Union of Progressive Zionists

Union of Progressive Zionists

The Union of Progressive Zionists (UPZ) is a North American network of Jewish student activists who have organized around principles of social justice and peace in Israel and Palestine. The UPZ provides guidance, education, and resources to students who seek to contribute a progressive voice into the campus debate concerning Israel and Palestine.

As of January 2007, the Union of Progressive Zionists had chapters at 60 colleges and universities.cite news
last = Spence
first = Rebecca
title = Campus Coalition Split Over Progressive Union
work = The Forward
date = 2007-01-19
url = http://www.forward.com/articles/campus-coalition-split-over-progressive-union/
accessdate = 2007-03-20


The Union of Progressive Zionists was created in the early 2000s by college-age members of Habonim Dror and Hashomer Hatzair, with the support of the Labor Zionist Alliance (now called Ameinu) and Meretz USA, the organization of US supporters of the Israeli social democratic Meretz political party. Its first national conference, held in October 2004, drew more than 100 students from 40 schools.cite news
last = Porter
first = Ethan
title = Progressive Zionists Go Back to School
work = The Forward
date = 2004-08-13
url = http://www.forward.com/articles/progressive-zionists-go-back-to-school/
accessdate = 2007-03-20
] cite news
last = Pomerance
first = Rachel
title = New campus group gives voice to ‘progressive’ Zionist students
publisher = Jewish Telegraphic Agency
date = 2004-10-25
url = http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/news/article/Newcampusgroupgiv.html
accessdate = 2007-03-20
] cite news
last = Lightman
first = Naomi
title = Progressive campus Zionists unite in new group
work = Canadian Jewish News
date = November 2004
url = http://www.cjnews.com/viewarticle.asp?id=4702
accessdate = 2007-03-20

From its founding, the stated intention of the group was to create a network of student activists who supported Israel and opposed the Occupation but felt alienated by both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian extremists.



The Union of Progressive Zionists has brought prominent leftist Israeli politicians to speak on North American campuses, including Yossi Beilin, chairman of the Meretz-Yachad party and one of the architects of the Oslo Accords and the Geneva Accords; Yael Dayan, Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo and an advocate for women's rights and gay rights; Daniel Levy, the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Accords. Its speakers have also included prominent Palestinians such as Amjad Atallah, the Palestinian-American legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team in peace talks with Israel, and Rafi Dajani, Executive Director of the American Task Force on Palestine. [http://www.upzshalom.org/previous.php?limit=none Previous Events] , Union of Progressive Zionists.]

Controversy within the Israel On Campus Coalition

In late 2006 and early 2007, the campus activities of the Union of Progressive Zionists created a stir within the Israel On Campus Coalition, an organization that seeks to promote a "pro-active pro-Israel agenda on campus," of which the UPZ is a member. Some of the coalition's more conservative members, including the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), criticized the UPZ for sponsoring speeches by members of an Israeli organization called Breaking the Silence, former soldiers who speak out against alleged human rights abuses in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.cite news
last = Paul
first = Ari
title = Zionist Vs. Zionist
publisher = The American Prospect Online Edition
date = 2007-01-04
url = http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12360
accessdate = 2007-03-20
] cite news
last = Harris
first = Ben
title = Group that criticized Israel to stay in campus coalition
publisher = Jewish Telegraphic Agency
date = 2007-01-24
url = http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/news/article/20070124Groupthatcriticize.html
accessdate = 2007-03-20
] cite news
last = Spence
first = Rebecca
title = Coalition Votes Not To Toss Liberal Zionists
work = The Forward
date = 2007-01-26
url = http://www.forward.com/articles/coalition-votes-not-to-toss-liberal-zionists/
accessdate = 2007-03-20
] cite news
last = Spence
first = Rebecca
title = Groups Flip Flop as Controversy Over Liberal Zionists Continues
work = The Forward
date = 2007-02-02
url = http://www.forward.com/articles/groups-flip-flop-as-controversy-over-liberal-zioni/
accessdate = 2007-03-20
] cite news
last = Zeller
first = Shawn
title = U.S. Zionist Groups Facing Potential Rift
work = CQ Weekly
date = 2007-02-12
url = http://public.cq.com/docs/cqw/weeklyreport110-000002449615.html
accessdate = 2007-03-20

In December 2006, the ZOA called for the Israel On Campus Coalition to expel the Union of Progressive Zionists. Although the coalition's steering committee voted 9-0 against expulsion in January 2007, the issue resulted in a debate among major Zionist organizations. The Jewish National Fund joined the ZOA in demanding that the UPZ to end its relationship with Breaking the Silence (but not in calling for the group's exclusion from the coalition), and the World Zionist Organization supported the UPZ, as did a group of 100 academics from Israel. The AJCongress threatened to quit the coalition out of dissatisfaction with the decision to allow the UPZ to remain.

ee also

* Habonim Dror
* Hashomer Hatzair
* Labour Zionism
* Zionist youth movement
* Ameinu
* Meretz-Yachad


Further reading

* Birkner, Gabrielle. " [http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=11465 Campus Doves] ", "The Jewish Week", September 30, 2005.
* Black, Pesha. [http://www.newvoices.org/cgi-bin/articlepage.cgi?id=268 Not Just Another Jewish Group: UPZ Brings New Possibilities for Progressive Zionists on Campus] , "New Voices", November 2004.
* Pomerance, Rachel. [http://jta-vip.mediapolis.com/cgi-bin/iowa/news/article/Fiveyearsintothe.html Five years into the intifada, groups are refining their tactics on campus] , "Jewish Telegraphic Agency", June 27, 2005.

External links

* [http://www.upzshalom.org/ Union of Progressive Zionists]
* [http://www.habonimdror.org/ Habonim Dror]
* [http://www.hashomerhatzair.org/ Hashomer Hatzair]
* [http://www.ameinu.net/ Ameinu]
* [http://www.meretzusa.org/ Meretz USA]
* [http://www.shovrimshtika.org/index_e.asp Breaking the Silence]

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