Posted by: ZOA Staff
December 30, 2014
Special Reports

ZOA Complaint To Disqualify “HaTikvah Slate” From World Zionist Congress Election

ZOA Complaint To Disqualify “HaTikvah Slate” From World Zionist Congress Election

“HaTikvah Slate” Boycotts Certain Jewish/Israeli Businesses and Promotes Sanctions Against Certain Israeli Leaders, in Violation of the World Zionist Organization Constitution’s anti-discrimination requirements

To:    Mr. Herzl Makov (HMakov@begincetner.org.il) 

cc:    Hiam Simon (hiam@ameinu.net)

Larry Lerner (lilerner3215@gmail.com)

Karen Rubinstein (krubinstein@azm.org

Rabbi Vernon Kurtz (vkurtz@nssbethel.org)

Susie Baumohl (sbaumohl@azm.org)Howard Katzoff (hkatzoff@zoa.org)

Judge Abraham Gafni (gafni@law.villanova.edu)

Fern Braniss, WZO legal adviser (fernb@wzo.org.il)

Kenneth Bob (kennethbob@gmail.com)

Dear Mr. Makov:

The Zionist Organization of America (“ZOA”) is a member in good standing of the American Zionist Movement (“AZM”), which is a member of the World Zionist Organization (“WZ0”).   The ZOA also has a slate running in the upcoming World Zionist Congress (“WZC”)/AZM elections (the “2015 Election”).  ZOA is also a member of the AZM’s area election committee (“AEC”).   ZOA is thus an aggrieved party with standing to bring this objection/complaint.  

This objection/complaint pertains to one of the most serious and growing dangers facing Israel and the Jewish people today:  namely, boycotts and sanctions against Jewish and Israeli businesses and individuals.

The ZOA is filing this objection /complaint seeking various relief relating to a slate which is currently planning to use the slate name “HaTikvah” in the WZC/AZM elections, including disqualification of the slate because the slate violates the anti-discrimination requirements of the World Zionist Organization Constitution – and at a minimum, requiring the “HaTikvah” slate to change its name.   AZM informed ZOA that the “HaTikvah” slate consists of the following four organizations: 

  • Partners for a Progressive Israel (PPI), formerly known as MeretzUSA, and originally known as Americans for Progressive Israel, which was formed as the American affiliate of HaShomer-Hatzair.   PPI’s website homepage states that PPI works “together with the Israeli left.”[1]   PPI boycotts and actively promotes the boycott of the products of Israeli and Jewish businesses located in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, including cities such as Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Efrat and Hebron. 
  • Ameinu promotes severe international sanctions against certain individual Israeli Jewish leaders.
  • Habonim Dror North America (“HD”) is apparently Ameinu’s youth and camping arm:  An Ameinu “Our People” website page is devoted to HD.[2]  The webpage repeatedly speaks of Habonim’s commitment to “social justice. 
  • HaShomer-Hatzair (“HH”) is affiliated with PPI and sponsors the Camp Shomria “Peace Camp.” 

These four organizations are all inter-related, apparently all share the same office in Manhattan, and are all involved with “J-Street” (including having certain interlocking directorates with J-Street) and various other anti-Israel organizations.     

Moreover, a 2009 Ameinu Detroit Facebook posting in 2009, by an Ameinu national director, states that J-Street is also part of, and will “share” the “Hatikva” slate together with Ameinu, PPI (then called MeretzUSA), HD and HH)![3]

1.      Request to Rescind Or Suspend Partners for a Progressive Israel’s WZO, AZM and AEC Membership And Disqualify PPI And The PPI Slate From Elections, Due To PPI’s Discriminatory Boycotts of Jewish and Israeli Businesses, In Violation of the WZO Constitution (and In Violation of New York State Human Rights Law)

First, we request that Partners for a Progressive Israel’s memberships in the AZM/WZO and AEC should be rescinded or suspended, and that PPI/”HaTikvah” slate should be disqualified from the 2015 Election, and any subsequent AZM/WJC election so long as its discriminatory boycotts remain in effect, because PPI violates the non-discrimination provisions of the Article 7(b) of the WZO Constitution.  

WZO Constitution Article 7(b) states that Zionist Federations must:

“prevent the membership of bodies or individuals who adhere to or advocate discrimination based on origin, nationality, race, gender or sexual orientation. . . .”

PPI in fact discriminates against Jews and Israelis.   On PPI’s website and elsewhere, PPI openly boycotts and promotes boycotts against the products of certain Jewish and Israeli businesses including Ahava Cosmetics and more that a dozen other Jewish and Israel businesses that make wines, salads, spices and other products. 

