ARZENU, the religious Zionist organisation that represents 1.8 million Jews around the world, expresses revulsion and total rejection of the campaign of hatred and incitement that is being carried out by the pseudo-Zionist group, Im Tirtzu. This organisation cloaks itself in the language of Zionism but takes actions that strike at the heart of the Zionist vision of a secure homeland for the Jewish people within a democratic State of Israel.
In particular, we condemn the recent video that incites viewers against four Israeli Non-Governmental Organizations -- declaring them traitors, "foreign plants" of European governments, and supporters of terrorism. We also reject their attack on the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, for his statements that Reform, Progressive and Conservative Jews are equal members of the “one family” of the Jewish people.
ARZENU embraces and represents the diverse views of Reform and Progressive Jews and is adamant that the pre-requisite for any successful Zionist vision is a commitment to democracy and civil society in Israel. As such, we join groups in Israel and around the world in unequivocally condemning Im Tirtzu's dangerous incitement against NGOs and their staff.
These actions are a direct threat to Israel's democracy and contrary to Israel's founding vision to "foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants... based on freedom, justice ... ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex...guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture..."
In these turbulent times, we fear that such actions and words of incitement can have tragic consequences for both the safety of the NGO workers and their supporters amongst Israeli citizens. Moreover, this video adds to a growing culture of incitement within Israel and the Palestinian territories. This culture is being strengthened by divisive and irresponsible statements by government ministers and Members of the Knesset and is already leading to avoidable violence.
ARZENU echoes the calls of concerned groups of people around the world for all responsible organisations to speak out against this dangerous incitement and for Israel to protect its civil society and citizens. Fear and intimidation must not be allowed to replace democratic dialogue.
ARZENU calls on the Government of Israel to take the lead in rejecting this campaign of hatred and violence. We also call on the Zionist Federations around the world to condemn these efforts to undermine their work to establish an inclusive and cooperative alliance of all who love and support a democratic and open Jewish State.
ARZENU is committed to working with all groups and individuals in Israel and around the world to reject these threats to Israel's future and to condemn Im Tirtzu and all who seek to replace diversity and dialogue with demagoguery and discussion.