AZM Washington Forum: Renewing the Bipartisan Commitment to Standing with Israel and Zionism

2018 Symposium AntiSemitism and Anti-Zionism

WZO/AZM Luncheon Symposium on Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism: 

Challenges on the American Campus Today

Monday, November 5, 2018 – NYC

This program was hosted by the American Zionist Movement and the Global Center for Countering Antisemitism of the World Zionist Organization, under the auspices of Yaakov Hagoel, WZO Vice Chairman.  The speakers and discussion focused on the challenges, obstacles and opportunities for confronting antisemitism and Anti-Zionism on the American Campus Today.
 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FINAL EVENT FLYER

 

View Invitation: European Conference on Countering Antisemitism, London, UK
December 14-16, 2018 – RSVP HERE

 

WATCH THE (LIVESTREAM) VIDEO OF THE SYMPOSIUM BELOW (program starts at 18:30)

OR CLICK HERE

 

MR. YAAKOV HAGOEL, VICE CHAIRMAN, WORLD ZIONIST ORGANIZATION (TRANSLATED REMARKS)

CLICK HERE

 

EVENT PRESS COVERAGE:

 

  • ‘In every generation there are those who wish to destroy us’ Annual symposium on combating anti-Semitism held days after anti-Semitic attack on synagogue in Pennsylvania which left 11 dead. (Israel National News) November 7, 2018 | Read Full Text
  • In the Shadow of the Pittsburgh Massacre: A conference against antisemitism took place in New York (Maariv) November 7, 2018 | Read Full Text (In Hebrew)

 

 

 

 

AMERICAN ZIONIST SHABBAT – שבת ציון

October 2018 – Cheshvan 5779

 

AMERICAN ZIONIST SHABBAT – שבת ציון

The American Zionist Movement is pleased to update for 2018 -5779 and share again the “American Zionist Shabbat” initiative which was launched last year.   This project continues during the period from Parshiot Lech Lecha (October 20th/11 Cheshvan) to Vayishlach (November 24th/16 Kislev), 2018-5779. 

Below you will see resources for discussing Zionism in synagogues, schools and the community during this period, including links to materials easily available on the internet.

In May 2018 AZM added a Jerusalem Shabbat Supplement in partnership with the World Zionist Organization and this addition is included here as well at the end of the Source Book.download-now-button

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 azm@azm.org.

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 a broad 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, 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; and, culminates with celebrating the…
  • 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel in May

Please share, forward and implement your own thoughts in celebration of Zionism and the America 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                                                        Alicia Post, AZM Program Director
212.318.6100 ext.6946                                                                                       212.318.6100 ext.6947

Chomer Ladrush for a Zionist Shabbat 5779

Rabbi Paul Golomb

AZM Vice President for Programming
 

The book of Genesis tells the story of a couple becoming a people.  After a narrative of primeval history – Creation, expulsion from the Garden, flood and Babel – the tale begins with Abram and Sarai and concludes with B’nai Yisrael.  How a married couple not merely initiates a multigenerational family, but rather creates an ‘Am, is a saga in the formation of an identity.  We see this development in both who is included and who drops out.

The story is told over four generations, concluding with the twelve sons of Jacob who will become the tribes of Israel.  Although we must bracket out the one daughter, Dina, whose fate in Scripture remains unknown, all of Jacob’s progeny participate in the covenant God first formed with Abraham.  The same cannot be said for the previous generations.  Ishmael and then Esau are left out of this particular covenant.  Why is that the case, and what may we learn about the formation of the Jewish people from their exclusion?

Ishmael is an elusive and enigmatic character.  He is introduced in utero, the child that will be born to Hagar the Egyptian, and yet will be given a name by his father Abraham that connects him to God.  He is observed by Sarah, after the birth of Isaac, “playing.”  (It’s meaning here is deeply ambiguous)  When banished to the wilderness, God hears his weeping, sustains him and his mother with water, so that he will grow to be a hunter, and after taking an Egyptian wife, fulfills his destiny to be the progenitor of a nation of twelve princes.  With a brief mention in the story of Joseph being borne to Egypt, the Ishmaelites disappear from Scripture altogether.  There is one other indirect reference.  After the ‘akeidah, Isaac goes to Be’er Lahai Ro’I, the spring associated with Hagar and her unborn child.

There is nothing in the scriptural references to Ishmael that suggest he should not be a recipient of the covenant God forged with his father, except the identity of his mother.  Ishmael is not the child of Sarah, but rather of her handmaiden.  Subsequent midrash will interpret Ishmael’s “playing” in a negative light, and also intimate that his status as an outdoorsman makes him unsuitable.  These are rationales.  In Scripture, Ishmael’s disqualification is his mother.

