ZOA JNS Article: Left’s Attempt to Embed Anti-Israel Cancel Culture Into WZO
News Op-Ed
October 15, 2020

At the “virtual” World Zionist Congress scheduled to take place next week, the far-left will attempt to pass two proposed resolutions to embed “cancel culture” and hostile-to-Israel “J Street U” into the World Zionist Organization.

First, under the misleading guise of “unity of the Jewish people,” the far-left “Arzenu” and “World Union of Meretz” are proposing a “cancel culture” speech code resolution that “prohibit[s] communications, materials and/or programs” that “denigrate or demean” other organizations or their members or leaders “for reasons of differences in theology, ritual practice or nature of observance.” Deemed violations of these prohibitions “will constitute grounds for suspension or dismissal from the WZO and the relevant local Zionist Federation.”

If this “cancel culture” resolution is adopted, you can be thrown out of the World Zionist Congress and every Zionist Federation if you dare to object to the misguided Jews and Jewish leaders who say Kaddish for Hamas terrorists.

And if this resolution is adopted, you’ll essentially face excommunication from the Zionist movement if you oppose the Reform (ARZA) leadership’s written directive to its synagogues to violate Shabbat, by bringing computers into synagogues during Shabbat services, to facilitate voting for the Reform slate then and there.

And if this resolution is adopted, you won’t be able to say a word about gross distortions of Jewish holidays and traditions, such as use of the J Street Haggadah, which turns breaking the matzah on Passover into an obscene “message” to break Israel into two.

Theoretically, this “cancel culture” resolution could also penalize left wing attacks on religious and authentically pro-Israel Jews. But our experience with the Zionist courts has been that the left is virtually never penalized—no matter what rules it violates, and no matter how viciously the left maligns pro-Israel and Orthodox groups.

This “cancel culture” resolution will also engender endless litigation. Indeed, the “speech code” adopted by the American Zionist Movement for the 2020 World Zionist Congress election wasted numerous days and hours. Left wing slates (Hatikvah, ARZA, and Mercaz) brought multiple baseless speech code cases against pro-Israel slates (the ZOA coalition of 27 organizations, the Americans4Israel coalition, the Herut slate, and the Eretz HaKodesh slate).

Other groups have also found that speech codes spawn litigation—for which no one has the time or stomach. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations recently scrapped its speech code, after the ZOA initiated claims against left wing groups that falsely and viciously maligned ZOA. (The leftists called ZOA and its president “racist” simply because ZOA protested the Black Lives Matter organization’s antisemitic platform, social media posts, pogrom, and anti-Israel propaganda trips.)

Second, another misbegotten resolution, proposed by the head of the far-left “Hatikvah” slate, Kenneth Bob (who also serves as J Street’s treasurer), absurdly calls for the World Zionist Organization to “join with” J Street U to implement activities to combat anti-Zionism on college campuses.

This resolution is reminiscent of hiring the proverbial fox to guard the henhouse.

J Street U is one of the lead causes of anti-Zionism on college campuses. J Street brings leading anti-Israel BDS and lawfare promoters to speak on college campuses; runs “Green Line” boycott campaigns; promoted anti-Israel UN resolutions; and opposed moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s eternal capital of Jerusalem. J Street even took students to PLO lectures and to Yasser Arafat’s grave to pay homage to the terrorist leader responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Jews.

Harvard Law Professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz aptly stated that “J Street has done more to turn young people against Israel than any organization in the whole of history.”

If the WZO wishes to join with groups on college campuses that are seriously and effectively combating anti-Zionism, the WZO should work with the 33 organizations that recently signed or supported a letter drafted by the Zionist Organization of America, sent to 165 college presidents, outlining steps that colleges must take to address college anti-Semitism.

We hope that the World Zionist Congress delegates will resoundingly defeat the left’s disastrous resolutions.

Elizabeth A. Berney is the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)’s director of special projects.
The original article was published in JNS.

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.