LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Larry Greenfield, a longtime Republican Jewish activist, was named national executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in Washington.
JINSA President David Ganz made the announcement Thursday.
Greenfield, 50, a native of the Los Angeles area, has worked in the fields of law, business, philanthropy, politics, Jewish organizational life and academe.
Looking at one of the early challenges in the post, Greenfield said, “I take my appointment as underscoring JINSA advocacy to the rising threats from Iran with sanctions that do not leak or waiver, and in a strong military alliance with our close ally, Israel.”
The announcement comes after a period of turmoil for JINSA, which was founded in 1976 as a nonpartisan and nonsectarian think tank with a motto calling for “Securing America and Strengthening Israel.” Its major emphasis is on the importance of a strong U.S. defense capability and on close military ties between Israel and the United States. Its positions have come to be seen as closely aligned with the neoconservative movement. JINSA was an outspoken advocate in the last decade for the Iraq war.
Tom Neumann, the group’s longtime executive director, has been ailing, and Shoshana Bryen, its director for security policy who had worked with JINSA for three decades, was fired late last year by Neumann.
According to a report last month by the Forward, her firing prompted a slate of prominent board members, including former CIA director James Woolsey, former top Pentagon official Richard Perle and Michael Ledeen, a well-known neo-conservative figure, to leave.
"Shoshana’s extensive knowledge and creativity have been important in bringing JINSA to its position as the central American organization nurturing military cooperation and understanding between the United States and Israel while supporting a credible U.S. defense posture," JINSA said in a statement last month. "So it is with regret that the JINSA board announces Shoshana’s departure."
Bryen has since joined the Jewish Policy Center, a think tank that shares board members with the Republican Jewish Coalition. Neumann, now based in Houston, will have the title of executive director emeritus and director of coalition development. JINSA spokesman Jim Colbert said Neumann "will dedicate his energies to increasing JINSA’s strong and growing presence in the American Southwest."
Greenfield has been active in the California Jewish community as regional director of the RJC and of the Israel Cancer Research Fund. He also has served as vice president of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, and on the board of the Endowment for Middle East Truth and of the Israel-Christian Nexus. Greenfield was the founding executive director of the Reagan Legacy Foundation and served in the U.S. Naval Intelligence Reserve.
Ganz praised Greenfield’s "dynamic leadership and vision."