Leadership in Flux at Jewish U.S. Think-tank After Ouster of Senior Staff Member Causes Ripple Effect

Several icons quit Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs following termination of the group’s second-highest-ranking staff member.

Nathan Guttman
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Nathan Guttman

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs recently terminated the second-highest-ranking staff member, who has been with the organization for more than three decades. The move, a culmination of months of internal struggle, prompted several conservative icons to quit the group’s advisory board in protest. Among those turning their back on JINSA were former CIA director James Woolsey, former top Pentagon official Richard Perle and neoconservative figure Michael Ledeen.

The recent crisis is a result of a messy transformation of power in the group’s top ranks and a struggle to maintain relevance and funding at a time of shrinking budgets and growing competition from other Jewish causes.

Former top Pentagon official Richard Pearl in Jerusalem, Oct. 2003Credit: Pierre Turgeman, Baubau

JINSA, was founded in 1976, three years after Israel’s Yom Kippur War; one of its main goals was to ensure strong military cooperation between the United States and Israel by educating the American defense establishment on Israel’s strategic importance. In practice, JINSA became home to hawkish-leaning thinkers, most of them aligned with Republican politics, many from the party’s neoconservative branch. JINSA’s main asset in Washington was its advisory board, made up of A-list conservatives such as former vice president Dick Cheney and former United Nations ambassador John Bolton. The group is strictly nonpartisan, however, and several defense-minded Democratic lawmakers also served on its advisory board.

News of JINSA’s troubled internal relations surfaced January 10 with the announcement that Shoshana Bryen, until recently senior director for security policy, had joined the Jewish Policy Center, an up-and-coming conservative Jewish think tank associated with the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Read more at the Forward.

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