Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Israeli and American flags in Jerusalem

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) Tribunal has been slammed by the American Forum for Israel after it rejected an appeal to provide a discount for Holocaust survivors, World War Two veterans and other senior citizens for voter registration ahead of this year’s 38th World Zionist Congress elections.

The WZC is comprised of 500 delegates from Israel and around the Jewish world, that is elected every five years and which ends up becoming the deciding factor in the leadership of numerous Jewish institutions around the world, including, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod/United Israel Appeal, and the World Zionist Organization.

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Despite its ban on senior and other related discounts, however, the American Zionist Movement Tribunal did agree recently to a discount for students, applied for by another faction. It’s not clear why.

“This was a discriminatory, heartless and wretched decision that specifically targets the weakest sectors of the American Jewish community and is unjustifiable on any level, especially in light of the recent decision to provide discounts for students,” Dr. Dmitry Shiglik, Chairman of the American Forum for Israel, which launched the appeal, said.

“It is disgraceful that the American Jewish Establishment continues to discriminate against the weakest Jews and steals their democratic rights. We will not let that happen, we’ll fight in every court possible to give the weakest American Jews their voice and their right to influence the future of the Jewish People.

“It is unconscionable that some people are trying to marginalize and steal the votes of whole sectors of American Jewry.”

The American Forum for Israel will now appeal the decision at the Zionist Supreme Court in Jerusalem, which is the highest legal body of the World Zionist Organization.

According to the Pew Research Center, one-fifth of all U.S. Jews report annual household incomes of less than $30,000, disproportionately including Holocaust survivors, World War Two veterans and other senior citizens.

The American Forum for Israel is running a slate in the upcoming World Zionist Congress elections which begins on January 21st under the banner “Defend your people! Empower Israel!”, as a response to what it sees as an increasingly liberal Jewish establishment, critical of Israel, supportive of dangerous concessions to the Palestinians and in agreement with a capitulation by the West to Iran.

“Their Zionism is about concessions, submission and weakness,” Dr. Shiglik said, about the liberal Jewish establishment.

“Unfortunately, they are in control and place Jews who want a strong, proud and successful Israel on the sidelines, and try and keep us out. However, we want to stop this and have our voice heard. We have an opportunity to say enough, and that we will no longer accept this contempt and disdain.”

“We should stand up proudly and say it is our time, it is time for our Zionism. Our Zionism is about strengthening Israel, it is about standing unequivocally with Israelis against their enemies, and it is about ensuring an unbreakable partnership between Israel and the Diaspora. It is about fighting anti-Semitism in all of its manifestations, including anti-Zionism.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.