Zionist Federation morphs into ‘Israel is always right’ taskforce
This posting has 4 items:
1) Hannah Weisfeld: British gatekeepers of Zionism have shut the door on liberal Zionists;
2) Anshel Pfeffer: The empty debate on Zionism in Britain;
3) Times of Israel: Left-wing Zionist group’s rejection ignites UK debate;
4) The Jerusalem Programme, versions 1 and 3;
Paul Charney, chairman, Zionist Federation, member Conservative Friends of Israel, former member IDF. When, last November, Israel announced plans to build a settlement on E1, Charney said “Israel is taking steps to send out a message that the Palestinian leadership cannot keep undermining the peace process through unacceptable unilateral actions. The Zionist Federation will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself from the rejectionist steps of Palestinian’s leadership”. You can follow his response to any questioning of Israel’s use of force (right to defend itself) at https://twitter.com/paulcharney
British gatekeepers of Zionism have shut the door on liberal Zionists
Why did the UK umbrella Zionist organization decide to exclude Yachad, a pro-Israel pro-peace movement, and how does that cultivate open, public debate in the Diaspora regarding what defines Zionism in the 21st century?
By Hannah Weisfeld, Founder/Director Yachad, Ha’aretz
March 12, 2013
Who are the gatekeepers of Zionist discourse within the UK Jewish community? The dust is only now beginning to settle on a major division that has emerged within Anglo Jewry over just this issue.
Two weeks ago, the Zionist Federation, which describes itself as the “umbrella organization for the Zionist movement in the United Kingdom”, and has over 120 member organizations and over 50,000 affiliated members, rejected the application of Yachad, the British Jewish community’s pro-Israel pro-peace movement, to become an affiliated member.
Haaretz as well as the front pages of the Jewish press in the UK reported the story, with the leading community newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle, claiming that “Zionist turns on Zionist in ‘anti-Israel’ attack”. But headlines and front pages aside, the ZF’s decision highlighted the very real need for Jewish communities worldwide to cultivate a much more open and public conversation regarding who is entitled to define Zionism and its aspirations in 2013 and onwards.
The Zionist Federation originally stated that there were ‘no grounds’ for its rejection of Yachad. Later it suggested that the organization had not shown itself to be supportive enough of Israel, citing Yachad’s support for the upgrade of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, and arranging visits to East Jerusalem and Hebron as proof of this.
When the Zionist Federation was founded in 1899, its role was to campaign for the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people. Over a hundred years later, and statehood achieved, that role has clearly changed.
Today, how does the ZF decide which Zionist groups should enjoy affiliation and a place under its umbrella? According to the ZF’s constitution, the requirement is that affiliated organisations adhere to the World Zionist Organisation’s Jerusalem Program, which sets out a six-point platform defining Zionist activity. It would be no surprise if the average reader was not familiar with this 2004 document, which can be read [below]. Its importance, though, punches far above its fame, as it constitutes the backbone of the World Zionist Organisation, of which the Zionist Federation is a member.
Two out of the program’s six points – those that refer to aliyah and settling the land of Israel – are put into action just as much by Yachad as by any of the individual members of the ZF council as well as members of affiliated groups. That is to say, all have chosen to make our lives in the UK, and few affiliated groups actively encourage their members to relocate to Israel. So that leaves the remaining four points which, broadly speaking, fall under the categories of:
“Believing in the importance of the State of Israel to the Jewish people; Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state; Ensuring the future of the Jewish people through education; Representing the national interests of the Jewish people.”
Yachad has in fact endorsed the Jerusalem Program but was told – through the pages of the UK Jewish press – that the organization did not in actual fact “comply with it.” But what is it exactly about supporting an upgrade of Palestine’s status at the United Nations to a non-member observer status, and organizing trips to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, that annuls Yachad’s compliance with the Jerusalem Program?
Yachad believes that Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic state is now at significant risk. It is precisely because Yachad’s supporters are Jews who care desperately about the future of Israel that they are unashamedly vocal about the urgent necessity to end the occupation and to create a Palestinian state, as the only means of ensuring the longevity of the Jewish homeland.
On any reading, this is exactly what the Jerusalem program asks: To safeguard Israel’s future, and to protect its character as both Jewish and democratic. So when Yachad supports the UN vote that upgraded Palestine to non-member state status, on the basis that it could create a “renewed sense of urgency within the international community to resolve the conflict”, why does that stance signal a lack of adherence to the Jerusalem Program?