PPI’s website contains a full page list of certain Israeli and Jewish businesses selling products in the United States, and calls on Americans to boycott the products of these Jewish and Israeli businesses, at http://partners4israel.org/our-voice/boycott-settlement-products.   The Brit Zedek 2014 Peace Movement compendium confirms:  “PPI activists promote organized demonstrations and an ongoing boycott of settler products.”[4]   PPI also asks its website readers to add more businesses to PPI’s boycott list.  PPI’s current website states: 

“Please boycott these products and produce.  It’s important to note that products made in Settlements bear the label “Made in Israel”; but this is inaccurate.   If you know of any other products or produce that are made or grown in West Bank Settlements and sold in in the U.S., e-mail us as mail@meretzusa.org and we will add them to the boycott list. . . . “[5]

PPI’s “boycott call” web page currently lists the following Israeli and Jewish businesses and brands and also includes pictures of several of the business’s products to reinforce its boycott call.   (The complete PPI web page descriptions are appended to the end of this complaint.[6]):

Ahava Cosmetics (Ma’ale Adumim)

Tehina Halva and Sweets, Ahdut (Barkan industrial park near Ariel*) 

Amnon and Tamar/Pyramid Herbal Seasonings

Beigel and Beigel (Barkan industrial park near Ariel*) 

Maya Foods, The Jerusalem Spice of Life

Maya, Superclass and Shufersal  (Mishor Edomim industrial park of Ma’ale Adumim*)

Shalgal Food / manufacturer for General Mills (Pillsbury)  (Atarot:  Jerusalem’s largest industrial park*)

Shamir Salads (Barkan industrial park near Ariel*) 

Gat Shomron Kosher Wines

Gush Etzion Kosher Wines

Royal Wines

Hacormim Vineyard (Mishor Edomim industrial park of Ma’ale Adumim*)

Livni Winery (Hebron, Kiryat Arba)

Noah/Hevron Heights Winery (Hebron, Kiryat Arba)

Labels: Noah, Gedeon, La Villa, Village Superior, Jerusalem Heights, and Makhpelah Special Reserve

Psagot Winery – wines marketed by Royal Wine Corp. and DFA – Duty Free of America (eastern Jerusalem*)

This boycott constitutes discrimination based on origin and nationality.  Evidencing the selective and discriminatory nature of PPI’s boycott advocacy, PPI does not promote boycotts against the products of Arab companies or businesses that operate in the same neighborhoods.   PPI only targets the products of Jewish and Israeli businesses. (And PPI boycotts only Jewish and Israelis businesses despite the fact that the Jewish and Israeli businesses employ Arabs at salaries far higher than the salaries at Arab-owned companies, and despite the fact that PPI and its slate partners claims to support “social justice.”)

PPI attempts to “differentiate” its boycott as a “targeted” boycott related to businesses operating in the West Bank.[7]   (PPI’s boycott is actually broader than the “West Bank” and also encompasses businesses in eastern Jerusalem– which PPI falsely calls “the West Bank settlement” of “occupied East Jerusalem.”  Eastern Jerusalem is the old city of Jerusalem, the majority of which was Jewish before Jordan invaded and illegally occupied eastern Jerusalem in 1948.)  

In any event, the somewhat smaller scope of PPI’s boycott does not absolve PPI of culpability for specifically targeting Jewish and Israeli businesses.  Indeed PPI boycotts many of the very same Jewish and Israeli businesses that the “Full BDS Movement” and other anti-Israel groups such as “Code Pink” boycott.[8] 

Moreover, PPI boycotts entire Jewish and Israelis businesses even if these businesses have only a small portion of their operations in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.  (For instance, Ahava has operations in 30 countries.)  The salient fact remains that PPI’s boycott is a discriminatory unlawful boycott of the products of Jewish and Israeli businesses.  

Further, as discussed in sections (2) and (3) of this objection/complaint, PPI is affiliated with J-Street and was involved in J-Street’s founding – and J-Street engages in de facto promotion of BDS against all of Israel.

PPI’s boycott deprives and hurts hard-working Jews and Arabs who are simply trying to  make an honest living to support their families.

Jewish and Israeli businesses, as well as Arab and Jewish workers, have in fact been harmed by the PPI/BDS boycott.  For instance, Bloomberg reported that SodaStream’s share price dropped on the BDS sanctions campaign.[9]   PPI boycotted and hounded SodaStream until recently, when SodaStream announced that it was moving its plant from Ma’ale Adumim to the Negev.  As a result of the SodaStream move, 900 Arab Palestinians who were employed at the plant under excellent working conditions now stand to lose their livelihoods.  Arab workers at the plant aptly complained that the boycotters (i.e., this would include groups such as PPI) had in fact hurt the Arabs and harmed Jewish-Arab peaceful co-existence on the West Bank.[10]

Interestingly, SodaStream even had an on-site mosque on its premises for the benefit of its Arab workers – an incredible example of peaceful co-existence – and yet PPI targeted SodaStream mercilessly.

