‘Left-wing’ groups increase their influence at Zionist Federation

National Council pass motion stating no ZF statements to be released withouttheir prior agreement


The JC understands that “left-wing” groups are becoming increasingly influential within the Zionist Federation of the United Kingdom (ZFUK) after a motion was passed by its newly elected National Council  preventing any statements being put out under the name of the organisation without its prior agreement.

The move, which secured a large majority in favour at Sunday’s biennial meeting,  was largely pushed by members aligned to groups such as the Jewish Labour Movement, Meretz UK, Mercaz-Masorti and Pro-Zion, the Reform's Zionist Movement had on the organisation.

In what critics described as a “gagging motion”, the ZF’s council passed the motion which stated they would: “Ensure that no public statements of a political nature are released in the name of the Zionist Federation, or any representative or spokesperson of the ZF without prior agreement of the National Council which reflects the broad make up of its membership base.”

Last May, several affiliate members of the ZFUK openly criticised its chair, Paul Charney,  in a letter over what they claimed were “wholly inappropriate” comments on planned Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.

In Sunday’s ballot to decide the composition of the ZF’s London National Council, there were successes for candidates from JLM, which now has four elected reps, six from Mercaz-Masorti, two from Meretz UK and four from Pro-Zion. LJY-Netzer, the youth movement of Liberal Judaism, also secured a representative.

While more “right-wing” organisations such as Herut UK remain represented on the council, sources told the JC that disunity amongst the “right” had allowed a unified group of “progressive” candidates to make gains.

Many on the left have been outspoken in their criticism of the direction taken by ZFUK  in recent years, but have vowed to retain their involvement with the organisation in order to “change things from within”.

The mainstream Orthodox Zionist organisation Mizrachi, is independent of the ZF. 

Accounts for ZFUK, for the year ending December 31 2019, and seen by the JC, were showed a loss of over £100, 000.

Chair, Mr Charney told the JC: “The ZF is proud to be a vibrant umbrella organisation of many political and social persuasions regarding Zionism and Israel.

"The ZF manages many NC motions passed at conferences and will continue to do so.

"The accounts are confidential and we can only assume were clearly leaked as a means to harm the ZF, and we therefore cannot comment on them.

"However, given the challenges this past year, the ZF has reduced its overheads and is weathering the storm as we have done before, and like so many other communal and charity organisations, we are looking forward to better times in the near future.”


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