The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston is a coalition organization, composed of 39 member organizations located in the Boston area. The JCRC of Greater Boston functions as a hub and coordinating body for the Zionist propaganda and lobbying efforts of these different area organizations.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston places "Israel advocacy" at the center of its organizational mission. The JCRC of Greater Boston's "Israel advocacy" includes coordinating and funding "study tours" (propaganda junkets) to Israel for "strategically selected influential leaders," including state representatives, city officials, faith leaders, labor leaders, and other Boston area community members. While paying for elected officials to attend propaganda junkets to Israel, the JCRC simultaneously lobbies the political bodies on which these officials serve to pass legislation favorable to Israel and to reject legislation which attempts to hold Israel to account for its ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland and theft of Palestinian resources.
As one example, the JCRC of Greater Boston has made repeated (and thus far unsuccessful) attempts over the past decade to pass anti-BDS legislation in the Massachusetts State legislature, legislation which had it passed would have imposed civil penalties upon Massachusetts residents and businesses who respect the Palestinian call for Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel. While lobbying the Massachusetts state government to pass these anti-BDS bills, the JCRC of Greater Boston was simultaneously paying for numerous members of the MA state legislature to attend the JCRC's all-expenses paid "study tours" (propaganda junkets) to Israel.
On the municipal level, the JCRC of Greater Boston has played a central role in lobbying city officials to oppose local efforts to pass BDS measures, while coordinating opposition to these measures amongst its member organizations. Most recently, the JCRC of Greater Boston played a central role in coordinating opposition to attempts to pass BDS policy orders in the Cambridge City Council, in 2018 and 2021. Meanwhile, the JCRC of Greater Boston has brought numerous members of the Boston City Council (current and former) on its all-expenses-paid "study tours" (propaganda junkets) to Israel. These include: Edward Flynn, Mark Ciommo, Kim Janey, Matt O'Malley, Tito Jackson, Josh Zakim, Timothy McCarthy, and Andrea Campbell (joined on the trip by her Chief of Staff Elizabeth Pimentel). These study tours for Boston officials paid dividends for the JCRC of Greater Boston when in the lead-up to a February 2019 Boston City Council hearing on a measure calling for the disclosure, socially responsible investment, and reinvestment of the City of Boston's pension fund holdings, then city councilor Mark Ciommo privately told leadership of organizations backing effort that they should not talk about Israel and Palestine if they wished for their effort to have a chance to succeed.
Along with the political junkets to Israel they fund and coordinate, the JCRC of Greater Boston propagandizes for Israel through a people-to-people normalization initiative called "Boston Partners for Peace." Through Boston Partners for Peace, the JCRC of Greater Boston pushes the narrative that "friendship," "cooperation," and "tolerance" can bring an end to (what they falsely label to be) the "conflict" between Palestinians and the Israeli settlers ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their land and stealing Palestinian resources. By pushing this false and offensive narrative, the JCRC's Boston Partners for Peace program attempts to relegate Palestinians to the position of a minority group who can at best aspire toward increased integration into Israel's colonial political framework (a framework premised on their removal and subjugation), rather than an indigenous group who should (and do) aspire toward reclaiming the land and resources that the Zionist state has stolen from them.
The JCRC of Greater Boston uses Boston Partners for Peace to propagandize this false and harmful narrative to the Boston Area community leaders who attend the JCRC's aforementioned all-expenses-paid "study tours" (propaganda junkets) to Israel, during their respective trips. In 2019, for example, the JCRC of Greater Boston and the New England Jewish Labor Committee partnered to coordinate a "Study Tour" to Israel specifically targeting Boston area labor leadership. Accordingly to the JCRC of Greater Boston, participants in this 2019 trip "returned inspired and eager to share their new perspectives with their communities and to support Boston Partners for Peace." Boston Partners for Peace is indeed endorsed by the multiple Boston-area labor organizations, including New England Regional Council of Carpenters, SEIU 1199, and IUPAT dc 35.
The JCRC of Greater Boston has gone so far in their "Israel Advocacy" as to insist not only that their member organizations must themselves support the Zionist project but that these organizations must refuse to in any way collaborate with organizations which oppose Zionism around shared causes (eg anti-racism, anti-Islamophobia work, justice for migrants). The JCRC of Greater Boston's insistence that its affiliates avoid even second degree connections with opponents of the Zionist project is of course highly and increasingly at odds with the substantial and growing support for BDS and growing opposition to Zionism within the American Jewish community itself: A 2021 Pew Research Poll found that "One-in-ten U.S. Jews support the BDS movement, while 43% oppose it, and 43% haven’t heard much about it." (This in stark contrast to polling of Palestinian public opinion, which finds that "An overwhelming majority of 83% [of Palestinians] supports the local and international boycott movement against Israel while 15% are opposed to it.") This 10% the Jewish American community falls outside of the red line the JCRC of Greater Boston has drawn on the question of Zionism, as do the even larger percentage of Jewish Americans who would be interested at a minimum in collaborating with anti-Zionist groups around shared causes.
The JCRC of Greater Boston receives the majority of its funding from Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) of Greater Boston. In fiscal year 2020, the JCRC derived "approximately 72% of its total operating revenue from grants received from Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP)," along with another "4% of their total operating revenue from targeted gifts from donors to the Council, which flowed through CJP." Much of this funding from CJP originates from ultra-wealthy donors such as Seth Klarman and the Klarman Family Foundation, who from fiscal years 2016 through 2016 made donations to Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) totaling $1,050,000 which were earmarked "to support the mission and goals of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston."
The JCRC of Greater Boston is composed of the following 39 member organizations:
|Action for Post-Soviet Jewry|
|The American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants of Greater Boston, Inc.|
|American Friends of Magen David Adom|
|American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)|
|American Jewish Committee (AJC)|
|AMIT - Greater Boston Council|
|ARZA - Association of Reform Zionists of America|
|B'nai B'rith International|
|B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO)|
|Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)|
|Combined Jewish Philanthropies|
|Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, New England Region|
|Hadassah - Boston|
|Hadassah - Northern New England Region|
|Hadassah - Southern New England Region|
|Hillel Council of New England|
|Israeli American Council, Boston Chapter|
|Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA)|
|Jewish Community Center|
|Jewish Community Center of the North Shore|
|Jewish Labor Committee|
|Jewish War Veterans|
|Massachusetts Board of Rabbis|
|National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Boston Section|
|New England Board of Cantors|
|New Israel Fund|
|Orthodox Union - New England Branch|
|Synagogue Council of Massachusetts|
|Union of Reform Judaism|
|United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism|
|Vilna Shul, Boston's Center for Jewish Culture|
|Women of Reform Judaism|
|Women's League for Conservative Judaism - New England Branch|
|Zionist Organization of America|
The JCRC of Greater Boston's staff and leadership are as follows:
|Jeremy Burton||Executive Director|
|David L. Cohen||Director, Community Affairs|
|Erica Daniels-Strater||Director, Development|
|Jonathan Dudley||Director, Finance and Operations|
|FayeRuth Fisher||Director, Government Affairs|
|Shira Burns||Senior Marketing and Communications Associate|
|Sarah Hofstadter||Development Coordinator|
|Leahy Ish Shalom||Engagement Manager, Israel & Boston Partners for Peace|
|Lisa Kessel Freedman||Executive Assistant and Board Administrator|
|Rachel Lewis||Director, Synagogue Organizing|
|Emily Reichman||Director, Community Engagement|
|Rebecca Shimshak||Rebecca Shimshak|