PPI is headquartered in New York.[11]

Boycotts based on creed or national origin are an unlawful “discriminatory practice” under New York State law.

Specifically, New York Human Rights Law, NY Executive Law, Article 15, Sec. 296(13) prohibits boycotts based on creed or national origin, as follows:

It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice (i) for any person to discriminate against, boycott or blacklist, or to refuse to buy from, sell to or trade with, any person, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status or sex of such person, or of such person’s partners, members, stockholders, directors, officers, managers, superintendents, agents, employees, business associates, suppliers or customers, or (ii) for any person wilfully to do any act or refrain from doing any act which enables any such person to take such action.”[12] 

(Emphasis added.)

Companies and associations are also subject to, and beneficiaries of the New York Human Rights Law.[13]   The term “national origin” also includes “ancestry.”  Art. 15, § 292.8.

Thus, under both the WZO Constitution and New York State Human Rights Law, PPI is engaged in discrimination against Jews and Israelis (as well as harming both Arabs and Jews).  Accordingly, under the WZO Constitution, WZO and AZM must prevent PPI from membership.

We note that discrimination and boycotts against Jews are a particularly egregious violation for a member of the World Zionist Congress to engage in.    The World Zionist Congress and State of Israel were founded in part exactly to prevent such anti-Jewish boycotts and discrimination.  Theodore Herzl repeatedly wrote that boycotts of Jewish businesses were one of the types of anti-Jewish persecution that required the existence of a Jewish State.   In his famous book, The Jewish State, at the beginning of his discussion of “The Jewish Question,” Herzl wrote:

“No one can deny the gravity of the situation of the Jews.  Wherever they live in perceptible numbers, they are more or less persecuted.  Their equality before the law, granted by statute, has become practically a dead letter. . . . And attempts are made to thrust them out of business also: “Don’t buy from Jews![14] 

(Emphasis added.)   Herzl also wrote in The Jewish State about Jews being persecuted by being excluded from certain areas and facilities.  Id.   The PPI boycott acts to exclude Jews and Jewish businesses from stepping foot in the historic Jewish homelands of eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria – including Hebron, Jerusalem suburbs and Maale Adumim (the locations of some of the operations of the Jewish businesses boycotted by PPI).

Herzl would roll over in his grave if he knew that the World Zionist Congress that he founded permitted the continued membership of groups that are actively working to “thrust out of business” fellow Jews.   WZO and AZM must not permit its members to demand: “Don’t buy from Jews!”

2.      Request to Rescind Or Suspend Ameinu’s WZO, AZM and AEC Membership And Disqualify Ameinu and Its Slate From Elections, Due To Ameinu’s Discrimination (Including Advocating Sanctions Against Certain Individual Jewish Israelis), In Violation of the WZO Constitution (and In Violation of New York State Human Rights Law)

  1. Ameinu’s Discriminatory Lobbying For Sanctions Against Certain Israeli/Jewish Leaders 

Ameinu also discriminates against certain Jews and Israelis, and therefore violates the requirements for WZO/AZM/AEC membership, and should accordingly be ousted from WZO.AZM/AEC membership.

Although Ameinu claims to be opposed to academic boycotts, Ameinu has come up with a new way to discriminate against fellow Jews: namely, a project calling for severe personal sanctions against certain Jewish Israeli leaders and public figures.  In 2013/2014, Ameinu announced that Ameinu was forming its new academic advisory council called “The Third Narrative Academic Advisory Council.”   Ameinu’s Council’s signatories then issued a “personal sanctions” call.   HaAretz reported earlier this month (December 2014) that the Ameinu-created group “asked the U.S. and EU governments toimposevisa restrictions and to freeze the foreign assetsof Economy Minister and Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett, Housing Minister Uri Ariel, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and Ze’ev “Zambish” Hever.”[15]  (Emphasis added.)  Morever, the Ameinu group stated that its blacklist of these four individuals was only the “start” of its sanctions campaign against Israeli Jewish leaders and public figures.[16]  

As noted above, such blacklisting is an unlawful discriminatory practice in New York.   N.Y.S.. Human Rights Law, Art. 15, § 292.8. 

Further, Ameinu is targeting these Jewish leaders for reasons that are discriminatory.  For instance, HaAretz reported that Housing Minister Ariel was “blasted for issuing housing tenders across the Green Line.”  Id.[17] 

Forbidding Jews to live or build houses in a particular locale is clearly discrimination.   See, e.g., New York State Human Rights Law, Art. 15, Section 296.2-a(a) (it is an “unlawful discriminatory practice” to “refuse to sell, rent or lease or otherwise to deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons such housing accommodations because of the race, creed, color, disability, national origin [etc.] . . . of such person or persons. . . .).   See also N.Y.S. Human Rights Law, Art 15, Sections 296.2(b)-(d) (further prohibitions on housing discrimination); 296.3-b (prohibitions on real estate brokers and agents engaging in discriminatory housing practices).[18] 

In other words, Ameinu and Ameinu’s “Third Narrative” project/group are lobbying U.S. and European governments to impose the severe financial and travel sanctions on Jews – the types of sanctions that customarily apply to terrorist regimes – in order to make the many-millennia-old Jewish areas of Judea and Samaria and the old city of Jerusalem Judenrein!