Or when Yachad conducts tours of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to give British Jews a broader understanding of the conflict, hoping that this will in turn ignite a desire to be more vocal about the urgency of a political resolution, this is fully within the letter and spirit of the Jerusalem program: Ensuring the future of the Jewish people and Israel through education.
Accusations have been levelled at the motivations of the people ‘behind’ Yachad. But ‘behind’, or rather, involved, in Yachad, as board members and staff, are former IDF veterans, major communal philanthropists, active members of synagogues, former staff of the UK’s pro-Israel media relations organization BICOM, and graduates of Zionist youth movements.
It would take a significant effort to accuse this assembly of having anything other than having the best interests of the Jewish people and the State of Israel at heart. The real issue at the heart of this debate is not really compliance with the Jerusalem program, which is clearly open to different interpretations. Rather, the question is: What defines the work of Zionism and its supporters in the 21st century?
At Yachad’s core is the notion that as previous generations were tasked with the establishment of the State of Israel, it is the task of this generation to consolidate the State by ending the occupation. Only through ending the occupation can the Jewish people truly ‘strengthen…Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character’ as the Jerusalem program itself asks of us. That means that supporters of Yachad are, at times, critical of Israeli government policies. But this is only part of a spectrum of activities we are involved in, alongside debating nefarious critics of Israel in public settings, organizing Israel Independence Day events, and calling out anti-Semitism when it rears its ugly head in the context of Israel.
If, because of our specifically targeted criticism, Yachad is precluded from affiliating to the Zionist Federation, the “umbrella organisation for the Zionist movement in the United Kingdom” seems to be a slogan no longer in fair use.
Hannah Weisfeld is a founder and the director of Yachad, the pro-Israel pro-peace movement in the UK. She previously managed a wide range of international social justice campaigns.
If Zionism still exists, then it is not a creature of committees, federations and six-point platforms – it is the ongoing challenge of building and maintaining a country and society that conforms to the highest global standard.
By Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz
March 07, 2013
Who is a Zionist? Once upon a time the answer to this question was simple. A Zionist was someone who believed there were moral justifications and a need for a Jewish sovereign state in the historical Land of Israel. If you recognized this, you were Zionist and all the rest was just nuance. But the definition of a Zionist has become hopelessly murky in the more than six decades since Israel’s establishment amid the never-ending debate over Israel’s definition, borders and values.
Is there one Zionism for those who choose to build their lives in the Jewish state, sharing in its sacrifice and dangers, and another for those who prefer to sympathize from afar? Can Zionists by proxy criticize the policies of an elected Israeli government – or should they offer unconditional support or remain silent? Do Jews in London or New York have a duty to sound the alarm when they fear Israel is veering off course? When do they run the risk of giving succor to the enemies of Zionism?
The latest fracas roiling the Jewish establishment in London has to do with the refusal of Britain’s Zionist Federation to accept Yachad – the young, self-described “pro-Israel and pro-peace” movement – as an affiliated member, and purports to focus on these core issues.
But does it, really? This controversy could just as easily be about internal communal politics: a clever but cynical PR stunt by a start-up group and the frantic attempt of an increasingly marginal veteran organization to retain exclusive control of the “Z” brand.
For those of you who haven’t been following, the basic outline of the story is quite simple: In In less than two years of existence, Yachad, a small but articulate group of Jewish leftists has succeeded in establishing itself as an ideological hub for British Jews who love Israel and firmly believe in its core values, but at the same time fear its policies are jeopardizing any chance at peace with its neighbors, not to mention the Palestinians living in it.
For some people, whether or not they sympathize with these sentiments, the idea of a Jewish group openly criticizing Israel in the not always Zio-friendly English environment is anathema – after all, hasn’t Israel got enough enemies here? If Jews living outside of Israel can’t bring themselves to support it unquestioningly, they should surely keep their reservations to themselves.
Others have realized that for a community where many members, especially of the younger generation, are despairing of Israel, it is useful to have a forum where they can air their frustrations.
