Sunday, December 4, 2016


1. JFNA is victimized at all times by the "Law of Unintended Consequences." The latest example arose out of the "secret" JFNA Board Meeting convened on October 26, which was to " on a proposed adjustment to JFNA's historic policy which prohibits mission travel to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority." Well, as became clear from the JFNA Resolution presented to and approved by the "Voting Members" of the Board, sometime between the call of the meeting and the conference call meeting itself, some/many(?) leaders intervened and the watered down result was that all that was approved was that travel of Missions of the Israel Action Network, not community Missions and not JFNA Missions, would be "permitted" to visit not just "Ariel or Gush Etzion, etc." as promised in the call of the meeting by Jerry Silverman, but, specifically, to Ramallah to meet with officials of the PLO, Fatah and whomever else.

Ignoring the JFNA Resolution itself, or unaware of it, Morton Klein the Zionist Organization of America issued a Press Release -- "ZOA Praises Jewish Federations For Lifting Ban On Contacts with Jewish Communities in Judea/Samaria." So, it came to pass that Mort  Klein "praised" JFNA for that which it hadn't, in fact, done.

Maybe next time...maybe not.

2. Birthright Israel, at one time one of the most cutting-edge of organizations, first announced, kind of sub rosa, that its wonderful chief professional officer, David Fisher, was leaving the position after literally turning the organization around. Then, confounding all speculation, the Birthright leadership announced that David would be succeeded by Israel Tapoohi, at one time the CEO of the Development Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds. Izzie has a great set of leadership experiences, an organization dedicated to bringing the Jewish youth of the World to Israel best served by a 70 year old? Far be it for me, age 75, to be an ageist, but...huh? Who engineered this thing? And, why? 

3. Is it possible that an organization can have no working relationship with the truth? Well, check out JFNA. Not too long ago, you remember, and, if not, see 1. above, it called a secret Board meeting for the express purpose of determining if a long-standing "policy" precluding Missions beyond the Green Line should be overturned; and, then. adopted a resolution permitting the Israel Action Network to visit Ramallah. (One humorous side affect, the ZOA's Mort Klein published a broadside congratulating JFNA for doing what it hadn't done!!) This followed JFNA (a) claiming a $1 million conduit contract was confidential and (b) claiming a Board member could not review that or other consultant contracts -- all "confidential" you see. As the respected commentator Bill Moyers has said: “Secrecy is the freedom zealots dream of: no watchman to check the door, no accountant to check the books, no judge to check the law. The secret government has no constitution. The rules it follows are the rules it makes up.”  Others have noted that "secrecy" and "lying" are the same side of the coin. 

4. Then, in a description of its Israeli "partners" efforts in assisting displaced and damaged Israelis in the midst and the wake of the forest fires, created partner equivalence among JAFI, JDC and the Israel Trauma Coalition. You might ask "the Israeli Trauma Coalition?"* Huh? Now, the ITC does great work but where was some action taken by the JFNA Board that cloaked the ITC with a partnership equivalency to JAFI and JDC? I recall, as some of you might,  that a few years ago the Jewish Agency entered into an agreement with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews that would have placed the IFCJ, the largest single annual contributor to JAFI (other than the federations) "on the JAFI letterhead" creating a sense of equivalency for the Eckstein organization with the Federation system and Keren Ha'Yesod. Back then, the hue and cry from the federations (you might guess just which) put the kibosh on that deal and that blackball became the proximate cause for the IFCJ walking away from and going into competition with the Jewish Agency. Now, the federations name the ITC a "partner." Explain this to us, please; if you can.

JFNA's Three Card Monte.


* The ITC became a favored agency of JFNA because the New York UJA-Federation demanded it, pure and simple, at the time that New UJA was cutting back its funding..


Anonymous said...

We should be pleased that ITC (Israel Trauma Coalition) has been declared our new partner because this nonsense is becoming more and more traumatic every day!

Anonymous said...

Hey, does JFNA process anything through its Board or Executive Committee other than its Budget (which it then ignores) and one letter (among many) to the Prime Minister? This has gone beyond ridiculous, beyond circus, into the realm of low and constant farce. Richard, even you must have given up on Sandler showing any leadership at all.