AZM Statement: Principles of Zionism





The American Zionist Movement (AZM), comprising 28 national Jewish Zionist organizations, links the diverse American Jewish community in support of Israel, Zionism and the Jewish People. The AZM and its constituent organizations represent American Zionists within the National Institutions of Israel, including the World Zionist Organization (WZO). The AZM and its constituent organizations fully support and endorse The Jerusalem Program of the WZO, the global statement of the beliefs of the Zionist movement.1

The American Zionist Movement (AZM), through action and deed, supports these principles:

  • The sovereign state of Israel’s unconditional right to exist as the Jewish democratic homeland;
  • The right of the people of Israel to live in peace and security;
  • Pride in the common history, culture, destiny and religious heritage of the Jewish people;
  • Pride in Israel’s rich contributions to the world and its aspirational role to be an exemplary society for all of humanity; and
  • Israel’s centrality to Jewish identity and life.

Zionism Forward is the AZM’s campaign to:

  • Strengthen support for Israel, the Jewish people and Zionism.
  • Celebrate the ideology and cause of Zionism.
  • Help strengthen Israel’s position in the global family of nations.
  • Improve the dialogue on Zionism in America and participate in a new effort to guide the American Jewish people to speak in a unified and informed voice in support of Zionism’s core principles.
  • Provide the forum that fosters our diverse constituent Zionist organizations’ respectful coalescence around our commonality.

1The JERUSALEM PROGRAM is the official platform of the WORLD ZIONIST ORGANIZATION and the global Zionist movement, having been most recently amended and adopted in June 2004, as the successor statement to the “Basel Program” of 1897 adopted at the First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl.  The Jerusalem Program states that:

Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the 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.



WZO / AZM Celebrate Israel Parade 2018

View full photo album on our facebook page


Float starts at 120:30 (3 minute clip)


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JERUSALEM SHABBAT – שבת ירושלים 

Behar – Bechukotai
May 11 – 12, 2018
27 Iyar 5778

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) is joining with our colleagues in the Department for Diaspora Activities (DDA) of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) to mark שבת ירושלים –  “Jerusalem Shabbat” on May 11-12, 2018 (27 Iyar 5778), Parashat Behar-Bechukotai (as read in the Torah in the Diaspora).  This is the day before we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim (on Sunday May 13 – 28 Iyar) and two days before we mark the 70th “secular anniversary” of Israel’s founding  on Monday, May 14.


This is a continuation of the “American Zionist Shabbat” initiative which was launched by AZM in October 2017 under the “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” which culminates in celebrating Israel@70 in 2018.

Below you will see links to some resources specific to this special May 11-12, 2018 Shabbat and weekend, as well as the text of the Source Book for the American Zionist Shabbat which contains many appropriate general resources on Zionism. These and other resources are available from the WZO at and from AZM at  

This is an opportunity for all to celebrate Jerusalem and Israel@70 (and our families, as it is Mother’s Day weekend).  This year we also recognize an important American connection to Israel and Zionism, as signified by the 70th anniversary of the United States recognition of Israel by President Truman on May 14, 1948. 


Note: click on each hyperlinked listing to open the webpage

Greetings from the Gusti-Yehoshua Braverman, Head of the WZO Department for Diaspora Activities

WZO-DDA Resource Guide “Beit Ha’am Z-Talks – My Jerusalem: An Anthology for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day)

ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists in America) – Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Israel Independence Day – Supplemental Readings

RZA (Religious Zionists of America) – Parshat Behar-Bechukotai: “The Holiness of the Land of Israel” 

WZO Jerusalem Day Supplement

Israel Forever Foundation – Resources for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day)

Truman Presidential Library – May 1948 Recognition of the State of Israel

WZO Beit Ha’am Unit for Shavuot – On Jewish Peoplehood


© 2018. All Rights Reserved. The American Zionist Movement



Lech Lecha to Vayishlach
October 28 – December 2, 2017
8 Cheshvan – 414 Kislev 5778


The American Zionist Movement has launched a series of programs in 2017-2018, which we have described as the “AZM Year of Zionist Anniversaries”. As we mark 120 years since Theodor Herzl launched the modern Zionist movement when he convened the first Zionist Congress in Basel, we will also celebrate major milestones this Fall during this Jewish year 5778. Therefore, AZM is launching a new American Zionist Shabbat initiative over the period of each Shabbat from Parshiot Lech Lecha to Vayishlach (October 28, 2017 through December 2, 2017). These weeks coincide with the Shabbat before the Centennial of the Balfour Declaration until the Shabbat after we commemorate 70 years since the United Nations Partition Resolution adoption (8 Cheshvan- 14 Kislev 5778).

AZM has begun this initiative, a resumption of the Zionist Shabbat/Shabbat Tzion program that AZM and the World Zionist Organization conducted in the past, in order to have greater dialogue within American Jewry on the significance of Zionism and its continuing relevance to our people and community. We hope that during these weeks, and commencing with the Shabbat of Parsha Lech Lecha – the journey of the Jewish People – Rabbis will speak about Zionism in their sermons, drashot and writings; day schools, yeshivot and Hebrew schools will connect their students to Zionism as related to the weekly Torah readings; and, that congregations, community organizations and Jewish institutions will share materials and encourage programs and discussions on Zionism.

