Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein, ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq., and ZOA Director of Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:
Former U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama famously said, “Elections have consequences.”
In the hard-fought World Zionist Congress election earlier this year, the ZOA Coalition of 27 pro-Israel groups, together with other pro-Israel and religious slates won a majority of elected delegate seats for the first time in many decades. The consequence of this election was that an agreement was reached to appropriately and understandably give the winning groups a larger share of the senior positions at Israel’s National Institutions than they had in the past. This reasonable agreement is supposed to be voted on at the World Zionist Congress today.
Notably, the losing left wing groups were not left out of the agreement. They just will have less power than they had during the past years, when they won the elections.
It is thus sad to read the report that leadership of the left wing Masorti (Conservative Jewish) Movement slate are unwilling to accept the consequences of the election. Instead, the Masorti leadership is wrongly calling the democratic election results a “hostile takeover” and essentially resorting to blackmail – by threatening to leave the World Zionist Organization if they don’t succeed at overturning the results of the 2020 elections.
When the right-leaning, pro-Israel and religious slates lost elections throughout the past many decades, they accepted election results graciously, managed as best they could with limited positions in the World Zionist Organization, and simply vowed to work harder in future elections.
ZOA thus urges those organizations who are now threatening to leave the World Zionist Organization to instead act with the same integrity that the right of center groups displayed during all the years when the right of center lost elections.
The left wing Masorti movement also sent out an email blast asking people to pressure “international status organizations” – including Hadassah – to use their guaranteed seats in the World Zionist Congress to overturn the election results. International status organizations receive automatic seats in the World Zionist Congress, without having to run in an election. (Hadassah receives 32 automatic seats.) Because their delegates are not elected, it is traditional and ethical for “international status organizations” to remain neutral on left-right issues. It also serves the self-interest of “international status organizations” to remain neutral, because taking sides offends donors (who come from all ends of the spectrum), and thereby damages these organizations’ non-political missions.
It is thus deeply disappointing and potentially deleterious to Hadassah’s medical mission that Hadassah President Rhoda Smolow publicly called the agreement that reflects democratic election results “unacceptable,” and demanded that the agreement be redrawn to give the left more power than the left won in the elections. For the sake of Hadassah’s important medical mission, and the integrity of the World Zionist Congress elections, ZOA urges our friends at Hadassah to withdraw their demands and to graciously accept the election results.