This was all so predictable -- from the beginning. And we predicted it on these very pages.The reality that the Global Planning Table was shoved down the throats of a super-majority of federations by the minority of the weak in the sway of Kathy Manning can no longer be denied. Those who played this sad game have the waste associated with this thing on their tab, and we have only ourselves to blame.
An abbreviated history is in order. The bare outline of what was to become the co-option of JFNA by the GPT was discussed in the final moments of a JFNA Retreat four+ years ago. From there, Manning and her acolytes claimed a "mandate" to move forward with what was to become a parallel governance to that for JFNA, controlled by the largest federations, and taking over, among other things: the "split" among JAFI, the Joint and World ORT; advocacy for core allocations; and defining a set of "Signature Initiatives." The fund raising and funding for the GPT and its "Initiatives" were left to the ineptitude of JFNA. There has been almost total failure in every aspect of this...thing.
Over the past four years: the creation of a "governance" structure so complex as to make Rube Goldberg proud; Manning had herself named Chair of the decision-making body of the GPT; unaccounted-for millions out of your Dues have been thrown at staff, consultants, studies, papers, you name it (in addition to overhead dedicated by JAFI/JDC/ORT to responding to never-ending demands by GPT for more, more, more); a significant professional hired by JFNA to run the GPT left after about 6 months for reasons never explained, the professional operation then turned over to the JFNA flacks and to Israel-Overseas in Jerusalem. The stench of failure can be smelled from here.
In its wisdom, the tiny cabal of GPT leaders with the curious acquiescence of JFNA's leaders and the total support of CEO Jerry ("if the Global Planning Table fails, then JFNA will be destroyed") determined that its two Initiatives could and would not proceed without a federation pre-commitment of $15,000,000 ($1,500,000 in the aggregate from each of 10 federations spread over three years) per Initiative. Some digging and my intuition tell me that JFNA is so far from those fund-raising goals for each and both Initiative that they cannot even be seen from here.
The implications of this failure can be seen everywhere.
- The "Signature Initiative" branded J-Quest (a brand announced with such fanfare by the GPT cheerleader-in-chief, David Butler, one might have thought the brand itself was the goal) was actually cobbled together by a small group of LCE, JAFI and the Joint; its creation wasn't dependent upon the existence of the GPT whatsoever. J-Quest was seized upon as the easy and ready answer to what role JFNA and the federations would play in the Government of Israel/World Jewry Initiative (G-d -- all these "Initiatives") -- itself in chaos. The Federations and other Diaspora organs committed to the Prime Minister that they would raise twice the amount dedicated by the GOI to this effort. Clearly, as detailed above, JFNA/GPT can't even raise $15,000,000 in "seed money" for J-Quest let alone the multiple tens of millions more that the World Jewry Initiative would require.
- As a super-majority of federations have been excluded from the GPT decision-making "processes," they have no vested interest in the outcomes of these "Initiatives" considered so vital to JFNA's very existence. Thus, the engagement of all federations in their Continental organization is further distanced -- and JFNA "leadership" can't even understand this.
- JFNA isn't threatened by the failure of the Global Planning Table, as has been the case from the onset of this invidious cancer, JFNA is threatened by the existence of the Global Planning Table.
When Michael Siegal and Dede Feinberg took on their Chairs at JFNA, at many meetings they were heard to ask the absolutely right questions about the continued existence of the Global Planning Table. Though they received no answers, eventually they capitulated to the interests of those so vested in that thing and stopped even asking questions.
And, here we are, left with the detritus of predictable failure.