AZM has compiled this initial Source Book, drawn from materials developed and shared by our AZM organizations and others, to each of whom we express our thanks and appreciation for their leadership and dedication, in order to provide a resource for conversations on Zionism during this period of American Zionist Shabbat. We will continue to grow and expand this guide and program through these weeks, and in coming months and years, and encourage others to share sources with us at

As we have seen Zionism attacked from various groups and people in America, it is important that Zionists of all backgrounds come together in our united support for the State of Israel as she enters her 70th year. That is what happened when Herzl first brought together abroad coalition of Zionists 120 years ago to build the movement which would lead to the establishment of a Jewish state in our ancestral land. Today Zionism is very much alive as we connect Jews worldwide with our homeland and as we continue to support the vibrant democracy, culture and contributions of Israel and the Jewish people.

This 2017-18/ 5777-78 “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” includes recognizing:

  • 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem following the Six Day War in June 1967;
  • 120 years since Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerlandin August 1897;
  • 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued in November 1917 by the BritishForeign Secretary;
  • 70 years since adoption of the United Nations Partition Resolution in November 1947; and,culminates with celebrating the…
  • 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948.

Please share, forward and implement your own thoughts in celebration of Zionism and the American Zionist Shabbat.The American Zionist Movement wishes to thank the leaders of each of the AZM organizations who have contributed materials, ideas and thoughts in developing the American Zionist Shabbat Sourcebook. For Further Information, to make contributions of materials or resources, please contact:

Herbert Block, AZM Executive Director (212) 318-6100 ext. 6946

Alicia Post, AZM Program Director (212) 318-6100 ext. 6947

Please note: materials have been presented to AZM by our member organizations and others as resources and “food for thought” on Zionism. Inclusion of these resources here does not imply any official or full endorsement by AZM of all of the content.

The American Zionist Movement (AZM), including 25 national Jewish organizations, represents American Zionists in the World Zionist Organization and works across a broad ideological, political and religious spectrum linking the American Jewish community together in support of Israel, Zionism and the Jewish

Notes for a Zionist Shabbat

Rabbi Paul Golomb
AZM Vice President for Programming

What does it mean to speak of Zionism in a Shabbat d’rash or d’var Torah? I am referring specifically to an attempt to infuse a Zionist message into talk about the parashah, rather than departing from the text.

We should note first that drawing a Zionist theme from a parashah – any Torah portion – is not obvious. The Book of Genesis focuses primarily on those personalities that become the People Israel. It is a family drama, and the principal motifs that are drawn from its chapters often center on interpersonal dynamics.

The balance of the Books of Humash – Exodus through Deuteronomy – focus on Torah as instruction and the revelation that occurred at Sinai. Sinai, most significantly, is located in the wilderness, Midbar, a place that is nowhere, and therefore can be anywhere. And the revelation itself is inscribed on tablets of stone that Moses can carry down from the mountain. An extended stretch of the Book of Exodus is given over to a detail description of a mishkan, where the tablets will be housed in an Ark and the priestly administrations performed on behalf of the people will take place. The principal feature of the mishkan is its portability. It can go anywhere!

In the balance of Scripture, Sinai (or Horeb) is mentioned a mere nine times. After the first few verses of Joshua, Moses is not mentioned at all. As Sinai disappears, it is replaced by Zion, a fixed place where God and Israel may meet. The word “Zion” is not found at all in Torah! Tanakh is rooted in the Land, but Torah is not. Even the haftarot, drawn as they are from the balance of Scripture only rarely refer to Zion.

The reading of Torah and haftarah in the Synagogue is designed for a people scattered around the world. The foundation for the Jews is the portable scroll. Zion is an abstraction, a place set aside for a messianic time. Even though many synagogues have added the language that “it is beginning of the flowering of the days of the Messiah” in order to acknowledge the restoration of the Jewish State, Zion, from the Scriptural point of view, remains stubbornly in the future. What can we glean from our Torah readings that we may apply to today?

When reading Torah in the synagogue, the Land is rarely in the foreground, but it is always in the background. Consider the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as narrated in Genesis. In the parashiot Lekh L’kha and VaYishlah, Abraham and Jacob have travelled outside of the Land, to Egypt and Aram respectively. They both have been impelled to do so because remaining is inhospitable. In Abraham’s case it is famine, for Jacob it is the enmity of Esau. While away, they both enrich themselves. Egypt and Aram have been very good for them materially. Yet, both return to the Land! What compels this return?

Isaac, on the other hand, never leaves. Poignantly, parashat Hayei Sara, suggests that he nonetheless moved away from his parent’s home and dwelt in Beer Lahai Ro’I, the spring associated with Hagar and Ishmael. Ishmael, Isaac’s half-brother, we are told, is both one who is free to roam far and wide, and also the prince of twelve nations. Isaac feels the urge to roam as well, and yet he does not. He steadfastly remains rooted to the Land.

In the characterizations of the three Avot, the Land is not a source of material wealth, nor is it the basis of emotional security, and yet it is an irresistible draw. From the tales of Genesis, we may conclude that the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel cannot be expressed in either a material or emotional bonding. It is deeper and more ineffable. Zionism is predicated on the notion that Jewish identity cannot be reduced to devotion to Torah or personal sense of relatedness to other Jews. Both are indeed essential and are the principal qualities that draw one to the synagogue. Inexorably, however, Jewish identity is also tied to a powerful, if occasionally elusive, tie to a particular Land. The tie is not the proverbial “milk and honey,” nor the innumerable songs of Zion intoned by the waters of Babylon, nor even the command and promise of the Eternal. It is found in the meaning of being a Jew.

