35th World Zionist Congress Elections
 
Voting has just commenced for the 35th World Zionist Congress elections in which a number of Brit Tzedek activists are running for places on the US delegation, as members of the Hatikvah Coalition, the Green Zionist Alliance and ARZA slates.

The World Zionist Congress is the legislative body of the World Zionist Organization (WZO). The Congress, which holds elections every four to five years, determines policy for the WZO, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish National Fund, and many other affiliate organizations. These influential organizations direct hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel and to Jewish communities throughout the world.

The congressional elections are a barometer for Jewish public opinion worldwide. The US delegation to the World Zionist Congress is the only democratic body with the potential to encompass the full spectrum of the American Zionist movement. The election results impact the relative strength of Zionist organizations within the American Jewish community, which in turn affects Israel's future via the distribution of funds raised primarily in the Diaspora.

One of the most significant issues at stake in these elections is the funding of the West Bank settlements through the WZO with monies raised primarily in the Diaspora. The WZO disperses these funds through its Settlement Division, which while not an official government body, is staffed and largely directed by political appointees. Its quasi-governmental status enables it to circumvent public commitments made by successive Israeli administrations to freeze settlement growth. The Sasson report on the status of illegal settlements found that the WZO serves as a conduit for the creation of illegal settlement outposts and in some cases, that it has knowingly built these outposts on Arab land. The Hatikvah Coalition is committed to confronting this illegal, back-channel for settlement expansion, by working from within the Congress to dismantle the WZO's Settlement Division.

You can make your voice heard today by registering to vote here. The registration fee is $7 ($5 for students), and ballots will be mailed to you via email or post. Elections will run through February.

Hatikvah Coalition

The Hatikvah slate is made up of a coalition of progressive and pro-peace American Zionist organizations, including Union of Progressive Zionists, Meretz USA, Ameinu, Habonim Dror and Hashomer Hatzair. Hatikvah hopes to work to create a Jewish homeland that is "based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace," while simultaneously addressing corruption within the Zionist movement.

Among the goals of its platform are to:

  • Support an end to the occupation and a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 
  • Demand complete equality and civil rights for all Israeli citizens 
  • Work towards a social and economic system that does not tolerate hunger and poverty

  • The Hatikvah slate includes Brit Tzedek members Steve Masters, Ruth Messinger, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Michele Levy, Professor Leonard Grob, Dan Fleshler, Miriam Felton-Dansky, Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Lilly Rivlin, Judith Gelman, Jonathan Sulman, Benjamin Wolff, Benjamin Murane, Josh Rosenthal, and Hasia Diner. [return to top]

    Green Zionist Alliance

    The Green Zionist Alliance was formed in 2001 to promote an activist environmental presence within the Zionist movement. The Alliance hopes to involve American Jews in defending Israel's environment, regardless of their religious persuasion.

    Among the goals of its platform are to:
  • Require full environmental impact statements for new Zionist-funded projects
  • Require sustainable development within Israel
  • Reduce Israel's oil use, air pollution and asthma levels
  • Work collaboratively with neighbors to solve environmental issues

  • The Green Zionist Alliance slate includes Brit Tzedek members Jeff Albert, Danielle Luttenberg, Daniel Orenstein, Noam Dolgin, Arthur Waskow, Ariana Silberman, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Adam Berman, and Susannah Heschel. [return to top]

    ARZA

    ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, is the Zionist arm of the Reform Movement and an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism. ARZA endeavors to make Israel fundamental to the sacred lives and Jewish identity of Reform Jews. As a Zionist organization, ARZA champions activities that further enhance Israel as a pluralistic, just and democratic Jewish state.

    Among the goals of its platform are to:
  • Support a pluralistic Jewish agenda and fight for the recognition of progressive communities
  • Promote Zionist Jewish education in our schools, congregations, youth movements, and camps to make Israel a part of the sacred identity of Reform Jews
  • Oppose the continuation of the Chief Rabbinate
  • Resist the weakening of civil society in Israel

  • The ARZA slate includes Brit Tzedek members Rabbis Roberto Graetz and Aaron Petuchowski. [return to top]


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