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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Zionist Organization of America’

World Zionist Congress Elections: Time is Running Out

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Have you voted yet in the World Zionist Congress elections? Did you know there is an election happening now, and it ends on April 30?

Okay; step back. What is the World Zionist Congress, why is there an election for it now, and who is running? And then, don’t forget to vote.

WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS

The WZC was founded by Theodore Herzl in 1897. His idea was to create a legislative body of informed and interested Jewish organizations to make determinations for the Jewish people with the hope of helping to re-establish the Jewish State.

Now that there is, once again, a Jewish State, the WZC meets every five years to discuss and debate issues vital to the Jewish people, such as Jewish identity, security, civil society in Israel, anti-Semitism, and the Jewish State enterprise.

In addition to general policy discussions, the WZC exerts substantial control over significant assets owned by the three major Jewish institutions. It is in this way that parties with a strong voice in the WZC are able to have some control over how the substantial funds of these organizations are spent.

The Jewish National Fund, which controls approximately 13 percent of Israel’s land is one branch over which the WZC has influence.

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), which is currently headed by Natan Scharansky, is also under the purview of the WZC. JAFI deals with immigration to Israel and absorption of new olim, and influences education about Zionism.

The third institution over which the WZC has some level of control is the World Zionist Organization. The WZC helps the WZO decide how to allocate funds and assists in the formulation of WZO policies.

PARTIES RUNNING

The WZC has a total of 500 members. The majority – 190 members – comes from Israel. The United States is entitled to 145 WZC members and the remainder of the diaspora is permitted 165 representatives.

There are currently 11 parties running slates for the WZC in the U.S.

Those parties run the spectrum, from those who believe Israel was given by God and every inch of the biblical homeland belongs to the Jewish people, to those who support the immediate creation of a Palestinian State regardless of the harm to the current Jewish State.

It is essential that anyone voting reads the platform and looks at the slate of individuals running for each slate. Some of the party names do not necessarily correspond with the true nature of the parties.

WHO CAN VOTE AND HOW?

In order to vote in the U.S. elections for the WZC, you first have to register. If you are 18 years old, live in the United States and accept what is called the “Jerusalem Program,” chances are you are entitled to vote in the U.S. WZC election, which is run by the American Zionist Movement.

The Jerusalem Program encapsulates the belief that Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, that Zionism led to the (re)establishment of Israel, which is understood to be a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure state and is the expression of the common responsibilities of the Jewish people for its continuity and future. Zionism assumes the centrality of the State of Israel and of Jerusalem, its capital.

According to the Jerusalem Program, Zionism asserts that Israel is rooted in the vision of the prophets, and that it strives for peace and to contribute to the betterment of the world. Zionism seeks to foster Jewish spiritual and cultural values and nourishes mutual Jewish responsibility, where the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation are defended, and where everyone strives to erase all forms of anti-Semitism. “Finally, settling the country is an expression of practical Zionism.”

Public Transportation on Holidays and Rolling Back the Nuclear Framework

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Voice of Israels’s Binyamin Nakonechny joins Yishai to share the Kabbalistic perspective on rain after Passover.

Then, should Israel have public transportation on Jewish holidays? And how does Israel adopt a more environmental, less litter-filled, consciousness? Seth Frantzman, op-ed editor of the Jerusalem Post, and Mati Wagner, editorial page editor of the same publication, join Yishai in-studio to discuss their latest articles, both of which address the question of the character of the Jewish state. Mati also shares his Matza-baking experiences with proud, gun-toting Jews.

Finally, Dr. Alan Mazurek, vice chairman of the National Board of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA, and Jeff Daube, director of ZOA Israel, join Yishai in-studio to discuss the possibility of rolling back the nuclear framework agreement; the challenge of the new anti-Semitism on campus; and holding on to history on the Mount of Olives.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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ZOA: Anti-Zionists Should Not Be Allowed in World Zionist Congress

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

The Zionist Organization of America has filed a formal objection with the World Zionist Organization against a coalition of what ZOA calls anti-Zionist organizations running a slate to have an increased presence in the World Zionist Congress.