A final thought: Each morning in traditional liturgy, this verse from Leviticus (Chap. 26) is recited:

I will remember My covenant with Jacob, I will remember my covenant also with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the Land. The order, I believe, is important. It is chronologically reversed, and thus reminds us that before there is Israel, there is the Land itself.


Sermons of Rabbi Vernon Kurtz (Past President of AZM & Past President, Mercaz USA, the Zionist Organization of Conservative Judaism)

World Zionist Organization (WZO)

Links to selected parshiot:

Association of Reform Zionists in America (ARZA)


Bnei Akiva – Cheshvan “Choveret Chinuch”

Hadassah – Defining Zionism in the 21st Century
Link to various resources and video presentations:

Israel Forever Foundation

Links to each Parsha:

Religious Zionists of America (RZA)

Parshat HaShavua – featuring a different Religious Zionist rabbi each week from around the country to share a Dvar Torah.

Zionism – Reclaiming an Inspiring Word – Rabbi Alan Silverstein (President, Mercaz Olami, the Masorti Zionist Organization)

New Light on Zion – A Sermon by Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, Park Avenue Synagogue


“2017 – Israel’s Triple Anniversary Year” published by the American Jewish Committee

2017: A Year of Anniversaries – by Martin J. Raffel

The strength of modern Zionism 120 years after first World Zionist Congress by Martin J. Raffel, August 2017

November 2 – Balfour Declaration (1917) Centennial Date

November 29 – Seventy Years Since UN Partition Resolution Vote (1947)


© 2017. All Rights Reserved. The American Zionist Movement


AZM’s Diplomatic Mission to Poland and Israel 2018

Members of the Diplomatic delegation, with the President and Prime Minister of Israel (more photos below)


The American Zionist Movement’s Diplomatic Mission to Israel and to the March of the Living in Poland including 40 ambassadors to the United Nations.


From April 10-20, 2018 a delegation of 40 Ambassadors to United Nations participated in the AZM Diplomatic Mission to Israel and to the March of the Living in Poland, on a trip arranged by AZM together with Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representatives to the UN. The Ambassadors, from all the UN Regional Groups, and representing a quarter of the countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations, came from Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. The diplomats marked Yom HaShoah by participating in the March of the Living in Auschwitz-Birkenau and in Krakow. The delegation then toured Israel and met with officials before celebrating the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding on Yom HaAtzmaut in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


Read the AZM Press Releases on the Delegation: 

  • Photo Release: Visiting UN Ambassadors Meet Rivlin & Netanyahu on Independence Day April 19, 2018 | View Photo & Caption
  • Forty UN Ambassadors Visting Israel During 70th Anniversary April 17, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • UN Ambassadors Visit Auschwitz on Yom HaShoah with AZM Diplomatic Delegation April 12, 2018  | Read Full Text


Read some of the Media Coverage on the

Diplomatic Mission: 


  • FORTY U.N. AMBASSADORS BRING IN ISRAEL’S 70TH ANNIVERSARY  Led by UN Ambassador Danny Danon, 40 ambassadors from Europe, Latin America and Africa participated in an event held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post > Israel’s 70th anniversary) April 20, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Forty UN Ambassadors Visiting Israel During 70th Anniversary (Jewish Press) April 20, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • UN Ambassadors visit Israel as part of largest delegation ever (Ynet News) April 18, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • 40 Ambassadors to the United Nations visit Israel (Times of Israel) April 18, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • 40 UN Ambassadors visit Israel as nation celebrates 70th anniversary (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) April 18, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Forty UN Ambassadors Tour Israel, Meet Pols During 70th Anniversary Celebrations (The Algemeiner) April 18, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Forty UN ambassadors tour Israel, meet pols during 70th-anniversary celebrations (Jewish News Service) April 17, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • 40 UN Ambassadors Tour Israel (Five Towns Jewish Times) April 17, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Diary from the 30th March of the Living (JPost) April 14, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • UN Ambassadors Join ‘March of the Living’ at Auschwitz (Breaking Israel News) April 14, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • UN ambassadors visit Auschwitz on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jewish News Service) April 12, 2018 | Read Full Text (JewishWebsite) Read Full Text
  • UN ambassadors visit Auschwitz- On Holocaust Remembrance Day, the American Zionist Movement brings UN ambassadors to Auschwitz (Arutz Sheva) April 12, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Led by Israel’s President Rivlin, thousands attend March of Living in Poland (The Times of Israel) April 12, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • Thirty years of the March of the Living (The John Batchelor Show) Featuring Monica Crowley, Malcolm Hoenlein and AZM President Richard D. Heideman; April 12, 2018 | Read Full Text


Members of the Diplomatic delegation at Auschwitz

Members of the Diplomatic delegation at the Western Wall (Kotel)

Members of the Diplomatic delegation in Jerusalem



AZM’s 2018 Purim connection brings Purim joy to Israel’s Border Police and children

An important aspect of Zionism is maintaining our global Jewish unity and our personal ties to the people and land of Israel. Therefore, for nearly 30 years the “Purim Connection” program of the American Zionist Movement has helped maintain that bond by providing Mishloach Manot packages to those living in and protecting Eretz Yisrael.

