Thursday, May 27, 2010

A4I Donates to Michael Steinhardt

For years now, a controversy has been brewing between certain members of the Jewish community and Michael Steinhardt's ambitious Birthright Israel (BRI) program and, more specifically, the BRI NEXT post-programming. In New York, BRI NEXT is run by Rebecca Sugar, an amazingly gifted and creative thinker who has the unenviable mission of reaching out to the wide and diverse audience that is New York Jewry and keeping them upbeat, aware, educated and engaged in Israel related events and learning. This is a yeoman's job that she handles quite well. In fact, quite better then could be expected of any one else. But, of course, the critics are constantly around to throw darts and prove the long-known truth that those who can - do, those who can't - critique. Detractors of BRI, BRI NEXT or even those who take cheap, high-school popularity style ad-hominem swipes at Michael and Rebecca lack a clear (or, for that matter, unclear) idea of how they would handle similar responsibility.

But, this is not intended as an open letter. This is not intended to weigh in on this in-fighting. We have a job to do - advocating for Israel - and we have decided long ago not to waste our time with the petty squabbles and bickering that paralyze progression and movement.

I am writing simply to point out that in Michael Steinhardt's most recent defense of BRI NEXT, as published in an op-ed in the Jewish Voice he lists Artists 4 Israel as a "partner" organization, intended to prove that BRI NEXT is indeed cutting-edge and working with the top Israeli-advocacy organizations in the country. By the transitive property, we ARE one of the top Israeli-advocacy organizations in the country.


Michael - you are welcome.

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