Herzl would have been horrified to see members of his World Zionist Congress demanding that foreign governments should financially punish leaders of the Jewish State and restrict these Jews from entering the U.S. and Europe.   In The Jewish State, Herzl wrote that financial imposts (penalties) and travel exclusions were among the multitude forms of persecution against Jews, as follows:

“Attacks [on Jews] in Parliaments, in assemblies, in the press, in the pulpit, in the street, on journeys-for example, their [Jews] exclusion from certain hotels-even in places of recreation, become daily more numerous.  The forms of persecutions varying according to the countries and social circles in which they occur.  [sic] In Russia, impostsare levied on Jewish villages; in Rumania, a few persons are put to death; . . .  Shades of anti-Jewish feeling are innumerable.”

Thus, in accordance with the anti-discrimination provisions of the WZO Constitution, Ameinu’s membership needs to be rescinded.

b)   Ameinu’s Affiliation With PPI

Furthermore, Ameinu is closely allied with PPI – which, as demonstrated above, is engaged in unlawful discriminatory boycotts of certain Jewish and Israeli businesses’ products.   Ameinu and PPI are of course running on the same slate in the WZC/AZM election.  Both groups’ IRS Form 990 filings reveal that they apparently share the same address: 114 West 26th Street (10th floor), New York, NY 10001.[19] 

Furthermore, Ameinu’s website refers readers to the PPI website – which promotes boycotts of the products of certain Israeli and Jewish businesses.[20]

c)   Ameinu’s affiliation with J-Street and Other Groups That Promote Discriminatory Boycotts

Ameinu has also closely affiliated itself with groups that promote general “BDS” against Israel.

Ameinu’s leadership web page[21] reveals that Ameinu’s top three officials are also directors of or closely affiliated with J-Street.  Specifically: Ameinu National President Kenneth Bob is a director of the J Street Education Fund.   Ameinu Vice President, Executive Committee Chairperson and Fundraising and Membership Committee Chairperson Judith Gelman serves on J Street’s Montgomery County, MD Steering Committee.  Ameinu Secretary Hadar Susskind previously served as J-Street’s Vice President for Policy and Strategy.  Ameinu’s resources  “Related Web Sites” page also refers Ameinu members and readers to J-Street’s and J-Street U’s websites, among others.

In addition, Ameinu’s Detroit director posted the following in November 2009 upon his/her return from the Ameinu national board of directors meeting: 

“Another exciting development concerns pending elections for the World Zionist Congress. . . .  In the event that [the elections] do occur, Ameinu, along with Habonim Dror, Meretz USA, and Hashomer Hatzair, will share a slate with J Street, on what will be called the Hatikvah slate.”[22]

[Emphasis added.]  

J-Street conferences routinely engage in de facto promotion of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, and J-Street frequently brings BDS leaders to speak at college campuses.

For instance, J Street’s 2012 National Conference was addressed by Mustafa Barghouti,[23] a leading figure in the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign against Israel and former candidate for Palestinian Authority president.  Barghouti travels around the world to promote BDS against Israel.  Barghouti states that even if Israel left the West Bank, BDS would continue – in other words BDS is aimed at Israeli’s extermination.  Barghouti claimed that the Oslo peace process was a piece of Israeli “deceit,” equates Israel to the Nazis, accuses Israel of apartheid and ethnic cleansing; and accuses Israeli soldiers of being sadistic and racist.

J-Street also invited leading BDS advocates Rebecca Vilkomerson and Mustafa Barghouti and lawfare leader Michael Sfard to promote their BDS and anti-Israel agendas at J-Street’s 2011 National Conference.[24]  (As noted above, PPI’s 2012 Symposium likewise included anti-Israel lawfare advocate Michael Sfard.)  The 2011 J-Street conference also honored another BDS leader, Sara Benninga, of the virulently anti-Israel Sheik Jarrah Solidarity Movement, which accuses Israel of “fascism” and various invented crimes.  Id.

In J-Street’s video on the 2011 J Street Conference, entitled “Giving Voices to our Values,” J Street speaker Gershon Baskin stated that he supports the (discriminatory) BDS against settlements and Israeli “settlement products.”  An additional unidentified J-Street speaker in the official J-Street video also states that she supports BDS against Israel.[25] 

In 2012, J Street hosted Peter Beinart’s book launch right after Beinart published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for a “Zionist BDS” campaign to economically suffocate all Israeli Jews who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines,[26] and features pro-boycott Beinart at other events throughout the country.[27]

Furthermore, Ameinu’s “Related Web Sites” page includes links to websites of other organizations that blatantly promote BDS against Israel and other anti-Israel actions, including the Sheik Jarrah Solidarity Movement, B’tselem and 972 Magazine.