This year, for the 2018 Purim Connection, the American Zionist Movement collaborated with its member organizations, networks and volunteers in Israel on two exciting projects in celebration of Purim. This includes partnerships with our Purim Connection coordinating partner, the Israel Forever Foundation, along with  Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, Yashar L’Chayal, AMIT Children and Bnei Akiva.

Mishloach Manot – baskets of treats – were distributed to impoverished Israeli children and to Israel’s Border Police “Magav” (מִשְׁמַר הַגְּבוּל) to bring Purim joy to the guardians and citizens of Israel. The brave men and women of the Border Police guard and protect the State of Israel and are often the first line of defense against urban and cross-border terrorism.

Students from AMIT volunteering

The Purim baskets were distributed with the help of the Israeli organization Yad Ezra v’Shulamit whose main goal is to help end hunger among Israelis. Miri Schreiber, the volunteer coordinator of the organization, wrote to AZM the following heartfelt thank you note: “Thank you once again for helping increase the Purim joy. It was a true testament of the power of unity, bringing together different groups within the ‘Klal’ for such a beautiful case. May we continue to work together to change the face of poverty in Israel.”



 Members of the Border Police sent videos thanking AZM and our partner organizations for organizing the Purim initiative and for providing them with Mishloach Manot. Austin, a lone soldier from Colorado who drafted into the Border Police, spoke emotionally about how truly wonderful the initiative was, and how deeply appreciative their entire unit was of the caring gesture.

In addition, Amichai Bacharach from Yashar Lachayal – an organization aimed at providing support to IDF soldiers – thanked AZM by mentioning that “the soldiers were thrilled to receive them! They thought that it is amazing that so many people care about them from overseas, and they were also happy with the quality of the mishloach manot themselves.”

The Border Patrol is a special unit that is under the auspices of – but separate from – the Police Dept. of Jerusalem. They are a joint force between the army and the police, and the Border Patrol also works with officers from both. When Israeli young adults are drafted into the IDF, some are offered a job in “Magav”, which is the Border Patrol. If they accept the assignment, they are trained as specialty police officers, and technically do not serve in the IDF. The Israeli Border Police is renowned for including a large number of soldiers from minority backgrounds, being a particularly popular choice with Druze recruits, but also includes many soldiers from Arab Christian and Bedouin background.

Some go on to choose this as a career, and some move from the police dept or army into Magav, and are professionals, as opposed to those fulfilling their 3 (or 2) year national service commitment. The “magavnikim”, or border patrolmen/women do get called back for “miluim”, reserve duty, but fulfill that reserve duty within the Border Patrol, not the IDF. The Border Police has recently become among the most popular and competitive combat units for new IDF recruits, presumably because of the increase in tensions and violence in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.

Through the 2018 Purim Connection, AZM sent over 400 packages to the Border Police women and men and just as many to Israeli children that enabled them to receive some Purim joy, and we are so thankful to our supporters who allow us to carry on such meaningful projects. 


AZM Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.






















American Zionist Movement Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Honors His  Statements on Zionism and Israel

(Friday, January 12, 2018)  —  This weekend, as the United States celebrates the life accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on the national holiday in his honor, The American Zionist Movement (AZM) proudly remembers the life, the times and the statements of Dr. King on Zionism and in support of Israel.

“In April 2018 shortly after we mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King we will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.  Therefore, as we reflect on the life of Dr. King and his contributions and accomplishments, we recognize and pay tribute to his connection to Zionism and Israel”, said Richard D. Heideman, President and Herbert Block, Executive Director of AZM.

They continued:  “Dr. King was a dreamer, and he is famously remembered for his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, delivered at a moment and in a place where not only the country, but the world heard his message and joined in his commitment to build a better life, and to work for a better day, for all.  Theodor Herzl, the founder of our modern Zionist movement in 1897 was also a dreamer who famously proclaimed, ‘If you will it, it is no dream’”.\

In a 2016 article “Was MLK the Herzl of the Americans?” Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer stated that “Dr. King understood the moral imperative of Israel and admired Israel’s values”.  When Dr. King lived in Chicago in 1966 his home was just blocks from the Theodor Herzl Public School, established in 1914 in the then predominately Jewish community of North Lawndale. The school remains in the neighborhood and at a 2017 event the Herzl School Principal noted that “”We are the living legacy of both Theodore Herzl and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”  Rep. John Lewis, a colleague of Dr. King and himself a noted civil rights leader, has also penned an essay entitled “‘I have a dream’ for peace in the Middle East / King’s special bond with Israel”.

In Jerusalem there is a “Martin Luther King Street” with a sign stating that he was an “American Leader and Fighter for Universal Human Rights”.  Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King are both memorialized with forests of trees planted in Israel in their memory. Mrs. King and Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. were among the founding members in 1975 of BASIC – Black Americans to Support Israel Committee, which was led by the legendary Bayard Rustin.

On the occasion of the annual national Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday the American Zionist Movement, consisting of 25 national Zionist organizations, representing millions of Americans, is proud to highlight here some of the notable remarks and writings of Dr. King:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Israel, Zionism and the Jewish People

“Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality”

“When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”

“The whole world must see that Israel must exist, and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.”

“Israel’s right to exist as a state of [with] security is incontestable.”

