JCF Policy on Israel-Related Programming by its Grantees

The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund’s (the Federation) core values include an abiding commitment to a secure Jewish community here and abroad, to the strong democratic Jewish State of Israel, and to mutual respect and diversity within Jewish life. Consistent with its core values, the Federation funds a full spectrum of organizations that sustain and grow our community through pluralistic expressions and wide-ranging perspectives that affirm a broad and inclusive tent vital to a strong and dynamic Jewish community. This policy applies only to the grantor-grantee relationship between the Federation and other entities. The Federation does not fund organizations that through their mission, activities or partnerships:

  1. Endorse or promote anti-Semitism, other forms of bigotry, violence or other extremist views;
  2. Actively seek to proselytize Jews away from Judaism; or,
  3. Advocate for, or endorse, 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.

These principles also apply to grants from the Federation’s Endowment Fund. In order to be eligible for funding, organizations that engage in Israel-related programming are required to produce documentation such as their policies, procedures, guidelines, and mission statement that demonstrate consistency with the Federation’s core values or – in the absence of such documentation – to abide by this policy and to initiate a process to develop organizational guidelines, policies and procedures consistent with it. There can be no uniform set of policies or procedures that is applicable to every organization. Organizations are expected to adapt this policy to their unique circumstances. This policy is not intended to discourage the presentation of a wide range of perspectives aimed at appealing to a broad cross-section of the community. The Federation and our community are well-served by fostering diverse expressions through our cultural, educational, religious, social service and community relations institutions, and by promoting a strong commitment to civil discourse. The Federation will review its policy and supporting guidelines with each grantee, address questions unique to that grantee, and explain how implementation of the policy and guidelines can be a benefit to the grantee and the community. The Federation will also be bound by this policy in its own programming, partnerships and co-sponsorships.

ENFORCEMENT OF POLICY
In the event of a perceived violation by a grantee of the Federation's policy, the CEO of the Federation and its board chair and officers will promptly review the situation, speak to the grantee, obtain the facts, understand the context, make a determination as to whether a grantee has violated the policy and – if it is determined that a grantee has violated the policy – take appropriate steps consistent with this policy. Where a grantee’s overall body of work has been consistent with the Federation’s core values, the grantee will be urged to swiftly address concerns that have been raised as a result of a specific program. The Federation reserves the right to suspend funding and sponsorship, particularly in any case where it determines, in its sole discretion, that an egregious policy violation has occurred, there has been a sustained pattern of violating the policy, or insufficient remedial measures were implemented.

INTRODUCTION TO GUIDELINES
The Federation has a long and proud history as a funder of arts and other diverse community organizations which seek to inspire and celebrate Judaism and Jewish life. The Federation recognizes that art, by its very nature, may express a political statement, provoke a range of emotions, or promote ideas that are potentially controversial. The Federation believes that the community and our institutions will be well-served by establishing guideposts that help ensure consistency with the Federation’s core values and which are not aimed at squelching creativity, diverse expressions or critique around controversial topics.

Grantees are strongly encouraged to consult with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) in advance of potentially controversial programs that could contain any of the elements described in the scenarios below. Organizations ultimately make their own decisions, but broad consultation can help avoid conflicts with the policy, minimize surprise or polarization, and allow for the sharing of experiences before programs are set in stone. To ensure broad consultation, when there is a question whether a particular program may violate the policy or on the interpretation of the policy, JCRC will consult with the Federation’s CEO, board chair and officers. The following guidelines are intended to assist grantees with respect to programming as it relates to the policy statement.

GUIDELINES ON POTENTIALLY CONTROVERSIAL ISRAEL-RELATED PROGRAMMING

Programs Generally in Accord with JCF Policy
The following kinds of programs are generally in accord with the policy statement, but early JCRC consultation is strongly encouraged and the programming should be presented within an overall program strategy that is consistent with Federation’s core values:

  1. Dialogue groups (i.e. non-public exchanges);
  2. Private meetings;
  3. Presentations on topics other than the Middle East and Israel, that are not used to promote a BDS agenda or provide a forum for leaders of groups that espouse views inconsistent with the Federation’s core values;
  4. Presentations by organizations or individuals that are critical of particular Israeli government policies but are supportive of Israel’s right to exist as a secure independent Jewish democratic state and that do not espouse views inconsistent with this policy;
  5. Panel discussions, speaker series intended for the same audience, cultural presentations, or educational programs portraying a range of diverse perspectives that, on balance, are consistent with the Federation’s core values;
  6. Programs that are open to the community and welcome attendees regardless of their individual views;
  7. Participation in broad-based community coalitions on non-Israel-related issues provided that the coalitions do not become vehicles for undermining the legitimacy of Israel; and,
  8. Artistic presentations (displays, exhibits, films, performances) that may include critical perspectives of Jewish life or Israel and that, on balance, are consistent with the Federation’s core values.

Programs Not Consistent with the Federation’s Policy
In addition to the specific areas covered by the policy statement, the following kinds of programs are not consistent with the policy statement:

  1. Panel discussions, speakers series, cultural, artistic or educational programs that as an overall experience – i.e. based on the entire body of work – endorse or prominently promote the BDS movement or positions that undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel;
  2. Individual programs that endorse the BDS movement or positions that undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel; and,
  3. Co-sponsorship or co-presentations of public programs on Middle East issues with supporters of the BDS movement or others who undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel.

Read the frequently asked questions about the policy.

Categories: Israel

Posted

February 18, 2010

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