During times of crises for Israel or the Jewish community, real or imagined, I am deluged — as I am sure all the readers of the Jewish Week are — with fundraising appeals from Jewish organizations across the political spectrum.
Regardless of their level of involvement in the crisis du jour, they hop on for a ride on the money train. Nothing pays off like tzoris. No excuse for asking for money can be too small or their connection too remote. Many appeals can be a major stretch of credulity. Like the organizations that responded to the violence in Charlottesville last month with an appeal that basically said, “We hate the hate groups, too, and we’re fighting anti-Semitism. Send money.”
But not everyone needs a crisis as an excuse to ask for money.
I just got a letter from AIPAC (disclosure: I spent nine years there as the legislative director) essentially saying, “we don’t have a crisis but send money anyway.”
“It’s a sad reality,” the letter opens, apparently referring to Golda Meir’s famous line that Israel lives in a very tough neighborhood.
“Many people only pay attention to Israel during times of crisis,” bemoans the letter signed by Brian Shankman, director of regional affairs and development. Maybe it is a coincidence but his letter seemed oddly timed to coincide with a wave of national giving in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
You never know when there will be a crisis, he seems to be is saying. He lists the usual potential threats: Hamas and Hezbollah rockets, suicide bombers in cafes and buses, and Palestinian incitement. Iran “snows no signs of moderation” and the Syrian civil war moves “closer to Israel.”
And if that won’t scare you into whipping out your wallet at warp speed, here’s the deal closer: AIPAC needs your money right now because it is “fiscally conservative” and is preparing its budget for its fiscal year beginning October 1.
So grab your credit cards and help the wealthiest Jewish political lobby in history keep its coffers ongeshtopt mit gelt.
AIPAC isn’t the only one. It is just one of the most successful.
Politicians, like Jewish organizations and other charities, do the same thing. And what do you get for your money? You may think it is the feeling of having done a mitzvah, help save Israel and the Jewish people from imminent destruction, but what you’ve really done is open yourself to a deluge of endless appeals for more money. You just got upped a notch on your blessed group’s mailing list, a list that will probably be sold to many others who also want your money.
Your mailbox – e or snail – will never again be empty.