Here are the numbers:
1. The World Zionist Organization -- 50% of the members of the JAFI Board
2. Jewish Federations/United Israel Appeal -- 30% of the members
3. Keren Ha'Yesod countries + Canada -- 20% of the members
Now, remember those numbers, we will revisit them later.
Some history: A two year old but still current, comprehensive and insightful article in Haaretz --http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.589786# -- The Politics and Money Behind Israel's Zionist Bureaucracy -- spelled out in graphic terms the "resurrection" of the World Zionist Organization under the leadership of Avraham "Duvdev" Duvdevani. While Haaretz did an excellent job, what it left out was American Jewry's role in raising WZO to its current elevated status. Let me fill in the blanks.
It was the law of unintended consequences at work.
Yep, men and women of good faith, with the chance to effect real change in the governance of the Jewish Agency, a two-person "task force" led by a wonderful philanthropist, Jane Sherman, and he who was among the system's best and brightest CEOs, Cleveland's Steve Hoffman, we willingly allowed ourselves to be taken to the cleaners by Duvdev and his cronies in leadership of WZO.
Here is what I recall happened. Sherman and Hoffman went into what they might still call "negotiations" with WZO on our behalf. I don't know what goals they had, but they came back with an "agreement," apparently dictated by good old Duvdev and cronies, and that was the "deal." To anyone within earshot, including this writer, Jane Sherman made certain we would understand "this deal cannot be changed" -- not a comma, not a verb or pronoun, not a typo -- "this deal cannot be changed in any way."
What was the deal? The offices of Chair of the JAFI Executive and the Chair of the World Zionist Organization would be separated and the WZO would no longer receive funding from the JAFI Budget. To secure this "victory" JAFI would pay the WZO 10s of millions for...well, what exactly? No questions were allowed, no changes would be allowed. This was the "deal."
So, what happened? Duvdev took JAFI's multi-million dollar payout and with further multi-year multi-million dollar funding from Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael he took the WZO into direct competition with the Jewish Agency. And WZO did all of this while retaining its controlling votes within JAFI's governance. (And the reality is, notwithstanding the breakdown at the top of this Post, the WZO, should it wish to exercise its "ownership," controls the votes of Keren Ha'Yesod -- another 20% on top of its 50%.)
I suppose that if you asked the leaders who "negotiated" this deal on our behalf how we ended up with...oh, nothing...they would tell you, if they deigned to answer at all, (1) none of your business and (2) 20/20 hindsight is always best. Well, this wasn't 20/20 hindsight. JFNA/UIA JAFI Board members did request changes -- ranging from typos to substance -- immediately upon receiving the deal in writing. They were told in words like this: "What don't you understand about 'no changes, no amendments?'" It was a done deal...period.
Does WZO's continued control of JAFI governance constitute a conflict of interest? Does a bear shit in the woods? Is anyone at JFNA/UIA going to raise the question? Does a bear shit in the woods? Is Duvdev smiling? All the way to the bank.