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April 29, 2020 10:11 am

Conference of Presidents Elects Dianne Lob as Chairman-Elect in Controversial Vote

avatar by JNS.org

Dianne Lob.

JNS.org – The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations elected Dianne Lob, former chair of HIAS, on Tuesday as its chair-elect, despite opposition from right-wing groups.

In a meeting on Tuesday, which was held virtually as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization approved a motion creating the chair-elect position and retaining current chair, Arthur Stark, for another year. The motion passed 39 to 1, with five organizations abstaining. A second motion that elected Lob as chair-elect received the support of 31 organizations.

Previous votes for the chairman had always been approved by unanimous acclimation.

Leading up to the vote, the nomination of Lob, who has worked as head of global business development for AllianceBernstein, an investment management firm, met with opposition from right-wing organizations belonging to the Conference.

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Many longtime members and financial supporters were uncomfortable with the political positions of HIAS, which has clashed repeatedly with the Trump administration over recent US immigration policies. The Conference, which represents 53 Jewish organizations, was established as a liaison to the government of the United States, as well as representing the American Jewish community abroad.

In the week prior to the vote, critics of Lob’s nomination raised additional concerns that the election violated several bylaws of the organization. At the same time, some objected to the timing and method of the vote to approve her nomination on April 28, which had to take place virtually via Zoom.

Attempting to address these concerns, the Conference leadership announced on Sunday that it would create a chair-elect position, while retaining Stark as chair for another year as a way to “forge greater unity in the Conference.”

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference, told Jewish Insider that Lob is a “visionary leader” who “understands the role of Jewish leadership during these uncertain times and the unique importance of the Jewish State of Israel in securing our survival.”

“We are honored that she chose to serve in this new role and are looking forward to her steady leadership of our conference,” he said.

Lob’s nomination cements a transition period for the Conference, which has been led for 35 years by former executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein, who remains in a part-time capacity while the organization is now headed by recently installed CEO William Daroff, longtime senior vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of the Jewish Federations of North America.

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