Why is the Center for Jewish History celebrating anti-Zionism?

There is anti-Zionism in Jewish history, so recalling it is legitimate. But why is there no debate, why is no one invited to voice opposing views, at this kind of event?

Tags: Anti-Zionism
Ronn Torossian

OpEds Israeli flag (illustration)
Israeli flag (illustration)

It is a new week, and there is an anti-Zionist event being held at the New York based Center for Jewish History (CJH).  Last week, two events which were to be held at the Center of Jewish History by the BDS supporting Jewish Voices of Peace were cancelled. 

This week to be held at the CJH by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is an event celebrating “the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Labor Bund, the socialist movement.” As the ads read, there will be “Talks and slideshows by scholars and lifelong Bundists .” Of course, the
David Ben-Gurion on the left, as well as all others on the political spectrum were firmly opposed to the Bund for their violent opposition to Zionism.
Bund is part of Jewish history and should be remembered, but are you familiar with this self-proclaimed socialist movement?

Let’s examine what the Jewish Labor Bund stands for:

“Jews cannot be remade into a one-state nation.”

“The State of Israel does not represent the entire Jewish People. It does not solve the Jewish problem.”

“The key to the safety and the future of the Jews in Israel is peace with the Arabs. To achieve it, concessions on both sides are needed. Israel should recognize the moral right of the Arab refugees to repatriation and compensation.”

As Wikipedia notes, “The Bund was against the UN vote on the partition of Palestine and reaffirmed its support for a One-state solution, i.e. a single binational state that would guarantee equal national rights for Jews and Arabs and would be under the control of superpowers and the UN. The 1948 New York Second World Conference of the International Jewish Labor Bund condemned the proclamation of the Jewish state, because the decision exposed the Jews in Palestine to a danger. The conference was in favour of a two nations state built on the base of national equality and democratic federalism.”  

The Bund was (is) ideologically hostile towards all forms of Zionism.  David Ben-Gurion on the left, as well as all others on the political spectrum were firmly opposed to the Bund for their violent opposition to Zionism.  Yet, today in 2017 at the Center for Jewish History the Bund movement is being not just discussed, but celebrated.  Not a discussion about the Bund, not a debate with an alternate viewpoint. A celebration of Anti-Zionist socialism against the backdrop of all the controversy surrounding this organization.

The campaign demanding the firing of David N. Myers as CEO of the Center For Jewish History has been covered by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and countless other media outlets including establishment Jewish newspapers such as the New York Jewish Week and Los Angeles Jewish Journal. 

Allowing Mr. Myers, who mourns the “nakba” (the term meaning catastrophe, used by the Arabs for Israel's Independence Day) to remain in his role, seems to mean that events celebrating forms of anti-Zionist activity become the norm at the Center for Jewish History.  Events as these are the direct result of having a CEO who supports a boycott of the Jewish state.  If, for no other reason than the fact that in the course of two weeks, multiple events have been planned which are Anti-Zionist,  Is there no reaction to an organizational leader hosting events which are violently Anti-Israel?

Mr. Myers remains an active board member of the New Israel Fund, an organization which Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett has called upon to be boycotted (as does Birthright Israel). Bennett said that he would “boycott whoever persecutes Israeli soldiers,” and “not apologize for it.” Bennett went on: “Members of the New Israel Fund, listen carefully: Whoever harms, slanders and persecutes Israeli soldiers are not my brothers. The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes, of torturing Palestinians and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the UN and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal.”  

How can the leader of the Center for Jewish History sit on a board that persecutes Israeli Soldiers? 

We call upon the board of the Center for Jewish History, including Bruce Slovin, Ira H. Jolles, Martin Karlinsky, Bernard Blum, David Dangoor, Michael Jesselson, Ed Stelzer as well as the American Sephardic Federation, Yeshiva University Museum, American Jewish Historical Society, Leo Baeck Institute and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research to stand up and replace David N. Myers as head of the Center for Jewish History.

George Birnbaum is a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications, is a political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former president Bill Clinton.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of a top 20 US PR agency, and author of For Immediate Release.