Leadership Challenges

Jew-hatred is surging from a variety of sources and in ways unimaginable a decade ago.  A growing portion of the Jewish community believes that our communal leadership is failing to effectively combat this.  Yet, most Jewish leaders refrain from public criticism of failed Jewish leaders.

The central reason for this silence is the fear of Jewish division.  Today, many Jews fear that, as a besieged minority, “washing our dirty laundry in public” can make us even more vulnerable.  Finally, there is the distaste of fighting with fellow Jews who may be personal friends with differing opinions.  These sentiments continue to shield Jewish leaders and organizations from legitimate criticism.  Anyone who is publicly critical runs the risk of being censured in the community. 

The exception to this rule is criticism of Israel’s leaders and politicians, which is not only seen as fair game but is applauded in many quarters. Often criticism of Israeli leaders, who won their positions in open elections and can legitimately claim they are doing what their constituents want, comes from American Jewish leaders who are not elected by the people they claim to represent, but are anointed by wealthy donors.
Judaism teaches that criticism and self-criticism are fundamental to decent societies, not only to correct and improve the character of individuals, but also because such practice leads to truth. How can it be a Jewish precept that, when we believe our leaders have trapped themselves―and us―by following false ideas, we should refrain from serious efforts to correct them? In such circumstances refraining from criticism would be against our tradition and our interest. And there is now too much at stake to be reticent.

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Failed Jewish Leaders Believe

  1. Precious Jewish resources should be diverted to support non-Jewish causes
  2. Jewish generosity and political support will be reciprocated
  3. Progressive ideology is supportive of the Jewish community and Israel
  4. “Tikkun olam” (“fixing the world”) is more important than protecting Jews
  5. Fighting for Social Justice will reduce Jew-hatred
  6. Blindly supporting immigrants from Jew-hating cultures poses no threat to Jews
  7. Interfaith dialogue with people dedicated to the destruction of Israel will reduce Jew-hatred
  8. White supremacists and neo-Nazis are the biggest threats to the Jewish community
  9. The big tent should include those who blame Israel
  10. Israel is not so important for American Jewry
  11. Israel’s policies are the cause of Jew-hatred
  12. Applying a double standard to Israel is not a manifestation of Jew-hatred
  13. Radical Arabs have given up their genocidal intent

Join us as we challenge the establishment Jewish leaders and the donors who have supported and enabled them but failed to hold them accountable.