Esau, on the other hand, is every much a child of Isaac and Rebecca as is Jacob.  The text is much clearer that his absence from the covenant is due to his own deficiencies.  In my own reading, Esau failed not only in the spurning of a birthright, but was also incapable of personal growth.  Isaac preferred Esau as the oldest child, but also appreciated the “softer” qualities of Jacob.  He longed for each of his children to develop that which other possessed.  Jacob did so:  The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.  Esau did not.

In the next generation, all of the children carry on the covenant and become the people Israel.  This is so even for the four sons – Dan, Naftali, Gad and Asher – who were born to handmaidens, as was Ishmael!  All twelve nevertheless evidenced emotional and spiritual maturing as did Jacob, particular in the ten sons’ confrontation with Joseph over Benjamin.  Indeed, the Genesis saga of the formation of a people is sealed in the fifth generation, when Manashe and Ephraim silently accept the cross-hand blessing of their grandfather, Jacob.  The foreignness of their mother and the bitter fraternal enmity of the previous two generations are dispelled.

What are we to learn about identity formation from this saga?  First, that it begins with blood.  The covenant is passed on by both Abraham and Sarah, together part of the same extended family that made the journey from Ur to Haran to the Land.  Hagar was not on that journey.  Indeed, blood remains significant enough that Isaac’s wife must be from the same clan. 

It begins with blood, but it does not end there.  Esau, whose bloodlines are identical to Jacob’s, is nonetheless not found worthy.  The shortcoming is therefore not external – a matter of heritage – but rather internal – a matter of character.  He could not rise spiritually to the level of blessing.  Jacob’s children, irrespective of their parents, could.  None of them were saints; they showed signs of arrogance, jealousy and a willingness to dissemble.   They also proved in moments of crisis that they could transcend their flaws and display genuine courage.  The mostly dysfunctional family of Jacob is transformed into the people Israel.

The idea of identity formation that unfolds in the Genesis saga can be regarded in both historical and psychological terms.  A clan grows and spreads.  Over time the familial connections become less significant than other factors that hold the people together.  An individual, as well, understands oneself initially in relation to those who are closest, most often parents and siblings.  Then, in the process of maturing, the sense of identity through family is overtaken by new means of self-recognition.  Blood, however, never disappears.

Whether we employ the historical or the psychological model, we learn from Scripture, that our Jewish identity is not reducible to just one thing.   To be a Jew is not merely familial, or historical, or national, or cultural, or confessional.  I would also suggest that being Jewish cannot eliminate or fully ignore any of these factors either.  Yes, we all privilege some elements of our Jewish identity as more important, even vital, to us.  All the others remain.

The vitality of our Jewish identity is found in the willingness to embrace all the elements: family (mishpacha), people (‘am), covenanted nation (goy kadosh), obligation (mitzvah), and Land (Ha’Aretz).  Is there a hierarchy to these values?  Only, I would suggest, in our own choices of which touches us more deeply. 

A verse in Leviticus (26:42), nonetheless, captures it all.  In a promise of restoration after exile (the curses enumerated in parashat Behukotai), God says: Then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, as well as my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.  The covenant – that which delimits and defines our Jewishness – is not one thing.  It is at least three things; and the Lad!  To be a Jew can be nothing less.

 

Notes for a Zionist Shabbat 5778

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.

 

RESOURCE MATERIALS

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:

Zion in the Sources: Yearning for Zion

Chagim Center – Home for the Holidays – WZO Department for Education:  https://www.eng.chagim.org.il/


Association of Reform Zionists in America (ARZA) 


Aytzim 

http://jewcology.org/explore/israel-zionism-middle-east/


Bnei Akiva – Cheshvan “Choveret Chinuch” 

http://www.bneiakiva.org/uploads/_pdf/ChoveretCheshvan5774BWsmall.pdf


Hadassah – The Women’s Zionist Organization of America –

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

http://www.hadassah.org/connecting-to-israel/defining-zionism/


Herut North America


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) 

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/zionism-reclaiming-an-inspiring-word/


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

https://pasyn.org/print/resources/sermons/new-light-zion


Zionist Organization of America

Statement on Genesis and the Golan Heights


Ameinu

Personal Stories of Zionism, Israel and Progressive Identity


The iCenter – Israel@70 Resources

https://www.theicenter.org/compilation/israelat70


Center for Israel Education Resources

https://israeled.org/resources/


Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

About Israel

 

MATERIALS ON THE YEAR OF ZIONIST ANNIVERSARIES

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

https://www.azm.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ISRAELS_TRIPLE_ANNIVERSARY_2017.pd 


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

http://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/2017-a-year-of-anniversaries/


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

http://njjewishnews.com/article/35064/the-strength-of-modern-zionism-120-years-after-first-   wjc#.WepGjRNSxTY


November 2 – Balfour Declaration (1917) Centennial Date

www.balfourinitiative.org

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

 https://israelforever.org/interact/blog/november_29_every_jew_should_know_about_this_day/

May 2018 – Iyar 5778

JERUSALEM SHABBAT – שבת ירושלים

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 ירושלים שבת –  “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 https://myjerusalem.info/ and from AZM at www.ZionistShabbat.org.  

