CEO stepped down, employees laid off - Is this Israel Project's end?

JTA reported Tuesday that the organization that was established in 2002 saw a rapid decline in donations in recent years: from $8,696,052 in 2015 to $4,922,854 in 2016.

By
July 7, 2019 13:26
2 minute read.
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Israel flag 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

WASHINGTON – The Israel Project, a Washington-based pro-Israel organization, is facing financial difficulties that have cast doubt on its continued existence. The board is set to meet on Friday to decide.

Earlier this week, the CEO of the non-profit, Josh Block, stepped down after seven years at the position. “It has been a tremendous privilege to partner in this sacred work with dedicated lay leaders like you, consummate professionals and colleagues, and generous donors, to whom I am profoundly grateful,” he wrote in a post on social media. “Nonetheless, I’ve decided this month is the right time to conclude my tenure at TIP and pursue new challenges and opportunities.”

A source familiar with the organization told The Jerusalem Post that all employees in Washington and Jerusalem were laid off with no compensation. “We all knew that the organization is facing difficulties, but we didn’t realize how bad the situation was,” the source said on condition of anonymity. He added that he could not recall a situation in which a Jewish organization was operating without paying salaries. “I am sure that the board will help these employees,” the source said. “It is not their fault.”

JTA reported Tuesday that the organization that was established in 2002 saw a rapid decline in donations in recent years: from $8,696,052 in 2015 to $4,922,854 in 2016. “People will need to ask themselves how they got to this point,” the source told the Post. He also expressed that he hopes to see the Jerusalem branch of The Israel Project continue its work.

“The idea was to build a media platform that would help to fight the [anti-Israel] narrative in favor of Israel,” he added. “The Jerusalem branch did some serious hasbara projects with international journalists,” he continued. “It had a significant impact on shaping public opinion. It was a combative and impolite organization, and the critics of Israel are thrilled today. It’s really sad.”

In 2017, an undercover Al-Jazeera reporter was able to infiltrate The Israel Project, and a few other non-profits, spending a few weeks with its workers in Washington that resulted in a negative expose of how the non-profit works.

“This is not the reason they are considering to close. But obviously, it didn’t help,” the source told the Post.

 Allan Myer, The Israel Project Chairman of the board, told The Jerusalem Post that speculations regarding the upcoming closure of the organization “are so very premature.”

“No decisions have been made, and I doubt that they will be made on Friday,” Myer said. “There is a slew of options, and they will be addressed.”


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