(This article first appeared in DailyWire.com)
American Jews are now embroiled in an important election battle over the U.S. seats at the World Zionist Congress (WZC) for the next five years. Record numbers of Jewish U.S. residents have been casting votes in this online election, which ends on March 11.
The World Zionist Congress has a major impact on both Israel and Diaspora Jews. It helps control Israel’s major national institutions’ polices and funding priorities for a $1 billion annual budget.
This election is so important that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu just called on every eligible Jewish U.S. resident to vote for our slate, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Coalition (slate #11). Watch the video of Netanyahu’s endorsement at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBtQ4wfTsaY.
In addition, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Justice Minister Amir Ohana, several other cabinet ministers, and numerous other Knesset member have all publicly endorsed the ZOA Coalition.
The ZOA Coalition includes 27 of the strongest pro-Israel groups and is leading the battle at the World Zionist Congress to defend Israel, sovereignty, and the safety and well-being of the entire Jewish people.
At the 2015–16 World Zionist Congresses, ZOA Coalition led a difficult, successful two-year battle to pass an anti-“Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction” (BDS) resolution to combat boycotts against all Jews, including Jews living in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. The ZOA Coalition also initiated a WZC program to encourage buying Israeli products, as well as promoting other anti-BDS efforts.
At the most recent (2019) World Zionist Congress, the ZOA Coalition initiated every single pro-Israel and pro-Jewish resolution.
Because rapidly rising anti-Semitic violence in Europe and elsewhere is a major threat, the ZOA Coalition initiated and obtained passage of a WZC resolution giving highest funding priority to rescuing and bringing to Israel Jews who are endangered by global anti-Semitism.
But, despite anti-Semitic murders and frequent attacks on Jews in France, other slates blocked the ZOA Coalition’s efforts to also establish an emergency Aliyah program for endangered French Jewry. If ZOA Coalition obtains more votes in the current election, this won’t happen again. The safety of endangered Jews will always come first.
ZOA Coalition initiated and obtained passage of resolutions condemning UNESCO for denying the Jewish people’s connection to Jewish sites in Jerusalem and Hebron, as well as requiring use of the proper names “Judea and Samaria” — instead of the de-Judaized name “West Bank.” ZOA Coalition also led the 23-year battle to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
We’re extremely concerned about what will happen if the ZOA Coalition does not do well in this WZC election.
Our opponents used the power they obtained in previous WZC elections to stop Israel’s national institutions from purchasing lands in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and even in the Negev. This anti-Jewish discrimination could become even worse.
Shockingly, at the most recent World Zionist Congress, our opponents tried to pass a resolution smearing Israel’s tolerant, multi-faceted society as replete with “institutional racism.” We were only able to defeat this resolution — which reminded us of the notorious 1975 United Nations “Zionism is racism” resolution — by one vote.
An opposition group now openly says that it is running in the WZC election to “divert” the $1 billion per year of Israel’s national institution funding “away from the entrenchment of the occupation.”
“Occupation” is a false propaganda term used to attack Jewish persons’ rights to continue living on historic Jewish lands designated for the Jewish homeland under international law. Anti-Israel boycott groups use the term “occupation” to demonize Israel. It is frightening that groups running in the WZC election are using the same rallying cry.
The ZOA Coalition (slate #11) needs many more votes now, so that the next attempt to use the World Zionist Congress to smear Israel has no chance of passing. The full slate includes the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Aish HaTorah, Students Supporting Israel, NORPAC, The Lawfare Project, American Friends of Likud, Dov Hikind’s Americans Against Antisemitism, One Israel Fund, Young Jewish Conservatives, Z Street, American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, American Friends of Likud, Chovevei Zion, Eretz Israel Movement, National Conference on Jewish Affairs, major Russian-Jewish and Persian-Jewish and Ukrainian-Jewish groups, Beta Israel, and more.
Make sure to cast your vote; you have the chance to determine the Jewish future for the next five years. Vote via the link at VoteZOA.org, or directly at ZionistElection.org
Mort Klein (@mortonaklein7) is national president of ZOA. Mark Levenson is national chairman of ZOA.
By Mort Klein and Mark Levenson