Groups strike back against pro-Israel groups ad

Several Jewish groups and federations, including the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, are striking back against a critical ad placed in the New York Times by the Emergency Committee for Israel.

The right-wing pro-Israel group called on Jewish charitable foundations to stop funneling money to two liberal groups that have criticized Israel. The full-page ad March 1 named the Center for American Progress think tank and Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog, and published quotes by individuals and organizations critical of both groups.

The ad lists the phone numbers of Jewish foundations and federations that have funneled donor-advised funds to the groups, including the S.F.-based federation.

In a statement, the S.F.-based federation said it was “outraged” by the “attack” from the ECI. It said the grants given to the Center for American Progress and Media Matters came from the Donor Advised Funds program, in which the individual donors identify where their money will go.

In its statement, the federation notes that it “follows strict guidelines when authorizing grants” within its Donor Advised Fund Program, and adds that the S.F.-based federation “was the first in the country to adopt a funding policy which explicitly prohibits any Federation grants from being used to promote bigotry or activities that delegitimize Israel, because such grants are inconsistent with our core values.”

Other federations blasted the ad, as well. Michael Siegal, board chair of the federation in Cleveland, called it “divisive politics” and “not at all a reflection of reality.” Also, the American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation League took issue with the inclusion of their comments in the ad. — jta and j. staff