WZO Exec Slams Leibler, JTA

from J-Wire:

A Post-Zionist World Zionist Organisation – It just ain’t so

by David Breakstone

Isi Leibler’s recent piece asserting that it was time for the World Zionist Organization to disband (A Post-Zionist World Zionist Organisation, Oct. 10) was completely off the mark …

He based his contentions not on the facts, but on second-hand and totally erroneous “information” gleaned from a JTA feature on a journey in Herzl’s footsteps organized by the Habonim-Dror and Hechalutz LeMerchav youth movements, which itself was a classic example of not being able to believe everything you read in the newspaper.

To begin with, let me state in the most explicit way possible that I was as mortified by the JTA piece as was Mr. Leibler. It totally distorted the educational concept behind the Herzl Journey, completely misrepresented the impact of the experience which was thoroughly Zionist by any standards Mr. Leibler might apply, and did a terrible disservice to the participants in the program, who are themselves youth leaders engaged in a wide variety of social action projects in Israel.

… While the reporter chose to focus on the vitality of Jewish life in Budapest spearheaded by a young generation that is only now becoming aware of their Jewish roots, he left out the hours-long discussions that went on late into the night that included lively debates about the relative advantages of living in Israel and the absolute necessity of creating more opportunities for meaningful Israel experiences. He also completely misquoted me in suggesting that I believed that a concern with peoplehood was the end-all of Zionism, when, in fact, I am solidly on record in maintaining that there can be no future for our people without a strong and dynamic Israel at our center – the up-building of which is something to which we must all be committed.

As to the current status of the WZO itself, Mr. Leibler is sorrowfully out of touch with what is currently going on with this exceedingly young 114-year old body.