The the NIF-funded Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement collaborates with the anti-Israel global BDS movement, defames Israel as a “fascist state,” and talks about victories over “cowardly Zionists who are perpetrating an apartheid state and ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem,” and urges liquidation of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund.  At a J Street U sponsored campus event, the Sheikh Jarrah’s founder declared: “Jerusalem is a symbol of evil.”[28]  

3.    The Entire Slate Is Interconnected And Should Be Disqualified

The interconnections, identical addresses, shared websites and shared website resource pages of the four “HaTikvah” slate organizations were discussed previously in this objection/complaint.  

There are still additional interconnections among these groups. 

For instance, Ameinu Vice President, Executive Committee Chairperson and Fundraising and Membership Committee Chairperson Judith Gelman serves on the Executive Committee of the Habonim Dror Foundation and on the Camp Committee for Habonim Dror Camp Moshava.[29] 

Moreover, the four “HaTikvah” slate organizations worked together to form the predecessor to J-Street’s J-Street U. 

According to the current “Peace Movement History” written an organization similar to those running as the “HaTikvah” slate: “In 2004, Meretz USA [the predecessor to PPI], in cooperation with Ameinu, Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim-Dror, founded, funded and nurtured the Union of Progressive Zionists (UPZ), a campus-based group that eventually became part of J Street as “J Street U.””[30]    As discussed above in section (2) of this objection/complaint, J-Street actively engages in de facto promotion of BDS by honoring and featuring the leaders of the general anti-Israel movement at J-Street’s national conferences and campus events.

4.  “HaTikvah” Is A Misleading  Slate Name for the PPI/Ameinu/HD/HH Slate;  The Name Can Confuse Voters and Should Not Be Permitted

We are respectfully requesting that, in the event that the PPI/Ameinu/HD/HH Slate is not disqualified from the WZC/AZM due to their unlawful discrimination against fellow Jews, then, at a very minimum, that PPI, Ameinu, HD and HH should not be permitted to use the slate name “HaTikvah,” because it seems likely that this name would confuse and mislead voters regarding the PPPI/Ameinu/HD/HH’s slate ideology. 

Voters often merely look at the slate name, and do not investigate the platform or other specifics regarding a slate.

The name “HaTikvah” is likely to instantly bring to mind Israel’s national anthem – and HaTikvah’s beautiful music and lyrics:

In the Jewish heart

A Jewish spirit still sings,

And the eyes look east

Toward Zion.

Our hope is not lost,

Our hope of two thousand years,

To be a free nation in our land,

In the land of Zion and Jerusalem

“HaTikvah” has longstanding nationalist meaning.   HaTikvah speaks of the soul of a Jew yearning for 2000 years to return and live in freedom in Zion and Jerusalem.  This clearly means and includes the “old city” of Jerusalem and Israel’s holy places in Judea and Samaria – the very same places that the HaTikvah slate is working to render Judenrein.  In fact, the original poem called Jerusalem “Ir David” (City of David) – an obvious reference to the areas that PPI now calls “occupied East Jerusalem” on the boycott page of PPI’s website.   Tel Aviv wasn’t even born yet when Naftali Herz Imber wrote Tikvatenu (the poem which became the song Hatikva) in 1878.[31]

Voters in the upcoming Word Zionist Congress election may very well naturally believe that a “HaTikvah” slate shares the sentiments of the song – that Jews will live freely in their ancient land.   It seems likely that voters will naturally assume that a “HaTikvah” slate is a nationalist slate.   Disgracefully, these voters could be misled into voting for a slate that boycotts Jewish and Israeli products made in the very same land that Jews have yearned to live freely in, throughout all the millennia since the destruction of the Second Temple.

The nationalist history of HaTikvah is longstanding.  When the proposal to locate the Jewish State in Uganda was brought up at the 1903 World Zionist Congress, the numerous delegates opposed to the Uganda proposal left the hall fervently singing Hatikvah.   HaTikvah was sung at World Zionist Congresses from their earliest days, and became the official anthem of the World Zionist Congress in 1933.   The song became the de facto national anthem of Israel in 1948, and the official national anthem of Israel in 2004.   Voters thus are likely to believe that a slate that calls itself “HaTikvah” shares these longstanding Jewish national sentiments.

Notably and quite ironically, board members of the “HaTikvah” slate organizations are at the forefront of efforts to eliminate Jewish content from “HaTikvah,” demote “HaTikvah” to some sort of dual status with an Arab anthem, or entirely eliminate HaTikvah as Israel’s national anthem.

