The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) filed an objection/complaint yesterday with the election officials administering the upcoming World Zionist Congress election, to disqualify a group that misleadingly calls itself the “HaTikvah slate,” because the group Ameinu of the “HaTikvah slate” lobbies for international sanctions against Israeli leaders whose political positions they disagree with, and because the group Partners for a Progressive Israel (PPI) of the “HaTikvah slate” promotes boycotts against Israeli Jewish Businesses in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. 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 and harms numerous Palestinian Arab employees as well. ZOA’s complaint further notes that such discriminatory boycotts violate New York State’s Human Rights Law, as well as the raison d’etre of the World Zionist Congress..
Partners for a Progressive Israel, also known as MeretzUSA, a leading group in the “HaTikvah slate,” openly boycotts and promotes boycotts against Jewish/Israeli businesses in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, including cities such as Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, Hebron and Efrat.
PPI’s boycott hurts hard working Jews and Arabs who are simply trying to make a living to support their families, and harms peaceful co-existence. For instance, PPI boycotted and hounded SodaStream until SodaStream announced it was moving its plant. The plant move is expected to result in hundreds of Arabs losing well-paying jobs at a company with a stellar record of treating Arabs and Jews equally. SodaStream even had an onsite mosque on its premises.
Ameinu, another leading group comprising the “HaTikvah slate,” is lobbying for severe international sanctions to be imposed against certain Jewish Israeli leaders and public figures. These sanctions include asset freezes and travel exclusions – the same sorts of sanctions that are usually reserved for terrorist regimes.
ZOA’s complaint also points to interconnections among the four groups comprising the “HaTikvah slate.” IRS filings show that Partners for Progressive Israel and Ameinu share an address. The other two members of the “HaTikvah” slate, Habonim Dror North America and Hashomer Hatzair, appear to be youth arms of the slates’ other members.
In addition, the ZOA complaint points to evidence that J Street is part of the same “HaTikvah slate.” The top three Ameinu officials are also J-Street officials or closely involved with J Street. In addition, an Ameinu director wrote in 2009 that J Street would be part of the “HaTikvah” slate. J Street is involved in de facto promotion of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (“BDS”) against Israel, including by featuring the leaders of the BDS movement, including Mustafa Barghouti and Rebecca Vilkomerson, at J Street national conferences and J Street events throughout the country, and by honoring BDS leaders. Part of the J Street video entitled “Giving Voices to Our Values” also promotes boycotting all of Israel.
Both Partners for a Progressive Israel and J Street have also given platforms at their national conferences /symposia to a major leader of the “Lawfare” movement. “Lawfare” is the use and abuse of court systems to wage war against Israel.
In addition to pointing to violations of anti-discrimination provisions of the World Zionist Organization Constitution and the New York State Human Rights Law, ZOA’s complaint provided a historical perspective on why anti-Jewish boycotts are such an anathema, as follows:
“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!”
(Emphasis added.) 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”’s 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 2000 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 in fact promotes boycotts against Jewish businesses in eastern Jerusalem and other areas encompassed by the song. 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 “Hatikva slate” from running.”
ZOA’s complaint is well documented with extensive citations. A copy of ZOA’s objection/complaint regarding the “HaTikvah” slate is available here.
The Zionist Organization of America Slate in the Upcoming World Zionist Congress Election: The Zionist Organization of America will be running an All-Star slate in the upcoming World Zionist Congress elections. The ZOA slate is led by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein and Irwin Hochberg (past Chairman of the UJA-UJC Jewish Federation of New York and past National Campaign Chair for Israel Bonds), and includes top ZOA officials, board members and activists, students from numerous universities, prominent professors, physicians, a best selling author, a former U.S. Congressman, and the heads of other prominent Jewish organizations. The ZOA slate includes members of every stream of Judaism and numerous communities, including the Persian-Jewish community, Russian-Jewish community and more!
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.
We urge everyone to vote for the Zionist Organization of America slate in the World Zionist Congress election, which begins on January 13, 2015 and continues until April 30, 2015.