Last week, the United Kingdom’s Zionist Federation, a venerable organization and the oldest of its kind in the world, announced it was rejecting Yachad’s request to become an affiliated member. According to the federation’s detailed statement, its “Constitution Committee” had “found a number of examples where [Yachad] was found lacking in its overall support for Israel” and following this “non-recommendation,” a majority of the federation’s member-organizations voted against accepting it as an affiliated member.
The bureaucracy of Zionism
On your behalf, I tried to read and understand the Zionist Federation’s statement explaining its deliberations and each time found my forehead hitting the keyboard around the third paragraph. Forget building the Land of Israel, apparently Zionism means hacking through a thicket of committees, applications, vetting procedures and complying with something called “the Jerusalem Programme.”[see below]
I have lived in Jerusalem for three-quarters of my life and spent most of my journalistic career covering its affairs, but this is the first time I have heard of a Jerusalem program that is supposed to define who is a Zionist. I think it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of Zionists, living in Israel and around the world, are unaware of its existence.
The Jerusalem Program, according to some online digging, is the platform of the World Zionist Organization containing the six foundations of Zionism that was adopted in 2004. I will spare you the details: It is a bland and unobjectionable document, and putting aside the delicious irony that it is named after a city where the majority of residents do not consider themselves Zionists, is irrelevant to any real debate.
The Jerusalem Program, just like the Zionist Council, the World Zionist Organization and the various Zionist Federations are no more than historic relics of a historic organization and are of no importance to Israelis and Jews – other than those employed by these bodies or who derive some sort of importance from serving as their lay-leaders. They are not what Zionism is about. Love or hate it and despite the many faults of the Jewish state, going by the results, Zionism is a success story. Creating a largely thriving and partly democratic country against such adversity is surely an unparalleled achievement. None of the other nations established over the last 70 years comes even close.
Perhaps Israel’s greatest achievement is that when we find it lacking, as it woefully is, it is because we compare it to much older and larger countries, with centuries of history, experience and exponentially richer resources.
Some Zionists feel that it is unfair to compare Israel to western nations and that the unrelenting criticism in international forums and media is hopelessly biased. None of its neighbors and nearly all the developing countries do not even come close to Israel on any scale of human rights and democracy, its defenders argue.
This, of course, is rank hypocrisy – these Zionists want Israel to belong to the best western clubs but resent it being judged by the same standards. Even they realize that, by those standards, Israel is a dysfunctional society fighting an uphill battle – one that it often loses – against racism and corruption.
Defining Zionism – on the ground
If Zionism still exists, then it is not a creature of committees, federations and six-point platforms – it is the ongoing challenge of building and maintaining a country and society that conforms to the highest global standards, across the board. Zionists, whether in Israel or abroad, don’t need to be “affiliated.” I suspect Yachad’s shrewd director Hannah Weisfeld understood this, and applied for her organization to be recognized by the Zionist Federation assuming it would be turned down, and knowing it would provoke a long-overdue debate. A canny ploy and, judging from the publicity it has generated, a successful one.
However, it has everything to do with communal politics and little to do with the lives and beliefs of Israelis and Zionists. The future of Zionism will be determined by Israelis engaged in the daily struggle of building their society and extricating it from racism, bigotry and hatred. Diaspora Jews, on the right and left, have an opportunity to play an influential supporting role. They don’t need a “Zionist” stamp of approval or label to makes their voices heard.
A popular backlash follows a decision by the Jewish establishment not to recognize a new organization with liberal views on Israel
By Miriam Shaviv, Times of Israel
March 9, 2013,/em>
LONDON — Hannah Weisfeld seems upbeat. Last week, the group she directs, Yachad, had its membership application turned down by the Zionist Federation, an umbrella group of more than 120 UK Zionist outfits. It was perceived as a significant snub to the group, which is often dubbed Britain’s J Street, the liberal Israel lobby in the US. But a backlash followed. Community leaders lined up to declare that the ZF had made a mistake, while an editorial supportive of Yachad in the Jewish Chronicle received a record number of messages of agreement. “ZF scored a huge own-goal,” tweeted editor Stephen Pollard.
For Weisfeld, it was a defining moment.
“It’s forced people to come down on the side of the line that says, ‘I support the right of this organization to define itself as Zionist,’ ” she told The Times of Israel. “The ZF created a situation where we’re able to say we have the support of the community en masse.”
But how deep does that support actually run? Yachad was established less than two years ago, in May 2011, “to provide a voice for British Jews who believe that to be pro-Israel today means safeguarding a Jewish and democratic Israel within internationally recognized borders, through the creation of a Palestinian state.”