ZOA points out that the World Zionist Organization’s Constitution does not permit members to be organizations that discriminate against Jewish and Israeli businesses, or against other Jews. In addition to violating the WZO’s own constitution, boycotts of Jewish or Israeli businesses also violate New York State Human Rights Law.

If that is the case, then the organizations which named their slate “Hatikvah,” Partners for a Progressive Israel, Ameinu, Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim Dror, should be booted.

But there’s a catch, one that the anti-Zionists hope is a permanent life raft. The same organizations ZOA is calling to have tossed from the WZC’s fall 2015 election have all belonged to the WZO for years.

The organizations seeking to join the World Zionist Congress reads like a Who’s Who of the Jewish organizations who love to hate Zionism, and who claim to criticize Israel first, last and only, “out of love” for the Jewish State. Love like that kills.

The groups joining together in a united front include: Partners for a Progressive Israel (formerly MeretzUSA), Ameinu, Habonim Dror North America, and Hashomer Hatzair. The groups share various essentials, according to ZOA, including New York office space, various directors and ideology.

The PPI brazenly supports consumer boycotts against such Israeli companies as Ahava, SodaStream and a list of others.

While Ameinu calls itself an “American Zionist organization” and insists it opposes boycotts of Israeli products, the ZOA points out that Ameinu began a special unit in its organization which lobbies the American and European governments to impose severe financial and travel restrictions on Israel’s Finance Minister and other Israeli leaders.

Yet another objection ZOA raises to the HaTikvah slate is what ZOA describes as close involvement between PPI, Ameinu and the J Street organization. J Street has long hosted and supported many of the leading Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel groups and individuals. Despite claims of not being BDS advocates, their history and associations make clear the opposite is true.

The ZOA wants both the American Zionist Movement and the World Zionist Organization to expel PPI and Ameinu from membership, and to prevent HaTikvah from running for the World Zionist Congress. ZOA is currently a member of the AZM and the WZC, and so believes it has standing to bring this claim.

Should ZOA fail in its bid to bar the ani-Zionist slate from running, ZOA wants, at a minimum, for that group of organizations to be prevented from using the name HaTikvah. The basis for that move is that such a name, which of course evokes the Israeli national anthem, is confusing and will mislead uninformed voters who think the slate actually stands for what the words to the Israeli anthem mean, the essence of which is for Jews to be able to live freely in their ancient land.

As pointed out in ZOA’s  formal complaint filed first with the American Zionist Movement, and then with the Central Election Board, Ameinu’s  longtime director Leonard Fein called the words of the anthem HaTikvah “an insult” in a 2000 speech.

Judge Abraham Gafni of the American Zionist Movement rejected ZOA’s complaint. Gafni said that PPI, Ameinu and the HaTikvah slate were all entitled to participate in the 2015 World Zionist Congress election because they ran before and won at least one seat in the 2006 and 2010 World Zionist Congress elections.

The ZOA, however, said that fact should be irrelevant for several reasons. First of all, the BDS movement had barely gotten off the ground in 2010, and certainly in 2006. Furthermore, Ameinu’s new council seeking severe sanctions on Israeli leaders only began very recently.

California Taxpayer Money Hijacked for Faculty Terrorist Meetings?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Once again painstaking work done by supporters of Israel reveal that public universities are paying to support, encourage and promote terrorists by faculty or students of American universities. This time what it means is that American taxpayers are paying for radical professors to travel to the Middle East in order to show solidarity with and support people who promote the murder of Americans and Israelis.

The scam this time went like this: a professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi submitted a series of documents for SFSU administrators to sign so that she could get funding to attend an academic conference in Lebanon, to “conduct research,” and to meet with “potential collaborators towards [establishing a] memorandum of understanding with San Francisco State University” in Jordan and the West Bank.

After her trip and the funding was approved, Abdulhadi sent a memo stating that “her name was dropped from the academic conference.”

