New York (March 16, 2016) – Ameinu, North America’s largest grassroots progressive Zionist organization, released the following statement today regarding the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its deeply problematic invitation for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to address its Policy Conference, being held March 20-22.
“As a founding member of the AIPAC National Council (formerly the AIPAC Executive Committee), Ameinu is deeply disappointed that this important organization on U.S.-Israel relations, is treating its invitation to Donald Trump as if he were simply another presidential candidate. He is not.
Ameinu, as a U.S.-based movement of progressive Zionists, has watched with extreme dismay as this year’s Republican presidential primary contest has stoked fear, hatred, divisiveness and even violence against vulnerable minority groups including Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, refugees and protestors from the Black Lives Matter Movement. This is absolutely unacceptable in a pluralistic and democratic country like our own. And no candidate bears more responsibility and guilt for these disgraceful and destructive tactics than Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination. Trump’s approach to politics violates the core value of human dignity that we as Jews hold dear. Moreover, as progressive Zionists who strive for interreligious and interethnic reconciliation and peace as guiding principles for Israel and its Palestinian neighbors, we view these same values as the cornerstone of our vision for American political life.
While Ameinu understands why an organization like AIPAC chose to hear the leading Republican candidate’s views on Israel, his disgusting bigotry, demagogic rhetoric and campaign style cannot be accepted as business as usual. Ameinu calls upon the AIPAC leadership to have the courage to make this crystal clear during the upcoming conference.
Ameinu also calls on our fellow members of the AIPAC National Council, and the thousands of grassroots participants in the Policy Conference, to raise a collective voice of Jewish outrage and make an unequivocal denunciation of Donald Trump’s bigotry. American Jewry can never accept scapegoating of minorities as a political tool. While AIPAC can hear what Donald Trump has to say about Israel, we all must take a stand with our fellow citizens to demand a politics of inclusion rather than fear. The decision to invite a candidate like Donald Trump to AIPAC gives our community a chance to make this point loud and clear. It is a chance we cannot miss.”
Ameinu, the largest grassroots progressive Zionist organization in North America, is dedicated to promoting a just peace between Israel, the Palestinians and the countries of the region. Ameinu also works for social and economic justice for all in Israel and around the world. Ameinu reinforces Jewish continuity through support for Habonim Dror, the Labor Zionist youth movement, and the Kibbutz Program Center, which sends 100’s of young adults on unique Kibbutz and other social justice journeys to Israel every year.
About Hiam Simon
Hiam Simon, formerly a member of the Ameinu Board of Directors, is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the organization which has grown steadily during his tenure.
Prior to working at Ameinu, Hiam was the Executive Director of the Givat Haviva Educational Foundation, one of the oldest institutions serving the Israeli-Arab population in Israel. His work as Director of Development with Americans for Peace Now focused on fostering resources in support of the two state solution. He also managed the North American offices of both The Jerusalem Post and The Jerusalem Report and realized significant gains in their advertising and circulation.
Hiam has been a force in the progressive Zionist community his entire life, and was a delegate to the 36th World Zionist Congress.
As a lay leader, he is active on the Boards of Directors of the American Zionist Movement; the Habonim Dror Foundation, the Habonim Camping Foundation, and Camp Naaleh, of which he is a past chair.
During his many years living in Israel, he was Dean of Students for what is now the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, opened a bookstore in Jerusalem, and served in the Israel Defense Forces, with the final rank of sergeant.
Hiam is married to Dr. Deborah Bunim and together they share 4 children and 3 grandchildren.