Ameinu’s long-time (recently deceased) director Leonard Fein called the words of Hatikvah an “insult” in his “Speech to Hadassah on Arab Israelis and the Zionist Enterprise” (July 17, 2000).[32]   Ameinu apparently agreed:  Ameinu’s website calls Mr. Fein “an activist role model.”[33]

On the occasion of the State of Israel’s 64th birthday in 2012, HaAretz and The Forward published editorials questioning the “Jewish ethnocentrism” of Hativah, and began promoting revising “HaTikvah” to remove its Jewish content.[34]   Notably, the Publisher of The Forward is an Ameinu director.[35] 

5.  The “Hatikva Slate”’s Participation In Past Congresses Is Irrelevant

We initially filed this objection with Judge Abraham Gafni of the AZM, who responded that the HaTikvah slate, Ameinu and PPI are entitled to participate in the World Zionist Congress 2015 election and remain members of the AEC, and use the HaTikvah slate name, simply because they previously ran and won at least one seat in the 2006 and 2010 World Zionist Congress elections.   Judge Gafni advised us that if we still maintain our position (as we do), that we should file our complaint with you – Mr. Markov of the Central Election Board (as we are doing herein).

We respectfully submit that participation in prior elections is irrelevant here.  We are dealing with new violations of the WZO Constitution and a problem that is now seriously threatening the livelihoods of innocent Jews and Arabs.  BDS was in its infancy in 2006, and was a relatively minor problem in 2010.   Ameinu just started promoting international sanctions against Israeli officials this month, and just started its project to promote international sanctions against Israeli officials within the past year.   To the best of our knowledge, PPI first began promoting boycotts of Israeli companies in 2011 or 2012, after the prior election.   The HaTikvah slate name is also far more inappropriate now in light of Ameinu’s and PPI’s current activities.  Moreover, even if these organizations were involved in discriminatory BDS activities previously, PPI’s and Ameinu’s clear violations of the anti-discrimination provisions of the WZO Constitution cannot be allowed simply because these organizations participated in past Congresses.   Simply put, these organizations are violating a provision of the WZO Constitution that bars them from membership and participation – and there is no excuse for this and no exception for this.

In the United States, an individual who is convicted of a felony loses the right to vote.  He cannot continue voting merely because he voted in past elections.   Likewise here, PPI and Ameinu are now committing egregious violations of the WZO Constitution and against the Jewish people.  They should not be permitted to continue their hurtful, outrageous, discriminatory, activities against fellow Jews with impunity.

Conclusion:

For all the above-stated reasons, we respectfully request that the relief sought herein should be granted.   As the WZO Constitution commands, organizations that discriminate against Jewish and Israeli businesses, or against fellow Jews, cannot be members of the World Zionist Congress, the WZO, AZM and AEC.  

ZOA reserves the right to reply if the  HaTikvah slate files a submission.   Further, in the event the decision on this objection/complaint is adverse to ZOA, ZOA hereby respectfully states its intention to appeal to the WZO Supreme Court, and respectfully requests a copy of the WZO Supreme Court’s procedures.

Sincerely,

Morton Klein, Zionist Organization of America National President

Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Zionist Organization of America Chairman

Elizabeth Berney, Esq., Zionist Organization of America Director of Special Projects


