Jewish Communal Fund Losing Donors due to Support for New Israel Fund?

Do NIF donors know that their money is funding actions that can lead destruction of the State? One of them seems to have realized that.

Ronn Torossian,

OpEds Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian
INN:RT

The Jewish Communal Fund (JCF) is the largest Jewish donor advised fund in the United States, managing $1.3 billion in charitable assets for 3,100 funds.  They are the charity for the 1% of mega-rich American Jews, whose sole mission is tofacilitate and administer charitable giving on behalf of donors. 

The JCF has a diverse network of donors that support a wide range of charities. While they give to religious and secular issues, causes that run the gamut from helping children to women to the elderly, they also support The New Israel Fund (NIF), an organization which supports boycotts of Israel, and harms the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) - and that is now creating quite a stir.

While the JCF refused to comment for this article, we have confirmed that at least 3 mega-donors have pulled their funds which are kept at the organization due to the fact that the JCF in 2014 made contributions to the New Israel Fund in excess of $250,000.  In the past few years more than 7-figures has been funneled to the NIF – basically helping to support anti-Israel organizations funded by NIF.

JCF’s CEO, Sue Dickman this week responded to an inquiry from a donor, noting, As a sponsoring organization of donor advised funds, the Jewish Communal Fund's sole mission is to facilitate and administer charitable giving on behalf of our donors. Our diverse network of donors support a wide range of charities and our facilitation of these gifts does not constitute an endorsement of any organization or political viewpoint. Karen Adler is deeply
All donors make personal choices – but donors who wish to support anti-Israel causes should not be able to do so under a Jewish umbrella.
committed to Israel and to the Jewish community and has worked tirelessly over decades to support both. As is true for all our donors and lay leaders, which charities they support is their personal choice.”

Sue Dickman is right.The fact is that the President of the Jewish Communal Fund, Karen R. Adler's support for the New Israel Fund is her “personal choice”.So too must it be the “personal choice” of JCF donors whether or not to withdraw funds held at JCF until they stop funding The New Israel Fund.  

All donors make personal choices – but donors who wish to support anti-Israel causes should not be able to do so under a Jewish umbrella.

A real estate mogul with a 7-figure fund at JCF wrote Dickman this week, “Candidly, I am increasingly troubled by what I am reading and hearing about the JCF.   I note that your statements that 'the Jewish Communal Fund's sole mission is to facilitate and administer charitable giving on behalf of our donors' and that 'as is true for all our donors and lay leaders, which charities they support is their personal choice' are inconsistent with the JCF's written policies which I reviewed and relied on at the time I invested funds in the JCF.  

"Specifically, under the heading 'Impact on the Jewish Community', the Policies governing the Jewish Communal Fund explicitly provides (at page 17) as follows:

"'The Jewish Communal Fund is committed to supporting causes that promote the welfare and security of the Jewish community here and abroad. Consequently, as part of the grant review process, the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Communal Fund retains the right to deny any grant request where the purposes and activities of the recommended charitable organization are deemed to be adverse to the interests of the Jewish Community.'

"In any case, the JCF needs to fix the current situation.  Either the JCF needs to enforce the above policy or alternatively, the JCF could eliminate the policy.  But if it purports to enforce the above policy, an open explanation of the policy is required. This is particularly so when the activities of the NIF suggest that the organization's purpose and certainly its activities are adverse to the interests of the Jewish community. 

"This is so even if Ms. Adler and some other supporters of the organization may identify themselves as Jews.  Presumably, the litmus test for whether an organization is or is not anti-Jewish is not determined by the religion with which some of its supporters choose to affiliate.    To be sure, I would hope that even if I, an affiliated Jew made a recommendation through JCF for the benefit of Neturei Karta Usa, a 501(c)(3) consisting of mostly orthodox Jews, who support Iran and openly seek the destruction of the State of Israel, that the JCF would reject the donation under its 'policy' despite the fact that the organization is comprised by Jews and supported by Jews.  

"And if so, what Ms. Dickman, is in fact JCF's policy and who determines it?  The bottom line, Ms. Dickman, is that many in the Jewish community, including me, have chosen the JCF over generic funds because we regarded it as 'Jewish' in nature.  Your policies stated that this was the case and that Jewish interests would be protected within the JCF organization.  

"It now appears that so long as certain individuals who identify themselves as Jews support an organization, your representatives deem the organization to be consistent with the interests of the Jewish community.  But this is hardly clear nor is it, frankly, appropriate.  How much more troubling when your president is, herself and notwithstanding her apparent Jewish affiliation, a supporter of this despicable organization which poses a serious threat to the Jewish community and the State of Israel.

"I would appreciate hearing from you whether the JCF intends on addressing the issue of its stated policy in light of its support of organizations deemed at least problematic to the Jewish community.  I understand that the Board's ability to address this issue will take time but I would like to know sooner rather than later whether the issue will be raised.”

Harvard professor Ruth Wisse rightfully has noted that, “the rapid demoralization of Jews in the face of anti-Zionism… shows the depth of the influence of the past, for many have yet to achieve the simple self-respect that has been eluding the Jews collectively since the dawn of modernity.”

A recent participant in a New Israel Fund fellowship noted that during a recent event, she “found myself with human rights activists who reject Israel’s right to exist. Who are striving for the destruction of Israel.  Do NIF donors know that their money is funding the destruction of the state?” 

Prominent Democrat strategist Hank Sheinkopf recently noted, “Those who stand with New Israel Fund are standing against Israel. To suggest otherwise is a lie. I urge anyone affiliated with the NIF to stop supporting this organization financially. The New Israel Fund must be ostracized by the Jewish community.”

Just as Birthright cut all ties with the New Israel Fund, so too must those who fund The New Israel Fund stop harming Israel. Alisa Doctoroff of the UJA-Federation, and the Jewish Communal Fund cannot continue to stand with impunity against Israel with the New Israel Fund. 

You can contact Susan Dickman, CEO of The Jewish Communal Fund at sue@jewishcommunalfund.org or 212.752.8277 ext. 214 and let her know if you feel that JCF must stop funding The New Israel Fund.




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