- Zionist Freedom Alliance
ZFA (Zionist Freedom Alliance) is a grassroots movement advocating the
Jewish people’s right to the entire land of Israel. It was established by Magshimey Herut( _he. מגשימי חרות; "achievers of liberty") activists in response to what they perceived to be growing anti-Israel sentiment among young people throughout the world. ZFA claims that Israel’s narrative has not been presented since before the start of the Oslo peace processand that this has resulted in the world’s ignorance of Israel’s valid claim to all territory between the Mediterranean Seaand Jordan River. ZFA views Zionism as a revolutionary struggle and itself as the voice of Jewish national liberation. Its members are both observant and non-observant Jews.
What makes ZFA unique among other Zionist movements is that it fights for social causes often associated with the left while maintaining a hard right position on Jewish national identity and Israel’s borders. In November 2007, the
Jewish Telegraphic Agencyreported the ZFA to be promoting Israeli nationalism on twenty American college campuses and described the group as socially liberal with a hard-right stance on Israeli border issues. [ [http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/news/article/20071112jewsforronpaul.html Ron Paul's tiny Jewish following - JTA, Jewish & Israel News ] ] On the organization’s website, ZFA claims to take a revolutionary step in the Zionist world by combining a faithful adherence to Jewish national aspirations with a steadfast commitment to social justice within society. [ [http://www.zfa.org.il/about_us.html Zionist Freedom Alliance - About Us ] ]
ZFA trains activists on college campus to promote what the group terms "Jewish liberation." In the field of advocacy, the movement is unique as it speaks of Israel's moral right to the land rather than the country's security needs. In February of 2008 the ZFA created controversy at the
University of Pennsylvaniaby holding an aggressive demonstration against ex-Israeli soldiers who came to the campus in order to speak against the IDF's presence in territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. A front page article [ [http://www.dailypennsylvanian.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticle&ustory_id=671ada1e-71d6-4f37-9ba6-cb436f915740 Zionist students protest traveling art exhibit ] ] and political cartoon [ [http://media.www.dailypennsylvanian.com/media/storage/paper882/news/2008/02/25/Opinion/Opinion.Art.Daniel.Schwartz-3231530.shtml Opinion Art | Danial Schwartz] ] in the Daily Pennsylvania attempted to portray ZFA activists as unwilling to hear opinions contrary to their own. These accusations were later refuted by local ZFA leaders, Brian Finkel and Miriam Krawitz, in a letter to the paper's editor [ [http://media.www.dailypennsylvanian.com/media/storage/paper882/news/2008/02/29/Opinion/Your-Voice.Letters-3243244.shtml Letters - Opinion] ] which explained ZFA's perspective on what had taken place.
In April 2008, ZFA led a week long program called "Israel Liberation Week" at
Hofstra University. [ [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/TV/?act=one&id=2403 Arguing the Justice of the Zionist Cause ] ] During this week of events, ZFA reached beyond the Jewish community and targeted a wider student public through films, art exhibits and concerts that focused on Jewish rights to the Land of Israel, the Jewish revolt against British rule and the need for the State of Israel to become an independent country. [ [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/144697 American Students Hosting Israel Liberation Week ] ]
While mainstream Jewish leaders and pro-Israel organizations on American campuses try to present the State of Israel as a democratic Western country with numerous security challenges, the Zionist Freedom Alliance speaks of Israel as a Middle Eastern nation with a legitimate moral and historic right to its entire country. In a July 2008 interview, ZFA leader
Yehuda HaKohentold Israel National News that:
"We must make the world understand that the Jewish nation, like any other nation on the planet, has a right to self-determination in our country. Not in half of our country, but in our whole country. We have nothing against any other peoples, but the world today has no shortage of Arab states. 77% of Palestine [the territory east of the Jordan River] was made into an Arab state, and we are at least entitled to the remaining 23% that was left us by international law to be a Jewish state. No power on earth has the moral authority to rob us of our land." [ [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/126853 Pro-Israel Revolution On Campus ] ]
In that same interview, HaKohen angered American
neo-conservativegroups by stating that:
"There is nothing right-wing or conservative about wanting to keep our [the Jewish] homeland free from foreign rule. If we are truly the indigenous natives in the conflict, then our cause should really be championed by liberal students everywhere. Especially since the Bush administration that occupies Iraq and imposes a Patriot Act on the American people is the very same administration pushing to ethnically cleanse the Jewish people from portions of our homeland." [ [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/126853 Pro-Israel Revolution On Campus ] ]
ZFA views the Jewish people as indigenous to the Middle East and the victims of Western
imperialism. Leading activists of the movement have often pointed out that Great Britain, the United Nationsand even the United Statesgovernment did everything in their power to prevent a Jewish state from coming into existence. The Zionist struggle, according to ZFA, is therefore an anti-imperialiststruggle aimed at liberating the land of Israel from foreign rule and securing the Jewish people’s right to self determinationin their country.
As a national liberation movement, ZFA alleges to advocate freedom for all nations from foreign rule (specifically the Chechens,
Kurds, and Irish) but denies that freedom to a Palestiniannation whom ZFA claims does not exist. The movement argues that a Palestinian national identity was invented in the 1960s by the Arab Leagueand Western powers for the purpose of robbing the Jewish people of their homeland. ZFA asserts that multi-national corporations and Western governments seeking to promote globalizationhave been using the Palestinian Arabsas a political tool against the State of Israeland that the front line in the battle against globalization is actually the struggle to retain Greater Israel. [ [http://www.zfa.org.il/programs.html Zionist Freedom Alliance - Action ] ] Unlike similar movements on Israel’s political right, ZFA avoids anti-Arab rhetoric [ [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/126853 Pro-Israel Revolution on Campus ] ] and actually advocates Israel becoming more Middle Eastern in character. Many ZFA leaders, including Elie Yossef, have put forward the need for a genuine peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs but have rejected the notion of territorial concessions as this would be – in the view of ZFA – an historic injustice against the Jewish people.
Heavily influenced by the philosophy of
Israel Eldad, ZFA views Zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people and a revolution unparalleled by any other in human history. The movement validates this claim by emphasizing that while various revolutions have succeeded in leaving their mark on human development, none have succeeded in reviving a dead language or relocating a scattered nation from dispersion to a central location. ZFA defines the Zionist Revolution as the liberation of Jewish land from foreign rule, the ingathering of the Jewish people from the exile to their soil, the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language for everyday use, and the creation of a utopian society that will serve as a model of social justice to the world. The movement views itself as the vanguard of this revolution and often calls itself the “voice of Jewish liberation.” The above views are featured on the organization’s website and have been expressed repeatedly by Yehuda HaKohen, a ZFA leader, who hosts two internet based radio programs on Israel National Radio (channel seven). [ [http://www.israelnationalradio.com/ Israel National Radio ] ]
Although opposed to many policies of recent
Israeli governments, ZFA views the State of Israelas being of great historic significance and deserving of their loyalty. The movement places unity amongst Jews of all persuasions on equal footing with the territorial integrity of the land of Israel and therefore works to build dialogue and strengthen the bond between Jews with opposing political and religious opinions.
Zionist youth movement
* [http://www.zfa.org.il/ ZFA website]
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