Thursday, December 8, 2016


1. Well, you can't say that this isn't cynically opportunistic. JTA reported yesterday that the Conference of Presidents planned to hold its annual (is it really "annual"?) Chanukah party at the Washington D.C. Trump International Hotel.

For some reason the festivities would be co-hosted by The Embassy of Azerbaijan and Malcolm Hoenlein stated that the room had been let by the Azerbaijanis (apparently with neither the knowledge of or protest from Hoenlein -- remember, the CPMAJO is a Co-Host). By December 7, 8 members of the Conference had announced they would not attend and protested that the venue was inappropriate. My favorite quote from the JTA article was attributed to Malcolm: “You think that Trump knows who rents a room in his hotel and that influences how we represent to him?” Well, duh...yes.

And, will JFNA representatives attend? HaHaHa.

2. Laughable attribution. In the immediate aftermath of the horrific fires that struck Israel at the end of November the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston stepped forward to provide direct aid to victims in their Partnership City of Haifa, the Chicago Federation immediately advanced $500,000 in aid through JAFI and JDC. Here's how The Jerusalem Post reported it:
 "The grants were made possible by special contributions from the Jewish Federations of North America, led by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, as well from Keren Hayesod-UIA and other donors. Grantees are being identified via local municipalities in coordination with the National Emergency Authority."
If one just read the story, one would conclude that JFNA actually did something...anything. And, I guess it did -- if you consider opening a Mailbox Fund and serving as a conduit of federation-raised dollars. Those are, of course, exactly what JFNA always does -- almost nothing. But it is absolutely excellent at grabbing credit for the work of others. In the words of its leaders -- "great job." 

And, I'm just speculating here, but I'll bet there's some bonus money here for JFNA-Israel for getting JFNA into the press (after deductions for not getting Silverman's name in there).

3. Grand Theft. At JFNA Budget time this year we reported of JFNA's outright thievery of $400,000 from the National Agencies Funding Pool to support JFNA creation of a Planning and Education Unit -- in other words, funds allocated by federation members of the Federation-National Agency Alliance were diverted to the JFNA Budget and away from the intended recipients, the system's National Agencies. At the end of this fiscal year, New York-UJA will finally act on its threats to withdraw from the Alliance -- pulling its 40% of the National Agencies Funding Pool for New York's redistribution. Now, watch and see if JFNA diverts another $400,000 out of the Funding Pool for its own purposes. And, please remember that Jerry Silverman is to fund-raise millions to support JFNA's budget -- he couldn't meet the Budget goal last fiscal year...and, this fiscal year? More theft?


Anonymous said...

The strategic position of the COP under Mr. Hoenlein can be summed up in three observable principles:

1. Always ensure access to those in power

2. Israel=Bibi and Bibi=Israel (even when he is not in the government)

3. Popular Jewish opinion is a distraction

Paul Jeser said...

Richard , I thought you were not going to allow anonymous personal attacks. Anonymous 2:41's post is certainly a personal attack on one of the most effective and respected leaders of our day.

Anonymous said...

The Conference and UJC are long past being relevant or representative of the larger Jewish world. They are fiefdoms ruled by the Exec.

Anonymous said...

Anon @2:41 is NOT a personal attack Paul. You can't call everyone whose views you dislike personal attacks.

Anonymous said...

"effective and respected" .... hahahaha. Nice one, Paul.

Anonymous said...

Every JFNA "campaign" is always a great opportunity to fund another staff position for JFNA or at least to take credit for supposedly providing added value when, in fact, it is only providing PR for itself and wasting philanthropic funds - using them for things not intended by the donors.
How long are they going to be allowed to continue doing this?
Is there nobody in charge to put a stop to this behavior or is it just that those in charge see the PR benefit as something of real value (to themselves of course!)?

Anonymous said...

Can you be so good as to explain exactly what the National Agencies Funding Pool is used for and how large it is so one can understand the loss of $400k in context?

There are so many bureaucratic titles within JFNA that it feels like reading a Kafka novel. Occasionally, we need deciphering.


Anonymous said...

Re: anon 3:51 PM Is there any value at all to the COP? Do they really achieve much by acting as our official conduit to power?

Is there a President, elect, present and past, that needed their conduit (save Jimmy Carter perhaps)?

Does anyone have any idea how much they collect in dues from JFNA and the other member agencies?

I found it quite disturbing that they seem to be aggressively soliciting $10K club members for their "holy work", almost like AIPAC with its Minyan rap. What does COP need with the funds? Free first class air and hotels for members when traveling to see despots like Erdogan?

RWEX said...

Two things:

1. I will be writing further about the failed expectations of the Federation = National Agencies Alliance; and

2. It appears that one or more of you just wait for Paul Jeser to offer a Comment in his name and then to attack him anonymously. It's time for that to stop.

Paul Jeser said...

I feel bad that there are such negative commentary about Malcolm and the CoP. I wish this negative and misguided energy would be spent on not just finding fault, but working for change. And in terms of the total picture, the JFNA and the Fed system need a lot more fixing than the CoP.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Paul. Malcolm is Bibi's lap dog - and while that may serve Bibi's and Paul's interests, it doesn't always serve the interests of the broader American Jewish community.

RWEX said...

Thanks for all of your observations on the Conference of Presidents. 1;25
's will be the last. They have grown redundant.