BUENOS AIRES (Apr. 16)
The World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem have become targets of sharp criticism from local Zionist and Jewish leaders here who say their methods are obsolete, their approach too partisan and their propaganda ineffective against the anti-Zionist offensives from both left and right, a highly authoritative Zionist source told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent this week. Hoped for changes failed to materialize after the latest Zionist Actions Committee sessions in Jerusalem with the result that Latin American Zionist federations are drifting into lethargy and disappointment, the source said.
The source said bluntly that proclaiming “Aliya Month” here in May is not likely to produce a single immigrant. “Speeches don’t move those who have not already decided on aliya and the others just don’t go to listen to speeches,” the source said.
One of the most serious complaints is the lack of communication between the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem and the territorial federations on one hand and between the different parties comprising the Zionist federations in each country on the other, the source said. Jerusalem still dispatches “shlichim” (emissaries) who duplicate each other and fail to coordinate with the World Jewish Congress or even with Israeli authorities in Latin America on information and youth activities, he said.
The Zionist Movement has shown only inertia and incapacity to act against the propaganda offensive from left and right that distorts the image of Zionism and of Israel, the source told the JTA. He said it was absurd to believe that “Aliya Month” will bring new immigrants or attract youth who are either indifferent or are enrolled in movements that are crudely anti-Israel.
Finally, he said, pioneerism and aliya are not stimulated through mass meetings, visits by important Israelis or publicity expenditures. “Zionist ideology cannot be sold over the counter” but is a function of the educational process, for the faults of which “we are all to blame,” the source said. He said education must have priority before aliya and asked, “If people go to Israel on a non-catastrophe, voluntary and even romantic basis, can the Israeli authorities receive them without shaking their faith and avoid their frustration and return?”