It matters that we progressive Zionists respond whenever American Jews give up on Zionism and the state of Israel. Not only can we not abandon Israel ever, especially in difficult times such as these, but we cannot cede exclusive influence in the United States on matters of vital importance and interest to American Jews and Israel itself to supporters of the most right-wing government in the history of the state of Israel. Rather, we believe it is our duty to articulate as clearly as we can to as many Jews as we can what are our liberal Jewish and Zionist values and why we continue to love and support Israel as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people.
Earlier this week, Professors Hasia Diner and Marjorie Feld published what can only be characterized (from the perspective of American Zionism) as an alarming op-ed in Israel’s daily Haaretz entitled “We’re American Jewish Historians. This is why we’ve left Zionism behind” (http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.734602?v=0EEB085E26B05596787A40B19C818497).
The Haaretz op-ed states, among other things: “the exponential growth of far right political parties and the increasing Haredization of Israel, makes it a place that I abhor visiting, and to which I will contribute no money, whose products I will not buy, nor will I expend my limited but still to me, meaningful, political clout to support it.”
Rabbi Joshua Weinberg, President of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) and I, the national ARZA Chair, joined together with Gideon Aronoff and Ken Bob, CEO and National President of Ameinu, the American progressive Zionist movement that is aligned with Israel’s Zionist Union political party, in a shared response to the above op-ed that was posted today on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) site (August 3).
Our piece – “Why progressive Jews mustn’t give up on Zionism” – can be read here – http://www.jta.org/2016/08/03/news-opinion/opinion/why-progressive-jews-mustnt-give-up-on-zionism
Please forward this blog to those whom you believe might benefit from reading our progressive Zionist statement and especially to millennial American Jews (ages 16-35) that surveys suggest are drifting from their engagement with and support of Israel.