Is there a thirst in the UK for a new, more critical type of conversation about Israel (as Peter Beinart claims in America), or has Yachad’s importance been exaggerated by the current controversy?
“Our position is no different to Olmert, Livni and any of the army generals we bring to speak,” says Yachad director Hannah Weisfeld. (Courtesy of Yachad)
David Hirsh, the founder of Engage, a campaign against academic boycotts of Israel, and a sociology lecturer at Goldsmith College, University of London, says that the ZF is wrong to exclude Yachad from the Zionist mainstream, but that it is a relatively “fringe” group. There is no serious market for a group that positions itself as challenging a powerful right-wing establishment, he contends, because the leadership is largely in tune with the consensus positions of Britain’s Jewish community on the two key issues: fighting anti-Semitism and accepting a two-state solution.
Take Bicom, which provides information on Israel to the British media, and the Community Security Trust, which represents the community on matters of anti-Semitism and security. While the former “has very clearly embraced the notion of being pro-Israel and pro-peace,” he says, the latter “is also good at recognizing anti-Semitism, and is in no way antagonistic to a two-state position.”
While “it’s tempting to portray the community as right-wing, establishment, pro-Likud, screaming about anti-Semitism,” and to claim to offer a left-wing response, “a world in which it is really hard for pro-peace Jews to get a hearing is not one I recognize.”
Two of the strongest expressions of support for Yachad’s predicament last week came from Jeremy Newmark, the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, and Vivian Wineman, the president of the Board of Deputies, Anglo-Jewry’s representative organization.
But Jonathan Hoffman, a member of the ZF national council who voted against Yachad, claims that they are further to the left than the community they lead.
The 2010 Institute for Jewish Policy Research survey on the attitude of British Jews to Israel shows that more than 95 percent have visited, and 82 percent say it plays a central or important role in their Jewish identities. While the community was dovish on key issues such as giving up territory for peace (67 percent were in favor) and expanding settlements (74 percent were against), there was also strong backing for security measures such as the security barrier (72 percent), and support for the 2008-’09 Gaza war (72 percent).
“They say they are Zionists and pro-Palestinian, but we found a lack of examples when it came to being pro-Israel,” says Zionist Federation chairman Paul Charney. (Courtesy of the Zionist Federation)
For Hoffman, the meaning is clear: “The rank and file are still pretty staunchly pro-Israel.”
The implication is that they would not be interested in Yachad, which Hoffman counts among groups such as Independent Jewish Voices and Jews for Justice for Palestinians that loudly oppose the Jewish establishment on Israel, but attract minute followings.
Yachad, he claims, represents a few “vocal people and literate people” from the artistic and media world, and Weisfeld is “overegging her pudding” by claiming more.
Weisfeld counters that this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the community. The political discourse, she says, is “shifting very quickly. The community is at a dramatically different place to where it was three years ago,” when, she claims, debate on Israel was more stifled.
Nowadays, there is “an understanding that debate is okay,” a change she credits to Yachad’s own work; to community leaders such as Jewish Leadership Council chair Mick Davis, who publicly supported “constructive criticism” of Israel; and to the Israeli government’s hawkish policies.
In 2012, the group ran 88 events attracting 3,480 people and raised £87,372 ($132,289) from 88 donors. Unexpected doors have opened: Weisfeld has been welcomed at several Orthodox shuls. Members come from across the age spectrum, and there are many young members seeking a more liberal conversation on Israel.
Yachad’s biggest challenge, says Weisfeld, is managing its rapid growth. Groups like the ZF feel threatened because, “in a quite short period of time, we’ve grown quite fast. It’s very obvious to lots of people that the next generation is in our camp, moving in this direction.”
One sympathizer, Keith Kahn-Harris,the author of “Turbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today,” [and JfJfP signatory] agrees that the organization has earned a following quickly, but says many followers worry that it is hampered by its desire to be accepted by the mainstream community. One symptom is its application to the ZF. Another is its decision not to campaign in the wider political sphere for a two-state solution, but to focus on changing the discourse in the Jewish community through educational sessions, media work and facilitating trips to the East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“You can argue that they will be more effective working in the Jewish community than being one small group lobbying the government, but it blunts their edge,” he says.
