On January 13 through April 30, 2015, American Jews will be voting for the delegate slates for the 2015 World Zionist Congress. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), America’s oldest Jewish organization, is running an impressive slate headed by ZOA’s national president Morton Klein and Irwin Hochberg (past Chairman of the UJA-UJC Jewish Federation of New York and past National Campaign Chair for Israel Bonds). The ZOA slate for the World Zionist Congress election is filled with Jews from every walk of life, ranging from university students to a former U.S. Congressman, and include many of our country’s leading Jewish activists. The ZOA slate is dedicated to a strong, secure Israel; defending Jews throughout the world; assisting the escape of Jews who are experiencing severe anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere; Zionist and Jewish education; fighting against anti-Semitism on college campuses; and defending Israel’s legal, historical, religious and moral rights.
The Jewish Voice heartily agrees with the ZOA’s platform. ZOA has the correct priorities for the World Zionist Congress, in this era when Israel and Jews throughout the world are endangered.
The Jewish Voice is also pleased that the ZOA is courageously challenging the World Zionist Congress membership of Jewish groups that discriminate against and harm fellow Jews and Israel. Last week, the ZOA filed a complaint with World Zionist Congress election officials, asking the election officials to disqualify a group that misleadingly calls itself the “HaTikvah slate” because the members of the “HaTikvah slate” engage in and promote discriminatory anti-Jewish boycotts and sanctions.
A leading member of the “HaTikvah slate,” Partners for a Progressive Israel (PPI), also known as MeretzUSA, openly boycotts and promotes boycotts against Israeli Jewish businesses in eastern Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, including cities such as Hebron, Ariel, Efrat and Ma’ale Adumim. PPI promotes boycotts against such Israeli Jewish businesses right on PPI’s website, and also asks readers for the names of more such Israeli Jewish businesses to add to PPI’s boycott list.
The Ameinu organization – which is the other leading member of the “HaTikvah slate” – lobbies for severe international financial and travel/entry sanctions against Israeli leaders whose political positions they disagree with. These are the types of sanctions ordinarily reserved for terrorist regimes. In addition, Ameinu’s top three officials are also all also officials of and/or closely connected with J-Street. J-Street de facto promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, by, among other things, supporting BDS in videos on its website and featuring the leaders of the BDS movement (including Mustafa Barghouti and Rebecca Vilkomerson) at J-Street’s national conventions and programs at colleges and elsewhere.
ZOA’s complaint points out that the activities of Partners for Progressive Israel and Ameinu violate the WZO Constitution. The World Zionist Organization’s Constitution forbids membership by groups that engage in discrimination based on origin or nationality. The groups comprising the so-called “HaTikvah slate” discriminate against Israeli Jews, and also harm numerous Palestinian Arab employees and peaceful co-existence. Palestinian Arabs stand to lose their high-paying employment when boycotts force Israeli Jewish businesses to move or close.
Partners for Progressive Israel’s boycott hurts hard working Jews and Arabs who are simply trying to make a living to support their families.
ZOA’s complaint further notes that in addition to violating the WZO Constitution, Partners for Progressive Israel’s discriminatory boycott violates New York State’s Human Rights Law, as well as the raison d’etre of the World Zionist Congress.
Theodore Herzl wrote in his inspiring book “The Jewish State,” that boycotts of Jewish businesses were one of the types of anti-Jewish persecution that required the existence of a Jewish State.
“No one can deny the gravity of the situation of the Jews. Wherever they live in perceptible numbers, they are more or less persecuted. Their equality before the law, granted by statute, has become practically a dead letter. . . . And attempts are made to thrust them out of business also: “Don’t buy from Jews!”
Anti-Jewish anti-Israel boycotts and sanctions are a grave, growing danger. We agree with the Zionist Organization of America that the World Jewish Congress should not lend its benefits and imprimatur to those who would boycott and harm fellow Jews. When Jewish groups support sanctions and boycotts against other Jews, they give legitimacy and to Jew-haters and strengthen and give comfort to Israel’s enemies.
Further information about ZOA’s complaint against the “HaTikvah slate” including a link to the actual complaint, can be found at http://zoa.org/2014/12/10270901-zoa-files-complaint-disqualify-hatikvah-slate-from-wzc-election/
Further information about ZOA’s platform in the World Zionist Congress elections can be found at http://zoa.org/zoa-slate-in-the-world-zionist-congress-elections/
We heartily support the Zionist Organization of America’s efforts and candidacy in the World Zionist Congress election.