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JPFO, You’re breakin’ my heart.TZP? Now that’s another (much happier!) story.

Over at The Zelman Partisans Nicki Kenyon describes, far better than I ever could, the contrast between the “new” JPFO and the genuinely new spirit and reality of TZP.

Some very cool things are being worked on behind the TZP scenes and Nicki gives a glimpse of them.

I was going to just write a line or two here about the “new” JPFO here while linking to Nicki. Because Nicki really says all that needs saying. But [roll eyes] my line or two turned into a rant or two. If you want to hear what I have to say, click the “more” link. But above all, see what Nicki has to say.

Now on to my rant about the sadly premature decline of JPFO

A few days ago I wrote about everybody being wrong when they predict the future. Count me among the everybody.

When JPFO’s board sold out to Alan Gottlieb’s Second Amendment Foundation last year, it was a foregone conclusion that Aaron Zelman’s great Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership would be nerfed beyond all recognition.

That required no psychic abilities. But I also predicted that SAF would come right out and make some gestures toward keeping and building a lively, hard-hitting JPFO. They’d fix up the ghastly website, I said. Maybe they’d announce some new project. Create a new look. Something to say, “See, we’re serious about continuing what Aaron built.” In other words, they’d make JPFO at least look attractive for a while before letting it slide into irrelevance.

I was wrong. It’s been six months now and there has been nothing but deterioration and neglect.

Prior to this month, the only thing the new JPFO managed to “accomplish” was to alienate David Codrea, one of the only two real, hardcore gun-rights writers who remained when the rest of us left.

But March has been a time of even more such “triumphs” of nerf management. Friday a week ago, JPFO presented us with a three-year-old Bloomberg anti-gun op-ed masquerading as an “alert.”

Last Wednesday, when Kurt Hofmann (the only remaining hardcore guy) would normally have an article, JPFO management bumped him for something they judged more urgent: a bland piece answering a two-month-old statement by a European rabbi. (Y.B. ben Avraham had covered that topic as far back as January, in multiple posts on TZP here, here, and here). Why two-month old “news” was suddenly so urgent it required bumping the one JPFO writer people actually look forward to reading was not explained.

Fortunately, Kurt was merely pushed back by one day. But then we were treated to one of the most poorly written fundraising letters in the history of fundraising letters. It was written by someone who obviously knows very little about gun rights, who imagines that JPFO (a 501(c)(3) educational organization) is a lobbying group, and who made elementary grammar errors that no one else bothered to catch. And look at those qualifications for being the “senior operations manager” and spokesperson for one of the (formerly) most important pro-gun groups in the land! (I mean, seriously, she may be a nice person and a good dress saleslady, but she knows nothing — and her bosses at SAF don’t appear to care that she knows nothing. This disaster of a letter is less her fault than the fault of those who put her in the position to write it.)

In any case, this chirpy person asking for your money went on about how JPFO had just buckets of attitude — which, of course, under Aaron it did, and which it was rebuilding under Doug Schuett’s management. But I wanted to ask Ms chirpy fundraising writer (who was obviously just parroting old JPFO promos), “Oh yeah? Where’s the famous ‘attitude’ been in the six months that SAF has owned the group?”

That question was answered this weekend when SAF finally managed to produce a Bill of Rights Sentinel. Now, I grant you that after Aaron died, JPFO had excruciating trouble producing BoR Sentinals, and that was sad. But SAF has funding and staff up the whazoo. Okay, not a big deal that it took them six months to finally put together a .pdf. But the best term to describe what they came up with is “harmless.”

And charmless.

Of all these SAF “triumphs,” the one that (oddly) bothered me the most was the inept fundraiser. Because after all, fundraising is what Gottlieb does. It’s his specialty. That he would turn a JPFO fundraising letter over to some third-stringer who can’t write and knows nothing, then not even bother to have her work proofread, is appalling. It says that he gives far less of a damn than I ever credited him for. And since I never credited him with giving more than $.02 worth of a damn about JPFO in the first place … well, it would be hard to imagine him caring less

I shouldn’t be upset. Because the quicker JPFO slides into obscurity, the greater the mercy. It would be hell watching it hang on for years, constructing the illusion of being the entity Aaron created while in reality becoming a big squishy nerfball.

But I am upset. Because discarding JPFO so quickly and casually feels dishonorable. It feels like a deliberate slap in Aaron’s face. Its a way of saying, “We care so little about you that we won’t even pretend to imitate you. We care so little about your life’s work that we’re not even going to put on a cheap, thin pretense of giving a damn about it.”

An entity called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership still exists and may exist — just exist — for years to come. But the real Jews (and friends) for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is now passionately alive and is called The Zelman Partisans.

