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Re: The major political problem with the Jewish Federation/UJC in North America

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  • ED
    William, while I respect your position and you may be correct I do have a problem with your thesis. The purpose, focus, and mission of the Federation has been
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2003
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      William, while I respect your position and you may be correct I do
      have a problem with your thesis.

      The purpose, focus, and mission of the Federation has been
      community. Federation has never been a political advocacy force.
      You may suggest that they are missing an opportunity but you have to
      remember that the Federation movement has no authority or mandate to
      lobby on behalf of political issues.

      I believe that we need different organizations to focus on different
      issues. The Federation should be judged on the need for it's focus
      and it's ability to fill that need.

      If Mr. Bronfman wants to go the political route I will support him
      when I agree with him, but he has no authority to speak on my behalf,
      especially when he meets with Arafat in Oslo.

      Ed Greene



      --- In Sanhedran@yahoogroups.com, "william fine" <redwillf@y...>
      wrote:
      > There is nothing more
      > Heartbreaking than seeing and understanding that
      > Jewish leadership behind the scenes is not having a political
      impact.
      >
      > I would first make two organizational distinctions about Jewish
      > federations
      > and their lack of a political response to the Israel crises and post
      > 9/11:
      > The first, that what seems as a political response to
      > the Israel crises is rather what I call community
      > building. I derive this from observations and
      > interviews with elected officials at a state level. In their eyes
      > what, for
      > example. Jewish issue advocacy organizations have little impact on
      > how
      > these elected officials make decisions. Issue advocacy alone is an
      > ineffective
      > tool to promote political support of Jewish issues. Rather it is the
      > lobbyists,
      > who examine both pro and con of the issues that Senators listen
      > too.
      >
      > Issue advocacy organizations do well in terms
      > of community building (I.E education, Jewish outreach). Some Jewish
      > organizations do both, retain a lobbyist and do issue advocacy
      rather
      > than to
      > depend exclusively on issue advocacy alone. Jewish Leadership can
      be
      > strengthened by the use of lobbies on its behalf.
      >
      > But first our leaders
      > need to define what their priorities are: Will we
      > continue towards community building or begin to build
      > a true political response to the crises that threaten
      > world wide Jewry? For the very confusion of these organizations is
      > self-
      > evident here. Jewish organizations have mistaken community building
      > for a
      > political response to the threat to world Jewry. I pose this
      > confusion now as
      > the central impediment to the UJC/Federation system in North
      America.
      > The
      > confusion is also tied into an old mindset of the limited expertise
      > of many
      > Jewish leaders coming out of social work rather than political
      > backgrounds. I
      > say this recalling the day the United Jewish Community changed its
      > charter to
      > include helping Jews living across the green line in Israel.
      >
      > All that should change now, according to Hoffman.
      >
      >
      > "I don't want people to have to think who is worthy [of receiving
      > social
      > services] and who isn't, depending on where they live," he
      said. "And
      > I don't
      > want our campaign used for political purposes. What we want is for
      > services
      > to be determined by need."
      >
      > The problem for Mr. Hoffman of the UJC was their decision was
      > entirely
      > political and the UJC leadership was not prepared to see the
      > political
      > consequences of their actions. Rather they saw their green line
      > decision in
      > terms of social work and community-building areas they were already
      > knew.
      > In this the Federation blundered badly as there was a backlash and
      > the UJC
      > did loose many donors. A political response to the world via Jewish
      > Leadership cannot be achieved until we acknowledge the ongoing
      > confusion
      > of our Jewish organizations about what community building role is
      in
      > opposing a clear political response to the crises in Israel post
      > 9/11.
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