“Follow the money. Always follow the money” (From All the President’s Men)

Categories: Letters from the Leadership

 

Of course, you can’t follow the money when it is purposefully hidden.  That is how the Israeli government hides its support of the settlement enterprise.  The government doesn’t spend the money directly.  Rather, it transfers the money from numerous government departmental coffers to the World Zionist Organization (WZO)’s Settlement Department.  Then, because the money is received with designations attached, the Settlement Department does not report it to its governing body either.  Or that is how it worked until now.

Ameinu and the World Labor Zionist Alliance – along with colleagues from Partners for Progressive Israel (PPI) and the World Union of Meretz – puts an end to this sleight of hand trick.  An Ameinu-PPI resolution at the recent WZO Zionist General Council meetings requires transparent reporting of the formerly secret funding of settlements in the West Bank through the WZO’s Settlement Department.

Our delegation worked collaboratively with Member of Knesset Stav Shaffir (Labor),  a tireless campaigner against this secretive financial support of the Occupation.  In her viral video, MK Shaffir rails against the corruption that has secretly funneled massive amounts of money into settlement expansion while countless social problems in Israel remain unaddressed because of lack of funding.  The resolution we put forth is a key first step in ending the occupation and redirecting Israeli priorities to social and economic justice and democracy, Our resolution (included below) also requires timely reporting to the Knesset and WZO leadership on the finances and activities of the Department.  As details are released, Knesset and WZO leaders can provide crucial oversight and can advocate for all needed reforms, and control over the activities of the Settlement Department.

The resolution passed by a vote of 75 for, 24 against, and 1 abstaining. We are especially grateful to our partners in the Reform movement for lending the resolution their support.

You can help more work like this to happen!

This resolution passed at an annual meeting of WZO leadership.  The leadership to this body comes from the World Zionist Congress (WZC), which convene every four years.   Ameinu and PPI, along with Habonim Dror and Hashomer Hatzair, are running in the upcoming WZC elections as the Hatikvah Slate.

The WZC shapes policy regarding the main challenges facing the Jewish people and the Congress determines how resources are allocated to projects– including Zionist youth movements, liberal religious streams, settlements in the West Bank, and orthodox religious initiatives. With a strong showing in the election we look forward to continued success in reining support for the Settlement Department, and in promoting a progressive global vision for Israel and the Jewish world.

If you haven’t voted yet, please Vote Hatikvah!

After you vote, tell your progressive friends and relations to vote as well.  Any Jewish (self-defined) US permanent resident over 18 can vote, as long as that person did not vote in the 2013 Israeli election.   

Read all the platforms.  Look at the slates.  Hatikvah is the slate that represents your values!  Spread the word! Vote Hatikvah!

1.11 The Settlement Department

Whereas, the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization has for a number of years been almost entirely funded by, and operating under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, and not funded by funds raised by or donated to the WZO; and

Whereas, there is no method for either the duly elected Executive Committee members of the WZO or the duly elected members of the Knesset to provide oversight over the operations of the Settlements Division of the WZO; and

Whereas, neither leaders of factions of the WZO nor Knesset members have been provided with comprehensive, accurate and timely information on the budget, finance, and activities of the Settlement Division of the WZO,

Be it resolved that:
The Division must operate under generally-accepted rules of transparency, including all applicable rules and regulations of the State of Israel for both governmental and non-governmental agencies, such that leaders of the factions of the WZO will, if they so ask, be provided with comprehensive, accurate and timely information on the budget, finance, and activities of the Settlement Division.

Be it further resolved that:
The Division must operate under generally-accepted rules of transparency, including all applicable rules and regulations of the State of Israel for both governmental and non-governmental agencies, such that leaders of all Knesset factions will, similarly, if they so ask, be provided with comprehensive, accurate and timely information on the budget, finance, and activities of the Settlement Division.

And be it also resolved that this resolution will go into effect within three months after its passage.

 

 

About Judith Gelman, Vice President and Chair of the Executive Committee

Judith Gelman is the Chair of Ameinu’s Executive Committee and serves as the Chair of the Fundraising and Membership Committee. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Habonim Dror Foundation and on the Camp Committee for Habonim Dror Camp Moshava, where her three children represent the fourth generation of her family associated with the camp. Prior to attending Oberlin College and MIT, Judith participated in the Habonim’s 23rd Workshop at Maayan Baruch. In addition to her work with Ameinu and Habonim Dror, Judith sits on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and on the NIF DC Local Council. Judy also serves on the Montgomery County, MD Steering Committee for J Street and on the board of a local private high school. She is a former President of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD. She has previously worked for the Council of Economic Advisers and the Federal Trade Commission, and is currently employed at Salop Economics in Washington, DC.
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