THE AMERICAN ZIONIST MOVEMENT
A YEAR-END 2017 REPORT OF ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
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: https://azm.org/biltmore
- 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 http://zionismforward.org.
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 https://azm.org/symposium-antizionism-antisemitism
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 www.ZionistShabbat.org
“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: https://azm.org/herzl-in-the-park
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.
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) https://azm.org/celebrate-israel-parade-ny-2017
- 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. https://azm.org/donate
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. https://azm.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/STRATEGIC-PLAN-email-version.pdf
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: https://azm.org/category/scholarship-winners
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:
- September 12, 2017: http://americanzionistmovement.org/t/15TF-55S0V-C7OLPZEH0F/cr.aspx
- July 31, 2017: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-52I7V-32/sv.aspx
- April 21, 2017:http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4W5PY-32/sv.aspx
- March 15, 2017:http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4TJ4L-32/sv.aspx
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; https://azm.org/kotel-letter-7-29-17
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 – JewishPress.com) 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 (JNS.org) 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 – www.ZionistShabbat.org
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: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-53Q6Y-32/sv.aspx
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: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4U25L-32/sv.aspx