Monday, September 19, 2016


Remember that "World Jewry Initiative," what was to be a partnership among the Government of Israel, the Jewish Agency and, among others, the Global Planning Table of JFNA? Well, it evolved.

Yes, it evolved  away from JAFI and JFNA into...well read the following and just weep:**&utm_campaign=Mon+Aug+22&utm_medium=email  Yep, the Government decided to go forward in its campus anti-BDS efforts with, among others, Chabad and Hillel and ultra-Orthodox Movements to the apparent exclusion of the Reform and Conservative Movements and the organized Jewish community. It promises to be ugly.

You won't be surprised to learn that, as of this writing, the Reform and Conservative Movements have expressed their outrage -- JFNA...silent. Why? Because silence becomes us. (And, you will recall that a JFNA subsidiary leader took it upon himself to "rescue" the GOI-JAFI World Jewry Initiative. How did that work out? [That leader has now taken his extensive portfolio of leadership achievements to...World ORT.]) This is not about JFNA, after all, this is about the GOI and its internal divisions and the impotency of JAFI in what should have been a crowning achievement.

And the articles on the "new" Initiative relate that the effort will be headed by one Mosaic United, an interesting operation with an energetic women-only senior professional staff and Steering and Advisory Committees filled with many of our system's "friends," including some familiar names -- Malcolm Hoenlein, Tova Dorfman, Yossi Beilin, Mark Charendorf, Barry Shrage, Avraham Infeld, Gidi Marks and one of the 2016 GA's Co-Chairs, among others. An eclectic and unrepresentative group to be certain as Mosaic United will engage its yet-to-be-defined campus advocacy through Hillel, Chabad and Olami (another ultra-Orthodox organization) for this on-campus "connection" program. Just the right threesome of organizations isn't it, as Naftali Bennett, Israel's Education Minister as well as Diaspora Affairs Minister, put it: "...the real answer to growing anti-Semitism and Israel's de-legitimization." Uh-huh, "the real answer" indeed.. For a far more enlightening and in-depth analysis, read J.J. Goldberg's column in the Forward, August 26, 2016, Is Israeli Initiative Trying to Turn American Jews Into Orthodox Right-Wingers?

I'd say this $65 million "Initiative" (2/3rds of which are to be provided by philanthropists and "other organizations" -- sure!!)  is off to a great start, wouldn't you? I wonder what JFNA thinks -- probably breathing a sigh of relief that it doesn't have to engage in real FRD for the original "Initiative" -- something it already tried...and failed. But all we have heard from JFNA is, as usual...nothing. Did its bloated JFNA-Israel Office have any advance intelligence on this matter? We'll never know because...well, just because...

It's none of our business.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did JFNA israel Office know about the coming initiative. Are you kidding? JFNA sends two people every day to the Knesset. No one in the Knesset knows who they are. When the Chair of JFNA Israel and Overseas, David Brown, is not busy polishing his Julius Rosenwald award from Chicago, he leads missions to the United Nation.

Lets "unpack" this (sorry Jerry, I just love your unique and bizarre vernacular) Chairman Brown leads a "robust" Israel and Overseas committee (a table of of one". His other accomplishment is to have joined the Jewish Agency Board through UIA. He spends his time trying carve out turf, and keep the effective UIA (multiple real people) as limited as he possibly can, all for the sake of his turf.

In November, Becky Caspi will fly to the US and she and David will host an "Israel" breakfast or reception. Both will appear at the GA as speakers. And the cycle will renew. A moribund, but grossly overstaffed, and under accomplished JFNA Israel office at its best.