The Emergency Committee for Israel, a conservative pro-Israel organization founded by Bill Kristol, Rachel Abrams and Gary Bauer, has struck again with another eye-popping ad:
This full-page ad in the New York Times is aimed at Media Matters, the leftwing George Soros-funded group waging war against Fox News, and Center for American Progress, a favored think tank of the Obama administration. Both have been taken to task by a variety of Jewish groups and media for the anti-Semitic verbiage of some of their bloggers. The ad zeroes in on the use of the term “Israel firster” by a Media Matters blogger, an attack on Jews that harkens back to age-old Jew-hatred that paints Jews as disloyal and part of a “fifth column.” (It should be noted that CAP has taken a number of steps to address the issue and has embarked on an effort to clean house.)
What is interesting about this ad is that it lists Jewish and non-Jewish charitable groups that give to both entities, encouraging readers to call the foundations and ask why they are “funding bigotry and anti-Israel extremists.” I have not received responses to a number of inquiries I made to the charitable entities listed on the ad, but I will pass on any reaction I receive.
UPDATE (2:40 p.m.):
The Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston has put up a confusing statement, taking umbrage at the ad and insisting “The grants in question come from Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Donor Advised Funds (DAF). These are charitable gift accounts established by donors. While owned and ultimately controlled by CJP, DAFs do not involve communal funds, but rather reflect the interests of those individual donors.” However, CJP then concedes: “Donations cannot be made to any organization that opposes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state or advocates for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS). We reserve and exercise the right to reject an individual’s grant recommendations in these circumstances. Beyond that, it is not CJP’s role to judge every activity of the recipient organizations.” So it is fine to give to a group which banters around the term “Israel firster,” it seems.
Sue Dickman of the Jewish Communal Fund referred me to this statement, which frankly was hard to follow and didn’t seem designed to respond to the a’s substance. (“As the donor-advised fund of the Jewish community of greater New York, JCF’s constituency is an extraordinarily diverse one. The interests and passions of our donors and the organizations they support are a reflection of that diversity.”) She did not reply to my direct questions as to whether the group was aware of the controversy concerning these two groups and whether it would affect future giving.