In an editorial written by J.J. Goldberg last week, Mr. Goldberg referred to the American elections to the World Zionist Congress in negative terms.
Mr. Goldberg challenged his readers to even know what the World Zionist Congress is, and it’s true, many, if not most, American Jews know nothing about this election or the Zionist Congress. He goes on to ridicule the Zionist Movement as it is today because nobody cares, nobody votes, and nobody is involved. Well, he is right, but being right is not the end game for Zionism. It is our fault, for allowing the Zionist Movement in all its’ beauty, passion, history and strength to be taken from us.
My Grandfather, Kalman Sultanik, was proud of me for following in his footsteps. As a Holocaust survivor who went on to become a world Zionist leader, grandpa loved to say, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” J.J. Goldberg, you are part of the problem, as a Jew with a well-known voice in media it is up to you, and others like you, to assume leadership by eliciting a sense of personal involvement and responsibility on behalf of your readers in Zionism’s future.
It is true that few know about the elections to the Zionist Congress. It was a dismal turnout, a little over five years ago, with less than 90,000 people from throughout the United States voting. The picture looks even grimmer when you consider that most of those people came from the movements….Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. And, this year, those elections would have been the same, if it were not for a group of people, as diverse as you could find, religious to secular, left to right, coming together and forming a party to run in the election to make a difference. We are part of the solution. The Zionist Spring is here! We are taking on the big parties and the movements, because we want people to vote, to care, and to be involved. And you may be surprised, victory for us is having 250,000 people vote in this election. That is one of our main goals – to raise awareness and participation, we believe the rest will follow.
We want to retake Zionism for the Jewish people everywhere, stolen from us by third rate politicians that have taken over the World Zionist Congress. We want each and every Jew to have a say in defining the relationship between the Jewish people and the Jewish state. These elections, and your democratic right to partake in them, is our opportunity at the unity needed to forge a second golden age of Zionism, one that is relevant in the 21st century and one that my, and your grandparents, would be proud of.
Examine our platform. It is a real platform of change. We don’t want to get a “cut of the money” that is being doled out. We want to make the system work again by seeing to it that money is spent on the priorities and needs as defined by us, the Jewish people, in a democratic process of debate, dialogue and decision making. Vote for the Zionist Spring because we want to do real work for the Jewish people. Ask yourself, “Has the WZO done anything meaningful in my life?” Maybe, but probably not. We want to change that for our young generation by funding new programs that lead to youth activism, leadership, entrepreneurship and idealism. Vote for us so we can make that change. That is the Zionist Spring.
We’d also like to see a WZO Chairman that all Jews, irrespective of their level of Jewish identity or commitment, can get behind. Maybe a J.J. Goldberg, a Michael Oren, a Sheryl Sandberg, a Noble Laureate or a Shimon Peres. Moreover, imagine a data driven technologist, with an exit or two behind him or her, leading the Zionist Movement towards a lean future! We want to have someone we are all proud of representing the Jewish people and the Zionist Movement with dignity and leadership.
The Zionist Spring does not write off anyone. We use Israel as a unifying factor, not as a divider. That is why J.J. Goldberg, we need people like you to be part of the solution. Write articles and rally people to vote. Vote for the left, vote for the right, the Reform, the Conservative, the Orthodox, the Zionist Spring, but please vote! Get involved. Be part of the solution. Let’s take back the Zionist Movement for the Jewish people.
Naivety, maybe. Solution building, sure. Dreamers, absolutely. Visionaries, let history decide. We want you to join us in finding a solution. Join the movement. Vote for the Zionist Spring!