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. 

 

JERUSALEM SHABBAT – שבת ירושלים  – RESOURCES       

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

download-now-button


Pages: 1 2

American Zionist Leadership Meets on “Zionism and Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People”

For Release
Contact:  Herbert Block

 

American Zionist Leadership Meets on “Zionism and Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People”

The leadership of the American Zionist Movement (AZM) and of its 28 Zionist member organizations, representing a diverse and broad spectrum of the Jewish Zionist community in the United States, met in New York City to share viewpoints on Zionism and Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, in the context of the new legislation enacted in Israel this summer.  

AZM gathered at the start of the Jewish New Year of 5779 in order to have an important and respectful forum concerning the new Basic Law: “Israel – the Nation State of the Jewish People” which was passed by the Knesset in July.  AZM was joined by Israel’s Consul General in New York, Ambassador Dani Dayan, who shared the views of the Government of Israel and participated in the discussion.  “AZM is proud to bring together our diverse coalition of Zionist groups for an exchange of differing viewpoints on an important contemporary issue”, said Richard D. Heideman, AZM President.

There were expressions of a wide range of views regarding the newly-adopted Basic Law.  However, one point was abundantly clear: among all the AZM organizations, there is unanimous support that Israel is indeed the national homeland and State of the Jewish people, as recognized by the 1948 Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel.

Since the days of the early Zionist Congresses convened by Theodor Herzl over 120 years ago we have been strengthened by our diversity.  The American Zionist Movement, which recently adopted and released Principles of Zionism, which embodies the Jerusalem Program, and its campaign for Zionism Forward, enters the Jewish New Year committed to continuing our unwavering support for Israel, whose existence continues to be threatened by her enemies.

For further information, contact Richard D. Heideman, AZM President or Herbert Block, AZM Executive Director.

 


 

 

New “Principles of Zionism” Statement and “Zionism Forward” Campaign

August 28, 2018

Contact:  Herbert Block, AZM
 212-318-6100 x.6946

 

ON KEY ANNIVERSARY, AMERICAN ZIONISTS ISSUE NEW “PRINCIPLES OF ZIONISM” STATEMENT AND “ZIONISM FORWARD” CAMPAIGN

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) marked the anniversary of the founding of the world Zionist movement by Theodor Herzl with a public release of its newly-adopted “Statement of Principles of Zionism” and its “Zionism Forward” campaign to promote it throughout the United States.

The Statement – full text below – was adopted by the Board of AZM, comprised of 28 national Jewish Zionist organizations.  AZM works across a broad ideological, political and religious spectrum linking the American Jewish community together in support of Israel, Zionism and the Jewish People.

AZM President Richard D. Heideman said:  “In recent weeks and months we have seen Zionism attacked and mischaracterized in America, Europe, and the Middle East, and by both public figures and those on university campuses.  AZM believes it important for the public to know of the broad principles of Zionism on which diverse Jewish organizations have come together this summer.  We have collectively rededicated ourselves to this movement and launched the ‘Zionism Forward’ campaign in order to strengthen support for Israel, the Jewish people and Zionism.”

Said Heideman:  “Last year we marked 120 years of founding Zionist Congress in Basel.  Today we also celebrate 120, a key number in Jewish tradition, as on August 28, 1898 the Second Zionist Congress convened (also in Basel).  While the 1897 meeting launched the modern worldwide Zionist movement, the gathering a year later in 1898 showed that this movement was not just a one-time effort.  It was this continuity and building of support for Zionism which AZM maintains today as we move Zionism Forward.”



STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES OF ZIONISM

AS ADOPTED BY THE AZM NATIONAL BOARD – Summer 2018

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.

PDF of Release

 

AZM Statement: Principles of Zionism

 

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES OF ZIONISM

 

AS ADOPTED BY THE AZM NATIONAL BOARD JUNE 4, 2018

 
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.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD PDF – STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES OF ZIONISM

 

WZO / AZM Celebrate Israel Parade 2018

View full photo album on our facebook page

 

Float starts at 120:30 (3 minute clip)

 

Fill out my online form.

 

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
hblock@azm.org
212-318-6100 x. 6946