“I solemnly pledge to do my utmost to uphold the fair name of the Jews — because bigotry in any form is an affront to us all.”

“I cannot stand idly by, even though I live in the United States and even though I happen to be an American Negro, and not be concerned about what happens to my brothers and sisters who happen to be Jews in Soviet Russia. For what happens to them happens to me and to you and we must be concerned.”

AZM thanks all its member organizations, including The Israel Forever Foundation, B’nai B’rith International, Jewish National Fund and Herut North American, as well as David Matlow and Gil Troy, for sharing material on Dr. King.

The American Zionist Movement (AZM), comprised of 25 national Jewish Zionist organizations representing millions of Americans in the World Zionist Organization, works across a broad ideological, political and religious spectrum linking the American Jewish community together in support of Israel, Zionism and the Jewish People

Herbert Block
Executive Director
American Zionist Movement
212-318-6100 x. 6946





December 2017

March – December 2017

This report is a compilation prepared by the President of AZM, Richard D. Heideman; Chair of the AZM National Board, Francine Stein; AZM Executive Director, Herbert Block; AZM Program Director, Alicia Post; on behalf of the AZM Leadership Cabinet and AZM National Board.

YEAR OF ZIONIST ANNIVERSARIES:  AZM announced and is pursuing activities in 2017-18 under the banner of the “Year of Zionist Anniversaries”, including the following. The program announcements can be found here:

  • 75 years since the convening of the Biltmore Conference in NY in May 1942;
  • 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, following the Six Day War, in June 1967;
  • 70 years since the journey of the Exodus refugee ship in August 1947;
  • 120 years since Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897;
  • 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued in November 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary;
  • 70 years since adoption of the United Nations Partition Resolution in November 1947;
  • 70 years since the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948

AZM WASHINGTON NATIONAL CONFERENCE:  AZM held its Washington National Conference, November 15-16-17, 2017, Zionism Forward in the Spirit of Balfour, in partnership with the Department for Diaspora Activities of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and the Balfour Initiative of the Israel Forever Foundation (IFF).  The Conference program, session and speaker videos and pictures can be seen at

The conference took place during “Zionism Anniversaries Month” and commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 70th anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution, two key events in the path to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The three-day AZM conference featured The Balfour Gala at the Embassy of Israel and a day on Capitol Hill with a luncheon paying tribute to Israel and its Ambassador Ron Dermer, who received the AZM Distinguished Leadership Award in the presence of Members of Congress.  The AZM gathering was addressed by Ambassador Dermer, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representatives Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Robert Pittinger (R-NC), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ed Royce (R-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Lee Zeldin (R- NY).  Video greetings were delivered by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (NY), Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Kingdom and attorney Alan Dershowitz.  Messages were also read from Vice President Mike Pence and United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.  Other notable speakers included Baroness Ruth Deech of the UK House of Lords; British Col.(ret.) Richard Kemp; Israel Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser; Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman of the World Zionist Organization, AZM President Richard D. Heideman and many key leaders of AZM organizations as well as thinkers and activists across the spectrum of American Jewish life.   While the conference took place the US House of Representatives adopted a Resolution commemorating the Balfour  Declaration.  Prior to the conference Rep. Lee Zeldin inserted remarks on Balfour into the Congressional Record.

SYMPOSIUM ON ANTI-ZIONISM = ANTISEMITISM: AZM in cooperation with The Center for Diaspora Communications & Countering AntiSemitism of The World Zionist Organization (WZO) held a Symposium on Anti-Zionism = AntiSemitism on November 28, 2017 in New York City. It was convened in conjunction with a delegation of Israeli Mayors and municipal officials visiting New York City, under the auspices of the WZO. The program and visit coincided with the commemoration at the United Nations of the 70th anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution on November 29, 1947.  View the Symposium Program, Source Book, Videos, Photos, and Recordings in English and Hebrew, including the materials prepared for the WZO and AZM by The Israel Forever Foundation, at

AMERICAN ZIONIST SHABBAT:  From October 28-December 2, 2017 communities around the country were invited to hold American Zionist Shabbat programs under a new AZM initiative. These weeks, from Parshiot Lech Lecha to Vayishlach, coincided with the Shabbat before the Centennial of the Balfour Declaration until the Shabbat we commemorating 70 years since the United Nations Partition Resolution adoption (8 Cheshvan- 14 Kislev 5778).  AZM provided resource materials to Rabbis, AZM organizations, synagogues, schools and communal leaders so they could speak about Zionism during this period. You can see the American Zionist Shabbat Sourcebook and resources at

“HERZL IN THE PARK”:  On August 28, 2017 AZM gathered together representatives of Jewish and pro-Israel organizations for a public ceremony to mark 120 years since the global Zionist movement was founded.  As August 29-31 was the 120th anniversary of Theodor Herzl’s convening of the First Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland.  This event was held at the site of the official Theodor Herzl Memorial, located in Freedom Square Park in Queens.  See:

AZM BIENNIAL ASSEMBLY & LEADERSHIP: At the AZM Biennial Assembly on March 5-6, 2017 in NYC, with 175 participants, new leadership for AZM was elected, including the following officers: Richard D. Heideman, President, Francine Stein, Chair of the AZM National Board; Marlene Post (VP for Fundraising Development), Paul Golomb (VP for Programs), Marilyn Wind (VP for Inter-Organizational Affairs) and Alan Silberman (VP for WZO Relations).  Each is in the process of building out their portfolios, including working with various Committees that have been or are in the process of being established.

