The Zionist Organization of America is running a stellar slate of Jewish activists in the upcoming World Zionist Congress election. Candidates on the ZOA slate include the Five Towns’ Ann Schockett and approximately 20 Long Islanders. Notable ZOA slate members also include the slate’s leader, ZOA president Morton Klein, former U.S. Congressman Jon Fox, and the presidents of Stand With Us, NORPAC, Americans for a Safe Israel, Eye on the UN, Americans for Peace and Tolerance, JCCWatch, New Culture (Russian Jewish) Outreach Academy, the Israel Advocacy Calendar, and others, as well as officials of organizations such as Israel Bonds and CAMERA.
The ZOA slate’s platform is dedicated to combating the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel; rescuing Jews endangered by global anti-Semitism; a strong, secure Israel; defending undivided Jerusalem and Jewish rights to live in Judea and Samaria; fighting against a terrorist Hamas-Fatah state; opposing sending U.S. tax dollars to the Hamas-Fatah regime; exposing the truth about the Arab war against Israel; promoting Zionist and Jewish education; and freeing Jonathan Pollard.
In keeping with ZOA’s dedication to combating BDS, the ZOA has filed a complaint with the election officials administering the upcoming World Zionist Congress election, to disqualify a group that misleadingly calls itself the “HaTikvah” slate because its constituent groups promote boycotts and sanctions.
Partners for a Progressive Israel, also known as MeretzUSA, a leading group in the HaTikvah slate, openly boycotts and promotes boycotts against Jewish and Israeli businesses in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, including cities such as Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, Hebron, and Efrat.
Ameinu—the other main constituent group of the HaTikvah slate—lobbies for severe international sanctions against Israeli leaders whose political positions they disagree with. Ameinu’s top three officials are also all J Street officials or closely connected with J Street, which promotes BDS by featuring the leaders of the global BDS movement, including Mustafa Barghouti, at J Street national conferences and on college campuses.
ZOA’s complaint points out that the World Zionist Organization’s Constitution forbids membership by groups that engage in discrimination based on origin or nationality, and that the groups comprising the so-called “HaTikvah slate” discriminate against Israeli Jews. The boycotts also harm numerous Palestinian Arab employees of the boycotted Jewish businesses. ZOA’s complaint further notes that such discriminatory boycotts violate New York State’s Human Rights Law, as well as the raison d’être of the World Zionist Congress.
In addition to pointing to such violations, ZOA’s complaint provided a historical perspective on why anti-Jewish boycotts are such an anathema:
“We note that discrimination and boycotts against Jews are a particularly egregious violation for a member of the World Zionist Congress to engage in. The World Zionist Congress and State of Israel were founded in part exactly to prevent such anti-Jewish boycotts and discrimination. Theodore Herzl repeatedly wrote that boycotts of Jewish businesses were one of the types of anti-Jewish persecution that required the existence of a Jewish State. In his famous book, The Jewish State, at the beginning of his discussion of ‘The Jewish Question,’ Herzl wrote: ‘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!’
Herzl also wrote in The Jewish State about Jews being persecuted by being excluded from certain areas and facilities. The PPI [Partners for Progressive Israel] boycott acts to exclude Jews and Jewish businesses from stepping foot in the historic Jewish homelands of eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria—including Hebron, Jerusalem suburbs, and Maale Adumim (the locations of some of the operations of the Jewish businesses boycotted by PPI).
Herzl would roll over in his grave if he knew that the World Zionist Congress that he founded permitted the continued membership of groups that are actively working to “thrust out of business” fellow Jews. WZO and AZM must not permit its members to demand “Don’t buy from Jews!”
ZOA’s complaint also points out that “Herzl would have been horrified to see members of his World Zionist Congress demanding that foreign governments should financially punish leaders of the Jewish State and restrict these Jews from entering the U.S. and Europe. In The Jewish State, Herzl wrote that financial imposts (penalties) and travel exclusions were among the multitude forms of persecution against Jews.”
The ZOA complaint also objected to the HaTikvah slate name, because this slate promotes a false image that may mislead voters. HaTikvah, the national anthem of Israel, speaks of the Jewish soul yearning for 2,000 years to live freely in Zion and Jerusalem. Voters may well assume that a slate named HaTikvah shares the same nationalist sentiments. Voters may thus be misled into voting for a slate that promotes boycotts against Jewish businesses in eastern Jerusalem and other areas. The complaint also points out that Ameinu directors have been at the forefront of an effort to remove all Jewish content from the song HaTikvah, and that longtime Ameinu board member Leonard Fein called the song HaTikvah an “insult.”
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said: “For the World Zionist Congress to allow groups to run who demonize Israel, promote placing international sanctions on political leaders they disagree with, and harm Israel and its people (both Jewish and Arab) economically through promoting boycotts is an affront to the very meaning of Zionism and does severe harm to Israel. That’s why the ZOA is urging the WJC to disqualify Ameinu and Partners for a Progressive Israel of the so-called HaTikvah slate from running.”
A copy of the well-documented complaint, containing extensive citations, is available upon request. Further information about the ZOA slate will be available at VoteZOA.org or http://zoa.org/zoa-slate-in-the-world-zionist-congress-elections, or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ZOA hopes that the Five Towns community will support the ZOA platform and vote for the ZOA slate in the World Zionist Congress elections, which began on January 13.