ZF national council member Jonathan Hoffman considers Yachad’s membership application a “publicity stunt.” (
The inevitable comparison is to political lobby J Street.
Initially, says Kahn-Harris, “the association helped because it was a model to work on, but now it’s clear they are completely different organizations. They work in completely different ways.”
Weisfeld says that the two occupy the same political space, but Yachad chooses to focus on grassroots work because there is no culture of lobbying in the UK, and in order to give its supporters a communal platform. The two groups are also responding to different communities.
When it comes to Israel, there are large numbers of disaffected UK Jews, Weisfeld says, “but it’s not as extreme in the US.”
She credits Britain’s strong culture of Zionist youth movements, such as Habonim Dror, the Federation of Zionist Youth (FZY) and Hanoar Hatzioni, which “give kids a positive experience of Israel.” Britain’s relative proximity to Israel also means that most Jews have visited, so the community is relatively knowledgeable and attached.
The media environment, on the other hand, is harsher than America’s, as is the political scene, with no Christian Zionists to balance the general Israel debate. It is impossible to shield young British Jews from multiple perspectives on Israel, and once they have left the protective cocoon of the youth movements, the shock and disillusion may be greater, raising questions about how to educate teens on Israel.
Weisfeld has experienced the process herself. A graduate of Habonim, her three years at Sussex University, beginning in 2000, were marred by “nasty student politics,” in which her Zionism “made me unpalatable to many of the students.” When she later returned to her old youth group as the education director, she suddenly found herself perceived as “the polar opposite, on the liberal left of the spectrum.”
“When I finished, I said I never wanted anything to do with Israel or the conflict again,” she says.
Eventually, Weisfeld went to work for the Pears Foundation, where she conducted research into social justice and the Jewish community, and coordinated the UK community’s Darfur campaign.
“At a certain point, the world of Israeli activism and broader social justice collided for me, largely inspired by seeing what happened in America in J Street,” she says. “It captured a certain mood, and I’ve tried to do something similar here.”
In 2012, Yachad ran 88 events attracting 3,480 people and raised $132,289
Had Yachad not existed, she allows, a small number of members might have joined anti-Israel groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The crux of Yachad’s problems in the broader Jewish community, though, is that many regard Yachad itself as an anti-Israel group. A variant on this accusation caused its rejection from the ZF.
The 10-month application process included a commitment by Yachad to adhere to the Jerusalem Program, the World Zionist Organization’s platform, which makes a “secure” Israel a priority and calls the unity of the Jewish people a foundation of Zionism.
At the conclusion of the process, the ZF’s constitutional committee recommended against accepting the application. Nevertheless, says ZF chairman Paul Charney, the national committee took a vote.
According to Hoffman, perhaps 18 of about 20 people present voted against Yachad.
“Everything we’d been required to do seemed to be irrelevant,” says Weisfeld.
Charney maintains that the decision was fair because it was democratic. He emphasizes that Yachad is not the only organization recently turned down; so was Herut on the right. (It gained admission when it reapplied after six months, an option Charney encourages Yachad to pursue.) Nor does the ZF have a problem with left-wing members. Its affiliates already include groups such as Meretz and Pro-Zion, the UK Progressive movement’s Zionist organization.
The issue, says Charney, was that Yachad’s pro-Israel talk did not seem to match its actions.
“They say they are Zionists and pro-Palestinian, but we found a lack of examples when it came to being pro-Israel,” he says. “They were more critical than defensive of Israel. Pro-Palestinian work is fine, but you need both sides.”
Hoffman says that he voted against Yachad because he believes it does not adhere to the Jerusalem Program, although it signed up.
Specific allegations include that Yachad threatened Israel’s security by advocating for the “immediate creation” of a Palestinian state, and by supporting the recent UN upgrade to Palestinian status, opening up a path to cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court. Yachad’s tours of what he calls “Judea and Samaria” — the biblical term for the West Bank – including Palestinian refugee camps, he says, are one-sided, and he alleges that Weisfeld is equivocal when it comes to boycotts of goods from Israeli settlements.
Had Yachad not existed, Weisfeld allows, a small number of members might have joined anti-Israel groups like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Citing an essay Weisfeld wrote for Peter Beinart’s Open Zion, in which she said that the rejection was “hardly a surprise,” Hoffman accuses her of applying to the ZF in bad faith.