AZM Executive Director, Herbert Block began in his role in March 2017, succeeding Karen Rubinstein, who was named Executive Director Emerita upon her retirement.  Alicia Post was named AZM Program Director in April 2017.

video of Richard Heideman’s acceptance speech and written remarks as incoming President are available online. Click here for selected press links.    

AZM Treasurer Jim Schiller has revamped our fiscal accounting and reporting functions and prepared an initial 2018 budget draft submitted for early review by the AZM National Board at its November, 2017 meeting.

AZM Secretary, Shelley Sherman, has prepared extensive minutes of all the meetings of both the AZM National Board and the AZM Leadership Cabinet.

AZM LEADERSHIP CABINET:  The AZM Leadership Cabinet has met March 30, May 17, June 20, July 11, September 14, October 17, and December 21 and will convene monthly in 2018.

AZM NATIONAL BOARD:  The AZM National Board met on March 6, June 5, September 14, November 16 and will next convene in March 2018

AZM PRESIDENTS & EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS:  We have convened meetings of the AZM Presidents & Executive Directors of the various member/affiliate/youth organizations.  This new forum, convened on June 5, July 11 and September 12, has proven valuable in exchanging ideas and in expanding the thinking on issues as we strive to address concerns of the various organizations within the spectrum of AZM. The next meeting is scheduled for January 8, 2018.

PROGRAMS:  AZM has sponsored or participated in the following additional programs during the past 10 months; 

  • Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of UN Partition Resolution – Queens, NY (11/28)
  • Balfour Celebration, World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem, Israel (11/2)
  • Celebrate Israel Parade – Zionist contingent float (6/4)
  • L’Chaim Yerushalayim, sponsored by the World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem (5/23)
  • Yom Yerushalayim commemoration – MD (5/23)
  • Anniversary of Reunification of Jerusalem – Capitol Hill (5/17)
  • Yom Hazikaron & Yom Ha’atzmaut Flag Raising Ceremony – Bowling Green, NY (5/1)
  • Ambassadors Against BDS – UN (3/29)

AZM and WZO:  AZM is working closely with the WZO on multiple activities and recently hosted Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of the WZO as guest speaker at the AZM National Board Meeting; Yaakov Hagoel, Deputy Chairman of the WZO at the Symposium on AntiZionism = Antisemitism; Gusti Yehoshua Braverman, Chair of the Department of Diaspora Affairs of the WZO, at a special meeting of AZM Presidents, Executive Directors and Leadership; and Dr. Esther Serok, North American Represe of the WZO Executive at the Herzl in the Park program.

AZM COMMITTEES/TASK FORCES/WORKING GROUPS/INITIATIVES:  AZM has created, or is in the process of appointing, leaders to participate in various AZM Task Forces, Working Groups and Initiatives.  Interested leaders can self-nominate, or recommend others, to join the following groups being considered by the AZM Leadership Cabinet:

  • Communications and Website
  • Constitution (WZO and AZM) – Chair, Alan Silberman, AZM Vice President
  • Fundraising & Resource Development – Chair, Marlene Post, AZM Vice President
  • Israel 70thAnniversary – Alicia Post, AZM Program Director
  • Membership Outreach Initiative – Chair, Salomon Vaz Dias
  • Membership Organizations – Chair, Marilyn Wind, AZM Vice President
  • Policy Review Task Force – Chair, Dan Mariaschin, Executive VP, BBI
  • Programs and Events – Chair, Rabbi Paul Golomb, AZM Vice President
  • Washington National Conference Planning – Chairs Rabbi Paul Golomb, Heidi Krizer Daroff, Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman
  • Youth Development, Young Leadership and Education
  • American Zionist Shabbat Planning
  • Strategic Planning Implementation – Chair, Moishe Smith
  • AZM Personnel and Administration Committee – Chair, Harvey Blitz

AZM FUNDRAISING DEVELOPMENT:  For AZM to succeed, we must increase our fundraising and development resources.  That means contributions, grants, bequests.  Thank you for your support.  Please make your own contribution and solicit others.

AZM STRATEGIC PLANNING:  In September 2016 AZM adopted a new Strategic Plan, which is being used to guide the organization’s ongoing work and will be updated in 2018 as we review our progress and shape our future plans and  growth.

WZO RELATIONS: Under the leadership of Alan Silberman, AZM VP for WZO Relations AZM has been actively involved in discussions on revisions to the WZO Constitution and Regulations and has presented many items to the WZO for its consideration.  AZM leadership also fully and actively participated in the Zionist General Council (Vaad HaPoel) meeting in Israel at the end of October together with many from our organizations and others.  Throughout the year AZM leaders and staff had numerous meetings and discussions with the WZO Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Department Heads and other officials, both in Jerusalem and in New York.

COMMUNAL ORGANIZATIONAL INVOLVEMENT: AZM leadership has participated in meetings of the following organizations of which it is a member: Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; AIPAC National Council; National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry; and, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

MEETINGS and OUTREACH:   The new staff of AZM have been meeting individually with each of the 25 AZM constituent organizations in order to learn more about their work and how they can best be connected to programs and mission of AZM.  Staff have also met with many other national Jewish and pro-Israel organizations in order to brief them about AZM and connect our activities.  Staff have also developed connections with colleagues at Zionist federations in countries across the world.  AZM hopes to share resources with Zionist federations in other English-speaking nations and is working to develop an alliance with the other North American Zionist federations located in Canada and Mexico.

