It seems that a few west coast Jewish organizations need to keep their staff members on leashes. Otherwise, they take dumps on the steps of local Jewish peace activists who they despise. I refer to a new story at Muzzlewatch, where Cecilie Surasky reports that a Jewish friend working for American Friends Service Committee was sent harassing e mails at home by the assistant director of the American Jewish Congress’ regional office:
Our friend Adam Horowitz over at the American Friends Service Committee got quite a start yesterday when he recognized the name of…the then [AJC] West Coast assistant director…[who] sent him this message at his home email address in April:
Date: Apr 5, 2006 3:09 PM
Subject: why do you hate being a Jew, why are you in favor of murdering Jews?
…Adam, who is the very definition of a mensch, googled the email address because he was so disturbed about getting it at home, and found that it belonged to none other than Allyson Rowen Taylor of the American Jewish Congress.
First thing to ask: since when does working for AFSC qualify you as being “in favor of murdering Jews?” Only someone utterlly befuddled and deluded by ideology could even begin to think such vile thoughts.
Sharp boy, Adam. He connected her name with this report in The Forward by Rebecca Spence. She’s been covering the American Jewish Congress’ so-called resignation from a campus Israel coalition because one of the members, Union of Progressive Zionists, hosted a tour of Israeli refuseniks. When the AJC national director discovered that his western regional office had resigned from the coalition, the former thought better of it. He rescinded the resignation, blaming the regional office’s assistant director, none other than Allyson Rowen Taylor, who’d conveniently left the organization some time earlier, for releasing it without proper authorization. Spence then wrote another report revealing the national director had had to eat crow and apologize to Rowen Taylor and admit that she’d written the letter WITH the approval of the regional director.
Rowen Taylor was in high moral dudgeon when she wrote this:
In an e-mail letter…Taylor wrote [to AJC national leaders] that the accusation that she “signed a letter for [her director] without his knowledge is rubbish, and an outright lie.” She demanded a public apology, saying she would seek legal counsel otherwise.
Taylor said she left AJCongress when it shifted its focus toward international affairs and away from campus advocacy. She is now associate director of Stand With Us, a pro-Israel advocacy organization active on California campuses. “I want the record clear and my name clear, because we do amazing work,” she said.
Not so fast, Allyson. You may’ve been cleared of writing that letter. But you’ve just been nailed for smearing a fellow Jew. Imagine the chutzpah of sending an anonymous harassing e mail to a Mideast peace activist AT HIS HOME. Have Jewish communal organizations forgotten the concept of derech eretz (“common decency”)? Or are hijinks like this now part of the job description for being a Jewish communal worker? And to Neil Goldstein (national director) and Gary Ratner (regional director), I challenge you to repudiate such odious behavior. I say all this as someone who’s served several Jewish federations and filled other Jewish communal positions.
Based on Allyson’s sordid behavior how many of you are willing to credit her opinion that Stand With Us is anything other than a out and out pro-Israel propaganda mill? One can only wonder about the precise nature of the “amazing work” she’s doing there. And does it include smearing even more Jewish peace activists?
The communications director of a Jewish peace group also reported to me last week that a staffer for another Jewish organization (noted for its role in the Israel lobby) used an assumed name and false pretext to send an e mail querying whether the peace group would demonstrate against a local conference planned by the Jewish organization. The Jewish organization staffer pretended to be a friend of the peace group wishing to participate if anything public was planned. When the communications director told me about this shenanigan (which didn’t surpirse me in the least considering the group’s reputation for such borderline behavior) and that she suspected it was from someone affiliated with said organization, I suggested that she examine the e mail message header for identifying characterisitics. Sure enough, she was able to compare the IP address of the fake e mail with official e mails she’d received from the organization. Guess what? They matched.
While this person was a little craftier than Allyson in not using a traceable e mail address, he wasn’t smart enough. He sent the e mail from the organization’s own computers. When confronted, the Jewish organization’s director professed to be shocked and claimed he had no idea such things went on. He told the communications director that he wanted to meet with her to explain what happened. No meeting has taken place yet. Do you think one ever will?
Do I begin to see a pattern here? Do we need a Jewish organizational code of ethics telling communal workers this crap is NOT KOSHER or should we be offering leashes to all directors of local Jewish organizations??
One of my readers just pointed me to Rowen Taylor’s page of Amazon reviews. Pretty interesting to get inside the mind of such a pro-Israel intellectual (I use the term advisedly) vigilante. Just as a teaser, she writes this about Jimmy Carter and his new book:
This is a work of a man who clarly [sic] is in cahoots with the radical Islamofacists…