An Open Letter to Jerry Silverman

Does JFNA think that someone who calls other Jewsworse than kaposis a “good representative” for our community?

Dear Jerry,

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

As you’re no doubt aware, the head of your board, Richard (who I wrote to a couple months ago), was reported to have recently said that a man who has called other Jews, “worse than kapos” would be a “good representative” to serve as US ambassador to Israel.

These statements were allegedly made during a Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting which Richard was presumably attending as a representative of JFNA/UIA as JFNA Board Chair.

I for one would never want to stifle an individual’s right to speak their mind on political affairs, (even if it is to lend their support to someone who insinuated that the Jewish Senate minority leader was a “sycophantic minion” to the President’s “blatant anti-Semitism“) but I am concerned to see that JFNA has not yet commented publicly on this issue. So before I direct my local federation to earmark my funds exclusively for local needs, I was wondering if you would be willing to confirm publicly that Richard was only speaking for himself on this trip, or if his statements formally represent those of JFNA more widely.

Finally, while I have your attention….

Does the JFNA professional staff or board believe that it’s ok for its representatives or representatives of its local affiliates to express a personal view, based upon one’s analysis of a situation in order to encourage discussion on any topic? Put another way, if Richard were to have voiced support for BDS initiatives to end Israel’s military presence in the areas of Judea & Samaria that are currently not annexed, would that have also been ok?

Thanks so much for your attention and prompt reply,
Russel Neiss
St. Louis, MO

[Editor’s note: eJP reached out to JFNA yesterday for comment on Sandler’s alleged remarks at the recent Jewish Agency board meeting. They did not respond.]