NEW YORK (Apr. 6)
The formation of the Socialist Zionist Union (SZU) was announced here by representatives of various progressive Zionist organizations and individuals after a week-end conference. The purpose of the new organization, a spokesperson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, is to present a unified Socialist Zionist voice and view in the United States and most particularly. In the American Jewish community.
Organizers of the group include members of national Zionist youth movements. Hahonim. Hamagenimim and Hashomer Hatzair: representatives of local groups, among them the Radical Jewish Union in Berkeley, Calif.; and individuals in New York, Boston, Madison (Wisconsin), and Pittsburgh. Many of them, the spokesperson said, were formerly involved in Socialist Zionist organizations in the 1960s.
“Few Americans, even in the Jewish community, are aware of the Socialist Zionist position on peace in the Middle East.” the SZU spokesperson said. “This position is that peace can only come about through mutual recognition of the right of the Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.” The spokesperson noted that “many” progressives in Israel hold this view but American Jews are only exposed to the Israeli government line or the views of the right-wing opposition.”
According to the SZU platform “The current conflict in the Middle East is preventing the realization of both socialism and the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination….The conflict should be settled by negotiations between the parties to it, based on mutual recognition and respect, without outside intervention and manipulation.”
The platform also states that “A socialist Israel is the highest expression of the age-old Jewish commitment to a just society” and that the “trend toward capitalism in Israel has widened the gap between rich and poor and has wrenched Israel away from its socialist goals.” It calls for opposition to the “capitalist trend, the denial of civil liberties, and the second-class status of Eastern Jews, Israeli Arabs and women.”
U.S. JEWS DOMINATED BY SMALL ‘ELITE’
The SZU platform also views American Jewry as “dominated by a small elite…unaccountable to the community.” This elite, it continues, “claims to represent American Jewry and makes decisions on policy and disbursement of the Jewish people’s money without being responsible or responsive to the needs of American Jews.”
The SZU, the spokesperson added, is committed to the democratization of the American Jewish community and to a changing of priorities to meet the needs of Jews. The organization also terms aliya “a prerequisite for participation in building a socialist society in Israel and is a priority for Socialist Zionists.”
The SZU, the spokesperson said, plans to cooperate with progressive and leftist forces in Israel such as Moked, the Independent Socialists and the Feminist Movement of Israel “to build a strong Socialist Zionist movement and to generate an educated and informed aliya from America committed to progressive goals.”