HELYN B. REICH MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND:  Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who choose to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or attend post-college long-term programs. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.  The latest class of award recipients was announced in September 2017.  Read more at:

The deadline to apply for the Spring 2018 scholarship is January 10, 2018.

AMERICAN ZIONIST YOUTH COUNCIL (AZYC): This initiative, funded by WZO and operated through AZM, brings together the leadership of the Zionist youth movements and other national Jewish youth organizations in America, for coordination of activities and joint programs.  Read about AZYC March 2017 Shabbaton here.  An upcoming Shabbaton is planned for March 23-25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

AZM LEADERSHIP MEMORANDA:  AZM has issued transmittals throughout the year to our complete mailing list and the following Leadership Memoranda to a broad list of AZM leaders from its Board, Zionist and Jewish organizations and other communal leaders:  

PUBLIC STATEMENTS:  AZM has released various public statements on selected issues, including:

  • American Zionist Movement President applauds the President’s announcement on Jerusalem as “a bold act in the spirit of Zionism that rectifies a historic wrong” December 6, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • House unanimously passes Balfour Centennial Resolution While American Zionist Movement Meets in Washington November 26, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • On 100th anniversary of Balfour, the American Zionist Movement conference will reenergize and rebrand Zionism November 2, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • The American Zionist Movement launches the American Zionist Shabbat initiative calling Zionism and Judaism inseparable October 24, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • With Zionism Under Assault American Jewish and Israeli Dignitaries gathered in NYC to Celebrate the Birth of the Movement August 28, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • AZM Denounces Richard Spencer Calling Himself a “White Zionist” August 17, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • 75 Years after Historic Biltmore Conference, AZM Launches “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” May 11, 2017 | Read Full Text

On June 29th AZM sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding the controversy concerning the Kotel. The letter can be seen here;

AZM IN THE NEWS — PRESS INTERVIEWS AND COVERAGE:  We have had numerous press articles, listed here:  

  • It’s Time To Stop Excusing Palestinian Violence (The Forward) December 11, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Jewish groups applaud historic US recognition of J’lem as Israel’s capital (The Jerusalem Post) December 6, 2017 – Trump announces US moving embassy to Jerusalem Abbas slams Trump Jerusalem move as ‘condemned, unacceptable’ | Read Full Text
  • Debate Continued on Facebook live (WUSA9) December 6, 2017 | Watch
  • #OffScriptOn9: Heated debate over whether US should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital(WUSA9) December 6, 2017 | Watch Video
  • People in the News—Dec. 6, 2017—Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads (The Legal Intelligencer) December 6, 2017 – Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads partner David Dormont spoke at the American Zionist Movement Washington national conference. | Read Full Text
  • THE RUNDOWN | Will Trump fulfill promise to move embassy? (i24NEWS) December 1, 2017 | Watch Video
  • AZM Conference Examines Zionism Across the Aisle and the Religious Spectrum (Kol HaBirah) November 30, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Balfour Declaration +100: Israel Perseveres and Prospers (Jihad Watch) November 30, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Welcome To The Post Modern Anti-Semitism Debate (The Forward) November 29, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • THE RUNDOWN | Res. 181: partition of land between Jews, Arabs (i24NEWS) November 29, 2017 | Watch Video
  • 70th anniversary of ‘Partition Plan’ marked in New York (European Jewish Press) November 29, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Rebranding Zionism: Israel and Judaism are inseparable (The Jerusalem Post) November 25, 2017 | Read Full Text | View pdf (Jerusalem Report-The Jerusalem Post)
  • US House honors Balfour Declaration centennial with pro-Israel resolution (The Jerusalem Post) November 18, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • American Zionist Shabbat initiative aims to shift conversation about Israel (The Jerusalem Post) October 26, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Zionism and Judaism are Inseparable in American Zionist Shabbat Initiative (The Jewish Press – October 24, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Celebrating the First Zionist Congress (Queens Chronicle) August 31, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • In KGH, Jewish Community Leaders Celebrate Herzl, 120thAnniversary Of First Zionist Congress (Queens Jewish Link) August 30, 2017 | Read Full Text | Click for Community Snapshots
  • Zionism Under Assault (New York Jewish Life) August 30, 2017 – Leaders Gather in NYC to mark the birth of a movement | Read Full Text
  • US Jewish leaders from right to left back metal detectors on Temple Mount ( July 21, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Moving Zionism Forward: A Conversation with the President of the American Zionist Movement (Patheos) June 15, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Jewish Survival Through Jewish Unity, Theme of New AZM President (JewishPress) May 17, 2017 – Heideman’s task will be to fashion unity from a widely-disparate consortium of Zionists | Read Full Text
  • Zionism Forward (JPost) April 25, 2017 – Why are American Jews so fazed by the question- Are you a Zionist? | Read Full Text
  • New AZM President (LIJW) March 31-April 6, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Four Questions: Herbert Block (New York Jewish Life) March 21, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Ex-Louisvillian elected president of AZM (Jewish Louisville) March 17, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • ‘News and analysis’ (The Chronicle of Philanthropy) March 10, 2017 – Grist and American Zionist Movement Name New Top Executives | Read Full Text
  • ‘Impact of BDS is worse than most people Realize’ (JPost) February 26, 2017 – Richard D. Heideman, one of the foremost legal experts on fighting the BDS movement, seeks to repair the tarnished name of Zionism | Read Full Text


The following additional announcements were sent by email to AZM’s contact list:

December 22, 2017: Deadline approaching, Register Today for 2018 March of the Living AZM-WZO Delegation:

December 20, 2017: Dedication:

December 17, 2017: Shavua Tov. Give Chanukah Gelt for Zionism Today.

