5778 MESSAGE FROM THE AMERICAN ZIONIST MOVEMENT
The Jewish high holidays are indeed a time for reflection and renewal. In that spirit the American Zionist Movement is entering 5778 with an emphasis on recognizing our roots and celebrating the importance of Zionism in Israel’s history and the future of the world Jewish community.
Zionism is the modern political movement rooted in the thousands-year-old determination of the Jewish people to return as a sovereign nation in Israel, our ancestral and indigenous homeland. In recent years, Zionism has been misrepresented and slandered by those who oppose the very existence of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
Zionism is a cause and ideology deserving of universal support. It should serve as inspiration to all oppressed minorities, but instead the good name of Zionism has been sullied.
This is a critical moment for Zionism, and solidarity with Israel is necessary in these difficult times.
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. Our member organizations engage in a variety of philanthropic, educational and advocacy activities on behalf of Israel, with a collective reach to millions of Americans with a diverse array of perspectives, but who all identify as Zionists.
AZM is committed to reclaiming the good name of Zionism! Israel is under ceaseless attack at our universities and on social media. Both bold and thinly veiled anti-Semitic tropes and libelous accusations are peddled under the guise of “Anti-Israelism”. This rhetoric is influencing our youth and the new face of anti-Semitism is spreading rapidly.
The truth is: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism deny the history and future of our people. Support the American Zionist Movement in our quest to right this wrong and to proudly stand up for Israel and the Jewish People.
AZM spoke out publicly against attempts to conflate Zionism and White Supremacy last month. AZM is prepared to tackle the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement (BDS), and confront the issue of the exclusion of Jews from academic environments, parades and public discourse. Join us in our effort.
AZM is the one organization in the United States where Zionists of all beliefs, ideologies, religious affiliations and viewpoints come together in unity on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
We are taking a three pronged approach toward unifying the vision of modern Zionism. Education – to educate our youth on the history of the Jewish people, anti-Semitism and Zionism. Unity – to engage in civil discourse and unify on our unique similarities that arise out of our faith, our principles, our teachings, and our obligation to be dignified and respectful to each other, rather than focus on our differences. Impact – to remind the world of the rich contributions that the Jewish people, Israel and Zionism have and continue to make on society.
The AZM recently implemented a new forum for dialogue with the Presidents and Executive Directors of AZM’s member organizations, an important step toward unification. Our first meetings were held this summer and are already leading to greater engagement and cooperation in the Zionist community. We are growing and strengthening our movement every day.
In 2018, the AZM will mark a significant anniversary, as it was 25 years ago that we became the successor to the American Zionist Federation, which evolved from the American Zionist Council formed during the Holocaust to unite American Zionists to push for the creation of the State of Israel. In May 2017, to honor our predecessors and founders, we launched the “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” which will run through May 2018. In partnership with our member organizations and the broader Jewish community, we will conduct programs and events throughout the United States. This work, these teachings, these efforts, require resources.
This year we celebrate important Zionist Anniversaries:
- 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; and
- 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, our holiest City, following the Six Day War in June 1967;
This Fall, an “American Zionist Shabbat” series will launch, starting on October 28, 2017, to coincide with the Shabbat before the Balfour Declaration anniversary through December 2, 2017, the Shabbat after the Partition Resolution anniversary. We are preparing programming, lecture materials and arranging speaking opportunities with Rabbis and Community leaders across the spectrum of AZM’s organizations. Contact AZM to learn more.
We invite you to join our AZM Washington National Leadership and Policy Conference in Washington, DC on November 15-17, 2017, to be held in conjunction with the Department of Diaspora Affairs of the World Zionist Organization and the Balfour Initiative of The Israel Forever Foundation. Join us at Congress for the “Celebrate Balfour 100 Symposium” The Conference is an important piece of our goal toward education, unity and impact. Join us. Be there. Participate. Support us.
Theodor Herzl said “If you will it, it is no dream; and if you do not will it, a dream it is and a dream it will stay”. The AZM continues to “will it” and is working hard to move “Zionism Forward”. We hope that you are excited about our progress, our activities and our commitment to renewing the good name of Israel, the Jewish People and Zionism.
Richard D. Heideman, President
Francine Stein, Chair
Marlene Post, Vice President
Herbert Block, Executive Director
Karen Rubinstein, Executive Director Emerita