Getting ‘fed up’ with critical tone of Federation leadership


The reason MJAC was started was because we didn't think our Jewish "leaders" including Jewish Federation leaders were advancing the needs of American Jews, and in some cases weren't even interested in promoting those needs when they diverged from our "leaders'" political views. This divergence is becoming especially stark when it comes to Israel.

Whether one is Jewish or non-Jewish there are many reasons for supporting Israel. It seems to me to be the height of stupidity to withdraw that support because one hates Trump while Bibi Netanyahu supports Trump.

Eric Goldstein, chief executive of the UJA-Federation of New York—the only leader willing to come on record—is reported as stating that “people who, up until three years ago, were the biggest supporters of Israel now say to us they want to throw up their hands—that all of their love and labor on behalf of Israel went down the drain.”

Goldstein noted that on the top of the list of the concerns affecting American Jewry are the support that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu show U.S. President Donald Trump, who is generally loathed by American Jews and their communal leadership, as well as Israel’s inability to reach a two-state settlement with the Palestinian Authority.

“Actions taken by [Israel’s] government have a decisive role in shaping our attitude to Israel,” Goldstein is reported as saying, while noting that many UJA donors request that their dollars no longer go to Israel.

While many American Jews seem to think that they are there for Israel, that Israel needs them, and so Israel must dance to their progressive tune, and realign their policies to be more progressive, they're blind to the real picture. And they're also quite patronizing thinking that they know better than the Israelis on how Israel should be governed.

The truth is, Israel is there for us. We American Jews still have it pretty good. For a brief time, so did European Jews. We know how ugly things are getting in Europe for Jews. They have a home to go to that European Jews in 1938-45 didn't have should they feel the need to make that move.

The Federation is repeatedly asking for an “honest conversation.” But this “dialogue” that the Federation is starting is poisonous, and only threatens to rip Israeli and American Jewry further and further apart if it continues in this tone.

Now that the issues are on the table—and America’s Jewish leaders have stated them bluntly, and have been heard loud and clear as per their intention—let’s recognize that the strength of the Jewish people is to be united, despite geographic and cultural differences.

Trump or no Trump, we Jews do need to stick together. There aren't that many of us, and we can't afford to work against the one country in the world that, whether or not we live there, we can call home. Aligning with the Trump haters against Israel is a clear case of "cutting off your nose to spite your face." To feed into the current anti-Israel bias is a sure way to weaken both Israel and Diaspora Jews.

https://www.jns.org/opinion/getting-fed-up-with-critical-tone-of-federation-leadership/

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Michigan Jewish Action Council

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West Bloomfield, MI 48325

248-579-8550

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