As Nicki wrote in the post linked at the top, the Partisans have been doing a lot behind the scenes and soon TZP will be much more than a mere blog. It’ll be a “real” organization you can join, support, and get some cool gear from. But above all, TZP will be the continuation of Aaron’s legacy into the future. That legacy is about no compromise, no minced words, no BS. Just all-out support for gun rights as lifesaving civil rights.

Stay with us over there. Good things will keep coming.

—–

UPDATE: I’ve unsubscribed from JPFO alerts to avoid seeing any more of this daily degradation. JPFO is dead. There’s no point chronicling the decay of its corpse. If something newsworthy occurs, I’m sure some helpful person will let me know. Until then, I won’t write about JPFO again.

16 Comments

  1. Pat
    Pat March 22, 2015 2:01 pm

    “It’ll be a “real” organization you can join, support, and get some cool gear from.”

    Was just thinking yesterday how great my little 2-inch-blade Kershaw pocketknife has been. I bought it from JPFO ? years ago (time goes fast when you’re having fun), and it’s still sharp, no nicks in the blade, and I’ve used it for *everything* (including a mini-lever of sorts). Hope the TZP merchandise is half as good.

  2. Claire
    Claire March 22, 2015 2:10 pm

    Pat — With merchandise, we’ll be starting off slowly. There will be a store containing logo merchandise from a third party. Then there will be a store of our own which will at first have only a few small items. We’ll add more as revenues come in from the earliest items.

    Good knives are very definitely on the agenda but may be a while, as we’re building our funds as we go. (We opted not to take the “angel” money that was offered when JPFO was sold out and we’ve been self-funding (with the huge help of the wonderful Alperts of the Missouri Bullet Company, members of the core TZP team) and funding from supporter donations)

    But yes, good quality knives are on our store wish list!

  3. Claire
    Claire March 22, 2015 3:31 pm

    Oh yeah, on the fundraising letter I mentioned the bit about legislative work but forgot to note my “favorite” part of the same line. The sentence reads:

    “Without your help we cannot get our message to congress, the state legislatures and other less passionate pro-gun organizations.”

    Can anybody here name me any “less passionate” pro-gun organizations? Try???

    See what I mean about this person just parroting old JPFO material?

  4. Bear
    Bear March 22, 2015 6:26 pm

    ” It says that he gives far less of a damn than I ever credited him for. “

    Naturally. Bowtie Boy already got what he wanted, when the deal closed: the mailing list.

  5. Claire
    Claire March 22, 2015 6:32 pm

    Sadly true, Bear.

    But I guess I was at least hoping he’d (for want of a better way of putting it) make an honest attempt at faking interest in JPFO. The sheer malfeasance we’re seeing is heartrending.

    It would be better if Gottlieb had just taken his precious mailing list, then shut the organization down. Better for JPFO to die of a stroke than of a lingering, disfiguring, agonizing cancer.

  6. Bear
    Bear March 22, 2015 7:29 pm

    As with KABA and DRGO, so goes JPFO. Although, to be honest, that he bothered with having Jurt and David generate any new content (for as long as it lasted) is a bit more than he did with the other two.

  7. KiA
    KiA March 22, 2015 8:07 pm

    the thought occurred to me that were you in a physical relationship with JPFO, your current post-breakup obsession with your ex may be considered unhealthy. at some point even close friends would tire in lending an ear and start suggesting to move on. although it’s more like a polygamy where said close friends were also involved in the same relationship and now have established a support group.

    it sounded clever in my head and now i can’t not hit submit.

  8. Claire
    Claire March 22, 2015 8:20 pm

    LOL! Okay, point taken.

    I actually mean it when I say I feel heartbroken over what’s been done to JPFO. If I become tiresome about it, everybody is welcome either to quit reading or kindly kick my ass. I’d understand.

    That said, it’s less a matter of being obsessed than of having constant reminders of the tragedy/travesty of JPFO’s fate. It’s truly hard to believe just how much worse things are at JPFO than even my worst predictions were. I mean, seriously. Censoring David after promising not to? Babbling anti-gun alerts? Some ignorant dress sales person as a spokesperson?

    And that said, I may at some point unsubscribe from JPFO alerts so as not to be reminded any more what’s been done. We have The Zelman Partisans. JPFO is gone.

  9. Y.B. ben Avraham
    Y.B. ben Avraham March 22, 2015 9:50 pm

    It is my opinion that the continued existence of JPFO, even in a weakened state, but with Aaron Zelman’s mission as its Lodestar, was a painful rebuke to the entire weltanschauung embodied in Mr. G.s body of 2A organizations. Yes, he wanted the contributors list. But that is, at most, a secondary consideration. The thing that makes it pencil out. To leave it as a hollowed-out, moribund, castrato is the real goal.