But Abdulhadi went on the pre-approved and publicly funded trip anyway, with the $7000 she was given by SFSU for her “academic” trip.

And then, not only did Abdulhadi not obtain academic enrichment from attendance at an academic conference, she instead used the money to meet with and show solidarity with various known terrorists in order to support those terrorists by establishing “working relationships” with Palestinian Arab activists “engaged in BDS and other efforts against the occupation.” This astounding information was not obtained through clandestine espionage. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and her colleagues at the AMCHA Initiative, along with several other pro-Israel groups, simply read public documentation of  the funding provided to those who went on the trip with Abdulhadi. Those faculty members proudly bragged on public websites about their activities in furthering the delegitimization of Israel – paid for with taxpayer money. The fact that the trip was paid and signed for by SFSU officials was easily revealed through a California Public Information Act Request.

For example, in an event on March 6, 2014 that was advertised on the SFSU Ethnic Studies website, Prof. Abdulhadi and two other members of the “Academic and Labor Delegation to Palestine 2014″ — SFSU Ethnic Studies Professor Joanne Barker and Abdulhadi’s husband Jaime Veve — discussed their trip to “the West Bank and the 1948 areas of Palestine [sic, i.e. Israel].”

In her presentation at the March 6 event, Abdulhadi called the trip to Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel, which she had led, a “political solidarity tour,” and she went on to say: “This was not ‘solidarity light,’ this was not ‘pre-Solidarity 101′.”

Prof. Barker, in her blog documenting the trip, corroborated Abdulhadi’s statement, writing that the delegation “established working relationships and furthered their solidarities with Palestinian scholars, artists, and activists engaged in BDS and other efforts against the occupation.”  The event announcement also confirmed that the purpose of Abdulhadi’s University-funded trip was not to engage in University-related business but rather to pursue her own personal political goals: to promote “resolute actions in support of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.”

Why Abdulhadi was not required to provide documentation that the funds disbursed by the university – public funds consisting of taxpayer money – were used in accordance with the funding request is unknown. Or if, perhaps, there was documentation after the trip that was provided by Abdulhadi to SFSU, and if it did not accurately reflect the manner in which the money was used, Abdulhadi must reimburse the community funds.

For example, did the documentation reveal that the SFSU employees met with people who are known terrorists, including ones who are members of organizations on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations?

ZOA Protests Mount of Olives Violence

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The Zionist Organization of America has called on US Consul General in Jerusalem Michael Ratney to condemn stoning attacks against Jews at the Mount of Olives, and to press Palestinian Authority officials to deal with the issue from their side.

The Mount of Olives is the oldest extant Jewish site in the world, dating back at least 2,500 years, and is the largest Jewish cemetery in the world. The cemetery, which contains more than 150,000 graves, includes the graves of Hebrew prophets, generations of leading rabbis, Israeli politicians and centuries of simple Jews who felt that if they couldn’t live in the Holy City, at least they wanted to be buried here.

But the site has been subject to neglect and to Palestinian violence for years. Illegal Palestinian building has continued unabated – there is an illegal mosque just 10 meters from the grave of Israeli Prime Mininster Menachem Begen – despite court orders instructing police to demolish the illegal structures.

Worse, Jewish pilgrims to the cemetery are routinely stoned, most recently in early April, when US citizen Tova Richler was prevented from attending her father’s funeral by Palestinian stone throwers.  In addition, Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) were subject to a rock attack at  the cemetery in 2012.

ZOA Israel Director Jeff Daube said he is grateful to Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), whose HR 4028 bill would amend a former bill to include international cemetery desecrations. He has also asked the US special envoy on anti-Semitism, Ira Forman, to classify the rock attacks as anti-Semitism since only Jews are being targeted.

“I would remind the Consul this is an ongoing and worsening problem over the course of too many years. Having previously raised the problem in several meetings and letter correspondence, including with Ratney’s predecessor Consul General Daniel Rubinstein — without any known steps thus far having been taken by any U.S. official to mitigate the disgraceful status quo — I would suggest it is time for Ratney to enter the conversation,” Daube said.

