I blogged recently about the Leftists who got themselves elected to the ZF’s National Council with the secret agenda of wrecking the organisation. Today’s Jewish Chronicle has an article about the final email sent to the National Council by the estimable Executive Director of the ZF, Steve Winston. But it only included extracts from the email. I set the record straight by publishing the complete email below. The emboldening is mine.
Reportedly there remain questions to be asked about the inference of the quote in the penultimate paragraph of the JC article.
Today is my last day with the Zionist Federation, and whilst the saying “as one door closes, another one opens” applies to me here, it is with sadness that I bid farewell to the ZF, an organisation almost 123 years old, created in 1899 to help facilitate the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in our ancestral land. Under the leadership of the great Chaim Weizmann, it was the ZF which was specifically mentioned by Lord Balfour in letter of support for Zionism. To have led an organisation with such illustrious forbears was and always will be an honour for me.
I would like to express my very sincere thanks to Richard P Woolf and Rabbi Lea Mühlstein who have handled the redundancy process with professionalism, sensitivity, and a commitment to ensure that the payroll staff would receive what was due to them in line with statutory regulations. I am aware it has not been easy, given the scarcity of funds, and so am very appreciative of your combined efforts, with the help of Noeleen Cohen who took on the task of overseeing the finances, as well as the Arzenu and Meretz movements who helped facilitate this process. Thank you!
I would also like to thank Barbara Goldberg who took on the position of Chair of the Advocacy and Communications committee. Barbara, you very quickly showed yourself to be fully committed to the committee and its purpose, even whilst dealing with your daily life and personal Aliyah. Thank you! I look forward to visiting you in Israel next time I am there.
And Ruth Nyman, please can you process the application by Eretz Ha’kodesh. The ZF’s financial situation and associated hiatus should not be a reason to delay the processing of their application, perhaps more so that they are a bona fide member of the World Zionist Organisation.
I think it is fair to say that the past year at the ZF has not been easy for a number of reasons, and whilst the situation continues to be difficult and challenging for the ZF, my sincere hope is that it will re-emerge, in the not-too-distant future, as a stronger, more secure, and purposeful organisation. After all, with modern Antisemitism all too often targeting Israel, the Jew amongst the nations, a solid and forthright Zionist Federation is needed, to stand up for the noble cause of Zionism.
Now for a couple of home truths.
Mercaz-Masorti, as one of the main affiliates of the ZF, it was disappointing that you didn’t see fit to stand up for the ZF and at least pay the dues at the level you were paying last year. The same goes for the JLM. It is not as if either organisation has not been aware of the dire situation of the ZF’s finances.
But more pointedly, it is hardly reasonable for either of these organisations to take all the seats they did in the last biennial and then not make a commensurate contribution.
Arzenu have always paid their way, and Meretz, as I write above, stood up and joined suit. It is disappointing that the two other large affiliates did not join them.
With regard to confidentiality, I wrote to you all back in January 2022 informing you that the story of the ZF’s difficulties had been leaked prior to the termination of the embargo we had agreed at the National Council meeting just 16 hrs earlier.
When I consider how the day after the Jan 2021 Biennial, news of the ZF’s accounts hit the headlines, it certainly does seem that there are one or more on the NC who are acting in bad faith by leaking information to the press, something that goes against the ZF’s constitution.
I am writing about this here because once again, a confidential chat which took place in the ZF’s Advocacy and Comms What’s App group just a couple of weeks ago, regarding Bezalel Smotritch, was screenshotted and leaked. Whilst I am aware that after today, such issues will cease to be any of my business, I do hope that this will stop and that those responsible will finally find it in themselves to act FOR the ZF rather than agitate against it.
Or, if it continues, that those responsible are identified and removed.
In last May’s Guardian of the Walls defensive operation against the unprecedented rocket fire from Gaza, the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council decided to run a virtual rally, which called upon people to take photos of themselves holding up placards which read something like “No to Rockets, Yes to Peace”. The ZF supported it (the ZF is a member of both orgs and has a duty to collaborate on such things) and advertised it, yet LJY-Netzer (and no doubt other groups and individuals) chose to oppose it directly naming the ZF on Twitter, maintaining that the placard’s words should be more along the lines of “No to Rockets, Yes to Peace, No to Occupation, No to Settlements (and other perceived ill-doings by Israel) etc”.
Had Israel NOT been under attack from genocidal Jew-hating terrorists at the time, and had thousands upon thousands of teenage Israelis NOT been risking their lives defending their country and all its people, such a reaction from LJY-Netzer would have remained as just predictable.
But to ignore the many and actual hate-fuelled and often illegal practices of the Palestinian leaders against Israel and its people, LJY-Netzer, whilst stoking the anti-Israel flames when the whole of Israel was under attack (physically and on social media), made its activity utterly disgraceful.
In my view, the conduct of LJY-Netzer during such a time was morally reprehensible and certainly arguably fell short of the requirements of NC members as specified in the constitution.
The Jewish community has lots of challenges ahead.
To those who, either individually or through affiliation to some fringe groups, focus obsessively on “the occupation”, “those settlements”, and a whole variety of other perceived ill-doings by Israel, you are all too often throwing Israel under the bus whilst cosying up to the woke culture, something which certainly won’t help any of us in the long run, let alone our Homeland.
To you all, be well and I wish you the best of luck for the future.
I will be hovering in the background for a a few weeks whilst Richard and colleagues complete the handover of accounts etc.
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