5 Urgent Issues for the World Zionist Congress
The World Zionist Congress will be meeting in Jerusalem from October 20-22, at one of the most perilous times in recent Jewish history. The Congress must not shy away from confronting the burning issues facing Israel and the Jewish people today.
Fortunately, there is a broad right-to-left consensus on the most urgent problems confronting the Jewish state and world Jewry, so there is no reason for the Zionist Congress to fear that it will be fomenting divisiveness by speaking out. On the contrary, by taking a firm position on these issues, the Congress will be promoting unity and consensus in the Jewish world:
1. Palestinian terrorism: The Zionist Congress should affirm that the latest wave of Palestinian stabbings, bombings and shootings — including the torching of the tomb of the Biblical patriarch Joseph — were not “provoked” by Israel or Israelis. The Zionist Congress should demand an end to the Palestinian Authority’s incitement of violence, payments to imprisoned terrorists and naming of streets and parks after terrorists.
2. Honoring Rabin’s legacy: The Zionist Congress should acknowledge that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians ended 20 years ago this autumn, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew Israel’s forces from the cities where 98% of the Palestinians reside. The Congress should reject the ongoing denunciations of an “Israeli occupation” that no longer exists.
3. Recognizing Olmert’s foresight: The chaos in Syria illustrates the grave dangers Israel would now face if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had not ordered the destruction of the Syrian nuclear development site in 2007. The Zionist Congress should affirm Israel’s right to take preemptive action against those who threaten it.
4. Economic warfare: No aspect of the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement is legitimate or acceptable, regardless of which particular group of Israelis is targeted. The Zionist Congress should affirm that BDS is economic warfare against the Jewish people.
5. Democracy in the Zionist movement: The delegates to the Congress were democratically elected, but many Zionist organizations in the Diaspora do not hold regular elections to choose their leaders. The Congress should call on Zionist groups around the world to honor the principle of democracy and adhere to the highest standards of ethical behavior.
The World Zionist Congress has a solemn responsibility to speak out on these issues, and provide the Jewish people with responsible leadership in these difficult times. History will not judge the delegates kindly if they fail to meet their responsibility.
Mr. Korn, chairman of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists, is former executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and the Miami Jewish Tribune. He was a candidate on the Vote Torah slate in the elections to the World Zionist Congress.