A prominent conservative Jewish think tank that focuses on security and defense issues has dumped its top executive officer after only three months on the job, several sources with ties to the group said.
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs was already struggling with turmoil at the top when it chose Larry Greenfield, a former Jewish Republican official from California, as its national executive director.
But after less than 100 days, Greenfield was handed his walking papers, leaving the organization’s top professional position vacant once again, according to the sources.
JINSA has not publicly reported the firing of Greenfield and, at the time of printing, he still appears on the group’s website. Officials did not respond to the Forward’s request for comment. Greenfield did not return calls, either. The sources who reported Greenfield’s firing include a top executive of a Jewish organization, a leader who donates to conservative causes and two officials with other Jewish groups.
In Jewish conservative circles, where JINSA has for years maintained a status of a top-level policy shop, the latest turmoil was seen as yet more evidence of the difficulties facing the organization.
Founded in 1976, JINSA was designed to strengthen defense relations between the United States and Israel and in order to enhance American military leadership worldwide.
Earlier this year, the first signs of trouble began to surface when the organization fired Shoshana Bryen, its longtime senior director of security policy. The move led several prominent members of the group’s advisory board to leave in protest. The shakeup took place at the same time that JINSA was searching for a new leader following the illness of its longtime executive director Tom Neumann, who now carries the title of executive director emeritus.
The selection of Greenfield to the top slot was supposed to bring stability to the organization and allow it to rebuild. Greenfield, a Navy Intelligence reservist, served as the California director of the Republican Jewish Coalition and directed the Reagan Library Foundation.
According to several sources close to JINSA, Greenfield’s term got off to a rocky start. Things reached a breaking point following the annual trip to Israel that JINSA runs for the Flag and General Officers — a visit in which the group takes military officers to meet their Israeli counterparts and learn about the country’s defense challenges.
Greenfield escorted the trip and upon return he was asked by JINSA’s president, David Ganz, to leave the group, apparently over claims that he did not handle the mission well. No further details were provided regarding the circumstances of Greenfield’s firing and no successor has been named.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.