Seattle Jewish Federation censors donation to IfNotNow

IfNotNow protesters. (photo: Gili Getz / Forward)
The Federation routinely approved a family’s donations for 15 years, but refused to allow them to donate to IfNotNow.

By Aiden Pink | Forward | Sep 2, 2019

‘A cohesive Jewish community tolerates a certain amount of dissent. It certainly shouldn’t eliminate it.’
— Alan Sussman, who was prevented from donating to IfNotNow

At the beginning of this year, like he did every year, Alan Sussman asked the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to donate some of his family fund’s money to a charity of his choice.

This time, though, things went awry.

That’s because the group Sussman wanted to support was IfNotNow, the left-wing Jewish group that has made its name protesting not only Israel but also American Jewish organizations themselves — including the Seattle Federation.

Citing the protests, the federation told Sussman that supporting IfNotNow would go against their policy of “build[ing] a cohesive Jewish community.” . . .

When Sussman’s parents created their philanthropic fund more than 15 years ago, they agreed that the federation would be responsible for managing the money, and would take an annual fee in exchange for working to grow the original investment. Every year, the Sussmans would ask the federation to donate specified amounts of the fund to charities of their choice. The federation would technically get final say on the donations, but Sussman says no request was ever denied — until this year, when he wanted to support IfNotNow.

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