Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland

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Logo of the Zionist Federation, circa 2012, Retrieved from http://www.zionist.org.uk, 24 December 2012

The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, also known as the British Zionist Federation or simply the Zionist Federation (ZF), was established in 1899 to campaign for a permanent homeland for the Jewish people. The Zionist Federation is an umbrella organisation for the Zionist movement in the United Kingdom, claiming, in 2012, to represent 'more than 120 organisations, and over 50,000 affiliated members.'[1] It is the British/Irish affiliate of the World Zionist Organization based in Jerusalem, Israel.

In 1917, the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour communicated the Balfour Declaration to the leader of United Kingdom's Jewish community Lord Rothschild for transmission to the Zionist Federation.

In 1920, the Zionist Federation founded Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO) and Keren Hayesod. The ZF also founded a number of Zionist youth movements.

Until 1931 the ZF was known as the English Zionist Federation, in which year its name was changed to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. A further name change was made in 1966 to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,[2] though today the former title including the whole thirty two counties of Ireland has been reinstated from around 2006.

Logo from the Zionist Federation website circa 2006.[3]

Aims and objectives

Among its aims and objectives, ZF lists:

  • Support, co-ordinate and facilitate the work of all its affiliates nationwide, and to continue its commitment to the Zionist youth movements.
  • Encourage the participation of Jews in Zionist activities including education, culture, Hebrew language and Israel information, underpinned by the belief that the main goal of Zionism is Aliyah.
  • The Zionist Federation is an umbrella organisation encompassing most of the Zionist organizations and individuals in the country and, as such, represents the Zionist movement in the United Kingdom.

Membership

The ZF does not reveal its membership list on its website. It has given various accounts of the extent of its membership. The holdings of the internet archive reveal that it has given the following accounts on its website. In 2001 it stated that it represented: 'most of the Zionist organizations and individuals in the country'.[4] In 2006 the Zionist Federation stated that it 'represents the UK Zionist Movement more than 120 organisations, and over 50,000 affiliated members.'[5] The figure of 120 was still on the website in 2012.[1] However in other sources, the ZF has claimed, by contrast, to have 'over seventy affiliated organisations' in 2010.[6]

Activities

Rewarding Michael Gove's support for Israel

Gove accepting his prize for 'unrelenting' support for Israel from Eric Moonman
In February 2008 Eric Moonman, Zionist Federation President, presented the Jerusalem Prize to Michael Gove MP:
Mr. Gove was given the beautiful silver and glass award for his unrelenting support for the State of Israel. In accepting the Jerusalem Prize, Mr. Gove stressed that his love and passion was for democracy and since Israel was the only democracy in the Middle East, his support came naturally.[7]

Criticism of Amnesty International

The ZF has attacked Amnesty International UK on a number of occasions.

  • In January 2012 ZF chairman Harvey Rose wrote to Amnesty director Kate Allen complaining about a book launch it was hosting with author Ben White, who ZF alleged held 'abhorrent and mendacious views'. Amnesty responded that its work included raising issues about discrimination and that White's book, Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy, tied in to this.[8] It did not cancel the event.
  • In May 2012, ZF attacked Allen again after she stated in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle that she had never had a letter of complaint from any member of the Jewish community accusing Amnesty of being biased against Israel. Executive Director Alan Aziz claimed his organisation was still awaiting a reply from Amnesty about the January 2012 Ben White book launch about which ZF had complained, though Allen said the charity had already responded.[9] Aziz also penned a comment piece in the Jewish Chronicle stating: '[I]t is inexcusable for groups to use phrases like "war crimes" with a total disregard to the damage such words can cause. There is an urgent need for NGOs to deal with their blatant anti-Israel bias, a bias that ultimately does damage to their reputations.'[10]
  • In July 2012 the ZF attacked Amnesty campaign manager Kristyan Benedict claiming that he had 'regularly shown a partisan approach' on Israeli-Palestinian issues, for instance by organising the January 2012 Ben White book launch, and had threatened to assault an Israel supporter (Zionist blogger Richard Millett) at an Amnesty event. The charity responded to the ZF claims, saying all its staff members adhered to principles of independence and impartiality in their work. Benedict reportedly apologised to Millett but the ZF turned down the offer of a meeting with him, claiming 'there would be nothing to gain from meeting him'.[11]