December 14, 2017: Miracle of Giving: Your gift will ensure the future of Zionism in America

December 13, 2017: American Zionist Chanukah Appeal

December 7, 2017: Embrace the past. Ensure the future. Join us on March of the Living

November 28, 2017: A #GivingTuesday Thank You from AZM – Pictures, Videos and a Congressional Resolution!

November 20, 2017: RSVP Required: Symposium on Anti-Zionism = AntiSemitism 11/28

November 2, 2017: 100 Years Ago Today, Celebrate Balfour with AZM

October 27, 2017: Two Great Ways to Celebrate Zionism, Shabbat and Israel

October 22, 2017: Announcing: American Zionist Shabbat –

October 20, 2017: Speakers & Schedule Announced – Zionism Forward in the Spirit of Balfour

October 4, 2017: Help AZM Build our Zionist Sukkah

September 29, 2017: Registration is Open – AZM Washington National Conference

September 26, 2017: Support AZM in 5778: Move Zionism Forward

September 19, 2017: How Will You Celebrate Zionism in 5778?

September 3, 2017: Herzl’s Vision, Today’s Reality – 120 Years & Counting: Israel > Zionism Forward

August 24, 2017: This Monday Celebrate Zionism 120: RSVP Now

August 15, 2017: Join us 8/28: Celebrate 120 years since Herzl’s Zionist Congress:

July 18, 2017: 70 Years Ago Today: Exodus Commemoration:

June 20, 2017: Moving Zionism Forward:

June 2, 2017: Celebrate Israel with AZM – Sunday, June 4th:

May 19, 2017: Celebrate Jerusalem Day in Potomac, MD – May 23rd:

April 27, 2017: NY area Yom Hazikron & Yom Ha’atzmaut Events:

April 26, 2017: Zionism Forward, Today’s Jerusalem Post:

April 6, 2017: Passover Greetings, Zionism Forward:

March 23, 2017: Join AZM at the UN on 3/29, Ambassadors Against BDS: 




Contribute to the AZM 5778-2017 Appeal


Symposium Anti-Zionism = AntiSemitism

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) in cooperation with The Center for Diaspora Communications & Countering AntiSemitism of The World Zionist Organization (WZO) held a Symposium on Anti-Zionism = AntiSemitism on November 28, 2017 in New York City.  View Symposium Program.

View Source Book, Symposium Video, Photos, and Recordings (in English and Hebrew below)

This symposium was convened in conjunction with a delegation of Israeli Mayors and municipal officials visiting New York City, under the auspices of the WZO. The program and visit coincided with the commemoration at the United Nations of the 70th anniversary of the Partition vote on November 29, 1947 which preceded the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948. This event was made possible through the support of the World Zionist Organization.

View & Download Source Book

The source book was provided by The Israel Forever Foundation










Balfour Centennial Resolution 11.17.17


(Friday, November 17, 2017): The US House of Representatives has unanimously passed H. Con. Res. 92—“Recognizing the deep and abiding friendship between the United States and Israel” and commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.  The resolution was adopted while The American Zionist Movement (AZM) convened its National Conference in Washington in honor of the Balfour Declaration.  AZM had promoted awareness of this anniversary among Members of Congress and advocated for passage of a Congressional resolution to mark the Balfour Centennial.

Richard D. Heideman, President of AZM, said “We take great pride that, at the same time as the American Zionist Movement brought together a broad and diverse coalition of Zionist voices in Washington the House of Representatives took decisive and bipartisan action to honor the 100th year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. We thank the House Foreign Relations Committee, including Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elliot Engel (D-NY) for quickly advancing the resolution out of committee. We thank the entire House for passing the resolution unanimously concurrently with our Conference convening in Washington. The House delivered a clarion call of united American support for Israel on this momentous anniversary.

The AZM conference, which is concluding this morning, took place during “Zionism Anniversaries Month” and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 70th anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution, two key events in the path to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The three-day AZM conference featured a day on Capitol Hill with a luncheon paying tribute to Israel and its Ambassador Ron Dermer.  The AZM gathering was addressed by Ambassador Dermer, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representatives Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Robert Pittinger (R_NC), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ed Royce (R-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Lee Zeldin (R- NY).  Video greetings were delivered by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (NY), Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Kingdom and attorney Alan Dershowitz.  Messages were also read from Vice President Mike Pence and United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.  Other notable speakers included Baroness Ruth Deech of the UK House of Lords; British Col.(ret.) Richard Kemp; Israel Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser; Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman of the World Zionist Organization and Richard D. Heideman.   

The conference was convened in partnership with the Department of Diaspora Activities of the World Zionist Organization and the Balfour Initiative of the Israel Forever Foundation. For more information, including the conference program, visit



Photos from AZM Washington National Conference 2017