October 19, 2012

JNFUKed as regional chief made redundant

The Jewish National Fund UK seems to be in a spot of financial bother, so much so that it has made its Manchester based regional director, Jo Krasner, redundant following reports of its revenue being cut by half.  I wouldn't know of this if it wasn't for a tweet by Ben White.

Checking out the pic,



I googled "JNF loses half its revenue".  I found the article on Press Display though not in the Jewish Chronicle itself, where it originally appeared.  But Jonathan Hoffman is the gift that keeps on giving.  There he was on his JC blog protesting, "JC leads with crude JNF smear story".

The JC article suggests that funding had dropped because of "politicisation" though how a beneficiary and instigator of ethnic cleansing can avoid politics must be a tricky issue.  But Hoffman doesn't like the allegation:

in the article we got:
The dramatic fall in its revenues has been blamed on a perceived politicisation of the charity by Mr Hayek
Precisely WHO is 'blaming Mr Hayek', we are not told. Or how many people. Or the basis for the statement. Did Simon Rocker conduct an opinion poll? Or (more likely) is the statement simply a smear of the crudest kind...
Ooh, he's getting cross:

Then we get:
A senior communal figure said: ‘This collapse in philanthropic support is the clearest possible signal that the community no longer sees the JNF, under its current leadership, as a credible receptacle for its charitable support for Israel. On the basis of these accounts it is questionable whether the JNF can any longer be described as a major communal organisation. Its long-term sustainability looks uncertain’
So who is this anonymous "senior communal official" pronouncing on what "the community" thinks and why is he scared of commenting on an attributable basis? Is he by any chance the same person who is badmouthing Sam Hayek to Simon Rocker - who then of course reported it as if it is accepted wisdom? And what about the people in Israel whom the JNF is helping - does this "senior communal official" give one jot about them?
Now I don't know about cause and effect here but last year, David Cameron resigned as an honorary patron of the JNF. An excuse was given to the effect that it is too specific to one country rather than the objections to its charitable status, but the section in the Wikipedia entry dealing with his resignation is worth quoting:
The charitable status of the JNF-UK has come under increasing attack.[61] British prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had been Honorary Patrons of the JNF-UK, like all British prime ministers before them since its inception. Confounding expectations, David Cameron resigned as Honorary Patron to JNF-UK in 2011.[62] According to a spokesman, Cameron's surprise refusal was due to the JNF-UK being an organisation that was specifically focused around work in one specific country, i.e. Israel.[63] Cameron's decision was interpreted as a snub, in spite of the spokesman's assurances that his decision had "absolutely nothing to do with any anti-Israel campaign". However, campaigners claimed that Cameron's resignation was due to political pressures motivated by the JNF-KKL's discriminatory policies in Israel.[64] Since then, the JNF-UK's Honorary Patrons include no leader of the main British political parties. An Early Day Motion in the British parliament condemning the JNF and calling for the revocation of the JNF's charitable status in the UK was launched in 2011 and by February 2012 had been signed by 66 Members of Parliament.[65][66] In 2012 the Green Party called for the JNF to be stripped of its charity status and pledged to sign up to a campaign which calls the charity "racist".[67]
I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suggest that the JNF's troubles spring from the flight of its high profile political patrons which in turn happened because of campaigning against the JNF's inappropriate charitable status.  So in a way, Hoffman was right.  It's not the politicisation of the JNF that has had funders running for cover but that politicians have been running for cover from their association with the JNF.

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