“Was it purely a publicity stunt? It’s the only reason I can think of,” he says.
Weisfeld responds that anyone who thinks she does not speak up for Israel “has selective hearing. All they have to do is read the pieces I wrote about George Galloway or the BDS movement or to listen to me on a panel with [Israeli New Historian] Ilan Pappe. I’m not in his camp.”
She says that Hoffman is wrong on several of his facts, pointing out that Yachad does not take tours to refugee camps, nor does it call for the “immediate” creation of a Palestinian state.
“Our position is no different to Olmert, Livni, and any of the army generals we bring to speak,” she says, naming a former Israeli prime minister and foreign minister. “It doesn’t mean we want to dismantle Israel’s borders and leave Israel insecure.”
Similarly, many people within Israel agreed with the Palestinian UN upgrade, “not so that Israel could be sanctioned at the ICC, but because it might provide momentum to make something happen in the international community,” she says.
She stands by her position on BDS, which is that “if the BDS movement had chosen to boycott [only] over the Green Line [Israel’s pre-1967 border], it would be a different debate. Boycotting Israel in its entirety makes their motivations dubious.”
Given the discourse, can the two very different ends of the political spectrum be reconciled under one umbrella organization? In six months, if Yachad does reapply for ZF membership — a move Weisfeld says she will only consider if Yachad is guaranteed “an equal space at the table” — Anglo-Jewry may find out.
If Yachad builds on the wave of support it has seen this week, by then it may be harder to ignore.
First version, 1951
The task of Zionism is the consolidation of the State of Israel, the ingathering of exiles in Eretz Israel, and the fostering of the unity of the Jewish people. The program of work of the Zionist Organization is:
● Encouragement of immigration, absorption and integration of immigrants; support of Youth Aliyah; stimulation of agricultural settlement and economic development; acquisition of land as the property of the people.
● Intensive work for halutziut (pioneering) and hachsharah (training for halutziut).
● Concerted effort to harness funds in order to carry out the tasks of Zionism.
● Encouragement of private capital investment.
● Fostering of Jewish consciousness by propagating the Zionist idea and strengthening the Zionist Movement; imparting the values of Judaism; Hebrew education and spreading the Hebrew language.
● Mobilization of world public opinion for Israel and Zionism.
● Participation in efforts to organize and intensify Jewish life on democratic foundations, maintenance and defense of Jewish rights
The latest version adopted 2004
Introduction by the Daniel Zylbersztajn, Executive Director Meretz UK,
Below you can read the current version of the Jerusalem Program. It has been changed several times. The majority of Zionist organisations are on the political right. Changing its contents in a way that becomes more attune to Left wing ideology requires a strengthening of Jewish left bodies, such as Meretz UK. We and others have representative rights on world representative congresses, but the voting rights are measured in membership counts.
Possible changes to the text may or may not include:
An added expressions of Israel as a nation in peaceful cooperation with its neighbours and the community of nations and with respect to international obligations and treaties.
An added expression to support an Israel bound by full respect for human and civil rights, with respect to the fact that Jewish people were often treated without that respect throughout history.
An added expression of Israel as a state with Jewish character but to no exclusion of the right of others.
An added expression of a temporary aim to take necessary steps for a reconciliation and peace process with Palestinians. The majority of Jewish people who subscribe to such notions are currently situated in the Diaspora, hence it is crucial to strengthen organisations such as Meretz UK and others on the Jewish Left.
In the mean time it is important for people who sign up with Meretz for full membership to be aware that they quasi agree to the programme as cited below, by proxy of becoming a full member and Meretz UK being part of the Federation of Zionist Organisations in the UK and part of the left wing blog of World Zionist organisations.
The twist in the matter is that only if you agree to the current text (by obtaining a full Meretz UK membership), do you gain the right to campaign (through full membership) for a better version, because only full members can vote and count when it comes to the Zionist Federation. For all others we have the associate membership, which allows you to opt out, but still support us.
New Jerusalem Programme
Adopted June 2004 in Jerusalem by the Zionist Council, governing body of World Zionist Organisation.
Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the state osf Israel, and views a Jewish , Zionist, democratic and secure state of Israel to be the expression of common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.
The foundations of Zionism are:
● The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;
● Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli Society. ● Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.
● Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;
● Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;
● Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.