S.F. federation to step up monitoring of grantees


J. is reporting that the San Francisco-area Jewish Community Federation has passed a resolution that "mandates closer monitoring of its grantees’ Israel-related programming, partnerships and policies." Here’s the full news brief:

The resolution states that the federation will not fund organizations that promote anti-Semitism; seek to proselytize Jews away from Judaism; or endorse undermining the State of Israel, especially via the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The impetus for the resolution grew out of the S.F. Jewish Film Festival’s controversial screening last summer of the film “Rachel,” which was co-presented by groups some in the Jewish community consider anti-Israel.

The film tells the story of the American anti-Israel activist Rachel Corrie, who died in Gaza in 2003 while protesting. Her mother, Cindy Corrie, spoke at the screening, which was co-presented by Jewish Voice for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee.

Because the federation funded the federation with about $30,000 last year, some Jewish community members directed their ire toward the federation, demanding it cease that funding. In reaction, a federation subcommittee formed late last year wrote the resolution that was passed on Feb. 18.

In a letter to the community dated Feb. 18, federation acting CEO Jennifer Gorovitz wrote: “Had the policy been in effect prior to the event accompanying the screening of the movie ‘Rachel,’ we believe these guideposts would have made clear that such an event and co-sponsorships fall outside the bounds of the JCF’s funding.”

The newspaper also provides links to the full resolution and answers to a list of FAQs.

A more stringent resolution backed by critics of the film festival was rejected last November.

Under the resolution that was adopted, the federation and its endowment need to take greater steps to make sure grantees are not:

  • endorsing or promoting anti-Semitism, other forms of bigotry, violence or other extremist views
  • actively seeking to proselytize Jews away from Judaism
  • advocating for, or endorsing, undermining the legitimacy of Israel as a secure, independent, democratic Jewish state, including through participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in whole or in part.

UPDATE: Expect the issue to come up at a Sh’ma forum being held Thursday at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

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