(June 30, 2020 / JNS) Amid dissatisfaction with mainstream Jewish advocacy organizations, a new alliance of young Jewish American leaders was launched on Monday: HaShevet (Hebrew for “The Tribe,” which is also a nickname for the Jewish faith and people).
The organization seeks to “represent a diversity of political opinions and professional backgrounds” and “come together, united in our dedication to promote moral clarity within the Jewish advocacy sector, strengthen and mobilize young Jewish professionals to publicly oppose all forms of anti-Semitism (including anti-Zionism), and take up the mantle of Jewish community leadership to safeguard the future of the Jewish people,” said the organization in an announcement.
Its board of directors includes chairman Bryan Leib, former national director of Americans Against Antisemitism; vice chairman and president Nachman Mostofsky, executive director of Chovevei Zion; secretary Kayla Gubov, a political strategist; treasurer Joel Griffith, Heritage Foundation research fellow; Emma Enig, Republican Jewish Coalition national grassroots coordinator; Samantha Rose Mandeles, Legal Insurrection senior researcher and outreach director; Jennifer Taer, a writer and researcher for the website of investigative correspondent and conservative activist Sara Carter; Rabbi Yitzchok Tendler, co-founder of Young Jewish Conservatives; and Joseph Tipograph, a pro-Israel lawyer.
In its statement, HaShevet said it is “driven by an unwavering imperative: the preservation, in safety and security, of the State of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora in North America. We are unabashed Zionists. Our Zionism is inspired by the courage and energy of the Jewish State and our unwavering belief in its legitimacy and enduring value to the world of nations.”
The group went on to criticize “efforts by anti-Zionists to separate Judaism and Zionism” as “disingenuous and ill-informed.”
HaShevet said it was formed out of being “dismayed at the diminishing effectiveness of mainstream Jewish advocacy organizations in North America,” as “strident and divisive fringe voices are taking advantage of a trend toward groupthink, hypocrisy, and virtue signaling within the mainstream establishment,” resulting in “Zionism is losing the culture war, as it increasingly becomes relegated to a narrow portion of the American political spectrum.”
Therefore, continued HaShevet, “political consensus around support of Israel is threatened by a false narrative that paints Israel as a rogue state at odds with the ideals of social justice and tikkun olam,” which is Hebrew for “repairing the world” and making it a better place.
HaShevet cited the rise in anti-Semitism in the United States, including on social media, college campuses and elsewhere that includes support for boycotting Israel.
Additionally, in its statement, HaShevet denounced alleged “silence by much of the leadership of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and their members regarding the twisted propaganda emanating from the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (with the support of supposedly “Jewish” anti-Israel groups such as If Not Now, Jewish Voices for Peace, and J Street) exemplifies the need to identify and promote the next generation of Jewish leaders who will bring back the good name of Zionism from those who have worked so hard to besmirch it.”
JNS has reached out to the Conference of Presidents for a response to the alleged “silence.”
In its statement, HaShevet said it “will begin to build a movement to counter these disturbing developments through education, communication and in working in coalition with other organizations of new generation leaders dedicated to the same cause.
“Using social and traditional media, we will call out anti-Semitism in all forms wherever we find it. We will not shy away from condemning Jew-hatred on the political right or the political left, nor will we ignore Islamist anti-Semitism or any Jewish group that legitimizes it. We will move steadily toward developing a robust network and critical mass of young Jewish professionals who are steadfast in their Zionism and commitment to unity, not divisiveness.”
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