral observer since he heads a think tank that is bankrolled by aipac's bigwigs.

RWEX said...

You know that I love you guys -- or, at least, most of you Anonymous or not. But. some of you, like the first respondent to this Post above, are so caught up in your own anger that you totally and obviously miss my point time and again. I try not to insult the intelligence of my readers -- could you all please try harder not to insult mine? Please.