[1]   http://partners4israel.org
[3]   See https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=345669325556&id=179789858911
[4]  Brit Zedek v’Shalom, 2014, Peace Movement History, sec 4, Partners for Progressive Israel (PPI), btvshalom.org/movement-history/section-4-parters-for-progressive-israel-ppi/
[6]    The PPI website lists misleading locations for the boycotted businesses.  PPI lists the locations as “West Bank Settlement industrial zones” and omits that these are actually industrial parks of major Israeli cities: Jerusalem, Ariel and Ma’Ale Adumim.  We have starred location descriptions that we have made more accurate above.   PPI’s boycott page also lists Psagot Winery as located in “a settlement location . . . in occupied East Jerusalem.”  There is no entity called “occupied East Jerusalem.”  Nor is there an entity called “East Jerusalem.”   In addition, Jerusalem is not a settlement.
[7]   For instance, PPI’s website blog announced a teleconference on April 17, 2014 trying to differentiate PPI’s “targeted boycott” of “settlement products.” http://blog.partners4israel.org/2014/04/conference-call-on-bds-targetted.html.
[8]    See, e.g., http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/consumer-boycott (BDS movement boycott of Ahava); http://www.stolenbeauty.org (Code Pink boycott of Ahava).
[10]    Seehttp://jpupdates.com/2014/08/27/sodastream-move-west-bank-negev-may-put-900-palestinians-work/   (“[T]he company [SodaStream] was providing a decent living to its staff of 900 Palestinians, who were happy to be working for an outfit that treated its Arab and Jewish employees with equal respect.  “Those who seek to help the Palestinians end up hurting us,” commented Nabil Bashrat, 40, a resident of Ramallah who worked at the SodaStream factory.   “[The factory] provides income to hundreds of families, entire villages. Peace is what happens here inside, and not outside. Those who are abroad don’t understand the relations and actually sabotage the process. The factory draws us closer. Even in times of instability, as was during the war in Gaza, everything was as usual here.”’)
[11]   PPI’s annual Form 990-EZ form filed with the IRS (EIN 13-3607222) states that PPI’s address is 114 West 26th St., New York, NY 10001.  See http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/133/133607222/133607222_201306_990EZ.pdf?_ga=1.168804193.1390660356.1419630447
[12]    There is an inapplicable exception at the end of this paragraph which reads:  “This subdivision shall not apply to: (a) Boycotts connected with labor disputes; or (b) boycotts to protest unlawful discriminatory practices.”   PPI is boycotting Israeli and Jewish businesses that employ, pay and treat Arabs and Jews equally and fairly.   PPI is targeting these businesses simply because they are Jewish or Israeli businesses, who do some business in areas such as eastern Jerusalem, Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel and Hebron that PPI want to be “Judenrein” (clean of Jews).
[13]   Article 15, § 292 Definitions, provides:  “When used in this article: 1. The term “person” includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers.”
[14]    The text of Herzl’s The Jewish State (1896) is reprinted at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/herzl2.html
[16]   “We chose four Israeli leaders and public figures to start with. . . .”   http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/.premium-1.631336
[17]    The Ameinu group also contends that housing tenders by Israel over the Green line impair “Kerry’s peace process.”  Id.  This is nonsensical:  There is no peace process because the Palestinian Authority has allied and unified itself with Hamas, is bragging on government party Fatah’s Facebook page about killing more Jews than Hamas has, and is calling for more “car intifada” murders of Jewish babies.  Moreover, the housing tenders have all been in areas that would remain in Israel in any conceivable “two state solution.”   However, even if Ameinu was correct about the impact of housing tenders on the so-called “peace process,” this would not justify unlawful anti-Jewish discrimination and sanctions. 
[18]   The “HaTikvah” slate members have also demonstrated their support for housing discriminating against Jews in additional ways.  For instance, PPI’s 2012 annual Symposium included anti-Israel lawfare advocate Michael Sfard. http://partners4israel.org/sites/default/files/Israel%20Symposium%202012%20-%20ITINERARY.pdf.  Sfard brought a purported “human rights claim” against Canada for “tacitly allowing” two Canadian-registered companies to build housing in Mod’in, Israel.  
[19]    See the most recent IRS information reporting forms available for both groups: http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/133/133607222/133607222_201306_990EZ.pdf?_ga=1.168804193.1390660356.1419630447  (PPI’s 2012 Form 990-EZ) and http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/300/300630338/300630338_201212_990EO.pdf?_ga=1.168211553.1390660356.1419630447 (Ameinu Our People, Inc.’s 2012 Form 990-EZ, EIN 30-0630338).   Curiously, Ameinu reports zero income for 2012.  It may well be that PPI paid Ameinu’s rent.
[20]    See Ameinu’s website resources page, at http://www.ameinu.net/resources/related-websites/.   Ameinu’s resources include a few mainstream organizations, along with numerous anti-Israel groups that promote boycotts against Israel.
[22]   See https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=345669325556&id=179789858911
[23]   http://www.bikcha.com/tube/kw5UfKlEAYc/j-street-2012-national-conference-making-history-palestinian-perspectives-panel
[24]   http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/j_street_nif_conference_a_platform_for_lawfare_and_bds.  See also http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/sheikh_jarrah_solidarity_movement.  See also “Why I Left J Street,” by Ada da Silva, July 9, 2014, at http://mikereport.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/guest-post-why-i-left-j-street/ (discusses Barghouti’s condemnation of Israel at the 2012 J-Street national conference).
[25]    See the J-Street official video voicing J-Street’s support for BDS at “J Street and the Jewish War Against Israel,” by Caroline Glick, at http://carolineglick.com/j_street_and_the_jewish_war_ag/
[26]    See J Street Rolls Out the Red Carpet for BDS,” by Omri Ceren, Mar. 19, 2012, Commentary Magazine, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/03/19/j-street-conference-red-carpet-bds/
[27]   See “J Street Brings Peter Beinart to San Diego,  Dec. 2014, http://sdjewishjournal.com/site/7634/j-street-brings-peter-beinart-to-san-diego/
[28]  http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/sheikh_jarrah_solidarity_movement
[29]   http://www.ameinu.net/leadership/#sthash.5R69Qat5.dpuf
[30]  Brit Zedek v’Shalom, 2014, Peace Movement History, sec 4, Partners for Progressive Israel (PPI), btvshalom.org/movement-history/section-4-parters-for-progressive-israel-ppi/
[31]    The first stanzas of the Imber poem, “Tïkvosenu—Our Hope,” which then morphed into the “HaTikvah” anthem, also revealed that “our land” was “our father’s land” – in other words, places such as Hebron (whose Jewish products PPI is now boycotting).   The poem’s first stanzas’ words were:Kol od balevov p’nim
Nefesh Yehudi homiyo
Ul’faase mizrach kodimo
Ayin I’Tsion tsofiyoOd lo ovdo tikvosenu
Hatikvo hanoshono
Loshuv le’erets avosenu
Le’ir ho Dovid, Dovid chono.(So long as in our heart of heartsA Jewish pulse is beating,And Eastward to the OrientWe cast our eye to Zion—Our ancient Hope will not be lost,Our age-long aspirationTo turn back to our father’s land,To the city where David dwelt.)
[33]   http://www.ameinu.net/blog/letters-from-leadership/leibel-fein-zl-activist-role-model/
[34]   SeeIs Israel’s National Anthem, ‘Hatikva,’ Racist? A New Debate Gains Steam,”The Jewish Week, 05/15/2012.  The Jewish Week article describing the HaAretz’s and The Forward’s campaign to de-Judaize HaTikva also noted that HaTikva’s lyrics are “rife with the romantic yearnings of a Jewish people pining to return to their ancient homeland.”
[35]   See Ameinu leadership website page, at http://www.ameinu.net/leadership/#sthash.IsFkmHVN.dpuf (Ameinu director “Samuel Norich is the Publisher of the Forward and Forverts newspapers and websites.”)
 
