Reform Movement’s Statement Unfairly Criticizes Israel And Undermines Support In Congress
August 4, 2004

NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is deeply disappointed by the Reform movement’s resolution unfairly criticizing Israel.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:

“By blaming Israel for the ‘troubling humanitarian conditions’ of the Palestinian Arabs and criticizing Congress for its recent pro-Israel resolutions, the Reform movement is harming Israel’s reputation and undermining support for Israel on Capitol Hill and in the public arena.”

The Reform movement took issue with recent pro-Israel resolutions passed by Congress for not emphasizing the need for “a return to the negotiating table” and not focusing on “the troubling humanitarian conditions of the Palestinians.” This sort of criticism undermines Israel’s standing in Congress, by making Congressmembers more reluctant in the future to pass pro-Israel resolutions.

Klein noted that Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, has compared the Palestinian Arabs to neo-Nazis. “Unilateral withdrawal means creation of a Palestinian Arab state — that is, a neo-Nazi state,” the ZOA president said. “Nobody should be encouraging the creation of a sovereign neo-Nazi state.”

The ZOA president emphasized: “At a time when Israel is facing constant terrorism and international pressure, every Jewish organization has a moral obligation to find ways to help and strengthen Israel, not undercut Israel’s standing or smearing her name. With the vicious attacks on Israel from the likes of the International Court, the United Nations, Jimmy Carter, Ralph Nader, Senator Ernest Hollings, and Rep. Jim Moran, every Jewish group should be extra careful not to provide more ammunition for their attacks on Israel.”

He noted that Reform movement president Eric Yoffie said the Palestinian Arab press uses ‘neo-Nazi language’ (speech to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations national board, June 1, 2001), and Martin Weiner, immediate past president of the Central Conference of American [Reform] Rabbis, who said, ‘the Palestinians really do not want peace’ (Jerusalem

Post, March 7, 2002). “We agree with Rabbis Yoffie and Weiner,” the ZOA president said. “It makes no sense to give a sovereign state to people who do not want peace and use neo-Nazi language.”

Klein disputed the Reform resolution’s call for “strengthening the Palestinian Authority,” noting that a regime that wages war against Israel, and uses ‘neo-Nazi’ language, should not be strengthened; it should be dismantled. He said that just as the United States did not negotiate with Saddam Hussein, the Iranian mullahs, or Adolf Hitler, there should be no negotiations with the PA. “Negotiations with a terror regime such as the PA can produce nothing except to legitimize that regime’s lies and terrorism,” he said.

The ZOA president noted that the Reform resolution demands that Israel pay compensation to Palestinian Arab landowners who are inconvenienced by the security fence. “This is wrong; the security fence was built in response to the Palestinian Authority’s terrorist war; it is the PA that should compensate the farmers.”

He also expressed concern about the Reform statements’ call for more U.S. “involvement” in the Arab-Israeli negotiating process. Traditionally, U.S. “involvement” or “engagement” in Mideast negotiations has meant more U.S. pressure on Israel to make one-sided concessions to the Arabs. If the Arabs sincerely wanted peace with Israel, there would be no need for U.S. “involvement.”

Our Mission
The ZOA speaks out for Israel – in reports, newsletters, and other publications. In speeches in synagogues, churches, and community events, in high schools and colleges from coast to coast. In e-mail action alerts. In op-eds and letters to the editor. In radio and television appearances by ZOA leaders. Always on the front lines of pro-Israel activism, ZOA has made its mark.
  • Center for Law & Justice
    We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
    We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
    We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
    We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.