  10. Sawbuck
    Sawbuck March 23, 2015 4:12 am

    I received that execrable letter – in my email – (Apparently I am not stamp worthy now?) and responded with a photocopy of my JPFO Life Membership card and a note to let Ms. Goodman know that Mr. G would not ever see one penny from me as I considered him an appeaser and no friend of the 2nd Amendment – but merely a friend to his own ego and wallet.

    I did thank them however for the reminder to send donation to GOA and TZP – so her letter letter wasn’t a total waste of time.

  11. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty March 23, 2015 6:58 am

    I’ll take your word for it, Claire. I won’t be readin anything at the old, dead JPFO again, except for what Kurt writes, and I access that from his own blog rather than the “alerts.” http://armedandsafe.blogspot.com/ When he quits writing for them, I’ll never look at the old site again.

    Will TZP be able to offer the old JPFO books, videos, pamphlets and stuff, or recreate the posters and other visual aids? To me, that is one of the greatest losses. And, if not, I’d think that one of the greater priority projects, for both volunteers and funding, would be recreation of as much of it as possible. I hereby volunteer in whatever capacity would be useful.

    Will TZP have email alerts for new postings? And I hope there are plans for more posts about guns and general liberty. I don’t mind reading about the admonition for Jews to leave Europe, etc., but it just isn’t what I go there for… not being Jewish. 🙂

  12. Claire
    Claire March 23, 2015 7:34 am

    MamaLiberty — Understood on not even looking at anything from JPFO. I decided last night to unsubscribe from JPFO alerts. I already had myself removed from the snailing list before it was transferred to Gottlieb.

    Thanks for the volunteer offer! Unfortunately, all the old material belongs to JPFO and whatever is left of it is being sold by Gottlieb. The sole exception is RebelFire, which I rescued from the rubble before the sale. Otherwise, we’ll have to create our own merchandise over time.

    We don’t yet have plans for an email list, but wouldn’t rule it out for the future. And the topics of the posts have mainly to do with who’s posting; nobody’s setting policy on what gets posted. But over time, I’m sure we’ll aim for a good balance. I find the very Jewish posts interesting myself, both because Jewish culture and history is fascinating and because Jews are in such urgent need of genocide-prevention tools.

  13. david
    david March 23, 2015 8:14 am

    The downhill slide at JPFO almost sounds as if it’s too bad to be an accident. Whenever I see such a rapid decline in an organization or business, I always assume it’s either something crooked like a ‘planned’ bankruptcy, cocaine, or a sell-out, and I this case I would go for ‘sell-out’. (Suspicious bastard, am I not?)

    Perhaps Mr. Gottleib has some kind of agreement with Bloomberg or Horowitz? Perhaps it would be helpful to Bloomberg be able to say to Jews in general (NYC being maybe the biggest population of Jewry outside of Israel) that JPFO fell apart because Jews really do not believe in gun ownership? Perhaps there is some reason to kill off the organization for some other reason – I mean, I am guessing at the existence of a deal at all.

  14. Claire
    Claire March 23, 2015 8:51 am

    Good going and thank you, Sawbuck. That was a wonderful way to respond.

  15. Claire
    Claire March 23, 2015 8:59 am

    David — “Suspicious bastard” is a wise thing to be these days, unfortunately. 🙁

    I’ve also seen businesses whose failures seemed planned — perhaps as part of various complicated tax dodges, investment scams, or money-laundering schemes. I think in JPFO’s case the planning for failure is real, but maybe less complicated than your thoughts. I’d chalk it up to two things. One, what Y.B. says; the very existence of JPFO was always an affront to Gottlieb’s compromising ways and the opportunity to control and castrate it was a dream for him. Two, nerfing is just what Gottlieb does; as Bear and Nicki noted, he’s done it before. He buys up organizations and destroys them.

    Really, other than to get the mailing list and make a few bucks selling leftover JPFO merchandise, he had no incentive to do otherwise. (But that is why I’m surprised that they’ve never even improved the website. Fixing that would certainly help them move all that old product. Oh well.)

    Of course, Gottlieb is on record as compromising and collaborating with even with the evil Schumer. So who knows what he’s capable of?

  16. Fred
    Fred March 23, 2015 2:34 pm

    I believe you can make TZP as good as JPFO ever was,only BETTER still.
    For you folks have the passion and arent sellouts.

    Keep harping on G,people need to know what they are donating to is a sham.I think you are spot on,he wanted to destroy JPFO as it was always an affront to his true self.Ego.

    Keep up the good fight Claire and friends!!

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