Daube also said he has asked the Consul General to elicit condemnations in Arabic from local Arab leaders and muhktars, and from Palestinian Authority  officials.

(It should be noted that existing Israel-Palestinian agreements bar the Palestinian Authority from maintaining a presence in Jerusalem).

The ZOA letter additionally asked that the Mount of Olives area attacks be included in this year’s publication of two annual State Department reports, the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and Country Reports on Terrorism. Daube noted that Palestinian rock attacks were omitted from the 2013 editions of both reports, but that the terrorism report did contain “extensive and disproportionate” references to the price tag attacks on Arab property.

Daube expressed guarded optimism that Consul General Ratney would be sympathetic, having arranged a meeting in November, 2012 between Ratney and Michael Palmer, the father/grandfather of Asher and Yonatan Palmer at which the Consul General said that protecting American citizens was his “number one job.”

The Palmer were US citizens who were murdered in a Palestinian Arab stoning attack on Asher’s car.

The letter also referenced a recent IDF radio report detailing the reality for Jews living in Mount of Olives neighborhoods. In March, Jews were attacked by Arabs with rocks, boulders or Molotov cocktails at least 157 times, up from 150 reported attacks in February and 140 in January. The fewest number of reported attacks in any month over the last 18 months has been nearly 80, and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch admitted to the Knesset Interior Committee that 66 percent of violent crimes in Israel go unreported.

“It’s a no-brainer that mourners and pilgrims of all nationalities should not have to worry about terror and intimidation, or be confronted with desecrated gravestones and deliberately strewn garbage, when they visit Judaism’s holiest cemetery. That consulate officials have not ever contacted and supported at least the American victims, nor voiced concern to them, nor expressed outrage let alone condemnations, is very disappointing. Hopefully the recent attacks on Ms. Richler and others will catalyze an adequate response to the habitual civil and human rights abuses directed at Jews, in this and other parts of eastern Jerusalem,” Daube said.

Mainstream American Jewish Groups Reject J Street

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

In a rebuke to the relatively young but very well (and oddly so) financed group J Street, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations decisively rejected the group’s bid for membership.

J Street has only been in existence since 2008, but it shot out of the starting block with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank and the backing of a wide array of well-connected American (mostly) Jews (mostly) who were itching to establish a new standard for the American Jewish community’s attitude towards Israel.

J Street’s backers are the ones who bridle at the idea that American Jews should feel a strong inclination to support and respect the Jewish State’s assessments of the level of threat it can survive with. They also chafe at the notion that those whose jobs and whose lives are put most at risk as the result of Israel’s security compromises are the ones who are entrusted with making the decisions about how and where and, especially, when, those compromises will be made, if at all.

But J Street’s star rose along with President Barack Obama’s election to office. The first year of its existence, J Street was already invited into the pantheons of American political and media power.

With the kind of cachet that adheres to those close to positions of wealth and power – for it is, as always, wealth and power that gives prestige, even if the wealth and power belongs to those who claim to disdain such “conservative” markers of strength, J Street’s coffers were well-stocked and its dance card was always filled.

But on Wednesday, April 30 – the day after, by the way, the latest effort to impose a “solution” on parties whose elemental problems are far from solved – the royal court of mainstream American Jewish organizations shut the door firmly in J Street’s face.

The Conference has 50 members, only 42 of whom voted. And while the vote was supposed to be confidential, over the past few days several organizations made public statements about their positions.

Few were surprised when the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the parent body of the Jewish Community Relations Councils, came out declaring it was going to vote in favor of including J Street.

Fewer still were surprised that the staunchly pro-Israel Zionist Organization of America came out strongly against admitting J Street to the Conference of Presidents.

But some were surprised that the Anti-Defamation League announced it planned to vote in favor of inclusion, and perhaps not everyone could have predicted that the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism movement voted to welcome into the inner circle a group which had long fought hard against economic sanctions to deter the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The final vote was a resounding one against including the group that (usually) refers with the tagline “pro-Israel, pro-peace.”

