Recent events in Israel have forced ARZA, the organisation representing Progressive Zionists in Australia, to join a campaign led by it’s world body, ARZENU, to call on the Government of Israel to take immediate and strong action against extreme right-wing groups, and for Zionist groups around the world to condemn their acts of terrorism and hate-mongering. 

“Every Jew should be horrified by these acts and statements” said ARZA Australia President, Steve Denenberg “and they should join us in wholeheartedly condemning the anti-assimilationist group, Lehava, and its leader, Benzi Gopstein when he says “Christians Are ‘Blood Sucking Vampires’ Who Should Be Expelled From Israel” and that Israel should “remove the vampires before they once again drink our blood.’”

“We also need world Jewry to speak out against the campaign of hatred and incitement that is being carried out by the pseudo-Zionist group, Im Tirtzu. This organization cloaks itself in the language of Zionism but takes actions that strike at the heart of the Zionist vision of a secure homeland for the Jewish people within a democratic State of Israel,” said Denenberg.

“In particular, we condemn a recent video that incites viewers against four Israeli Non-Governmental Organizations — declaring them traitors, “foreign plants” of European governments, and supporters of terrorism. We also reject their attack on the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, for his statements that Reform, Progressive and Conservative Jews are equal members of the “one family” of the Jewish people.”

“With regard to the utterings of Lehava’s leader, were the word “Christian” replaced by “Jew” anywhere in the world, the entire Jewish community would be up in arms, calling on the Government of the country to act against such vile and discriminatory language” said Denenberg.  “Accordingly, we expect nothing less from the Government of Israel, who should instruct the Prosecutor and Police to immediately launch an investigation.”

ARZA Australia totally endorses the ARZENU perspective that the pre-requisite for any successful Zionist vision is a commitment to democracy and civil society in Israel. “We join people in Israel and around the world in unequivocally condemning the statements and actions of these groups, as well as those using a wedding to call for violence against the Government and celebrating the murder of a Palestinian baby and their family,” said President of ARZA, Steve Denenberg.

“These actions are a direct threat to Israel’s democracy and contrary to Israel’s founding vision to “foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants… based on freedom, justice … [and to] ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex…guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture…” said Denenberg. 

“ARZA will actively participate in this global campaign to protect Israel’s commitment to democracy by encouraging Zionist Federations to condemn these groups and to support actions in Israel to outlaw them.”