People

Senior figures

  • 1950-1970 Barnett Janner (20 Jun 1892-4 May 1982) 'member of the executive of the English Zionist Federation in 1930, becoming Chairman in 1940 and President from 1950 to 1970.'[12]
  • 1972-1975 Abraham Kramer, solicitor and community leader (born London 7 October 1908 died London 21 February 1996) chairman 1972-75; Joint President (with Dr S. Levenberg) and Honorary President of the ZF Educational Trust[13]
  • 1973 -1982 Joseph Edward 'Teddy' Sieff (1906-1982 - hon Vice President, circa 1973, then hon President until his death) |
  • 1975-1980 and 2001 to present Eric Moonman (ZF chair 1975-80, President 2001-)
  • 1985-1990 Stephen Roth (ZF chair 1985-90)
  • 1989 and 1992-1997 Brenda Katten (vice-chair in 1989, chair 1992-97)
  • 1994-1997 Howard Schaverien (ZF President in 1994, Chair in 1996-7)
  • 2001- present Alan Aziz (executive director since 2001)
  • 2006-2010 Andrew Balcombe (chair 2006-10)

Circa November 2012

Paul Charney Chair - 'A solicitor and former IDF lieutenant... made aliyah from South Africa in 1986 and served in an armoured division of the Israeli army for four years until 1996... Mr Charney is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel and previously worked with the Jewish Association of Business Ethics'.[14] | Eric Moonman and former chair Harvey Rose will serve as joint presidents | Howard Ross and David Duke-Cohan as vice-chairs. Former vice-president Jonathan Hoffman was not re-elected | Director Alan Aziz[14]

Circa 2010

Andrew Balcombe, Chair | Jonathan Hoffmann, Vice-Chair | Dr Jonathan Smilansky Vice-Chair | Harvey Rose Hon Treasurer | Eric Moonman Co-President | Joy Wolfe Co-President | Alan Aziz director | Tracey Seigal Deputy Director | Gary Sakol Assistant Director/Director of Israel Connect | Ian Crooke Finance [15]

Circa 2007

Executive

Eric Moonman President | Geoffrey Gelberg Hon President | Andrew Balcombe Chairman | David Duke-Cohan Vice-Chair | P Margolis Vice-chair | Shirley Levinson Hon Secretary | Harvey Rose Hon Treasurer | Alan Aziz Director | Tracey Seigal Assistant Director | Simon Arenson Marketing | Nadia Nathan Finance[16]

Committee Chairs

Constitution Jonathan Kramer | Finance David Duke-Cohan | Fundraising Geoffrey Gelberg | Israel Now Eric Moonman | Yom Ha'atzmaut Estelle Gilston | Young Leadership Israel connect S Fischer[16]

Circa 2002

Executive

Eric Moonman President | Geoffrey Gelberg Hon President | Ralph Stern Chairman | Estelle Gilston Vice-Chair | Steve Elstein Vice-chair | Adrian Korsner Hon Secretary | Joel Rose Hon Treasurer | Alan Aziz Director | Rona Hart Public Relations | Laurence Stein Marketing | Nadia Nathan Finance[17]

Committee Chairs

Constitution Sidney Shipton | Finance Joel Rose | Fundraising Muriel Thompson | Israel Response Eric Moonman and Rona Hart | Israel conference Estelle Gilston | Yom Ha'atzmaut Jacques Weisser | Young Leadership Israel connect Steven Elstein[17]

Circa 1997

Executive

Rosser Chinn Honorary President | Dr S Levenberg President | H Schaverin Chairman | S Pollock Vice-Chair | R Stern Vice-chair | Estelle Gilston Hon Secretary | I Myers Hon Treasurer | D Goldberg Executive Director | Rona Hart Public Relations | Laurence Stein Marketing | Nadia Nathan Finance[18]