According to the bylaws of the Conference of Presidents, J Street needed a full 2/3s membership vote in its favor. It didn’t even get a simple majority. In the end, only 17 members of the Conference voted in favor of including J Street, 22 voted against it, and three voting members abstained.

Members of the Conference told the Jerusalem Post “what J Street is doing is exploiting the situation to get visibility.”

In other words, hubris – which is what propelled J Street out of the starting gate is also what slammed the door shut in its face.

 

Seeking ‘Peace’ by Waging War?

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

All along this has been the modus operandi of the Palestinian-Arabs and their supporters.  They have fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians; committed shootings, stonings and bombings; and incited hatred and violence among the Palestinian-Arab population.  Outside of the region they seek to defame or delegitimize Israel or punish Israel economically.  This onslaught has been incessant. Hardly the ingredients for “peace.”

A major conference taking place in Philadelphia on March 28 and 29 by supporters of the Palestinian-Arabs looks to perpetuate the attacks rather than end them.

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is staging “The Role of the US in Israel-Palestine: Current Realities and Creative Responses” at the American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers) headquarters in Center City Philadelphia.  FOSNA is a support arm of a radical Christian Palestinian-Arab group based in Jerusalem called Sabeel.

Sabeel is a stew of Christian liberation theology and replacement theology that politicizes religion to advance a political agenda.  In this case, that agenda is an end to the Israel we know and love; an Israel that serves as a vital ally to America.

Rather than truly seeking ways to co-exist or to build up a normal Palestinian-Arab society, FOSNA has assembled a roster of Israel haters and antagonists to present discussions and workshops geared toward delegitimizing and defaming Israel, hurting the Jewish state economically and eroding support for Israel – particularly among American Christians.

Based on a conference schedule posted on its Web site, the FOSNA conference will encourage the termination of American military aid to Israel; recast “the Israel-Palestine conflict as a civil rights struggle, with parallels to South Africa and the American South;” seek to increase anti-Israel activities on campuses; and promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  FOSNA believes that the mainstream media is not already biased against Israel and thus will discuss strategies to make it more unfavorable to Israel, and to turn more Christians against Israel.

According to its Web site, conference sponsors include: Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), the Catholic Peace Fellowship, the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace, and the Peacemaking Committee of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.

To the Jewish community, the lack of a consistent position regarding Israel within Christianity can be confusing.  Groups including Friends of Israel (founded in 1938), Christians United For Israel (founded about a decade ago) and smaller groups such as Delaware’s Olive Tree Ministries are fervently pro-Israel, while other Christians such as the Quakers and “Main Line” Protestant denominations have been antagonistic toward Israel.  This divide is as old as the modern State of Israel itself.

When the State of Israel declared its independence in 1948, many Palestinian-Christian clergymen abandoned the Hebrew Bible because they believed it was too Zionist.  In an effort to reclaim it for their people, they replaced the Israelites with Palestinians in the narrative.  For example, instead of adhering to the biblical context of the Exodus, they supplant that with an interpretation of the Palestinian-Arabs going to the Knesset, saying: “Let my people go!”

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” takes interpretive liberties with the biblical accounts and prophecies of the Hebrew Bible in order to mold it to specific political and theological agendas.  It maintains that certain Torah passages are outdated and irrelevant, claiming they reveal a primitive way of understanding G-d’s revelation to man.  A majority of these “irrelevant” sections often involve G-d’s promise to give or return the Jewish people to their land.

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” is still considered fringe within mainstream Christianity.  Its proponents wish to advance the cause of the Palestinian Christians, who desire to create a Palestinian state.  The impetus for the movement stems from “Replacement Theology,” a faulty method of biblical interpretation that claims the church has replaced the role of Israel in the Bible.  Denominations that commonly hold to “Replacement Theology” to a degree include some Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/seeking-peace-by-waging-war/2014/03/29/

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