Partners for Progressive Israel Current List of Israeli/Jewish Businesses to Boycott on PIP’s web page:Prominent companies:

  • Ahava – Manufactures cosmetic products using minerals from the Dead Sea.West Bank Settlement: The company’s factory and visitors’ center are both located in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. UPDATE: After SodaStream decided to remove its factory from Mishur Adumim, thereby ending its presence in the West Bank, Partners for Progressive Israel will now remove the company from our list and endorse their products. Food and Produce: 
  • Ahdut Factory for Tehina Halva and Sweets – Achdut is a factory manufacturing tahini, halva and sweets. West Bank Settlement: The company is located in the Barkan industrial zone Brand names: Achva
  • Amnon and Tamar – Produce herbal seasonings and spices.West Bank Settlement: The company’s head offices are in Alfei Menashe. Brand names: Pyramid Herbal Seasonings 
  • Beigel and Beigel – A baked goods’ company, manufacturing pastries, pretzels and mini cracker snacks. West Bank Settlement: The company’s plant is located in the Barkan industrial zone.
  • Maya Foods, The Jerusalem Spice of Life – Manufactures, packs and markets food products, including spices, sweets, rice and legumes.West Bank Settlement: The company’s factory is located in Mishor Edomim industrial zone.Brand names: Maya, Super Class, and Shufersal.
  • Shalgal (Food) – Manufacture frozen dough cakes, pies and pastries.West Bank Settlement: The company’s plant is located in the Atarot industrial zone. The company manufactures products for General Mills (Pillsbury)
  • Shamir Salads – Manufacture and distribute pre-packaged chilled salads, dips and spreads.West Bank Settlement: The company’s factory is located in the Barkan industrial zone.Wine:
  • Gat Shomron Winery – The winery produced kosher wines since 2003.West Bank Settlement: Karnei Shomron
  • Givon Winery – The winery, founded in 2001, It produces around 5,000 bottles of kosher wines a year, and markets wines to the US online.West Bank Settlement: Giv’on Hahadash
  • Gush Etzion Winery – Wines are available in the USA through “Royal Wines”.West Bank Settlement: The winery’s vineyards are located in Gush Etzion and the company offices are in Efrata settlement in Gush Etzion.
  • Hacormim Vineyard – The winery manufactures wines and fruit liquers.West Bank Settlement: Mishor Edomim Industrial Zone
  • Livni Winery – Wines are available directly though the winery’s own website.West Bank Settlement: Winery in Moshave Carmel (South Hebron Hills) and vinyards near Kiryat Arba
  • Noah/Hevron Heights WineryWest Bank Settlement: Hebron/Qiryat ArbaLabels: Noah, Gedeon, La Villa, Village Superior, Jerusalem Heights, and Makhpelah Special Reserve
  • Psagot Winery – The wines are marketed by Royal Wine Corp. and DFA – Duty Free of America.West Bank Settlement: The winery used to reside in the settlement Psagot, but in 2008 moved to another settlement location, near Pisgat Ze’ev in occupied East Jerusalem. It holds several vineyards, including near Psagot and in Har Bracha. Brand names: Edom and Psagot.
  • Tura Estate Winery – The wines are available in the US – sold on Only Kosher Wine.comWest Bank Settlement: Rechelim