October 20, 2020
News Press Release

ZOA to WZO — Don’t Give in to Left Wing Blackmail &Threats at World Zionist Congress, Too Much Is at Stake

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein, ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson, Esq., and ZOA Director of Special Projects Elizabeth Berney, Esq. released the following statement:

The 2020 World Zionist Congress (“WZC”) election was a “change” election. The ZOA Coalition, and other pro-Israel and religious slates worked hard to win because we saw that decades of left wing domination had taken the World Zionist Organization (“WZO”) away from its Zionist mandate of protecting and defending the Jewish homeland and people. 

Under the left, WZO education programs often wrongly criticized the Israeli government, the Israeli people and religious Jews. A program and pamphlet produced by the WZO Department of Diaspora Affairs (a department under Reform Jewish control) even praised “Machsom Watch” – an anti-Israel non-governmental organization (“NGO”) that harasses and condemns the brave young Israeli soldiers who oversee the checkpoints that stop suicide bombers from attacking Jerusalem pizza stores. A Reform official declared that his group planned to bring presumably similar NGOs into the WZO.

Leftists at the World Zionist Congress blocked needed Aliyah programs, and blocked expenditures by Israel’s National Institutions to help fellow Jews over the artificial 1949 Armistice “Auschwitz” lines. The leftists sought to falsely and publicly label multi-ethnic Israel as “institutionally racist.” The left also insisted that a “combatting antisemitism” program in Philadelphia last year had to put a “Partners for Progressive Israel” (“PPI”) official on its panel. The PPI panelist then used this public WZO platform to accuse Israel of “perpetuat[ing] an apartheid-like system” and “oppression,” and exhorted the audience to stand up and condemn Israel! And much more.

So we decided, enough was enough.

Fortunately, or so we thought, our hard work in the 2020 election paid off. The ZOA Coalition, together with other pro-Israel and religious groups, won a majority in this long and hard-fought election.

Yesterday, at the virtual World Zionist Congress, WZC delegates were supposed to elect new WZO officials committed to defending Israel and the Jewish people – to start implementing the changes that the Jewish public voted for.

But, as we explained yesterday, the left decided to try to overturn the results of the democratic WZC election. The left essentially resorted to blackmail; threatening to leave the WZO unless left wing officials obtain senior positions to which they are no longer entitled. Unfairly, unethically, and outrageously, the left also enlisted the aid of so-called “international status organizations” who receive automatic seats at the World Zionist Congress and are thus supposed to remain neutral as they always have. 

Disturbingly, the left has now succeeded in delaying the vote for officials that was supposed to take place yesterday. The head of the left wing NCJW gloated in a tweet that international status organizations Hadassah, WIZO, B’nai B’rith, NAAMAT, Maccabi, and Emunah, who are all supposed to remain neutral because they did not participate in the election, helped the left “push[] #WZC2020 to renegotiate.”

In fact, there should be no renegotiation. “Renegotiation” means tossing out the hard-won results of the 2020 WZC election. “Renegotiation” means that the WZO and Israel’s National Institutions will be led by officials who spend some of their time disparaging Israel instead of defending her.

ZOA urges all our allies – and every decent, moral organization and leader, and every person who cares about the integrity of the democratic WZC elections – to stand strong against the left’s outrageous and unfair and undemocratic and unethical and immoral demands and tactics – so that the World Zionist Congress and Israel’s national institutions can once again become strong, shining beacons of light and support to the Jewish people. 

There’s too much at stake to give in to unethical left wing blackmail and threats.