Committee Chairs

Constitution Sidney Shipton | Finance I Myers | Fundraising C Rosen | Israel Conference S Pollock | Israel Projects Estelle Gilston | Moadon Ivri M Novick | Recruitment R Stern | Yom Ha'atzmaut David Duke-Cohan[18]

Circa 1992

Executive

Rosser Chinn Honorary President | Dr S Levenberg Joint President | A Kramer Joint President | Mrs B Katten Chairman | B Davis Vice-Chair | H Smith Vice-chair | Mrs B Hyman Hon Secretary | R Stern Hon Treasurer | Dr G Garai Executive Director[19]

Committee Chairs

Community Servicing H Skolnick | Constitution David Duke-Cohan | Development and training D Aaronberg | Finance R Stern | Promotion and Publicity Mrs D Cukier | Public Affairs L Sacker | Youth H Schaverien | Zionist Review Board B Davis[19]

Circa 1983

Executive

Honorary President Edward Sieff | Chief Executive G H Gelberg | Treasurer S Reiss | Hon Secretary E Graus | General Secretary Dr. G Garai[20]

Committee Chairs

Aliyah Committee Co-chairs S Cooper | H Smith | Jews in Arab Lands Committee Co-chairs P S Gourgey | D Avayou[20]

Publications, Powerbase resources and external links

Publications

The Zionist Review appears to have ceased publication around 1995. According to its editor Joseph Finklestone, in 1997, 'so meagre are the resources of the Zionist Federation that it is unable to publish regularly its famous journal Zionist Review.'[21]

Powerbase resources

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland About Us, Accessed 24 December 2012
  2. Chris Cook (ed) The Routledge Guide to British Political Archives: Sources since 1945, London: Routledge, p. 418.
  3. Zionist Federation About Us, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 2 February 2006, accessed 24 December 2012
  4. Zionist Federation Homepage, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 7 February 2001 on 24 December 2012
  5. Zionist Federation About Us, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 2 February 2006 on 24 December 2012.
  6. The Jewish Yearbook 2010, Edgware, Middlesex: Valentine Mitchell, 2010, p 45.
  7. Jerusalem Prize Awarded at Annual Zionist Federation Dinner February 17, 2008
  8. Marcus Dysch, Cancel event, Amnesty is urged by ZF, Jewish Chronicle, accessed 7 August 2012
  9. Marcus Dysch, Amnesty boss attacked over Israel claims, Jewish Chronicle, accessed 7 August 2012
  10. We deserve more from Amnesty, Jewish Chronicle, accessed 7 August 2012
  11. Marcus Dysch, Amnesty International defends official accused of anti-Israel bias, Jewish Chronicle, accessed 7 August 2012
  12. David Lewis Jones, Barnet Janner Welsh Biography Online.
  13. Joseph OBITUARY:Ab Kramer The Independent (London) March 18, 1996, Monday GAZETTE; Page 16
  14. 14.0 14.1 Zionist Federation elects its new board, The JC.com November 1, 2012.
  15. Elkan Levy and Derek Taylor (eds) The Jewish Year Book 2010, London: Valentine Mitchell, p. 45.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Stephen Massil (ed) The Jewish Year Book 2007, London: Valentine Mitchell, 2007, p.21.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Stephen Massil (ed) The Jewish Year Book 2002, London: Valentine Mitchell, 2002, p.23
  18. 18.0 18.1 Stephen Massil (ed) The Jewish Year Book 1997, London: Valentine Mitchell, 1997, p.23
  19. 19.0 19.1 Stephen Massil (ed) The Jewish Year Book 1997, London: Jewish Chronicle Publications, 1992, p.64
  20. 20.0 20.1 Michael Wallach (Ed.) The Jewish Year Book, 1983, London: Jewish Chronicle Publications, 1983, p. 58.
  21. Joseph Finklestone, 'Zionism and British Jews', in Stephen Massil (ed) The Jewish Year Book 1997, London: Valentine Mitchell, 1997, p.xxx